Nikon ED 50

Posted October 15, 2010 by Mike Eastman in General

Hey folks, I’m back after several months of not checking in – not good for the ol’ Blog, but I had problems with my new metal knee and the recovery wasn’t going as planned. I also didn’t have too much to talk about – it’s hard for me anyway. But now that my knee is doing better, I figured I’d get back to writing. In fact I was doing a little fly-fishing two weeks ago and stuck a 25” male brown trout, my best this year.

I went down to Colorado last week with Guy and harvested a heavy B&C-class antelope. It was a great hunt and we saw several large bucks. In fact, Guy took one even bigger than me, with 7” diggers. I scouted several days before the season, found the buck I wanted, and just hunted him. It took several days to get the job done, but it worked out. In my book, Hunting Trophy Antelope, I talk about this strategy.

Back in the Stone Age, when I was young and backpacking for mule deer in the high country, I’d always carry a spotting scope. This was in the ‘60s and very few hunters had one. I was using my dad’s, which he used in Alaska while guiding sheep hunters. Then in the ‘70s, I found a lightweight scope made by Leupold. It was small with a fixed 20-power eyepiece and was the perfect backcountry tool for glassing faraway basins. A lightweight scope small in length and diameter, it fit the backcountry bill. I could pack it in a side pocket of my frame pack. Well, Leupold, because of their inability to know western hunting, dropped it from their line for a two-tiered scope. That scope weighed more and wouldn’t fit in the side pocket of my pack.

Now fast-forward to today and Nikon has this new scope, the ED 50, which weighs only 19.8 ounces and can fit in my daypack or multi-day backpack side pockets. This compact scope is variable, which is a plus. I carry it in my daypack when I’m hunting antelope or mule deer. As you know, half inches on a goat can make the difference and I want to be able to take that last look before I squeeze the hammer.

Nikon has two others in their lineup – a 55mm and the monster 85mm – which can be a real plus in lowlight. These scopes are packed with plenty of glass. They’re heavy (the 85mm is 5.4 pounds), so you’re probably not going to want to take it on a backpack hunt. They can, however, bring in a ladybug at 500 yards at near dark thirty. In that case, I will pack the larger one in the rig for spotting from the truck. If I had to pick one scope to get, I would go for the ED 50 because of weight and the different hunting uses. So if you looking for a practical, lightweight, and rugged glassing tool for hunting, it’s a good match.

About the Author

Mike Eastman
Mike Eastman


    Bryan Pruett

    Hope your knee gets better, its hell getting old huh?

    Bryan Pruett

    I like the sawarski spotting scopes better

    Jim Forshey

    Thanks for the info. Couldn’t have come at a better time as I am looking for an improvemtnt over my old spotting scope. Keep up the great work in the magazines and TV shows. JMF

    Mike Graffigna

    Mike good luck with the knee, I’m dealing with the same thing but haven’t had surgery yet. Nice buck, I’m going to montrose colorado for the third season for a mule deer and maybe a cow elk.


    Good to know. I was just looking at that scope a few weeks ago. I always dreamed of owning a SWAROVSKI spotting scope. I am a professional photographer and unfortunately have a desire for the best in optics. I have looked through Nikon and SWAROVSKI in the past and saw a big difference to me. When I compared the two a few weeks ago however, the difference didsn’t seem to be much at all. I may have to change dreams. As long as my vision is good (and my wallet will be much better off) a new dream is not a bad thing.

    Bruce King

    Thanks Mike for the info i found it helpful. My nikon spotting scope was stolen from my truck. 🙁 So i have been looking to purchase another one. I will look at the ED 50. Thanks again for the report, Bruce

    Gary Deveraux

    Great articles!!! Mike wish you well with your “new” metal knee. I have have two metal knees since 2004 and get along with them just great. Staying in shape, walking and riding a bike seems to be the best medicine for them. I hunt and fish all the time and they have not slowed me down to much. I have enjoyed your magazine for many years. Thank you for the great stories!!!!


    great review, and im glad to hear that you are back on the mend.Of course just one week before your review on the new nikon I bought a 60 ounce bushnell elite, lol i will be thinking about those extra 44 ounces with every step. On the bright side i jut returned from a diy moose hunt 200 miles north of bethel alaska, my reward an hour an a half rip roaring branch breaking, tree uprootin show put on by the 55 inch bull i called in…he came into 40 yards before my 06 tipped him over. Had it an film but my brother dropped the camera in the of course i cant figure out how to shrink the photo down to email to you. I would like to put in for idaho moose next year, have read the april may issue, and have picked some areas, myquestion is what is the best way to find out public land availabilty in the areas i picked, what map to buy or whatever, dnt want to put in for an area i can hunt….well keep working that new knee guy and have a great holidays…michael

    Gary Sealey

    Hi Mike,
    Nice antelope! where-a-bouts in Colorado did you & Guy hunt? I took a nice one in unit 72 in Wyoming last year.
    Where did you catch that beautiful brown trout?
    I bought that Nikon ED-50 last year after seeing
    it in your book Hunting Trophy Antelope.
    I’am looking forward to hear from you!

    Gregory Jackson

    Mike (and crew),

    Where can I find the Nikon ED 50? I have looked on the Nikon Web site, Sportman’s Warehouse, Cabellas, etc. and to now avail?

    Any thoughts?

    Thank you.

    Gregory Jackson

    Jeff Minarik

    It has been a year since this was published. Do you still think that this is the scope to have for size and weight for the money??
    In the market, so please advise if you have the opportunity. GREAT WORK !!
    Jeff Minarik


    Do you know where I can get the neoprene case that can be kept on it and still be used with a tripod? Your magazines and shows are awesome!Thanks.

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