Nikon ProStaff WP 82mm Spotting Scope
The ProStaff WP is Nikon's more affordable scope line, available in 65-mm and 82-mm
objective lens sizes. We received the straight mount, 82-mm version equipped with
the 20-60x zoom eyepiece for review. To put the ProStaff WP in its proper species,
this is a non-ED glass scope, fully O-ring sealed and nitrogen- purged to be waterproof,
dust-proof and internally fog-proof. This particular combination (straight mount,
zoom eyepiece) has an MSRP of $850.95, but is discounted at Optics4Birding to $599.95.
We did a quick survey of the market, and it's hard to find a quality ~80-mm scope
in this class for much less. So the price may be right, but how is the performance?
The relative brightness of this scope was fairly impressive. We field-tested it
along with several other large objective scopes and actually found it to be slightly
brighter than an ED-glass model in the same price category from another manufacturer.
(As you know, at Optics4Birding we never name the opposition, so call it the scope-that-must-not-be-named,
"Voldemort" for short!) This was particularly obvious under fading light conditions
and in comparing the upper magnifications. For a non-ED glass model to be brighter
than an ED-glass model says a lot for the light-gathering power of the former. The
image sharpness was excellent in the center of the visual field. We also noted too
that it had a very forgiving focus and good depth of field, even when zoomed all
the way up, which is something it did better than Voldemort.
In other optical properties, the ProStaff has a 99-foot field of view at 1000 yards
at 20x magnification, which is just a bit on the small side. This scope has a minimum
close focus of 20 feet, which is just a bit longer than average, though as we've
noted before, one doesn't really buy a scope to look at one's toes. There were some
edge effects on the ProStaff. We noted some field curvature at all magnifications.
Basically, you can’t get both the center and the edge in the same focal plane simultaneously
– it’s either one or the other out of focus. Lastly, it is also seen in the moderate
pin-cushioning we observed. While we detected no significant color bias to the image,
we did note some chromatic aberrations. Under some viewing conditions, there was
an amber fringe around the entire field, more visible in bright light, but still
present in lower light. Happily, the center of the visual field was completely free
of aberration and that’s where you are mostly looking through a scope.
that we really did like on the ProStaff scope was the sighting device, which really
works very well. This device sits on a plastic trestle that snaps into a mounting
bracket (which has its own cover that slides on and off) on the left side of the
scope, kind of at 9:00 if the top is noon. The sighting device has its own lens
and mini rubber eyecup, with a notched insert to help center the image. This device
is pretty neat! There is also a second sighting device, consisting of a raised ridge
on the lens hood that lines up with a little notched ridge in the rubber armoring
on the prism housing, rather like a gun sight. This is harder to use as you have
to stand back a fair distance to be able to see both, but it works.
The case is constructed of multiple pieces of padded, water-resistant, cordura nylon.
Separate pieces snap over the objective and ocular lenses. The focus knob has its
own little opening, with a flap that snaps in three corners, to allow a finger to
slip in underneath. As the focus knob is located to the right of center, this forces
users to focus right-handed. A zippered opening fits the trestle sighting device,
but once in place, the case completely covers the gun sight device. The case is
a bit too long, which makes it awkward to deploy the lens hood when the scope is
in its case. There is also a notch on the ocular end of the case, which exposes
two deep grooves in the prism housing. There is also a way to attach a carrying
strap directly to the scope though we found this a bit difficult to deploy. One
thing we did like about the case is the fact that the main portion of it is actually
open: it is held in place by two elastic loops that fit over hard plastic buttons.
Thus, once the end portions are removed, then entire case comes off very easily.
In addition to the case, Nikon also provided soft rubber lens caps that really work
quite well. They fit snugly yet easily in place and don't dislodge accidentally.
The objective lens cap actually opens, and flops down - it’s a tethered lens cap.
This is kind of cool, although it would be a little bit easier to operate if the
rubber portion that fits around the lens hood were a little wider. We sometimes
dislodged the lens cap trying to open it. Operation of this cap is hindered when
the case is on. It turns out that deploying the lens hood when the scope is in the
case is much easier when the objective lens cap is on. When the objective lens cap
is opened, it has a notch that snaps over the plastic flange on the bottom of the
hood but again, this only works if the scope is not in the case. It’s obvious that
someone put a lot of effort into trying to come up with innovative ways to make
the case more useful under different circumstances. We found a lot of those ways
somewhat difficult to use, but they still get credit for trying to do things in
unique ways, and overall, it’s still a laudable effort.
The ProStaff scopes can be used for digiscoping, though not with the lens it comes
with. You must purchase a specific digiscoping eyepiece for the scope, either a
25x fixed focal length eyepiece or a special 20-60x, zoom digiscoping eyepiece.
Then you must purchase a digiscoping bracket to attach the camera to the eyepiece.
Importantly, you can only use a Nikon CoolPix digital camera to digiscope with these
scopes. We feel that Nikon could make this a little easier for customers by developing
digiscoping accessories that permit the use of third party cameras, but given the
history of the company, this is perhaps an understandable bias.
Nikon stands behind their optics with the same excellent 25-year limited warranty.
Nikon has a "no-fault" replacement or repair policy. If your Nikon optic requires
service or repair not covered by the 25-year warranty, Nikon will fix or replace
the optic for just $10 plus shipping and handling, even if the damage was your fault.
Additionally, ProStaff scopes are made with the lead- and arsenic-free Eco-Glass,
which we heartily applaud.
In the end, what makes this scope stand out is the value. The ProStaff scope provides
a lot of performance for just $600. Fans of Nikon products will certainly find this
an appealing addition to the Nikon family, and at this kind of price and value,
the ProStaff WP scopes may generate many more Nikon fans.
Nikon ProStaff Waterproof Spotting
Scopes - current price and availability