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light weight spotting scope (1 Viewer)

Hi,
I am looking for a light, portable but hight quality spotting scope that can be put, together with a tripod, in the backpack. it wouldn't be my main spotting scope, as I already own a Swarovski BTX 85, but it needs too much space in my backpack, and its tripod is too bulky to imagine carrying it around on my e-MTB tours. I saw that Kowa has, among its products, two spotting that could be interesting for me: TSN 601 and TSN 663-M, to be coupled with the 30x wide TSE-14WD eyepiece. I have seen that the TSN 663-M costs about twice as much as its little brother TSN 601. I would like to know, from someone who has tried both of them, if the difference in sharpness and chromatic aberration between the two is relevant and if the difference price is actually justified by better performance. Also, is the eye relief of the TSE-14WD eyepiece appropriate for a spectacle wearer?

Thank you.

Andrea
 

Richard D

what was that...
Supporter
United Kingdom
I've only used the TSN-601 with a 30mm eyepiece and eye relief won't be a problem. Decent scope for the price.
If you're after compact, also think about the Nikon ED50 with a 27 or 20w eyepiece - optically I felt it outclassed the very decent Kowa.
 

jring

Well-known member
Hi Andrea,

a used Kowa 613 with the 30 wide will give you the low weight of the 601 and the ED glass of the 663... On mine I have the 1.6x extender for 48x which works nicely too. The 20-60 zoom is also nice and sharp at 60x but of course it needs very good light and if you crank down the magnification it gets quite narrow.

Joachim
 

BoldenEagle

Well-known member
Finland
I have Kowa TSN 601 and TSE-14WD eyepiece which I use beside my TSN 883 as a lighter travel scope. I have never used TSN 663 so I can't comment on that.

TSE-14WD has lots of eye relief; I need plenty and few eyepiece can deliver enough, but with this eyepiece I even have to lift the eyecup to get the best view. So I think it's very suitable for anyone using glasses. It's very wide and pleasant to look through.

TSN 601 scope's biggest problem is in my opinion the longitudinal chromatic aberration, which can be seen also with TSE-14WD @30x. My sample has some spherical aberration but it still has quite decent sharpness. So if you get a good sample it's quite good combination but as Richard D already suggested above, Nikon ED50 + 27x wide eyepiece may be even a better option.

There is considerably sample variation among spotting scopes regarding optical aberrations and in bad cases they may show already with low magnifications. Maybe with Nikon, one might expect better chance to get a good individual.

Regards, Juhani
 

Mike Crawley

Emeritus President at Burnage Rugby Club
Supporter
England
Be sure that you're aware of the potential shortcomings of this scope before you take the plunge. Try searching recent threads for more info.

RB

I changed a Nikon ED50 for an Opticron MM4 50mm (subsequently swapped up to an MM4 60mm)
For me, the advantages of the MM4 50mm were obvious.

I would recommend trying both before you buy.
 

lmans66

Out Birding....
Supporter
United States
I changed a Nikon ED50 for an Opticron MM4 50mm (subsequently swapped up to an MM4 60mm)
For me, the advantages of the MM4 50mm were obvious.

I would recommend trying both before you buy.
I was going to suggest the Opticron Traveler MM scopes.... real nice, real light...not large. Might compliment your Swaro well, jim
 

Richard D

what was that...
Supporter
United Kingdom
Definitely worth considering the Opticron MMs. When I bought my ED50 the ED50 was the clear winner against the MM2's optics, but that was over 10 years back and I've not looked at the newer Opticrons, things may have moved on. Most people find fixed eyepieces on smaller scopes better with the small objective, but if you're after range rather than best brightness and resolution zooms are available. Obviously these small lightweight scopes aren't as robust as their bigger brethren so do invest in a decently padded camera bag - IMO the stay on cases don't offer enough protection.
 

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