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For birders willing to take the plunge for the very best optics at whatever cost, the top choices, in my view, are either the Kowa 883/884 or 773/774 or the Swarovski HD 80mm or 65mm scopes. Any of these top scopes will give you years of pure birding pleasure. Ken Rosenberg is director of Conservation Science at the Lab.
Kowa Pure Fluorite Crystal Flagship Model with a Large 88mm Diameter Lens
The flagship of Kowa spotting scopes with an extremely large 88mm objective lens. The enthusiasm behind Kowa’s 60 years of spotting scope development is manifested in this supreme model. Its optical performance and user friendliness leaves a satisfying impression on the user.
A Guide to Birding with Spotting Scopes
B&H assembled this Kowa TSN-884 25-60x88 PROMINAR PFC Spotting Scope Kit
to give you a complete spotting scope rig for all your glassing needs.
Normally sold separately, the kit consists of the PROMINAR PFC spotting
scope body and their wide-angle eyepiece that produces a generous zoom
range. All you need to get started is a reliable tripod or other support
The Kowa straight-viewing TSN-884 88mm PROMINAR PFC Spotting Scope
is a world-class caliber optic that redefines standards of color
brilliance, sharpness, and brightness consistency. Kowa reinvented
themselves again with the TSN-884, fastidiously examining each
technological and ergonomic detail to produce the very best all-weather
straight-viewing prismatic spotting scope.
The TSN-884 uses an
element of pure fluorite crystal (PFC) glass in its construction, which
greatly minimizes chromatic aberration. This ensures maximum efficiency
in its light gathering, producing a clear visual range and sharp imagery
that traditional glass lenses cannot attain at their highest
magnifications and with the strongest of subject/background contrast
changes. Fluorite is extremely expensive, but the subtle difference
between the viewing from the PROMINAR-equipped TSN-884 and even the very
best normal scopes would be apparent even to a novice. Kowa's use of
their patented C3 prism multi-coating process increases image brightness
significantly over their prior-generation models that featured
The 884's housing is made of a magnesium alloy that
defines maximum durability and lightweight construction, resulting in a
compact, ergonomic, and functional design for extreme nature and outdoor
enthusiasts wanting only the very best. It sets a benchmark for the
combination of large objective with small weight and mass.
straight-viewing model of Kowa's flagship line, this scope makes for an
easy time in sighting your subjects and is best suited to solo observers
or for whenever observing from an elevated position.
With premium optical elements, a broad magnification range and a wide field of view, the Kowa'sTE-11WZ 25-60x Wide Zoom Eyepiece
offers a bright, sharp, and expansive viewing experience with Kowa
TSN770 and TSN880 spotting scopes. The TE-11WZ features two XD extra-low
dispersion lenses for a sharp image with minimal aberration, and a
generous 2.4-1.3° field of view. The 17mm eye relief makes for
comfortable use even while wearing glasses, and it also makes the
TE-11WZ a good choice for digiscoping using Kowa's separately sold
dedicated camera adapters.
The TE-11WZ can also be the eyepiece
when using Kowa's TP556 Telephoto Lens as a spotting scope. With the
TP556, its magnification range is 28-66x, and its field of view is