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Old Wednesday 21st September 2016, 06:49   #1
pavan_n
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Kowa 883 vs Borg telescope

Hello all,

Have been saving up for a Kowa 883 for some time now. Was about to pull the trigger when I came across this sub-forum and decided to look into telescopes as an option.

I plan on using the scope for visual observation like a spotting scope as well as for digiscoping, both afocal (eye-piece projection) and prime focus.

The contenders:

Kowa 883 - 88mm front objective, ~450mm fl at f5 + te-11wz eyepiece. weight ~1900g and cost $2600.

Borg 71FL OTA + Baader Amici prism 45 deg diag + Baader Hyperion MkIII zoom eyepiece. This works out to be a 71mm front objective with a 400mm focal length at f5.6.
weight ~1900g and cost $1600.

The advantage of the Borg/Baader scope is that it is cheaper and more customizable. The drawbacks are that it is not moisture-proof and the objective is smaller and less bright. Both scopes will have fluorite objectives.
The Borg/Baader gives me the option to upgrade the objective to a Borg 90FL objective (500mm f5.6) sometime in the future, if I feel the need.

Can I expect to get similar quality views and digiscoped images from these two set-ups?
With regards to water proofing (or lack there-of), how do you all manage this with your astro telescopes in the field?

I would appreciate your comments and suggestions.
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Last edited by pavan_n : Wednesday 21st September 2016 at 18:54.
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Old Thursday 22nd September 2016, 03:38   #2
JerryLogan
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In general I love the Borg line and think it's a shame their products aren't better known in the USA. In this case however, I'd strongly lean toward the Kowa. In my experience the Kowa optics will be superior and there's no contest if you plan on using the scope in any type of challenging field condition. My Kowa has nicely survived several drops, drenchings and splatters that would have ended the Borg - and I'm mainly just a whale and marsh watcher - nothing particularly harsh.

Plus, the prism and zoom are kind of a kludge when they're strung together. It will work but there's going to be lots of fussing - the Kowa clicks in and you're done. I have no hesitation in folding up the tripod and slinging the Kowa to the next location. That's not likely or comfortable with the Amici.

I don't have a Borg right now but I do have a Kowa 883. We could meet up sometime in SF if you haven't had a chance to look through the scope. PM if you're interested.

Best,
Jerry

Last edited by JerryLogan : Thursday 22nd September 2016 at 03:48.
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Old Friday 23rd September 2016, 22:11   #3
pavan_n
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Jerry,
Thanks for your response. I admit, I had not thought about lugging the Borg with prism + eyepiece around. I would hate for it to fall off or snag on something.
The convenience of the Kowa weighs heavily in its favor. If I was interested in astronomy or astrophotography in a serious way, it may have been a harder choice, but the most I would do is view the moon when seeing conditions are good.

Thank you also for the offer to look through your scope, I have not had the opportunity to actually look through a Kowa scope. I will PM you.

Off to craigslist now, to get rid of as much of the accumulated (an no longer used) equipment as I can, so I can build out the Kowa system.

Thanks,
Pavan
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Old Sunday 25th September 2016, 00:49   #4
opticoholic
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Pavan,
I decided for myself that dispensing with the eyepiece and the camera lens and going with the "prime focus" option allows much better image quality, and still sufficient "reach" or magnification with something like an 80mm f/6 APO refractor telescope. Maybe you already read the thread I started, "Digiscoping vs. Astroscoping." However, since you want a spotting scope for visual use as well as a bird photography rig, I would agree that the Kowa spotting scope is probably the better choice. With the spotting scope I would be choosing before each outing one of 2 different modes: (1) primarily visual observation with the eyepiece and an iPhone adapter for casual or documentary photos/movies or (2) exclusively photography in prime focus mode with a micro-4/3 camera.

Dave

PS: Regardless of whether you do traditional digiscoping through an eyepiece/camera lens or prime focus, either way you will focus manually, so make sure your new scope has a fine focus knob (the Kowa does so you should be set). I really enjoy the 10:1 smooth fine focus knob on my little 80mm astronomy telescope... With the bird magnified in the EVF/LCD and using focus peaking, you need that fine control to help you nail the focus precisely, but the great thing is that as long as the bird gives you enough time, you can nail the focus confidently and perfectly. I cannot always say that when I'm relying on complex lenses with autofocus systems.

Last edited by opticoholic : Sunday 25th September 2016 at 01:49. Reason: added PS
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Old Wednesday 28th September 2016, 00:24   #5
pavan_n
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Smile Kowa 883 with 1.6x extender on the way |:D|

Thanks Jerry and Opticoholic for your help while making my decision.

I went ahead and ordered a Kowa 883 from Eagle Optics today. Their customer service was excellent and helped me with all the questions that I had.

For anyone thinking about getting this scope, they have an incredible deal on the 1.6x extender with the 883 scope.

I am also going to get the 25-60x (te-11wz) eyepiece with this setup and an iPhone adapter for phone-scoping, but will eventually get an adapter to hook up my mft camera to the scope.

Any recommendations on Tripod head and case/cover would be appreciated.
Currently leaning towards a manfrotto video fluid head MVH500AH and the Kowa stay on carry case. Does anyone have any experience with either of these?

Last edited by pavan_n : Wednesday 28th September 2016 at 05:45.
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Old Tuesday 6th December 2016, 10:43   #6
kurakura
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883 is a dream scope... the overall winner of the swarovski digiscoper of the year used the 883, was with the winner when he took the pic

http://www.digiscoperoftheyear.com/en/the-winners pic is taken from about 20-25m distance
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Old Friday 9th December 2016, 21:57   #7
Vespobuteo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pavan_n View Post
Thanks Jerry and Opticoholic for your help while making my decision.

I went ahead and ordered a Kowa 883 from Eagle Optics today. Their customer service was excellent and helped me with all the questions that I had.

For anyone thinking about getting this scope, they have an incredible deal on the 1.6x extender with the 883 scope.

I am also going to get the 25-60x (te-11wz) eyepiece with this setup and an iPhone adapter for phone-scoping, but will eventually get an adapter to hook up my mft camera to the scope.

Any recommendations on Tripod head and case/cover would be appreciated.
Currently leaning towards a manfrotto video fluid head MVH500AH and the Kowa stay on carry case. Does anyone have any experience with either of these?
The MVH500AH is a good head, not the lightest but more fluid and stable than the cheaper manfrottos, if you don't mind the weight it's a good buy.
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