Nikon ED-82/Manfrotto: Spotter

BobD

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So, just yesterday I became the beneficiary of some new and exciting glass. New for me anyways, it's actually been around for 10 years now but from my research has stood the test of time quite well. I'm referring to Nikon's Fieldscope ED 82, it is quite the behemoth. The shear size makes my Sightron SIII 8-32x56 look like a child's toy. To ice the cake it is outfitted with a stunning Manfrotto tripod.
I've been looking to replace the underwhelming POS spotter I acquired years ago. Interestingly, I would not have thought to look at Nikon for this replacement but has exceeded my expectations. When I think excellence from Nikon, my mind goes to cameras. I own their D90 DSLR which the spotter has a special attachment for (Nikon DSLR's). This is not the traditional bracket that positions a camera behind it but rather an adapter that incorporates the eyepieces to fit IN the camera, essentially mimicking a telephoto lens for a fraction of the price. Very interesting- There also special attachments for 'point and shoot' cameras as well, including a universal bracket but sits behind the spotter with a remote shutter cable to minimize vibration.


In this field (scopes, rangefinders etc...), I tend to associate Nikon with budget friendly offerings. While the ED 82 is no longer the creme de la creme of the mix, it represents a high level of optical quality and is highly regarded in various nature observation circles (maybe relevant, maybe not). Before the introduction of their absurdly priced EDG, this was indeed their flagship model. With all of the advancements this industry has made in the past 10 years and this still regarded as outstanding indicates that its design has stood the test of time very well.

Specs- Dimensions: 12.874" x 4.251"
Objective: 82mm
Weight: 3.472 Lbs
Glass: Fully Multi Coated, (ED) Extra low dispersion
Additional: Water Proof 2m/5min, Fog Proof (Nitrogen purged)
Eye Piece Offerings: 11 types

**The selection of eyepieces below are for the 50, 60 and 82mm models. The numbers for each piece reflect the magnification produced by each model in that respective order. Eg. 20/30/38x mc = 20x for 50mm, 30x for 60mm and 38x for 82mm.**

1-3* Digiscope Eyepieces specifically for photo-16x/24x/30xWide DS27x/40x/50x Wide DS40x/60x/75x Wide DS4-11* Fully Multicoated Traditional

Eyepieces-20x/25x MC, 27x/40x/50x MC 24x/30x wide MC, 20x/30x/38x wide MC27x/40x/50x wide MC, 40x/60x/75x wide MC 13-30x/20-45x/25-56x MC zoom 13-40x/20-60x/25-75x MC II zoom eyepiece

First impressions-

The cover is nicely done, it is a well padded Cordura type material and appears durable. It also includes a shoulder strap that holds another durable, heavy padded pouch for additional eyepieces. Both covers on the eyepiece and objective lens can be pulled off while still attached with the eyepiece cover having the option to be completely removed. There is a pull string underneath to secure the plate that meets its Manfrotto tripod (completely closed when detached and snug when in use for complete coverage. It houses another pull string that covers the outer body of the eyepiece when the front cover is removed for additional protection. Lastly (aside from the zipper for removal), there is a combination of Velcro and two magnetic studs on the top and boh sides side that provide access to the helical type focus ring around the body of the spotter. It has convenient access through the magnetic studs where your hand has enough access to manipulate from either or both sides. A nice additional nice feature for left and right handed users. Additionally, there is small circular open access on the bottom for your thumb o grab to opposing side of the focus with all covers still in place. The top portion can be folded back completely through disengaging the Velcro for complete exposure.

The tripod, as expected is excellent. It is a Nikon branded Manfrotto, simple, smooth and very sturdy. No bells and whistles but I'm more than satisfied. It is the traditional two axis pivot not the multi axis variant or ball head type. It might be nice to have finer adjustments but I'm happy to take it over an inferior model with more features.

The Body-

Over molded in rubber it exudes a sense of durability. As you can see in the specs above its fairly heavy (can be taken either way). The focus as mentioned is a helical design, focusing is not as effortless as others. However, it won't be moving accidentally, it is a large heavy ring. Also incorporated into the design is a built in retractable sun shade that surrounds the objective lens. It can be extended to user preference and has an affixed sight on top that can be used to roughly acquire your targets area. It's open shape is remnant of the rear sight on a pistol except that the channel is almost 2 inches long.

Glass-

At 82mm, the objective is quite large and allows plenty of light. The picture is incredibly neutral; color rendition is some of the best I've seen. Resolution is also excellent. The extra low dispersion glass exceeded well in my viewing of brightly lit objects (especially white) and taking photographs. There were no aberrations or any other issues seen by my eyes that were distracting or noticeable.

Currently, I have two eyepieces, a 25x fixed and a 25-56x variable. Im expecting to pick up the mcII in 25-75 which Ive heard is strikingly sharp to full power. Both that I have are very nice and maintain a clear, in focus image to the outermost edges.

The model I have is a straight view and is a first for me. I'm eager to pick up one of the Digiscope eyepieces for my camera. I'm quite eager to get some more time behind it and bring it out to some farther distances to see just how capable it is. Around 200 yards, In front of my place... I bring all optics I purchase here first as I'm familiar with the dimensions and detail of the phone box which also in light causes distortion in most optics. Sorry for the crumby pic quality, I took it with my phone but it got down graded a significant amount after uploading. I can see with complete detail sizes down to 1/8" that are the same color but raised 1/16" even thought the original picture. I'm sure it will be incredible with the DSLR actually fitted to it.


Overall-

In my opinion, this scope is phenomenal. Its a great overall package, the only downsides are the narrower FOV and shorter eye relief (commonly reported)compared to similar offerings. Honestly, the FOV doesn't bother me. For my purposes, I want my spotter to focus on a very specific area. I've pitted this up next to my 8-32x Sightron and was amazed. They are different ballparks, but before my scopes trampled my spotter... Rendering it completely unnecessary. This is a different story.

If any of you are using this spotter please feel free to chime in with any information or experiences.

i will continue to follow up when I bring this out farther distances and when I am able to use a better camera.
 
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Switchbarrel

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Hi Bob-

Nice lookin' set-up you got there. Having had Nikon camera's and a Monarch rifle scope, I've always thought of Nikon optics as being an excellent value. I just picked up one of the Manfrotto tri-pods they had a Costco to replace my flimsy, lightweight aluminum one. Wow, what a difference a stable tri-pod makes. Take care.

-Rick
 

BobD

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Hi Bob- Nice lookin' set-up you got there. Having had Nikon camera's and a Monarch rifle scope, I've always thought of Nikon optics as being an excellent value. I just picked up one of the Manfrotto tri-pods they had a Costco to replace my flimsy, lightweight aluminum one. Wow, what a difference a stable tri-pod makes. Take care.-Rick
Thanks Rick,I agree with you, changing to a Manfrotto makes a tremendous difference. I've been really happy with this so far. The scope is phenomenal and I am thoroughly impressed with the entire package. Nikon really made a place to stay with this one. I'm eagerly awaiting the higher magnification eye piece, I'm running a fixed 25 and a 25-56 variable now. I don't feel that the 56x is lacking but I've heard the 75x is just as crisp. No harm in having the extra mag.-Bob**************************

Nikon 82 ED & Sightron SIII 8-32x56I was curious how the two of these stacked up against each other as many of us use either a high magnification scope with/or one with exception resolution and clarity to view bullet holes and other fine details in lieu of a spotter. Untill now, my previous spotter was out shined by the scopes I've been using and rendered almost useless for pretty much anything. High magnification is trumped by superior contrast, resolution and clarity almost every time. Having all of these together is another story and a first for me.

Unfortunately, I have yet to take the Nikon out for shooting but it hasn't deterred my urge to set a few things up and try it out in the meantime. Off camera, I tuned the Nikon down as low as 25x. Even at this close of a distance I was able to make out more detail.Below are some shots taken free hand from my camera phone.

As expected, they can't accurately reflect all of the glasses qualities. I will update these photos when I can get out a bit farther and also hook up a nicer camera (although the pics will be downgraded regardless... As they are here).I have not obtained the higher 75x eyepiece yet (which I understand is still strikingly clear) so it will end up with an additional 20x magnification than is showed here. Sightron is set to 32x.I'm still very satisfied with the glass on the Sightron and it is a terrific scope by every other measure. The color rendition and ED glass on the Nikon put it in a separate league though
 
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BobD

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Unfortunately no targets yet but I took some shots to see how it would fare at distance. Brought my handy Bushnell 12x Fusion Binos. The pics were taken with the phone camera free hand... so...




Will get some targets up soon to replace these
Looking forward to the 75x eyepiece.


Here's where I was (taken with camera phone alone) (pictures below this one are through scope in the back right field) still using the 56x variable eyepiece







~700 yards to trailer (through nikon 82 Ed)



Also taken through nikon 82 Ed







700+ yards, back tree line is ~ 1,200 yards (through nikon 82 Ed)



Also through nikon 82 Ed
 

chopper duke

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As a photographer, I know the importance of good glass. Nikon, and Manfrotto, are my brands of choice.

I'm anxious to see how sharp the pictures from the scope are. And thanks for the write up!!
 

scudzuki

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That's a spotter that has been regarded highly through the years, congrats.

FYI there is a sub-forum for spotters here, "observation devices".

Joe
 

BobD

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That's a spotter that has been regarded highly through the years, congrats.

FYI there is a sub-forum for spotters here, "observation devices".

Joe

I'm very happy with it. It certainly says something when a product from a decade ago can still compete so well. They can be found significantly less expensive but many places are listing $1,600- $1,900. I've seen prices change over the years and it seems to fluctuate (less expensive several years ago and went back up).

thanks for the tip, I'm aware of the sub-forum. I just haven't checked in for a while and slipped my mind-


Chopper Duke,

thank you. Glad to hear another fan of their camera products. Would like to hear if you use any special set-up or tips for lenses when taking these types of shots. Do you use macro or prime lenses to get the small images behind scopes?

***************************
I wanted to add these extra pics to illustrate some of the features I was discussing in my first post.

This is the retractable/extending sunshade that's built in. You can see the sight in the front for acquiring you image-



Nicely tucked in and protected eye piece with draw string


This is the Helical focus ring, it's quite large and stiff with plenty of purchase area. As mentioned earlier, there is an open access underneath for your thumb You can also see the magnetic and Velcro access to it. Notice the Cordura type heavy stitching, it's very well made, padded and durable. Well thought out-

 

chopper duke

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thank you. Glad to hear another fan of their camera products. Would like to hear if you use any special set-up or tips for lenses when taking these types of shots. Do you use macro or prime lenses to get the small images behind scopes?
Do you mean pictures through the scope or pictures of the scope? Macro and Prime lenses aren't mutually exclusive. A lot of times, you'll see a Prime lens that can be used as a Macro (or Micro if it's a Nikon lens). Macro Photography typically refers to images taken on a scale of 1:1 or greater. There are a few ways this accomplished but a Macro (or Micro) lens will allow you to do it easier as they typically have means to focus while the lens is closer to the subject than you would normally be able to. I took the following to kind of help explain what I mean. I used a 50mm prime, a 28-90 w/ Macro feature at 90 and a 70 - 300 w/ macro feature at 200-300. I used a spent .308 round since most everyone here would know what that looks like in real life for size comparison.

All shot at:
ISO 50
f5.6
1/60
Distance was as close as they could get and still have sharp focus

50mm, no Macro:


90mm, no Macro


90mm w/ Macro


300mm no Macro


300mm w/ Macro