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ED 50, Superstar (1 Viewer)

Kevin Conville

I was out today with Conejo Valley Audubon, my chapter, and we went to Mugu Lagoon and Sycamore Canyon here on the central California coast. There was an unusually large turnout of maybe 25 of us as we perused the wetlands for various Avocets, Curlews, Herons, Egrets, Pelicans and so on. There were some present I hadn't met and some I hadn't seen in a while and the topic quickly became my little ED50 scope. Keep in mind that in our club, I've noticed, very little talk of optics goes on and I think it is considered somewhat vulger to "focus" on equipment. Having said that, a full complement of high end scopes and bins were present. I had many asking about and using my ED50 (with 27x DS attached) and comments about it's size and quality of view were abundant. Several asking why they couldn't distinguish a difference in view from the latest big scopes. Several were writing down notes and I expect to see ED50s popping up on field trips soon.

As we moved to Sycamore Canyon in pursuit of early migrants, warblers, flycatchers, etc, I mounted the 16X DS on the scope as the distances were closer and the birds more flighty. Here we encountered both a Chapter of Los Angeles Audubon and Ventura Audubon. Kind of a harmonic convergence, or a moronic divergence, whatever... we had suddenly 50 or 60 birders and guess what? The attention was on the ED50 again. Similar comments and every person that viewed through the scope was impressed. The real attractor however is the small size and the small head and tripod one is able to use with it.

With so much interest in these scopes and so many seeing it for the first time, in the flesh at least, I can't help but wonder about a couple of things. Nikon and the retail outfits must be doing a crappy job of promoting these things and where is the competition? The first question can probably be answered best in that there must be little profit in an ED50 as compared to a premium 65 or 80ish mm scope and therefore they get the attention. The second question remains unanswered. Yeah there's a few other 50mm scopes but they are not in the league of the little Fieldscope.

Now we all know that Nikon has a tendency to step in it, so to speak, and with the discontinuance of the larger Fieldscopes the question of eyepiece availability becomes an issue. I don't expect Nikon to do anything smart here and anticipate the cool EP selection to dry up leaving the ED50 a bit of an orphan. I'm set as I have 5 EPs for it but people just now "discovering" the little one may be stuck with the zoom before long, sans the used market of course. Those that now have theirs, with the EPs they want, are soon to be holders of one of the "classics". At least until Kowa or somebody wakes up to this potential market.

Anyway, just thought I'd share this experience and my musings of the day.

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Well-known member

great post, really; thanks for taking the time to relate your experience, which
mirrors mine very closely when i am afield with the mighty-migit 50.

shortly after i recieved this spotter, BWD printed a small scope review of sorts where the Nikon 50 basically blew the doors off the competition; one of our local group of birders had read the piece and was thus aware of the scope, expressed some interest, but so far most everywhere else i have traveled w/ the scope as my constant companion, folks are taken aback by it's performance, compact size, and also by it's very existance! ocassionally, a birder might remark "oh that's the little nikon; i've read some good things about it", but that's the rare exception. a guide at la selva in costa rica had a british friend who had the scope, and seemed anxious to give the lil spotter a whirl, so i lent it to him for the morning. he parked the big swar and came back grinning ear to ear. in another post i mentioned recently another who consistently kept coming back to view birds thru "that little pocket scope of yours"

last week at our local hawkwatch, i had a very similiar situation develop, with numbers of spotters of various brands and configurations, including most of the big guns. we were very fortunate as all the elements dovetailed to bring in tremendous waves of raptors, mostly broadies of course, but 15 other species as well. the tower was fairly packed, and two of the most popular items around (exempting the 5-10000 broad wingeds visible at any given time, of course!) was my Nikon 50, and Canon 10X42 IS bins. This is a killer raptor combo! With the 16X at the front end, mounted on the manfrotto ligthwt. pod and ball head, it was easy and intuitive to scan the far off kettles for the odd swainson's hawk or peregrine. orientation to the one-hand grab and point technique with the Nikon to someone totally new to the concept takes only a minute or two, and i am sure that next season there will be one or two more of the little scopes that can on the platform!

there is good blub on the 'net about the spotter, including i think the cape may or new jersey aububon site, but i cant recall nikon ever quoting those comments, or the ones to be found on BF, anywhere in their ads. i do seem to remember some hobby journal promotion, but mostly what i notice is the edg gear, of course maybe that's not surprising. like you say, just not that kind of markup. i'm no marketing guy, but i would be putting these in the hands of birders as doorprizes at conferences, fronting them out to guides to carry on fieldtrips, or otherwise promoting them to the max. surely volume would make up some of the markup shortfall? i got this as a backup to large scopes, but now if i am going hiking or otherwise off from the car more than 100 feet or so, it's the little 50 that's over my shoulder.

like you, i am stocked up on oculars, the 16X, 20 and 27 so i am set. who knows what nikon has up it's corporate sleeve? it will be interesting to watch the life line of the "pocket scope" for sure,



Here I Come !
I think Nikon should retain the ED50 with existing eyepiece plus the new scope EDG85 and EDG65 so customers has options of buying rather than discontinuing current eyepiece ...

By the way, do Nikon Sport Optics endorsed bird guides around the world with their bino and scopes ?
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