Will, PLEASE Correct me if I am wrong but from what I have read you are quite new to this "birding" lark ! The lure of wanting what you read sometimes out ways the actual need itself. (green grass over the fence etc). Optics and birding are a compromise , never will you really find a "Holy Grail" that excels in all you need. Notice I say NEED not WANT !
We now live in this digital world where that super duper TV (sorry multi media screen) you have in your home conditions one self to acquire views like that TV screen gives you. Digital camera push the format to get sharper, cleaner, blemish free pictures that any character left in the photo has vanished.
Modern Scopes are akin to this trend, they strive to give the viewer a sharper, cleaner blemish free image worthy of capturing it on o' yes a Digital Camera be it Camera or Phone. Kowa especially prides itself on this and rightly so it has put a lot into combining taking pictures with and looking through their scopes. A bigger front end gives more light so helps perfectly with capturing pictures. Swarovski too do this, I saw recently two photographers not with large white lenses but STX 115 straight coupled with very high end Digital cameras. They said they use nothing else.
The point I am trying to make is, DO YOU NEED THAT SIZE OF SCOPE. The weight to carry, the usage on shimmering days (summer & winter), the cost £3000+ of vulnerability in dodgy areas and the "TOP OF THE RANGE" is only the "TOP" until a better one appears.
I love Kowa Scopes, I have three, 823m Baaader IV + 30 w, 663 30w + EXT, (grey) & 553 (an investment for my very old age). Nothing I have looked through would make me want to change, not because they are not better they obviously are- they are newer, better R&D, up to date, materials used etc.
As I have said before they are "tools not jewels" they do the job well and newer is not necessarily better when it comes to out in the field usage.
I can choose which to use for specific days ie topography, weather (haze especially) , habitat, distance carrying, species looking at etc etc.
They are all top glass in their time, old but faithful.
New top end glass is in my option not only designed for looking through but NOW has to accommodate digital picture taking.
DO YOU NEED THAT, if it is great go for it, if not look a little "left field" (as our US cousins say) there are plenty of good honest older top end scopes around that would not let you down.
Remember, what is out there now has not changed since the Kowa 823m was a top dog; only what we have been told to expect how we see what is out there now is the change.