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Nikon ED50 v. Pentax PF 65-ED

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/28/2010 at 11:04
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I need some advice.  After reading numerous threads here and elsewhere I have determined that a "compact" scope is probably best for my needs (decent optics, travel portability and ability to distinguish 6mm holes at 200-300 yds).  I have more or less narrowed my choices to either the Nikon or the Pentax.  Either would be purchased with the "matching" zoom eyepiece (13-30x for the Nikon and 20-60X XF series for the Pentax).  I haven't entirely excluded the Leupold 12-40x60 HD, but I'm not certain it's worth the extra $$ compared to the above two scopes.  
 
Unfortunately I'm not is a position to test either scope so I really need to rely on the opinions of those of you who have experience with these scopes and eyepiece combinations.  I'm a little concerned that 30x with the Nikon may not be quite enough at the range at 200-300.  I also occasionally wear glasses (usually contacts) so eye relief is probably something to consider though maybe not critical.
 
Thanks in advance for any thoughts offered.
 
John 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/28/2010 at 13:41
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I think both scopes will do what you ask.  The Pentax will get you more magnification (at the cost of a tiny exit pupil at 60x) while the Nikon is extremely small and lightweight.

Both have a wide array of eyepieces available.  Both have excellent resolution.

I would spring for the Nikon.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/28/2010 at 15:37
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Hi Lutefisk,
Think the Pentax will serve you better, the extra aperture makes for a brighter image, which your application will need.
The Nikon is very portable, but do note that there have been some reported instances of the scope splitting in two because of what appears to be a fragile plastic housing. See   http://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=159829
That said, I own the Nikon and am very happy with it, but had the Pentax ordered until delivery was dragged out too long.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/28/2010 at 18:18
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For what it is worth I had a Pentax PF65ED and its body broke in half as well.  That extra aperture will only be apparently brighter than the 50mm Nikon at the same magnification.  I can assure you the Pentax w/ XF zoom dims considerably at 60x (1.08mm exit pupil), although it is still quite sharp.

If you do choose the Pentax, I would suggest you look at the Pentax XW fixed eyepieces to get the most out of your scope.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/28/2010 at 18:40
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Performance wise, Pentax PF65ED will run circles around the Nikon simply beacause it is a bigger spotter with a bigger objective lens.

This is really an apples-to-oranges comparison.

If you are looking for the most portability, the 50mm Fieldscope is a lot lighter than the Pentax.  Its image quality is very good for the size, but it does not compete with larger scopes of similar overall quality like the Pentax.

If you are looking for image quality in a reasonbly priced and reasonably portable package, Pentax is a very good way to go, although springing for an XW eyepiece is worthwhile.  However, you will give up a fair bit of portability compared to the Nikon.

ILya
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/29/2010 at 11:44
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Originally posted by Bitterroot Bulls Bitterroot Bulls wrote:

I think both scopes will do what you ask.  The Pentax will get you more magnification (at the cost of a tiny exit pupil at 60x) while the Nikon is extremely small and lightweight.

Both have a wide array of eyepieces available.  Both have excellent resolution.

I would spring for the Nikon.



And the Nikon will dim noticably @ 30X.  You can't change physics, but the Nikon is the class of the 50mm scopes for sure. 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/29/2010 at 13:46
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I have actually found the Nikon to be surprisingly bright at 30x.  Of course it has a 1.6 mm exit pupil at 30x versus the 1.08mm exit pupil of the Pentax at 60x.

I have a lay man's understanding of the physics and know that the larger aperture should equate to better resolution.  However, I have used both of these scopes (including extensive use of the Pentax), and believe firmly both would meet the OP's requirements, and the Nikon would be more portable.  The Nikon has better than "decent optics," is extremely "portable," and should resolve 6mm holes out past 200 yards under good atmospheric conditions.

The Nikon is also easily backpackable.  If the OP will be using this scope primarily at the range, I would recommend giving up some portability and looking into a 80mm ED scope like the Celestron Regal ED or Vortex Skyline ED.

The Pentax is no slouch, and also meets the OP's requirements.  The balance between portability and performance is the primary issue in selecting a spotting scope.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/29/2010 at 15:06
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First, thanks to all for your input.  I truely value it.  I understood when I made the post that there was a bit of "apples to oranges" involved.  
 
I may be confused, but I thought these scopes were somewhat similar in size and weight.  The figures I have seen for the Pentax are 10.6" and 37 oz while for the Nikon they are 8.2" and 16.1 oz.  I'm assuming these figures are for the body (angled) alone, so one must add about 3-4" and 16oz for the eye piece.  That makes the Nikon about a foot or so in length and about 2lbs in weight vs 13-14" and 3.3lbs for the Pentax.  Does that sound about right? 
 
Also, I long ago forgot what optical physics formulae I once knew, but I guesstimated that the Pentax would be able to achieve maybe 40-45x at the same pupil diameter as the Nikon at 30x.  How far off am I? 
 
John   
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/30/2010 at 18:16
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Hi John,


Exit pupil is a simple calculation:  objective diameter / magnification power = exit pupil.

The weight for the Nikon is 1.38 pounds (w/ eyepiece) vs. 2.84 pounds (w/ XF Zoom) for the Pentax.  Yes, the Pentax is more than twice the weight of the Nikon, but the Pentax is hardly a bother to tote around. 

The Pentax @ about 39x should have about the same exit pupil as the Nikon @ about 30X.

Will this scope be used primarily for the range, or also in the field?  Why is portability important to you?
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/01/2010 at 10:59
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Matt,
First, thanks very much for both the data and for helping me with this decision.  You ask an important question.  The immediate need for the scope is at the range.  However, I see other likely uses within the next couple of years that will probably make range use secondary. 
 
One example is for use on canoeing trips into the Boundary Waters in MN (I usually manage a trip every other year or so).  Most of the travel is via canoe, but the lakes are short and there are constant portages between lakes.  Everything has to go in and out on your back.  I usually take a pair of 10x42 binos and have often wished for more power when we've come across some of the wildlife.
 
For another, I'm now retired and my wife will follow me shortly.  We hope to travel a fair amount and I'd like to try a western hunt at least once in the near future (while I still can).  Travel won't always be by car so I'd like something small enough to get into a suitcase without taking up much underwear space, but potent enough to help my old eyes.  Plus, every time you upsize the scope you have to plan on a sturdier (heavier) tripod too. 
 
I've also reached the life stage where I have to start simplifying things.  Like you, I've usually made a purchase like this for a specific purpose (thus I have multiple binoculars, multiple rifles, etc.).  I realize that the optimal solution is a 50mm and a 80/85mm scope, but I really need to compromise as I'm running out of room for toys.  I have to be honest... I keep looking at that Vortex Razor HD with very longing eyes, but I just can't justify it given my needs...
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/01/2010 at 12:57
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John,

Whatever you do, don't look through a Razor 85HD, if you want to end your "longing."Wink

I think my recommendation on the scopes you originally posted about is simple:

If you primarily want (or will want) it for the range, get the Pentax.

If you primarily will want the portability, get the Nikon.  It is so small, it might take you a while to find it in your suitcase among all the extra underwear you have in there.

I think it says a lot that more and more people that have a Nikon ED50 tell me they leave their "big" scope at home and just take the Nikon, it is so convenient.  A birder friend has a Swarovski 80HD that he says "gathers dust" now that he has his Nikon.  A hunting friend bought a ED50 to compliment his ED82.  He subsequently sold the ED82.  These are people that really USE their stuff.

However, you may want to think about how much you really want to compromise.  It may take some time, but you could just save for your "optimal solution."  During this process you could spring for the scope you most need now, and then save for the complimentary scope you want later.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/01/2010 at 14:03
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Not trying to be argumentative Bitterroot, however, if you bring along a Nikon 50 ed, alongside any premium 85m class spotter, you'lll be done at least 30 minutes earlier than i will.  There is a huge performance gap between any 50mm class spotter and a spotter such as your Razor or my Kowa 884.  Let's not pretend any different.  
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/01/2010 at 18:35
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Uh ... maybe I wasn't clear.  My bad.

There is, in fact, a performance gap between the best 50mm scopes and the best 80/85/88mm scopes.  I don't believe I ever said there wasn't.  There is also a performance gap between the 50mm class and 60/65mm class.

The point to my relating the stories of my acquaintances is to show that, to many people, the benefits of the Nikon's size (and its EXCEPTIONAL performance when accounting for that size) outweigh the performance advantage of the much larger and heavier scopes ... for their purposes.

My purposes, especially digiscoping,  REQUIRE a large objective, and I will not be getting rid of my Razor HD any time soon.  If I have not made it clear on this forum, The Vortex Razor HD85 kicks apples and takes names!

(Aside to Vortex, PLEASE make a competitor to the Nikon ED50!)

Sincerely,

The great pretender.Cool
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/02/2010 at 14:53
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Matt,
Two last questions if I may. First would there be any reason NOT to purchase the ED50 with a MC II zoom eyepiece (13x40) rather than the standard MC I?  That would possibly give me a bit more power at the range if I require it (1.25 exit pupil at 40x if I calculate correctly).  Looking at Nikon's chart it doesn't appear that anything changes in the 13-30x range with this eyepiece vs the MC I and it seems to offer a tiny bit more eye relief.
 
Secondly, I'm leaning toward the straight model in this small of a format rather than the angled.  I realize this choice is mostly personal preference, but do you have a preference for one style over the other in this scope?
 
Thanks much.
 
John  
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/02/2010 at 15:40
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I have only used the 13-30 eyepiece, and I know that most recommend it for the ED50.  The 13-40 offers a twist-up eyecup, which would be nice for glasses.  I think it is 6 one way and 1/2 dozen the other.

When I get an ED50, I am planning on the 27x fixed to compliment my 10x binos.

I prefer angled with big scopes and straight with little-uns.


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