For the uninitiated a Fieldscope is a telescope
used for nature spotting and particularly bird watching. Generally sold with zoom type eyepieces and used with a tripod
for stability, these will allow you to identify or observe birds at distances beyond the reach of your binoculars.
There are two basic body designs - straight and angled. With straight scopes, the barrel and the eyepiece
are parallel, while in angled scopes the eyepiece is 45º from the barrel axis so as to bend the light path. Each design has its own pros and cons and the choice of scope boils down to how you want to use it.
Pro's & Con's
The angled scope makes it easier to share with groups, allows the use of a lower tripod due to the higher eye point, better at observing soaring birds. The straight scope is easier for the beginner to use, is easier to view grounded birds or those on a ledge and generally results in less neck strain.
The fieldscope allows you to observe birds that are more sensitive to human presence, that would otherwise be disturbed.
I was persuaded to purchase the Nikon by the various reviews I had seen in magazines
and on the Internet. A key consideration for me was the price, I paid £669 for scope and £229 for the 25-75x zoom eyepiece and the Nikon stay on case for £69.99 from warehouseexpress.comThe ED82
is a replacement for the ED78, as you would expect with a product from Nikon the build quality is very good the housing is made from a tough
green coated light aluminum alloy with some rubber armouring to prevent damage. It is waterproof and nitrogen filled to prevent fogging, which works in all but the most damp conditions.
The green stay-on case is stylish and robust, fitting the scope body well to provide solid protection against the elements and any bruises along the way. The eyepiece is adequately protected against the rain by a clip-over hood and neck pull-up . The sun-shade can still be easily accessed with the cover on to keep rain from the objective and of course sun.
The instruction manual is minimal and a bit more detailed would be appreciated.The ability to turn the scope to any angle whilst seated on a tripod via the side-screw, for example, is not mentioned at all.
Choice of eye piece
I originally went for the Nikon MCII 25-75x zoom, based again on recommendations and reviews. The fitting is straight-forward and quick screwing snuggly into the mounting. The zoom action is smooth all the way up to 75x, however at this range the image does darken a little. The eye piece has click-stopped twist up eye-cup
and feels well made and should last.
The image is sharp and there is no hint of chromatic aberration regardless of lighting. The colour balance is very natural, if anything a touch on the warm side, with adequate contrast and is spectacularly bright.
Focusing, avoid the zoom
Focusing is achieved via a 3/4 turn helical barrel midway on the scope body. The gearing is high, hence quick to focus, however, using the zoom eye piece at maximum range, it becomes a pesky task to focus precisely.I would not recommend the 25-75x zoom eye piece, the field of view at 75x is almost unusable in my opinion. If you need to use the full zoom capabilities you are probably too far away to have any kind of decent view anyway.
A range of options
Nikon have provided 8 different eyepieces to couple with the scope. Since my original purchase I have acquired the 30x, the 38x and the 50x fixed eyepieces. The results from these move the scope to another level entirely. Gone are the field of view problems of the zoom, the image is truly 'punchy' and the field of view is much, much wider.
Nikon use fluorite ED glass to help reduce chromatic aberration and give superb colour rendition. The multi-layer coating produces superb optical results. The 82mm objective ensures that the image is bright.
The ED82 is simply the best scope for the money, there are better but you'll have to double your money to beat it. Avoid the zoom unless you have extra cash, the flat depth of field will produce too much frustration. I would recommend that you go for the 30x and 50x fixed eyepiece, this will give you sufficient flexibility whatever your viewing.
* Focusing System: IF
- Magnification x: 25
- Objective Diameter (mm): 82
- Real Angular Field of View: 2.4
- Apparent Angular Field of View: 60
- FOV@1000 yds(ft): 125
- Close Focus Distance (ft): 16.4
- Exit Pupil (mm): 3.3
- Relative Brightness: 10.9
- Eye Relief (mm): 15.2
Size (L&W) inches: 13.3x4.25
Size (L&W) mm: 339x108
Weight oz/ grams* with 25x eyepiece: 60/1700