A while back I reviewed the full sized 10.5×44 Genesis from Kowa on the best binocular reviews website and rated it as one of the best views through a pair of binoculars ever as the clarity and brightness of the image produced was simply stunning. But I decided not to include it on the safari guide website because I felt that it was probably a bit to large and heavy for the average person to take on safari.
Because of just how good the 10.5×44 was, I asked the guys at Alpha Digital Services (the UK distributors of Kowa) if they could get me one of the smaller and lighter Genesis models in the XD 33 series to review and in particular the 10x version (they also make an 8×33 model) which I thought would make for an excellent safari binocular or indeed any travel adventure as well as a great all round, all purpose binocular.
- 33mm ED Glass Lenses
- Roof Prisms with phase correction coatings
- Locking Diopter Ring
- Water & Fogproof
- Very close minimum focus of 4.9 feet (1.5m)
Aimed at the top end of the market, the biggest optical selling point of these Kowa Genesis XD 10×33 binoculars and indeed all Kowa Genesis binoculars is their PROMINAR XD lenses that are made using extra low dispersion glass, which virtually eliminates colour fringing around the edges of contrasting objects in the view.
One of the concerns I had before testing these 33mm objective lens versions was they would not perform as well as the 44mm version. Obviously with the smaller lenses you expect that the image will not be quite as bright, but I hoped that they would at least retain some of the impressive brightness of their big brother.
However after I had finished testing and comparing them with the 44mm Genesis, I was impressed as to just how close they were in brightness, even when the ambient light was very poor.
As well as the XD lenses, there are a number of other quality features used by Kowa that help produce such an excellent performance:
33mm Objective Lenses
It is interesting that Kowa decided to use objective lenses with a diameter of 33mm which is just a fraction larger than the much more commonly used 32mm ones for mid sized bins. Whist this may add a very small amount to their weight, they don’t look or feel any larger, but do make some difference to the stats:
All 10×33 binoculars like this Genesis produce a 3.3mm Exit Pupil and have a Twilight Factor of 18.2
10×32 binoculars produce a smaller 3.2mm Exit Pupil (Twilight Factor of 17.9), which according to theory means they will seem to produce a slightly dimmer image in poor light when the pupil of your eyes is larger than the exit pupil on the binocular.
The Prisms on these Kowa binoculars are also coated with Phase-correction coatings, which help to improve the resolution as well as the contrast of the image when compared to roof prism bins that don’t have these applied to them.
Field of View & Close Focus
These Kowa Genesis binoculars can focus on an object only 1.5m (4.9ft) away which is excellent beating most others in this class. This very close focussing distance means that they are not only ideal for viewing distant wildlife on safari, but also taking a closer look at things like flowers, butterflies and other insects.
The field of view at 1000 yards is 357ft (119m@1000m) is good and is comparable to most top end mid sized roof prism binoculars with a 10x magnification.
Using a magnesium alloy which is then coated using a rubberised armour, the body is not very light, it is also a lot tougher and more durable than cheaper bins that use aluminium or plastic.
As well as providing impact protection, this dull rubber coating also makes the body far less reflective and will make less noise when knocked, both of which are important when viewing easily frightened wildlife on your safari.
Water & Fog Proof
The Genesis is completely sealed and filled with dry nitrogen gas to prevent them from fogging up which also means that they are 100% waterproof.
With a weight of only 20.8oz / 590g, these are up there with the lightest, high end mid sized binoculars:
- Swarovski EL 10×32 Swarovision Binoculars – 20.5ozs (581g)
- Kowa Prominar 10×33 Genesis XD – 20.8oz (590g )
- Swarovski 8×32 EL W B Traveler – 21.5ozs (610g)
- Minox 8×33 BL Binoculars – 22.9ozs (649g)
With 15mm of eye-relief and 4 fixed stops (2 intermediate) on the twist up eyecups, you have a good amount of flexibility to get the distance between the ocular lenses and your eyes perfect so you can view the complete image without any blurring on the edges, even if you wear glasses.
Focusing using the central dial was simple and very smooth and it takes just one and a half full rotations of the wheel to go from one extreme of the focus plane to the other.
Small features like the lockable diopter show a great attention to detail from Kowa and once set to your correct position for your eyesight, will make sure that it does not move accidentally.
The soft carry bag that comes with these Kowa Genesis binoculars is of a very good quality and whilst it does not have it’s own carry strap, you can use the ones on the binoculars by threading them through the sides of the top flap. For safaris and travelling this is great as this duel use and lack of an unnecessary second strap saves a little more on bulk and weight.
The neck strap is very good and very well padded, which for such a light bin may be a little over the top but far better than being the other way around.
Objective lens covers are tethered to the body using a loop around the barrels and made from a soft rubber. These fit well meaning that they should not easily come away by accident.
You also get a good quality microfibre cloth for cleaning the lenses, a basic instruction manual and card with the warranty information.
Best Binocular Video Review of the Kowa Genesis 10×33 Binocular:
The video above is part of a full review that I did for the Best Binocular reviews website, you can read the full Kowa Genesis XD 10×33 Binocular review here.
Priced at around £800 ($1000) you could never describe these as being cheap binoculars, but you have to remember that these are top end binoculars using all the best quality components, coatings and materials and compared to others in this class, they are compete very well on price. This means that in my opinion, they do offer very good value for money compared to their direct competition
However if this price is a little too high for you, I would recommend the Minox 8×33 BL Binoculars.
- Magnification: 10x
- 33mm Objective Lenses
- 3.3mm Exit Pupil
- 15mm Eye Relief
- Dimensions: 5.2in (13.3cm) x 4.1in (10.3cm)
- Weight: 20.8ozs / 590g
- FOV: 357ft wide at 1,000 yards / 119m at 1,000 meters
- Close Focus Distance: 1.5m (4.9ft)
- Waterproof: Yes
- Fogproof: Yes
- Fully Multi-coated
- Phase corrected Bak-4 Prisms
- Tripod Adaptable
|Kowa Genesis on Amazon.co.uk||Kowa Genesis on Amazon.com|
Like their very high end spotting scopes, the Kowa Genesis binoculars use the finest material and components to produce a range of binoculars of outstanding quality and this XD 10×33 model is no exception.
The small and lightweight design, combined with top notch optical glass and coatings produce a fantastic quality and bright image that makes these an ideal choice for safaris as well as a host of other uses.
Other major plus points for me included the very close minimum focusing which will appeal to those wanting a better look at things like butterflies and flowers whilst on your safari holiday.