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Kowa Highlander: New Eyepieces in the Pipeline!

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#1 Stellarfire

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Posted 01 September 2012 - 02:18 PM

As we know, Kowa offers to the users of the terrific Kowa Highlander 82mm binocular three eyepiece models:
21mm 21x/63°
14mm 32x/70°
9mm 50x/67°

Apparently, Kowa Japan - finally! - is understanding that a lot of astro-minded Highlander users worldwide are desperately awaiting some "high-power" eyepiece additions, yielding magnifications up to 100x, or even more. I too proposed the idea directly to Kowa Japan.
(Anyone who wants to forward Highlander-related ideas and wishes directly to Kowa, for example eyepiece focal lengths, aspherical lens design, eyecup design, etc.: Just use the Contact Form.)

Last week, I got good news directly from Kowa's Optical Systems Division, International Sales Department, in Tokyo, Japan: They informed me that actually, their optical designer was just travelling to Europe to research the astronomical market and discussing the needs with several dealers and distributors. He will be there again this month (September).

Kowa Japan confirmed me that also in Japan itself (a market with 127 million inhabitants), a lot of folks are enjoying astronomical observations with their Highlander giant binocular, and they are requesting Kowa the same eyepiece model addition. The demand reached the point to be heard and accepted by Kowa.

Kowa informed me that "new products may be expected" , without yet giving an exact timeframe. Anyway, things are rolling on now.

Thank you Kowa for hearing us! :)

Stephan

#2 The Ardent

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Posted 01 September 2012 - 04:41 PM

Here is a piece of Kowa trivia: of the 40+ awards given, the Kowa is the largest binocular used to complete the Astronomical League Binocular Doubles observing program.

#3 Val'Easy

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Posted 01 September 2012 - 05:26 PM

Good initiative Stephan!

I had a Kowa Prominar TSN-823 (spotting-scope) that has the same internal optical design than the Highlander : F = 450 mm D = 82 mm.
With a custom adapter I used Takahashi LE eyepieces on my Kowa Prominar :
Taka LE-5 => magnification 90x
Taka Hi-LE 3.6 => magnification 125 x
Taka Hi-LE 2.8 => magnification 160 x

They worked fine, with fine images of planets (but my current Swarovski apo 80 works even better with these Taka eyepieces).
I made a thread on a french birding forum, with pictures of my mounting, I can send you the link (but it's in french).

I tested a Kowa Highlander, if I well remember the size of eyepiece-holders is 1"1/4 but if I well remember too the Kowa Highlander
had less back-focus than the Kowa Prominar 82 spotting-scope.
Not sure these eyepieces would work on the Highlander.

Emmanuel

#4 Stellarfire

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Posted 02 September 2012 - 02:22 AM

Hi Emmanuel,

Yes, the Highlander accepts 1 1/4" eyepiece barrels. I just tested a Takahashi LE-5mm in it. Its barrel fits fairly close, but slight wobble remains. The fit is not close enough to hold by friction only, so the LE would fall out in near-zenith observing positions.
Furthermore, the original LE eyepiece barrel is too long for the original Highlander focuser: The eyepiece barrel touches the internal spring-loaded locking mechanism, keeping the eyepiece from being fully set in position. I measured about 5.5mm barrel overlength.

Your custom-made adapter for the Takahashi LE eyepieces sounds very interesting. Yes, please put your French thread link here into this thread. I think many Highlander folks will be interested in that link (Google Chrome's translator is sufficiently helpful to translate the French text into English).

BTW, the TAK TOA flight-case as delivered by you is outstanding. I still feel very impressed each time when I am looking at it, and in particularly by the quality and incredible precision of the cut-outs in the Plastazote case insert.
:goodjob:


Stephan

#5 Val'Easy

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Posted 02 September 2012 - 03:38 AM

Hi Stephan,

In fact I removed the barrels of the Tak eps for my Kowa Prominar TSN-823 mounting.
So the lenses of the internal negative doublet of the eyepieces were close behind the rear prism to allow focus to infinity.

I had to cut the barrels of the Tak eps (6 mm) for using them in my Swaro 80HD (they were to long too) otherwise I could not focus to infinity.

I have a Miyauchi BR-141 of a friend at home, he would like to have more magnification with it too, I'll see what I can do (maybe a similar mounting I made for my Miyauchi 100 to fit Pano 24).

The link about my custom-made adapter for Takahashi eps to fit in Kowa Prominar TSN-823 spotting-scope :
http://www.ornithome...ent_art62_1.htm

:) to read you're always happy with your flightcase and his Plastazote lining.

Emmanuel

#6 Stellarfire

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Posted 02 September 2012 - 04:35 AM

WOW! Amazing job, Emmanuel! The resulting magnifications 90x (LE-5mm), 125x (Hi-LE-3.6mm) and 160x (Hi-LE-2.8mm) are exactly what I am looking for in the Highlander.
I guess the fairly short eye relief of both Hi-LE's might cause some fogging problems on cool nights, so eyepiece heater straps (like Kendrick's) would be recommendable.

The dilemma with that adapter is, that the original focusers need to be removed, making the original Kowa eyepieces useless. For all those Highlander users out there who already encouraged themselves to spend a quite insane amount for three pairs of the original Kowa eyepieces, this might be a no-go situation.

Whilst I feel highly impressed by the quality and the results of your adapter solution, I think I too would prefer a solution which maintains the original focusers, so the original eyepieces may be used as well. :)

Anyway, your interesting report verifies the outstanding optical performance of the Fluorite optics of the Kowa Prominar TSN-823 spotting-scope (same optics as used in the Highlander binocular), capable to be pushed well over 150x


Stephan

#7 Binomania.it

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Posted 02 September 2012 - 04:27 PM

Hi to all, I use often, on my Kowa 883, Televue Radian and some Chinese Planetary eyepieces. Luca Mazzoleni has built for me a specific adapter.
By the way, in my opinion it is much easier to modify and use third party eyepieces on a spottingscope.
If you will use no-standard eyepieces in a binoculars, you could have out of collimation problems.
The company, usually, collimated the binoculars for the enlargement allowed by their eyepieces (in the case of Kowa Highlander Prominar 32x82: 50X)
For this reason, the are only two remedies:
1) Use a binoscope, with a perfect collimation system, like, for example,the EMS of Matsumoto.
2) Wait that Kowa will produce the new eyepieces for their Highlander. In this way, they will inevitably guarantee you a perfect collimation of the binoculars.
If I you have a binoculars with 50X enlargements is quite impossible that these binoculars are perfectly collimated to 100X with ocular of third-party
Obviously this is only my humble opinion.
Best Regards from Italy
Piergiovanni

#8 Stellarfire

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Posted 02 September 2012 - 04:45 PM

I like your "remedy no. 2": Wait for Kowa's new eyepieces...


Stephan

#9 Andresin150

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Posted 03 September 2012 - 08:35 AM

In an 82mm binocular I wouldn't like to go beyond 40x.. 50x is pushing the limits... for me.
The idea of using other eps is just to try to get better images according to these eps specifications... but to get higher magnifications, I don't think so, I would just get a telescope.
So if Kowa is working in new eyepieces, I just hope they make a wider AFOV, the possibility of using filters and sharp to the edge sets with similar magnifications that what they already have... well, and at least a set of very high magnification eps for you magnification junkies! :)

#10 Val'Easy

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Posted 03 September 2012 - 10:13 AM

Hello,

Stephan, yes binoculars like yours are first for wide deep-sky observations.
For planetary you have a big weapon : Tak TOA-150 with a binoviewer.
Possibly the Taka LE-7.5 (60x magnification in your Highlander if they work) but vs the Kowa 50x Wide I think there will be not a great difference, and the Kowa eps have more FOV.
The custom-made adapter I had made for my Kowa TSN-823 was for a spotting-scope use and planets observations.
Andresin150 is right, for my Miyauchi 100 I made customized adapters for using interferential filters and Panoptic 24 to enhance images not for increase magnifications.
With the Miyauchi BR-141 of my friend this is precisely that I will also favor too.

Stephan, you wrote : Kowa informed me that "new products may be expected" , without yet giving an exact timeframe. Anyway, things are rolling on now.
=> Do you know what would be the focal length?

I guess the interest you have for these short focal eyepieces is the transportability, but be careful to the resulting optical quality.
In high magnifications, binoculars with short ratio, even apo, don't work like a refractor...

Emmanuel

#11 Stellarfire

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Posted 03 September 2012 - 04:14 PM

In an 82mm binocular I wouldn't like to go beyond 40x.. 50x is pushing the limits...



One of the advantages of the Kowa Highlander is that the eyepieces may be easily changed. So why restricting the magnification range of that tack sharp 82mm Fluorite optics? Let that Highlander gallop to its real limits... :)

Stephan

#12 The Ardent

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Posted 03 September 2012 - 04:25 PM

Ok, at 90x how will you mount them to keep the target in view? How will you track? Again at 90x we are in telescope territory.

I want two 82mm UHC filters in 95mm threads. Give me that. :)

#13 Val'Easy

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Posted 03 September 2012 - 04:55 PM

Stephan, I'm sure Highlander can gallop beyond their initial limits. Push the limits, great temptation ;)

When I say : be careful to the resulting optical quality, that is to say be careful with the resulting collimation through high magnifications. Kowa Highlander are binoculars...
It's the same with binoviewers and short focal eyepieces, it's better to have an upstream magnification and use eyepieces with middle focal length.

Emmanuel

#14 Tamiji Homma

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Posted 03 September 2012 - 05:32 PM

Hi Emmanuel,

I've tested Kowa Highlander with Pentax XO 2.58, yielding about 178x.
Unfortunately, it does not come to focus to infinity so I only tested with
close distance terrestrial target and artificial star. So it isn't real deal.

Surprisingly, collimation is good enough to see merged image. It isn't designed for it but it did work. If it were coming to focus to infinity, I am not sure I would use the magnification :)

If Kowa is going to make a new eyepiece for Highlander, I would like them to make something as good as Docter UWA (11mm-ish, yielding 40x) optically but does not weight as much as Docter UWA 12.5 does.

Tammy

#15 Val'Easy

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Posted 03 September 2012 - 06:49 PM

Hi Tammy,

Be careful collimation can be different between a short distance vs infinity.
Yes Pentax XO are back-focus hungry, I tested mine 5 and 2.5 on my ex-Kowa TSN-823 and on my Swaro ATS-80HD : they don't work.
On the other hand the four Takahashi LE short focal length eyepieces work.
But as I said Kowa Highlander has less back-focus than Kowa spotting-scope Prominar 82 so I think they don't work for infinity focus.
I don't know Docter UWA eps (they are rare here in Europe) but they seem indeed heavy when I look at their pictures.

Emmanuel

#16 Stellarfire

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Posted 04 September 2012 - 01:00 AM

Ok, at 90x how will you mount them to keep the target in view? How will you track?


Tracking problems? I had them 35 years ago with my small Tasco 60/700mm refractor on that shockingly shaky alt-az mount. My object-finding and hand-tracking efforts on that sad chunk of metal called alt/az mount resulted in fairly questionable results ... :lol:

But seriously - I use the Highlander on Kowa's BL8J-MT center mount, a heavy and outstandingly rigid alt/az mount, allowing precise and smooth movements in both axes. I can not complain about any tracking issues when observing at 50x, so I am confident to do it as well at 90x. :)

Stephan

#17 Val'Easy

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Posted 05 September 2012 - 03:12 PM

Hello Tammy,

Youd said : "If Kowa is going to make a new eyepiece for Highlander, I would like them to make something as good as Docter UWA (11mm-ish, yielding 40x) optically but does not weight as much as Docter UWA 12.5 does.

=> Did you reach infinity focus with Docter UWA-12.5 eps and Highlander binoculars?
I did not well understand, do you have a Kowa Highlander?

Emmanuel



#18 Tamiji Homma

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Posted 05 September 2012 - 05:49 PM

Hi Emmanuel,

No, Docter UWA 12.5 does not come to focus to infinity with Kowa Highlander. I don't think that it comes to focus to infinity even after removing filter thread. If it worked, it would be wonderful...

If I place Docter UWA 12.5 on Kowa Highlander, it looks like this:

Posted Image Posted Image

Tammy

#19 Val'Easy

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Posted 05 September 2012 - 06:46 PM

Thank you Tammy!

Yes I think these eyepieces doesn't come to focus to infinity because of their internal negative doublet (I think they have one).
I have a pair of Swarovski 15.4 Wide (1"1/4 astro model) that are awsome in my binoviewer but does not come to focus to infinity when I fit them into my Miya Galaxy 100, even with shortened barrels or by removing eyepiece-holders (it's almost good).

Yes if Docter UWA 12.5 worked, it would be wonderful, and the general look of your Highlander with these eyepieces is very good.

Emmanuel

#20 CosmicEclipse

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Posted 06 September 2012 - 12:19 AM

This is wonderful news! I've contacted Kowa multiple times within the last year complaining they need higher power eye pieces for the Highlander! Glad this is getting their attention.

#21 Stellarfire

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Posted 10 September 2012 - 02:54 AM

If Kowa is going to make a new eyepiece for Highlander, I would like them to make something as good as Docter UWA (11mm-ish, yielding 40x) optically but does not weight as much as Docter UWA 12.5 does.

Tammy


Tammy, I fully second that idea.

Apart from that, what would you like to see as new "high-power" eyepieces for the Highlander? (Personally, I would be happy to see at least one Kowa h-p eyepiece yielding about 80-100x.)

Stephan

#22 CosmicEclipse

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Posted 12 September 2012 - 01:53 AM

As we know, Kowa offers to the users of the terrific Kowa Highlander 82mm binocular three eyepiece models:
21mm 21x/63°
14mm 32x/70°
9mm 50x/67°

Apparently, Kowa Japan - finally! - is understanding that a lot of astro-minded Highlander users worldwide are desperately awaiting some "high-power" eyepiece additions, yielding magnifications up to 100x, or even more. I too proposed the idea directly to Kowa Japan.
(Anyone who wants to forward Highlander-related ideas and wishes directly to Kowa, for example eyepiece focal lengths, aspherical lens design, eyecup design, etc.: Just use the Contact Form.)

Last week, I got good news directly from Kowa's Optical Systems Division, International Sales Department, in Tokyo, Japan: They informed me that actually, their optical designer was just travelling to Europe to research the astronomical market and discussing the needs with several dealers and distributors. He will be there again this month (September).

Kowa Japan confirmed me that also in Japan itself (a market with 127 million inhabitants), a lot of folks are enjoying astronomical observations with their Highlander giant binocular, and they are requesting Kowa the same eyepiece model addition. The demand reached the point to be heard and accepted by Kowa.

Kowa informed me that "new products may be expected" , without yet giving an exact timeframe. Anyway, things are rolling on now.

Thank you Kowa for hearing us! :)

Stephan



I am a little confused now because the person who responded to you said one thing, and now the person who contacted me said the following:


I'm Jim Danzenbaker, Sales Manager for the Americas at Kowa Sporting Optics.
I received your communication where you stated that you need more
magnification than 50x for the High Lander binocular. I do not foresee us
manufacturing eyepieces that go beyond the current maximum of 50x. However,
I have a solution that may meet your needs. I have a dealer in Arizona who
has created a digiscoping adapter that fits onto the Kowa High Lander
eyepieces. With that said, when you attach your camera to the adapter, you
can use any zoom feature on your camera which would magnify the image
through the High Landers. Benefits to this method are that you could see
the image through the LCD screen of your camera. However, it is only fitted
onto one eyepiece so you lose the "binocular" view. I don’t remember if
the adapter is for a point and shoot camera or an SLR. The contact
information for that account is:

Gila Valley Archery/Gila Outdoors
3660 W. Main Street
Thatcher, AZ, 85552
928-348-0710
www.gilaoutdoor.com
derek@gilaoutdoor.com


I still think it's great that there are additional toys to get for the Highlander, but that's not what I'm looking for personally.
Guess we'll have to wait for Kowa Japan for more info.

#23 Stellarfire

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Posted 12 September 2012 - 03:07 AM

I still think it's great that there are additional toys to get for the Highlander, but that's not what I'm looking for personally.


The same applies to me, no need for that digiscoping adapter toy.



Guess we'll have to wait for Kowa Japan for more info.


Yes. My information in the OP came directly from Kowa Japan. For updated news, let us wait what Japan says.


Stephan

#24 Mark9473

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Posted 12 September 2012 - 04:24 AM

I have a solution that may meet your needs. I have a dealer in Arizona who has created a digiscoping adapter that fits onto the Kowa High Lander eyepieces. With that said, when you attach your camera to the adapter, you can use any zoom feature on your camera which would magnify the image through the High Landers. Benefits to this method are that you could see the image through the LCD screen of your camera.


I wonder if that person has ever looked through binoculars.

#25 mark8888

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Posted 12 September 2012 - 05:02 AM

I have a solution that may meet your needs. I have a dealer in Arizona who has created a digiscoping adapter that fits onto the Kowa High Lander eyepieces. With that said, when you attach your camera to the adapter, you can use any zoom feature on your camera which would magnify the image through the High Landers. Benefits to this method are that you could see the image through the LCD screen of your camera.


I wonder if that person has ever looked through binoculars.


Ya that solution isnt gonna meet toooo many needs.

The pictures of the Docters on the Kowa are awesome, too bad they don't work!! They look like they are made for it :p






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