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Kowa 883 v Swarovski ATS80

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Old Friday 7th June 2019, 03:50   #26
Beendare
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I've been a Swaro fan for 3 decades...and I would agree with the OP....the Kowa just has a little better image.

I almost wish I would have never compared the two...as now I too want the Kowa.

But isn't that the way it is with good glass? I tried my buddies Swaro BTX with 95mm last year and almost skipped a heartbeat- breathtaking.

There should be a rule; don't look through it if you cannot afford it! /grin
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Old Friday 7th June 2019, 06:11   #27
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I've purchased a Kowa 883 on 12 mths 0%-finance / part deposit scheme, only issue is I obviously can't try out the model I have ordered (but could send it back of course).

Thanks for all your advice. Excited.

Now to save up for a better tripod, any cheap but adequate suggestions?
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Old Friday 7th June 2019, 07:56   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wolfbirder View Post
I've purchased a Kowa 883 on 12 mths 0%-finance / part deposit scheme, only issue is I obviously can't try out the model I have ordered (but could send it back of course).

Thanks for all your advice. Excited.

Now to save up for a better tripod, any cheap but adequate suggestions?
I received my 883 today. Used it in the backyard a bit and compared it to my Nikon ED82. So far very good. At similar mag, it compares favorably with the Nikon and the MC 38x wide EP. Early opinion is that it is indistinguishable from the Nikon, and that is very good. I'll know more in a few days.

Regarding a tripod..
There are no cheap but adequate solutions I'm afraid. I don't much give tripod advice anymore, as no one listens anyway, and my tastes probably aren't as mainstream as most, but I will say you're probably into about $300 for aluminum legs and video head at the low end. $500-700. for carbon and a lighter head. This is for stuff that isn't junk, that you'll actually want to have and use down the road. Benro, Gitzo, Sirui, Manfrotto are names you'll likely be looking at. Lots of threads here on BF to review.

You're getting a great scope, don't underestimate the need for and quality of the tripod to use that scope.
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Old Friday 7th June 2019, 08:05   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Conville View Post
I received my 883 today. Used it in the backyard a bit and compared it to my Nikon ED82. So far very good. At similar mag, it compares favorably with the Nikon and the MC 38x wide EP. Early opinion is that it is indistinguishable from the Nikon, and that is very good. I'll know more in a few days.

Regarding a tripod..
There are no cheap but adequate solutions I'm afraid. I don't much give tripod advice anymore, as no one listens anyway, and my tastes probably aren't as mainstream as most, but I will say you're probably into about $300 for aluminum legs and video head at the low end. $500-700. for carbon and a lighter head. This is for stuff that isn't junk, that you'll actually want to have and use down the road. Benro, Gitzo, Sirui, Manfrotto are names you'll likely be looking at. Lots of threads here on BF to review.

You're getting a great scope, don't underestimate the need for and quality of the tripod to use that scope.
I’ve never invested in a good scope or tripod to be honest, so I’m in new territory. I considered the Nikon Monarch 82ED angled too, not easy to try out in the UK. I pontificated much last night before ordering the Kowa. I could have saved 500 by opting for the Nikon.

The Kowa I got comes with the 25-60 eyepiece. I tried it with the older 20-60 eyepiece. I’m really excited about receiving it now, biggest outlay I’ve ever made for this hobby, I’ve had to fib to the wife (:-
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Old Friday 7th June 2019, 13:09   #30
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I've been running the 883 on the Viking TR100 Plus tripod and the Manfrotto 500 fluid head since i bought the scope. Not a king's ransom as a set up, and no let-downs at all. Has withstood sea-watching through at least three east coast winters but light enough to cart around for a day. Not sure if the TR100 Plus is still around though - Viking's site seems to offer the TR100 (not sure how different that is, but worth a phone call) and the TR100 Pro, which is carbon fibre, and obviously quite a bit more expensive.
Again - depends what your plans are for it. The 883 actually isn't that heavy, and nowhere near the ATX95.
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Old Friday 7th June 2019, 14:41   #31
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I've been running the 883 on the Viking TR100 Plus tripod and the Manfrotto 500 fluid head since i bought the scope. Not a king's ransom as a set up, and no let-downs at all. Has withstood sea-watching through at least three east coast winters but light enough to cart around for a day. Not sure if the TR100 Plus is still around though - Viking's site seems to offer the TR100 (not sure how different that is, but worth a phone call) and the TR100 Pro, which is carbon fibre, and obviously quite a bit more expensive.
Again - depends what your plans are for it. The 883 actually isn't that heavy, and nowhere near the ATX95.
Thanks again Paddy, I'll take a look at those tripods.
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Old Friday 7th June 2019, 15:53   #32
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I'm using the 883 (new this year) on rather old Gitzo legs / new Manfrotto 128RC head - old school but works for me. May be lucky but the Gitzo legs have lasted for years, with odd new screws, etc.

cheers, alan
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Old Friday 7th June 2019, 18:21   #33
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Hi Alan

I've only got a decrepit old Velbon Sherpa, I don't really want to pay 300-plus for a tripod, more like 150.

But also I don't want to compromise the quality of the view the scope gives me. I like the simplicity of the Velbon's, even if people feel they are tat.
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Old Friday 7th June 2019, 22:40   #34
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I've only got a decrepit old Velbon Sherpa, I don't really want to pay 300-plus for a tripod, more like 150.

But also I don't want to compromise the quality of the view the scope gives me. I like the simplicity of the Velbon's, even if people feel they are tat.
With a high quality scope - heck, with ANY scope - you need a good tripod. It's not just about the views actually. Using a cheap, low quality tripod may be very expensive indeed it something goes wrong. I've seen more than one tripod being blown over at the coast, and seeing an expensive scope crashing into some rocks is not a pretty sight.

It doesn't need to be a Gitzo (even though I prefer them over any other make) but it needs to be stable and totally reliable. And you need a good quality head as well.

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Old Friday 7th June 2019, 22:44   #35
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Regarding a tripod..
There are no cheap but adequate solutions I'm afraid. I don't much give tripod advice anymore, as no one listens anyway, and my tastes probably aren't as mainstream as most, but I will say you're probably into about $300 for aluminum legs and video head at the low end. $500-700. for carbon and a lighter head. This is for stuff that isn't junk, that you'll actually want to have and use down the road. Benro, Gitzo, Sirui, Manfrotto are names you'll likely be looking at. Lots of threads here on BF to review.

You're getting a great scope, don't underestimate the need for and quality of the tripod to use that scope.


Hermann
(whose oldest aluminium Gitzo is now more than
35 years old and still going strongly)
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Old Saturday 8th June 2019, 17:24   #36
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Originally Posted by wolfbirder View Post
Hi Alan

I've only got a decrepit old Velbon Sherpa, I don't really want to pay 300-plus for a tripod, more like 150.

But also I don't want to compromise the quality of the view the scope gives me. I like the simplicity of the Velbon's, even if people feel they are tat.
I have the Velbon Ultra Luxi, a wonderfully compact lightweight tripod for my Nikon ED50, but marginal, imho, for even my 60mm Nikon EDIII, which now rests on a much more sturdy (and heavier) CF Burris tripod, bought at a closeout.

Kevin is entirely correct, you have a great scope, to get full value of seeing from it you need to give it a solid base. Hermann and others have shared their insights regarding options, I'd only add that used tripods and heads are often great values, plus there are often deals and closeouts.
Tripods and heads are the unsung heroes of scoping, well worth your attention and your $$.
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Old Saturday 8th June 2019, 17:36   #37
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thanks for your opinions, I do believe you all.

I'm looking at the Manfrotto MK290XTC-3W or the Manfrotto 055 range. I know people say don't buy a good scope and a junk tripod, but if money grew on trees yes I would spend 700 on the latter.
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Old Saturday 8th June 2019, 17:50   #38
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As others have said, you'll definitely want a sturdy mount for your scope - the sherpa is a workhorse, but there are much better tripods for not much more. I wouldn't discount a deal on used tripods, for example a used Velbon carbon fibre tripod or reliable Manfrotto 055 would be good options, or perhaps something like this. With the money left over you should get a decent fluid head as that will make a huge difference against a standard pan/tilt, there is a good deal in the private ads on here too
Enjoy your new purchase!
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Old Saturday 8th June 2019, 19:01   #39
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As others have said, you'll definitely want a sturdy mount for your scope - the sherpa is a workhorse, but there are much better tripods for not much more. I wouldn't discount a deal on used tripods, for example a used Velbon carbon fibre tripod or reliable Manfrotto 055 would be good options, or perhaps something like this. With the money left over you should get a decent fluid head as that will make a huge difference against a standard pan/tilt, there is a good deal in the private ads on here too
Enjoy your new purchase!
Many thanks Daniel, I have now bought the Manfrotto 055 you linked, many thanks.

I need a pan head to go with it - does anyone know if the Manfrotto 128RC fluid pan head goes with it? Seen one on Ebay 35.
Bit of a risk I admit, but saves pennies.
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Old Sunday 9th June 2019, 18:40   #40
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Many thanks Daniel, I have now bought the Manfrotto 055 you linked, many thanks.

I need a pan head to go with it - does anyone know if the Manfrotto 128RC fluid pan head goes with it? Seen one on Ebay 35.
Bit of a risk I admit, but saves pennies.
Good choice, the foot of the scope will fit straight into the head and there is a safety lock on there. It should fit straight onto the tripod without any issue, but the screw can be reversed if depending on the thread size. Enjoy, let us know how you get on with your new set up.
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Old Sunday 9th June 2019, 19:48   #41
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Good choice, the foot of the scope will fit straight into the head and there is a safety lock on there. It should fit straight onto the tripod without any issue, but the screw can be reversed if depending on the thread size. Enjoy, let us know how you get on with your new set up.
Really appreciate your kind help Daniel .

I don't get the tripod until a week on Monday as it let me choose delivery day, and I am off that day, but I will feed back. What a bargain, good tripod and pan-head all for 100.
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Old Thursday 13th June 2019, 13:25   #42
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Although my 2nd-hand Manfrotto 055 tripod comes next week (60 off Ebay), I have taken the plunge on an Amazon deal for a Manfrotto 290 Extra-aluminium tripod that came with a Manfrotto RC128 head for 129. Not a bad deal I thought.

Just set them up with my new Kowa. The Kowa is just superb as I hoped, the clarity and colour is superb.

The RC128 head is heavy (almost feels military) but boy does it feel secure which is important with such a scope . The Amazon deal meant that in effect I got the tripod for 50 (when you can't buy a new RC128 head for less than 80). It's basic and sturdy, and perfect for my needs, with clip rather than screw legs.

I can now only compare the Kowa with my Opticron ES80ED, and inevitably it is way better, especially the more you use the zoom. The colour and brightness of image is just superb with the Kowa. Very happy bunny, but broke!

Looking forward to get my Manfrotto 055 next week, will be interesting to see if I prefer that to the Manfrotto 296, I envisage that they will be quite similar.
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Old Thursday 13th June 2019, 22:06   #43
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Sorry I didn't see these posts earlier, I realise that you have already made a decision but have a look at this one:

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Gitzo-G13...gAAOSwHShc-M0t

I mention it because I used to have one! Whilst it is an older model it will support you (well mine supported me at over 100 Kilos) damps vibration superbly and they last forever + spares are available. It does not have the newer ALR leg locks but when extending you just lock them from the top down and unlock them from the bottom up when retracting - takes seconds to learn.

This is vastly superior to the tripods that you are looking at, my Manfrotto 055 XB Pro was a toy in comparison. Seriously, if it doesn't go to silly money, put a bid in.
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Old Friday 14th June 2019, 06:12   #44
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Thanks for the tip John, appreciate your advice very much.

Maybe one for the future if I struggle with my Manfrotto's.

My main concern with the Manfrotto's is the increased weight, otherwise they seem basic but exactly what I wanted - something sturdy and strong. I don't get out birding as often as I would like sadly.
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Old Friday 14th June 2019, 21:34   #45
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Thanks for the tip John, appreciate your advice very much.

Maybe one for the future if I struggle with my Manfrotto's.

My main concern with the Manfrotto's is the increased weight, otherwise they seem basic but exactly what I wanted - something sturdy and strong. I don't get out birding as often as I would like sadly.
As far as weight is concerned then the tripod that I mentioned offers no advantage - it is a heavy beast, maybe even a little heavier than an 055. However the centre column is removable and can be replaced with a "top plate". This makes it lighter and even more rigid. Unfortunately Gitzo top plates are pricey but (apparently) several other makes fit too.

If weight is a consideration then keep an eye out for the Gitzo GT3530/3531 LS (long Systematic - no centre column) and Mountaineer (centre column models) they are lighter than the latest/previous versions and very good.

All the best.

P.S. Jealous of your scope!

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Old Saturday 15th June 2019, 06:40   #46
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As far as weight is concerned then the tripod that I mentioned offers no advantage - it is a heavy beast, maybe even a little heavier than an 055. However the centre column is removable and can be replaced with a "top plate". This makes it lighter and even more rigid. Unfortunately Gitzo top plates are pricey but (apparently) several other makes fit too.

If weight is a consideration then keep an eye out for the Gitzo GT3530/3531 LS (long Systematic - no centre column) and Mountaineer (centre column models) they are lighter than the latest/previous versions and very good.

All the best.

P.S. Jealous of your scope!
Thanks again John, its all good information for the future.
Hope it performs better at the occasional seawatch I do, might even get the extender which means it can operate at 70-90 x mag I think. Potentially that is awesome, especially when I missed 34 of 35 Great Shearwaters for example at Porthgwarra, using my Opticron.
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