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Not a scope but a Fluorite camera lens!

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Old Friday 12th March 2010, 06:37   #1
RJM
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Not a scope but a Fluorite camera lens!

I visited the Kowa booth today at the Camera & Photo Imaging Expo held in Yokohama. On prominent display was a mockup for a 500mm F5.6 Flourite MF lens! They are shooting for Aug/Sept introduction. They would like to price it at least 50% less than a comparable camera lens. Not sure what that means but I don't think it can sell for more than $1500 unless it does some tricks.

Rick
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Old Saturday 13th March 2010, 22:10   #2
BobinKy
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Thanks for the product information.

...Bob
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Old Sunday 14th March 2010, 22:21   #3
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That's very close to an 88mm front lens diameter.
A bit of synergy with their scopes?

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Old Monday 22nd March 2010, 09:26   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RJM View Post
I visited the Kowa booth today at the Camera & Photo Imaging Expo held in Yokohama. On prominent display was a mockup for a 500mm F5.6 Flourite MF lens! They are shooting for Aug/Sept introduction. They would like to price it at least 50% less than a comparable camera lens. Not sure what that means but I don't think it can sell for more than $1500 unless it does some tricks.

Rick
That looks interesting Rick.

$1500?!? No way. Bearing in mind you can get 500mm lenses from Sigma and Tamron that are only 1/3 stop slower, can autofocus and (in the case of the Sigma) have image stabilization for under $1000 I can't imagine buying this unless it was in the $500 range. Am I missing something?

Unless as you say it does some 'tricks' but I can't imagine what they would be.
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Old Monday 22nd March 2010, 10:44   #5
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Hi Stu,

The Kowa 88mm Fluorite spotting scope sells for ~190,000 yen. The price figure was just my guestimate based on a functionally "similar" Takahashi 90mm Fluorite astroscope. The rep gave me no other hint other than their target of 50% less than a comparable prime. I have the Sigma 150-500mm OS HSM so I know what you mean.

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Old Tuesday 20th April 2010, 03:52   #6
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Hi Rick, have you heard anything else about this lens? I searched on the net but found nothing.

I did spend some time thinking about it.

I'm assuming this would be coupled to a camera by adapter (I doubt Kowa would make brand specific mounts). I'm also assuming it'll be weatherproof like their scopes?

If it is optically sound and if a 1.4 T/C can be attached it would make an interesting 700mm F8 lens.

I wonder if the aperture can be changed or if it is fixed only? Stepping down a bit would make it an interesting choice for video.

If it's less than 50% of an equivalent lens how much would that be? There are no 500mm F5.6 primes as far as I know. If the rep meant half the price of a Bigma (for example) it would be affordable.

If it is around 50,000 I'll buy one. If it's under $100,000 and a T/C can be used/aperture can be changed I'll think about it. If it's over 100,000 I don't reckon it's worth it.
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Old Tuesday 20th April 2010, 04:16   #7
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Sorry, I have no new info. It should be introduced in Aug-Sept. after the Europe Photokinica show.
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Old Tuesday 20th April 2010, 09:21   #8
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Sorry, I have no new info. It should be introduced in Aug-Sept. after the Europe Photokinica show.
Thanks Rick. I'll keep an eye out for it........
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Old Monday 12th July 2010, 13:48   #9
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I've found a couple of Japanese sites with more info here and here.

Looks like they only tested ptototypes, you can adjust the aperture but it is a manual focus lens only.

Looks like it'll be around 200,000, way too expensive for what it is IMHO.
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Old Monday 12th July 2010, 20:43   #10
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Certainly compared to a traditional camera lens it seems expensive. But the lens design may have more in common with a Takahashi Sky90 telescope that is similarly priced. If it turns out to be waterproof/weather resistant and lightweight like a fieldscope with very good optical characteristics then it might have a niche.

No more interest from me though as I already ponied up the 600,000 yen for the Nikon D300s w/300mm F2.8 VR with 2x TCIII and combined with my new Sun-Sniper Steel strap I think I niw have a nice walk-around kit. Cost-wise it is certainly overkill though since I seldom print larger than 8x10 and mostly 5x7!

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Old Monday 23rd August 2010, 05:19   #11
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Well it will be available soon.

The RRP is about $3000!!!!!!! I guess that price will drop as soon at hits the shops but even so I can't see many takers for a lens that doesn't autofocus and has no stabilization.

It comes in a micro 4/3 mount as well as Canon/Nikon/Pentax.

It seems to indicate it can be used as a spotting scope with an adapter.
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Old Monday 23rd August 2010, 07:13   #12
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not a bad price, the APO binos are virtually double
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Old Monday 23rd August 2010, 10:26   #13
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This was on show at the Bird Fair over the weekend.

It is stunning in the quality of images it can take. There is no discernable CA. None. Really. The focus system is sweet and a real joy to use. It's light enough to hand hold for flight shots too.

The price is astronomical - our good friend Paul Hackett (who was demo'ing the unit) was indicating a UK retail of 3,000+.

The clever bit is that it has a scope adaptor that will allow you to use the Kowa eyepieces.

I'm sure Paul will enthuse more about this following his weekend of fun with it :-)

Cheers, Pete

Edit: Forgot to mention that there's a reducer for 350mm, f4 and extender for 850mm, f9.6.
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Old Monday 23rd August 2010, 11:18   #14
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agree with pete, it was amazingly impressive! Also, i you can digiscope with it with the attached prism/scope adapter too. Going to need a huge piggy bank though if the 3k price tag is correct.

Edit, Awesome on a g1??
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Old Monday 23rd August 2010, 16:26   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pete_gamby View Post
This was on show at the Bird Fair over the weekend.

It is stunning in the quality of images it can take. There is no discernable CA. None. Really. The focus system is sweet and a real joy to use. It's light enough to hand hold for flight shots too.

The price is astronomical - our good friend Paul Hackett (who was demo'ing the unit) was indicating a UK retail of 3,000+.

The clever bit is that it has a scope adaptor that will allow you to use the Kowa eyepieces.

I'm sure Paul will enthuse more about this following his weekend of fun with it :-)

Cheers, Pete

Edit: Forgot to mention that there's a reducer for 350mm, f4 and extender for 850mm, f9.6.
Hi Pete

Really good to see you and the gang again, just to clarify, the price of the new hybrid photoscope mentioned, was my educated guess, NOT that of Kowa, we dont know what it will actually be in the UK yet, it certainly attracted a lot of attention, and users were more than impressed with the product, nobody bar none criticised the quality/resolution of the images seen on the back of the DSLR, i wanted to hijack one and keep it as i myself was very impressed ! Jamie ( Scottishdude spent considerable time using his Canon DSLR on it, and said he couldnt believe the quality and the lack of CA. More info to follow on my new blog coming soon.

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Old Monday 23rd August 2010, 20:09   #16
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I think its a fair guesstimate Paul based on the Japanese pricing of around 2,600 for the lens alone. By the time Kowa hedge some currency, add in some import duty, freight and "wow factor" money the 3k+ is realistic.

Don't be disheartened - there are at least two customers in the queue so far...

Cheers, Pete
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Old Monday 23rd August 2010, 21:31   #17
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I believe the discounted price here in Tokyo will be ~229,000 yen. Any incite into this lens' weight? If it is under 1.5kg I think it will be attractive, especially if the TC option allows for some quick switching of focal lengths. The discontinued MF Nikon 500mm F4 P weighs~3kg and still sells used for $2200+. If this lens is a true APO then I could see it being VERY popular for astrophotograpy too. BTW, Kowa does have a past history producing small film cameras and lenses but they never made the jump to digital.

Rick
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Old Monday 23rd August 2010, 22:55   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RJM View Post
I believe the discounted price here in Tokyo will be ~229,000 yen. Any incite into this lens' weight? If it is under 1.5kg I think it will be attractive, especially if the TC option allows for some quick switching of focal lengths. The discontinued MF Nikon 500mm F4 P weighs~3kg and still sells used for $2200+. If this lens is a true APO then I could see it being VERY popular for astrophotograpy too. BTW, Kowa does have a past history producing small film cameras and lenses but they never made the jump to digital.

Rick
I think it's about 2KG.

An interesting do it all product (DSLR lens/spotting scope/digiscoping scope) but still expensive, I guess the adapter to use it as a scope is an extra and Kowa eyepieces aren't cheap either.

Even if the optics are super sharp (and it appears that is the case from comments above) it is still at the end of the day only a MF lens. If it was 600mm it would be more attractive to me perhaps...........
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Old Thursday 26th August 2010, 18:48   #19
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Rick - I guess your Japanese is probably better than my English so try this blog - http://khanasuke.blog1.fc2.com/blog-entry-369.html

It seems to say weight is around 2kg for the lens alone.

I have to say that it didn't feel that heavy in use. Not sure why but the balance of the kit with a DSLR body attached was very good indeed. I wasn't without a place to prop my elbow when I'd hit a stationary target but for flight shots it seemed to be fine given the sometimes fleeting nature of that type of target.

Cheers, Pete
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Old Thursday 26th August 2010, 20:03   #20
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To be truly attractive it needs to be priced sort of between 1500-2000 as this is cheaper than the big telephotos. Especially as the add-ons you need to make it work will cost a pretty penny too.
I don't think it's been properly covered here but you can swap the back part of the main lens bit to make it either a 350mm f4, a 500mm f5.6 or an 850mm f9.6. You have to set the aperture maunually using an aperture ring but it does still meter with the camera so you can use it in Aperture priority and the like as opposed to manual. And of course the attachement to allow it to accept Kowa EP's and turn it into a scope. BTW Paul which scope model eyepieces does it take?

Despite it's impressive IQ I don't think it can beat a good telephoto for DSLR work though. Very good innovation on Kowa's part no doubt (much better than the bloomin Zeiss photoscope IMO!) but needs to have a good price tag otheriwse it's pretty much a novelty item like so many others before it.

Sorry Paul that's just how I see it. Woz good to see you again tho mate.
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Old Monday 30th August 2010, 10:17   #21
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To be truly attractive it needs to be priced sort of between 1500-2000 as this is cheaper than the big telephotos. Especially as the add-ons you need to make it work will cost a pretty penny too.
I don't think it's been properly covered here but you can swap the back part of the main lens bit to make it either a 350mm f4, a 500mm f5.6 or an 850mm f9.6. You have to set the aperture maunually using an aperture ring but it does still meter with the camera so you can use it in Aperture priority and the like as opposed to manual. And of course the attachement to allow it to accept Kowa EP's and turn it into a scope. BTW Paul which scope model eyepieces does it take?

Despite it's impressive IQ I don't think it can beat a good telephoto for DSLR work though. Very good innovation on Kowa's part no doubt (much better than the bloomin Zeiss photoscope IMO!) but needs to have a good price tag otheriwse it's pretty much a novelty item like so many others before it.

Sorry Paul that's just how I see it. Woz good to see you again tho mate.
Jaff dont be sorry, you said it as you saw it, still not got my head around the concept, but i really liked what i saw, and the quality of the images taken were on a par with a DLSR specific lens and possibly better, especially the lack of CA on the edges, as this is notable with some DSLR lenses. But to me, it is not in competition with DSLR lenses as the autofocus is not there so you cant really compare like for like.

This idea/concept is "thinking outside the box" for me, something most optic manufacturers never do. As i now work for Kowa, i appreciate that people may think i am pushing the product, i would go as far to say that if this never gets off the ground, i have already asked to buy this item for myself at my own expense. Those of you who know me will understand that. Pete Gamby said he knew of 2 people lined up to buy it !

Jaff, the bayonet fitting is that of the 883/4 eyepieces ( 20 - 60 zoom, 30X WA, 25 LER, VA1, VA2, & VA3 and both photo adapters ) and they will all work with this item, i also agree that price will be an issue for some people.

Good to see you as well and the family, and as per usual, not enough time to have a good chat though.

Paul
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Old Monday 30th August 2010, 11:14   #22
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Are the kowa eyepieces magnification maintained, ie a 20 to 60 zoom is still a 20 to 60?
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Old Monday 30th August 2010, 12:36   #23
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The Kowa 883/884 have a focal length of ~510mm so it would seem possible EXCEPT there will need to be some kind of erecting prism in the adapter that would lengthen the light path.
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Old Tuesday 31st August 2010, 01:06   #24
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Jaff dont be sorry, you said it as you saw it, still not got my head around the concept, but i really liked what i saw, and the quality of the images taken were on a par with a DLSR specific lens and possibly better, especially the lack of CA on the edges, as this is notable with some DSLR lenses. But to me, it is not in competition with DSLR lenses as the autofocus is not there so you cant really compare like for like.

This idea/concept is "thinking outside the box" for me, something most optic manufacturers never do. As i now work for Kowa, i appreciate that people may think i am pushing the product, i would go as far to say that if this never gets off the ground, i have already asked to buy this item for myself at my own expense. Those of you who know me will understand that. Pete Gamby said he knew of 2 people lined up to buy it !

Jaff, the bayonet fitting is that of the 883/4 eyepieces ( 20 - 60 zoom, 30X WA, 25 LER, VA1, VA2, & VA3 and both photo adapters ) and they will all work with this item, i also agree that price will be an issue for some people.

Good to see you as well and the family, and as per usual, not enough time to have a good chat though.

Paul
I'm with Paul here. After using my Nikon EDG85 with DSLR via FSA-L2 Adapter, I understand the concept by Kowa is similar with Nikon. You will get 2 in 1 combination instead of carrying another DSLR with long lens while birding. This is advantage for bird guide like me who could not carry many things in the forest.

Means these Kowa could be used as a scope and telephoto lens even though it is on manual focus because the straight body design and changing eyepiece and adapter for your DSLR on the field is faster with bayonet type mount. I can do mine within 5 seconds

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Old Tuesday 31st August 2010, 08:31   #25
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I had a good look at this new Lens too while at the Birdfair.
I agree too, it's a full system solution more than just a telephoto lens. The ability to quickly change between SLR or Prismatic scope adaptor and eyepeice greatly reduces the amount of kit that needs to be carried into the field. I am sure the manual focus wouldn't be too big a problem either - perhaps for birds in flight but should be fine for ground or tree based subjects.

I await detailed testing reports with interest.
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