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Feel the intensity, not your equipment. Maximum image quality. Minimum weight. The new ZEISS SFL, up to 30% less weight than comparable competitors.

In praise of small scopes (1 Viewer)

Ratal

Well-known member
Already have, amazons version of the sawyer squeeze.

Nah. Two vastly different bits of kit.

Water to go is instant fill the bottle / drink. No squeezing, no bags, no pumping, no anything. Fill & drink. Plus it works on heavy metals and other chemicals where as yours is purely a mechanical membrane.

Anyway, enjoy the trip!
 

Tringa45

Well-known member
Europe
Hi John,

My dealer told me and there is this review of binomania aka Piergiovanni Salimbeni with translation of John A Roberts:
See post #4:

“OPTICS
OBJECTIVE
The optics of the Zeiss Dialyt 18-45x65 are Made in Japan, consisting of five high-quality achromatic elements and a Schmidt / Pechan roof prism with T * treatment, with transmission values up to 85% of the optical system total.”

When I’m back in The Netherlands i will check my Dialyt scope to check if and which country of production is on the scope.

Cheers,
T.
Thanks. That's a surprise as I don't know of any similar product from a Japanese manufacturer.
The optical construction with a triplet objective and an achromatic doublet focussing lens is not as simple as one would have expected.
However, with the amount of space available and Zeiss' experience, wouldn't an Abbe-König prism have been the obvious choice?

John

PS: Another surprise was the price. I had a recollection of €1100-€1200.
 
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Thotmosis

Well-known member
Netherlands
Thanks. That's a surprise as I don't know of any similar product from a Japanese manufacturer.
My neither.
The optical construction with a triplet objective and an achromatic doublet focussing lens is not as simple as one would have expected.
However, with the amount of space available and Zeiss' experience, wouldn't an Abbe-König prism have been the obvious choice?
I don’t have a clue. Which scopes use AK prisms that you know of?

PS: Another surprise was the price. I had a recollection of €1100-€1200.
Yes, that is was i paid two years ago.

Cheers.
T.
 

Peregrine Took

Well-known member
United Kingdom
I'm new to serious birding with a scope and just bought an MM4 60mm and a Manfrotto BeFree GT, for which I swapped out the ball head for a pan head. It's less than 2kg in total. I was looking around for a backpack or mulepack, but its first outing was a six hour visit to Minsmere last week and I found that carrying the set-up in one hand was no effort at all. To make things balance (and seemingly lighter in the hand) I extended the legs to about 2ft 6in while carrying, which made me wonder if I needed such a compact tripod (maybe a less expensive 290 would do), but I guess the compactness will come into its own if I fly with it.

The scope was in 'mint-used' condition and my total spend, including the tripod, pan head, and two HDT-F EPs - the zoom and the 23x - was around £850.00.
.
 

fazalmajid

Well-known member
Supporter
United States
I recently got a Leofoto Ranger LS-224C tripod with LH-25 ball head from Wex. It's remarkably light:

 

wllmspd

Well-known member
Walking round with the scope on the tripod and the legs extended for super rapid deployment is the profession way to go. Fold legs in a sling over your shoulder and off you go. Your setup is ideal for that, far quicker to deploy than a backpack!

Peter
 

John Cantelo

Well-known member
This spring I compared three 'scopes - my regular Kowa 82mm, my old Nikon 50mm and a friend's Kowa 55mm (all fitted with zoom lenses). I compared them (at the same magnification) by looking at a sign with three differently sized fonts on the jib of a distant crane. Not surprisingly, the larger 'scope had an excellent image allowing me to read the three differently sized fonts on the sign with equal ease. The 55mm 'scope wasn't quite as impressive but I was astonished at just how close the image was to its larger sister. The two larger fonts were just as easy to read and even the smallest one could be read with relative ease. The Nikon (admittedly by far the oldest instrument) was way behind with only the larger font being easy to read. I could only make out the smaller font with certainty once I'd read it through the other two and the smallest font was completely indecipherable. In terms of brightness, the small Kowa was also superior to the Nikon (although there didn't seem to be that much between it and the larger scope as it was a bright day). The result was that I bought the small Kowa (and gave the Nikon to a young 'scopeless birder). Performance certainly falls off more than my larger 'scope in very overcast conditions and at dawn/dusk but for most of the time really doesn't make a lot of difference.

Comparing my 'scope (also whilst watching Kent's Eleonora's Falcon) with a 65mm Swarovski there wasn't any discernible difference (although once again it was a fairly bright day). So I'm very happy to trade-off a notionally better image (and higher maximum magnification) for greater portability. I've mounted the Kowa 55 mm on K&F Concept (Traveller M1) tripod legs fitted with a Small Rig head. The tripod legs aren't quite as lightweight as I'd like but collapse into a very handy compact size (c42cm) despite being more than tall enough for me to use without the central column raised (141cm plus another c30cm with the column raised). The smaller scope certainly makes packing a carry-on bag to take your binoculars, 'scope and bridge camera a lot easier (even my tripod fits in but as I have one out in Spain I left it at home).
 

Hermann

Well-known member
This spring I compared three 'scopes - my regular Kowa 82mm, my old Nikon 50mm and a friend's Kowa 55mm (all fitted with zoom lenses). [snip] Not surprisingly, the larger 'scope had an excellent image allowing me to read the three differently sized fonts on the sign with equal ease. The 55mm 'scope wasn't quite as impressive but I was astonished at just how close the image was to its larger sister. The two larger fonts were just as easy to read and even the smallest one could be read with relative ease. The Nikon (admittedly by far the oldest instrument) was way behind with only the larger font being easy to read. I could only make out the smaller font with certainty once I'd read it through the other two and the smallest font was completely indecipherable.
Interesting comparison. I'm quite astonished about the large difference you found between the 55mm Kowa and the ED50. IME the ED50 holds up pretty well in comparisons even when compared to 60/65mm scopes, at least with regard to resolution. There is a definite difference, sure, size definitely matters when it comes to scopes, but I don't find the difference quite as pronounced as you. Is it possible that your ED50 is one of the rare lemons, or did it possibly suffer some mishap over the years?

Still, the small Kowa sounds like a very nice scope indeed. How do you get on with the eyepiece? And what is the build quality like? My experience with the 55mm Kowa is quite limited, however, I would have preferred interchangeable eyepieces. Very much so, as I found the zoom pretty narrow for a scope in that price class.
So I'm very happy to trade-off a notionally better image (and higher maximum magnification) for greater portability. [snip] The smaller scope certainly makes packing a carry-on bag to take your binoculars, 'scope and bridge camera a lot easier (even my tripod fits in but as I have one out in Spain I left it at home).
Yep. And it's not just air travel, small scopes are also a heck of a lot more convenient when hiking in difficult terrain or long distances.

Hermann
 
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Hermann

Well-known member
Which scopes use AK prisms that you know of?
In the past Zeiss used AK prisms in the 40x60 Dialyt, an excellent scope in its time: Zeiss Dialyt 40x60. That scope was based on an earlier Hensoldt model that had a small brother, a 25x56: Hensoldt Dialyt 25x56 (monokulares Fernrohr - monocular telescope). Weight below 600 gr., all metal construction, very slim and easy to handle.

The 25x56 with a modern eyepiece, modern coatings and of course phase coatings would be close to the ultimate lightweight scope as far as I'm concerned.

Hermann
 

Thotmosis

Well-known member
Netherlands
Interesting links Hermann, it would indeed be really nice if Zeiss made a modern version of the old 20x56 with rubber armor. I would buy one in a hartbeat. Are you guys at Zeiss reading this?
 

Tringa45

Well-known member
Europe
Are you guys at Zeiss reading this?
I doubt it and I really don't know what Zeiss are up to at the moment with pricing on their niche products.
My dealer usually lists prices below the RRP, but he's listing the 18-45x Dialyt we talked about at €1600 and the Zeiss 3x12 Mono at €490!!!

John
 

John Cantelo

Well-known member
Interesting comparison. I'm quite astonished about the large difference you found between the 55mm Kowa and the ED50. IME the ED50 holds up pretty well in comparisons even when compared to 60/65mm scopes, at least with regard to resolution. There is a definite difference, sure, size definitely matters when it comes to scopes, but I don't find the difference quite as pronounced as you. Is it possible that your ED50 is one of the rare lemons, or did it possibly suffer some mishap over the years?

Still, the small Kowa sounds like a very nice scope indeed. How do you get on with the eyepiece? And what is the build quality like? My experience with the 55mm Kowa is quite limited, however, I would have preferred interchangeable eyepieces. Very much so, as I found the zoom pretty narrow for a scope in that price class.

Yep. And it's not just air travel, small scopes are also a heck of a lot more convenient when hiking in difficult terrain or long distances.

Hermann
I too was surprised just how much better the Kowa 55 was than my Nikon 50. Perhaps you're right and I had a sub-par instrument or perhaps, like its owner, it was showing its age. The difference was certainly 'real' as the comparative ease with which I was able to read the distant script was obvious. Whatever the case, I am a lot happier with the 55mm 'scope than I ever was with the Nikon. Having done a good deal of birding from home (involving 8-10 mile round trips on foot to my nearest wetland) during lockdown I couldn't agree more that a small 'scope is very convenient when hiking.
 

Thotmosis

Well-known member
Netherlands
I doubt it and I really don't know what Zeiss are up to at the moment with pricing on their niche products.
My dealer usually lists prices below the RRP, but he's listing the 18-45x Dialyt we talked about at €1600 and the Zeiss 3x12 Mono at €490!!!

John
Wow, prices went up, i just checked and also in The Netherlands around 1600 euro now, except at Amazon.nl 1399 but I prefer to buy at brick and mortar shops.
 
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4John

4John
I too was surprised just how much better the Kowa 55 was than my Nikon 50. Perhaps you're right and I had a sub-par instrument or perhaps, like its owner, it was showing its age. The difference was certainly 'real' as the comparative ease with which I was able to read the distant script was obvious. Whatever the case, I am a lot happier with the 55mm 'scope than I ever was with the Nikon. Having done a good deal of birding from home (involving 8-10 mile round trips on foot to my nearest wetland) during lockdown I couldn't agree more that a small 'scope is very convenient when hiking.
John,

Thanks for the first "objective" review of the Kowa 543/554 I have seen. If the ED50 has a 50mm objective and the Kowa has a 55mm objective (not always the case :) then if my pi r^2 maths is correct then the Kowa will have 20% extra glass glass area. That should give a brighter image, but I don't know if it would be noticeable.

Can you please tell me which Nikon zoom you used (there are at least two possibilities IIRC) and what magnifications you used on the ED50, and the Kowa to read the writing ?
 

John Cantelo

Well-known member
I no longer have the ED50 to check which zoom it was but I'm pretty sure that it would have been the cheaper of the two (assuming there's a price difference). I compared the 'scopes back in February and never expected to be asked which magnifications I used so I'm relying on my imperfect recollection here. As I recall, I looked at the highest and lowest common magnifications available plus x30.
 

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