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Nikon EDG 85 spotting scope test

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Nikon EDG 85 spotting scope test

Postby Jne_K on Fri Oct 30, 2009 7:20 am

The big news from Nikon has been the new Nikon EDG spotting scopes. The problem has been getting an EDG spotting scope in to test, but, a Nikon EDG85 in straight arrived, this week, so I grabbed it for a look.

If you've been a fan of the Nikon Fieldscope 82ED, as I have, you know there is one weaknesses in the Fieldscope 82ED and that is the zoom eyepiece. The current Nikon #7467 zoom (25-75x on the 82ED), now packaged with all Nikon 60mm and 82mm Fieldscopes, has been a big improvement over the previous http://www.opticsplanet.com/nikon-zoom- ... 0-45x.html (25-56x in the 82ED)in terms of optics and eye relief, but the 7467, 25-75x zoom has a long way to go to catch up with current premium spotting scope zoom eyepieces by Swarovski, Kowa, Leica or Zeiss. That 25-75x still lags behind the competition in terms of eye relief and its small lens element is not conducive to digiscoping. To be fair, Nikon has answered those concerns, nicely, with the Nikon fixed power, DS and WA series eyepieces on the Fieldscope spotting scopes. All of these offer great eye relief and wide fields of view.

Still, most people want a zoom eyepiece, these days. Let's face it, if you want to compete in the premium spotting scope market, you gotta offer a good zoom eyepiece with plenty of eye relief. That brings us to the Nikon EDG. In short, problem solved. The 20-60 Nikon EDG eyepiece is a completely different eyepiece than the Nikon Fieldscope zoom eyepiece. The new EDG eyepiece is a bayonet mount eyepiece, with lock, and it offer good eye relief and excellent field of view for a zoom. Nikon rates eye relief at 18mm to 16mm at 60x, but I found it to be just a touch less at 60x, but still a very useable 15mm or so. Nikon also lists an eyepiece adapter in the manual that allows the use of the older threaded eyepieces for the Fieldscope, like the #7467, but no such adapter was included in the box.

On the chart, optical performance of the EDG, as expected, was right up there at the top. The Nikon EDG will give all the other top drawer spotting scopes a run for the money in terms of money (and price). Contrast and resolution were excellent and I could detect no color fringing or distortion of any kind. Images were tack sharp right to the edge of the field. Excellent performance, no doubt about it. I was a bit concerned over image brightness when I saw the roof prism construction, but I'm happy to report that was not an issue. Some of the other big spotting scopes on the market, such as the Kowa 883, may have just a touch more image brightness, but never enough to make a difference in the field.

Focusing was smooth and easy, though the Swarovski helical focuser on the Swarovski ATM80HD may require just a touch less effort. Fit and finish on the Nikon EDG 85 were what you expect from Nikon's best -excellent. The Nikon EDG spotting scope includes a nylon see-thru case and zoom eyepiece in the price - usually optional and expensive extras on the competition. Thank-you, Nikon.

All in all, the Nikon EDG is a great scope, but there is one caveat. The Nikon EDG is also a heavy spotting scope, even compared to the competition. The 85EDG is a full 19 ounces heavier than the slightly larger 88mm, Kowa 883 with the Kowa zoom eyepiece, attached and a full 29 ounces heavier than a Swarovski STM80 with a 20-60 zoom eyepiece, attached. The EDG85, in other words, earns the dubious distinction of now being the heaviest premium spotting scope on the market. At 83 ounces, a lightweight, the Nikon 85EDG, is not. This means you need to carefully consider your application. I would not rate the EDG as a good choice if you plan to hit the field and carry scope and tripod over your shoulder, all day. On the other hand, if you are birding out of the trunk of a car, from marsh to marsh or if you are at the shooting range, not a big deal. In fact, the weight and slimmer outline of the Nikon EDG85 will probably add a bit of stability in a stiff wind, assuming, of course, you are using a good tripod.
Thanks for posting with us
Joanie K - Your personal optics expert

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Re: Nikon EDG 85 spotting scope test

Postby JGRaider on Fri Oct 30, 2009 8:19 am

Joanie, thanks for the summary, it is most informative. By chance, will the new EDG zoom fit the Fieldscope 82ED? If not, is there an adaptor or something? Thanks.
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Re: Nikon EDG 85 spotting scope test

Postby Jne_K on Fri Oct 30, 2009 8:24 am

Hi

Thank-you

No, definnitely not. The manual lists an adapter that allows you to use the Fieldscope zooms in the EDG, but no mention or listing of an adapter to go the other way, at least not at this time. I really doubt we will see this, since the diameter of the EDG eyepiece is much larger and, of course, it is a bayonet.
Thanks for posting with us
Joanie K - Your personal optics expert

Forum: http://www.opticsplanet.com/msgboard
Blog: http://blog.opticsplanet.com/
Store: http://www.opticsplanet.com/

Phone: (800) 504-5897
Fax: (847) 919-3003
Jne_K
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Posts: 7665
Joined: Wed Sep 24, 2003 3:09 pm