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Kowa BDII-XD - september 2019

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Old Friday 18th October 2019, 16:50   #251
jremmons
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Thanks Lee, for the insights in addition to Dennis' and Andy's comments. I will soon be ordering a 6.5x32, mostly out of curiousity, but I have a feeling it will be a handy work truck pair, given its small stature.

Justin

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Old Friday 18th October 2019, 17:15   #252
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Thanks Lee, for the insights in addition to Dennis' and Andy's comments. I will soon be ordering a 6.5x32, mostly out of curiousity, but I have a feeling it will be a handy work truck pair, given its small stature.

Justin
"Buy 3 of them"
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Old Friday 18th October 2019, 17:35   #253
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In some habitats that are full of birds and dragonflies and butterflies and flowers and reptiles and more, a fast focus means you don't miss much.

A slower focus is great, and is the best way to go, if you are only birding or doing less fast-changing nature observations.

But a slower focus might mean that you can't refocus from a close butterfly then on to a distant hawk and then back to nearby dragonfly or lizard or snake fast enough before its skedaddled off.

Its not a case of fast focus is bad and slow focus is good. You need both if you enjoy looking at all aspects of nature.

Lee
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Old Friday 18th October 2019, 23:47   #254
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I wonder if a fast focuser is somewhat balanced, or ameliorated, by a lower mag bin with a greater depth of field, such as the Kowa.

-Bill
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Old Yesterday, 02:09   #255
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Originally Posted by Troubador View Post
...... A slower focus is great, and is the best way to go, if you are only birding or doing less fast-changing nature observations. .....

Lee
That's a matter of opinion !



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Old Yesterday, 04:05   #256
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Okay, let's cut the bull ......

Let's answer the tough questions:
1. How many turns of the focuser from cf to infinity ?
2. Can we see a close up photo of the eye cups in fully down position from the ocular end (ie. how much ER will the rim eat up?)
3. What's the field quality like? ie. define it in terms of sweet spot size, pincushion amounts and positions, field curvature, and is there any astigmatism?
4. What is the colour rendition like ?
5. Unless folks are getting these from the Narnia binocular shop where crystals are actually a thing, then that FL glass is going to be needed to control CA in such a short bin - so what's the CA response as you travel across the field?

6.5x vs 8x .......?
Can anyone detail a case for/ against ? What circumstances would the 6.5x be used in and hold the advantage? What height of tree canopy (and canopy dwelling little geewhizzits) would the 6.5x start to be outclassed by the 8x ?

10x42 - no pussyfooting around now ......
Kowa BDII-XD ? or Nikon MHG ?




Chosun
Chosun. You should just buy a Kowa and try it yourself. It sounds like you have a lot of boxes to check when you choose a binocular and the Kowa's may not check every one. If you don't like it they are easy to return. Amazon has free returns for any reason and their shipping to Australia is pretty inexpensive. I have found most binoculars you have to try yourself to see if they work for you anyway. A lot of binoculars that many people like don't work for me personally. Two in particular are the Zeiss SF and the Zeiss Victory Compact. The magnification is going to be like any other binocular you have tried with the lower magnification having better DOF, a bigger FOV and being easier to hold steady, whereas, the higher magnifications are going to show more detail and have a smaller FOV. You have to decide how you are going to use them the majority of the time. I personally like having different magnifications for different uses. The big thing about the Kowa's and their main selling feature is they are Wide Angle. What ever magnification you choose is going to have a class leading FOV. The two I have purchased have excellent build quality and I feel they are excellent optically for their price point. No, they are not going to be Nikon EDG's but they don't cost $2000.00 either. I see no CA on-axis and very little if any on the edge of the FOV. I would call their color rendition neutral being not as warm as a Nikon but not as cold as say a Zeiss. Sweetspot size is about 80% with slight astigmatism and field curvature. The big difference with the Nikon HG is it has sharper edges and a flatter field if that is your preference but the Kowa has a noticeably bigger FOV at least in the 10x42 and better CA control especially on the edge. The HG has quite a bit of CA on the edge IMO. That being said I think the 6.5x32 is really unusual with a 10 degree FOV and impressive DOF it is kind of like you said you see a big volume of FOV with them. They are different than any binocular I have used. They are like looking out a big picture window except everything is magnified six and a half times.
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Old Yesterday, 05:36   #257
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Thanks for the feedback and pics Dennis
Those eye cups look reasonably low profile, and yes of course I'd have to try them out for ER with glasses (particularly the 10x) and handling.

I've never used lower than a 7x in an actual birding situation which is why I asked about the 6.5x. I can't even really think of a location and situation where the vegetation is dense enough to restrict views but not overly high. The only thing I could think of is perhaps ridge top heathland, or maybe dense riparian melaleucca and callistemon vegetation - but jeez, that's pretty specialist.

For example, I prefer 8x to 7x - I find that helps in id'ing little geewhizzits in even a 20m high canopy such as is found in an open woodland. Anything denser than that is likely to see 30m + canopies. I also prefer the shallower dof of the 8x (with my preferred fast focus) as it gives me a positive focus range and the subconscious memory of which direction I last turned the wheel to get there gives me a spatial awareness of which way to turn if the bird changes direction and distance. With 7x I sometimes feel a bit lost and not too sure of which way to go. I also find that the blurring of foreground and background with the higher magnification gives better subject isolation (the way that photographers aim to do).

The idea of a 175m Fov does sound intriguing though.

Perhaps I'm more interested in the 10x, although it would have to go some way to beat the 42mm Nikon MHG which I find super stable to hold and about as small as I'd want to go anyway. The idea of a wide angle 10x is appealing, though for circling raptors about 140m Fov is about the minimum you would want here, so even at 126m I'd have to try it out on Little Eagles to see if it cuts the mustard. I like the metal focus wheel so that's a big plus for the Kowa, but that armour style looks pretty hideous - pretty sure I'd skin it and get a custom kangaroo leather armour made !

Also - not sure the field characteristics are up to snuff - I already have a Willy Wonka funhouse bin in the Zen ED3 with it's wild pincushion, and the excessive field curvature induced fuzzy edges of the Swift Audubon annoyed me more than I cared for too. I really wouldn't like a lesser field quality than the MHG, so that puts me off ordering the Kowa on spec. If the industry ever gets it's act together here I might get the chance for a test drive at the next Bird Fair.

I wonder how the new 8x42 BDII-XD Kowa compares with the 8x43 Zen ED3? ............ :)

Who knows - perhaps I'll end up with 2 or 3 binoculars ! I'd probably need to get the name of Chuck's psychologist then though !





Chosun

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Old Yesterday, 06:46   #258
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That's a matter of opinion !

Chosun
Of course it is and don't forget 'slower' is an imprecise term subject individual interpretation and taste too.

Lee
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Old Yesterday, 06:58   #259
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I don't think Kowa would put Fluorite glass in a 400 dollar binocular. Below is a quote from USA Binoculars.

"Kowa XD Lenses: Kowas Advanced XD Lenses have characteristics close to Fluorite Crystals, and when combined with a concave lens possessing special dispersion properties, reduces chromatic aberration to almost non-existent levels, for razor-sharp images".
Hi,

that's actually what they did, put fluoride glass in a 400 dollar bino.
Not fluorite crystal, mind you, as Kowa uses in their top spotting scope offerings (and some very expensive astro scopes and a lot of Canon photo lenses), but ED (or XD as Kowa marketing calls it) glass which usually has a quite high fluoride content which helps it to achieve performance quite close to fluorite crystal in some areas.

Joachim
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Old Yesterday, 08:12   #260
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I don't think Kowa would put Fluorite glass in a 400 dollar binocular. Below is a quote from USA Binoculars.

Andy W.
Kowa for sure aren't putting fluorite crystal lenses in these but they will be using fluorite-doped glass or Extra low Dispersion glass, ED for short, and Zeiss's Terra ED 8x32 priced at $400 has Schott ED glass in it. Whether it is the best ED glass or an economy type is another question, and maybe glass makers have been trying to bring the cost of ED glass down and have succeeded.

Lee
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Old Yesterday, 08:39   #261
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Whether it is the best ED glass or an economy type is another question, and maybe glass makers have been trying to bring the cost of ED glass down and have succeeded.
Hi,

yes, there is quite some competition for the top dogs Schott and Ohara. Also there is not really best, good and budget ED glass. There is different kinds and they need to be used in combination with different (non-ED) partner glasses.

In an ideal world, the designer is able (and allowed by the beancounters) to choose a glass combination which allows him to reach the specifications without using a very critical design with stuff like strong curves or large airspace...

That being said, binoculars with their low magnifications are a fairly easy task to get reasonably color free... as is shown by a lot of classics without ED glass which still work without showing offensive amounts of color for most users.
So probably the most expensive stuff like FPL-53 or 55, FCD-100 or OK4 is not going into binoculars but high price astro APOs.

Joachim
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Old Yesterday, 09:15   #262
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Thank you Jo.

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Old Yesterday, 10:10   #263
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.........

So probably the most expensive stuff like FPL-53 or 55, FCD-100 or OK4 is not going into binoculars but high price astro APOs.

Joachim
Joachim,

I don't know frequently top specification ED glass is used in regular binoculars as most companies seem to prefer to keep these things secret, but we do know Vanguard made a big thing Hoya FCD100 in their Endeavour EDII, and i was told it featured in the original design for the EDIV.

David
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Old Yesterday, 10:26   #264
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...... Zeiss's Terra ED 8x32 priced at $400 has Schott ED glass in it. Whether it is the best ED glass or an economy type is another question, .....

Lee
LOL !

I guarantee you that is NOT the case !


Chosun

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Old Yesterday, 13:06   #265
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LOL !

I guarantee you that is NOT the case !

Chosun
Exactly, hence the wording.............

Lee
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Old Yesterday, 14:02   #266
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Exactly, hence the wording.............

Lee
So no question at all then !

Chosun

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Old Yesterday, 14:37   #267
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So no question at all then !

Chosun
LOL, no there was definitely a question and it was rhetorical.

Lee
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Old Yesterday, 15:12   #268
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LOL, no there was definitely a question and it was rhetorical.

Lee
LOL In the case of the Terrible Terra any suggestion of FL glass is more heretical than rhetorical !!




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Old Yesterday, 15:48   #269
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LOL In the case of the Terrible Terra any suggestion of FL glass is more heretical than rhetorical !!

Chosun
LOL again, I am all for a bit of heresy now and again to shake things up. Its got you tap-dancing .

I hope you get a chance to try out the little Kowa, its worth it.

Lee

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Old Yesterday, 16:45   #270
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I don't know frequently top specification ED glass is used in regular binoculars as most companies seem to prefer to keep these things secret, but we do know Vanguard made a big thing Hoya FCD100 in their Endeavour EDII, and i was told it featured in the original design for the EDIV.
Hi,

I don't think it's a frequent thing in binoculars and might have been for marketing reasons...
Otoh FCD100 is certainly the most accessible of the three I mentioned... FPL53 is quite a bit more expensive and OK4 (and more importantly the very well matching and equally proprietary partner glass) are unavailable at any price nowadays - unless you buy a nice triplet objective from LZOS of course - that is if they have free capacity beside their work for russian military...

At least in the astro scene the glass used in a refractor is a big thing - to the point that a triplet apo with an FPL51 element from a top shop is seen as inferior by some to a cheap chinese doublet with FPL53.

Of course FPL51 was what was needed to make the triplet design work well and together with it's superior craftsmanship it's going to quite a bit better than the (often surprisingly good) cheap chinese doublet with FPL53.

PS: Henry was also quite astonished back then...
https://www.birdforum.net/showpost.p...6&postcount=10

Joachim
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Old Yesterday, 17:00   #271
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I also prefer the shallower dof of the 8x (with my preferred fast focus) as it gives me a positive focus range and the subconscious memory of which direction I last turned the wheel to get there gives me a spatial awareness of which way to turn if the bird changes direction and distance. With 7x I sometimes feel a bit lost and not too sure of which way to go. I also find that the blurring of foreground and background with the higher magnification gives better subject isolation (the way that photographers aim to do).
Chosun, These are interesting perceptions that usually aren't mentioned here, as often as the general adage of greater depth of field conferring 'an advantage' of not having to focus so much. However, I've been using a 10x42 as my primary birding bin for the last 10 months, and very much enjoy 'slicing' through foliage to isolate the bird against an extremely busy background. I suppose its an aesthetic issue, but it also helps one observe detail where you want it, and simplifies the rest of the view.

-Bill
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Old Yesterday, 17:23   #272
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Denco: thanks for the review of 6,5x32. I can't wait to try them!
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Old Yesterday, 17:31   #273
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Denco: thanks for the review of 6,5x32. I can't wait to try them!
Your, welcome. I hope you like them or I am going into into hiding for awhile. The new Kowa's are very nice WF binoculars for $400.00 IMO.
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Old Yesterday, 17:36   #274
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LOL again, I am all for a bit of heresy now and again to shake things up. Its got you tap-dancing .

I hope you get a chance to try out the little Kowa, its worth it.

Lee
Lee I'd haul yourself in for a service coz you seem to be blowing blue smoke out ya wazoo !

Actually I have been known to tap dance ! but only after a strike ......
With a top score of 288 that's a lot of hired leather that was worn out - Lol :)



Chosun

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Old Yesterday, 17:45   #275
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Chosun, These are interesting perceptions that usually aren't mentioned here, as often as the general adage of greater depth of field conferring 'an advantage' of not having to focus so much. However, I've been using a 10x42 as my primary birding bin for the last 10 months, and very much enjoy 'slicing' through foliage to isolate the bird against an extremely busy background. I suppose its an aesthetic issue, but it also helps one observe detail where you want it, and simplifies the rest of the view.

-Bill
Bill, I probably do most things unusually ! :)
The 8x is a distinct preference. I'm going to investigate these lightweight widefield 10x more thoroughly when I get around to it (however I have in the past had some 10x that was like trying to focus on the thickness of a piece of paper - and that was no fun .... )

Yes, I agree, I find those same advantages trying to pull bits of birds out of dense cover, but mostly tend toward 8x (10x can be hard work sometimes, but sweet when you nail it - helps if the little geewhizzits aren't racing around all over the place in that case :)





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