Kowa 12X50 SV (center), Kowa Genesis 10.5X44 (right), and Meopta Meostar HD (left)
Kowa Company Ltd. Of Japan is a large corporation that is involved in a number of business ventures from pharmaceuticals to manufacturing. One area Kowa specializes in is sport optics, and they are represented in the US by Kowa Optimed, Inc. in Torrance, CA. The birding community has revered the performance of Kowa’s optics for decades, and particularly their high quality spotters. While the Kowa brand name is quite familiar to many hunters, it seemed many aren't familiar with the brand and their reputation for quality.
I decided to try to look at these products from the backcountry hunting point of view, and found Kowa quite cooperative in sending out three instruments for evaluation. This included two pairs of binoculars including the entry-level 12X50 SV binocular and the top-of-the-line 10.5X44 Genesis Prominar binocular. Also in the box was the flagship spotting scope from Kowa, the Prominar 884 spotting scope body, and just announced 25-60 wide angle eyepiece, but we will save that for another review.
I was quite excited to look at the products and wasted no time digging into the boxes. What I found was two very different binoculars.
Meopta Meostar B1 10X42 HD binocular
The 10X42 Meopta Meostar HD
As I mentioned in the Spotting Scope review, I hunted for several years with the original Meopta Meostar B1 10X42 binocular. It was an excellent binocular with only a couple minor optical weak points.
Meopta Meopro 3-9X42 BDC Riflescope
by Matt Cashell
In my last artice I went over the excellent top-shelf S2 HD 82mm spotter from Meopta. When I received the spotter for evaluation, the box also contained a 3-9X42 Meopro riflescope with BDC reticle as well as the 10X42 HD Meostar binocular (reviewed here).
Meopta S2 HD 82mm Spotting Scope
by Matt Cashell
The “Big Three” get all the glory when it comes to European Optics. Zeiss, Leica, and Swarovski earned this reputation through many years of offering optical instruments of the highest quality. They led the way in a lot of optical technology including multi-coating, phase-coating, etc... However, they aren’t the only optics producers in Europe.