• Welcome to BirdForum, the internet's largest birding community with thousands of members from all over the world. The forums are dedicated to wild birds, birding, binoculars and equipment and all that goes with it.

    Please register for an account to take part in the discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.
Feel the intensity, not your equipment. Maximum image quality. Minimum weight. The new ZEISS SFL, up to 30% less weight than comparable competitors.

Nikon ED50 Mini Review (1 Viewer)

Kevin Conville

yardbirder
It’s been about three weeks now since I’ve received my Nikon ED50 and thought I’d post my thoughts and a mini review.

It took awhile to get one of these once I decided I wanted one, as Nikon only produces these with the zoom bundled with it, which I didn’t want, and nobody had the angled body only new. I finally found one in new condition with the 20XW EP on the unmentionable auction site. I also found a used 27XW EP at B&H in mint condition and ordered that at the same time.

This scope is small, and light! It weighs 24.5 oz with the 27x EP attached. My Pentax PF80ED with XW14 EP weighs 61 oz. for comparison. Because of it’s angled design, low weight, and short length it handles perfectly on a small carbon fiber tripod with ball head. I use an Arca Swiss compatible plate and clamp for quick coupling and is very secure. I’ve tried using a ballhead (Markins M10) for my larger scope and didn’t much care for it, going back to a heavy fluid head. The ED50 handles like a dream on a medium size ballhead however and makes for significant weight savings there also. The entire setup weighs just 4 1/2 lbs. My 80mm scope with Manfrotto MF4 carbon tripod and Manfrotto 3130 fluid head weighs 10 1/2 lbs.

So how does it work? Great. Both eyepieces have their charms but I seem to have the 27X on more. I guess I like that 30ish magnification point. The view is very sharp and contrasty with both EPs, and comes to focus quickly and positively. I like the way the eyepieces thread on to attach. You can feel the o-ring compressing as it tightens and is reassuring that this seal is indeed waterproof and that the eyepiece won’t come loose.

During daylight hours and even well into twilight the scope performs admirably, at least with the eyepieces I have. So where’s the downside? Frankly I don’t know because as a hiking / travel scope it’s hard to imagine anything better and for anyone who currently owns a larger Fieldscope (that shares the same EPs) it would seem a natural. I can even see having an ED50 as one’s only scope as long as you can live with it’s limitations.
Nikon is doing their customers a disservice by not offering the ED50 as “body only” however.

I think the ED50 perfectly compliments an 80mm or larger scope. The weight and size savings far exceed most 60-70mm scopes and yet it delivers brilliantly. And when you need optical horsepower, you’ll probably want a large scope anyway. I find I almost always take the ED50 with me in the field now where I used to find reasons not to take the big Pentax. It packs easy into a daypack or in the tankbag of my motorcycle and the much smaller tripod makes packing easier also. Beyond the 6lb. weight savings the Nikon setup offers over my other scope, it “carries” even lighter. I think it's partly because it’s small size (centralized mass) greatly reduces the pendulum effect a large scope has while carrying.

So there you are, I’m a fan. With my Leica 8x32s and the ED50 I’m carrying less and enjoying it more. Life’s good!
 

Attachments

  • 2 scopes 2.jpg
    2 scopes 2.jpg
    190.4 KB · Views: 2,501
Last edited:

Swissboy

Sempach, Switzerland
Supporter
Switzerland
.....Nikon is doing their customers a disservice by not offering the ED50 as “body only” however.......

They did offer it at the beginning. That is why I got one, complementing the use of the eyepieces I already own. I would never have bought it if I would have had to duplicate my eyepieces. So how stupid can this Nikon policy be? Well, I guess, they make money from all those buyers who need to get extra eyepieces later because they are unhappy with the one that came in the combo.
 

Kevin Conville

yardbirder
I think you've made my point for me Robert.

I'm thinking that existing Fieldscope owners that would "consider" a second scope as a home for their existing eyepieces + people who don't want the zoom EP, neither of whom are happy to pay for a zoom EP they don't want, represents a larger market than people buying the ED50+zoom kit and wanting to add one or several fixed EPs. Being stuck buying the zoom may dissuade buyers.

Even if those numbers don't add up, so to speak, it's a bit of a kick in the teeth by Nikon to existing Fieldscope owners.
Besides, the two offerings aren't mutual exclusive either, offer it both ways!

BTW, it works the same way in the other direction, i.e. those considering a larger scope after buying an ED50.
 
Last edited:

NoSpringChicken

Well-known member
United Kingdom
So there you are, I’m a fan. With my Leica 8x32s and the ED50 I’m carrying less and enjoying it more. Life’s good!

That sounds like an ideal combination. I wish I had it. Wait a minute ... I have. ED50 + 8x32 Trinovids = happiness.

I agree with just about every word you've said Kevin. The ED50 is brilliant.

Ron
 

mark_s

Well-known member
I bought an ED50 A in Germany a couple of weeks ago to complement my ED82 A. I had no trouble finding the scope body on its own - I've so far seen more online retailers in Germany offering the scope on its own than bundled with an eyepiece.

When the shipment arrived, the package was so small I initially thought the store had made some mistake and had sent me the wrong article. I was amazed to find a scope inside! It's incredible how compact and lightweight this scope is.

It's unfortunate, though, that the case included with the scope is not a stay-on type. It's a perfectly fitting neoprene cover, but although you can access the eyepiece easily with the cover on, you can't remove the lens cap - so you're forced to remove the cover completely to use the scope. A shame. I'm seriously considering just cutting off the front end of the case with scissors to make the lens cap accessible... but I haven't had the courage yet! Other than that, it's a well-designed cover and carrying case.
 

Kevin Conville

yardbirder
You have good taste Ron!

That's interesting Mark that the bodies are available in Germany. Good for you. Your points about the case are well founded. If they made the front panel zippered with a velcro tab to hold it back in place, that would work. I don't mind using it naked though.

A criticism I forgot to mention is why didn't Nikon incorporate a sliding hood? Though the scope is very resistant to flare, a hood always helps and offers a bit of protection also. I did buy a folding rubber hood that I sometimes put on but it has to come off before the neoprene case is attached as it won't fit.
 
Last edited:

Alexis Powell

Natural history enthusiast
United States
The case was too fiddly for me--a zipper, draw string, and snap (!) as I recall. I replaced it with the Op/Tech scope cover, which pulls on and off in an instant. Works nicely with my straight model, but it might not fit the angled quite as well.

--AP
 

stuart C smith

swansong
I bought an ED50 A in Germany a couple of weeks ago to complement my ED82 A. I had no trouble finding the scope body on its own - I've so far seen more online retailers in Germany offering the scope on its own than bundled with an eyepiece.

When the shipment arrived, the package was so small I initially thought the store had made some mistake and had sent me the wrong article. I was amazed to find a scope inside! It's incredible how compact and lightweight this scope is.

It's unfortunate, though, that the case included with the scope is not a stay-on type. It's a perfectly fitting neoprene cover, but although you can access the eyepiece easily with the cover on, you can't remove the lens cap - so you're forced to remove the cover completely to use the scope. A shame. I'm seriously considering just cutting off the front end of the case with scissors to make the lens cap accessible... but I haven't had the courage yet! Other than that, it's a well-designed cover and carrying case.

yes, i cut the end out, i removed the impact end plug,then i cut out the central material close to but not through the outer stitching and fitted a screw on rubber lens hood which folds back over the scope body/cover when not in use, this hood takes a digi filter and the scope end cap even when folded back. and a small cut out the edges sealed with glue gives access to the focusser, the whole thing makes a good stay on combo. :t:
 
Last edited:

Jon Oates

Unconsciously incompetent
My ED50 arrived today together with 27x EP and CleySpy stay-on-case. I'm dead chuffed. It was a bit of a struggle fitting the case (took me a few moments to work out which way round it went and which end to insert first), but it is a very nice combination and oh-so light and compact.

Kevin, I think the zoom EP issue must be specific to the US, as all ED50s advertised in the UK are body-only with the usual range of EPs extra.
 

Sancho

Well-known member
Europe
Welcome to the ED50 fan-club, Kevin. I can't remember when I last used my ED82A. I agree wholeheartedly with your assessment. I don't bother with any case, but I like Stuart's solution to the problem, might give it a go if a can get over this darn ennui....Best Wishes and Happy Birding with your new scope.
 

Kevin Conville

yardbirder
My ED50 arrived today together with 27x EP and CleySpy stay-on-case. I'm dead chuffed. It was a bit of a struggle fitting the case (took me a few moments to work out which way round it went and which end to insert first), but it is a very nice combination and oh-so light and compact.

Kevin, I think the zoom EP issue must be specific to the US, as all ED50s advertised in the UK are body-only with the usual range of EPs extra.

I had to look up "chuffed" Jon. It's definitely not the past-tense of chuff. The way we use English typically, it would be. You folks have a funny way with "our" language! ;)

Oh, and I think you're right about the zoom-bundled ED50s, seems to be a US market thing... great.
 

NoSpringChicken

Well-known member
United Kingdom
I had to look up "chuffed" Jon. It's definitely not the past-tense of chuff. The way we use English typically, it would be. You folks have a funny way with "our" language! ;)

Oh, and I think you're right about the zoom-bundled ED50s, seems to be a US market thing... great.
It's possible to be 'chuffed to bits' too but, in light of another thread on this forum, definitely not 'choughed'.

Ron
 

postcardcv

Super Moderator
Staff member
Supporter
I cracked and joined the ED50 club this week. I went for a straight scope with the zoom eyepeice and stay-on-case. It really is an amazing bit of gear quite how Nikon get that good an image out of somehing that small is beyond me. Personally I like the zoom, at 13x it's great for scanning (and I can get away with handholding it) and going up to 40x it's still sharp and give great detail. For me it's the ideal thing to taken out when doing photography as I can't be bothered lugging abig scope out, the ED50 fits nicely in the camera bag.
 

NoSpringChicken

Well-known member
United Kingdom
I cracked and joined the ED50 club this week. I went for a straight scope with the zoom eyepeice and stay-on-case. It really is an amazing bit of gear quite how Nikon get that good an image out of somehing that small is beyond me. Personally I like the zoom, at 13x it's great for scanning (and I can get away with handholding it) and going up to 40x it's still sharp and give great detail. For me it's the ideal thing to taken out when doing photography as I can't be bothered lugging abig scope out, the ED50 fits nicely in the camera bag.
Nice one Peter. It was only a matter of time. I imagine the straight version is better for handholding as it will be easier to locate the bird.

Ron
 

postcardcv

Super Moderator
Staff member
Supporter
Nice one Peter. It was only a matter of time. I imagine the straight version is better for handholding as it will be easier to locate the bird.

That was my thinking too. I'm also thinking of working a way to piggyback it onto the big lens, could be fun...
 

pduxon

Quacked up Member
I cracked and joined the ED50 club this week. I went for a straight scope with the zoom eyepeice and stay-on-case. It really is an amazing bit of gear quite how Nikon get that good an image out of somehing that small is beyond me. Personally I like the zoom, at 13x it's great for scanning (and I can get away with handholding it) and going up to 40x it's still sharp and give great detail. For me it's the ideal thing to taken out when doing photography as I can't be bothered lugging abig scope out, the ED50 fits nicely in the camera bag.

I know the feeling, my leica has been used once this year! At Minsmere took the Ed50, the angled version works well in hides with those cullman shoulder pods.

and yes I guess the straight is better for handholding.

I really should sell the Leica - but that'll tempt me towards a d300!!
 

Sancho

Well-known member
Europe
Congrats PostcardCV, glad you're happy with the ED50. Like a lot of folk, I use mine almost exclusively now in preference to my big scope. The weight and bulk saving far outweighs any loss in other areas. Have a great Spring with it!:t: (P.S. - when Santa is due, be sure to ask him for a 27xw eyepiece....)
 
Warning! This thread is more than 12 years ago old.
It's likely that no further discussion is required, in which case we recommend starting a new thread. If however you feel your response is required you can still do so.

Users who are viewing this thread

Top