Nikon Fieldscope III
Is there a HUGE difference between the capabilities of the Fieldscope III vs the Fieldscope III ED? The price difference would certainly elude to a huge difference but I would like to have the differences spelled-out for me.
Also, if I don't go with the ED version, should I consider buying the Nikon 40x fixed eyepiece? Are there any other 60mm scopes I should also consider?
Thanks in advance.
Great little scope, for sure.
ED or not ED? That will depend on how much performance you are trying to squeeze out of the scope. Yes, I would recommend the ED for 1) image quality at the top end, 50x or 60x and 2) digiscoping at any magnification. You will see a difference on both counts. Then, too, a lot of folks go ED on these small scopes to try to recoup some of the resolution they lose by going to a smaller scope in the first place. No, that ED won't turn your scope into a big 80 mm scope, but it can bridge some of that difference. Lastly, there is a psychological factor to consider. Do you want to be constantly wondering if you should have gone with that ED version? I know this sounds kind of lame, but you wouldn't be the first person plagued with such doubts after buying scope.
Nikon Fieldscope eyepieces are excellent, with one glaring shortcoming, namely eye relief on the zooms, both the older 20-45x (really bad) and the newer 20-60x. If you wear glasses and want a full field of view, then, go with one of the WA fixed powers. They all have long eye relief and you'll love those wider fields of view.
Other scopes? If it is a matter of weight and portability, a better choice is a Kowa 600 series (601 or 603 if you want ED). Significantly lighter scope than the Fieldscope III 60mm and a Kowa zoom 20-60 is a great eyepiece if you wear glasses, unlike the Nikon zoom.
How does the Celestron Regal 65 F-ED compare with the Nikon Fieldscope III's?
Also, the reason I decided to go with a 60mm instead of an 80mm was based on overall size. According to the specs, the Nikon ProStaff 8312 is nearly the same size and weight as the Fieldscope III's. Should I consider the ProStaff?
Overwhelmed with possibilities.
The Regal will get you in the same class in terms of optics, but it is not as ruggedly built as a Fieldscope. If you plan on using your scope hard, I'd stay with the Fieldscope.
The Prostaff is, likewise, a step down in optics and durability from the Fieldscope, but it stands as one the best values in its price range. If it's a budget problem, this is a good option.
Some other good options in an ED scope in that size are the Brunton Eterna 62 or a Pentax PF65 ED II. I'm not a big fan of the XF zoom on the Pentax, but with a good fixed power eyepiece, the PF65 ED II is a remarkable little scope. Anyway, both will save you some bucks compared to a Fieldscope or even a small Kowa and both have excellent optics and construction.
Please recommend the best camera mount for my new scope so I can try my hand at digiscoping. I have a Sony Cybershot DSC-W200 point and shoot. I saw several Nikon mounts that are targeted for their Coolpix line of cameras, but I need something that will work with my Sony.
Good for you.
Nikon does not make model specific adapters for the Prostaff line, but you don't need to go that route, anyway. A universal digiscoping adapter will work just fine with that small camera. You can go with the type that clamps to the eyepiece, such as the Celestron Universal or similar or a rail style adapter, such as the Alpen 706 (great value). I like the rail style adapters because they have a swing away function that allows you swing the camera out of the way so you can use the spotting scope visually and then swing it back in position to digiscope. Bracket style adapters have to be removed to go back to visual work.
http://i1216.photobucket.com/albums/dd3 ... onED50.jpg
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