Like the older Topcon fundus cameras, the Kowa Alpha-D does not utilize a DSLR camera back, and instead relies on an internal CCD (circuitry camera) camera to sensor and capture images. Unlike the Topcons however, the Alpha-D’s CCD is quite powerful, boasting 5 megapixels; something that is quite impressive for a built-in sensor. Of course the CCD compromises ultra high definition for compactness and ease-of-use, however, we’re not at all upset with how the Kowa performs. 5 megapixels is plenty to achieve basic diagnosis, and software integration isn’t a sweat as there’s no back-camera installation. It also means you’ll never have to worry about replacing the shutter in your luxury DSLR camera-back. Although the Kowa doesn’t have auto-tracking or focus, you won’t mind as the price tag positions itself in a place where you’ll be happy to compromise. Regardless, optic-nerve-head positioning is easy, and the focus knob is well adjusted. We noticed that the flash intensity is slightly more intense than what we find in newer units, and the chin rest design could be slightly more comfortable– but now we’re just nit-picking.
OUR TAKE: A terrific entry-level camera that delivers great clarity given the absence of a DSLR camera-back. Manual capture and focus will make you work slightly harder, but for the price we think it’s worth it.
#1. 5 Megapixel CCD
The Alpha-D’s 5 megapixels may not be impressive given modern standards, however when you learn those megapixels are produced from a computerized camera instead of a DSLR, it becomes more so. Unlike most desktop fundus cameras, the Kowa doesn’t utilize a DSLR camera back, and instead relies on its impressive CCD chip for image sensing, lens aperture, and capture. This of course makes it more compact, portable, and robust– seeing that there’s no camera-back shutter to fail. Although there are fundus imaging systems that offer much higher resolutions, 5mpx is plenty for basic diagnosis and screening– even with post-capture zoom.
#2. 5.6" LCD Monitor w/ VK-2
Although Kowa’s VK-2 viewing software comes standard with your purchase, you’ll be glad to know the Alpha-D’s 5.6″ LCD monitor is great for immediate review. The unit won’t store images directly on the unit, however data transfer to VK-2 software on your local (or networked) computer is a breeze. Prior to sending images to the software, you’ll be able to review the quality on the LCD monitor, and determine whether an additional photo is necessary. VK-2 also allows for mosaic images (up to 8 captures), and allows for developed examination such as PDT function, stereo view, montage function, zoom function, and more.
Yes, we were able to capture decent images in fully-lit rooms, however its best to at least lower the pre-test room lights.
3.5mm in diameter.
The Kowa Alpha-D is restricted to use with (included) VK-2 Fundus Viewing software on a custom computer (built by Kowa) running on a Windows XP computing environment.
45° is the maximum field of view.