So I bought this scope and field tested it today with a Swarovski ATM 80HD with the 20-60 zoom and found some surprising results that I wondered if anyone else has had.
First bird of the day was a roosting Barn Owl seen from a blind. The Kowa was clear, bright and had an overall much better image than the Swarovski.
2nd/3rd Birds were Ruddy Ducks and Greater Scaup on a pond with very over cast skies. Again the Kowa had a bright and clear image that appeared clearly better than the Swarovski. My friend, that looked through both scopes and was the owner of the Swarovski said after the Barn Owl and ducks that he guesses that he needs to buy a new scope. There was really no comparison in low light conditions as the Kowa had a much brighter and clearer image.
So here is where my problem is. Well the skies cleared up and out came the sun and perfectly clear skies. Off to another pond where a direct comparison between the 2 scopes resulted in very different results. The Swarovski had a much deeper and richer image, it appeared clearer and much more vibrant. The kowa, while being very good seemed to be considerably less vibrant and almost like it had a slight sheen on it. It was as if the bigger lens almost let in too much light and caused a white washing of the image. Thinking that I must me nuts, I asked what others around me thought and about 5 other people shared my thoughts. Also, the swarovski seemed to have a clearer and better image when zoomed in at 60x than the Kowa which was the opposite of their performance in lower light conditions.
Now I have read many reviews of the Kowa and none mentioned this at all. Is it just me? And more importantly what do you do. Buy a scope that performs flawlessly in low light and is good but not great in bright situations or buy a scope that is good but not great in low light but but great in the sun. I am so confused?