The Nikon 20-60x82mm ProStaff 5 Fieldscope Spotting Scope with Eyepiece, with Tripod + Monopod + Kit is an entry-level addition to Nikon’s ProStaff series of spotting scopes. At a affordable price, the scope is clearly meant for amateur or occasional birders and shooters with some changes in design and optics when compared with the RA III series of fieldscopes that came before the ProStaff.
Features of Nikon 20-60x82mm ProStaff 5 Fieldscope Spotting Scope
The Nikon 20-60x82mm Prostaff 5 Fieldscope has the elongated S-shaped body of classic Porro prism scopes, but it is designed to be ergonomic and lightweight. It weighs 950 grams which, when you compare with some 85mm scopes in the market (often weighing over 2 kg), it is reasonably light for its lens size.
The scope is 115mm long and 95mm wide, which makes it quite compact and easy to carry along with you. It has two screw holes to balance the scope on a tripod; whether or not you attach a DSLR camera zoom or a digiscoping system to it (it has to have an FSB-series camera bracket to fit).
It has a built-in style sliding sunshade that can keep out glare when you’re using it in very bright weather. The sunshade will also keep rain and dust off the lens. The eyepiece has a bayonet-type mount, which means that it has a locking system that gives it a quick and secure connection.
The scope is meant for the outdoors. It has been filled with nitrogen to get rid of impurities. It is waterproof to 1 meter for up to 10 minutes. It is fog-free with O-ring seals.
Overall, the fieldscope has a lightweight and stylish, compact design.
The 82mm objective lens gives you a balance between size and brightness. The larger the lens, the brighter is the image but the scope gets heavier. 82mm is good enough for low light viewing, and to support the 60x magnification without making the Prostaff 5 too heavy. It’s also good enough for some digiscoping.
The prism used is a Porro prism, which is rarer (and less expensive) than a roof prism today but dollar for dollar gives you better quality of images. In the Porro prism, the objective and eyepiece are offset instead of in a straight line, which is what gives the scope its elongated S-shape. The prism makes the scope light-efficient and offers a good contrast of images.
The scope lens and prisms are not made of Nikon’s excellent ED glass used in the brand’s premium fieldscopes, but they are fully multi-coated to give good clarity and brightness. To compare, some of the best quality fieldscopes and spotting scopes (often priced over $3000) use the superior ED (extra-low dispersion) glass or HD (high density) glass for better image quality. The Porro Prisms are barium crown glass (BAK4), which is the highest quality that is available today.
Field of view:
Using the included 20-60x82mm eyepiece, the fieldscope’s field of view at 1000 yards is 104.8 feet (or 32m) at 20x magnification. To put this into context, you will find some of the more expensive scopes have a field of view of 37 meters at 1000m. Note that field of view is essentially the width of the image you see through the scope.
With a focal length of 377 mm, the ProStaff 5 fieldscope has a close focusing distance of 6.1m, which is a bit better than the best (high premium spotting scopes have minimum focusing distances of 5m).
The scope has an eye relief of 16.5mm, which is pretty good and should be enough for people who wear glasses.
The kit comes with the following accessories – eyepiece, Nikon’s 60-inch tripod, a Kodak M720 Monopod for use on the go, a Nikon FogKlear Cleaning Cloth, PD Spudz Microfiber Cloth and the Nikon Lenspen Mini for cleaning your lens system. All these accessories make a fine kit that is a great addition to your travel scoping and digiscoping needs.
The scope has a zoom eyepiece with a magnification of 20x-60x. If you’re using it as a rifle scope, you will be able to clearly see the staples holding a target 200 yards away, and the grouping is clear at 300 yards. Birding clarity is great at 20x to 30x. When approaching max zoom, however, there may be a slight loss in clarity.
This fieldscope’s strengths include its compactness and light weight – it’s lighter than many 82mm fieldscopes out there. Nikon’s lens quality can be trusted, and the fully multi-coated lenses and prisms do provide high contrast and color fidelity for the most part. The scope is also easy to use, with no fancy fine-tuning or knobs and buttons. A few dollars off $600 for the entire kit of a tripod, Kodak M720 Monopod and cleaning kit no matter where you buy it from, it is a steal. An added bonus is the lifetime warranty if you’re in the USA.
As mentioned earlier, the image nearing the maximum magnification tends to become less clear than you would hope for. This may only matter if you’re trying to take high-quality digiscoping images as a birder. Another complaint that some users have had is that the body doesn’t seem as solid as you would want.
Straight versus Angled
You will find the 82mm Prostaff 5 scope is selling in two versions online: the straight and the angled. There is no right or wrong choice between the two. The angled scope is more comfortable to use for long periods. It is also great for spotting objects in the lower sky (birding, astronomy etc.). The eyepiece angle is 39.90, so it may not be the best for stargazing, for which the most comfortable angles are 450 to 900.
The straight scope on the other hand, is better for quickly finding objects and tracking them at a shallow depth below you. Also, note that the straight scope can be mounted to windows with many mechanisms that are available today.
Frequently Asked Question
The Final Word
Overall, this is a good scope for its price: lightweight, cost-effective, and offering high magnification with trustworthy Nikon lens clarity. If you are an occasional or amateur birder, this is good enough. The image clarity at high magnifications may not be the best for heavy digiscoping. It is a good enough rifle scope as well if you buy the mount for it.