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I don't completely love the ED50

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Old Monday 21st January 2019, 18:28   #1
b-lilja
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I don't completely love the ED50

I posted recently on my ED82 and I continue to be amazed. It is just so good.

I recently bought an ED50 out of Japan (brand new). I am using it with the 24x eyepiece and it seems like a good combo. Perhaps the ED82 image has spoiled me, but I don't love the ED50. Of course it is small and light (I use mine with a Bogen Junior 3009 tripod and it is a very nice light package) but I don't find the resolution to be where I'd like it to be. Also I find the focus to be very precise - depth of field is very tight. I need to do a side by side with my EDiii 60.

Do people find a lot of unit variation on the ED50?

Maybe my expectations are just too high?
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Old Monday 21st January 2019, 21:15   #2
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Like all mass produced items, there will inevitably be a variation between individual units, that said, all 3 ED50's I've owned have been good samples. Which eyepiece are you using - there isn't a 24x, options would be 16,20,27,40 or the zoom in either DS or MC versions. The 16x DS is a marvel with this scope, fantastic in a forest environment. I mainly use a 20xMC or the zoom.

Completely with you on the ED82, still yet to look through another scope that would make me want to switch.
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Old Monday 21st January 2019, 23:54   #3
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I owned a number of them over the years,and found one pretty bad unit,or maybe they were two..out of Amazon,i think i returned two units if i remember well.One was obviously detective,,with a slightly crooked joint...they finally replaced It with a third unit sent from Germany,that was actually a cherry..Yes ,i found sample variation.A good unit with a Wide fixed eyepieces should be quite Sharp and contrasty,and pretty much in par with the ed82,at least at moderate power and under decent light conditions
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Old Tuesday 22nd January 2019, 06:27   #4
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I use one with a 16x DS e/p and find it brilliant. I use it when travelling light, on a monopod or shoulder stock. I also have 27x which I don’t like so much due to lack of light and depth of field. I haven’t used this e/p in summer yet so I may like It more in a few months ��
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Old Tuesday 22nd January 2019, 08:43   #5
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It's impossible for anybody but you to say whether you have a poor example or whether your expectations are too high. The ED50 is a great scope... for its size. If you remove the "for its size" qualifier, it's mediocre at best.
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Old Tuesday 22nd January 2019, 09:49   #6
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For a 50mm plastic bodied travel scope, at it's time, it was a popular unit for those wanting a very lightweight "branded" high definition unit that you could choose which eyepiece you wished. Yes the lower mag. wide angle eyepiece produced a comfortable easy view. The little 50mm Kowa then couldn't compare but look at the new Kowa travel unit.......pricey but gone down well with owners.
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Old Tuesday 22nd January 2019, 10:55   #7
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I have the ED50, and the ED82.
On the ED50, I have the 27x MC (that is a 50X on the ED82). It is very sharp.

On the ED82, I have the 30x DS. Very sharp too...

I can use the 50x MC on the ED82 for shorebirds. Just brilliant...

I took the photo in this link through the ED50 with 27x MC, and a hand-held Iphone SE, back in the Summer of 2017. I zoomed in on my original photo and took a screenshot from my phone, just to show the details...

https://photos.app.goo.gl/sxQXsBKc76Mvyx4Y7


I will use the ED82 more in Europe, but while travelling I seldomly feel the need for a bigger scope (let alone a scope) as my travels mostly take me to tropical forests...
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Old Tuesday 22nd January 2019, 14:07   #8
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I have the Nikon angled 82ED Fieldscope and the Nikon 50ED Fieldscope with quite a few eyepieces and love them both and will keep them.
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Old Wednesday 23rd January 2019, 05:37   #9
Kevin Conville
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I also have an ED82 and an ED50. My ED50 (angled) renders beautiful, sharp, contrasty views. And like many, I use primarily the 16x DS and the 20x MC EPs, occasionally the 27x DS. They all perform great on the little scope.

I suspect there is something wrong with yours. You state you have a 24x EP on it and, as Daniel pointed out, there is no 24x EP.

"Also I find the focus to be very precise - depth of field is very tight"

For an equivalent magnification the depth of field, as well as the field width, will be the same as your ED82. You may be finding that sharp focus is harder to attain because the scope isn't sharp, for some reason. My ED50 comes to focus quite easily.
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Old Wednesday 23rd January 2019, 05:47   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boogieshrew View Post
I use one with a 16x DS e/p and find it brilliant. I use it when travelling light, on a monopod or shoulder stock. I also have 27x which I don’t like so much due to lack of light and depth of field. I haven’t used this e/p in summer yet so I may like It more in a few months ��
Interesting comment. I need to correct what I said before - I was conflating eyepieces and relative magnifications. I was actually using the 27/40/50 Wide. I think part of the issue was that I really was having a hard time getting/maintaining focus - the depth of field was extremely shallow, and I was constantly working the focus knob.

I also have an old style 16/24/30 WF which I see Nikon doesn't recommend for the ED50 for some reason. My initial reaction with it was "why bother" - if I am going to use a scope, I want some real magnification. I am almost always birding with my wife, and having a tripod is important to share views (though I am intrigued by your monopod approach.

Re a couple of the last comments - I have found commentary on the ED50 a little confusing, with some folks suggesting that in good light there isn't much difference between the ED50 and ED82. I just can't see that. But if it is more in the vein of "for its size"...then I can totally see the virtue of the ED50. As much as anything, I am just trying to get clear around relative expectation. At $300 for a body that goes with my existing eyepieces, seems like a pretty decent setup.

I have the above two eyepieces plus the 25-75 zoom and am going to do some more in depth looking...
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Old Wednesday 23rd January 2019, 06:16   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by b-lilja View Post
Re a couple of the last comments - I have found commentary on the ED50 a little confusing, with some folks suggesting that in good light there isn't much difference between the ED50 and ED82.
That would be my take on it.
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Old Wednesday 23rd January 2019, 09:24   #12
temmie
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my take as well.
there is hardly any difference in good light and with birds nearby. The ED50 (I have boto the 50 and 82 angled) is, or maybe in your case 'should be' really sharp. Just check my digiscoped moon again.

This all changes with bad light / contrast or birds far away...the ED82 will also be better to block stray light as it has an extendible objective lens hood. The extra weight will also dampen vibrations better.
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Old Wednesday 23rd January 2019, 12:08   #13
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Originally Posted by temmie View Post
This all changes with bad light / contrast or birds far away...the ED82 will also be better to block stray light as it has an extendible objective lens hood. The extra weight will also dampen vibrations better.
To qualify my previous comment, when the sun, moon and stars are in alignment, my copy of the ED50 (which I use with the x27 eyepiece) gives a tack-sharp image, but in terms of real world every day usage, it is nowhere near as good as my full-sized scope (a Pentax PF80) - or at least it wasn't until I dropped the Pentax and knocked it out of alignment. As a result, I currently use the ED50 as my every day scope, and as such it is very much mediocre.

I too find it harder to find focus (especially when sea-watching), and find it very difficult to use when looking at a calm sea in low contrast light. It may not actually have a shallower dof, but it certainly feels as though it does.

Surely it's a simple matter of optical fact that a scope with a 50mm objective lens isn't going to be anywhere close to a scope of similar quality with an 82mm objective lens, for real world use? The only virtue of the smaller scope is... it's smaller.

On a recent trip, a friend brought a Swarovski 65mm scope, and when set-up side-by-side in very bright sunlight, the Swaro was so much better than my ED50, it was almost laughable.
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Old Wednesday 23rd January 2019, 15:40   #14
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Originally Posted by b-lilja View Post
Interesting comment. I need to correct what I said before - I was conflating eyepieces and relative magnifications. I was actually using the 27/40/50 Wide. I think part of the issue was that I really was having a hard time getting/maintaining focus - the depth of field was extremely shallow, and I was constantly working the focus knob.

I also have an old style 16/24/30 WF which I see Nikon doesn't recommend for the ED50 for some reason. My initial reaction with it was "why bother" - if I am going to use a scope, I want some real magnification. I am almost always birding with my wife, and having a tripod is important to share views (though I am intrigued by your monopod approach.

Re a couple of the last comments - I have found commentary on the ED50 a little confusing, with some folks suggesting that in good light there isn't much difference between the ED50 and ED82. I just can't see that. But if it is more in the vein of "for its size"...then I can totally see the virtue of the ED50. As much as anything, I am just trying to get clear around relative expectation. At $300 for a body that goes with my existing eyepieces, seems like a pretty decent setup.

I have the above two eyepieces plus the 25-75 zoom and am going to do some more in depth looking...
IMHO (we own two ED50 samples) this scope is best with the zoom for flexibility and the 16X for sheer pleasure in spite of the low magnification. The zoom (13-40) is absolutely the ticket if you can handle the shallow eye relief. You get a nice FOV at 13X and good details throughout the zoom range.

A good sample ED50 should be pin sharp at 40X on a clear day. One of our samples has an internal smudge that affects the higher mags; the lower mags are perfectly acceptable. The best sample is surprisingly good for a small scope. Neither is an ED82 but that's not a fair comparison in any case.
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Old Wednesday 23rd January 2019, 16:32   #15
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Originally Posted by DMW View Post
To qualify my previous comment, when the sun, moon and stars are in alignment, my copy of the ED50 (which I use with the x27 eyepiece) gives a tack-sharp image, but in terms of real world every day usage, it is nowhere near as good as my full-sized scope (a Pentax PF80) - or at least it wasn't until I dropped the Pentax and knocked it out of alignment. As a result, I currently use the ED50 as my every day scope, and as such it is very much mediocre.

I too find it harder to find focus (especially when sea-watching), and find it very difficult to use when looking at a calm sea in low contrast light. It may not actually have a shallower dof, but it certainly feels as though it does.

Surely it's a simple matter of optical fact that a scope with a 50mm objective lens isn't going to be anywhere close to a scope of similar quality with an 82mm objective lens, for real world use? The only virtue of the smaller scope is... it's smaller.

On a recent trip, a friend brought a Swarovski 65mm scope, and when set-up side-by-side in very bright sunlight, the Swaro was so much better than my ED50, it was almost laughable.
I wholly agree. I have both an ED 82 A and a ED 50 straight with most of the fixed MC and DS eyepieces.
I almost exclusively (my main interests are the raptor migration surveys, seawatching sessions) use the ED 82.
I don't really deal just as well with the smaller scope for an intense field work.
Instead, I find the ED 50 perfect for hiking and holiday travels where its minimum size and weight are a real bonus

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Old Wednesday 23rd January 2019, 18:59   #16
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Another one here with the ED82A and the ED50A that I bought from Sancho. I always use it with the 27x MC Wide, and it leaves nothing to desire in terms of sharpness. But I use it in a different way from the ED82A, it's on a monopod with a ballhead, and rarely for prolonged observation of waders or such.
Now that I have a 12x50, it sometimes replaces the ED50A, and sometimes I have chosen the 40x Wide MC to justify bringing it when the 12x50 is with me.
The 40x eyepiece is actually better on the small scope than on the ED82A, probably thanks to its slightly bigger exit pupil.
Other than that, I have a FSIIIA in the pipeline, bought it for peanuts and have several fitting eyepieces.
I'll see if it gives the ED50A a match although I expect the CA to be visible. It will require a proper tripod.

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Old Thursday 24th January 2019, 02:01   #17
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T
The only virtue of the smaller scope is... it's smaller.

On a recent trip, a friend brought a Swarovski 65mm scope, and when set-up side-by-side in very bright sunlight, the Swaro was so much better than my ED50, it was almost laughable.
Agree entirely, the Swaro 65 is a much nicer scope to look through, but it is also a much bigger package, especially when the tripod is included.

The little Nikon does well on a monopod and can even be hand held if short views are sufficient. For traveling birders, it remains an excellent choice
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Old Thursday 24th January 2019, 09:57   #18
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I, like most posters on here, have the 'big' scope (78) and the 50. I don't use them the same way and don't expect the same from them.

At migration points I set up the heavy gun on a tripod and then use the 50 on a mono, usually seated, then when something interesting comes into view transfer to the big boy. The 50 is adequate for most things though, and I'm lazy, so use most of the time.

I have used other scopes but am more than happy with these two. That said if I had the money I would buy the 95 Swaro...

Things are relative, money, weight, age of tech, materials etc. so as a package these are great. I bought the zoom eyepiece and sold on fairly quickly (at a nice loss) because I didn't like the field of view. I have most of the other eyepieces and interchange depending on what I'm expecting to be looking at...
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Old Thursday 24th January 2019, 23:07   #19
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IMHO (we own two ED50 samples) this scope is best with the zoom for flexibility and the 16X for sheer pleasure in spite of the low magnification. The zoom (13-40) is absolutely the ticket if you can handle the shallow eye relief. You get a nice FOV at 13X and good details throughout the zoom range.
I fully agree. 16x for any situations that require a large field of view, the zoom for everything else.

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A good sample ED50 should be pin sharp at 40X on a clear day. One of our samples has an internal smudge that affects the higher mags; the lower mags are perfectly acceptable. The best sample is surprisingly good for a small scope. Neither is an ED82 but that's not a fair comparison in any case.
I've got all three fieldscopes - ED50, EDIIIA and ED82. I can see rather clearcut differences between them, even in good light and at low magnifications (~20-25x). However, that doesn't mean to say the ED50 isn't good, it is. The two bigger scopes are better though, as they should be, with their larger objective lenses.

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Old Tuesday 29th January 2019, 15:01   #20
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I have both straight and angled Nikon Fieldscope 50ED. I have most of the Nikon eyepieces and prefer the 27x. I also regularly use the Nikon 78ED and 82ED, usually with 30x, but also with the 25-75x. With respect to image quality, depth of field, ease of obtaining a sharp view etc, the 50ED matches my larger scopes at 27x in adequate light. A bigger exit pupil is always nice for the easy view, so I prefer the big scopes if carrying them is not too much trouble, but I never feel let down by the 50ED. I find all these scopes so good that I've not been tempted by the latest slightly better scopes (except when it comes to their _certainly_ better wide-field zooms, as from Kowa and Meopta).

I think the 50ED units of b-lilja and DMW are certainly poor examples (lemons).

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Old Tuesday 29th January 2019, 17:00   #21
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I think the 50ED units of b-lilja and DMW are certainly poor examples (lemons).
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Given that you haven't looked through my copy, that seems a rather bold comment - I could be equally presumptuous and suggest that your larger scopes must certainly be lemons if they can't outperform a scope with a 50mm objective lens!

I wonder if you would still say this if you knew that 3 of my friends (all of whom own Swaro or Leica full-sized scopes) asked me to order ED50s for them after looking through my "lemon"?

To use as travel scopes.
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Old Tuesday 29th January 2019, 19:38   #22
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I tend agree with Alexis. Your (and b-lilja's) description of focus searching and shallow depth of field are just right for the general symptoms of a defective unit. If you want to know for sure whether something is wrong, how bad it is and what's causing it the best diagnostic tool is a high magnification star-test. 27x won't be enough, 40x would be OK for a 50mm scope. Try Googling something like "telescope star-test" to learn how to do it.

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Old Wednesday 30th January 2019, 00:48   #23
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Given that you haven't looked through my copy, that seems a rather bold comment - I could be equally presumptuous and suggest that your larger scopes must certainly be lemons if they can't outperform a scope with a 50mm objective lens!

I wonder if you would still say this if you knew that 3 of my friends (all of whom own Swaro or Leica full-sized scopes) asked me to order ED50s for them after looking through my "lemon"?

To use as travel scopes.
I have excellent visual acuity and I have both star tested my scopes and compared them side by side to the best from Kowa, Swarovski, Leica and other makers on numerous occasions over many years. I know that my scopes are not lemons. I would never describe the relative performance of my scopes as you have described yours, nor would I describe focus acquisition as described by b-lilja. However, I've also had opportunity to view through some lemon scopes, in which case I would describe their performance as you have. I've looked through good and bad scopes with friends and colleagues and have found that we agree in our evaluative assessments in comparative assessments and the ways that we describe differences in performance. Hence my confidence in my assertion.

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Old Wednesday 30th January 2019, 04:39   #24
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I'm starting to wish I hadn't bought a grey market ED50 from Japan via the bay...I wonder if I just sent it to Nikon, if they'd hassle me, or if they track serial numbers to markets. Maybe worth a try?
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Old Wednesday 30th January 2019, 15:17   #25
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I'm starting to wish I hadn't bought a grey market ED50 from Japan via the bay...I wonder if I just sent it to Nikon, if they'd hassle me, or if they track serial numbers to markets. Maybe worth a try?
Please let us know if you do.
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