Nikon ED 50/Theron Mag82 spotting scope combination

I felt the need to post something about my recent experiences with the Theron Mag82 spotting scope and my most recent acquisition, a Nikon ED50 Angled.

I purchased the Nikon last week with the fixed power Nikon 13/20/25 eyepiece. When it arrived I was also surprised to find that they had sent along a shoulder-mount free of charge. I have never used a shoulder mount with any scope so this was a new experience for me.

Last summer I had the opportunity to pick up one of the ED 50s but it was the straight model. My intention at the time was to determine if it was compatible with the Theron Mag82s eyepieces. The Theron is basically a Bosma-made Nikon ED82A so I was hoping there was some compatibility. What I found in that little experiment was that the Theron zoom did work with the ED 50 straight but the wide angle 16x (30x on the Theron) eyepiece would not. There is a small metal ring just above the threads that would not allow it to mount to that unit.

I did decide to give the scope another try though especially after I saw it was the angled model which was being sold. It arrived last week.

After using it for the last week I have to say that I am in love with this little spotter. It is extremely small, very lightweight and offers excellent image quality with any of the three eyepieces I have used with it. Yes, you read that correctly. I did again attempt to use the Theron eyepieces with the ED50 and I am able to use both the Theron widefield, fixed power eyepiece (assuming 16x since it is 30x in the Mag82) and the Theron zoom. I tend to prefer the 16x wide angle for glassing large areas as the wide field of view cannot be beat plus the size of the sweet spot of image in focus and free of distortion is huge.

The zoom is excellent optically as well. Very good edge performance/large sweet spot though it does have a fairly narrow field of view across the entire magnification range.

Even the included 13x/20/25x eyepiece that came with the scope offers very good apparent sharpness and brightness levels. As someone else pointed out to me in a recent discussion of this scope the store-supplied 20/25x (60 and 78 mm models respectively) eyepiece is not recommended with the ED50. I am guessing because of its edge performance. Unlike all of the other eyepieces I have used with this scope the edges aren’t quite as sharp. There is noticeable distortion. I am not distracted by it though as the sweet spot is still relatively large and the field of view is advertised as 60 degrees.

I do want to clarify one issue with the eyepiece interchangeability. The Theron zoom seats completely in the ED50 but the wide angle 16x does not. It does engage the first few threads of the ED50 body but will not fully seat into the scope itself. I have not found any issues because of this though. It does not affect image quality and I can focus from about 8 feet all the way through infinity without any issues.

Truth be told I am having a hard time putting the little scope down. It is so small and convenient, especially with the shoulder mount that I find I am taking it with me as much as I am any given pair of binoculars. I just love picking it up and looking through the 16x eyepiece at….well…anything. Lovely bright, sharp image that is almost sharp to the edges. Very addicting.

Of course I will be keeping an eye out for any deals on any of Nikon’s other eyepieces as I love flexibility. And, as always, I am interested in astro eyepiece compatability with the Nikon. I am not aware of any adapters at this point but will continue to experiment with several eyepieces I currently have and others to see if any of them will work. Then it is just a step or two with a machine shop to get an adapter made.

So, with both the Theron Mag82 and the little Nikon ED50 I feel as if I have all bases covered. With the prices that both of these are selling for these days I almost feel as if anyone can have top level optical performance at a price less than half of what some of the Alpha scopes cost…and that is for both scopes!

What a great time to be in love with optics.

Pictures to follow this evening.

Edit: One little addendum. The Nikon 20/25x eyepiece fits perfectly into the Theron Mag82 and provides better edge performance than when mated to the ED50. I look forward to trying other Nikon eyepieces with the Theron scope.

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