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Old Sunday 30th August 2009, 21:12   #1
marsy1000
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773 vs. 663

I wanted to upgrade to an ed type scope from my old TSN 661.
The place I shop lists the 663 (angled ED) for 899.00 and the 773 angled for 1599.00.
I'm wondering - is the 773 worth an extra 700.00?
On another thread someone mentioned that the 773 would allow me to get a better eyepiece and that the scopes have the same type ED (or XD?) glass (not the true flourite of the 80mm)
So the eye piece is a plus
Larger aperature is a plus

Other pro's and cons consider the significant difference in price?

Oh and on a thread there was also an off hand comment regarding 'the new scopes' is there some new big jump in scopes coming?

Last edited by marsy1000 : Sunday 30th August 2009 at 21:19.
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Old Monday 31st August 2009, 01:02   #2
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Heavier weight and greater bulk are negatives. May want a heavier tripod as well.
Need an adapter to use the other Kowa lenses, according to their website. Of course, you may not want to in any case, but note the new lenses will surely be more costly.
The opportunity cost of not having 700.00 free to fill other gaps is substantial.

The gain in twilight observation time from the larger objective is perhaps 15 minutes.
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Old Monday 31st August 2009, 04:04   #3
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The Kowa TSN 661 is still a great spotting scope. What are the reasons you want to upgrade?

...Bob
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Old Monday 31st August 2009, 21:14   #4
marsy1000
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My eyes are pretty bad, like 20 x 920 and at 53 I can use the extra light/brightness that ED gives you for sure. Not sure I'll get 700.00 more from the increase in aperature?
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Old Monday 31st August 2009, 21:44   #5
RJM
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Well ED or Fluorite glass does nothing for brightness. Only a larger objective lens will give you brighter images at higher magnifications. Going from 66mm to 77mm is not a big enough jump IMO.

If you want to save some money and don't use your scope in bad weather then you might want to consider an astro telescope instead. They are heavier than a fieldscope, but you can get a 100ED now for ~$600 and an 80ED for ~$400. You will also need a Baader Amici prism diagonal and some eyepieces but you should not have to spend more than $1000 if you already have a suitable tripod.

cheers,
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Old Monday 31st August 2009, 22:00   #6
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This has been discussed before, but it is my understanding that the 883/773 are Kowa's top of the line scopes with the newest design. They were introduced at the same time. The 663 is an older model and not quite in the same class. So it's more than just a difference in aperture. I don't know any other details though.

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Old Monday 31st August 2009, 22:45   #7
BobinKy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marsy1000 View Post
My eyes are pretty bad, like 20 x 920 and at 53 I can use the extra light/brightness that ED gives you for sure. Not sure I'll get 700.00 more from the increase in aperature?
I agree with Rick, the only way you are going to increase the brightness with a spotting scope is to increase the aperture size or reduce the magnification of the eyepiece (to increase the exit pupil size of the eyepiece). The Kowa 88mm series would certainly be the ticket, if you can afford one of these scopes and the eyepiece. The ED models in the 88 series are probably the best spotting scopes made.

A cheaper alternative, as Rick suggested, would be to go with a refractor astronomy scope (80mm, 90mm or 100mm), erect prism diagonal, and two or three eyepieces.

Unfortunately, the quest for brightness with an astronomy scope will reduce the quality of the view that you now enjoy with the Kowa 66 spotting scope. You can get brightness and sharpness with an astronomy scope, however, it will not match the Kowa's contrast, color rendition, color saturation, or depth of field--not to mention the Kowa's light weight, size, and rugged build. I should also add that to match the Kowa's sharpness in an astronomy scope, you will need to buy a top-of-the-line eyepiece such as those in the Pentax XW series.

My recommendation is to stay with Kowa and increase the aperture to the 88 series, if you can afford it, or the 77 series. Unless you plan to do a lot of photography with the scope, you really do not need the Kowa ED model. The nonED Kowa scopes are great for visual observing. By staying away from the ED models, you should be able to save substantially.

Another option is to only observe in well-lighted environments, such as in open fields during full daylight, so brightness does not become an issue for your eyes.

Just my thoughts.

...Bob
Kentucky
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Old Monday 31st August 2009, 23:19   #8
RJM
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Originally Posted by BobinKy View Post
Unfortunately, the quest for brightness with an astronomy scope will reduce the quality of the view that you now enjoy with the Kowa 66 spotting scope. You can get brightness and sharpness with an astronomy scope, however, it will not match the Kowa's contrast, color rendition, color saturation, or depth of field--not to mention the Kowa's light weight, size, and rugged build. I should also add that to match the Kowa's sharpness in an astronomy scope, you will need to buy a top-of-the-line eyepiece such as those in the Pentax XW series.
Hmm, not much I (and I'd bet several others!) agree with in this quote but that can be debated another time, Bob.

But yes, the Kowa 881 can be had for under $1000 but you probably would still want the 88x series eyepiece so you need to add another $500 or so. Kowa does make an adapter that can let you use your current 661 eyepieces though.

Another choice in the USA would be the TSN-82SV which would allow you to use your current eyepieces. But it is longer than the 881 and only slightly lighter even though it is made from carbon fiber reinforced polycarbonate.

cheers,
Rick
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Old Tuesday 1st September 2009, 12:31   #9
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Ok so maybe brightness equates to aperature.

But I don't understand that the implied ED is only important if your digiscoping holds or why I'm being told here that a non ED scope is as good as an ED one?
I have the Swift Audubon's 8.5x44 in ED and I think they are much better for birdwatching than the non ED's. So I think that the same would hold true with an ED vs. non ED scope?
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Old Tuesday 1st September 2009, 12:51   #10
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Also

I want something a bit rugged and yes weatherproof.
I do not want something I feel I have to baby.
Toss it in the back of the car and go.
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Old Tuesday 1st September 2009, 13:08   #11
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You misunderstand. A non-ED scope can give nice views under the right conditions. ED glass just corrects (ie, brings more of the visible spectrum to focus) for the blue-green/red-violet fringing you can sometimes see especially at higher magnifications and with subject that are high contrast, eg, black feathers against a light colored background. Depending on the scope, this correction can be very good to not so good. Also depending on your age, you may not even notice some of this out-of-focus spectrum. You have already said your vision is not the best. Digital cameras on the other hand are very sensitive to the out-of-focus spectrum so ED scopes are the best choice for folks who mainly want to digiscope.

Until you try various scopes, you will never know what works for you. Ideally, you should order from a store that has a liberal return or demo policy. But if you can afford the best, by all means get the Kowa 883. I just don't think a 773 will be a big improvement over what you have now while an 881 would.

I went through 7 different scopes over 2yrs because I did not want to spend the $$$ for the Kowa 883 even though I knew it was the best. Finally, found a gently used one at a fair price and my only regret is I wasted 2yrs!

Rick

Last edited by RJM : Tuesday 1st September 2009 at 13:13.
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Old Tuesday 1st September 2009, 14:38   #12
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I just don't think a 773 will be a big improvement over what you have now while an 881 would.
Several informal reviews have opined that the 773 is the second best spotting scope out there, second only to the 883. (e.g. http://www.livingbird.org/netcommuni...eChart2008.pdf) I have used both, and think they are pretty close.

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Old Tuesday 1st September 2009, 14:51   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marsy1000 View Post
Ok so maybe brightness equates to aperature.

But I don't understand that the implied ED is only important if your digiscoping holds or why I'm being told here that a non ED scope is as good as an ED one?
I have the Swift Audubon's 8.5x44 in ED and I think they are much better for birdwatching than the non ED's. So I think that the same would hold true with an ED vs. non ED scope?
I think Rick explained very well the difference between the ED and nonED Kowa scopes. I suggested you go for the Kowa 881 nonED because you mentioned brightness in your earlier reply, and the 881 was a way to get you into a Kowa scope with a larger aperture at about the same price as the 773.

Of course it really depends upon your observing habits and how discerning your eyes are during observation with a spotting scope. The only way to know for sure is to order the 663 Prominar XD, 773 Prominar XD, and 881 nonED from a dealer like Eagle Optics and try them out for 30 days, keep the one that suits you the best, and return the other two. That way you will know which means more to you, aperture, XD, weight, cost, etc. However, if you have the cash, no question about it--buy the 883 Prominar Flourite Crystal!

I also have the Swift Audubon 820 8.5x44 ED binoculars, which I upgraded to from the nonED because of color performance.

Just my thoughts--you are the one who must make the final decision.

...Bob
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Old Tuesday 1st September 2009, 19:52   #14
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I do think ED adds something besides just more accurate color. Maybe its contrast which I find very important - I don't know and I can't prove it to you.

As for the 881 - that has never been in the option category if you read my original post.

663 vs. 773
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Old Tuesday 1st September 2009, 20:16   #15
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I do think ED adds something besides just more accurate color. Maybe its contrast which I find very important - I don't know and I can't prove it to you.

As for the 881 - that has never been in the option category if you read my original post.

663 vs. 773
Mary,
I would personally rate the 773 as a far superior scope to the 663 given that you're willing to carry around a bit bigger scope. The optics are an upgrade and the eyepieces offered for the 77/88mm Kowa scopes are in a league of their own.
I see that you are in Ohio. Are you anywhere near Lakeside OH? I will be there later this month (17-19) for the Midwest Birding Symposium and can have both scopes available for you to evaluate. It's my feeling that most people given the chance to compare the two, would opt for the 773.

Ben

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Old Wednesday 2nd September 2009, 01:12   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marsy1000 View Post
I do think ED adds something besides just more accurate color. Maybe its contrast which I find very important - I don't know and I can't prove it to you.

As for the 881 - that has never been in the option category if you read my original post.

663 vs. 773
I am sorry I headed down the wrong path with the 881. Best of luck with the scope decision. Please let us know what you decide to do and how you like it.

...Bob
Kentucky
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