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Fieldscope ED82A

Nikon Fieldscope ED 82 scope telescope optics ED82A

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This new Nikon Fieldscope replaces the very well-respected but now discontinued Fieldscope 78. The first thing you notice with this scope is its obvious high build quality - it is a perfectionists delight made with jeweller's precision akin to the Nikon photographic lenses.

I eventually decided on buying this scope because, despite its unusually large 82mm objective lens, it is very compact indeed - no longer, amazingly, than my sons Swarovski 65ED. Its weight is about average compared to the obvious alternatives such as Leica and Zeiss but the Swarovski 80ED is lighter (but has a smaller objective lens).

I imagine the Nikon would be excellent for digiscoping because of its exceptional light gathering power. Nikon sell adapters to suit their digital and SLR cameras. The 82mm objective will allow usefully higher shutter speeds than smaller scopes and so cut down on blur caused by camera shake.

The scope is waterproof and nitrogen filled; it is made from a tough green coated light aluminium alloy with some rubber armouring to prevent damage. The scope body hcan be turned to any desired angle and - unusually - this can easily be achieved with the stay-on waterproof case in-situ.

The Nikon MCII 25-75x zoom eyepiece was launched along with this scope and complements it well. It has a solid and very smooth action and a modern style click-stopped twist up eye-cup. Unusually for zooms, in my experience, the Nikon allows me to wear my glasses and still easily see the full field of view at 25x magnification. The eyepiece is well made and has a very smooth action.

It provides a super-bright, clear image that is very easy on the eye and satisfyingly wide with no feeling of "tunnel vision". The image is pin sharp and retains this sharpness to the extreme edges. The colour balance is probably the most natural I have seen on any top scope, making the Swarovski, to my eyes, seem rather cold. The Nikon also gives a delightfully contrasty image with no flare or colour fringing whatever the light conditions.

Even in poor late-afternoon December light, the 82mm ED objective lens gives a quite amazingly bright image. Nikon make great claim to their use of ultra-low dispersion eco-glass, multicoating and silver throughout and all this seems to work very well indeed - I feel sure that a brighter image does not exist in any other scope (although the Zeiss 85T* might be a worthy contender for comparison).

Nikons optical glass is unusual, too. Its their own formulation rather than the more usual fluorite. Fluorite is felt by some to produce an image that exaggerates the u/v and blue end of the spectrum - the Nikon scores here with a totally faithfully coloured image.

Focusing is quick and easy to achieve by turning a wide and ridged rubber ring that encircles the scopes body about a third of the way down its length, similar to the Swarovski scopes. Focusing moves between the very close focusing point of about 12 feet and infinity in a very useful and easy three-quarters of a turn. The gearing is quite high which makes it quick to focus but does mean care is needed at the 75x end when even a tiny movement has a noticeable effect.

The zoom offers a class beating and very useable 75x maximum magnification. At this power, the image darkens as would be expected but is still very useable and still sharp across the very flat field of view. No doubt the large 82mm. objective lens helps out here.

The grey/green stay-on case is rather swish looking and is particularly well made, fitting the scope body well to provide solid protection against rain and knocks. It has a very useful pullover style waterproof hood to cover the eyepiece in the rain. This works well and allows easy and quick viewing with it in place. In the rain, too, the lens hood is long enough to be useful and extends very smoothly.

The 30x wide angle fixed eyepiece is truly a delight to look through - it offers a very bright, sharp, clear and wide view. Nikon can surely be proud of this lovely lens. As good as Nikons new zoom is - and its up there with the best Ive looked through - this wide- angle lens must be said to show this scope at its very best.

Altogether this scope does its job very well indeed. It is certainly a very fine piece of well-engineered kit - as it should be for the price, I suppose (~1050 with zoom and case).

Here is a snippet from the October 2003 Birdwatch magazine review by Simon Papps:

"As with other Nikon products Ive tested, the optical performance of the ED82 A was faultless and it performed outstandingly in the gloomy conditions around dusk. Nikon says that "all lenses, prisms and dustproof glass are multi-layer coated" and the fluorite ED glass certainly lived up to its claim to help reduce chromatic aberration and give superb colour rendition... Ultimately, for both birders and digiscopers who are searching at the highest-quality end of the market, the Nikon ED82 models should prove to be a hit"

And this from the Webs "Bird Digest" who reviewed the previous but similar scope, the ED78 (http://www.birdwatchersdigest.com/optics/scopes03.html):

"When we tested the Fieldscopes optical resolution... the Fieldscope won the same outstanding score of 19 [/20] at 60x as the Swarovski ATS80 HD and Leica APO Televid 77.

This scope deserves to be on anyones shortlist along with the likes of Zeiss, Leica and Swarovski if you are aiming for the best available. But... if you dont want to or cant spend that much, you can save a lot and lose much less than you would imagine by taking a close look at the Opticron ES80 scope - see the review in this section.

Steve Campsall - Revised Jan 2004

Latest reviews

  • Excellent image, wide fov, compact, WA eyepieces are without equal
  • Zoom has very narrow FoV, perhaps a little front heavy
Excellent scope, which still provides one of the best views on the market. I've owned Kowa TSN3/823, Swaro ATS65HD/AT80HD and Leica APO77, all of which are of a similar vintage, but none of which surpass this scope optically. It can be purchased used for as little as 500, which can only be described as a bargain. Such a shame that Nikon never developed a WA zoom for the scope. The 30x DS provides one of the best views available, and for a little more power, the 50X offers an excellent higher power alternative to the zoom.
  • Very Bright, Capable right up to 75x, Giant Killer.
  • Only thing is the fov with 25x75 zoom lens.
Having used this scope for some time now i really cant put a word against it (only fov with zoom lens)

I used to own the Leica 77APO (which was a cracking scope) but really cant see much difference, many scopes have been put up against this scope and no difference IMO.

I would put this scope forward for anyone that dont want to spend there hard earned pennies.

Only thing that lets it down (if using the zoom) is the fov as very small indeed! (but you soon get used to this)

But seen this scope with a 30w DS on and it is like switching a light on.

Also using for digiscoping is a treat!

Belting scope and a Very Happy Birder :t:
  • Great value for money, superb image, tried and tested design
  • narrow fov with 25 - 75 lens
I went to a field day and had over 4 hours use of 4 tripods and 5 scopes - ES80ED & HR80ED from Opticron, latest 80 Swarovski 20/50, Kowa 883, Nikon ED82

Conditions bright but cold, looking North over the Exeter estuary.

I cant give much if any technical evaluations however -

I focused 4 scopes side by side at a time on one very distant object.

I Came home with the Nikon ED82 25-75 zoom. I was satisfied with the performance & value for money of the Ed82 compared to the others tested.

In use its just great to have that extra magnification when conditions are suitable.

It does have a narrow field of view and I have also noticed the focus wheel rubs on the stay on case but I hope to make a modification to prevent this.

Longer term I want to digiscope with the 25 x 75 lens hence why I am looking for a small old metal working lathe to turn some plastic to make some adaptors up. I know the results of digiscoping through the 25 - 75 will not be good however I only need something for ID purposes

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Large Spotting Scopes
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