Introduction

In this article, I will compare two 10×50 configuration binoculars; Delta Optical Forest II and Kowa SV. Both models are very affordable, yet durable, providing all the basic features and clear observations. Delta Optical’s products are well-known and popular among hunters, forest rangers, and other rescue teams. Kowa just recently introduced their SV 50 Roof Prism Binoculars, that are technologically advanced with a good combination of optical properties and a modern design. The binoculars are great for nature observation- especially when focusing on details. They are perfect for every beginner and suitable for hunting, mountain and safari expeditions, bird watching and traveling.

Delta Optical Forest II 10x50 and Kowa SV 10x50

Delta Optical Forest II 10×50 and Kowa SV 10×50

Size & Weight

 Delta Optical Forest II 10x50Kowa SV 10x50
Weight:870 g740 g
Width:133 mm133 mm
Length:165 mm178 mm
Max interpupillary distance:73 mm74 mm

Forest II weighs more than the SV, which makes it less appropriate for the long hikes and more for the rough terrain observations since they are well-made and robust. Kowa SV is more suitable for the everyday use and weighs less than the average binoculars of this type. Kowa SV Series are already known for their long and narrow barrels, consisting of two parts, which make the whole appearance of the binoculars elegant and unique. SV is coated in rubber with a special texture- matted/granular around the bridge, that provides a better grip even in extreme weather conditions. They do not have an ordinary thumb rest on the surface, but the whole design of the binoculars is conceived to be ergonomic and comfortable for holding in hands. Forest II is coated in hunting-green rubber that has a rather soft surface and because of that, the grip is not so reliable in bad weather conditions! Also, the thumb rest is missing- it is compensated with an additional line on the surface of the underside of the binoculars. The whole design is very minimalistic. The details on both are made of plastic. Kowa SV has a red stripe in the middle of the bridge. The big disadvantage is that we do not get their binoculars in hunting colors, especially their red details are quite disturbing and noticeable.

Delta Optical Forest II 10x50

Delta Optical Forest II 10×50

Kowa SV 10x50

Kowa SV 10×50

Delta Optical Forest II 10×50 Vs. Kowa SV 10×50

Delta Optical Forest II 10×50 Vs. Kowa SV 10×50

Optical Properties

 Delta Optical Forest II 10×50Kowa SV 10×50
Prism type:Roof -Schmidt/PechanRoof -Schmidt/Pechan
Lens Diameter:50 mm50 mm
Magnification:10x10x
Variable Magnification:NoNo
Coatings:Fully multi-coatedFully multi-coated
Close focus:4 m 5.5 m
Field of View:98 m /1000 m87 m / 1000 m

10×50 configuration is perfect for observing details, especially in mountains and large open areas. It collects a huge amount of light which results in very bright images. This configuration is also suitable for the astronomical observations. The bad thing is, the image is not as stable as on the lower magnifications. For all the larger magnifications and in many cases also for the 10x, the tripod is necessary. In this case, regardless of the fact that the Forest II is much cheaper than the Kowa SV, it has its optical properties extremely good and comparable to the latter. It provides very good resolution and edge-to-edge image. It also has a better close focus distance and wider field of view than the SV! Both binoculars have coated and phase corrected BAK-4 prisms with fully multi-coated lenses. Kowa SV provides very clear, bright and true-to-life images. Eyepieces and objective lenses are covered with Kowa Repelling technology (KR), that prevents water, dirt, and grease from collecting on the surface. It makes cleaning much more simple.

Delta Optical Forest II 10×50 and Kowa SV 10×50

Delta Optical Forest II 10×50 and Kowa SV 10×50

Delta Optical Forest II 10×50 and Kowa SV 10×50

Delta Optical Forest II 10×50 and Kowa SV 10×50

Focus Properties

 Delta Optical Forest II 10×50Kowa SV 10×50
Focusing System:CentralCentral
Central Wheel Grasp:7/108/10
Central Wheel Rotation:8/108/10
Diopter Setting:Right-eyeRight-eye
Central Wheel Diameter:30 mm31 mm
Central Wheel Length:25 mm22 mm
Total Revolution: 590°560°
Bridge Length (Without the Central Wheel Length)60 mm50 mm

These two binoculars both have a centrally-positioned focusing system. The grasp of the Delta’s wheel is worse than on the Kowa; knob is covered in black rubber with bars on the surface that are inconvenient to grasp. Kowa’s wheel has an inner grip design– it looks like the knob was coated with mesh with oval openings. It is much better for handling, especially with gloves on and that is why I have evaluated the grasp with an 8/10 on SV and a 7/10 on Forest II. The rotation of knobs is similar on both models, it is sturdy, reliable and does not move too fast or with an unpleasant sound of “trapped air” inside the wheel. I gave them both a good 8/10. Both have a right-eye diopter setting that moves just a little bit too hard on the Forest II; I had to use a lot of force to move the ring! The design of this ring on Kowa is the same as on the central focusing wheel. Other proportions are more or less the same, except for the bridge length, which is 10mm longer on the Forrest II and for that reason much less suitable for holding in one hand. On the other hand, Kowa has a shorter bridge and is more light-weight, so holding it with one hand is not a problem even when focusing, since index finger falls automatically on the wheel.

Delta Optical Forest II 10×50 Focusing System

Delta Optical Forest II 10×50 Focusing System

Kowa SV 10×50 Focusing System

Kowa SV 10×50 Focusing System

Eyepiece Properties

 Delta Optical Forest II 10×50Kowa SV 10×50
Eyepiece type:MultipositionedMultipositioned
Number of Click-stops:14
Eye relief:19.5 mm19.5 mm
Exit pupil:5 mm5 mm
Firmness:6/107/10
Quality:6/107/10
Suitable for Eye Glass Wearers:YesYes
External Diameter:40 mm36 mm
Internal Diameter:20 mm21 mm

Both have a multi-positioned eyepiece type. Forest II eyecups are a little hard and feel rather uncomfortable when pressed to the face. Kowa SV’s are much softer and also offer 4 click-stops for a proper eye relief. Forest II eyepiece has a turn and slide mechanism of the eyecups, which is fine, but not as precise and proportionate as the click-stops. The rubber on SV is soft and nicely shaped, however, the material seems to be getting pretty dirty fast and is not easy to clean! Face grease leaves white stains, which are pretty demanding to get rid of. I have evaluated both, firmness and quality of the eyepiece on Delta with a 6/10 and with a 7/10 on Kowa. The more I liked those on the SV, because of the greater comfort and better settings, it only bothers me how quickly they get dirty.

Delta Optical Forest II 10×50 and Kowa SV 10×50 Eyepiece

Delta Optical Forest II 10×50 and Kowa SV 10×50 Eyepiece

General Properties

 Delta Optical Forest II 10×50Kowa SV 10×50
Housing Material:Plastic/ RubberPlastic/ Rubber
Armoring:RubberRubber
Quality of Armoring:6/108/10
Quality of Covers:8/106/10
Build in Rangefinder:NoNo
Waterproof:YesYes
Submersible:Yes Yes
Filled With:NitrogenNitrogen
Number of Colors:11
Tripod Adaptable:YesYes
Made in:ChinaChina
Introduced in:20112012
Warranty period: 5 years10 years
MRSP Price:169.00 EUR329.00 EUR

For Delta Forest II armoring it was said to be extremely good and lasting, however, it does not seem anything special to me. Both have all the details made of plastic. I would evaluate the quality of armoring on Forest II with a 6/10 because it does not convince me and I definitely would not dare to throw the binoculars on the floor and expect them to be without a scratch. Kowa SV’s armoring already seems better at first glance; the overall look of the binoculars is much more ergonomic and slim. As for the covers, Kowa SV still has not given up on the terrible plastic covers, which are separated for each objective lens. This is why I evaluated them with a 6/10 because they are impractical, seem to be easily breakable and have no logo imprinted on them. Forest II’s covers are attached to the barrels with a thick rubber band and are made of the same rubber as the armoring. I have evaluated them with an 8/10. Both binoculars are filled with Nitrogen and tightly sealed, which makes them fog and waterproof. Because of the 10x magnification, it is sometimes advisable to mount these type of binoculars on a tripod and that is why both of them have this option. Both are made in China. Delta offers a 5-year warranty on their Forest II and Kowa offers 10 years for SV.

Delta Optical Forest II 10×50 and Kowa SV 10×50 Covers

Delta Optical Forest II 10×50 and Kowa SV 10×50 Covers

Delta Optical Forest II 10×50 (Left) and Kowa SV 10×50 (Right)

Delta Optical Forest II 10×50 (Left) and Kowa SV 10×50 (Right)

Delta Optical Forest II 10×50 and Kowa SV 10×50

Delta Optical Forest II 10×50 and Kowa SV 10×50

Group Test

How we made a test

We made a test with a group of 6 people with very diverse knowledge about sports optics. Some had previous experiences with binoculars and other almost none. We compared central and edge sharpness, glare, real FOV, eye-box and overall impression. Everyone in the test group tested binoculars individually without being influenced by other people. We also covered down any brand signs on binoculars, so no one was influenced by knowing which company manufactured which.

 Delta Optical Forest II 10×50Kowa SV 10×50
Central sharpness:3/63/6
Edge sharpness:5/61/6
Glare:3/63/6
Real FOV:4/62/6
Eye-box:2/64/6
Overall impression:2/64/6

It was quite surprising, Kowa SV was not a winner in all the categories- the binoculars are considered to be in all aspects much better than the Delta Forest II. People who helped me with the comparison test decided, Kowa has a better eye-box and it won in the overall impression, 4/6 people would rather buy Kowa SV than Delta Forest II, regardless of the price. Delta has won some noteworthy victories, for example, edge sharpness and the real FOV! Central sharpness and glare of both ended in a tie.

Conclusion

In this comparison, I must say I was more on the side of Kowa because they produce great binoculars, better in almost all aspects than the Delta Forest II. Nevertheless, Delta surprised with its unexpected qualities, for example, wide field of view and sharp edge-to-edge image. Once again, these two are both entry-level binoculars at a very affordable price. Delta Forest II comes in a hard black case with a neck strap and cleaning cloth included. Kowa SV’ kit is almost the same, except the bag is softer and from thinner material.

Delta Optical Forest II 10×50 Kit

Delta Optical Forest II 10×50 Kit

Kowa SV 10×50 Kit

Kowa SV 10×50 Kit

Kowa SV 10×50 Bag

Kowa SV 10×50 Bag

Delta Optical Forest II 10×50 Bag

Delta Optical Forest II 10×50 Bag

Disclaimer

This test wasn’t financed and is unbiased. As a wildlife enthusiast interested in sports optics I made this tests because I would like to see how binoculars perform and if they meet the advertised expectations. With this test, I also hope that it will help people choose the right binoculars for their personal use. I am not in any way connected with the manufacturers of sports optics and I’m not personally in favor of particular brand. In the end, I would like to thank Optics-trade.eu to lend me these binoculars for this test. I also thank them for letting me use their videos.

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Hunting Binoculars

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