Review of Kowa TSN-553 and TSN-554 Spotting Scopes

The Kowa TSN-550 series, one of the best compact spotting scopes available all-around, comes in a super lightweight package and bags an unrivaled optical performance. These scopes are built with Prominar fluorite glass  that can eliminate chromatic aberration to a great extent, resulting in better optical quality and brilliant image in all conditions: extremely low and bright light. Before we dive into the amazing features and advantages of this extraordinary spotting scope, just letting you know that these scopes, in fact, are not cheap and you will have to prepare to spend a significant amount if you are considering buying any of the scopes in this series. However, another thing to consider before spending this money is that you will also get an unmatched product which will definitely awe you with its superiority.

Series Overview

The spotting scopes in this series are specifically made considering both top-notch optical quality and portability issues in the same device. Generally, as you seek more superior quality and better optical performance in a spotting scope, the size and weight both increase astronomically. Ultra-portability, thus, remained a fantasy for most of the spotting scopes available on the market. Kowa TSN-550 series, however, turned the tables and solved this long-standing problem by delivering an unmatched product in its class.

These singular spotting scopes from Kowa are much smaller than the TSN-880 series but feature a pure fluorite crystal objective lens, letting you forget about chromatic aberration as they are corrected for color-fringing or noticeable colored edges in an image. So, you’re unlikely to see rainbow fringes with this spotting scope, and you can enjoy a high-contrast image without any anomalies compared to the real object.

The aperture is 55mm as you can guess from the series name. However, you definitely did not guess the 58mm objective lens filter threads. The eye relief is quite good at different magnifications. As a result, you won’t have to worry if you are an eyeglasses wearer, and it is quite comfortable for everyone. If you are feeling disappointed after finding out the maximum magnifications, don’t worry. Certainly, Kowa TSN-550 series will provide performance that is unlikely to be found even in a top class 65mm spotting scope. When a scope promises a maginifcation of up to 60x – in most cases that maximum is unusable anyway. For example the Kowa TSN-553 (one of the scopes in the TSN-550 series) outweighs a Vortex Razor 65mm in most aspects.

The biggest advantage of using the Kowa TSN-550 series is their extremely lightweight body. They won’t weigh more than two pounds (28 oz.). So, if you are willing to grab a powerhouse and want to have it inside your backpack, you can choose to go for one of the TSN-550 series. You may be wondering why these scopes produce such brilliant optical quality that others are not capable of. The reason is the fluorite crystal lens which is rarely found on non-Kowa products and produces higher resolution and better high contrast image, eliminating any color blurs.

Scopes in this Series

Kowa TSN-553 with the angled eyepiece is possibly the more popular scope of this series. The eyepiece is at a 45-degree angle, which is more comfortable in many application than a straight eyepiece. The eyepiece has a decent eye relief of 16mm, though keep in mind that if you wear eyeglasses that sit quite far ahead of your eyes, you may need higher eye relief.  The stylish body and lightweight polycarbonate chassis make you feel the premium touch despite lacking the rubberized exterior like other premium spotting scopes. You will get oil-resistant KR exterior lens coating, an added bonus, which will only ensure more durability. However, you will not get any rotating collar with the angled scope – this is when you can turn the scope sideways whilst mounted on a tripod.

Kowa TSN-554 is the other option in this class, also coming with an ultra-low dispersion Prominar glass and multi-coated lens. Since this scope has a straight viewing body, it’s more convenient to use in some situations.The other features of the Kowa TSN-554 remain same as the TSN-553.

Final Verdict

Kowa TSN-550 series is something professionals were looking for ages. If you have both a lightweight backpacking mentality and are looking for a high-end spotting scope, then look no more. The only downside is the price for this amazing series. But they weigh only 28 oz. What else can you look for? With these scopes in your backpack, you will never be disappointed when birding, hunting, wildlife watching, or even on a 300 yards target shooting. These scopes certainly deserve your attention.