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Nikon ED82A scope v Smaller Scopes eg Swarovski 65 HD or others (1 Viewer)

AndrewC1

Member
United Kingdom
After about a 25 year absence I got back into bird watching when I retired about a year ago. I had a NIKON ED II scope with a 20 and 30mm eyepieces.

After seeking advice, from this forum, I purchased the 20-60mm eyepiece. The eyepiece 'came with' a ED82A scope. I really like the view through this scope. Apart from the better image at higher magnifications I like the fact that the scope is angled. (When I bought my EDII, Nikon didn't make an angled version. I prefer the angled scope as my wife is a lot smaller than me. I am 6' 4'').
I also do a fair amount of my bird watching at a local lake where the birds can be 1000m away. At this distance, the larger scope gives better views at the higher magnifications.

My problem is that I find the scope too bulky and heavy - at least compared to the ED II. I'm reluctant to take it on walks. My question is:-

Can any of the more modern smaller scopes provide the same image quality as the ED82A? For example the Swarovski 65 HD ATS?

Thanks
 
Provided your ED82 is a good copy - and most ED82s are, almost all Fieldscopes are of good to very good quality - the answer is unfortunately no. Size matters, when it comes to scopes, more than with binoculars. The differences are most obvious at high magnifications because of the differences in the size of the exit pupil. Most observers find exit pupils below ~1.5mm a bit unfomfortable in terrestrial viewing. However, I've got 50mm, 60mm and 82mm Fieldscopes, and the difference is visible even at 25-30x magnification.

That said, the weight of big scopes can be a bit much, especially if you walk longer distances. I almost never use my ED82A on longer walks and make do with the EDIIA or the EDIIIA (I've got both) or even the ED50.

What I would do? Either try to find an EDIIIA used, or get a "modern" angled scope, for instance the Swarovski 65 you mentioned - an excellent scope! - or a Nikon Monarch 60 with a modern zoom eyepiece. Most modern zooms have a larger field of view than the zooms Nikon made for the Fieldscopes, and they are quite a bit more convenient in the field. They also have more eye relief. But don't expect these smaller scopes to be as good as the big old ED82. Like I said - size matters. A lot.

BTW, I'd keep the EDII. Straight scopes are somewhat easier to use than angled scopes when you're in a car.

Hermann
 
As you have been out of birding for a while, you may want to look into the various types of scope pack.
This example is fairy typical of the design of them all.
I carry my Swarovski ATS80 comfortably with mine, regularly covering a couple of miles (and more on Scilly October holidays)


a few other manufacturers also make/supply similar items

 
Provided your ED82 is a good copy - and most ED82s are, almost all Fieldscopes are of good to very good quality - the answer is unfortunately no. Size matters, when it comes to scopes, more than with binoculars. The differences are most obvious at high magnifications because of the differences in the size of the exit pupil. Most observers find exit pupils below ~1.5mm a bit unfomfortable in terrestrial viewing. However, I've got 50mm, 60mm and 82mm Fieldscopes, and the difference is visible even at 25-30x magnification.

That said, the weight of big scopes can be a bit much, especially if you walk longer distances. I almost never use my ED82A on longer walks and make do with the EDIIA or the EDIIIA (I've got both) or even the ED50.

What I would do? Either try to find an EDIIIA used, or get a "modern" angled scope, for instance the Swarovski 65 you mentioned - an excellent scope! - or a Nikon Monarch 60 with a modern zoom eyepiece. Most modern zooms have a larger field of view than the zooms Nikon made for the Fieldscopes, and they are quite a bit more convenient in the field. They also have more eye relief. But don't expect these smaller scopes to be as good as the big old ED82. Like I said - size matters. A lot.

BTW, I'd keep the EDII. Straight scopes are somewhat easier to use than angled scopes when you're in a car.

Hermann
Well, that is what I thought might be the case. The ED82 is so good for my local lake That I don’t think I would want to do without it.

Looking out for a used EDIIIA sounds like a good idea.

Thanks
 
As you have been out of birding for a while, you may want to look into the various types of scope pack.
This example is fairy typical of the design of them all.
I carry my Swarovski ATS80 comfortably with mine, regularly covering a couple of miles (and more on Scilly October holidays)


a few other manufacturers also make/supply similar items

Thanks for that. I had indeed never heard of scope packs.

Is your ATS80 much bigger/heavier the the ATS65?
 
I had a short hands on session with an ATM 65 HD (magnesium body variant of the ATS) at my local shop and the nearly 300g lesser weight to my monarch 60 was immediately noticeable. It was a demo unit on sale for ~US$2100 with a 20-60x eyepiece with full swarovski warranty. Very tempting but I'll pass. While the scope is significantly lighter, it is longer which means my storage box and bag needs to change. Since I'm spoilt by wide angle eyepieces, I find the 40-60° AFOV less immersive and switching to the wide angle 25-50x will be costly.

As Hermann said, the ED82 is a keeper for the price paid and the pleasant views at your lake. A smaller 56-65mm scope when you don't need the 82mm objectives. I've seen bird photographers with rolling camera bags that haul their tripod and long lens, but chatting with a friendly couple informs me about their multiple incidences of them forgetting to take their rolling bag with gear in them.

Is a demo ATM 65 HD 20-60x unit with warranty, which is a discontinued model, actually worth US$2100?
 
It might be a bold statement, but I don't think any modern 80/85mm scope beats the ED82 in regards to optical quality. The top ones match it, and the features of the ED82 are outdated (screw in EPs, no wide angle zoom EP, bulky stay on case, tiny little tripod foot etc). However, for raw optical quality, it doesn't get better. The zoom 25-75x MCII eyepiece is again, optically excellent, but outdated with its tight eye relief and narrow FOV.

Any 65mm scope will be a step down, even an excellent one like the Swarovski. However, it's better to have a smaller scope that stays with you, than a big one you leave in the car.
 
It might be a bold statement, but I don't think any modern 80/85mm scope beats the ED82 in regards to optical quality. The top ones match it, and the features of the ED82 are outdated (screw in EPs, no wide angle zoom EP, bulky stay on case, tiny little tripod foot etc). However, for raw optical quality, it doesn't get better. The zoom 25-75x MCII eyepiece is again, optically excellent, but outdated with its tight eye relief and narrow FOV.

Any 65mm scope will be a step down, even an excellent one like the Swarovski. However, it's better to have a smaller scope that stays with you, than a big one you leave
It might be a bold statement, but I don't think any modern 80/85mm scope beats the ED82 in regards to optical quality. The top ones match it, and the features of the ED82 are outdated (screw in EPs, no wide angle zoom EP, bulky stay on case, tiny little tripod foot etc). However, for raw optical quality, it doesn't get better. The zoom 25-75x MCII eyepiece is again, optically excellent, but outdated with its tight eye relief and narrow FOV.

Any 65mm scope will be a step down, even an excellent one like the Swarovski. However, it's better to have a smaller scope that stays with you, than a big one you leave in the car.
I will be keeping the ED82 as it’s great on my local lake. Birds are only viewable from a few points along the lake and they can be over 1000m away. This scope works very well for this.

However I would like a waterproof, small, angled scope for other occasions as I do not enjoy carrying the ED82. So I will look at the Monarch 60mm, Nikon EDIIIA (used, if I can find one). Any other suggestions apart from the Swarovski 65 ATS, which is too exspensive?

Thanks
 
However I would like a waterproof, small, angled scope for other occasions as I do not enjoy carrying the ED82. So I will look at the Monarch 60mm, Nikon EDIIIA (used, if I can find one). Any other suggestions apart from the Swarovski 65 ATS, which is too exspensive?

Thanks
I would suggest trying an Opticron MM4 60mm.
Lots of people seem to like them as a travelling companion.
Certainly light and easy to use and good value for money.
 
ED111A's pop up on ebay fairly regularly and the ability to share eyepieces between scopes can save a fortune.
 
Andrew: Check the many shops in Britain first, before ordering from Japan. Maybe you'll find an EDIIIA there. And in an ideal world in combination with one of the wideangles ... :cool:

While the 20-60x zoom is nice, the wideangles are just beautiful, e.g. for raptor watching. Nice wideangles for your scopes are especially the 24/30x WA, the 30/38x WA and the excellent 16/24/30x DS. If you're into using high magnfications, the 27/40/50x DS is also very, very nice. 50x WA on the ED82 has to be seen to be believed.

BTW, I got out my old EDIIA last weekend, and did a quick comparison to my EDIIIA after all those years. There IS some optical difference - the EDIIIA has a bit more contrast, for instance. Still, I wouldn't hesitate to get an EDIIA even nowadays. You'd have to be pretty careful in wet weather though, that's the EDIIs main weakness. A stay-on case is highly recommended with the EDII.

Hermann
 
Thanks for the info. A lot of the Fieldscope offerings on eBay are from Japan. Don't know whether that matters?

I've bought eyepieces from Japan on ebay without problem. I wouldn't think there would be a problem with buying scopes frpm Japan in general (one nice thing about Fieldscopes are they are almost without exception optically very good - lemons are very rare). If you're not in a great hurry though they do regularly turn up from UK private sellers on ebay, or in the dealers used sections. If searching ebay just search for fieldscope and look for the red ring in the photos, you see the odd ed version not listed as ed...
 
Hi Andrew,

buying an alpha scope coming from a good example of Fieldscope 82 ED (and most are good or better) is almost certainly going to end in a disapointment with the glass lottery being what it is...

As has been noted already, getting an angled ED II or III (or even ED 50) will probably be your best course of action as you can mix and match your EPs...

Joachim
 
Hi Andrew,

buying an alpha scope coming from a good example of Fieldscope 82 ED (and most are good or better) is almost certainly going to end in a disapointment with the glass lottery being what it is...

As has been noted already, getting an angled ED II or III (or even ED 50) will probably be your best course of action as you can mix and match your EPs...

Joachim
Yes, that’s sound advice. Just have to decide between the EDiii and the ED50.
 
Yes, that’s sound advice. Just have to decide between the EDiii and the ED50.
Honestly that is an apples to oranges comparison, even though they both use the same eye pieces.
The ED-III is super robust, you can drive nails with it, but it is heavy, so a tripod is really indispensable to enjoy it.
The ED-50 by contrast is really light, can be readily hand held and is happy sitting on a lightweight monopod.
It is not the glass for extended observation, the exit pupil is marginal even at low power, but for quick looks it remains a great choice.
I have both and the ED-50 gets used a lot more than the Ed-III.
 
Honestly that is an apples to oranges comparison, even though they both use the same eye pieces.
The ED-III is super robust, you can drive nails with it, but it is heavy, so a tripod is really indispensable to enjoy it.
The ED-50 by contrast is really light, can be readily hand held and is happy sitting on a lightweight monopod.
It is not the glass for extended observation, the exit pupil is marginal even at low power, but for quick looks it remains a great choice.
I have both and the ED-50 gets used a lot more than the Ed-III.

Sound summary, although for me I get more use out of my ED-III :) Obviously the answer is one of each. ;)
 
I have an 85mm vortex razor, and then I have a light weight and inexpensive Alpen 60mm spotting scope that packs easily. Its not as good as the larger scope but its good enough for when Im a mile into the back country.
 

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