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Review of Kowa BD II 6.5x32 XD (1 Viewer)

henry link

Well-known member
Thanks Mike.

I just noticed that the AFOV of the 6.5x32 should be considerable smaller than the 10x42. I say "should be" because Kowa's spec for the 10x42 was so far off. Anyway, a smaller AFOV could also partly explain lower AMD at the field edge in the 6.5x32 because there is just less room within the field stop for a complete reversal from pincushion to barrel distortion compared the 10x42.

Henry
 

Gijs van Ginkel

Well-known member
I have made a test board to investigate the optical quality of the Kowa 6,5x32. If everything goes wel a picture of it is attached. Using this board for investigation of the binocular by eye only shows field curvature and no other aberrations. My attempts to make a photographic picture of this board as seen through the binocular failed as yet.
Gijs van Ginkel
 

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pbjosh

missing the neotropics
Switzerland
Dear all,
In the most recent revieuw of the Leica Retrovid 7x35B I have also included a review of the Kowa 6,5x32. It can be found on the web site of House of Outdoor.
Gijs van Ginkel

Great report Gijs, thank you for that, interesting reading. It makes me reflect again how it's a real shame the Retrovid doesn't have a bit better FOV (and perhaps close focus, though more critically FOV for my interests).

Apologies if this is pointed out elsewhere or if I'm misunderstanding something but I see what appears to be one small error - the Kowa is listed as not phase coated in the comparison table in your report. Kowa's literature states that it is, and it seems unlikely that it wouldn't be.

Cheers again and sorry if my comment seems pedantic.
 

pbjosh

missing the neotropics
Switzerland
It's interesting that Kowa lists conservative specs for CF of 4.25' and ER of 17mm while Gijs' measurements find CF of 3.6' and ER of 20mm.

I do not have the knowledge / ability to test ER on my individual pair of 6.5x32 BDIIXD but they appear to have much less available/usable eye relief than binoculars I own with 19-20mm stated eye relief (SF 8x42, EL 10x42), are comparable to bins I have with about 16mm of stated eye relief (MHG 8x30), and are definitely a bit better than bins I've used with 14-15mm stated eye relief (M7 8x30, Canon 12x32).

Of course eye cups and glasses effect these numbers on a personal basis, I am just relaying my experience of how hard I have to mash various bins into my glasses to get a comfortable view :)
 

Gijs van Ginkel

Well-known member
pbjosh, post 123,
You are right the Kowa is phase coated, but that is corrected in the latest version of the test report after Joachim drew my attention to the error.
Gijs van Ginkel
 

pbjosh

missing the neotropics
Switzerland
Apologies Gijs for the pedantry then - I followed the link provided above and apparently did not see the most recent version, my bad!
 

Gijs van Ginkel

Well-known member
pbjosh, post 126,
No problem, the corrected version was put 10 days or so after the error was discovered on the WEB-site of House of Outdoor.
Gijs van Ginkel
 

mbb

Well-known member
Based on the reviews here, I’m considering these for relatives who want a first pair of good binoculars and who liked e.g. my Kite Lynx HD 8x30 more than both my Zeiss Victory 8x25 or Kite 10x42 for their lower weight and easier use (larger pupil, good size, large FOV...). Thus some 8x30 are a clear option, but they also would like to share them with e.g. the (grand)kids (under they ‘supervision’ of course, not as toys...) when walking together. The larger exit pupil, huge FOV and added stability (6,5x) of these Kowa’s seem important advantages in this case, but I’m in doubt regarding the minimal IPD, being 57mm.

Would that IPD be small enough or too large for many kids? (ages 6-13)

Testing is of course is crucial, but that is not really possible with the confinement. I guess measuring their IPD themselves is also not feasible :).
I’m also mainly looking at the second hand market consideing their budget. (A new pair of Kite Lynx HD 8x30 would be too expensive, these Kowa probably also if new.)
 

mwhogue

Registered User
Supporter
Are there two different models of the Kowa 6.5x32 ? B&H list two different models one regular and one with wide field of view ? One has [email protected] the other [email protected] Help appreciated.

No difference between the two binoculars. Not sure why they have it listed twice unless it was to include the "wide angle" designation and then they didn't delete the original version of the listing. Also not sure why there is the very slight difference in the FOV listed. But they are the same bin.

Hope this helps.

Mike
 

Ries

Well-known member
I'm quite in doubt between these and the Opticron Traveller 6x32. I think that one has the advantage of its tinier size while the huge fov of this Kowa is really attractive... How is optical quality compared? Does the Opticron have a larger sweetspot than the Kowa and how about field curvature?

Compared to my usual Meopta 10x42 the size difference to this Kowa is not as attractive as to the Opticron. Usage is when hiking (so weight and size matter) where birding isn't a main objective, for scanning surroundings. And the thought is to use them in forest conditions where the larger fov could prove an advantage. And I'm starting to observe butterflies and insects as well. Also thinking of taking it when travelling by plane, with the ed50 added, to places where large distance birdwatching will be scarce.

Any helpful thoughts would be appreciated, especially on optical quality differences. That might be the deal breaker. Thanks!
 
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Ries

Well-known member
Got tempted to a Kowa :D will let you know my laymen non-technical hands-on experience when it's arrived :)
 

Ries

Well-known member
For example! You've been there? I only once biked past it, even with a night camping it's too far between train stations to thoroughly enjoy it, without a car to reach it. Should spend a long weekend or week there sometime :t:
 

Troubador

Moderator
Staff member
Supporter
For example! You've been there? I only once biked past it, even with a night camping it's too far between train stations to thoroughly enjoy it, without a car to reach it. Should spend a long weekend or week there sometime :t:

Many years ago while travelling in Netherlands on business I finished my appointments early one day and on the way to my hotel went for a walk in the reserve. I saw a Bluethroat and Roe Deer and a Red Fox saw me and we watched each other for several minutes before he walked away. The Bluethroat was my first.

Lee
 

Ries

Well-known member
I've had this one for some time now and I find it a real gem. Handling is verrry nice and especially the focus knob...it's so light! Light, without any excess resistance or "grit"...real nice.

The view is nice too. Real wide fov, easy eye placement and with remarkable ca control. Sharpness is great (at this price...) though not stellar (nikon mhg beats it, let alone meopta meostar), colour and contrast are fine. Glare/stray light control is a weakness, though no problem with normal use.

There's one thing that bugs me, it's the strap attachments. Not for handling but when I'm cycling or hiking they make the bins dangle at an angle to my chest/belly so the edge of the objectives bounce against it. Also strange is the padded strap is so wide as if it has to carry 12x56s. That can be solved but the attachments...I'm trying to get used to it because the above-price exceptional glass and featherlight handling are worth it.

These Kowas are way more than you'd expect for the price, you'd be happy with this quality from many bins a long way towards 1k worth...so definitely a recommendation for anyone looking for a small handy instrument.
 
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jremmons

Wildlife Biologist
Ries:
I tend to agree almost fully with your review. I too dislike the awkward angle of the binoculars lay about the chest. Glare/stray light control is also not ideal, but I find this an all too common problem with most 32mm and smaller binoculars (the x25 Victory Pocket being the odd exception, so far).
I still use these binoculars as my daily pair for work, and aside from the limits a 6/6.5x magnification provide, have never found them wanting, particularly relative to the price.

Justin
 

Ries

Well-known member
I kinda got to terms with that carrying angle today. Everything else indeed compensates for it. Used it on dragonflies and crickets today, they are really fantastic for that!
 

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