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A question about Fieldscope differences and pitfalls of shopping on eBay for used scopes. (1 Viewer)

kimsrk

I dnt knw enuf 2 knw if what I'm asking is evn dum
United States
I have a question for the Fieldscope II and III experts in here.

I picked up two scopes off of eBay , Fieldscope III ED 60 and Fieldscope III ED82 to compare and see what works best for me. When I was cleaning some sea spray off of the objectives, I noticed the reflective color of the objective lens is a distinct green hue on the III ED82, but blueish on the III ED60. A lot of the pictures from eBay ads also showcase the same green reflection in most of the Fieldscope III's, ED60 or ED82. But the Fieldscope II's appear to generally have a more purple blue.

Does anybody know if there are definite differences in coatings between those two generations? I would expect each Fieldscope (I, II, or III) to either have the same coatings across all of them, or at least each generation to be the same. As in, Fieldscope IIIs are all green and IIs are all blue. So this got me thinking that some people might be refurbing and using older glass on newer bodies. Why else would there be any difference unless sellers are swapping lenses?

Appreciate the help

Steve
 
I have a question for the Fieldscope II and III experts in here.

I picked up two scopes off of eBay , Fieldscope III ED 60 and Fieldscope III ED82 to compare and see what works best for me. When I was cleaning some sea spray off of the objectives, I noticed the reflective color of the objective lens is a distinct green hue on the III ED82, but blueish on the III ED60. A lot of the pictures from eBay ads also showcase the same green reflection in most of the Fieldscope III's, ED60 or ED82. But the Fieldscope II's appear to generally have a more purple blue.

Does anybody know if there are definite differences in coatings between those two generations? I would expect each Fieldscope (I, II, or III) to either have the same coatings across all of them, or at least each generation to be the same. As in, Fieldscope IIIs are all green and IIs are all blue. So this got me thinking that some people might be refurbing and using older glass on newer bodies. Why else would there be any difference unless sellers are swapping lenses?

Appreciate the help

Steve
I think you are being paranoid. I'm not going to dig out my scopes to make comparisons but I can tell you that I see a lot of blue in older Fieldscope optics and a lot of green in the newer stuff. I've not found any practical differences between them. For example, I expected my 78ED to be a noticeable notch below my 82ED in transmission, and maybe it is, but I can't see it (despite being the sort of person who does notice tiny differences between optics) in the conditions that I have used them. I think you are wrong to expect coatings to be the same within "a generation" because I've seen differences in other optics even within the same unit (e.g. left vs. right sides of a bin!). Keep in mind that even thought the 78ED is supposed to be the contemporary of the 60ED II, it came out a bit later and was fully multicoated, whereas the 60ED II has some single coatings. The 78ED can show blue or green depending on which reflection is involved. Since it was at hand, I've attached a shot of the objective, lit by a window.

Nikon78ED_IMG_1381.jpg

The deals on pristine used Fieldscopes, particularly those from Japan, are out of this world good deals. I've purchased a few that way and have to restrain myself not to buy more to sell (at cost) to up-and-coming birders who need to try before they buy or are too scared to buy something old and used, regardless of how superior it is in build and comparable it is optically to something new at double the price. When I receive one of these scopes that I've purchased, I check for dents and scratches, test the resolution of the optics against one of my tried and true units, and then celebrate getting such a good deal on an almost like new scope that's been sitting in a climate controlled closet for a couple decades or more. Seriously, deals like $300 or less for a 60ED II with eyepiece in pristine condition are so good, I've bought such scopes just to get the eyepiece. At those prices, no one in Japan is bothering with swapping objectives etc. Don't look for trouble when it isn't there.

--AP
 
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Ok man thanks for the constructive feedback.



I think you're being incredibly naive.

To think someone wouldn't do something for money, is borderline insane. Swapping objectives cleaning an collimating, with the right tools isn't going to be that much work. Refurbing is as real business in every area of life. Perhaps that's part of the reason for the cheapness? Just an idea, bud. Have you ever seen Odometers rolled back on cars? People lie about rebuilt engines? Try to claim new on refurbs? Or do you live in a bubble?


If I didn't see trouble I wouldn't look further. Nonetheless I do appreciate your response, despite it being prickly and covered passive insults and not actually answering my first question: "Does anybody know if there are definite differences in coatings between those two generations?"

It's ok but you clearly don't know.

Steve
Sorry. I made the mistake of giving you the advice I'd give myself. If it makes you feel any better, I have a rather large collection of birding optics, including a good number of Fieldscopes of different vintages, and I've been very attentive to fine issues in optics for decades (and have been on BirdForum since 2003). My comments were based on experience, not naivate, but I didn't back them up w/any evidence, so sorry for that. I only buy used cars, and I have a longstanding interest in wristwatches (which are sometimes cloned even at the sub $10 level) so I am familiar with the general issue you are referencing.

I didn't mean to come across as prickly or insulting. That's a failure of internet written communication.

I am careful, so I'm not ready to testify that every 60ED III has green reflections only. I think it is safe to say that the 82ED and 50ED are green.

--AP
 
Provided there is no external damage, the quality of the coatings is the last thing to worry about when buying a scope.
I have a thirteen year.old Swarovski ATM65 HD and its coatings are not to the latest level. It's probably losing 2-3% transmission but no-one could persuade me to swap it for a current ATS as it's a diffraction-limited cherry.
Joachim (jring) here on the forum has an old Kowa TSN-3 with which he's not parting. The fluorite element in the objective is uncoated because the technology to coat fluorite didn't exist when it was made.
Today, coatings are often tailored to the refractive index of the glass used, so for example the objective coatings on some Swarovski binoculars reflect a miniscule amount of green light and the 56 mm SLCs show a magenta hue.

John
 
coatings are often tailored to the refractive index of the glass used, so for example the objective coatings on some Swarovski binoculars reflect a miniscule amount of green light and the 56 mm SLCs show a magenta hue.

John
That's an interesting idea. This kind of stuff really just makes me want to keep asking more questions. What it takes to make quality optics is pretty interesting. It seems like years of trial and error, and trade secrets.
 
Sorry. I made the mistake of giving you the advice I'd give myself. If it makes you feel any better, I have a rather large collection of birding optics, including a good number of Fieldscopes of different vintages, and I've been very attentive to fine issues in optics for decades (and have been on BirdForum since 2003). My comments were based on experience, not naivate, but I didn't back them up w/any evidence, so sorry for that. I only buy used cars, and I have a longstanding interest in wristwatches (which are sometimes cloned even at the sub $10 level) so I am familiar with the general issue you are referencing.

I didn't mean to come across as prickly or insulting. That's a failure of internet written communication.

I am careful, so I'm not ready to testify that every 60ED III has green reflections only. I think it is safe to say that the 82ED and 50ED are green.

--AP
I suppose I left out some details of why my BS feelers were out in the first place. My
intent was to not be too verbose.

PXL_20240703_062110679~2.jpg
This is on the objective as well. Not sure how much it effects the optics but it's not what you want to see immediately after a $460 purchase. That green is not visible on the front objective at all, in any position.

Then I noticed this
PXL_20240706_050744775~2.jpg
And, since I don't know anything, yeah I got paranoid. And neither reflection ever looks anything close to the other no matter the lighting source.


Here's two of the same "generation" (I don't know what else to call them) of Kowas and something I would never think twice about

PXL_20240706_051115619~2.jpg

The 22mm's don't look exactly the same as the 44mm's but not drastically different. I even acknowledge the different color on the two 44mm's objectives but that is repeatable for each side depending on the angle of light WRT Eye. And at most angles they look exactly the same.

I in no way can get the 60mm/82mm to look anything alike. Of course there might be a valid reason, I just don't know. And when I looked at eBay, some 60mm's are green some aren't. The ones that I've seen labeled "not used", that sell for $1300+ are green, unless it was Fieldscope IIs, they looked consistently more like my copy of the 60mm.


My 60mm is not quite as good as the 82mm in a few ways that aren't related to lighting. I do know enough to realize bigger objective; more light. So that's not what I'm seeing. Now that could be because of the lubricant or whatever on the interior of the optics, but that's when the questions started flowing.

I did put in more thought into this than just a few paranoid intrusive thoughts, despite not writing it all out. I also put in a few days of use and multiple side x side usages.

Steve
 
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Another ED82, ED60iii, ED50 user here (all straight models) - my 60 has an objective coating more similar in colour to the eyepieces, a touch of green only at one angle but mostly bluey purple, whereas the 82 and 50 are strikingly green.

I have no reason to believe the objective has been replaced on my 60, although it is at least thirdhand, the views are all on par with each other as you would expect, but with the scaling differences incorporated, if anything the 60 feels closer to the 82 than the 50.
 
Just like Alexis I've got several Fieldscopes and quite a few eyepieces of different generations. I've also got access to four more Fieldscopes owned by members of my family. I've been using different Fieldscopes for over 30 years now (and comparing them to other scopes in the field), so I think I can claim I've got quite a lot of experience with these scopes.

And quite frankly, I don't care about the colour of their coatings at all. The only thing I care about is how they perform in the field. For instance, the EDII/EDIIA (60mm) isn't fully multicoared, and the coatings are surely not state of the art. And yet, these scopes are sharp and contrasty at 60x magnification, just like the fully multicoated EDIII/EDIIIA with its more modern multicoatings. Is there a difference? Sure, but it's small. Too small to worry about.

So, worrying about the colours of the coatings of different Fieldscopes doesn't make sense IMO. Just use the scopes. Look through the scopes, not at them!

Hermann
 
Just like Alexis I've got several Fieldscopes and quite a few eyepieces of different generations. I've also got access to four more Fieldscopes owned by members of my family. I've been using different Fieldscopes for over 30 years now (and comparing them to other scopes in the field), so I think I can claim I've got quite a lot of experience with these scopes.

And quite frankly, I don't care about the colour of their coatings at all. The only thing I care about is how they perform in the field. For instance, the EDII/EDIIA (60mm) isn't fully multicoared, and the coatings are surely not state of the art. And yet, these scopes are sharp and contrasty at 60x magnification, just like the fully multicoated EDIII/EDIIIA with its more modern multicoatings. Is there a difference? Sure, but it's small. Too small to worry about.

So, worrying about the colours of the coatings of different Fieldscopes doesn't make sense IMO. Just use the scopes. Look through the scopes, not at them!

Hermann
I don't know if I can explain any better, why I even looked into this in the first place.


There are notable issues with the 60mm. That's what started this in all honesty, I noticed a less sharp/contrasty picture and a difficulty focusing. It didn't feel like just a smaller version of the 88mm I was already used to looking through. I have looked through larger aperture sawros down to the tiniest, and the visual differences make sense to me. And the quality scales like I would think, hardly at all.

I'm telling you something is off, I didn't just start a wild goose chase for myself, I already got a partial refund for the lubricant on the interior glass, now I'm just curious.

Steve
 
There are notable issues with the 60mm. That's what started this in all honesty, I noticed a less sharp/contrasty picture and a difficulty focusing. It didn't feel like just a smaller version of the 88mm I was already used to looking through. I have looked through larger aperture sawros down to the tiniest, and the visual differences make sense to me. And the quality scales like I would think, hardly at all.

I'm telling you something is off, I didn't just start a wild goose chase for myself, I already got a partial refund for the lubricant on the interior glass, now I'm just curious.
This sounds to me as though something is seriously wrong with this 60mm. There are two possibilities IMO:
  1. The scope is a lemon. These things happen. However, real lemons are pretty rare with the Nikon Fieldscopes. I've never seen one. I've seen scopes that were a bit weaker at maximum magnification. But never one that was difficult to focus or wasn't sharp at lower magnifications. Given what you wrote I'd discard this possibility.
  2. The second possibility is that this scope was somehow abused and is damaged. Maybe someone opened it and tried to do whatever. The fact that there's lubricant on one of the lenses inside the scope is a warning sign - I've never ever seen lubricant on a lens inside a Fieldscope.
If I were you I'd get rid of that scope. If you can give it back - do it. Sounds like you won't be happy with that scope.

Hermann
 
Another ED82, ED60iii, ED50 user here (all straight models) [...]

[...] the views are all on par with each other as you would expect, but with the scaling differences incorporated, if anything the 60 feels closer to the 82 than the 50.
That's an interesting observation. I agree, the gap between the 50 and the 60 "feels" larger than the one between the 60 and the 82, maybe partly because the available eyepieces aren'the ideal fit for the 50. I miss an eyepiece with ~24x magnification, I find the 27x DS is a bit too high.

Actually, I think the 60mm is just about the most useful of the lineup, at least for my purposes.

Hermann
 
This sounds to me as though something is seriously wrong with this 60mm. There are two possibilities IMO:
  1. The scope is a lemon. These things happen. However, real lemons are pretty rare with the Nikon Fieldscopes. I've never seen one. I've seen scopes that were a bit weaker at maximum magnification. But never one that was difficult to focus or wasn't sharp at lower magnifications. Given what you wrote I'd discard this possibility.
  2. The second possibility is that this scope was somehow abused and is damaged. Maybe someone opened it and tried to do whatever. The fact that there's lubricant on one of the lenses inside the scope is a warning sign - I've never ever seen lubricant on a lens inside a Fieldscope.
If I were you I'd get rid of that scope. If you can give it back - do it. Sounds like you won't be happy with that scope.

Hermann
PXL_20240709_072602970.jpg

This guy is definitely mishandling, poorly refurbishing, or both. Stay away from eBay for these scopes folks, unless you like the hassle and hustle.

Steve
 
Stay away from eBay for these scopes folks, unless you like the hassle and hustle.

Steve
I understand your frustration, but I don't think that it is fair to throw all sellers on eBay under the bus.

As a consumer, I simply choose to purchase only where free returns are available. The free return process has been painless for me.
 
I've bought a lot of things on eBay, including many optics, watches, and bicycle components. So far, I haven't had a bad experience. I stick to sellers with perfect reputations (many reviews and with 97%+ positive ratings), and when it comes to optics and watches, I have a strong bias towards Japanese sellers because, in my experience, they have very high standards for condition. Also, they seem to have access to a lot of really nice items that have barely been used, but that may be decades old. It's the barely-used or never really used stuff that I expect exists in the backs of many closets around the world but never seems to make it to the used market in the USA, where much of what is available, at least for photography equipment, seems to have been very heavily used. Price-wise, the deals are as good or better than from anywhere else.

--AP
 
I understand your frustration, but I don't think that it is fair to throw all sellers on eBay under the bus.

As a consumer, I simply choose to purchase only where free returns are available. The free return process has been painless for me.
Fair enough, but it's still not something I'd recommend for anybody that isn't well versed in knowing what to look for, how to check for quality, etc. There are good sellers and bad I'm just trying to keep people from having to learn the hard way. Really this message is for future me's, that heard only good things about buying used. You've had good experiences and recommend, I've had good AND bad and don't recommend it unless you go in with a strategy ready to test and return. I'm also frustrated because I came here for advice/information and got told I was paranoid and, to stop looking at the glass look through it. And now, that eBay is just fine It's a lot of invalidating conversation. So now I'm being less nuanced.

It's an art just to recognize a good eBay seller let alone good optics after a purchase. This seller looks perfect on the surface, 100% positive rating, lots of sales in the last year... Yet here I am.
 
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Hi,

as for the seller doesn't want to take it back - one could try to use ebay buyer protection. I have used this maybe a handful of times for a few hundred ebay buys... and iirc all were successful.

One example was actually a pair of bins, advertised as working and exhibiting a severe case of vertical misalignment... which was maybe caused by bad packaging...

I had luckily taken a few pictures of the sorry bins wrapped in an old newspaper inside the box and then put them on a tripod and did digiscope the view through both barrels, showing the right barrel about 1/3 of the total field of view higher. These few pictures along with a few sentences was enough to win the case.
Nowadays there is a separate buyer protection from paypal if you used that to pay ebay... I think back then paypal belonged to ebay and there was only one buyer protection system.

In your case images of objective and eyelens from the ebay listing might show clean lenses and your images with the spots plus maybe one or two showing a soft cloth with some isoprop trying to remove the spots to show they are internal...

Joachim
 
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Hi,

as for the seller doesn't want to take it back - one could try to use ebay buyer protection. I have used this maybe a handful of times for a few hundred ebay buy... and iirc all were successful.

One example was actually a pair of bins, advertised as working and exhibiting a severe case of vertical misalignment... which was maybe caused by bad packaging...

I had luckily taken a few pictures of the sorry bins wrapped in an old newspaper inside the box and then put them on a tripod and did digiscope the view through both barrels, showing the right barrel about 1/3 of the total field of view higher. These few pictures along with a few sentences was enough to win the case.
Nowadays there is a separate buyer protection from paypal if you used that to pay ebay... I think back then paypal belonged to ebay and there was only one buyer protection system.

In your case images of objective and eyelens from the ebay listing might show clean lenses and your images with the spots plus maybe one or two showing a soft cloth with some isoprop trying to remove the spots to show they are internal...

Joachim

Thanks for the information. It is good to know that there are multiple options for recourse.

I will say this seller appears to be being reasonable about the return. First giving a partial return, now with the fog it looks like he'll take it back. Just a huge hassle for something that really looks perfect at first glance. I mean I know now, I have to really check these things out right away. I took the 'Near Mint' and "perfect optically' and 'works 100% as new' a little too literally I guess.

The real frustration is people clearly lying or, if I am being generous, very very naive, and I would argue still lying because if you don't know if it is perfect optically than you shouldn't claim that it is. Either way it's pretty concerning. Almost all of the sellers from Japan have basically identical listings, all seem to be involved in the camera/optics industry, Carbon copy descriptions (NEAR MINT ++ or the like), and at this point I would have to assume it is a crap shoot of what you are going to get.

I'm being a little cynical, but now those prices probably make some sense. I purchased a Fieldscope III ED82 from eBay, the original owner, and that went very well. I paid twice as much, but obviously the lack of headache was worth it. I have zero issues optically with that scope. Love it in fact, other than the weight....
 
...The real frustration is people clearly lying or, if I am being generous, very very naive, and I would argue still lying because if you don't know if it is perfect optically than you shouldn't claim that it is. Either way it's pretty concerning. Almost all of the sellers from Japan have basically identical listings, all seem to be involved in the camera/optics industry, Carbon copy descriptions (NEAR MINT ++ or the like), and at this point I would have to assume it is a crap shoot of what you are going to get...
Your implication is that you got the scope from a seller in Japan who described it as NEAR MINT ++, in which case I am suprised. As I noted before, my experiences with listings such as you describe is that the NEAR MINT ++ ratings are accurate and that the photos supplied are detailed and allow confirmation of overall condition. I also take care to read the separate description of the item because it is often less generic than the language in the overall listing, often customized to the actual item. If anything, those descriptions are more negative than my own evaluation. In sharp contrast are the ratings of photographic equipment sold by the big used optics sellers in New York (businesses that I use heavily for purchases of new equipment) and many individual eBay sellers in the USA. Their standards to reach "excellent" are very low in my experience. Anything described as less than mint or like new from those sellers is likely to show signs of heavy use, in my experience, and in my phone conversations w/them, they admit as much. I mostly stopped buying used stuff from those businesses a long time ago. KEH is better in those regards, but you pay for it. Easier and cheaper, I have found, to buy used from Japan.

--AP
 
I'd like to come on on this discussion from Ebay sellers from Japan regarding optics.

In my case I purchased a vintage circa early to mid 1950s KowaTS-1 spotting scope from an Ebay Seller in Japan.

The pictures were accurate. Near Mint the eyepiece and focus knob all function excellent. The seller was very good about keeping in touch with me. I even have connected with the seller in Instagram for messaging purposes which is nice for more instantaneous, efficient, and accurate, allowing digital translation.

I decided to purchase this as a collectors piece for the pure pleasure of it bc I have recently gotten into birding with and got myself and son. We picked up a Kowa next generation, most recent, Kowa 55A spotting scope. It's excellent but I'll save that for another post.

So the two kind of go together. One of the first models Kowa TS1 with a 25x Eyepiece and a premiere top of the line flagship Kowa 55A.

I would, depending on your financial position, typically kissy contact the dealer and start an ongoing dialogue. At that point you can really get a feel for whoever the person is and what the condition of the product is. At that point if you are leaving confidence in your decision making process it can help give you direction in making the purchase or looking elsewhere.

Do I need the Kowa TS1? No, not at all. Is it cool and a legacy antique collectible that I was able to get in near perfect condition? Yes, absolutely.

Did I do as much research and consideration into the product and the purchase and variables that I could? Yes.

Did I buy with considerable confidence bc I had communicated with the seller/dealer? Yes

Is the Kowa TS1 in excellent condition and optically works just like the day it was made yes other than a slightly loose sliding sun shade cover.

Just thought I'd throw that out there.

Oh one other thing..... I know can contact that guy in Japan and ask him to look for specific products directly. I have sent him pictures and descriptions of some of the Japanese specific products in looking for. He is quick to respond and gives me accurate information and whether or not he can find/aquire said product.

All the best!

2Gunns
 

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Your implication is that you got the scope from a seller in Japan who described it as NEAR MINT ++, in which case I am suprised. As I noted before, my experiences with listings such as you describe is that the NEAR MINT ++ ratings are accurate and that the photos supplied are detailed and allow confirmation of overall condition. I also take care to read the separate description of the item because it is often less generic than the language in the overall listing, often customized to the actual item. If anything, those descriptions are more negative than my own evaluation. In sharp contrast are the ratings of photographic equipment sold by the big used optics sellers in New York (businesses that I use heavily for purchases of new equipment) and many individual eBay sellers in the USA. Their standards to reach "excellent" are very low in my experience. Anything described as less than mint or like new from those sellers is likely to show signs of heavy use, in my experience, and in my phone conversations w/them, they admit as much. I mostly stopped buying used stuff from those businesses a long time ago. KEH is better in those regards, but you pay for it. Easier and cheaper, I have found, to buy used from Japan.

--AP
Trust me, I was equally surprised. I'm well enough versed on buying used in person and on eBay, that I can usually tell by the way people display their items with photos, they language the use etc. if it's worth my time. His description was accurate and what you'd expect if you're judging just by the exterior. Optically everything is a mess.

The paint and everything else is perfect, couldn't be happier. But the final straw was the fog which developed, not from temperature or getting submerged, but just being in a humid environment for an hour. It's now at the point where I feel like some level of refurbishing must have happened in the life of this scope. Of course I have no idea if the seller actually knows anything.

I shouldn't lump all the sellers together, but boy they do look the same on the surface, I have given another seller a try that I directly asked about refurbishing or any maintenance performed, we'll see how that goes.

edit: I'll go you one further and show you the exact description. Again, I picked someone with 100% positive reviews and a reasonable, but not alarmingly cheap price. Some people just lie, nothing more to it. Most of the Japanese listings look like this, obviously ones with scratches aren't labeled mint:

Mint
Pre-owned, Like new

■ Appearance
Appearance is beautiful,
*Please check photos.

■ Optics
Beautiful condition.
There is no fog.
There is no fungus.
There is no scratches.
There is no separation.

■ Functional
It works properly.
 
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