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Nikon Fieldscope ED 78mm

Tested in 2003 trials for
BirdWatcher's Digest

Nikon Fieldscope 78

Nikon Fieldscope ED 78mm

Nikon's 78mm Fieldscope rated highly with our judges for sturdy, intelligent construction. You'll never fumble for the focus ring. Nearly as broad as your hand, it extends all the way around the scope. It turns smoothly and offers just-right resistance.

However, there is no sighting device or built-in sunshade, and the scope is not waterproof. Birders who wear glasses may find the eye relief of the 25-56x zoom not quite sufficient, so it's a good idea to try it before you buy it.

The scope comes in angled as well as the straight-through version we tested. Both models use Nikon's ED (Extra-low Dispersion) glass. Eyepieces are sold separately.

When we tested the Fieldscope's optical resolution, using the 25-75x zoom eyepiece Nikon sent us, we dialed the magnification back to 60x in order to compare the scope to those with 20-60x zooms. The Fieldscope won the same outstanding score of 19 at 60x as the Swarovski ATS80 HD and Leica APO-Televid 77. Interestingly, increasing the Fieldscope zoom's magnification from 60x to 75x did not improve its score.

The Nikon Fieldscope lacks the superb engineering of its smaller sibling (Nikon 60mm ED Angle Fieldscope III). A Nikon representative told us (in January, 2003) that Nikon will be bringing out a new, waterproof full-sized Fieldscope within a year. Might be worth waiting for.

-- Michael and Diane Porter

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