Kowa Optics: Kowa Binoculars & Scopes

Kowa Genesis Binoculars

About Kowa Optics

The Kowa Company has been around since 1894 and has in that time grown into becoming the 5th largest trading company in Japan. Now a multi-national company, Kowa have a presence in the world's three largest markets, Asia, Europe and the Americas.

The Electronics and Optics division of Kowa began producing quality spotting scopes in 1952 where they were designed to be used in shooting events and were the official spotting scope used in the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games.

It was not long after this that they were discovered by bird watchers and became very popular throughout the world. With this success Kowa took much of this technology and applied it to other forms of optics including binoculars. Kowa binoculars are now some of the finest produced anywhere in the world.

As well as the Electronics & Optics Division Kowa have a Pharmaceutical Division, Textile Division and the Non-Textile (General Merchandise) Division.

The Kowa Binocular Range

Kowa established itself amongst birders and nature lovers with their excellent line of Kowa TSN spotting scopes which are very highly regarded, this then spurred them onto producing very high quality binoculars most of which are aimed at birders and nature viewers.

  • Prominar Genesis Series - alos sometimes known as XD Binoculars, contain Kowas flagship binoculars, including the excellent Genesis XD44 Binoculars (8.5x44 and a 10.5x44) and the new Genesis XD33 Binocular Series (8x33 and a 10x33) that are intended to challenge the high end contenders of Zeiss, Leica, Swarovski and Nikon.
  • BD42 Series Binoculars - Come in 8x or 10x magnifications that are high end binoculars that Kowa describe as "an ideal companion for bird watching or any other outdoor activity that requires a bright image and a wide field of view."
  • Kowa SV Series Binoculars - These are more affordable binoculars aimed at the price concious observer, but still come with many of the high end features found on more expensive models.
  • BD25 Binocular Series - Thir compact series of 25mm roof prism binoculars with two different magnifications (8x25 and 10x25) which are not only very compact and portable, but also very popular.
  • Kowa YF Series Binoculars - These are Kowa's value for money mid-sized porro-prism style binoculars that have the advantage of an exceptionally wide field of view as well as fully multi-coated lenses for bright views and a fog and waterproof construction.

Kowa Prominar Binoculars
You will often see the Prominar brand name used with high end Kowa Binoculars and their spotting scopes, this is because on some models, including the Popular Genesis binoculars, Kowa use the very high spec XD Lenses from Prominar.


Kowa 8.5x44 Genesis XD BinocularsKowa Genesis Binoculars

Due to copy write reasons the Kowa Genesis binoculars were called XD binoculars in Europe, this I think has now been sorted, but you will still often see it referred to the XD series in Europe.

Roof Prism Binoculars, designed to take on the high end of the market, competing with brands like Zeiss, Leica, Swarovski and Nikon the Genesis range of binoculars come in two different objective lens sizes, each with two different magnifications.

Kowa Genesis XD44 Binoculars
The specifications of the Prominar Genesis XD44 binoculars are impressive: Produced in Japan, the binoculars have an objective with 4 lens-elements (two of them made of Prominar XD lenses, made from extra low dispersion glass), a 5 lens-element ocular, and the Schmidt-Pechan prism system contains a dielectric reflective surface with C3 Coating and 99% reflectivity. A close focus of 1.7m is specified, and there exists a filter thread at the objective end which takes standard 46mm photo filters. The entire construction is embedded into a magnesium alloy frame, is fully water proof and nitrogen filled. If there has been one slight criticism, then it is the weight.

Sizes Available:

Kowa Genesis XD33 Binoculars
The newer Genesis XD33 Series was developed in a response to customer feedback where many felt that whilst the Genesis XD44 Binoculars were fantastic, they were too heavy for some people. These are far lighter than the XD44's, but maintain the quality Prominar XD lenses, Schmidt-Pechan prism system with Kowa's own C3 Coating, for a brighter sharper image. They have reduced the magnifications slightly to a more conventional 8x and 10x and thus have increased the fields of view, making them ideal birdwatching binoculars.

Sizes Available:


Download Kowa Genesis Catalogs:

Price Range
These are the highest spec binoculars that compete with the very best at every level. But in terms of price not only do they compete but most often beat all other binoculars in their class, making them some of the best value for money top of the range binoculars on the market. Depending on the model, they range in price from about $1100 - $1500 / £900 - £1200

 



Kowa 8x42 BD BinocularsKowa BD42 Series Binoculars

Even though the BD Series is Kowa's second string, placed just behind the Genesis models, it could easily make up the flagship series of many other optical brands. This is because unlike many other binocular manufacturers, Kowa don't make a huge selection in regards to quality and price, rather they have decided to stay true to their ideals by focusing at the top end of the market with only two main ranges, the Genesis and the BD series of binoculars.

The biggest differences between the Genesis and BD is in the styling, and the absence of Kowa's Prominar XD lenses that contain extra low dispersion glass in the BD series. The full size Genesis models also have larger 44m objective lenses compared to the more standard 42mm ones found on in the BD Series.

The BD42 Series binoculars from Kowa come in 8x or 10x magnifications which they describe as "an ideal companion for bird watching or any other outdoor activity that requires a bright image and a wide field of view."

Main Features:

  • Fully Multi-coated Lenses that increase light transmission with multiple anti-reflective coatings on all air-to-glass surfaces.
  • Phase Correction coating on the roof prisms that enhances resolution and contrast
  • Kowa's C3 Prism Coating
  • BaK-4 Prisms - Optimize light transmission and higer quality than the BK-7 prisms found on cheaper optics
  • Rubber Armoring - Provides a secure, non-slip grip
  • Waterproof - Optics are sealed with O-rings to prevent moisture, dust, and debris from getting inside the binocular.
  • Fogproof- Barrels are filled with nitrogen gas to inhibit internal fogging.
  • Multi-position twist up eyecups with plenty of eye relief for eye glass wearers
  • Tripod Adaptable - Can be mounted using standard ¼-inch threading. Binocular Tripod Adapter sold separately.

Sizes Available:


Download Kowa BD Catalogs:

Price Range
These are high quality optics at what I believe to be a price level that makes them very good value for money. Depending on the model, they range in price from about $500 - $600 / £500 - £560

 



Kowa SV 10x42 BinocularsKowa SV Series Binoculars

Kowa packed important and desirable features that optics users demand into the SV binocular, yet kept the price affordable. Fully multi-coated lenses with highly reflective coatings on the phase corrected roof prisms provides you with bright views and enhanced resolution and color contrast. Twist-up eye cups, rubber armoring, waterproofing, and fogproofing make the Kowa SV a comfortable and reliable choice for lots of activities. Kowa provides a limited lifetime warranty for this binocular.

Main Features:

  • Fully Multi-coated Lenses Increase light transmission with multiple anti-reflective coatings on all air-to-glass surfaces.
  • Phase Correction Coatings on the Roof Prisms
  • BaK-4 Prisms - Optimize light transmission.
  • Water and Fogproof
  • Tripod Adaptable - Can be mounted using standard ¼-inch threading. Binocular Tripod Adapter sold separately.

Sizes Available:

Kowa SV Promotional Video

Price Range

 



Kowa BD 10x25 BinocularsKowa BD 25 Series - Compact Binoculars


One of the most popular ranges of Kowa Binoculars are their ultra compact BD 25 Binoculars that come in two configurations: 8x25 and 10x25

Becuse of their compact size, combined with quality optics, they are very versitile and can be used for numerous applications, including sporting events, hiking, traveling, and bird watching.. but also with a close focus of only 6 feet (1.8m) they are also ideal for close observation of things like plants and insects.

All lenses and prisms are within the binoculars are fully multicoated and the prism is phase-coated producing images that are sharp and have excellent contrast. Fully waterproof and filled with nitrogen gas, they also come with twist up eyecups that have good eye relief for comfortable viewing.

Sizes Available:


Download Kowa BD Catalogs:

Price Range
Depending on the model, they range in price from about $250 - $280 / £260 - £300

 



Kowa YF 8x30 BinocularsKowa YF Series Binoculars

The main feature of Kowa's value for money mid-sized porro-prism YF binoculars are that they come with a exceptionally wide field of view: The 6x30 model has a FOV of 420 feet at 1000 yards and the 8x30 model has a FOV of 393 feet at 1000 yards.

Both YF Series binoculars also come with fully multi-coated lenses enclosed in a lightweight (under 500g/17.6oz) and fairly compact waterproof and fogproof housing.

Main Features:

  • Fully Multi-coated Lenses Increase light transmission with multiple anti-reflective coatings on all air-to-glass surfaces.
  • Water and Fogproof as they are filled with nitrogen gas to inhibit internal fogging.

Sizes Available:

Price Range

 




Where to Buy Kowa Binoculars:

 


Featured Kowa Binocular Reviews

Below are a few featured Kowa Binoculars that I have reviewed: View >> All Kowa Binoculars reviewed


Kowa 8x25 BD Binoculars Review

Very high quality compact roof prism binoculars that are fully fog and waterproof. They also feature fully multi-coated optics and phase correction coatings on the prisms that produce a excellent qaulity, bright image with a wide field of view.

Price: (3/6) Mid Priced Binoculars
BBR Ratings:
Body Quality: 9/10 80%
Outstanding
Body Stats: 7/10
Optical Quality: 8/10
Optical Stats: 7/10
Image Quality 9/10
Extras & Details: 8/10

These Binoculars are On SaleDiscounted Binoculars: These Kowa Binoculars have been reduced in price on Amazon and Eagle Optics in the USA.
>> Check Prices

Kowa 8x30 YF Binoculars Review

This 8x30 Kowa YF Series binocular is great low cost mid-sized porro prism binocular with fully multi-coated optics that produce an excellent quality image.

The body is tough, fully waterproof, fog proof and very lightweight.

Price: (2/6) Low Cost Binoculars
BBR Ratings:
Body Quality: 7/10 70%
Excellent
Body Stats: 7/10
Optical Quality: 7/10
Optical Stats: 8/10
Image Quality 7/10
Extras & Details: 6/10


Kowa 8x42 BD Binoculars Review

Fully waterproof and fogproof with a tough exterior that contains Bak-4 phase coated roof prisms and fully multicoated optics. The BD42 series binoculars from Kowa are very high quality binoculars at a great price - ideal for bird watching, nature observation and most other outdoor activities.

Price: (4/6) Mid-High Value Binoculars
BBR Ratings:
Body Quality: 8/10 82%
Outstanding
Body Stats: 8/10
Optical Quality: 9/10
Optical Stats: 7/10
Image Quality 8/10
Extras & Details: 9/10

These Binoculars are On SaleDiscounted Binoculars: These Kowa BD 8x42 Binoculars are being offered at a discount on Amazon, Eagle Optics and Binoculars.com in the US and on Amazon in the UK
>> Check Prices

Kowa 10x42 SV Binoculars Review

Kowa's affordable 10x42 binocular that packs in a surprising amount of quality features into a lightweight, fog and waterproof body.

Optical highlights include the use of fully multicoated optics and phase coated Bak-4 roof prisms.

Price: (3/6) Mid Priced Binoculars
BBR Ratings:
Body Quality: 7/10 72%
Excellent
Body Stats: 8/10
Optical Quality: 8/10
Optical Stats: 6/10
Image Quality 8/10
Extras & Details: 6/10


Kowa 10x33 Genesis XD Binoculars Review

High-End mid sized roof prism binoculars featuring Prominar XD Lenses (extra low dispersion glass), fully multi-coated lenses and phase corrected Schmidt-Pechan prisms to ensure excellent optical performance. This Kowa Genisis binocular is also fully waterproof, fog-proof and lightweight, with a durable and tough rubber coated armour exterior.

Price: (5/6) High Value Binoculars
BBR Ratings:
Body Quality: 9/10 92%
The VERY Best
Body Stats: 8/10
Optical Quality: 10/10
Optical Stats: 9/10
Image Quality 9/10
Extras & Details: 10/10

These Binoculars are On SaleDiscounted Binoculars: The Kowa Genesis 10x33 is available at a reduced price from Eagle Optics in the USA and Amazon.co.uk in the UK.
>> Check Prices

View >> All Kowa Binoculars reviewed on The Best Binoculars & Reviews website.

 


Kowa Spotting Scopes

It is probably true to say that spotting Scopes are what put Kowa on the map in terms of world wide recognition. Kowa began producing quality spotting scopes in 1952 where they were designed to be used in shooting events and were the official spotting scope used in the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games. Soon after that they were discovered by bird watchers and became very popular. To this day Kowa produce some of the finest spotting scopes in the world.

The Kowa Spotting Scope Range:

  • Kowa TSN-880 Spotting Scopes
    • 88mm Objective Lenses
    • Waterproof
    • Fluorite Crystal
  • Kowa TSN-770 Spotting Scopes
    • 77mm Objective Lenses
    • Waterproof
    • XD Lens
  • Kowa TSN-82SV Spotting Scopes
    • 82mm Objective Lenses
    • Waterproof
    • Normal Lenses
  • Kowa TSN-660 Spotting Scopes
    • 66mm Objective Lenses
    • Waterproof
    • XD Lenses
  • Kowa TSN-600 Spotting Scopes
    • 60mm Objective Lenses
    • Waterproof
    • XD Lenses
  • Kowa TS-500 Spotting Scopes
    • 50mm Objective Lenses
    • ED Lenses
 

Digibinning with the Kowa TSN-IP4S iPhone AdapterKowa TSN-IP4S iPhone Adapter

Kowa produce many adapters that you can use to attach your camera to one of their scopes, but a new innovation is an adapter that enables you to quickly and easily attach your iPhone to the eye-piece on a pair of binoculars or spotting scope and take photos or video footage.

For more take a look at my guide to the Kowa iPhone 4 Digiscoping & Digibinning Bracket

 
 

Kowa C3 Coating

Kowa's roof prism binoculars, that include the Genesis, High Lander and BD series of binoculars use the Schmidt-Pechan prism. One surface of the Pechan prism does not provide total reflection, so Kowa have applied a highly reflective multi-coating called C3 coating.

This lens coating allows for a higher reflectivity than with silver or optically enhanced aluminum, offering a reflectance of 99% or higher across the entire visible spectrum (400 to 700 nm). This gives bright and sharp images and also more accurate color reproduction.

On top of this the roof prism of the Schmidt prism is phase coated to prevent the loss of contrast and image resolution.



Fig.1 Prism Construction
Fig.2
 

Catalog Downloads

 

Kowa Contact Details

Electronics & Optics Division
4-14 Nihonbashi-honcho 3-chome,
Chuo-ku, Tokyo 103-8433, Japan
Tel: 81(3)5623-8062
Email: info@kowa-prominar.com

Kowa Optimed. Inc
20001 South Vermont Ave.
Torrance, CA 90502
Tel: 310-327-1913 / Fax: 310-327-4177
Email: kowa-usa-info@kowa.com 

Kowa Europe GmbH
Immermannstrasse 43B
40210 Duesseldorf, F.R. Germany
Tel: 49(211)1793540
Email: Scopes@Kowa-Europe.com

 
 
 

Annual Bino Awards

Annual Binocular Awards
Best Binocular Reviews Annual Binocular Awards 2010, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15 & 2016!
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