Kowa YF 8x30 Binoculars – good for tracking birds?

Today’s question is from a first time buyer aiming for a lightweight, cheap binocular that are good for tracking birds in flight:

Have A Question For Me?Question:

I did enjoy you review of the Kowa YF 8x30 binoculars.

I am a newbie and have been using my wife’s 10 year old Nikon Travelite 8x25s but find it difficult to follow birds in flight . Other 8x42 roofs that I have tried made tracking them much easier but the lighter weight of the Kowa YFs are appealing to me.

Do you think I will notice an improvement in what I can see and ease of tracking with the Kowa YFs?


What makes tracking a bird or any other small, fast and sometimes erratic moving object easier through a pair of binoculars easier is a pair that has nice wide field of view (FOV). This is because being able to see a larger overall picture all at once not only makes locating the bird easier, but following it is that much easier as well.

It is for this exact reason why for most general types of birdwatching, one of the most important features that most birders look out for is a wide FOV.

Kowa YF 8x30 vs Nikon Travelite 8x25


I am not sure exactly which 8x25 Nikon Travelite you have, but from my research most of the ones that I have seen have an Angular field of view of between 5.6° and 6.3°, which means at a distance of 1000 meters, the view you can see through them is between 98 and 110 meters wide (294ft – 330ft @ 1000 yards).

Compared to this the Kowa has a very wide FOV of 132 meters wide at 1000 meters (396 feet wide at 1000 yards).

So yes, not only tracking, but firstly locating birds with the Kowa 8x30 YF binoculars will be easier and thus quicker than with any binocular with a narrower FOV.

Image Brightness

As for noticing a difference in the brightness and quality of the view, that depends:

The Kowas have larger 30mm objective lenses, which combined with their 8x magnification, produce an exit pupil 3.75mm wide.

Whilst the Nikons have 25mm objectives and the same 8x magnification and so produce an exit pupil of 3.1mm wide.

So in theory and assuming that all other factors like coatings etc within the bins are the same, in low light, when your pupils are much larger than the 3mm wide exit pupil (usually around 7mm), you will likely perceive that the Kowa produce a brighter image.

In good light, when your pupil is only about 2 – 3mm wide, the perceived brightness of the image between both will probably be far similar and probably not very different – once again assuming all other factors are equal.

So whilst I cannot be sure if you “will notice an improvement” in terms of image quality, I am pretty sure you will at times notice that the Kowa’s are brighter.

For more on this please take some time to read my complete guide to the exit pupil.

I hope that this has helped… at least a little.

Price Comparison & Where to Buy:

Where to buy Kowa YF 8x30 Binoculars

Further Reading:

Have A Question For Me?Have a Optics Related Question?

Do you have a similar question, or do not know which binoculars would be best suited for your needs and budget? I would love to see if I can help you – submit your question to me here.

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