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

Swaro/Kowa Comparisons on 65-66 mm scopes (1 Viewer)

veagle

Well-known member
I am looking for opinions on the relative merits of the Kowa TSN 663 vs. the Swarovski HD-ATS-65 scopes. I realize the Swaro seems to be the standard, and I am looking for a scope that I will not need to change in 5-10 years. I've seen some great reviews of the larger Kowa, but I guess I'm trying to decide whether the cost difference is merited. Let the fun begin!

Veagle
 

veagle

Well-known member
What did I say? Can someone tell me why no one has responded. I am seriously interested in these two scopes.
 

RJM

Don't Worry, Be Happy!
I have the Kowa TSN663 among others. It is an excellent optic and the eyepieces are pretty sweet too. I have never looked through a Swaro though.

regards,
Rick
 

henry link

Well-known member
I like the Swarovski ATS-65 HD very much, but it's now far too expensive for such a small scope. It costs more than the Nikon 82mm ED, the Zeiss 85mm Diascope or the Kowa TSN-773 and only about $200 less than the Kowa TSN-883. It just can't compete optically with much larger aperture scopes like those.
 

Mike Penfold

Well-known member
You may want to include the Zeiss 65A, with the 15-45x eyepiece. Looking through another birder's Swarovski HD 65A across Hamilton's Dundas marsh earlier this month, perhaps it was bias, but IMO the view was less bright, and with less contrast.

Eagle Optics' return policy is worth comparing.

Mike
 
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hinnark

Well-known member
I like the Swarovski ATS-65 HD very much, but it's now far too expensive for such a small scope. It costs more than the Nikon 82mm ED, the Zeiss 85mm Diascope or the Kowa TSN-773 and only about $200 less than the Kowa TSN-883. It just can't compete optically with much larger aperture scopes like those.

Henry,

quality controll is an expense factor in optics production as well as tight tolerances are. It is assumed that business economists are the people who tell what to do in companies of the optical industry. These people aren´t interested in birdwatching, starwatching or whatever. I wouldn´t be surprised if most of them aren´t intested in their own products at all. By no means I would be surprised if someone of them use their own products. I think it´s pretty conceivable they are only interested in profits and company results. From that point of view quality control is basically a cost factor. What happens if endeavor in quality controll of production is reduced? On the one hand economical benefits for the company at short notice are quite clear. On the other there is no one who can prove a lack of quality controll outside the company because no one, no consumer organisation and no tester, has a number of samples that is high enough for significance. Tempation for cutting costs by cutback on quality controll could be high for people who are interested in production costs only, couldn´t it?

Why all these words? I´ve never got the impression that Swarovski took the way described above. Of course the number of bins and scopes I could try is much too low for any statistical investigation. But I have to say that all optical gear I saw by Swarovski were remarkable free of aberrations. For example the star testing results I saw with Swarovski scopes weren´t surpassed by any other maker. So I would say they were worth the price no matter which aperture.

Steve
 

Kevin Conville

yardbirder
The Swarovski may be the ne plus ultra in a 65mm scope, I don't know.
It may be worth every penny asked for it, I don't know that either.

What I do know is that is is expensive and not that much less than their own 80mm scope, of which I would find far more tempting.

To me, 65mm scopes are OK but really neither fish, nor fowl. I currently have a 50mm scope (Nikon ED50) and an 80mm scope. The 50 is FAR superior to any 60-65mm scope for lightweight and portability, and the 80 is superior to a 60-65 for light gathering and high mag.

I think I'd start with an 80ish mm scope and get a small spotter later if you find yourself going far afield.

And Steve,
I wouldn't make any assumption about any lack of QC coming out of Kowa or the other prominent Japanese makers.
 

hinnark

Well-known member
I wouldn't make any assumption about any lack of QC coming out of Kowa or the other prominent Japanese makers.

Kevin,

I didn´t want to refer to Kowa in particular or other prominent Japanese companies but to lots of makers. In contrast, I know some reports indicating comparatively good quality in Kowa scopes. What I wanted to say is: high standards of quality in production is something hard to explain in marketing words. I really appreciate if a manufactorer just focus on pure optical quality no matter the name or the continent where the maker is. If this is the case the price is well deserved.

Steve
 
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veagle

Well-known member
The Swarovski may be the ne plus ultra in a 65mm scope, I don't know.
It may be worth every penny asked for it, I don't know that either.

What I do know is that is is expensive and not that much less than their own 80mm scope, of which I would find far more tempting.

To me, 65mm scopes are OK but really neither fish, nor fowl. I currently have a 50mm scope (Nikon ED50) and an 80mm scope. The 50 is FAR superior to any 60-65mm scope for lightweight and portability, and the 80 is superior to a 60-65 for light gathering and high mag.

I think I'd start with an 80ish mm scope and get a small spotter later if you find yourself going far afield.

I really appreciate your comments. Here in Western South Dakota, we do a lot of "car birding" along rural roads, so weight isn't that big an issue. And I would like to try some digiscoping at some point, which also would dictate a larger scope. But at the same time, I do travel, and want to be able to bring my equipment. But I am now thinking that maybe I should go with the larger scope. I was looking at the review of scopes in Living Bird, and they comment on some lack of clarity at lower magnification for the Zeiss 85, but it is certainly less than a scientific sample, so I would welcome any comments from anyone with the larger Zeiss scopes.

Again, thanks for all the comments. It took a few days before I got any comments, and I was beginning to think that I had violated some unwritten rule.

Veagle.
 

Jim M.

Choose Civility
Regarding the large Zeiss, it presents a noticeable yellowish cast when you look through it. Some people do not mind this, but I personally did not like it. I decided to go for the large Kowa instead. (Cheaper than the large Swarovski and slightly better optics). I have been very pleased with it.

In any event, I definitely recommend that you take the time to try the scopes before you purchase one.

(Incidentally, the Kowa 663 is older technology compared to the 773/883. You should not assume that all the good things people say about the latter scopes also apply to the 663 (which is not to say it is a bad scope, just not part of the new Kowa wave). If you wanted a smaller Kowa, I would definitely recommend the 773 over the 663. Several reviews have indicated that the only scope optically superior to the 773 is the 883.)

Best,
Jim
 
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greg g

Well-known member
Veagle,
I have owned Swarovski and Kowa 80/88 large scopes. Previous to purchasing the larger scopes I considered, borrowed and compared many 60-65mm scopes. IMHO the best 60-65mmscope when evaluating quality, warranty, weight and the accessories is the Swarovski 65. The money is a whole different issue and would need to be considered.
Greg
 

PhilW

Well-known member
What did I say? Can someone tell me why no one has responded. I am seriously interested in these two scopes.

It really down to personal opinion and preferences. You can read as much as you like about the relative merits of the different optics available but the best solution is try them and make your own mind up as to what suits you better!
 

passerine

Well-known member
I would second these comments - I would also not buy a scope that I hadn't looked through. When I bought my first(and so far only)scope I had a lot of positive advice from seasoned birders on this forum. I always thought it would be the Swaro HD65 but I ended up buying the Nikon ED111 angled with the 30x ep. Every Swaro I have looked through has been razor sharp with good contrast, but the Nikon matched them in these departments and was also noticeably brighter. The Nikon zoom is clearly inferior to the Swaro's and I look forward to the rumoured new zoom in order to extend my range.
The Nikon is on average £430 cheaper than the Swaro.
Regards
Jim
 

Mike Penfold

Well-known member
Veagle,

The extra magnification of the 20-60x eyepiece on the Zeiss 85 is nice looking to the far side of a sewage lagoon when it's not sunny. Reviews talk about fuzzy edges at low power, but I don't notice it, and Leica and Swarovski appear to be headed in Zeiss' direction with the enhanced FOV of their 25-55x eyepieces.

On the Zeiss 65 the FOV of the 15-45x zoom at 15x is 169' at 1000 yards -- appreciably better than Leica and Swarovski's new zooms, and more significant when converted to field area.

The weight of the Nikon ED50 is really attractive, but what sticks in my mind is looking through one of these in southwestern Costa Rica at a perched raptor at a reasonable distance, and not having the magnification to tell whether it was a Broad-winged Hawk or a Double-toothed Kite.

Mike
 

Hermann

Well-known member
The weight of the Nikon ED50 is really attractive, but what sticks in my mind is looking through one of these in southwestern Costa Rica at a perched raptor at a reasonable distance, and not having the magnification to tell whether it was a Broad-winged Hawk or a Double-toothed Kite.

I personally prefer smaller scopes, but I would never go on a long birding trip with the ED50. The lack of high magnifications does it for me. I think of it as a specialized scope for trips where I've got to keep the weight down at any cost. It does a beautiful job on such trips, but I always feel kind of "naked" without the larger magnifications.

My personal preference is the Nikon EDIIIA with the zoom and a wideangle. The optics are *very* good, it's durable and the zoom allows for 60x magnification. Sure, the zoom is pretty narrow by today's standards, but the optical quality is excellent.

Hermann
 

lucznik

Inspector Gadget
To me, 65mm scopes are OK but really neither fish, nor fowl. I currently have a 50mm scope (Nikon ED50) and an 80mm scope. The 50 is FAR superior to any 60-65mm scope for lightweight and portability, and the 80 is superior to a 60-65 for light gathering and high mag.

I think I'd start with an 80ish mm scope and get a small spotter later if you find yourself going far afield.

I have come to this very same conclusion for my scope needs. Thus I ended up with both a 50mm and an 80mm scope as well.

When I travel or must walk any great distance, the small scope goes.

When I'm vehicle-bound or at least don't have to carry a bunch of other gear with me, the 80mm scope gets the nod.
 

kristoffer

Used Register
I just love my swaro 65hd with zoom, never feel that i wanted to swap to some other scope. Perfect mix of performance and size.
 

Jim M.

Choose Civility
The Swaro 65 is a very attractive package (though they are, at least on a relative basis, more expensive in the U.S. than in Europe), as is the Nikon ED 50. But personally, my experience is that with the newer (and lighter) large scopes, weight is really not that much of an issue. Coupled with a light weight carbon fiber tripod and light weight head (about 5 pounds total), I find I can carry my Kowa 883 (4 pounds) pretty much all day without discomfort. I have never had the inclination or thought of purchasing a smaller scope for any purpose.

If you want something intermediate between the Swaro 65 and a Kowa 883, the Kowa 773 is a very attractive option (several ounces lighter than the 883, but almost as good optically), and probably somewhat underappreciated.

Best,
Jim
 

lucznik

Inspector Gadget
Coupled with a light weight carbon fiber tripod and light weight head (about 5 pounds total), I find I can carry my Kowa 883 (4 pounds) pretty much all day without discomfort. I have never had the inclination or thought of purchasing a smaller scope for any purpose.

I would be lying if I said that weight wasn't an issue. It most definitely is. But, beyond just weight there is the issue of bulk. My 80mm Elite coupled with an appropriate tripod would take up more than 1/2 the space in my backpack, leaving precious little space for 3 - 5 days' worth of food, clothing, and gear.
 
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 Colombia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Colombia
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