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Swarovski ATX 85mm and Kowa 25-60X88 QUick Notes

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/23/2013 at 22:45
Bitterroot Bulls View Drop Down
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I evaluated these two spotters recently, and here are some thoughts from a hunting point of view:

Swarovski ATX and 85mm module:

This spotter is chunky and heavier than its predecessor, but a little shorter.  Build quality is typical Swarovski tank-like fully rubber armored precision.  The modular eyepiece with "Swarovision" field flattener yields a very impressive wide field of view with very little distortion (very slight pincushion).  Low amounts of Chromatic Aberration (CA) fringing is seen at the edge, but invisible in the center of the field.  Brightness and apparent sharpness is outstanding.  Contrast is also excellent, and provides a vibrant, saturated field of view.  Originally I thought the modular concept was a little gimmicky, but after use I see the benefits, and appreciate how the backpack hunter can "halve" the scope for packing, and choose a suitable objective module for the task at hand, while maintaining a familiar control set and digiscoping accessories.

Kowa 884 w/ Prominar 25-60 WA eyepiece:

The view is almost identical to the Swarovski's except in a few areas.  The Kowa controls CA BETTER than the Swarovski.  In fact it is practically INVISIBLE throughout the FOV, even at the edge.  When I isolated extremely high contrast targets I could see a razor thin fringe, but that was it.  The FOV was almost identical, but the Kowa gave a couple extra feet at a thousand yards if you put your eye deeper in the relief.  The Kowa's build quality is also quite precise and robust, but it is more traditional, and lacks rubber armoring.

I tested these scopes on an Edmund Optics resolution chart, and found I could resolve the exact same element on the chart with both scopes, providing a draw in resolution.  In the end, the Kowa was the slight winner on pure optical performance, just edging the ATX on CA control at the edge, but I favored the ATX as a field scope, given its rubber armored build and modular design.

No doubt these are the two finest 85mm class spotters currently available, but they are also quite expensive at around $3000 for the Kowa w/ eyepiece, and $3800 for the ATX w/ 85mm module.

Note:  Given the 85mm module overcame its 3mm objective disadvantage in resolution testing, I would expect the 95mm module to outresolve the Kowa, given its aperture advantage, but this is speculation.

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/24/2013 at 08:32
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Is the Kowa WA eyepiece worth the upgrade over the TZ10 20-60x standard zoom?  
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/24/2013 at 10:22
Bitterroot Bulls View Drop Down
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Originally posted by JGRaider JGRaider wrote:

Is the Kowa WA eyepiece worth the upgrade over the TZ10 20-60x standard zoom?  



Without a doubt, yes. Especially since Kowa didn't pump up the price ridiculously over the previous zoom. I don't know about current availablity though.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/24/2013 at 10:35
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Originally posted by Bitterroot Bulls Bitterroot Bulls wrote:

Originally posted by JGRaider JGRaider wrote:

Is the Kowa WA eyepiece worth the upgrade over the TZ10 20-60x standard zoom?  



Without a doubt, yes. Especially since Kowa didn't pump up the price ridiculously over the previous zoom. I don't know about current availablity though.


They are available now.

Big Grin
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