ATS65 HD 25-50 Advice please.

antlerz

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I am using my ATS65 for backpack hunting, often bigger alpine trips, usually checking out racks as far away as possible and scoping terrain the Bino's consider interesting. I also use it for digiscoping successfully with a tuned adapter. I have got tripod weight down to 850gm by using a slik 634 modified with a lightweight but effective ballhead and thin lower leg sections removed so i'm pretty sure I cannot drop any more weight there and still have a good bino/scope adjustable height tripod.
Always looking to drop weight and I know this has been hashed. I don't carry higher power binos, (40mm ELs are awesome).
I am happy with performance and usability of the ATS (I spend about 25% time on the spotter)


Will I regret dropping to a 55mm Kowa TSN for a 600gm saving????
 

Hunt30

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If you are using a non HD ATS65 the Kowa 55 will blow it away optically. I think the Kowa is easily better optically than the HD version also, but as mentioned, the field of view is smaller and the eyepiece on the Swarovski is more comfortable
 
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antlerz

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I find I am really using every bit of the ATS optic.
Its sharp - I can resolve fencing wire miles away with clear conditions. Wide FOV does assist getting onto the animal with an angled setup. I am really pushing it with IDs a couple of mile away in fading light.
I have decided its too risky to drop to 55. If I could get a lighter 65 (if kowa did a 665 lightweight in 553 format) I would consider that. In the mean time Ill trim everything else but glass.
 
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antlerz

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Thanks, Ill have to do a side by side (as is always the case).
 
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full choke

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An absolute deal breaker for me with the Kowa is the lack of a rotating collar. One aspect of an angled spotter for me is the ability to rotate and use the scope in multiple configurations and settings. I see you use a ball head, which will give you a bit of flexibility. Maybe it could work for you.
 
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antlerz

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I have used the rotating collar on the ATS for downhill views.
With narrower FOV I would be tempted to try straight format.
 

Matt G.

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I like the kowa 554 but I felt I wanted more and ended up with the 770 series. But size and weight is a trade off but I don't think I would ever want more...

Sent from my SM-G981U using Tapatalk
 

alaska_bou

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The Kowa 55 series is optically on par with the Swarovski 65, however, you'll be giving up FOV
Having owned the kowa 55 and and swaro 65 HD this is not entirly true. The Kowa is fantastic for its very small size and the prominar glass is the best on the market but a 55mm lense and the poor eyepiece on the kowa will not compete with a larger 65mm scope. I know this from looking at bezoar ibex on a Turkish mountain side by side with the kowa 55 and a leica televid 65. I quickly found the 65 gave me significantly less eye strain and a significantly brighter image when vewing at high magnification. From my own experience a 65 swaro or leica hd is worth the extra pound in weight. Kowa should have used the newer TE-11z eyepiece on the 55 and sadly they did not.

Through Guidefitter the kowa 55 is $1300 and the swaro is in the $1700 range. Well worth the extra $400, IMO.
 
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antlerz

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Thanks for the awesome response.

A 770 just tips into the too big size for my use despite superb optics.
I will get a 554 (I have got a used option for a straight one). My expectation is that it will give me a lighter option for the long trips where I need to lighten that load, but will not replace my ATS. The ATS is superb for much of my use and if it has extra brightness in poor light it will still be the main one getting packed.

I was surprised how many people said the 553 or 554 would hang in with the ATS so it seems it will certainly be useful. I will move the 554 on if I don't utilise it.

Ultimately the only way to know is to get behind it.
 
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Buzby

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Having owned the kowa 55 and and swaro 65 HD this is not entirly true. The Kowa is fantastic for its very small size and the prominar glass is the best on the market but a 55mm lense and the poor eyepiece on the kowa will not compete with a larger 65mm scope. I know this from looking at bezoar ibex on a Turkish mountain side by side with the kowa 55 and a leica televid 65. I quickly found the 65 gave me significantly less eye strain and a significantly brighter image when vewing at high magnification. From my own experience a 65 swaro or leica hd is worth the extra pound in weight. Kowa should have used the newer TE-11z eyepiece on the 55 and sadly they did not.

Through Guidefitter the kowa 55 is $1300 and the swaro is in the $1700 range. Well worth the extra $400, IMO.
Where can I get the swaro in the $1700 range?
 

alaska_bou

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On Guidefitter.com if you are a guide, outfitter, first responder, or a list of other professions. Each brand offers their own discounts and they don't charge any sales tax.
 

Buzby

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On Guidefitter.com if you are a guide, outfitter, first responder, or a list of other professions. Each brand offers their own discounts and they don't charge any sales tax.
I’m on guidefitter. Haven’t seen Swarovski on there though.
 

alaska_bou

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Swarovski joined Guidefitter about a year ago. You might also try calling Swarovski direct for a guide/outfitter order.
 

BBob

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I’m on guidefitter. Haven’t seen Swarovski on there though.
You can check with your local dealers for guide pricing. Not all dealers are authorized to sell at guide pricing but many are. Swarovski tries real hard to control pricing at factory set levels.
 
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antlerz

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Just to repeat what already has been said by Roksliders with accurate informative posts.

Well: I got a 554 in new condition for an excellent price.
Yes its got a smaller FOV
Yes its got pickier eye relief
Yes it has a less relaxed view on small exit pupil

Its so small - awesome

The big deal is that it also has excellent resolution and its poor light (dusk) performance is good enough that it is a functional hunting optic (no surprise to those users that have adapted to one). If resolution and poor light performance were compromised it would be a deal breaker and I would carry the extra weight of the ATS, but the Kowa is really very close when it comes to making an ID on an animal. I am still able to digiscope an animal for the records.
Its in my pack for the multi day solo trip where I'm also carrying sleeping gear and shelter. It actually has the ability to get the job done.

I wouldn't use it in preference to my ATS65 off the valley floor, but on the trips where 22oz/600gms matters, its in the bag.
 

Buzby

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Swarovski joined Guidefitter about a year ago. You might also try calling Swarovski direct for a guide/outfitter order.
Thanks. I contacted guidefitter. They hooked me up with the swaro store. Must be a hidden brand or something. A buddy of mine had to call them to get firstlite, it didn’t show up for him.
 
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antlerz

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Just had a 3 day solo trip on the tops, that would have had a very rough 14hr walkout if the heli didnt make it for the pickup. Weight was critical because it was rough terrain and I had all hunting and tent kit.

The Kowa was awesome. Straight scope was easy to get on target. It was possible to get all IDs (Southern hemisphere here) and digiscoping was fine once I learned to use the zoom for location. Poor light performance was impressive. The deal was sealed when I found it fitted sideways in the top pocket of the pack making it super-accessable when pulling it out at random times.
Buying used save quite a few $, just as well because now I have 2 spotters. I would never sell the ATS with its wide easy view. The ATS will get used for shorter trips off the valley floor.

Its all about the type of trip. Lower pack weights leave you more mobile with more options. Most hunting here involves big walk ins.
 
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