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Older Kowa TSN-3 performance?

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Old Monday 5th August 2019, 12:32   #1
slingworks
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Older Kowa TSN-3 performance?

Curious how the older TSN-3 florite Kowas compare to the newer generations like the 883 and 770? If used with a modern eyepiece are they anywhere close to being comparable?

I happen to have a TSN 614 and 613..I'd say they're the best scopes I've owned especially for the cost...But wonder how the older TSN 1,2,3,4 stack up as a vintage scope?

I saw a couple at the Nationals that were intriguing, looked surprisingly good hanging on a scope stand,but I didn't get to examine closer....
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Old Monday 5th August 2019, 12:48   #2
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TSN 3 is a very good vintage telescope. I owned one with a x30w and a 20-60 zoom. The 883/4 performs much much better IMO both optically and ergonomically whilst also being water / fog proof. The TSN1 and 2 ( non fluoride ) would be poor compared to your 613 and 4.
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Old Monday 5th August 2019, 14:00   #3
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Hi,

it really depends on sample variation - my cherry TSN-3 body with a current EP (Opticron SDLv2 or current Kowa 20-60 with or w/o Extender) does deliver an image comparable to current alphas - usually favorably so...
Star test is also not too shabby on this one.

I have another TSN-3 body is ok, but not more. Best used with 30 wide.

So if your 61X examples are good, kepp 'em unless you need sth larger.

Joachim
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Old Tuesday 6th August 2019, 19:57   #4
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I use the TSN 4 (straight version of yours) and it performs very well. Not quite up to today's alpha scopes but still very good and well worth holding on to.
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Old Tuesday 6th August 2019, 21:45   #5
slingworks
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johnf3f, what would you consider to be the weak points in comparison? Are they producing a lower resolution or perhaps less light transmission? Just curious what to look for. Are you using a modern eyepiece?
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Old Tuesday 6th August 2019, 22:18   #6
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Hi,

johnf3f is using an SDLv2 like me, iirc - he introduced me into the Opticron zoom hack.

Image brightness will of course be better in a current 85-88mm alpha - first and foremost due to more aperture and of course modern coatings help. After all, the TSN-3/4 series are single coated.
But it has to be said that situations where this difference really matters are quite rare - maybe the first and last ten minutes of dawn and dusk.

The larger aperture will also lead to a higher theoretical resolution, but that is only relevant in cases of perfect instruments - which unfortunately are kinda rare in spotting scopes.

In reality it all depends on how well the lenses of a certain example were figured and whether they were correctly mounted to avoid pinching. You will only see quite blatant defects during normal daylight observation at spotting scope magnifications. Normally the focus of one instrument is just a bit less snappy than in another one or some plumage detail at maximum magnification is a bit better visible in direct comparison.
Observing a resolution target will make differences clear, a star test will also show what defects are present to an experienced observer.

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Old Wednesday 7th August 2019, 19:00   #7
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As "jring" says my main eyepiece is the Opticron SDL V2 - which works pretty well. I also use an Opticron HR series eyepiece (with insulating tape wrapped around it and stuffed the the back of my Kowa!) it works well too - maybe a bit better - but it is not a zoom.
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Old Thursday 8th August 2019, 02:06   #8
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I appreciate the experience and replies....I just picked one up today.

It's in great condition and comes with a brand new TE14WD Kowa eyepiece. I won't get a chance to test it for a few days but I have no doubt it's a good piece. I gave $575 for it. Not sure if it's on the high side or not. I have no idea what the market is on these here in the US as I really don't see them around.

I have had a full size TSN 82SV hanging on my Ewing Stand for a few years, but I've decided to sell it and replace it with the TSN-3. I also have an extra 25xLER eyepiece and one may go on it as well. If I don't like it I can always list it in the classifieds :)

I looked into the Opticron Eyepiece mentioned and it appears the HR eyepiece may be discontinued?
Seems that they're very highly regarded.

Last edited by slingworks : Thursday 8th August 2019 at 02:31.
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Old Thursday 8th August 2019, 06:57   #9
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Hi,

with a new 30 wide included it's a great price - the EP is like $300 alone. Let us know how you like it.

Joachim
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Old Thursday 8th August 2019, 09:30   #10
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I have half a dozen scopes but still use my 40yo Kowa TS2 (angled 22 WA eyepiece) cracking bright image and nicely balance/length for handheld and resting on walls etc

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Old Thursday 15th August 2019, 17:40   #11
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Ok I finally got to test my "new" TSN-3.

The scope overall is flawless. Not a chip or defect anywhere.

Very clean inside. I saw one piece of dust sitting on the rear prism, that's it.
It's serial 134xxx range and doesn't have the window under the eyepiece.

Optically it's very sharp and seems pretty color neutral. Focus is smooth, feels better in use than I expected. The 30x wide on it works great. No real complaints I could find anywhere. Looked at a bit of wildlife with it. Tested it on my usual "Resolution" targets...400yd fence posts with wire and staples, electric fence insulators (White and yellow). 800 yd oil pump w/sucker rod.....bolts on a road sign 310yds...and Locust posts at 650 w/cracks.

Very sharp. Overall though I'd have to say the TSN 613 I have is literally identical in all practical aspects.

Overall I'd say a great optic.
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Old Friday 16th August 2019, 21:44   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slingworks View Post
Ok I finally got to test my "new" TSN-3.

The scope overall is flawless. Not a chip or defect anywhere.

Very clean inside. I saw one piece of dust sitting on the rear prism, that's it.
It's serial 134xxx range and doesn't have the window under the eyepiece.

Optically it's very sharp and seems pretty color neutral. Focus is smooth, feels better in use than I expected. The 30x wide on it works great. No real complaints I could find anywhere. Looked at a bit of wildlife with it. Tested it on my usual "Resolution" targets...400yd fence posts with wire and staples, electric fence insulators (White and yellow). 800 yd oil pump w/sucker rod.....bolts on a road sign 310yds...and Locust posts at 650 w/cracks.

Very sharp. Overall though I'd have to say the TSN 613 I have is literally identical in all practical aspects.

Overall I'd say a great optic.
Happy new toy!
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