KOWA TSN-883 Angles Spotting Scope Review

Editor: Mike

Summary of Kowa 883 TSN-883 Spotting Scope
I generally start with the FACTS of the item reviewed, and a basic description. However I am changing it up a bit and giving my summary first:
The KOWA TSN-883 is just absolutely a fantastic spotting scope. I am an outdoor nut, and rarely go on a hike, a back country outing, or just an ordinary drive in the mountains without my spotting scope. For the last several months the spotting scope of choice has been the KOWA. The sharpness of the image, the ease of use, the durability, and the low light capability have made it my favorite scope I have owned thus far. This is saying a great deal considering the scopes I have used.

Basic Description of Item:

The TSN-883 uses an element of PFC (Pure Flourite Crystal) glass in its construction, which greatly minimizes chromatic aberration. This ensures maximum efficiency in its light gathering, producing a clear visual range and sharp imagery that traditional glass lenses cannot attain at their highest magnifications and with the strongest of subject/background contrast changes. Flourite is extremely expensive, but the subtle difference between the viewing from the Prominar-equipped TSN-883 and even the very best normal scopes would be apparent even to a novice. Kowa’s use of their patented “C3” prism multicoating process increases image brightness significantly over their prior-generation models which featured flourite.
The 883’s housing is made of a magnesium alloy that defines maximum durability and lightweight construction, resulting is a compact, ergonomic, and functional design for extreme nature and outdoor enthusiasts wanting only the very best. It sets a benchmark for the combination of large objective with small weight and mass.
As the angled viewing model of Kowa’s flagship line, this scope makes sharing the viewing amongst multiple observers quite easy and is also generally considered more comfortable for longer glassing sessions. An angled scope allows for a slightly smaller, shorter tripod, and requires a bit more experience to quickly locate the subject in the scope

Just the Facts:
Extremely-bright 3.5″ objective lens garners a better view in any lighting
Prominar flourite crystal objective lens element
Magnesium alloy construction aids weight/brightness ratio
Body’s color tone won’t alarm wildlife
Phase-corrected Schmidt-Pechan prism with “C3″ dielectric prism coating, superior to aluminum, mirror, and silver-backed prism systems
Dual-speed coarse/fine focusing system
Rotating tripod collar with detented intermediate stops
Extreme waterproof & fogproof performance (JIS protection class 7)
Multiple available specialty eyepieces
Quick-aiming sightline aids in object locating
Sliding, rubber armored sun shade (with 95mm filter thread) shields objective from rain and stray light
Easily adapted to SLR cameras, digital point & shoot cameras, and video cameras with optional accessories

Objective Lens Diameter 88mm
Minimum Focus Distance 16.4′ (5 m)
Weatherproofing Waterproof & fogproof
Length 13.5″ (343mm)
Weight 3.35 lbs (1520g)

Package Weight 5.9 lb
Box Dimensions (LxWxH) 16.772 x 6.772 x 6.535”

My Story:
I mentioned earlier that I have been using the KOWA TSN 883 spotting scope for several months. The primary use has been spotting wintering Elk, Deer, and Sheep. Keeping track of these animals is something that I enjoying doing in the winter months, when they become more concentrated.
Most of my viewing of these animals has been at great distance, usually over 1000 yards and sometimes up to 3 miles away. Below you will find a video I took with my Nexus 6 phone, through the KOWA TSn-883. You should be amazed at the clarity, since this was over 700 yards away, in the twilight of the day, and with a phone. The clarity in these situations with this scope is just outstanding:

3 Key elements of a good spotting scope are: Edge Clarity, Light Gathering, and Ease of viewing:
It is virtually impossible to read an optic review, and not have the writer speak of edge aberration or edge clarity. Why is this important? For me edge clarity is an indication of 2 things:
1: Edge Clarity indicates good glass and coating system that will give me better light gathering in low light situations.
2: Edge Clarity allows me to keep my scope in 1 spot and scan the view with my eyes for game, without having to move the scope all of the time and only looking in the center.
The Kowa TSN-883 is outstanding in this area, and has nearly perfect clarity across the whole field of view. It certainly is among the very best in this category.


Light Gathering is an obvious must for good viewing of birds, and big game, that only spend the evening in viewing locations.
I have spend many many hours behind this KOWA scope in very dim situation. It is simply put, fantastic! This scope gives me an extra edge, and extra time viewing in the outdoors. Nothing is more frustrating that waiting until close to dark until an animal is exposed just to not be able to see it. You will not experience this with the KOWA 883, it is just top notch at gathering light.
The KOWA spotting scope, is very much like the Swarovski line of spotting scopes. They both allow for easy viewing and very little eye strain. I have spent 3 hours at a time looking through this spotting scope with little stress to my eyes. This is not common, most spotting scopes after an hour of viewing will cause a person to have very strained eyes, and even headaches. This is a huge advantage afforded to you with this scope. The KOWA 883 is just easy to look through.

kowa tsn-883 spotting scope review
kowa tsn-883 spotting scope review

The KOWA TNS-883 is one of the best spotting scopes available. It has a great price to performance ratio, and is our top pick for hunting, watching big game, back packing, and any other outdoor use.
Well done KOWA, This is a strong buy!

What they could do better:
The only thing that could be improved with this scope is the focus knob. The fast focus is just too fast. This however is a very minor issue.

  • Functionality
  • Value
  • Ergonomics
  • Durability

One Response

  1. Avatar for John Anderson John Anderson June 18, 2016