Spotter to compliment NL Pure 12x42

Roadgoat

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Sep 20, 2021
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I currently have a pair of 12x42 NL Pures and primarily take these hunting leaving a spotter behind as someone in the group has one. I do have a Swaro BTX 95mm that I use from the truck but it's too bulky to pack into the wilderness. I spend most of my time behind the bino's and use the spotter to get a closer look.

I'be thought about getting a Kowa TSN-554 to carry along to get a closer look. I've also considered the Kowa TSN-884 as I'm afraid the TSN-554 won't provide much of an advantage over the 12x42's. Any thoughts?

I'll use the spotter about 5% of the time while in the field.
 

tdhanses

Well Known Rokslider
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Sep 26, 2018
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The 554 would pair really well with the 12’s. As long as you use your binos to scan and the 554 to get a closer look at something of interest. The 48x is very usable on it.

So if 90% of glassing will be from binos it would be a perfect compliment for the 10%. Now if you’ll scan 50% with binos and scan 50% with spotter you won’t like the 554.

I have a 553 and 773, the 553 goes with me on 95% of my hunts.
 

28bang

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Mar 16, 2018
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Oregon
I have the 12 nl’s and the 554 right now. It works. Majority of the time is with the pures. Been thinking about a bigger spotter myself lately. Wanting a little more zoom is all.
 

WI in the west

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Following. Im in the same boat but woth no spotter at all. Like reading ever bodies opinions
 

FlyGuy

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The Woodlands, TX
I have the Kowa 77 paired with my 12x42. It’s a great balance of power and weight IMO. It has a great FOV for glassing with. It’s also pretty compact in size which helps it fit in the pack. The 77 has a little more power than a 65 swaro but it’s shorter and lighter; and not nearly as bulky and heavy as an 85 or 95. I’ve often wondered why more companies didn’t make a 75? There is a pretty big jump between a 65 and 85. Seems like lots of folks will pack a 65, but leave an 85 (+) at the truck. I don’t live out west so I can’t justify 2 high end spotters. The 77 was the perfect balance for me.


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BBob

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Southern AZ
I’ve looked through the little Kowa’s a bit but not a lot so not a big opinion there. That said I’ve been using a Swaro STM-65HD 25-50 as my lightweight grab it just in case I might want it scope. My limited time with the little Kowa’s hasn’t compelled me to want to buy one yet. The STM with the straight body tucks into the pack great and the weight seems to be a good compromise and optically overall beats the little Kowa.
 

28bang

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Mar 16, 2018
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Oregon
I have the Kowa 77 paired with my 12x42. It’s a great balance of power and weight IMO. It has a great FOV for glassing with. It’s also pretty compact in size which helps it fit in the pack. The 77 has a little more power than a 65 swaro but it’s shorter and lighter; and not nearly as bulky and heavy as an 85 or 95. I’ve often wondered why more companies didn’t make a 75? There is a pretty big jump between a 65 and 85. Seems like lots of folks will pack a 65, but leave an 85 (+) at the truck. I don’t live out west so I can’t justify 2 high end spotters. The 77 was the perfect balance for me.


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This is what I was thinking about running with.
 

AZ_Hunter_2000

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Oct 8, 2019
Messages
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This is from the Rokslide review of the Kowa 99x:

6-Size-Comparison.jpg


Here you can see the TSN-99 (2nd from the right) next to a Swarovski ATX-95 on the right, and TSN’s 88, 77, and 55 on the left in descending order.

From a size perspective there is not that much of a difference; the difference is in weight.

While the NL12s are awesome, at the end of the day the magnification is a compromise. Expect the same with your spotting scope. Figure out what you must have and then figure out what you are willing to give up.

My Kowa 554 does great and has exceeded my expectations. But there have been times I wanted "more". My STX 65 does great and has served me well (twice the weight of my Kowa 554 yet very close in overall dimensions). But there have been times I wanted "more" with it. My STX 95 does awesome and also has served me well. But there have been times I wanted "more" even with it.

NOTE: I do not glass with my spotters as I only use them for confirmations and/or clarifications.

No matter which route you go, expect it to "disappoint" or "frustrate" you at some point.

I strongly recommend shopping around, including calling Rokslide sponsors, as you can get some smoking deals.
 

nphunter

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A Meostar S2 is a great spotter, it will out do the Kowa 55 & 77mm spotters, at 82mm with fluoride glass it’s pretty awesome. Personally I prefer to pack the barrel focus 82mm over the 65mm dual focus. I was originally going to keep my 65mm spotter but the size difference wasn’t enough to justify both, especially considering the optical quality of the S2.

Here’s a 65mm Razor, real similar size to the 77 Kowa next to the S2, you can see how much the dual focus adds in bulk. The slim design of the barrel focus just fits in the pack better for me.

CEEA2329-8417-46F9-979D-A951A02299A7.jpeg
 

7718Sallee

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Mid valley,Oregon
I currently have a pair of 12x42 NL Pures and primarily take these hunting leaving a spotter behind as someone in the group has one. I do have a Swaro BTX 95mm that I use from the truck but it's too bulky to pack into the wilderness. I spend most of my time behind the bino's and use the spotter to get a closer look.

I'be thought about getting a Kowa TSN-554 to carry along to get a closer look. I've also considered the Kowa TSN-884 as I'm afraid the TSN-554 won't provide much of an advantage over the 12x42's. Any thoughts?

I'll use the spotter about 5% of the time while in the field.
I have the 12x42 nl and had the Kowa 553 and decided the 553 didn’t give me much optically over the 12x nl’s. So i sold the Kowa 553 and hoping to get a 77 this summer.
 

WI in the west

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Apr 4, 2019
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WI
I have the 12x nls and just scooped up a 774. Havent gotten to
Thouroughly look at it but i will
Say the color, clarity and brightness stood out to me at 60x even. Definatly a big stup
Up from my old vortex razor. And it doesnt feel to bulky. I think itll be a great pair
 

kota

Junior Member
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Aug 26, 2014
Messages
17
I am still on the odyssey to find the ideal setup, so I feel your pain! As already mentioned, everything is a compromise in terms of weight, clarity and magnification, and there aren’t any perfect solutions. I hunted with 12x NL and the 85mm BTX last year thinking it was going to be the perfect setup. I normally glass with binos and primarily use a spotter to confirm, and started the season spending 90% of my time behind the NL. By the end of the season I was behind the BTX 50+ percent of the time since I got tired of finding deer with the BTX that I missed with the binos. I had the binos set up on the same tripod I used for the BTX and still missed ALOT of animals. I did a couple short solo backpack hunts last year, and the BTX was the first thing I put in my bag.

My rambling point is that I would pack the BTX and cut weight in other areas if you have too. If you want to buy a new piece of glass, make sure it’s something you can use for more than just confirming what you find in the binos, and that it is a solid step up over your 12x. I’d skip the 550 series and step up to the 770 series or something in the 65-80mm range like the S2.
 

MaraviaDave

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Oct 5, 2015
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Alaska
I’d start by getting an ATX/STX eyepiece, if you don’t already have one, followed by getting the 65mm objective module. This would give you a range of options based on weight and bulk, depending on application.

I also have NL 12x42’s and a BTX/ATX with 65 and 95 mm objectives.

However, I rarely use the 65 mm objective.

During hunts where determining legality of an animal (sheep) or evaluating trophy potential is important. The weight and bulk is justified for carrying the 95 mm objective. This includes 10 day backpack hunts.

From my perspective a rifle and optics are tools where cutting weight is a poor choice. I go ultralight, or do without, on just about everything else.
 
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