I've been discussing qualities of Minelab lately (mostly in a negative light) and I decided to step back and ask myself why I use their Equinox 800 almost exclusively. It's worth starting out by saying I'm an old coin hunter (where 'old' is meant to refer to 'coin', although it also applies to 'hunter' 😁) the majority of the time, and and native gold hunter when the opportunity presents itself (not often enough). I've never detected near salt water and only occasionally (in shallow creeks) detected in water. Relics and jewerly aren't ignored but they typically only show up when I'm coin hunting, as peripheral bonuses.
I want to emphasize from the beginning that I'm not reviewing/comparing these two for all conditions or even conditions that might apply to the average detectorist. This is all about me, well, about my conditions, particularly my hunting preferences/goals. Although that may seem selfish/uninteresting/unapplicable to readers here, in the least it might get you thinking about how different detectors 'weigh in' for your type of detecting. A Minelab GPX 5000 might be well worth the cost and backbreaking swings for someone, but if it doesn't fit your intended targets and locations then you wasted a couple thousand $ and may not even be maximizing your intended finds.
I'll put some more caveats at the end, but basically I've broken this into three parts. The first are some quantitative/qualitative properties that are easily measured/stated. Next are the less quantifiable features/performances that mean the most to me. 3rd I list qualities that I determine are important but for which I don't see a significant advantage for either model based upon my usage. And finally I'll mention some of the things which most comparisons emphasize but for which I don't because..., well, you can read the reasons I give then.
For completeness, the Fisher F75 is a 13 kHz single frequency IB/VLF detector whose initial model was released 11-12 years ago. Although I own the F75 limited (Black), I'm instead comparing the F75 plus since it has all the features I use at a lower price. The Minelab Equinox, both a simultaneous multifrequency and selectable multifrquency (5 kHz to 40 kHz) was released early 2018 with two models which continue to be the only ones available. The 800 model has more features. That is the one I own and compare here. One final clarification: in the second section, '++' means a feature/performance which is very important to me, and '+' means important, but less so. I emphasize 'to me'. That is, it might be a small or meaningless difference to many but it matters a lot to me.
I suspect many of you have noticed I haven't included such fundamental features as waterproof/submersible and multifrequency/single frequency. The former is because it doesn't affect my hunting requirements. The latter is a bit more complicated. Rather than mentioning operating frequencies, I chose to emphasize the performance features. I don't really care what frequency/frequencies are being used as long as the detector performs (or outperforms) in the categories that matter to me. For example, simultaneous multifrequency improves the accuracy of the TID for deep/weak targets. The Eqx 800 got a ++ there.
It should be clear that in the center section, which IMO is the most important, the Eqx 800 clearly outperformed the F75. My preference for the Eqx 800 as my primary and the F75 as my backup is thus justified.
Update 1: based upon some questions that follow in this thread, I will do more detailed depth test comparisons to clarify my claim that F75 has more raw depth. I'll report those results in this thread as soon as I finish and will put another update on this post to call attention to it.
By Dances With Doves
I was detecting about 8 years ago when someone walking on the beach handed me a earring they just picked up on the shoreline.That was the easiest gold I ever got. This is the test target which is .53 grams and 3/4 inches in diameter thin hoop yellow 10k earring that I buried a little over 4'' with open clasp which is way more difficult.I tried the GMX with a 10 sens. and boost 2 with sat in middle setting and I got a soft signal on the target and I could lift the coil and still get it in 1 direction but in other angles it was a little weaker.It seems you need more coil control on this machine for tough targets with the sat.This test is a pass.
By Dances With Doves
I took the 11inch coil off because it was on backwards and I finally noticed it. I did good with it on backwards.I put on the 6" coil and tested my tough targets.I tested the 5'' deep 18k yellow gold chain first in pk2 and it was great.In multi freq. It hit the chain solid with a great id of 1-2.Same mode but in 20kz.I get a good hit with mostly up average numbers where I would dig if I was chain hunting.I put it in 40kz. and it hit better with better sounding up average numbers.I then put it in gold 2 mode and could run multi freq. up to 23 and it slammed it with great id numbers .I put it then in 20kz. and it hit it good with nice up average numbers.I put it in 40kz. and it slammed it with great up average sounding numbers.The 6inch coil is a winner on this target in many different settings.I will do a write up on the small deep white gold ring next.The 6inch coil has it's place for small gold.
The screen protector with English language finally decided its going to lose it's stick and fall off ages ago so I salvaged the button description bit, but a couple of weeks ago it gave up too and kept falling off, once dirt gets under them it's all over. I didn't want to buy a new pack as they're not easy to come by in NZ and I don't want anything but english anyway so I decided I'd look for an alternative option. Even though I use my Nox constantly I still can't remember button functions 🙂 I need the writing under them.
I settled on this Nox Keypad Cover from the UK from a place called Detecting Innovations, it arrived pretty quick, a couple of weeks with free postage.
It was simple to install, and has transparent bits where the buttons are like pinpoint and so on so they're protected too. I left an older screen protective thing on, I should get around to replacing it as it has a couple of bubbles in it. I have the Detect-Ed carbon black shaft so the pattern matches it.
These vinyl stickers come in a range of colours, and for various detectors. I noticed tonight they now do a Vanquish one, also in various colours, I've narrowed it down to two options, not sure which I'll get for my Vanquish.
They're only a few dollars with free shipping so I can't go wrong really. Where the button holes are is clear vinyl to protect the buttons. I like them, good products for a cheap price.
All - wondering if any of you out there have any experience with using either of these detectors inside hardrock mines or on hardrock ore, veins, etc. I recently purchased both of these detectors and I am interested in the discrimination on gold in an old hardrock mine area. I have found that the Equinox will find arsenopyrite very nicely in samples, and I have found the GM does not respond at all to large chunks of pyrite in samples I have. However I am interested in discrimination on gold in rock and veins where there are arsenopyrite, pyrite, large amounts of chalcopyrite, lead, zinc, etc. Anyone with any experiece with the Equinox in prospecting mode sounding off on any of these minerals (besides gold)? Anyone with experience with the GM 1000 on any of these minerals in Gold non-ferrous mode? Since some of the veins have extensive pyrite, chalcopyrite and base metals, I was hoping I could discriminate gold from the other elements in some of the hardrock areas and tailings I've come across in my wanderings. Thanks in advance for sharing any thoughts around these detectors on minerals like that in hard rock and how they would likely respond to them.