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Widowmaker Monday 22nd September 2003 16:23

Kowa TSN4 Spotting Scope
Would this scope be a good choice and an improvment over using my ETX-90? I am mainly looking for a little more distance and equal or better quality.

Its listed here

Is that a good price or can I do better? It may not even be available anymore.

Art Thorn Monday 22nd September 2003 16:34

Is the ETX-90 a CAT? I just sold mine (Celestron C5) and bought a Swaro ST-80. The C5 far outperformed the Swaro (with Tele Vue Nagler eyepieces) when it came to distance and brightness. But it was too clumsy and heavy to carry with me. So if you aren't moving around much, and depending on your eyepieces and diagonal, you may have the better option right now.

Larry Lade Monday 22nd September 2003 17:22

Hi Widowmaker,

I have a KOWA TSN-4 with a 20-60X lens. I have had mine for about 10 years too. I really like it. I bought mine new from a mail order company. My cost was about $1200 for scope, one eyepiece, case and tripod. I would think the $625 is a good price.


scampo Monday 22nd September 2003 21:01

The only issue is whether or not you might prefer an angled eyepiece (i.e. the TSN 3) - certainly in the UK, TSN3s are far more in demand than TSN4s so far as I can tell and going by what happens on eBay. Resale may be of no concern to you, however. I find the straight eyepiece far less comfortable to use (but I am 6' 4").

I just bought a s'h TSN3 with a 30W objective and have the chance of comparing it directly with my son's new Swarovski 65HD 20-60x zoom. The Kowa clearly produces a truly excellent image that, I really don't think is much bettered by the far more pricey Swarovski - and the Kowa's fiel;d of view is so very wide that you see a good deal more through it.

Widowmaker Monday 22nd September 2003 21:27

Since its more distance I'm looking for, are there any eyepieces I can use that will accomplish this and still keep good quality? I'm currently using the William Optics DCL-28, which threads directly to the lens on my CP 4500. Is 28mm the magic number for this setup? I would like to go with something that would thread directly to the CP4500, like the DCL-28, but I dont mind adapting as long as it does not produce significant vignetting.

Art Thorn Monday 22nd September 2003 22:24

Wow, I wish I could help, but this is getting too specific for me. Is the DCL-28 a 28 mm eyepiece? If so, there are lots and lots out there that will increase your reach. I have only had experience with Tele Vues and Celestrons, and the Televues definitely cost more and do a better job. For some reason, I REALLY value wide fields of view, so I went with the Naglers. In fact, I'm getting the 1.25 adapter so I can try Nagler eyepieces with my Swaro.

IanF Monday 22nd September 2003 22:38

I'm not 100% certain but I'm almost positive that Andy Bright used to have the TSN-4 and he produced some amazing photos from it. I'm not sure whether he's around at the moment, but hopefully he will be able to clarify. To be honest when he sold his I'd have bought it off him if I hadn't already gotten my Kowa 823!

Bob D Tuesday 23rd September 2003 12:49

It is my recall that the zoom for the TSN series at high magnifications is not as sharp as the Leica, Swarovski, Nikon, and the Kowa zoom for the 82X series.

Does anyone using the Kowa TSN 3 or 4 with the 20x60 zoom have a perspective on this?

Widowmaker Tuesday 23rd September 2003 15:11

Thanks for the input on the scope but unfortunately it sold last week. Im still on the look for a good flourite lens scope at that price or lower. Until then I am about to take a $100 lesson by ordering an 18mm eyepiece for my current setup from this place

If anyone knows why I shouldn't, please yell out. Im currently using 28mm. Am I going to be sacrificing anything for the extra magnification?

Larry Lade Tuesday 23rd September 2003 15:32

Bob, I have a KOWA TSN-4 with a 20-60 eyepiece. I do lose sharpness as I go for the higher magnifications. I use the 20 to 30 power in most instances. I have viewed subject through a friends Swarvoski and also seemed to lose sharpness through it at the higher magnifications.


scampo Tuesday 23rd September 2003 17:29

I haven't used the Kowa zoom with my TSN3 but using my son's Swarovski, I think it fair to say that even at 60x, the sharpness is outstanding.

It's often difficult to judge sharpness with a zoom because the reason for going up to 60x is often because the light is being less than kind - hence what you are magnifying is not the thing you're looking at, but the haze, pollution or whatever that is causing the problem in the first place.

What is certain to me is that a 30x wide eyepiece beats a zoom hands down - Swarovski or otherwise. It is wider and brighter, and that matters a good deal in so many birding circumstances.

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