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Worth looking at the Kowa 883 as a replacement to my Nikon ED82? (1 Viewer)

b-lilja

Well-known member
Hi all,

I love my ED82, but having looked through the top of the line Swaro once I know it can be bettered (though a bit hard to imagine). I have been considering giving my Nikon to a friend and now of course that has me thinking about options. I've always been intrigued by the Kowa and don't want to spend more than its cost, meaning no to the Swaro. I have seen older threads on this and don't know if the 883 has been improved since its release. What are folks thoughts on this? The Nikon is definitely a killer used deal, I spend something like $650 for mine all in, do folks think it's worth me taking the time to track down/check out the Kowa?

Thanks!
 

mayoayo

Well-known member
It depends...The main drawback with Nikon fieldscopes, I think even die-hard fans agree,Is their Zoom eyepieces. The lack of a more comfortable zoom, with a bit more eye relief and ,definitely, an improved FOV. ..This is the selling point of most of the new models ..Wide field zooms..The now old new swaro 25-50 wide zoom can refresh older swaro bodies,even if they lack the modularity of the last models.Even my old Kowa 823 got some new life with the Baader Hyperion zoom attached.But Fieldscopes dont get that,and in spite of their nice fixed wide eyepieces,still feel compromised in some way for this fact..If the zoom works for You,or you ar happy with a couple of wide fixed eyepieces,the price you paid is just ..what..a fourth? ..of what you are going to pay for the Kowa with the wide zoom ,and perhaps the useful 1.6x extender.
No one here would know if its worth better than You..If you are asking you might have already felt the need to revive your kit..If You can afford to do it now,then might be the best time to do it...but since you mentioned the new swaros and you dont mind buying used..Dont you think the 65 Atx would be a good complement to your ED82?..It might be cheaper than the fully equipped Kowa 88 and keeps the door open to more future upgrades...
 
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Hermann

Well-known member
The main drawback with Nikon fieldscopes, I think even die-hard fans agree,Is their Zoom eyepieces. The lack of a more comfortable zoom, with a bit more eye relief and ,definitely, an improved FOV. ..This is the selling point of most of the new models ..Wide field zooms..The now old new swaro 25-50 wide zoom can refresh older swaro bodies,even if they lack the modularity of the last models.<snip> But Fieldscopes dont get that,and in spite of their nice fixed wide eyepieces,still feel compromised in some way for this fact..
The zoom is definitely the major drawback of the Fieldscopes. However, it offers more magnification than the modern wide zooms, and that can be pretty important in some situations, especially when used on the ED82. I nowadays tend to use wideangles most of the time, and when the need arises I switch to the zoom.

Hermann
 

mayoayo

Well-known member
Yes Hermann, I agree..but dont forget that Kowa and Swaro offer 1.6x extenders to their wide zooms.. And then we have some scopes ,like the Meopta, a model that doesnt stop getting good reviews, that offers both options..A wide field and a high power zooms..
 

b-lilja

Well-known member
I'm less concerned with the zoom topic, and more focused on the actual image. Is it a better view with the Swaro or Kowa?
 

BoldenEagle

Well-known member
I'm less concerned with the zoom topic, and more focused on the actual image. Is it a better view with the Swaro or Kowa?
Hi,

The first scope I ever had was Nikon Fieldscope ED82, now I have Kowa 883. I agree everything that mayoayo and Hermann already wrote about it, allthough the sample I had, wasn't very good (but that can happen no matter of the manufacturer).

Compared to Fieldscope82, with Kowa you can have brighter view, allthough the difference might not be dramatic.

With Swarovski Atx95 the difference will be really clear.

Both offer very good contrast and edge clarity, Atx maybe more so.

Also, if you have preference for particular focussing system, it might be worth to consider if Kowa's focussing fits your needs (since Atx has helical focus ring as your Nikon).

Beyond that, it's a matter of getting a good sample. If you already have a good sample of Fieldscope82 and will pick a bad sample of Kowa or Swarovski, I dont think you will gain that much actually. So test the sample before you buy.

Juhani
 

Alexis Powell

Natural history enthusiast
United States
I agree with all the advice above. I have a Nikon 78ED and 82ED as well as the Kowa 884 with wide zoom and 1.6x booster.

For zoom use, and generally for convenience of use when working at high powers, as when I am trying to take diagnostic digiscope photos of head patterns of distant basking turtles (for my research), the Kowa is stupendous and nicer to use than the Nikon, with advantages of the wide zoom for finding target, bigger aperture for brightness, easier fine focus at high power, and higher maximum magnification when the 1.6x booster is used (I leave it on permanently for the turtle work, for which the 40x-96x range is perfect). But for 95+% of my birding needs, a 30x wide fixed eyepiece does the job and gives the nicest view, so I still use my Nikon 78ED or 82ED for that, with advantages of slightly smaller size and super robust build. In particular, I find the 78ED to be the perfect knock-about big-but-small-everyday-birding scope. I only wish it were more waterproof, and an extendable hood like that on the 82ED would be nice, though lack of hood keeps things simple. I have it wrapped in McNett camoform and put the case on for transport, whether on or off tripod.

--AP
 
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YYguy

Member
Supporter
Sweden
I agree with all the advice above. I have a Nikon 78ED and 82ED as well as the Kowa 884 with wide zoom and 1.6x booster.

For zoom use, and generally for convenience of use when working at high powers, as when I am trying to take diagnostic digiscope photos of head patterns of distant basking turtles (for my research), the Kowa is stupendous and nicer to use than the Nikon, with advantages of the wide zoom for finding target, bigger aperture for brightness, easier fine focus at high power, and higher maximum magnification when the 1.6x booster is used (I leave it on permanently for the turtle work, for which the 40x-96x range is perfect). But for 95+% of my birding needs, a 30x wide fixed eyepiece does the job and gives the nicest view, so I still use my Nikon 78ED or 82ED for that, with advantages of slightly smaller size and super robust build. In particular, I find the 78ED to be the perfect knock-about big-but-small-everyday-birding scope. I only wish it were more waterproof, and an extendable hood like that on the 82ED would be nice, though lack of hood keeps things simple. I have it wrapped in McNett camoform and put the case on for transport, whether on or off tripod.

--AP
Alexis, I had settled on the Nikon 82ED until I learned about the marginal eye relief for eyeglass wearers. Are the older Nikon models like the 78Ed better in that regard? Thanks, Mark
 

raggydan

Member
Alexis, I had settled on the Nikon 82ED until I learned about the marginal eye relief for eyeglass wearers. Are the older Nikon models like the 78Ed better in that regard? Thanks, Mark
I've just moved from Swaro ATS 65 to the Kowa 883. Benefits are brighter image( to be expected with the larger lense). Razor sharp all the way to the edge, no CA that I could find. Had my misgivings about the smaller focus rings having been used to the Swaro system but I shouldn't have worried. I got used to it the first day of use and I do like the smaller fine tune dial. The standard case is ok but I can see myself investing in the neoprene version.
I had concerns once I'd ordered the new scope and had sold my Swaro but now having used it in the field, extremely happy that I did.
 

jring

Well-known member
Alexis, I had settled on the Nikon 82ED until I learned about the marginal eye relief for eyeglass wearers. Are the older Nikon models like the 78Ed better in that regard? Thanks, Mark

Hi,

the marginal eye relief (and quite narrow field) is only a thing on the zoom EPs for the classic Nikon fieldscope series (so not EDG and not Monarch).
The fixed mag wide angle EPs for this series have usable eye relief and of course a nice wide field - those are warmly recommended with any body of the classic fieldscope series.

Joachim
 

YYguy

Member
Supporter
Sweden
Hi,

the marginal eye relief (and quite narrow field) is only a thing on the zoom EPs for the classic Nikon fieldscope series (so not EDG and not Monarch).
The fixed mag wide angle EPs for this series have usable eye relief and of course a nice wide field - those are warmly recommended with any body of the classic fieldscope series.

Joachim
Thanks Joachim. For the newer Monarch 82ED the published eye relief for the 30-60W eyepiece is 15.2 - 14.2mm. This seems just at the margin for eyeglass wearers like myself but I haven’t seen any comments about it so perhaps I’m misinterpreting. /mark
 

Kevin Conville

yardbirder
Several of the responses are right on IMO.
If you are not concerned with using a zoom I can't imagine much to complain about with the Nikon. If you have seen a demonstrable difference between your Fieldscope and any other maker's scope (with similar eyepieces) then maybe your copy of the Nikon may not be the best. Do a star test.
In my one of one experience with a new Kowa 883, it was a dud. Again that ever present "sample variation" comes to mind.
I went with Kowa for the wide zoom EP but stayed with the Nikon for image quality.

The 30x on the Nikon, for general birding works a treat IMO.

If I were "jonesing" for another scope with a wide zoom, my first choice would be the Nikon Monarch 82ED with the accessory wide zoom.
 

Bobgaffer

Member
I'm less concerned with the zoom topic, and more focused on the actual image. Is it a better view with the Swaro or Kowa?
I was able to look through both the Kowa 883 and the Swarovski atx 85 pretty much side by side. It was close to mid day so can't comment on low light capabilities. The Kowa held its own against the swarovski until you zoomed in. On the longer end of the zoom the Kowa was noticeably darker. That said I was extremely impressed with the optics of the Kowa on the wider ends of the zoom. I wound up getting a great deal on a swarovski STX 95 so went with that. Picked up a 1.7 extender as well and was really impressed with optical clarity.

In summation the swarovski atx/STX noses out the Kowa but not by much, particularly on the wider end of the zoom
 
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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