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~6.5 power binoculars? (1 Viewer)

sidpost

Well-known member
United States
Thinking about my time in Tucson watching Hummingbirds in my front yard and watching Dragonflies growing up, I have been thinking about low powered binoculars. While I generally think about high-powered spotting scopes and binoculars for far away things, the reality is a pair of bins for use in my yard might be a good option since I would likely use them a lot more than my expensive 'big' binoculars.

Who uses ~6.5 power binoculars? Where do you use them and for what? When do you wish you had something else?

Would Kowa BD II 6.5x32mm binoculars be a good option for this type of use at a modest cost? With a 525' FOV at 1,000 yards, it has a really generous FOV for close up views of an insect flitting about or a bird that is on a tree branch by a front porch.

Other thoughts? TIA!
 

PhilR.

Well-known member
We use Meopta and Kowa 6.5x binos when we attend college football games. Even though we really like them, we don’t use them for anything else, as we just prefer our very good 7-10x binos. We do however hope to live long enough to become decrepit and shakey, whereupon a 6.5x32 will become everyday useful.

IMO the Kowa would be a great place to start as far as something that is easily found. However I prefer the handling of the Meopro, despite the larger footprint. Also prefer its ER too, as the shorter ER of the Kowa prevents me from using it with sunglasses. Obviously the Meopta is no longer in production, but you might check auction sites if you are so inclined.
 

sidpost

Well-known member
United States
Don't the Kowa's have 17mm of Eye Relief? Is it the eyecups that keep them from being compatible with your sunglasses?

Good point about use at sporting events. ;)
 

PhilR.

Well-known member
The Kowas do have 17mm ER (or very close to that), but I often wear “shield-type” sunglasses, especially in the high desert, which means I need 19-20mm ER at minimum. Kowa eyecups are fine.
 

jring

Well-known member
Hi,

I use my Papilio 6.5x quite often and tend to have it with me when having a walk in case sth unexpected comes up...

Joachim
 

Troubador

Moderator
Staff member
Supporter
The 6.5 Kowa is sitting near our kitchen window overlooking our bird feeders and our pond. I wear spectacles and have no problems with the ER.

Lee
 

Pinewood

New York correspondent
United States
Hello,

I am in agreement with PhilR, regarding my Meopta 6.5X, now discontinued. I would use it in combination with a 10x32 for bird watching. It has very long eye relief.

Stay safe,
Arthur
 

edwincjones

Well-known member
The 6.5 Kowa is sitting near our kitchen window overlooking our bird feeders and our pond. I wear spectacles and have no problems with the ER.

Lee
That is where mine is now, also use it on woodland hikes for closed in areas,
but plan on moving it to the car for terrestrial viewing in the future.
Since I have received the Kowas I have not used my 8x32 FL much.

edj
 

pbjosh

missing the neotropics
Switzerland
I also have zero problems with the Kowa 6,5x32 with glasses.

That is a very strong recommendation EDJ! The 8x32FL is a lovely little binocular, and essentially the same size and weight as the Kowa if my memory serves?

I initially liked my Kowa a lot but lately have been less a fan. I suspect I may have a less than perfect sample, or I just get on with it poorly, as I've not seen anyone else mention the issue(s) that affect my unit. The collimation, focus, and diopter seem to be pretty good, but I struggle to get a reliably easy / enjoyable view. Despite the generous exit pupil that this format allows, I find that I need to align the binocular very carefully to get the best view, and that prolonged use is neither enjoyable nor comfortable. I will likely send the binocular in for service, but am still curious about what it is that is causing this and am still taking my time to keep trying it and to try to understand the issue better.
 

Brink

Well-known member
I have these and like them a lot. Right now they are sitting on the windowsill overlooking my feeders, but they will see lots of using during spring migration when I am walking in the woods.
 

eitanaltman

Well-known member
Josh - you’re probably just seeing the inherent flaws in the design with more use. See reviews from Henry on the 10x42 and my comments on the 6.5x32 among others. They initially wow with the very bright optics and great color and the low mag masks some of the defects, which is why the 6.5x is popular (and Gijs measured the real magnification at 6x).

My sample also had a janky focus knob and perhaps was slightly miscollimated. I really liked the feel and handling and the awesome Kowa C3 coatings but it’s clear these are a cheap design with poor correction of aberrations. And lots of sample variation.

I couldn’t imagine using these instead of an alpha 8x32 outside of very limited use cases. Despite my criticism I might have kept them were my sample better, because there is something charming about them and again the handling and brightness/color are great, but these are a cheap Chinese optic clothed in knock-off Genesis styling.
 

eitanaltman

Well-known member
Sidpost - I would keep an eye on the used market for a 6.5x Meopta or (even better) a 6x32 Vortex Viper. The latter doesn’t exist anymore but was offered as part of the Viper line when it was produced in Japan. I got my brother a pair of the Viper 6x many years ago (he primarily wanted to scan cliffs for climbing routes and didn’t need high mag) and he still has it, I was over a couple weeks ago and played around with it and the optics are terrific, a significant notch above the others noted here. I also used to have a Vortex Fury 6.5x32 which I believe shared some parentage with the Meopta. Nice binocular with the softest cushiest eyecups of all time, but I’ve heard the Meopta version was better optically.
 

eitanaltman

Well-known member
Other thought - if this is for casual backyard use why not a porro? Seems the choices expand a lot if you add in the bazillion 6x30 and 7x35 porros out there.
 

sidpost

Well-known member
United States
AMP is introducing a nice new 6x30 Porro for about $200. It looks like it will be pretty nice. It is available at the end of February from APM.

.https://www.apm-telescopes.de/en/binoculars/binoculars-30mm-aperture/apm-ms-6x30-binoculars.html

Those look attractive but, ~$80 (65,39 EUR) shipping to the USA is a bit much for ~$200 binoculars!
 

sidpost

Well-known member
United States
Other thought - if this is for casual backyard use why not a porro? Seems the choices expand a lot if you add in the bazillion 6x30 and 7x35 porros out there.
Yes, I have a set of Steiner 8x30 Porro's that I keep in the farm vehicle de jour. Tough as nails and works really well for spotting distant cows or a quick check for dogs or feral hogs. For ~$200 delivered, a heck of a good bargain. They are a bit bulky though for pocket carry.
 

sidpost

Well-known member
United States
Regarding 6 power Porros, most have minimum focus distances of ~15'. I've looked at a lot of them but, they also seem to be targeted to the disposable or 'kid' market.

Suggestions for current production bins in the <$400 price range that are compatible with eyeglasses and butterflies are appreciated! I'm thinking roofs for pocket carry but, porros are also an option for me though, not as bulky as the Steiners, please!
 

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
Those look attractive but, ~$80 (65,39 EUR) shipping to the USA is a bit much for ~$200 binoculars!
$280 shipped to the US in 2 days isn't bad. These look like quality Porros, and they have a bigger 9.3 degree FOV than small Yosemite 6x30 which only has 8 degree. They will probably be available in the US a month or so after introduction at Lunt. Close focus is pretty good at 2.5 m.
 
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eitanaltman

Well-known member
Good point about those 6x30 porros having subpar close focus. It's too bad becuase it does seem like those old Vortex Fury / Meopta Meopro 6.5x32 would be just the ticket, with a wide FOV and excellent close focus. The Fury is one of those I wonder why I sold many years ago.

I would give the Kowa a shot, and hope for a good sample, as there isn't much else like it in this category (as you can tell by people pining for models that were released over a decade ago and discontinued 5+ years ago). Assuming a good sample, if you're just using these for backyard viewing and casual use they should work great, the FOV is super wide and bright, the close focus is good, they are compact and have nice ergonomics. I really liked everything about them except the messed up focus and (for me) substandard correction of distortion / aberrations.

Although you are looking for low power, I will note that for the same price range the Opticron Traveler ED 8x32 is a much better corrected optic than the Kowa. Unlike the Kowa, it doesn't have any funky distortion characteristics and has very low astigmatism across the field, and above average correction of CA, so it subjectively feels like a huge sweet spot with good "clarity".
 

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