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Both the F75 and T2 have suped up 'black' versions which have processes called 'boost' and 'cache' that their basic versions don't have. Sometimes they used 'limited' and 'special edition' to distinguish these, but I don't think those always go hand-in-hand. Nominally the basic F75 has a gold colored upper shaft while the T2's equivalent is green. But has that always been the case? I.e. if a unit has a black shaft (and of course if someone hasn't simply swapped it in for a colored one), does that unit have boost+cache processes?
The reason I ask is for potentially buying a used one (e.g. on Ebay). A lot of times it's easier to just figure out from a picture what a seller has than trying to get an answer out of him/her. Often the seller doesn't know what s/he has. I've seen on more than one occasion where a question tipped off a seller that s/he had a more valuable unit than thought, with the result being the item being pulled and later mysteriously relisted with a higher asking (or starting in the case of auction) price.
I realize I could e-mail First Texas, but on the one hand they don't make a dime if I buy used, and the one time I wrote them with a question (about if a detector could be damaged getting close to a strong magnetic field) it took several days for a person (turned out to be a sales person) to answer, and even that was terse and, IMO, not sufficiently detailed. Besides, often readers & posters here know as much or more on technical issues than 95% of the people who work at these companies!
By Steve Herschbach
I have now put enough time on all these units to at least reach a basic conclusion in my own mind. And that is that they are far more alike than different. Trying to get clear differences to appear in actual field use in highly mineralized ground is a true exercise in hair splitting.
A couple detectors that can be added to the title list are the Teknetics T2 and G2 models. First Texas owns Fisher and Teknetics. The T2 is the predecessor of the F75. They are not exactly the same detector (they do not share coils) but almost identical in performance. The G2 really is just a Gold Bug 2 in different clothes.
13 kHz - Fisher F75 and Teknetics T2
15 kHz - Nokta FORS Gold and FORS CoRe
19 kHz - Fisher Gold Bug Pro, F19, Teknetics G2
In actual use the frequency just about says it all. The lower frequency F75 and T2 are just a tad less sensitive to very small low conductors, like a small gold nugget. The 15 kHz FORS is almost an exact match to the Gold Bug Pro/F19/G2 for sensitivity to small low conductors and so despite the bigger frequency gap I would say the FORS models come closer to the higher 19 kHz models than the lower 13 kHz models.
I have to say it all just boils very much down to the feature list, and again, they line up pretty well. The less expensive Gold Bug Pro and G2 have a more limited feature set than the F19. The F75 has the most options for tones and settings at the highest price on the list. The Nokta units at their new lower price are a real good value.
For me when it came down to actual performance the Gold Bug Pro/ F19 were so close to the FORS models I let the two Fishers go and kept the Nokta. Basically just to get the automatic ground tracking which can be very useful in variable ground but also the three tone option, which is nice for coin detecting. I also like the way the Nokta units balance better with larger coils. All I can tell anyone at this point if you want a detector to use for nugget detecting and also for other purposes, the Gold Bug Pro/F19/G2/FORS Gold and FORS CoRe are so close in actual field use that it will all come down to the operator and ground variations. I think the machines are a toss up from a performance perspective and so just line up the feature list and go with whatever floats your boat. I think for sheer value at this time the Nokta FORS models are tough to beat.
The T2 and F75 give up a slight edge on small low conductors. What this means is that all the previously mentioned models are better for smaller gold nuggets. The trade off is the T2 and F75 are better all around detectors for general purpose use, gaining in coin and other high end conductors some slight advantage simply because the machines are not quite so sparky on tiny non-ferrous trash. In moderate to low mineral ground conditions the T2 and F75 have a clear depth advantage on high conductive coins but in very mineralized ground the advantage is nearly non-existent.
In my case at least I feel like there is a 90% overlap between my latest version F75 and the two FORS models. If I head out the door right this second to go hunt coins I am more likely to grab the F75 as I like the extra tone schemes. There is the 3H mode that gives a high tone beep on all normal coins but also takes US nickels, which usually reads as a mid tone, and puts it up in the high tone range also. This is a great cherry picking mode. The standard 4 tone mode is great for cherry picking jewelry digging the low mid tones. I like the big screen and the backlight, etc. So I am also keeping my F75.
But if I was heading out the door chasing gold nuggets right now in a really trashy location and not wanting to use a PI, I would grab the FORS instead. It pulls low conductors like small gold nuggets out of the ground better than the F75. Not by a huge margin, but enough to matter to me.
And that is where it will stay for now. I am waiting to get my hands on the new Makro Racer models this summer, and using the F75 and FORS plus Racer units all summer. Then proceeding to phase two of the weeding process. I am trying very hard to get my detector collection down to just a couple PI detectors and a couple VLF detectors. It is down to that stage of the game however where it just needs a lot more in field use to let things sort out for me.
What I can leave you with for sure right now however is that these are all very good detectors that are ridiculously close in performance. You really just can't go wrong with any of them. Mid frequency VLF technology has matured to the point where it is almost impossible for anyone to really stand out from a performance standpoint. Nearly all the performance debates I see on the internet about these models boils down to differences in ground mineralization more than the machines themselves. Just find one that feels right on your arm and sounds good to your ear and get to work!
This is very much a work in progress and so as I get a chance to use the large coils or hunt under different ground conditions if I come up with anything if interest I will add it here. There is a related thread on VDI numbers and tones at http://www.detectorprospector.com/forum/topic/526-fors-gold-f75-v3i-tone-and-vdi-tidbits/
For detailed information on each model plus the latest prices visit Steve's Guide to Gold Nugget Detectors
By Steve Herschbach
Snow on the ground so time for a little bench testing. Fisher F75 SE version 7.0A (2013) with 5" round DD coil, Nokta FORS Gold with 5" semi-round DD coil, and White's V3i with 4" x 6" DD coil.
The table shows VDI numbers on some standard items. The little allen wrench is like a small nail - a ferrous item. The BIC ballpoint is my standard simulated small nugget. The ring is my 14K plain gold band, around 7 grams.
The VDI range on the Nokta runs from 1 - 99 with 40 and under generally ferrous. The F75 runs from 1 - 99 with 15 and under generally ferrous. The White's V3i runs from -95 to +95 with negative numbers generally ferrous. I say generally because in all three cases gold can run well into the ferrous range. Like by 10 - 20 VDI numbers into it!
A few big lessons. The Nokta FORS VDI 1 - 99 range is skewed with high conductors bunched on the high end of the scale with most of the scale devoted to ferrous and low conductive items. This is ideal for relic hunters and prospectors. Silver coin hunters however usually prefer the scale to devote more room on the high end to possibly get a better handle on what is silver and what is not.
The ferrous range of the Nokta actually runs all the way down into the ferrous ground range itself which is why there are 40 numbers devoted to it. The ID Mask setting defaults to 10 and if set lower allows ground signals to sound off. Since non-ferrous starts at 40 and I arbitrarily end low conductors at zinc penny on the upper end you have 40 - 82 or a spread of 42 points for low conductors. This really is no more than an average spread due to the large ferrous range.
What I was happy to see is the simulated nugget (BIC ballpoint) nailing at 44 as a non-ferrous target.
Contrast this to the F75 1 - 99 range. There are only 15 points in the ferrous range with the extreme low end represented on the Nokta scale truncated roughly in the middle. However, this leaves 16 up to 62 at zinc penny for a low conductor spread of 46 or slightly better than that on the Nokta FORS and leaves room for a little better definition for high conductive coins also. There is a ten point VDI spread between a dime and a quarter versus only 3 points on the Nokta.
What disturbs me on this particular F75 is that having tried multiple coils I am getting the same result on the simulated nugget test. It wants to nail at a solid 1 which is well under the ferrous 8 reading for the allen wrench. This is not shocking but it is not good either. I can get the ballpoint to break in at 16 occasionally but it should be there hard and solid, not rarely. I had Keith Southern test his updated F75 and it seems to do better. I need to test this again when and if I ever get an upgraded F75 but it does confirm my suspicion that at least some Fisher units are not properly aligned at this critical break point.
The White's V3i slays both of them with White's standard spread of 190 VDI points with half that devoted to ground and ferrous. A full 95 points is devoted to non-ferrous, giving a nice spread across the whole range. The V3i is a three frequency unit and the 22.5 kHz frequency employed allows it to easily nail the ballpoint test with a solid VDI of 3. White's even allows the 22.5 kHz frequency to use a native VDI range that skews and expands the low conductive range that delivers a VDI of 10 on the ballpoint, a very nice cushion between it and a ferrous reading. you have from 1 all the way up to 55 for zinc penny slightly beating both the Nokta and F75 for VDI resolution on low conductors and still room left for very good definition in the high conductor range.
These detectors can employ a dual tone mode that delivers a low tone on ferrous targets and a higher tone on non-ferrous targets. The break point on the Nokta and F75 is preset at the factory VDI breaks of 13 and 40. The V3i you can customize not only the VDI break point but the tones.
The F75 dual tone mode is pretty straight forward, with the volume being weaker or louder depending on the strength of the signal. In other words, a modulated audio. The Nokta Boost or DI2 mode uses a VCO (voltage controlled oscillator) audio where both volume and tone increases with signal strength. Anyone that uses a Fisher Gold Bug is familiar with VCO audio. It is rather unique and some people like it, others do not. Again, the V3i allows the tones to be customized any way you want, with either VCO, modulated, or even unmodulated options.
Things get more interesting in Nokta DI3 or F75 three tone options. The low tone break for ferrous is the same but a third higher tone is added. On the Nokta zinc pennies and higher or from 80 on up delivers the third high tone. On the F75 it breaks above zinc penny so those pennies fall into the middle tone low conductive range.
Zinc penny is also where Indian head pennies and some other old coins can fall. If you hunt strictly by ear and dig high tones only you are going to pretty much dig all coins but nickels. With the F75 it is geared more towards silver hunters so zinc pennies, Indian heads and possibly other coins would get passed up as low conductors. But wait! The F75 also has a four tone option that puts that zinc range into into own fourth tone - problem fixed. You can chose a tone option that focuses more on silver only or one that breaks out that penny range. Jewelry Hunter would probably prefer the 3 tone mode and dig just mid-tones. The bottom line is the Fisher has more tone options for the coin hunters than what the FORS offers.
Of note is that the Nokta DI2 dual tone mode uses VCO audio, but the DI3 three tone option defaults to a more normal modulated audio. DI3 favors a faster sweep speed than DI2 which benefits from going slower. A generality would be that DI2 is more powerful but DI3 better behaved.
The V3i again is unchallenged. You can actually go so far as to independently set a separate tone for every single VDI number, and the tones can be any from 191 tone options. You can make low conductors high tone if you want. Absolutely nothing on the market compares to the V3i for audio and visual customization options.
Well, this all seems pretty easy, right? Just get the V3i and get on with business. Sadly, these are air tests. You might ask, for instance, which detector did best for "depth" in these air tests, as if there actually is such a thing. I only pay passing attention to that but the F75 seemed to be doing very well in that regard. Here is the problem with this entire lesson and all my typing. When you put things in the ground all these nice air tests rapidly decay and fall apart.
In very mild ground or on very shallow targets detectors can be amazing. In my ground unfortunately VDI numbers start breaking down at around 3-4 inches! What you discover is that if you get too focused on cherry picking VDI numbers good finds deplete rapidly. Almost all accessible public areas have been detected for decades. So the easy accurate VDI results have already all been cherry picked away. The best finds these days often come from digging targets that were passed up precisely because they did not give a perfect response.
In my opinion, these days we have to cast a wider net and be willing to dig more trash to make those exceptional finds. What that means is huge numbers of VDI numbers and tones although flashy and fun often is no better than just using a simple two or three tone method and going for it. Styles differ vastly and because really this is about enjoying ourselves there is no right or wrong way to do things - as long as you are enjoying yourself. For me, something simple like the Nokta DI3 tone option for digging all high conductor possible coin signals actually works pretty well in actual practice. If I want coins except nickels just dig high tones and have fun. The F75 allows a special mode that kicks nickels into the high tone range so you can do the same thing and get the nickels also if you choose. The V3i by now you should know the story - set it up any way you want.
Still, tests like these are very valuable to me in setting the baseline for performance in the field from which I can work to discover how much things vary and hopefully why. The theoretical goal if finding a machine that adheres as closely to bench testing results as possible in the field. Sometimes you get textbook results, but then at another location everything goes haywire. But unless you know where you are starting from you will have no idea what is going on.
I will sum this up for now by saying that the Nokta FORS is a machine that appeals to simplicity and leans towards relic hinting and prospecting. That is not to say you can't do well coin detecting with it, it is just that it is not set up with coin detecting specifically in mind. The F75 nicely straddles the middle for all detecting purposes.
The V3i is in theory the perfect detector but the reality is huge numbers of people have discovered more options does not always mean better detecting, and it is not unusual at all for people to abandon the V3i in favor of simpler machines. Unless you spend a vast amount of time with a V3i it is hard to feel like you have mastered the machine. The V3i appeals to my inner detector nerd but it is usually the case where in the field I prefer simpler machines myself. Still, I made the V3i part of all this just to see how it really does do if given a fair chance and at least when bench testing it is impressive to see all the bells and whistles in action.
This is all just stuff I am finding out for myself. I have no real reason in reporting it to you other than just to be sharing some info that is taking at least a little effort to collect. It helps me digest it better trying to put it clearly in a form you can better understand. Hopefully it will help someone in their own choice in a detector. As you may be figuring out if you have not already, there are no best VLF detectors, just lots of really different VLF detectors. They all actually do a good job finding stuff but it is in how they go about it that differs so much. It is mostly a case of finding out what style and type of detector works best for you.
By Steve Herschbach
Fisher just dropped the price of the F75 Ltd (also known as the Special Edition) from $1099 to $799. This is the most deluxe version of the F75 that comes with two coils, the 11" x 7" DD and 5" round DD. The F75 was an offshoot of the Teknetics T2, which although intended for coin and relic detecting, became a bestseller in Africa for gold nugget detecting. The F75 is every bit as capable and I found quite a bit of gold with mine. The Gold Bug Pro is the better choice for most people, at a lower price and with a bit more hots for gold, but for those wanting a top of the line do-it-all machine the F75 Ltd has been Fishers answer for many years now. I always appreciated the T2/F75 ergonomics, which as far as I am concerned still set the standard for what feels best on my arm. The F75 weighs more than a DEUS, but shows just how important proper balance is.
The question of course is - why a $300 price drop? Fisher did drop the price of the base F75 some time ago to $599 and left the F75 way up there, so it may have been too much differential, hurting Ltd sales. There are the persistent rumors of new Fiser models in the pipeline, and this may be a clear the decks thing.
I tend to think the previous price drops in the base T2 and F75 were a response to aggressively priced models from Nokta and Makro. That this price decrease comes immediately on the heels of the introduction of the Nokta Impact at $849 does not seem to be a coincidence to me. That may be the case, but inside I am hoping it is more a sign of new models to come.
Regardless, killer price for a great detector package! I have been thinking for a couple years that with competition heating up we would start seeing prices finally come down. When I look at the T2 in particular I am amazed at how much detector we can get now for only $499. Probably the best bargain in detectors right now.
Now if Fisher would just drop the price of the Fisher F19. I like that machine but at $699 the price is nuts now compared to the other models.
Been using both the White TDI Sl and ML Xterra 705 with 5x9 coils here in the California Mother Lode and along the Klamath and Trinity Rivers. Between the two detectors been able to handle the ground conditions. Lots of magnetite. Use the TDI Sl over the serpentine. Heavy thick brush, steep terrain, occasional old cabin and tent sites from 1850 through the Depression Era into 1950's. The smaller coils are a must, just can't sweep the larger coils on the steep brushy slopes. Been looking at the Fisher F19 and F75 which both seem comparable to the Xterra 705. Like the option of searching for coins & relics while detecting for gold when an old camp site is discovered.
After reading several of Steve's articles on the Fisher Series and Xterra, here is what I think I have learned:
The F19 at 19 kHz and Xterra 705 are very close except the Xterra multi-frequency coils selection ( 3, 7.5 & 18.75 kHz); the only waterproof Xterra coils is the 6"; all Fisher coils are waterproof. Not sure if the F19 displays discrim target id in true all metal mode; the Xterra 705 does not. The F19 is a little pricey compared to the Xterra 705.
The F75 at 15 KHz 13 kHz in true all metal mode will indicate discrim target id. The Xterra 705 does not display target Id in the prospecting true all metal mode; requires you to toggle over to Coin/Relic Discrim mode for target id resulting in a loss of detecting depth. The F75 Discrim notching is limited compared to the Xterra 705. The F75 apparently has a history of EMI problems; the Xterra does not. The Xterra with a 18.75 KHZ coil runs a little hot for coins and relics but works. The F75 apparent ability to separate out good targets in trashy areas may be a big plus over the Xterra. The F75 stock coil ( 8x11?) may work in the brush. The current base F75 and Xterra 705 price are the same; the F75 Limited Editions $ 250 plus higher.
Often switch from Prospecting mode and use the Discrim notching feature on the Xterra 705 then toggle between the notch and all metal to weed out the iron using target id when in trashy old mining camps. ( Use the Garrett AT Pro in pro mode when strictly coin/relic hunting; great target separation; iron audio; but no true all metal mode for prospecting.) Do not know enough about the F75 Limited Edition Boost/ Cache features to decide if they will be useful. Use the TDI Sl detecting for nuggets under a gram so the Fisher F75 15kHz is not an issue. Really like the F75 feature of displaying discrim target id in the true all metal mode; current pricing on the base F75 with two coils at $599 is hard to pass up.
Have drop the F19 from the list. Any opinions and experience with the Fisher F75 compared to the Minelab Xterra 705 are welcomed. Keep in mind on the west coast during the gold rush US coins were in short supply; some military buckles from the war with Mexico were exchanged for trade goods. Let me know what you think and keep Santa out of this; on the wrong list.
Good prospecting & detecting
To all you devil dogs out there, have a Merry Christmas where ever you may be. Semper Fi