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Where's the Love- Kowa Genesis vs The Rest $1000 Bins (3 Viewers)

w.travis

Well-known member
United States
Why doesn't Kowa Genesis get mentioned more often in the best options for the $1000 range of 8x42 and 10x42 formats? Yes, technically they are slightly out of that format (8.5x44 and 10.5x44).

It seems the top 2 mentioned/recommended are usually Zeiss Conquest HD and Nikon MHG. Others that get mentioned regularly are Meopta Meostar, Opticron Aurora, Leica Tinovid, GPO Passion, Vortex Razor, and even Tract Toric which costs significantly less. But, usually no mention at all or very little mention of the Kowa Genesis.

However, the times I have read where the Genesis is recommended, it is often described to have just as good or even BETTER optical performance than the others.

So what's the deal, why isn't the Kowa Genesis one of the main bins in discussion at the $1000 price point like all the others mentioned above:
Because it's slightly more expensive?
Because it isn't as good?
Because less people have tried them?
Not as cool?

Genuinely curious here.
 
The Kowa's are more than $1,000. I know we suggest these 2 options regularly

I've seen them new for $999 so, I'm not sure price would be the main or only reason they don't get recommended more. Yet, that probably does play a role when they are listed for $1200 range
 
Kowa scopes have a reputation for inconsistent quality control, at least compared to Swarovski, so that may be rubbing off on the binoculars. But more simply, they don't have the brand mystique of Swarovski, Zeiss or Leica. Meopta is also in the same situation.
 
Why doesn't Kowa Genesis get mentioned more often in the best options for the $1000 range of 8x42 and 10x42 formats? Yes, technically they are slightly out of that format (8.5x44 and 10.5x44).

It seems the top 2 mentioned/recommended are usually Zeiss Conquest HD and Nikon MHG. Others that get mentioned regularly are Meopta Meostar, Opticron Aurora, Leica Tinovid, GPO Passion, Vortex Razor, and even Tract Toric which costs significantly less. But, usually no mention at all or very little mention of the Kowa Genesis.

However, the times I have read where the Genesis is recommended, it is often described to have just as good or even BETTER optical performance than the others.

So what's the deal, why isn't the Kowa Genesis one of the main bins in discussion at the $1000 price point like all the others mentioned above:
Because it's slightly more expensive?
Because it isn't as good?
Because less people have tried them?
Not as cool?

Genuinely curious here.
It is sometimes difficult to explain why a certain instrument is not as popular as others, even if performance wise it would rank equal.

I agree that the Genesis is a fine binocular, and I rated it highly in a comparative review that I did many years ago on a German optics forum. See also

Canip
 
I didn't choose the Genesis 8.5s because of the narrow field of view, weight/heft/bulk, ergonomics and price. I think I feel too strongly about it :), that I shy away from recommending it. Kowa's colors are gorgeous though - I did consider the 8x33 for a while, but ultimately went with another manufacturer's x42. I wonder about the opinions of others who have tried it.
 
Of the other competitors mentioned I have tried only the Razor 10x42 HD which is an excellent all around bin IMO as well as small and light for the format. I did not have a chance to compare it directly to my Genesis 10.5 x 44. I take the 10.5 to the beach regularly for it's standout performance in harsh lighting conditions. I briefly tried the 8.5x44 as well. Drawbacks of both include they are nearly the size and weight of most other 50mm bins and ER seems slightly less than listed. As others mention FoV lags a bit as well. Based on photos and specs the 33 mm models likewise seem large and heavy for the class. Otherwise and overall very good for the price.

Mike
 
Why doesn't Kowa Genesis get mentioned more often in the best options for the $1000 range of 8x42 and 10x42 formats? Yes, technically they are slightly out of that format (8.5x44 and 10.5x44).

It seems the top 2 mentioned/recommended are usually Zeiss Conquest HD and Nikon MHG. Others that get mentioned regularly are Meopta Meostar, Opticron Aurora, Leica Tinovid, GPO Passion, Vortex Razor, and even Tract Toric which costs significantly less. But, usually no mention at all or very little mention of the Kowa Genesis.

However, the times I have read where the Genesis is recommended, it is often described to have just as good or even BETTER optical performance than the others.

So what's the deal, why isn't the Kowa Genesis one of the main bins in discussion at the $1000 price point like all the others mentioned above:
Because it's slightly more expensive?
Because it isn't as good?
Because less people have tried them?
Not as cool?

Genuinely curious here.
I do believe that these Genesis come up all the time when somebody is asking what is a good choice in the $1000 price range, I know that I have suggested it every time the question has come up. I have tried and compared almost everyone of the above mentioned in side by side comparisons except the meopta.

All of them are about the same in optical quality give or take in one area or another. The build quality might be the area where there is more division than the optics. The Kowa has without question the best CA correction than all the others. The MHG and the Razor have the largest FOV, the GPO is almost an optical clone to the Zeiss Conquest, but it and the Trinovid HD are probably the best built. The Genesis especially in the 44 mm models are substantially heavier than most , if not all of the other 42’s.

This is not going to come to which one is better than the other, it’s going to come down , to which one fits you the best.

Paul
 
Kowa scopes have a reputation for inconsistent quality control, at least compared to Swarovski, so that may be rubbing off on the binoculars.
I don't think that is entirely true.
Admittedly there has been some disappointment with the Kowa 99 where samples have exhibited spherical aberration, but that would appear to be a design isuue.
It's difficult to make a big "fast" focal ratio scope and, AFAIK, no-one has yet found a really good Swarovski 115 objective module.
Back in 2007/2008 Twentse Vogelwerkgroep tested several samples of Zeiss Diascope 85s and Kowa 883s. Kowa's consistency then was better than Zeiss'.
The Kowa 883/884 were always cheaper than the ATX/STX 85 but the good reputation and popularity of their scopes has prompted Kowa to use a minor facelift to bring their prices into line with Swarovski's.

John
 
I have read differing reports on these, some saying they are the equal to alphas, some saying they are good, but small sweet spot, unsharp edges.
Other people don't mention this, so maybe there is some discrepencies.
I tried some in a shop, and thought they were good, but they didn't really float my boat..... nothing particularly standout, but also nothing bad.
 
I tried them. I didn't like them as they have so many 'niggles' it all snowballed I to a fast and abrupt rejection.

Weight and far forwards centre of gravity, eye relief, feel in the hand, low eye relief, small field of view and weird as hell sweet spot. Unequal and misshapen in BOTH PAIRS I tested.

Thanks for the view, but no thanks.
 
It is sometimes difficult to explain why a certain instrument is not as popular as others, even if performance wise it would rank equal.
That's a good point. I do think one of the reasons I don't see them being considered as much is they simply are not as popular, regardless of performance.


I take the 10.5 to the beach regularly for it's standout performance in harsh lighting conditions.
Mike
The beach sounds like the habitat they are well suited for.


I do believe that these Genesis come up all the time when somebody is asking what is a good choice in the $1000 price range, I know that I have suggested it every time the question has come up. I have tried and compared almost everyone of the above mentioned in side by side comparisons except the meopta.
I do see you bring the Genesis into discussion on other threads. I've read the Meostar is also better than all the others with CA control, wonder which of the 2 wins out there.


I tried them. I didn't like them as they have so many 'niggles' it all snowballed I to a fast and abrupt rejection.

Weight and far forwards centre of gravity, eye relief, feel in the hand, low eye relief, small field of view and weird as hell sweet spot. Unequal and misshapen in BOTH PAIRS I tested.

Thanks for the view, but no thanks.

I've heard of narrow sweet spots, but can you expound on "weird as hell sweet spot"? lol. In all seriousness what do you mean?

And what was unequal and misshapen?
 
I tried 2 pairs of 8.5s. Each tube had a different sized (and shaped) sweet spot.

I just shook my head and said no thanks.
 
I don't think that is entirely true.
Admittedly there has been some disappointment with the Kowa 99 where samples have exhibited spherical aberration, but that would appear to be a design isuue.
It's difficult to make a big "fast" focal ratio scope and, AFAIK, no-one has yet found a really good Swarovski 115 objective module.
Back in 2007/2008 Twentse Vogelwerkgroep tested several samples of Zeiss Diascope 85s and Kowa 883s. Kowa's consistency then was better than Zeiss'.
The Kowa 883/884 were always cheaper than the ATX/STX 85 but the good reputation and popularity of their scopes has prompted Kowa to use a minor facelift to bring their prices into line with Swarovski's.

John
Yeah, the couple 99As I tried definitely fell off above 60x.

On the other hand I've no hesitation about cranking the 66A I just received to 60x.
 
Certainly my own experience of Kowa's Genesis line is one of variation between copies. My 8.5x44 was purchased after rejecting the first four I was offered, but is a gem and absolutely spot on optically and mechanically. I am currently trying to procure an 8x33, have already rejected two (as well as a used copy) myself and the dealer I'm purchasing through called me yesterday morning to say that the third copy had arrived and that he was immediately rejecting it on my behalf (this particular one had an unacceptably stiff focus movement).

I'm a huge fan of these binoculars and know how good they can be, but finding a perfect copy has proved to be a bit of a mission. 100% worth the effort though.

My 'copy variation' experiences with Meopta have been similar, but again, 100% worth the time and effort to find a perfect one.

With that all said, I'm probably just overly fussy...😉😇
 
+1 for seeing quite a lot of sample variation on the Genesis. I've only tried multiples the 8x33 as it's the only one that interests me but I'm on one good one out of 3 - I would have bought that one but my better half wasn't keen....
 

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