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Swarovski ATS 65HD vs Leica APO 65 vs Kowa 773 (1 Viewer)

antoine22

Well-known member
Switzerland
Hi,
I recently acquired a great pair of binoculars.

Now I need a spotting scope, so I did some research and according to my birding style (I carry my binoculars + camera + telephoto lense) I would like something not too heavy or bulky. So I did some research and initially I thought that the Kowa 773 would be the best for me, but after a bit of thinking, I found 2 others that look interesting.

  • ATS 65HD with 25-50w
  • Leica Televid APO 65 with 25-50w (I can get a good deal on this one)
  • Kowa 773 with 25-60w

What do you think about them ?
 
I have little experience, but have been doing my research on scopes for a bit to buy. From what I've heard, you cannot go wrong with any of the three, however my pick would be the kowa 773 of just those 3. It's super light too, and I wouldn't compromise on the larger objective (both for reach and shadow views).

If you can get the bigger lens and lug it around, get it. I've never heard of anyone be unsatisfied with that scope!
 
Why not the ATC 56?
Because you only buy such a small scope if you really need the small size. Size matters with scopes. A lot. And the difference between, say, a 50mm scope and a 60mm scope of equal quality is definitely visible in the field. Even at lowish magnifications.

BTW, of the scopes the OP listed I'd probably get the ATS 65HD.

Hermann
 
Well, if you like to travel lightweight and want the possibility to use a scope handheld, then the STC 17-40x56 is really interesting. I really like it. Just stuff it in my backpack together with my lightweight tripod. You hardly feel it.
And yes, no possibility for 41 power or more. Probably not the best scope for twilight and on windy days either.
 
Well, if you like to travel lightweight and want the possibility to use a scope handheld, then the STC 17-40x56 is really interesting. I really like it. Just stuff it in my backpack together with my lightweight tripod. You hardly feel it.
Why shouldn't you like it, if it suits your purposes? However, if you believe you can use it handheld and get some real benefits from that, you're sadly mistaken. With a 15x60 binocular (which is easier to use handheld than a scope) you get something like ~7x effective magnfication when you use it handheld. Not a lot, really. There are several empirical studies that show this quite clearly, such as
  • Brunnckow, K., E. Reeger & H. Siedentopf: Über die Leistung von Feldstechern im Tagessehen. In: Zeitschrift f. Instrumentenkunde 64, 1944, p. 86-89
  • Hohmann, Chr. & J. Nolting: Viel hilft viel? Eine Untersuchung zur Leistung von Ferngläser beim Tagessehen. Deutsche Optikerzeitung 2/2002, p. 40-43
  • Vukobratovich, D.: Binocular Performance and Design. In: Proc. of SPIE Vol. 1168, Current Developments in Optical Engineering and Commercial Optics, ed. R.E. Fischer, H.M Pallicove & W.J Smith, 1989, p. 338-351
  • Yoder, P.R. & D. Vukobratovich: Field Guide to Binoculars and Scopes: Spie Fieldguides Volume 19, p.53.
Even with a small scope you always need some support, like a tree or rock, or indeed a monopod or tripod. In fact, longer scopes actually work better than short ones if you want to use some natural support. What you can do is try to get a glimpse of some details on a bird to check an ID. But that's about it.

And everyone who believes he/she can use a scope handheld because he/she has got "steady hands" is sadly mistaken, I'm afraid. Hand and body movement is normal, it only stops when you're dead. Just try using a scope handheld, look at a resolution chart, and make a comparison of how much you actually see handheld vs. the scope on a monopod vs. the scope on a tripod.

Hermann
 
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Why not the ATC 56?
Because I have the impression that 65 spotting scopes are like 32mm binoculars: light, excellent performance without making too many sacrifices and that spotting scopes below 65mm are like compact binoculars where there are compromises to be made whether on FoV, eye relief and so on
 
Good morning,

Allow me a word of contribution. I would have thought the ATC 56 comparable to the ATS 65 thanks to the good optical quality of the ATC (except at the end of the day). What do you think?

I was able to read when ATC was released that it was comparable to the Leica APO 62.

I’m not an expert (I ask myself the same questions but I look for mobility on foot or bike).
If you have a good price on the APO 65 and no mobility criteria, the Leica is interesting.

Have a good day
 
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Allow me a word of contribution. I would have thought the ATC 56 comparable to the ATS 65 thanks to the good optical quality of the ATC (except at the end of the day). What do you think?
Well, with scopes size matters. A lot. The ATS 65 is one of the best 60/65mm scopes on the market, if not the best. I don't doubt the ATC 56 is an excellent scope as well, but even then the bigger objective lens of the ATS 65 will "win". The ATC is a scope I'd buy if the size and weight of the scope is of paramount importance.

Hermann
 
I have no experience with the ATC but its price is higher than a 65mm second hand spotting scope so my choice was quickly made
Moreover, I find this ATC toy-like whereas the spotting scopes mentioned above look very solid and robust
 
..., but I am about to buy a televid 65 for a good price
Do test the fine and coarse focus wheels thoroughly and make sure both are smooth to operate when they arrive. Glass quality should be excellent. I tried a demo 82 televid at a local leica shop a few days ago and found the fine focus wheel somewhat stiff and the coarse focus extremely stiff. Not what I was expecting actually, and to make the experience worse, it was mounted on a wobbly peak design travel tripod with a ridiculously thin central column.
 

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