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|Tuesday 3rd February 2004, 20:41||#1|
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Chester, Kent Island, MD
Review of Nikon 82mm Fieldscope ED
Hello all. This is only my second post, so I hope this has ended up in the right place. It's long-ish, so I REALLY hope so.
I appended my comments on this scope in another thread, and was asked in a private email to post my review here.
I purchased the new 82mm ED Nikon scope about four months ago, actually. I received it from Eagle Optics, from their first batch from Nikon. I have never had a moment's regret about the decision.
I've had birding scopes for 20 years now. First a Celestron C-90, then a Swaro AT-80. The latter was in service for 12 years, but had made two trips back to Austria in the last three years for cleaning of internal fogging. I figured it was time for a new scope. But why Nikon?
First, I've been using Nikon binoculars of various models for over ten years, (Superior E's riight now), and I just think that Nikon gets it right in the area of eyepiece design, aberration correction, true color, and price. So, I was already in their favor.
Several years ago, I was birding with a group from Baltimore (Maryland, not Ireland!), and as we were scoping ducks, I looked around and realized that all the big scopes were right there. My Swaro, a Leica Televid, Pentax, Bausch and Lomb, and a Nikon 78 ED. (The Zeiss Diascope wasn't out yet.) So, I set off on my comparison. At the end of it all, I liked the old Nikon the best.
So, when it was time to sell off the Swaro, I opted to buy the Nikon 82mm, even though no one had put out a review at that time. I had to wait more months than I cared to, but it finally came in early October...after shorebird season was over!
Right out of the box, it was fabulous. Bright, sharper edge-to-edge than anything I've seen (more below), compact, and apparently rugged. The view-through case was very well thought out, providing better coverage of the works than others I've seen. You can operate the helical focus under a velcro'd and magnetic snapped covering, without exposing the body to precipitation, even the the scope is waterproofed.
Chromatic and spherical aberration were very well corrected to the point of being non-existent. The color is true - you lift your head from the scope to discover that the colors you're seeing through the scope are the same you see with the naked eye.
On an early outing with the scope, I had a chance to compare it side-by-side to a Zeiss 85. The latter is a great scope (more below about that), but was noticeably soft at the edges. Members of that trip looked through them both, and everyone commented on the Nikon's sharpness and brightness. Most comments started with "Wow!" (What's the UK equivalent of wow?)
I got two eyepieces with the scope. I've always preferred a fixed focal length eyepiece, and my requirements were met by the 38X eyepiece, due to its 18mm eye-relief, and wide field of view. However, at 38X, it does tend to emphasize heat shimmer, so I also got the 25-75X zoom, allowing me to use both lower power when needed, and the high power when conditions allowed. The 38X's fov is as wide as the zoom's at 25X. The 60-75X range is very useable, and if the viewing conditions are right, you get tack-sharp views right out to the limits of conjecture. Of course, you know the formula: 82mm divided by 75X yields a pretty small exit pupil, but decreases in apparent brightness as power goes up is true with any zoom. Eye relief also reduces with power increases, but that's also the case for zooms. Eyepieces are O-ringed screw-ins - very secure, but not very swift for changing eyepieces.
Does the scope have warts? Of course. The knurled knob for the zoom is narrow, and not the easiest to use with heavy gloves. The helical focus goes from near to far in 3/4 of a turn, so careful focusing is required to get the best image. The Zeiss's two-stage focus was easier to get on target the first time, but with experience, I've found these ergonomic problems to be something one gets used to. I struggle no longer.
Finally, in October, I and some fellow birders encountered a Bicknell's Thrush at a time when we were carrying our scopes. The bird, quite the rarity in Maryland, was very cooperative, staying in place long enough to get scope on it. My view through the Nikon was as sharp, and corrected as the view through one member's Questar Birder. And, I had a wider fov. At one-third the price.
So, am I touting the Nikon? Maybe. Since it's only just now starting to get out on the market in any sufficient numbers (and maybe even not yet), anyone looking to buy a top end scope really owes it to themselves to check out the Nikon before making a final decision. There are a number of top scopes on the market today, but at several $100's (US) less than the competing models, Nkon 82mm is a clear contender.
Chester, Kent Island, MD, USA
Last edited by Scott Crabtree : Thursday 5th February 2004 at 16:47. Reason: Just learned what Subscription meant!
|Tuesday 3rd February 2004, 23:57||#2|
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Ontario, Canada
Thanks for that. I've always been more than happy with Nikon Binoculars, and though I use a TeleVue 85, and Canon cameras and lenses, I know that the thousands out there who buy Nikon aren't all misguided. Good for Nikon. Their binocs are lower priced than the competition too. Now the scopes? Great!
|Wednesday 4th February 2004, 12:44||#3|
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Leicestershire, UK
Lovely review, Scott - here's a link for those who missed your earlier connected posting and the few replies given there:
"...when the cities lie at the monsterís feet there are left the mountains."
Robinson Jeffers, "Shine, Perishing Republic"
Last edited by scampo : Wednesday 4th February 2004 at 12:47.
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