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Minelab GPZ 7000 metal detector

Are you tired of it yet? All the Minelab GPZ 7000 posts? The implication that what you have is no longer the best?

The following is from a post I made February 24th at http://www.detectorprospector.com/forum/topic/686-minelab-sdc-2300-vs-gpz-7000/?p=5883

The thing I am always trying to convey is no one detector is best for all people under all circumstances. Life does not work that way. If it did there would be one model of car and we all would drive it. Just because the GPZ 7000 came out all other gold detectors did not become obsolete. I think it is 80% operator and 20% detector and that is probably giving the detector too much credit.

As things stand right now the GPZ 7000 has some areas that would make a person consider other detectors:

1. The price
2. The weight
3. The lack of small coil option
4. The lack of large coil option
5. Lack of discrimination

Until we get the GPZ 10000 at 3 lbs for $1000 with full discrimination and full range of inexpensive coil options there will be plenty of room for alternatives.



I will be amazed if there are not a good number of people who have a Minelab GPX 5000 or earlier model that prefer to just stick with what they have. Anything otherwise would not be normal. The main reason this would make sense is that a. They already own them and b. They are not only comfortable with the machine but quite expert with it.

There is a great deal that can be said about becoming expert in the use of a particular detector and then just sticking with it. Switching detectors constantly can be a bad idea in that you can never really become "one with the machine". There are many, many expert detectorists out there using older model detectors that can run circles around people using the latest and greatest.

I bet Ray Mills can find more gold with a $499 Gold Bug than most people could find with a GPZ 7000. I am saying that to puff Ray up but to put a real point on what I said above about this detecting thing being far more about the operator than the detector. It is not that good detectors excel, it is that good detectorists excel. The majority of people who buy metal detectors never fully learn how to operate them and never fully commit themselves to getting out and using them regularly. Ray knows the Gold Bugs inside and out and uses them almost daily.

So you have a GPX 5000 (for example) which you know inside and out and you have a full set of coils and other accessories. You have that setup dialed to perfection. Do you need a GPZ 7000?

Of course not. Honestly, that is just silly. The GPX 5000 in my opinion at this time still represents the best value in pulse induction prospecting detectors. The model has a solid history as a performer and nothing has changed overnight. In fact right now, a person can buy a used GPX 5000 with remaining transferable factory warranty in like new condition for as little as around $3000. I know this because that is what I recently sold my like new GPX 5000 with remaining warranty for! That is a smoking good deal, great value proposition. Even brand new full warranty from a dealer a few phone calls will get you a GPX 5000 for half the cost of a GPZ 7000. The point being 10K is a whole lot of money and other viable alternatives exist for a lot less money, all the way down to that $499 Gold Bug.

The coil thing is a biggie. Right now the only coil for the GPZ 7000 is the one that comes on it. A three pound 14" x 13" coil. Even though I have decided to jump in with both feet with the GPZ 7000 I have felt compelled to have a couple other detectors available to address this lack of accessory coils. Small coils are a real necessity for me to work in very uneven ground that has crevices and depressions a larger coil can't get into. A mono coil in particular with its superb on edge sensitivity can be a real boon for working in thick brush, trees, or cactus. The edge of the coil gets the detection area right up against the base of a tree trunk or rock, something that will be difficult if not impossible with the GPZ 14 coil with its unique DOD winding configuration. My answer to this problem has been to hang on to my SDC 2300 with its hard wired 8" mono coil.

When people think big coils they tend to think depth but I am not worried about that with the GPZ 7000. What concerns me is ground coverage. When I stand on one side of a huge area in northern Nevada and want to scan it all I need a large coil. It is all about getting over the target - extra depth if any is secondary. Since I did decide to sell my GPX 5000 with large coils I have to say I only did so by having an insurance policy in the form of my Garrett ATX. The ATX is indispensable for me as a water hunting unit, the best I have ever used for my own particular needs. It also is a capable prospecting machine and so I was only able to justify selling my 5000 by getting a 20" x 15" mono coil for the ATX.

I really do intend to seek out areas where the GPZ will do what it does best. But inevitably I am going to run into areas in the Sierras where I need a small coil and in Nevada where I need a big coil. There will come a time when the GPZ offers those coil options (at a cost!) and the issue will be alleviated to a large degree. For now however I am plugging the holes with two other detectors and a person with a GPX 5000 and a coil selection may want to possibly hang onto it at least until the GPZ coil options become available. No matter what though I do not see the GPZ as ever coming remotely close to the GP series when it comes to having over 100 available accessory coils. I do not expect GPZ coils to be cheap and it will greatly limit how many coils a person will be willing to invest in. That in turn will limit the number of coils made for the machine to just the few that have a very good chance of selling.

The weight. It is just a joke with me now. I want detectors to get lighter but prospecting PI detectors keep getting heavier. Oddly enough I see comments about the GPZ being nose heavy when it is actually perfectly balanced if the rod is kept at the proper length for operator height. However, I see that most people want to swing that coil in a wide arc and so they run the coil out longer than good ergonomics calls for, and that is going to hurt. There are solutions with harnesses and bungees, etc. but nothing changes the fact the GPZ weighs over seven pounds. That alone could be a show stopper for physically challenged people, especially in uneven terrain that requires more than just pushing the detector around on a bungee.

Obscure stuff. The GPZ audio is not as lively as the SDC 2300 audio but it is livelier than the GPX audio which reached levels of smoothness that put many VLF detectors to shame. The GPZ can be smoothed but to get best performance you have to go back to getting used to a sparky threshold. Some people just will not like this. It is a regular comment with the SDC 2300 and I expect it to be also with the GPZ though to a lesser degree.

The display? It is absurdly faint given the price of the detector. The CTX display was not state of the art when it came out and for Minelab not use something better in the GPZ is annoying. Honestly, that is all it is, an annoyance, but it is real. If I want to make adjustments in the field most of the time now I automatically just stop and turn until I can see the screen clearly instead of trying to make out the barely visible screen. Luckily once things are set there is little need to do more than turn the detector off or on. The problem is I really, really like the built in GPS and mapping capability myself, but the inability to see it clearly at all times takes the shine off the system.

Another minor niggle. The coil feels and sounds like a hollow drum on the end of the rod. Not too bad when using good headphones but quite loud if you let it ride on the ground, as I often like to do because of the weight. I like being able to use an external speaker but then that coil bangs away loud and clear.

These last few things may seem like I am being picky, but I am trying to call out some issues that some people coming from a GPX series will notice and may not like.

Finally, the discrimination. I never trusted the Minelab PI series discrimination and never used it so I do not miss it. But for some people they are having what they feel to be reliable results with the GPX discrimination and the lack of it on the GPZ could again be a real show stopper.

My genuine intent here is not to trash the GPZ 7000 but to show why the GPX 5000 and its kin are still machines to be considered and in many cases may be the better alternative for people for the reasons listed above and probably others I may have missed. Some people flat out will not like the GPZ because it is not what they are used to. I truly believe the GPZ represents the future and that it has real performance advantages, but I also truly believe that people using other detector models can do every bit as well with those detectors as with a GPZ. It is all about being a good prospector and applying whatever tools you have at your disposal to best effect. If getting gold was the only measure we may as well throw dredges, highbankers, and excavators into the mix as to what may or may not put the most gold in a prospectors pocket. The GPZ is just that, another tool for your consideration. But not the be all and end all of all tools.

One last note. I made this post with a purpose. I am afraid people believe critical thinking is not allowed on this forum. That is 100% not the case. What I do not like is product and company bashing, especially from people that do not even have the product. You notice how I could be critical and point out issues with the GPZ without going on a tirade about Minelab? As if they have some evil intent? The reality is the people there have worked very, very hard and invested a lot of money in producing the best detector that they could at this point in time. Nothing is perfect and it has shortcomings, but it was not from lack of trying. There are a great many problems to be overcome and compromises to be made when designing a detector like this. Not everyone will be happy and there is no need for everyone to be happy with the GPZ. If you do not like the detector or something about it than I encourage free discussion of these things. But please, just stick to the facts and state what does or does not work for you. Thank you!

Minelab GPZ 7000
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versus

Minelab GPX 5000 Package
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Good read! I have a bunch of Buddies out at Rye Patch as I write this note. They have the 7000, 2300 & one GP3000 die hard. Needless to say the 3000 friend has the largest nugget so far of the trip @ 18" deep to boot. All gold metal detectors will find gold! What makes the real difference is the operator and their knowledge of their equipment. You may not own the greatest or latest gold detector out there. if you have a gold detector learn it and make it work for you! Until the next hunt

LuckyLundy

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Glad you brought these points up. All valid points. I asked a question awhile back about some of the cons of the GPZ7000 and got a snippy reply. So I just kept my trap shut and can draw my own conclusions. A few other points I would to bring out.

1. Arm rest strap. If you were to wear a thick coat on colder days the Velcro strap is too short.

2. The clip for the wireless module is inadequate.

3. Gps. Maybe this valid or not. But the info of where you detect. Where does this go? Or where is it shared? I hold some of my patches secret and just how secure this info would be . Either offline or when you interface? Thank you Steve for bringing this thread into the open.

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Great informative post Steve!  You are spot on when you say " I think it is 80% operator and 20% detector and that is probably giving the detector too much credit."  You are also hit home about Ray finding more gold with a gold bug. I live in Rays country and I have a GB Pro, Gpx5000 and an SDC .  Hundreds of hours I must have spent out last year mostly with GPX netted me 8.5 dwt, and half of that came in about 5 minutes on a small pocket. To say the least I have failed far more than I have succeeded and it had nothing to do with what detector I was using. This new year I find myself grabbing the SDC for its pack-ability and sensitivity to hit small gold. I am striving to be a Successful full time electronic prospector and I really am considering a 7000. Mainly for the "first pass, best chance"  performance that I hear it has. Being totally into detecting I would also like to be able to evaluate the newcomer along with the other first adopters. But in the end do I think it will get me more gold? I know it wont! That's something I as a prospector need to figure out. All is not lost though as in late January I did hit my biggest specimen nugget to date. A 12.2 gram piece shaped like a broken heart in a rut of an old road near a creek crossing. It was really just luck that I put the SDC coil down to check that rut as I was walking along. This year I plan on getting out as much or more than I did last year. Will I get a 7000? I don't know yet but I will be watching this forum and Steve's unbiased opinions to help me make that decision.  

 

Jeff

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I can answer the GPS thing. The information on the unit goes nowhere. Unless you dump it to a PC. Then it is on your PC. It still goes nowhere by design but all PCs can be hacked.

If you use a handheld GPS and dump to PC, same problem. It is not a GPS or GPZ issue, it is a PC issue. One solution would be to never dump to your PC or to use a PC that never accesses the internet. If you worry about stuff like that be sure and never use your PC for online banking, any online purchases, or to store any personal information of any sort.

The GPZ actually only holds a limited amount of information that must be erased or dumped regularly so it is not like years of data can be had even if your GPZ is stolen.

The easy fix is to leave the GPS turned off, which it is by default. I on the other hand will be using mine to the max as it is a very useful function for my prospecting efforts and one that with a modicum of care should have no security issues beyond whatever you face already with your home computer.

If anyone on this forum is snotty with anyone PM me. If it happened here Scott I missed it and I apologize.

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I think I just fell off the fence, but I don't know where I landed. haha. I really appreciate your candid thoughts Steve. I am a 5000 user on the east coast of the US. To be honest, I bought the machine to use out west and did pretty well (after a somewhat steep learning curve.) I am now concentrating on areas closer to home and I have been debating re-fitting for east coast hunting, with a smaller coil, and possibly also adding the 2300 to my list of detectors. The challenge here is the overgrowth and also the huge amount of trash.

Then, the GPZ hit the streets, and it has been a two+ week roller coaster ride, re-evaluating which direction to go. There are things that I really like about the GPZ, the top being the consolidation of the capabilities into one machine. I am a part-time prospector, so when I get out, I may only get one shot at a location and there is a lot of competition to get to the accessible land, so I want to make sure I maximize my efforts. This logic is what brought the GPZ front and center. I also believe the machine will do well here with the mineralized ground. The water resistance is also a big plus. 

So, if you are in my position, and if you know a little bit about the east coast detecting, I would really appreciate any more insight into which direction makes the most sense? 

Thanks,

Hound

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Hi Hound,

About all I can attempt to do is lay out capabilities and options. But for each of us at some point we have to weigh those options for ourselves because you can argue it back and forth all day long. In particular, two people facing exactly your same circumstances may come to exactly opposite conclusions as to which course of action is best for them. You can find opinions to support any decision that internally you have probably already made for yourself.

I am pretty good at pointing out the fork in the road but you have to decide which fork to take!

It really like many things in life comes down to a money thing. If you can afford to spend 10K to just find out and afford to take a $1000 hit on immediate resale at a loss if it does not work out then no problem. Some people can get something like a GPZ, go find an ounce of gold with it, and then sell it, with the ounce covering the cost of the experiment. No big deal.

Other people it is much more a stretch financially and all I can say about that is far better to wait then rush into things. There is time to see how it all shakes out and the very good possibility of picking up a lightly used unit with transferable warranty at discount.

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Most definitely Detectorist and familiarity with the machine.   I owned a GPX for 2 years, putting in maybe 80 hrs and considered myself proficient.  As it turns out, not by a long shot.  I went to Moore Creek where I could detect 10 to 12 hrs a day, every day.  I had the time and opportunity to experiment.  If I could get a repeatable tone, I tried different settings, different sweep speeds etc.  I learned more as a detectorist and about my detector in that first week than I had learned in the previous 2 years.   I learned more about low and slow, listening for the faintest threshold change.  Steve was there when I left a double blip tone in the ground because it sounded like a nail.  Fortunately I went back because I got a similar tone that was gold.  Low and behold, a quarter ounce nugget that had the classic double blip deep rising tone that is generally a big old rusted nail.  No offense to the stalwarts that detected Moore Creek, but the best machine and coil combos money could buy,  still did not guarantee results.  Plenty of gold was found in holes that other people abandoned.   The weekly tote board results generally had 2 or 3 people finding more than 75 percent of the gold.  I saw many people with state of the art machines detect for a full week and not find gold.   My point is to reiterate what Steve and others are saying.  A $10,000 machine in the hands of a hobbyist probably won't beat a dedicated prospector with his tried and true, beat up ole trusty steed.  I sold my GPX and worn out a coil cover on my 2300 for decent results, and now trying to justify the jump to 7000.  Maybe you guys want to crowd fund me on the purchase and live vicariously for the results.    I'm just saying, one of us would be really happy with the deal, everybody else, not so much. 

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