Join for FREE
It only takes a minute!
Zeiss - Always on the lookout for something special – Shop now

Welcome to BirdForum.
BirdForum is the net's largest birding community, dedicated to wild birds and birding, and is absolutely FREE! You are most welcome to register for an account, which allows you to take part in lively discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.

Kowa BDII 8x32 vs. (older) Swaro CL 8x30 ?

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread
Old Wednesday 13th November 2019, 15:19   #1
justabirdwatcher
Registered User

 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: TX
Posts: 631
Kowa BDII 8x32 vs. (older) Swaro CL 8x30 ?

For those who have seen both, which would you recommend?

I'm ready to pull the trigger on one or the other, but I've only seen the older Swaro CL 8x32 and have had disappointing results from binoculars made in China, as the BDII is.

Thoughts?
justabirdwatcher is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Wednesday 13th November 2019, 16:07   #2
mwhogue
Registered User
BF Supporter 2019

 
Join Date: Aug 2018
Location: Friendswood
Posts: 138
Quote:
Originally Posted by justabirdwatcher View Post
For those who have seen both, which would you recommend?

I'm ready to pull the trigger on one or the other, but I've only seen the older Swaro CL 8x32 and have had disappointing results from binoculars made in China, as the BDII is.

Thoughts?
JBW,

As I recall other members own or have tested and have posted comparisons of the two models you are considering and may weigh in here more specifically. Meantime, I own both the old and new SW CL 8x30 and the new Kowa in 6.5x32. Generally speaking, build quality, function and image quality of the Kowa are first rate especially for the price. Last I looked, prices for the old CL are still relatively high. If you can get the first model CL in the $650 range IMO opinion that would be a good buy, otherwise I would lean toward the Kowa.

Hope this helps,

Mike
mwhogue is offline  
Reply With Quote

BF Supporter 2019 Support BirdForum With A Donation

Old Wednesday 13th November 2019, 17:35   #3
justabirdwatcher
Registered User

 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: TX
Posts: 631
That is helpful Mike. I just missed a pair of the original 8x30 CL's for $625, which I consider a fair price. The size and handling of the CL's appeal to me. I'm a bit concerned about how short the barrels are on the Kowa's, as my hands are quite large.

I have a full size pair of 8x42's that I really like, but for day to day work, I would like to have a mid-size pair of x30/32's of good quality.

I realize you have the 6.5's but would you rate the image quality of the new Kowas on par with the CL's?
justabirdwatcher is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Wednesday 13th November 2019, 19:53   #4
typo
Registered User

 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Hertfordshire
Posts: 3,904
Quote:
Originally Posted by justabirdwatcher View Post
For those who have seen both, which would you recommend?
.......
I was one of a number here and met many elsewhere, (including several in the trade) that found the view of the original CL 8x30 unacceptably soft. I know others found it satisfactory.

I've only seen the Kowa BDII XD samples on show at the UK Birdfair in August. They were sharper than the CL, but while I found the CA acceptable in the 6.5x32, it was too high for me in both the 8x32 and 8x42, and worse still in the 10s. Kowa have brought unfinished preproduction samples to the show before, so I can't be sure how representative they are of those on the market I'm afraid.

David

Last edited by typo : Wednesday 13th November 2019 at 20:05.
typo is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Wednesday 13th November 2019, 21:54   #5
justabirdwatcher
Registered User

 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: TX
Posts: 631
Quote:
Originally Posted by typo View Post
I was one of a number here and met many elsewhere, (including several in the trade) that found the view of the original CL 8x30 unacceptably soft. I know others found it satisfactory.

I've only seen the Kowa BDII XD samples on show at the UK Birdfair in August. They were sharper than the CL, but while I found the CA acceptable in the 6.5x32, it was too high for me in both the 8x32 and 8x42, and worse still in the 10s. Kowa have brought unfinished preproduction samples to the show before, so I can't be sure how representative they are of those on the market I'm afraid.

David
Thank you for your input David. I have seen samples of the CL that I would also characterize as "too soft" for a Swaro. But lately I've seen sharper copies too. I am leaning toward the BDII 8x32 right now. If it's not sharp or bright enough, or if the handling doesn't suit me, I can always return it. I do like the way the CL's handle though. They are about the smallest binoculars that my big hands like. Anything smaller (including the M7 8x30's) just get lost in my hands.
justabirdwatcher is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Wednesday 13th November 2019, 23:17   #6
dries1
Registered User
BF Supporter 2019
 
dries1's Avatar

 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Delaware
Posts: 1,774
I have the BDII 8X32 and the 6.5X32. The 6.5X is the much better performer for what it is. If $$ is the reason to get the Kowa 8X32, fine, but no, I will take a Cl 8X30 all day. I have the SLC 8X30 neu, the resolution is above the Kowa 8X32. One can still get a good SLC 8x30 for a bit more than the Kowa, which after all is priced for what it is.

The only mechanical issue I have on the new Kowa is with the focus travel, very fast but not dampened like the original Nikon 10X32HG/LX (Venturer) - which also has an extremely fast focus, but can be tuned very easily..Of course it is a Nikon focus, and I am asking for too much.

Andy W.
dries1 is offline  
Reply With Quote

BF Supporter 2018 2019 Support BirdForum With A Donation

Old Wednesday 13th November 2019, 23:38   #7
gcole
Registered User

 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Jacksonville Florida USA
Posts: 1,076
Quote:
Originally Posted by justabirdwatcher View Post
Thank you for your input David. I have seen samples of the CL that I would also characterize as "too soft" for a Swaro. But lately I've seen sharper copies too. I am leaning toward the BDII 8x32 right now. If it's not sharp or bright enough, or if the handling doesn't suit me, I can always return it. I do like the way the CL's handle though. They are about the smallest binoculars that my big hands like. Anything smaller (including the M7 8x30's) just get lost in my hands.
I also own both binoculars mentioned, the Swarovski(2015) 8x30 CL purchased old stock new recently. Also the Kowa 6.5x32 XD New. These are two different animals both Physically as well as Optically .. 6.5x vs 8x. Unless you have both in hand to compare, here you will only hear of other opinions based on others visions capabilities and handling preferences such as eye relief or focusing speed to mention a few. Having said this ... I find both binoculars very sharp/clear with image softness a personal viewing experience. We all have very different physical capabilities when it comes to how well we can see, whether it’s due to age or genetics. Since I have been a member of Bird Forum I have handled or owned many of the Binoculars and Scopes discussed here. Having agreed with many but not all when it comes to any one optics good or bad qualities. The only way you will ever be able to answer your original question based on your eyes, with your hands on handling .... you need to have both in hand to compare directly.

Last edited by gcole : Wednesday 13th November 2019 at 23:41.
gcole is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Thursday 14th November 2019, 00:08   #8
gcole
Registered User

 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Jacksonville Florida USA
Posts: 1,076
Quote:
Originally Posted by dries1 View Post
I have the BDII 8X32 and the 6.5X32. The 6.5X is the much better performer for what it is. If $$ is the reason to get the Kowa 8X32, fine, but no, I will take a Cl 8X30 all day. I have the SLC 8X30 neu, the resolution is above the Kowa 8X32. One can still get a good SLC 8x30 for a bit more than the Kowa, which after all is priced for what it is

Andy W.
Well replied Andy ... A Swarovski or a Kowa , price wise no comparison. Optically a very personal opinion only with binocular in hand to know. As with me .... my 2015 Swarovski 8x30 CL or my Kowa BDII XD 6.5x32, the 8x30 CL all day. The Kowa is a really nice binocular, I like it a lot. Its the best low power binocular I have ever owned/handled.
gcole is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Thursday 14th November 2019, 00:25   #9
justabirdwatcher
Registered User

 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: TX
Posts: 631
Thank you for all the replies. They are very helpful.

I briefly owned a pair of 8x30 SLC (latest model) but couldn't really get along with the focus wheel placement, so I sold them rather than try to adapt, which was probably a mistake. They were certainly sharp enough.

I have outstanding vision, so I can quickly tell the difference between a very sharp optic and one that others may feel are "very sharp" but to my eyes are somewhat lacking. This makes it a little frustrating to buy optics though.

I would find it hard to believe that Kowa could make an optic at $400 that is as sharp as the Swaro 8x30 slc, but possibly the equal of the CL, since in my experience the CL is not always the equal of the little SLC.

But I keep an open mind and that is evidenced by the fact that I have bought and sold countless binoculars but still keep using my Sightron Blue Sky II's and Cabelas Outfitter HD's - for the reason that they resolve as well as my own eyes do, regardless of branding or price.
justabirdwatcher is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Thursday 14th November 2019, 00:42   #10
Gilmore Girl
Beth
 
Gilmore Girl's Avatar

 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Northeast
Posts: 2,794
I have no experience with the new Kowa BDII, but like GC I also have a 2015 CL 8x30 and find the image very satisfying.
It's not as super sharp as my newly acquired Z FL 8x32. It doesn't have strong/bold edge contrast, but has very good resolution, brightness and I especially like the colors. Lighter tones seem illuminated which makes for some pretty images in the right lighting. FOV is a bit narrow, but the sweet spot is pretty big. Ergonomics are wonderful and the low weight is a plus.
Gilmore Girl is offline  
Reply With Quote

BF Supporter 2013 Support BirdForum With A Donation

Old Thursday 14th November 2019, 01:37   #11
dries1
Registered User
BF Supporter 2019
 
dries1's Avatar

 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Delaware
Posts: 1,774
I have the Fuji 8X32s the same as the sightrons, a nice low priced option, (except the glare is some lightning situations). I use them at work all the time when I have a free moment, like today a red-tail gets a field rodent, goes to a nearby large oak branch to have lunch,.... I am watching all the while (from the hunt to the feast), then out of the blue, three blue jays begin to harass him, comical actually. He did not miss a beat having lunch, he used wings to jab at them.

Andy W.
dries1 is offline  
Reply With Quote

BF Supporter 2018 2019 Support BirdForum With A Donation

Old Thursday 14th November 2019, 02:18   #12
justabirdwatcher
Registered User

 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: TX
Posts: 631
After 4+ years, I am constantly amazed at how well the Sightrons resolve detail, but they are a bit dim in low light for my purposes. I was hoping to find something in the same size class that produces a brighter image.
justabirdwatcher is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Thursday 14th November 2019, 05:21   #13
mwhogue
Registered User
BF Supporter 2019

 
Join Date: Aug 2018
Location: Friendswood
Posts: 138
JBW,

To respond first to your post #3, if you like the handling ergos of the previous CL as opposed to the newer version I think the Kowa 32 would be even better for you. Like you I prefer the overall handling of the old CL vs the new CL for my medium to large hands but I like handling of the Kowa 32 even better.

For context with regard to your question about comparing image quality and for commenting generally on the many other helpful responses here, someone recently posted a discussion of optical "quality" vs optical "characteristics" which I cannot fully recall/understand but seems particularly relevant here as the Kowa 6.5 is now included in the discussion. IMO the image "quality" of the new CL is superior to the Kowa 6.5 - slightly but noticeably sharper, brighter, and more color saturated. However for me the combination of the "characteristics" of the 6.5 image (and in a compact reasonably priced roof to boot) - huge FOV, AFOV, DOF and image stability as a result of 6.5 mag produce a uniquely rewarding overall viewing experience. Perhaps oddly for a 6.5 (?), it especially comes into its own when panning and scanning over great distance producing a viewing experience quite similar to a high quality IF poro. The image is also very natural like my eyes have been upgraded to 6.5 mag as opposed to looking through an excellent optic.

Mike
mwhogue is offline  
Reply With Quote

BF Supporter 2019 Support BirdForum With A Donation

Old Thursday 14th November 2019, 08:05   #14
typo
Registered User

 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Hertfordshire
Posts: 3,904
Quote:
Originally Posted by justabirdwatcher View Post
Thank you for your input David. I have seen samples of the CL that I would also characterize as "too soft" for a Swaro. But lately I've seen sharper copies too. I am leaning toward the BDII 8x32 right now. If it's not sharp or bright enough, or if the handling doesn't suit me, I can always return it. I do like the way the CL's handle though. They are about the smallest binoculars that my big hands like. Anything smaller (including the M7 8x30's) just get lost in my hands.
I tried the old CL many times, but rarely compared them against the same binoculars so couldn't rule out that they improved a bit with time, but the new CL was a whole lot better still when I compared them. I thought the colour and colour contrast improved too, but unsurprisingly couldn't quite match the EL.

I didn't spend enough time with the Kowa BDII to really absorb all their characteristics, but my recollection is that the transmission profile didn't seem as smooth as the CL for instance. There appeared to be a decent amount at both ends of the spectrum, but some colours and contrasts seemed a little altered, which some might prefer, and others not. Still much cleaner than say Fuji's version of the Sightron I reviewed a few years back, if that helps?

David

Last edited by typo : Thursday 14th November 2019 at 08:52. Reason: Wrong brand!
typo is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Thursday 14th November 2019, 14:22   #15
justabirdwatcher
Registered User

 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: TX
Posts: 631
Thank you again Mike and David.

Mike that is good to hear about the handling on the Kowa. Perhaps I should just go ahead and get a pair to finally see for myself.

One of the things I love about my Sightrons is the handling. Ergonomically, they are just about perfect to me.

I wanted to like my Monarch 7 8x30's more, but they were small enough to make handling difficult for my oversized hands. They felt like toy binoculars, which of course they are not. The CL's I've handled (older model) are the smallest single hinge I've used that still feel like real binoculars.
justabirdwatcher is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Friday 15th November 2019, 15:17   #16
dries1
Registered User
BF Supporter 2019
 
dries1's Avatar

 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Delaware
Posts: 1,774
The little Kowa is not for everyone, especially from an ergonomic point of view. But for the cost here in the US, a decent glass for the money. Give the 8X32s a shot, and let us know what you think of them. I am waiting for an 8X42.

Andy W.
dries1 is offline  
Reply With Quote

BF Supporter 2018 2019 Support BirdForum With A Donation

Advertisement
Reply


Thread Tools
Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Swaro SLC 8x30 vs Pentax ED 8x32 DCF ED walternewton Binoculars 8 Monday 18th April 2011 02:08
Please help me choose between the Meopta 8x32 and the Swaro 8x30(SLC) Mike_Calabas Others 17 Saturday 16th January 2010 15:52

{googleads}

Fatbirder's Top 1000 Birding Websites

Help support BirdForum

Page generated in 0.21688604 seconds with 29 queries
All times are GMT. The time now is 23:13.