Re: Kowa TS-501/Z Scope

To: "Lawrie Conole" <>, "Alastair & Clare Smith" <>
Subject: Re: Kowa TS-501/Z Scope
From: "Bruce Cox" <>
Date: Wed, 28 Feb 2001 21:22:20 +1100
Hi All.


Good point I think, people often go overboard when buying scopes and end up
with a massive monster great for waders when you don't have to carry it far
but bloody hopeless when you need to carry it 10 k. to view a raptors nest
or use it for getting great views of ground birds like Gibberbird, Inland
Dotterel, Banded Whiteface and the like. I do not use my scope only for
waders and seabirds but have used it to get magnificent views of  all the
above and always take it on trips where I am miles away from waders etc. For
this you need a lighter scope/tripod combination.

I think the moral is that you need to very thoroughly think through what you
want your scope for before you pay out the money. Optical quality, if you do
not have your scope with you because it is too heavy, avails you nothing.

I do not have an ultra lightweight combination, but a medium weight choice,
sometimes I wish it was lighter!


> Alastair Smith wrote:
> >I am interested in purchasing a scope and saw in the birding-aus
> >archives that you said, 'I'll mail something of a review of the scope
> >e-mail from Birding-Aus & comments on the TS-501 at a later date.'
> >Any chance that you can give me your thoughts on the Kowa,
> >retailers and price.
> Hi Alastair
> I have been a bit busy, but this committment has been lurking at the back
> my mind!
> I've used the little TS-501/Z a few times now in the field, and I'm quite
> impressed.  It's a 50 mm, angled scope, with a 20-40x zoom.  Most hardcore
> wader watchers would sneer at the tiny little thing, but that's not what I
> bought it for.  I'm an occasional scope user, and wanted something of
> reasonable price & performance to fill that niche.  Portability was also
> issue, as I'm intending to take it on overseas trips to remote locations,
> plus carry it over distances here in Australia.  Many would say that a
> scope is too dark on an overcast day - I've not found it to be so.  Many
> would say that a zoom lens on anything other than a Swarovski or Leica is
> not worth the $$$ - I disagree.  I've found the Swarovski 20-60x zoom
> utterly useless above 40x - far too dark, blurry & vignetted to be worth
> bother.  The little Kowa 20-40x offers *useable* magnification - extra mag
> up to 60x max is worthless.  The Kowa is fantastically portable - it
> about 30% as much as my Swarovski binoculars - and it's only about 25cm
> long.  The image is remarkably sharp - particularly at 20x.  All up, I'm
> very happy with it.  I paid about $520 for it from the Birding Shop at
> Australia in Melbourne.  There may be better prices around, but not where
> could try it out against a few other brands/sizes.

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