RFI comparison b/w Leica and Swarovski Optics

Subject: RFI comparison b/w Leica and Swarovski Optics
From: Frank O'Connor <>
Date: Sun, 17 Mar 2002 17:57:44 +0800
I replied direct to Judith, but it is probably also worth recording some of my comments for the list. I have also added some comments on tripods.

I have a Kowa TSN-823 scope with a 20-60 zoom lens. Optically it is very very good. Mechanically it has problems. The front half of the scope rotates. You can adjust, but it gets worse over time. The cover is very good, except that it can make access to the zoom adjustment difficult. The zoom adjustment is fairly coarse. So I am fairly disappointed overall.

The best scope that I have seen is the Swarovski (model 80 or whatever?). I only used it briefly but I was very impressed, but it may have problems that I didn't notice??? I would certainly recommend this over the Kowa.

I agree with Bob Forsyth about preferring a zoom. A 60x zoom can be useful on many many occasions. There are times when it is useless due to heat haze, but I find that there are many more times when the extra magnification is very useful. It can be a problem for other people as they invariably use the zoom rather than the focus even after you explain the two controls.

Another point is to make certain that you get a good tripod! It should be easy to use, easy to setup, easy to pack up. And check on the height. There is nothing worse than paying a lot for a good scope, and breaking you back by having to lean over because the tripod won't raise the scope high enough. Similarly when seawatching, the trick is to keep your profile as low as possible. So you should be able to sit on the ground and set your scope up that low also.

Don't go just by price for tripods. I used to have a Hanimex tripod that cost about $80. This was very good except when quite windy. It was also light. I have a Manfrotto 205 tripod. This had some problems with one of the tightening screws falling off. Why do they make the thread so short? However, I have now got used to the problems so this is quite a good tripod, except for the weight! Very heavy to lug around. I also agree with Bob Forsyth's comments about a matt finish (or black finish).
Frank O'Connor     Birding WA
Phone : (08) 9386 5694                Email : 

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