Fisher F70 Metal Detector Field Test
by Mark Ellington
To put it bluntly, the Fisher F70 is THE HEAT! As a proud and happy owner of an F75, I caught myself thinking "I bet the F70 will be a scaled down F75." In some ways, I was right. A few less features than the F75, (and I LOVE the F75 trigger!). However, Fisher retained the most useful functions and made them very accessible to the user. There's also a little something extra under the hood: more depth than the F75! Yep, you read that right! In my soil, coil-for-coil, the F70 is slightly deeper than the F75. The F70 seems to be designed as detector that has all the power of the F75 but with a few less bell-and-whistles. The F70 is more "turn-on-and-go" but doesn't cut any corners in the raw power department!
If you happen to already have an F75, you can swap coils back and forth. The new elliptical concentric coil for the F70 is great! It has an excellent design, construction and balance. However, slap the big F75 11"DD coil on the F70 and hang on! I'm talking SERIOUS depth here!
Select the "slow" option in areas that will allow it (lengthens the sampling time on the target, if I understand it correctly) and you will be getting way, way down in the ground! (I picture moles, grubs and earthworms packing their bags and fleeing the radio waves in utter terror!) However, due to the lengthened response time, the odds of masking due to nearby trash are increased, but I love having the option to pick which way I want to hunt, depending upon site conditions.
The F70 is built very well and sports the nice graphics design seen on other new Fishers. (Whoever does graphic work at Fisher is pretty darned talented!). The rod types seen on the F75 are used here, with the exception of the handle and arm cup. The detector is extremely well balanced and feels light as a feather in actual use. The front panel uses "membrane" type buttons that are in vogue these days, and offer the benefit of water resistance.
I'm a big fan of Dave Johnson and his approach to metal detecting. I've been lucky to get opportunities to chat with him from time-to-time. He has made it a personal mission to improve not just detector performance, but also weight, balance and most importantly user interfaces. There's nothing worse than a clunky interface where you can't find stuff, or you have to drill down through multiple menu layers to change things. Like most the new Fisher machines, the menu options are very, very accessible and always visible on the screen. You're never "wondering" how you have something set - its right there in front of you.
The F70 uses cool audio ID options similar to the F75. I tend to hunt most often in 4H mode, but also enjoy dp (delta pitch) mode which assigns a different pitch tone to every digit in the ID scale! John Gardiner is the Lead Engineer on the F70, and has done an outstanding job creating what I see as a custom made old coin killer. The visual ID is in nice large LCD digits that are very visible in all sorts of conditions. I've used some LCD screens that were tough to read when it's either overcast or extremely sunny, I've not had that issue with the F70. The confidence bar works very well, and helps cut down on the trash dug, especially when you're in a hurry. Like any detector, the coins that are in the very extreme limits of the machines capacity will not always identify themselves accurately. It's kinda like a weak TV or radio signal the picture or sound can be "snowy." That's whe the discriminator between your ears takes over is there enough "good" seen in that 12" target that it's worth digging?
If you are looking for a detector that is light, gets ridiculously good battery life, has accurate ID, is reasonably priced and goes DEEP, then the F70 is for you! The F70 feels like a modern muscle car, and most folks who have trouble with it will do so because they keep the pedal to the metal! Even at low sensitivity settings, the F70 goes uncannily deep. One often overlooked feature is the Threshold control. I found many sites that were normally tough to hunt due to noise from power lines, electric fences, etc. By lowering the threshold, the F70 was extremely stable in those spots and still deep! (Did I mention it's deep?)Best features over similar Detectors:
- 13 kHz frequency - good for coin shooting, relic hunting, and gold prospecting.
- Frequency shift for eliminating electrical interference and crosstalk
- Advanced software-based motion discrimination with notch for searching trashy areas.
- All metals auto-tune mode for deep-searching in non-trashy areas.
- Visual target ID by category & 0-99 indication, both discrimination & auto-tune modes.
- Target ID confidence bar graph
- High-resolution push-button ground balance with ground readout
- Ground balance range goes all the way to salt
- Continuous display of ground mineral concentration
- Push-button static pinpoint with variable audio pitch and visual depth reading
- Independent sensitivity and threshold settings provide fine control over response
- Speed selection - normal for most situations, slow for deep coins in non-trashy areas
- Batteries under the elbow provide counterweight - ergonomic design
- Battery life on 4 alkaline AA batteries, 40 hours
- Switch back and forth between two programs:saves both programs when turned off
- Standard 10 inch elliptical concentric open-center searchcoil