I would never claim to be an optics aficionado, but that also makes me not a snob. If you have followed my articles here, you’ll find that I’ll call out a great deal on optics when I find them (lately Burris), but there is no questioning that some optics are just a cut above.
I think I’ve seen Kowa in photography circles before, but I don’t recall ever having run into them for sporting optics. They don’t yet make a riflescope, but seeing them at SHOT, they are trying to grow a presence in the US market with binoculars and spotting scopes.
Obviously on the SHOT Show floor, we were only able to look at under 100 yards, and it was under strong mercury vapor lights. Good optics really shine at long distance and under low light so I’m not going to be a complete loser and claim that I could tell the difference between these giant binos and others that I have tested. For sure they are better than $50 Chinese Walmart binos, but I’ll leave it up to you to judge from there.
If you run into Kowa at a big box store or gunshop, give them a look. High quality optics aren’t for everyone, but if you are spending big bucks on a hunting or sightseeing trip, being able to see clearly at distance in low light will add a lot of value to what you are already investing.