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Nikon ED50, still fragile? (1 Viewer)

Wolf Beam

Well-known member
Hi everyone,

I own a 10 year old ED50 which was sent for repair once. Broken thread mount (a well known problem as can be seen in older threads in this forum). This model has been around for many years. Are later specimens improved in this respect?

Owners of this lovely scope: do you carry it mounted on the tripod? I never do but would like to.
 
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Hi everyone,

I own a 10 year old ED50 which was sent for repair once. Broken thread mount (a well known problem as can be seen in older threads in this forum). This model has been around for many years. Are later specimens improved in this respect?

Owners of this lovely scope: do you carry it mounted on the tripod? I never do but would like to.
Yes, that problem was fixed a long while back. The (newer) design of the socket is different and more robust. I've had no trouble with mine, which I frequently carry on tripod. Still, the ED50 is more fragile than the other Fieldscopes. Another potential breakage point is for the back part of the prism housing and eyepiece mount to break off as a result of impact. Other Fieldscopes are not vulnerable in that way.

--AP
 
Was your scope repaired by putting a threaded insert in? If it was it will be substantially more robust. A good idea is to mount a plate on it that corresponds to a head that receives it. This way you save wear and tear on the threads and if the plate has anti twist (lip or pin) one doesn't have to tighten the screw very tight which will help as well.

As an aside, I also tether the foot of the scope to the head on my scopes in the advent of a mechanical failure of if I forget to tighten the plate properly in the head (Arca Swiss in my case)
 
Thanks to both of you.

Alexis: good to know they have improved this part of the scope.

Kevin: I'm not really sure how they did it. I can only see a metal thread.
Thanks for the tips!
 
Yes, the ED50 is still fragile, ridiculously so. Maddening.

I have had several.

First copy would not focus clearly.

Sent back to Nikon for repair.

Returned, with great clarity, but a shuddery focus - as if the prism wasn't sliding smoothly.

Returned for repair.

After repair unit (that actually performed quite well optically) then broke in half. Unsure of how it happened, it was in pack, not abused, when I stopped literally the body had split in half at the key midbody junction around the focus. Clearly plastic screw mounting points not large enough.

Returned to Nikon. Replaced under warranty, including new eyepiece (I am of the opinion Nikon's sales/warranty is now a Ponzi scheme and cannot last).

New unit perfect. I am in love. Great scope optically.

I loan scope to friend along with ED 82. This is a person I've known for 3.5 decades and is not hard on gear. Suggest he switch eyepieces between scopes via text. In unscrewing of eyepiece, entire eyepiece mounting unit unscrews from body - not just eyepiece. In a moment, nitrogen filled interior is purged and replaced with air at standard humidity. Given o rings, mold likely. During same loan, cheezy plastic bit around metal tripod mount breaks off for unknown reason.

I have owned Nikon Fieldscopes since 1993. Other than this scope, I have sent a Fieldscope back to Nikon for service a sum total of one time, when a FS2 60ED was accidentally knocked over and hit a concrete deck from a height of around six feet. THAT seemed like a good reason for service (scope still worked perfectly, just had a serious dent in objective ring.

The ED50 works great when it works, however it is not a serious optic. It certainly is not something I would rely on for any sort of consequential trip where durability is a concern. If you like mailing packages back and forth to Nikon, go for it.

I will say I've been tempted to coat the whole thing in epoxy. However, that would increase the weight substantially, neutralizing its benefits relative to other options.

BTW, I speak as a huge Nikon fanboi - F3HP, 50mm f1.4, 8x32SE, FS3 82, etc etc. Hopefully you get it. They need to spend $5 more and beef this thing up, and move production where they can have decent QC.
 
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Boy, after reading post #5 I'm thinking I must live a charmed life.
I've had an ED50 for 13 years. It has traveled in a tank bag and strapped on the back of several dual-sport motorcycles off road, for many miles. Has been carried hanging off a tripod for many miles. I've never had an issue (knock wood), but I am pretty careful with it otherwise, as with all my field optics.
 
Or, perhaps I'm cursed! I'm pretty careful too - through dozens of optics, this is the only one I've had this type of regular problem with.
 
...After repair unit (that actually performed quite well optically) then broke in half. Unsure of how it happened, it was in pack, not abused, when I stopped literally the body had split in half at the key midbody junction around the focus. Clearly plastic screw mounting points not large enough...

...I will say I've been tempted to coat the whole thing in epoxy. However, that would increase the weight substantially, neutralizing its benefits relative to other options...
I've seen several units (but not my own!) break in the exact same manner. The internal plastic mounts for the screws are too small and brittle.

As for protective coating, mine is completely covered in McNett (now Gear Aid) Camo Form, which is great for all scopes. I also put it in a neoprene pouch when not in use.

I baby my ED50. Meanwhile, I use my 60, 78, and 82 mm Fieldscopes to pound nails and as tyre blocks without concern. They are tough.

--AP
 
I baby my ED50. Meanwhile, I use my 60, 78, and 82 mm Fieldscopes to pound nails and as tyre blocks without concern. They are tough.

--AP
Attention everyone...

I'm starting a fund to buy Alexis a hammer and some chock blocks. Let's try and prevent this kind of abuse, for the children.
Shouldn't take much. PM me with your financial commitment.

Oh, and Alexis... tyre? You live in Kansas as I recall. πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡² 'Mer-ca!
πŸ˜•
 
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Alexis, interesting. I am going to send this thing back to Nikon one last time for a nitrogen purge - hopefully they can do that at the repair center. Then the epoxy is coming out.

The irony is...it is a great little scope otherwise.

I do wish though that Kowa would make their high end 50mm with a mount that takes their other eyepieces. I'd be happy to move on.
 
Boy, after reading post #5 I'm thinking I must live a charmed life.
I've had an ED50 for 13 years. It has traveled in a tank bag and strapped on the back of several dual-sport motorcycles off road, for many miles. Has been carried hanging off a tripod for many miles. I've never had an issue (knock wood), but I am pretty careful with it otherwise, as with all my field optics.
This has also been my experience. Mine has been either atop a tripod or inside a backpack on numerous birding trips, having had some hard use (deserts in Africa, 4000m asl, various tropical regions, cold and wet weather in Europe) but it is still going strong. I used some gorilla tape around the prism joint (just in case!) and it is kept in a SOC.
 
Wow. Some wild stories in this thread...

But basically, the issue with the scopes breaking in two parts could be solved in the ones manufactured today, or am I too optimistic?
 
Wow. Some wild stories in this thread...

But basically, the issue with the scopes breaking in two parts could be solved in the ones manufactured today, or am I too optimistic?
I could be solved but I don't know that it has been. I've seen scopes with the newer tripod socket/foot design that broke in half.

--AP
 
My friend has Nikon ED50 and he got into a car accident trashing his car beyond repairable. The scope was on the backseat attached to Berlebach wood tripod (which is heavy). The scope suffered remarkably little damage: broken thread mount and one dent on the objective end. Optically there seemed to be nothing wrong. Maybe just good luck?

I have to add that this little scope had surprisingly good image quality even when compared to bigger scopes and even when using 40x (fixed eyepiece) magnification. Of course quite dim but still very sharp. Would love to have one with 27x eyepiece as for a travel scope...

Juhani
 
My first ED50 also suffered from the thread problem. I didn't bother to send it to Nikon, I just epoxied a Manfrotto plate to the scope. Worked well. I also got a second ED50 to have one in reserve. So far no problem with either scope, and I use them a lot when I can't be bothered to take a bigger scope or when hiking in difficult terrain.

That said, I think the ED50 is definitely more fragile than the other Fieldscopes. I'd love to see a more robust scope that isn't much heavier than the ED50 provided the optical quality is the same. But Swarovski and the other manufacturers seem to be more interested in developing large scopes. A shame, really.

Hermann
 
My first ED50 also suffered from the thread problem. I didn't bother to send it to Nikon, I just epoxied a Manfrotto plate to the scope. Worked well. I also got a second ED50 to have one in reserve. So far no problem with either scope, and I use them a lot when I can't be bothered to take a bigger scope or when hiking in difficult terrain.

That said, I think the ED50 is definitely more fragile than the other Fieldscopes. I'd love to see a more robust scope that isn't much heavier than the ED50 provided the optical quality is the same. But Swarovski and the other manufacturers seem to be more interested in developing large scopes. A shame, really.

Hermann
The Kowa 550 series presumably targets the same market as the Nikon ED 50, the well heeled traveling birder whose constraints are size and weight rather than purchase price.
Unfortunately the Kowa lacks interchangeable eye pieces and is much more pricey, so it is not a straightforward alternative. Also, reports on its durability are rather hard to find.
That aside, my little ED 50 has been a reliable companion for over 15 years, always in a SoC and with the anti rotation Arca plate mounted. No problems ever, just that it is so good that there is no real improvement from a bigger 60-65mm scope, whether Fieldscope or Pentax.
 
I really agree with these sentiments about a higher quality 50mm. In a strange way, there's an argument to be made that this size should be beefier than normal, since it will get moved around more/packed/into backcountry etc..
 
I really agree with these sentiments about a higher quality 50mm. In a strange way, there's an argument to be made that this size should be beefier than normal, since it will get moved around more/packed/into backcountry etc..
Spot on!
The marketing gurus are obsessed with getting the lightest bit of gear, they really should be making the most serviceable system.
Imho that means a solid metal body and an interchangeable eye piece fitting able to accept astronomy eye pieces. Plus the foot should be Arca compliant.
Sold by nobody thus far, unfortunately.
 
You'd think with all the hunters out there, it would have been done long ago.

Maybe BF should put together an optics wish list for the market.
 
The Kowa 550 series presumably targets the same market as the Nikon ED 50, the well heeled traveling birder whose constraints are size and weight rather than purchase price.
Unfortunately the Kowa lacks interchangeable eye pieces and is much more pricey, so it is not a straightforward alternative. Also, reports on its durability are rather hard to find.
The Kowa is out IMO. Too expensive for what it is, no interchangeable eyepieces. I also personally don't like the zoom they used all that much.

BTW, Hensoldt/Zeiss had a nice 25x56 in the late fifties/early sixties. Very light (lighter than the Nikon ED50), AK prism, but of course no phase coatings. Something like that would do nicely, even though the Hensoldt was not an angled scope. But for a travel scope I could live with a straight-through scope.

Hermann
 
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