Kowa 663 vs. Athlon Ares & Maven CS1: Another Spotter Comparo Question


Jan 18, 2022
If you could have a brand new Maven CS1 or Athlon Ares for roughly the same price as a used Kowa 663, which would you prefer and why? Hoping for some inputs to help me make a decision. Budget is under $1k.

They’re all ED glass, which doesn’t necessarily mean they’re the same but they’re at least in the same class. Is the Prominar non-fluorite glass similar or better than the Maven and Athlon ED glass in optical quality? Maven and Athlon has the barrel adjustment only, whereas the Kowa has the dual adjustment which is nice. I think warranties are comparable, at least on paper. Athlon is 8-9 oz heavier than the Maven, which is 4 oz heavier than the Kowa. Length of all is roughly equal.

I’ve seen mostly positive reviews of the Maven, and generally in head-to-head reviews the Athlon seems to get the nod over the Maven. But never compared to the 663, which is the kind of unloved Kowa for the eyepiece as it compares to the other Kowa scopes with the better eyepiece.
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