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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)

Hermann

Well-known member
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?
I actually suggested to Zeiss they might want to make a modern version of the 25x56 more than 30 years ago. The reply was "People are only interested in larger scopes nowadays".

Hermann
 

Thotmosis

Well-known member
Netherlands
I actually suggested to Zeiss they might want to make a modern version of the 25x56 more than 30 years ago. The reply was "People are only interested in larger scopes nowadays".

Hermann
Well Zeiss is wrong because I know many who prefer a small rugged scope. You, me and many more.
 

Dyrlege

Well-known member
Norway
Nice. We'll be off to Norway in three weeks from now. A bit late in the year for birding, sure, but we couldn't go earlier.

Still not decided if I should to take a second scope in addition to the ED50 ... 🔭

Hermann
Depends on where you are going. I'm comfy with my mm3-60 (EDF zoom), mostly using the Curio or Habicht(! 10*40).
Heat shimmer (or mist or fog!) will usually be the problem at distances >350-400 meters, so I've usually managed.
But! If on a lake or a beach, you might want something larger. I'll be going to Steigen (which is what makes the view from Lofoten so fantastic 😂) and will be bringing a 90mm solely to view an eagle's nest. DSC_2550.JPG
 

William Lewis

Wishing birdwatching paid the bills.
United Kingdom
I'm just heading back from the isle of Skye now, bagged the golden eagle and white tailed eagle.

The ctc 30x75 proved it's worth, I wouldn't have got the id's at range without it. Turned out it wasn't actually too bad to lug around and was plenty robust enough - the stay in case that comes with them is very useful. I'd be tempted by something smaller and lighter but wouldn't be want to compromise on exit pupil too much, or have any less than 30x mag fixed to be honest. When going without a tripod the exit pupil on the ctc is pretty much as small as I can tolerate as is.

I quite like the look of the little kowa and would be keen to try one when the opportunity arises, not much more £ than the ctc either.
 

jcwu88

Well-known member
United States
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
Similar experience.
I have ED50 with McII 13-40x zoom and compared side-by-side with 553 in the field.
I would say that at the same magnification two scopes difference is “discernible “. My ED50 is a good copy which was validated over years in the field by other birders. But 553 has revealed a bit more details of bird feathers and with better color recovery.

Jay
 

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Hermann

Well-known member
I have ED50 with McII 13-40x zoom and compared side-by-side with 553 in the field.
I would say that at the same magnification two scopes difference is “discernible “. My ED50 is a good copy which was validated over years in the field by other birders. But 553 has revealed a bit more details of bird feathers and with better color recovery.
Interesting. How do you get on with the eyepiece? I know it can't be worse (with regard to the field of view and so on) than the Nikon MCII, but then I mainly use fixed WA eyepieces with the ED50. What's it like in the field? Does it work for eyeglass wearers? And what do you think about the mechanical quality of the Kowa? How robust is it?

The reason I'm asking is that very few birders seem to use the Kowa 553/554 around here, so I can't really try it in the field. And I don't like ordering it online only to send it back if it doesn't work for me.

Hermann
 

Vespobuteo

Well-known member
Interesting. How do you get on with the eyepiece? I know it can't be worse (with regard to the field of view and so on) than the Nikon MCII, but then I mainly use fixed WA eyepieces with the ED50. What's it like in the field? Does it work for eyeglass wearers? And what do you think about the mechanical quality of the Kowa? How robust is it?

The reason I'm asking is that very few birders seem to use the Kowa 553/554 around here, so I can't really try it in the field. And I don't like ordering it online only to send it back if it doesn't work for me.

Hermann
The EP fitted on the 553/554 is a tse-9z.


AFOV is narrow at 38-56° and not like any modern wide-angle zoom eye-piece from Swaro, Kowa, or the older fixed EP:s from Nikon for example.

Unfortunately it's a non-removable EP and you can't mount any fixed EP.

I also noted more CA than expected in this little scope that is supposed to have Fluorite glass.

Definitely try before buy, if it suits you.

(I didn't buy one btw, as you might have guessed)

PS. I did own a Nikon ED50 + 20x EP for a while but my Swaro 8.5x42 outperformed it in resolution tests. Probably a lemon. A good sample should do better.
 
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jcwu88

Well-known member
United States
Interesting. How do you get on with the eyepiece? I know it can't be worse (with regard to the field of view and so on) than the Nikon MCII, but then I mainly use fixed WA eyepieces with the ED50. What's it like in the field? Does it work for eyeglass wearers? And what do you think about the mechanical quality of the Kowa? How robust is it?

The reason I'm asking is that very few birders seem to use the Kowa 553/554 around here, so I can't really try it in the field. And I don't like ordering it online only to send it back if it doesn't work for me.

Hermann
Hi Hermann,

I used to have all Nikon Fieldscope WA and DS eyepieces (except 40X DS ) over 12 years. Wide eyepieces, especially 16X DS and 20x WA, are phenomenal on ED50. But I found the MC2 zoom has better optical performance regarding resolution and color saturation. Also, I like zoom for the convenience.

About 553, the FOV is similar to Nikon MC2 as Vespobuteo posted info. It is a traditional 40-60 degree zoom design. But 553 eye relief is much better than Nikon MC2 (I wear glasses so really appreciate it ). Optical performance, as I said in previous post, is a bit better than ED50 with MC2. If you always use WA eyepieces on ED50, probably you will feel narrow on 553.

Mechanically I like 553 dual focusing system, it’s very precise. I can’t comment durability since I have it only for two years.

I am lucky to have a good 553 copy, which is surprisingly not far behind its bigger brother 99A in bright daylight. I agree with that it is better to try it and compare with your scope if you have a chance.


Jay
 
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lilcrazy2

Well-known member
United States
I have had both the ED50 and ED II 60 Nikon scopes for over 10 years and have never really wanted for anything better. I have both the 13-30 and 13-40 zooms as well as the 20x(60); 20x(50)-30x(60)wide; 24x(60)wide. I also have a pair of 8.5x42 el sv's (2012) I bought new, and certainly wouldn't say they out resolve either of my scopes
 

b-lilja

Well-known member
Wow...I am vacationing in the wrong places...:)

I have a very good copy of the ED50 (personally find a lot of quality variation in them)...it far surpassed the Kowa 553 I bought and returned...must be sample variation in those too.
 

Hermann

Well-known member
Wide eyepieces, especially 16X DS and 20x WA, are phenomenal on ED50. But I found the MC2 zoom has better optical performance regarding resolution and color saturation. Also, I like zoom for the convenience.
The WA eyepieces are indeed great on the ED50. I also quite like the 27x DS whenever I need more magnification. But sure, the MCII zoom is incredibly convenient, and its optical performance is if anything just slightly better than that of the WA, just like you say. However, there are situations where I really want a wider field of view, for instance when scanning the sky for birds of prey.
About 553, the FOV is similar to Nikon MC2 as Vespobuteo posted info. It is a traditional 40-60 degree zoom design. But 553 eye relief is much better than Nikon MC2 (I wear glasses so really appreciate it ). Optical performance, as I said in previous post, is a bit better than ED50 with MC2. If you always use WA eyepieces on ED50, probably you will feel narrow on 553.
Better eye relief sounds great. I'm in the process of switching from contact lenses to glasses (after almost 40 years) because I find the contact lenses don't work for me anymore with all the dust in the air. Pollen is also a huge problem in spring. Our climate is becoming increasingly drier, and that makes life difficult with the contact lenses. I normally use one of the WA eyepieces on the ED50, and carry one of the zooms in case I need it.
I agree with that it is better to try it and compare with your scope if you have a chance.
I'll try to find someone who has got one, I really need an hour or so in the field to see if a scope works for me. However, I'm not happy about the narrow zoom. I thought the Kowa might replace not only the ED50 in my setup, but also the EDIIIA. That won't work, I really need a wideangle option.

Thanks for your help!

Hermann
 

Thotmosis

Well-known member
Netherlands
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.
I just checked the scope and paperwork and it only says: Made by Carl Zeiss on the scope….strange 🤔
 

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