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Please help me to choose! Nikon Fieldscope ED82 or Celestron Regal 100? (1 Viewer)

andreax1985

Active member
Hi all, I'm looking for a powerful scope for terrestrial observations (nature, animals, mountains etc...). I'm new in the field, I've read tons of reviews but still can't decide which model to choose among:

1. Nikon Fieldscope ED82
2. Celestron Regal 100 mm

I'm mostly concerned with the quality of the optics, brightness, sharpness, image details... I'd like to get the best out of my budget (which can't exceed 1300$). Which, in your opinion, is the best scope?
 

henry link

Well-known member
I've found that it's dangerous to recommend a scope model because the optical quality of individual units is so highly variable. However, I think your chances of getting a good specimen of the Nikon Fieldscope are much better than getting a good Celestron Regal, especially the 100mm version, which would be the most difficult size to make well. I assume you're thinking that the extra aperture might make the Celestron brighter and sharper, but based on the design and the prism housing shared with the slower 80 and 65mm Regals I seriously doubt that the Celestron actually has a clear aperture of 100mm, even at infinity focus. It will certainly be much less at close focus, when the focusing prism is not in its optimum position, probably considerably below 80mm. I also suspect that most specimens of the Celestron 100mm Regal will have resolution limited by aberrations to less than that of an average Nikon 82mm Fieldscope. I would only try the Celestron if you can return it easily and you know how to test scopes for true aperture, aberrations and resolution.
 

tazzilla

Well-known member
Look at the Alpen rainer 853ED Full Ed HD made in japan and full no fault life time warranty. Just ordered one for $700 shipped to my door. Will have it by Tue and will post review
 

andreax1985

Active member
I've found that it's dangerous to recommend a scope model because the optical quality of individual units is so highly variable. However, I think your chances of getting a good specimen of the Nikon Fieldscope are much better than getting a good Celestron Regal, especially the 100mm version, which would be the most difficult size to make well. I assume you're thinking that the extra aperture might make the Celestron brighter and sharper, but based on the design and the prism housing shared with the slower 80 and 65mm Regals I seriously doubt that the Celestron actually has a clear aperture of 100mm, even at infinity focus. It will certainly be much less at close focus, when the focusing prism is not in its optimum position, probably considerably below 80mm. I also suspect that most specimens of the Celestron 100mm Regal will have resolution limited by aberrations to less than that of an average Nikon 82mm Fieldscope. I would only try the Celestron if you can return it easily and you know how to test scopes for true aperture, aberrations and resolution.

I was thinking of buying it online and I have no idea of how to test scopes! But why do you think that it would be easier to get a good scope by nikon than by celestron? In some review they say that nikon fieldscope is not so bright, you exactly caught my point when you supposed my thinking was that the greater aperture on the regal could overcome the nikon simply using 'brute force'...
 

RJM

Don't Worry, Be Happy!
I think for anything larger than the standard 80mm class fieldscope you are better off choosing the Celestron C5 spotter. A 100mm refractor needs a serious mount. It is not a very portable solution and if you can't be portable might as well get even more aperture in the smaller design like the C5.
 

andreax1985

Active member
Another question: I'm seeing that prices for nikon ed82 eyepieces are out of this world! Here in europe, they go for 300 euros each one! Is it normal? A 30x, a 50x and a 75x wideangle eyepieces would cost me as much as the scope! The alternative would be the 25x75 zoom but it doesn't seem to be a great eyepiece... Is such an expense justified by optical quality only?
 
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henry link

Well-known member
It’s true that eyepieces for the old Nikon Fieldscopes are expensive and becoming difficult to find. The 25-75x zoom, while excellent optically, has a pretty narrow field and short eye relief. What makes the Nikon most attractive to me is its sophisticated optical design. It’s one of the few birding scopes that can potentially produce a very low aberration image.

The Celestron has so many design disadvantages that I have particularly low expectations for it. Firstly, it uses a simple doublet objective with a very low focal ratio, a bad combination. It’s very unlikely that a mass-produced f/5.4 100mm objective will be well corrected. A very cheap one, like this, is likely to have defects piled on top of its inherent aberrations. In contrast the Nikon uses an f/6.4 triplet, a more promising design, which has shown itself to be capable of excellent corrections in real world testing. The Celestron also uses the cheapest and least efficient erecting system (Porro followed by semi-pentaprism). The old Nikon Fieldscopes used the best and most efficient erecting system of any angled scope (an oversized Schmidt prism). The Celestron uses a moving prism for focusing. I’ve yet to see any scope of this design that didn’t suffer considerable aperture reduction at close distances. Because this scope shares the same prisms with the smaller, slower Regals I suspect its loss of aperture is quite large. I doubt that it has a full 100mm aperture at any distance. Nikon uses a moving doublet lens group for focusing. That system doesn’t restrict clear aperture at any distance when it’s properly sized.

I usually don’t make scope recommendations because of the sample variation. You could take my advice, buy the Nikon, and wind up with a lemon. I consider all scope specimens of any design or brand to be guilty until proved innocent, but the Celestron Regal (particularly the 100mm version) is one of those products that promises too much for too little. I’m inclined to hang it first, then hold a trial.
 

andreax1985

Active member
It’s true that eyepieces for the old Nikon Fieldscopes are expensive and becoming difficult to find. The 25-75x zoom, while excellent optically, has a pretty narrow field and short eye relief. What makes the Nikon most attractive to me is its sophisticated optical design. It’s one of the few birding scopes that can potentially produce a very low aberration image.

The Celestron has so many design disadvantages that I have particularly low expectations for it. Firstly, it uses a simple doublet objective with a very low focal ratio, a bad combination. It’s very unlikely that a mass-produced f/5.4 100mm objective will be well corrected. A very cheap one, like this, is likely to have defects piled on top of its inherent aberrations. In contrast the Nikon uses an f/6.4 triplet, a more promising design, which has shown itself to be capable of excellent corrections in real world testing. The Celestron also uses the cheapest and least efficient erecting system (Porro followed by semi-pentaprism). The old Nikon Fieldscopes used the best and most efficient erecting system of any angled scope (an oversized Schmidt prism). The Celestron uses a moving prism for focusing. I’ve yet to see any scope of this design that didn’t suffer considerable aperture reduction at close distances. Because this scope shares the same prisms with the smaller, slower Regals I suspect its loss of aperture is quite large. I doubt that it has a full 100mm aperture at any distance. Nikon uses a moving doublet lens group for focusing. That system doesn’t restrict clear aperture at any distance when it’s properly sized.

I usually don’t make scope recommendations because of the sample variation. You could take my advice, buy the Nikon, and wind up with a lemon. I consider all scope specimens of any design or brand to be guilty until proved innocent, but the Celestron Regal (particularly the 100mm version) is one of those products that promises too much for too little. I’m inclined to hang it first, then hold a trial.

And if I went for the Nikon, which eyepiece would you suggest me to buy, the zoom ep, a set of fixed eyepieces or a combination of both?

Btw, why nikon eyepieces are so expensive?

Is Nikon ed82 made in Japan or made in China?
 
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andreax1985

Active member
Recommend Nikon ED82 with MC30x, and MC25-75x zoom.

wow, I'll end up spending 950€ for the scope, 180€ for MC30x and 300€ for MC25-75x. I'll have to spend 1430€ for all! In your opinion is it worth of it? A chinese scope will cost half that price! Consider I'm not planning to do any digiscoping, only visual observations... But I love details.

P.S: Is nikon ED82 made in Japan?
 

Alexis Powell

Natural history enthusiast
United States
P.S: Is nikon ED82 made in Japan?

Yes. Only the Fieldscope 50ED is made in China.
One other thought, are you sure you'd have to buy the zoom separately? In the USA, these scopes are no longer sold body only, so the zoom is included in the ~$1300 price for the 82ED. The eyepieces for the old versions of the Nikon Fieldscopes have been around for decades, so maybe you can put in a "wanted" advert for a used 30x and save some money. Don't confuse these with the new eyepieces for the new Fieldscopes (both of which are always very expensive compared to the older ones).

--AP
 
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andreax1985

Active member
Yes. Only the Fieldscope 50ED is made in China.
One other thought, are you sure you'd have to buy the zoom separately? In the USA, these scopes are no longer sold body only, so the zoom is included in the ~$1300 price for the 82ED. The eyepieces for the old versions of the Nikon Fieldscopes have been around for decades, so maybe you can put in a "wanted" advert for a used 30x and save some money. Don't confuse these with the new eyepieces for the new Fieldscopes (both of which are always very expensive compared to the older ones).

--AP

yes, here in europe every shop sells the body only version! how can I distinguish the eyepieces for the 82ed from the newer and more expensive eyepieces?
 
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andreax1985

Active member
ps. is there anyone who tried to compare the nikon ed82 with some chinese scope in the same league of celestron regal or william optics swan?
 

Matt_RTH

Well-known member
ps. is there anyone who tried to compare the nikon ed82 with some chinese scope in the same league of celestron regal or william optics swan?

I've owned both the Nikon ED82 and the Regal 100mm (two copies).

My first reaction to the question are in such different leagues to put them in the same race is almost absurd.

Optically, as I said before in earlier posts, the Regal is quite decent. I didn't find anything to complain about for sea watching and general use. It even did relatively well at full mag.

My biggest complaint with the Regal is it's a heavy. The Nikon is the Airbus A320, the Regal is an A380 - the Regals - all models - are disproportionately heavy compared to many other spotters. It's impossible to balance the 100mm, even with the supplied balancing bar. Additionally, several recipients of the model have complained of stiff focus, of which both of mine were affected.

The Nikon is far better balanced, is optically beyond reproach and has better build by miles. In your arena, I would consider any Kowa or Nikon ED model far more desirable. If you want to take the A380 on short distance hikes or will have a fixed location for it, enjoy it. But there is no contest, all else being equal.

On the Swan, that one was also a heavy model. Never looked through one. I had a Williams 66mm, however. Great telescope, horrible spotting scope (again due to mass). It's not a matter of ability to lug around, it's the availability of substitutes that are superior without that problem.

Don't torture yourself over this - you'll have enough trouble kicking yourself for not getting a Nikon or Kowa. Also keep a Pentax 80mm in mind. I think they did have a 100mm too.
 

andreax1985

Active member
I've owned both the Nikon ED82 and the Regal 100mm (two copies).

My first reaction to the question are in such different leagues to put them in the same race is almost absurd.

Optically, as I said before in earlier posts, the Regal is quite decent. I didn't find anything to complain about for sea watching and general use. It even did relatively well at full mag.

My biggest complaint with the Regal is it's a heavy. The Nikon is the Airbus A320, the Regal is an A380 - the Regals - all models - are disproportionately heavy compared to many other spotters. It's impossible to balance the 100mm, even with the supplied balancing bar. Additionally, several recipients of the model have complained of stiff focus, of which both of mine were affected.

The Nikon is far better balanced, is optically beyond reproach and has better build by miles. In your arena, I would consider any Kowa or Nikon ED model far more desirable. If you want to take the A380 on short distance hikes or will have a fixed location for it, enjoy it. But there is no contest, all else being equal.

On the Swan, that one was also a heavy model. Never looked through one. I had a Williams 66mm, however. Great telescope, horrible spotting scope (again due to mass). It's not a matter of ability to lug around, it's the availability of substitutes that are superior without that problem.

Don't torture yourself over this - you'll have enough trouble kicking yourself for not getting a Nikon or Kowa. Also keep a Pentax 80mm in mind. I think they did have a 100mm too.

Thank you for your enlightening answer, I think that I've underestimated the importance of a lightweight equipment, even in the field of simple visual observations... By the way, I hear you mention Kowa along with Nikon but there's a huge difference in terms of price between Kowa and Nikon, I don't know if they are in the same league but I do know that the Kowa costs almost 1500 euros more! So I think I'll go for a Nikon if (and that's a big if) I can find eyepieces at a decent price... Concerning this, have you any suggestion on the choice of eyepieces (zoom or fixed wide angle eyepieces or both) considering that my budget is quiet limited?
 

RJM

Don't Worry, Be Happy!
Since you seem to be a new birder on a tight budget, why don't you consider the Nikon ED50? It is the equal of larger scopes in all but the dimmest light in most birding scenarios. It is so small and light you can spend less for the tripod mount too. Since it is VERY portable, you will use it much more than a larger scope. Later as your skills develop and you have more money you can upgrade to the ED82 and use the same eyepieces.
 

andreax1985

Active member
Since you seem to be a new birder on a tight budget, why don't you consider the Nikon ED50? It is the equal of larger scopes in all but the dimmest light in most birding scenarios. It is so small and light you can spend less for the tripod mount too. Since it is VERY portable, you will use it much more than a larger scope. Later as your skills develop and you have more money you can upgrade to the ED82 and use the same eyepieces.

honestly 50 mm seems to me a too small aperture for gathering enough details and light at high magnifications, say over 40x
 

Matt_RTH

Well-known member
Thank you for your enlightening answer, I think that I've underestimated the importance of a lightweight equipment, even in the field of simple visual observations... By the way, I hear you mention Kowa along with Nikon but there's a huge difference in terms of price between Kowa and Nikon, I don't know if they are in the same league but I do know that the Kowa costs almost 1500 euros more! So I think I'll go for a Nikon if (and that's a big if) I can find eyepieces at a decent price... Concerning this, have you any suggestion on the choice of eyepieces (zoom or fixed wide angle eyepieces or both) considering that my budget is quiet limited?

In terms of weight, I've gone down quite a path. I went up to the aforementioned 100mm, decided I needed to keep light. The ED82 is very on par in the weight department. Bottom line is I can carry almost any scope, but life is too short for that!

It's unfortunate such the difference in Kowa vs. the very comparable Nikon. Here in the States, I've scored a small number of Kowas at very competitive prices used. I have no aversion to used as long as I have recourse if I get a dud. At this class of optics, I think of it as not buying it but renting it from the next owner. So buying a pre-owned unit is no problem for me. However, I can appreciate the possible difficulty of doing so in Europe. From me to you, I'd say keep an eye on the US auction site and see who will ship to Europe. I know someone who has shipped many items to more countries than he remembers and "may" have "accidentally" checked the "gift" box on the customs form. This may help with the dreaded customs. With policies these days it is getting harder to do that. Another thing - a WTB ad right here may fetch a fair deal.

Eyepieces for the Nikon are a bit difficult. The 25-75 EP is very usable, and despite it being "narrow" or other things, spec-wise is comparable to other 3x zooms. Good enough eye relief for glasses. The 25-56 is usually more affordable, is not nearly as bad as some have said it is, and some even prefer it over the 25-75. Me, I got rid of the zooms and use a 30x W and 38x W. The 38x is somewhat redundant but it's so much easier, but less compact than the 24. There are several variants of both for the Fieldscope - ugh! I miss the zoom on sea watches but when I did use it for sea watches, the vast majority of my viewing was still at more reasonable magnifications - and the wide angle, picture window view is awesome.

Speaking of which, why do you want 80mm? The 60mm and 65mm class scopes can be quite remarkable. What are the worst or most challenging conditions you expect to use?

I ask because I understand that the European models like Zeiss 65mm scopes can be had at reasonable prices on the Continent, but haven't checked lately.

All that aside, if you can get the ED82 at a price which makes sense to you, then there is no need to look further - it is that good.
 

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