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ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia

Kowa 883 still the best one? (1 Viewer)

kristoffer

Used Register
Hi. I’ve had a hiatus due to kids and life and during this period I’ve only had my Celestron Regal 65–D. It’s been very very good for the money but now I want something more premium. I’ve missed the last 6 years of new products but is the Kowa 883 still top of the bunch? I want a spotting scope with preferably a 20-60 zoom but if a new one can challenge the alphas but with a lower price tag I’m interested. Vortex got one I saw. Thanks!
 

PYRTLE

Old Berkshire Boy
I'm confused by you're thread ..... you would like an alpha spotting scope but not at the prices they cost: you are not alone! Vortex is most likely not up to the standards of the likes of Swarovski, Kowa or Zeiss's premium models.
 

BKoh

Member
Singapore
Hi. I’ve had a hiatus due to kids and life and during this period I’ve only had my Celestron Regal 65–D. It’s been very very good for the money but now I want something more premium. I’ve missed the last 6 years of new products but is the Kowa 883 still top of the bunch? I want a spotting scope with preferably a 20-60 zoom but if a new one can challenge the alphas but with a lower price tag I’m interested. Vortex got one I saw. Thanks!
The reviews here suggest the Kowa 883 is optically competitive with the alphas, caveats are that lemons seem to be more common (test before you buy or make sure you can return it) and that a few users experienced cracking (don't drop it!). The cost savings versus Z,L,S are significant, provided you find a good copy and take care of it.

For Vortex Razor some of the cost savings come from an inferior eyepiece, it can apparently use the Swarovski eyepiece (it was reported the Vortex marketing team a scope dealer actually showed some units this way) but that reduces the cost savings. The Kowa's 25-60x eyepiece is said to be very good.

The new scopes from Zeiss and Swarovski have gone in a different direction: Zeiss with zoom built into the body (constant FOV but scope aperture reduced at low power), Swarovski with modular system (mix and match objectives, allows binoviewer). Prices are also higher than conventional designs.
 
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kristoffer

Used Register
The reviews here suggest the Kowa 883 is optically competitive with the alphas, caveats are that lemons seem to be more common (test before you buy or make sure you can return it) and that a few users experienced cracking (don't drop it!). The cost savings versus Z,L,S are significant, provided you find a good copy and take care of it.

For Vortex Razor some of the cost savings come from an inferior eyepiece, it can apparently use the Swarovski eyepiece (it was reported the Vortex marketing team actually showed some units this way) but that reduces the cost savings. The Kowa's 25-60x eyepiece is said to be very good.

The new scopes from Zeiss and Swarovski have gone in a different direction: Zeiss with zoom built into the body (constant FOV but scope aperture reduced at low power), Swarovski with modular system (mix and match objectives, allows binoviewer). Prices are also higher than conventional designs.
Thanks! Very enlightening answer, so the Kowa can a good choice granted I find a good copy.
 

jring

Well-known member
The reviews here suggest the Kowa 883 is optically competitive with the alphas, caveats are that lemons seem to be more common (test before you buy or make sure you can return it) and that a few users experienced cracking (don't drop it!). The cost savings versus Z,L,S are significant, provided you find a good copy and take care of it.

Hi,

quite frankly, the Kowa 883 is one of the alphas - at least more so than the Leica 82mm...

Regarding lemons, I have personally looked through lemons from all three of the teutonic trinity but not Kowa 883 yet. But yes, we have heard a few mixed stories about Kowa 883 on here... maybe even more than from the others... which might be related to the total numbers out there... anybody has sales figures?
In general, the few stories on the internet about good or bad examples are not enough to do a meaningful statistic with...

As a general rule, one should know how to test optics before buying a spotter and then buy in a way so you can actually test the instrument you will buy before the sale or inside a no questions asked return period. So buying online from a private party w/o a return period is a big no-no - ebay buyer protection will NOT work if the image is a bit soft at 60x...

I think that the Meopta S2 is worth a look for a very good option as are the two Nikon Fieldscope series - both the older Fieldscope ED series (best used with their great wide angle fixed EPs but only available used) and the current Nikon Monarch Fieldscope series.

Joachim
 

kristoffer

Used Register
Hi,

quite frankly, the Kowa 883 is one of the alphas - at least more so than the Leica 82mm...

Regarding lemons, I have personally looked through lemons from all three of the teutonic trinity but not Kowa 883 yet. But yes, we have heard a few mixed stories about Kowa 883 on here... maybe even more than from the others... which might be related to the total numbers out there... anybody has sales figures?
In general, the few stories on the internet about good or bad examples are not enough to do a meaningful statistic with...

As a general rule, one should know how to test optics before buying a spotter and then buy in a way so you can actually test the instrument you will buy before the sale or inside a no questions asked return period. So buying online from a private party w/o a return period is a big no-no - ebay buyer protection will NOT work if the image is a bit soft at 60x...

I think that the Meopta S2 is worth a look for a very good option as are the two Nikon Fieldscope series - both the older Fieldscope ED series (best used with their great wide angle fixed EPs but only available used) and the current Nikon Monarch Fieldscope series.

Joachim
Thanks. So the Meopta is that good? The price is tempting. How are their customers service?
 

jring

Well-known member
Hi,

the Meopta examples we heard about here were great and they seem to be working hard to get their CS rep to the Swaro level of old... although no chewing toy was found yet...

Joachim
 

jring

Well-known member
Hi,

iirc it has a slightly warmer (yellowish) image rendition than the WA zoom, and is obviously not quite as wide. Also it is known for good ER, an easy view and not the quite extreme distortion of the WA zoom.

Joachim
 

Bill Atwood

Registered User
Supporter
United States
Sounds good! Is the 20-70 zoom eyepiece good?
I agree with Joachim's assessment. I wear glasses and the ER is sufficient, although I often remove them while using a scope. There is a bit of tunnel affect below 25x-30x. I'm a sucker for higher mag power and have no hesitation about cranking it up to 70x. I had a chance to compare the ATX95, 883 and S2 a few months ago and kept the S2. Optically, by which I mean resolution at far distance, the S2 was the worst of the 3, BUT the differences were so very, very slight that ergonomics played a larger role. I'd owned the ATX95 for several years but never cared for it's bulk. The S2 isn't tiny but I find it easier to deal with than the ATX.

And with all that being said, if it were easier to implement the use the 1.6x extender in the field I would probably pick the Kowa.
 

kristoffer

Used Register
I agree with Joachim's assessment. I wear glasses and the ER is sufficient, although I often remove them while using a scope. There is a bit of tunnel affect below 25x-30x. I'm a sucker for higher mag power and have no hesitation about cranking it up to 70x. I had a chance to compare the ATX95, 883 and S2 a few months ago and kept the S2. Optically, by which I mean resolution at far distance, the S2 was the worst of the 3, BUT the differences were so very, very slight that ergonomics played a larger role. I'd owned the ATX95 for several years but never cared for it's bulk. The S2 isn't tiny but I find it easier to deal with than the ATX.

And with all that being said, if it were easier to implement the use the 1.6x extender in the field I would probably pick the Kowa.
Awesome that you got the chance to do such an direct comparison. Promising that the difference wasn’t bigger than that you still decided to keep the S2. I will definitively make sure to test one.
 
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia

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