Fisher Labs is, as their corporate tagline states, The oldest name in the metal detecting industry, having been founded by Dr. Gerhard Fisher in 1931.
Over the decades, Fishers engineers led the industry with many innovations that have stood the test of time and found their way into even other brands of detectors.
The Fisher company, as it had existed, was acquired by First Texas in 2006; however, the commitment to produce equipment that incorporated technology at prices that would not break the bank remained first and foremost in the minds of the engineers working on developing new detectors under the Fisher banner.
One of latest additions to the Fisher line is the F2, which was developed to provide treasure hunters with an affordable detector that offered features not typically associated with a $250 price tag.
Having personally used Fisher detectors for more than three decades from both the original company and lately the First Texas / Fisher models, I was looking forward to giving the new F2 a try.
The Fisher shares the same control housing found on the F4 and F5, which is mounted on an S-handle to provide good balance for extended fatigue-free hunting time.
The entire detector with batteries and the stock coil weighs just 2.6 pounds, making it extremely light and well suited for even young detectorists or anyone that might have a concern over a detectors weight.
The stock coil that comes with the F2 is an 8 concentric, a good all-purpose coil that allows for accurate pinpointing and decent ground coverage.
The housing features several well laid out touchpad controls and an easy-to-read LCD meter. The F2 is controlled via seven touchpads all located on the face of the control housing. The touchpads include POWER; PINPOINT; NOTCH; DISCRIMINATION (+/-) & SENSITIVITY (+/-).
The LCD meter provides users with useful information to help determine if a detected target is worth recovering or not, as well as what the current selected settings are.
In the center of the screen is a 2-digit numeric display that reflects the targets probable ID. The values range from 0 (highly ferrous targets such as iron) to 99 (highly conductive targets such as large silver coins).
There is sufficient separation of targets within the available spectrum of IDs to allow users to readily differentiate a good target from a bad one with a little practice in a test garden or the field.
In addition to the numeric target ID indication, eight arrows on the upper portion of the meter provide additional information to help identify targets, by pointing to labels of common targets that register in that region, and are labeled Iron, Foil, 5c, (pull) Tab, Zinc (pennies), Dime, Quarter, and [+] (higher denomination silver coins and very large pieces of iron).
Remember that the labels are simply guidelines as to what the target might be and a final determination should be made using the target ID value and knowledge of what might be in the ground at the specific site you are searching.
On the left side of the screen, the SENSITIVITY level is displayed and can be adjusted with the (+/-) touchpads to the left of the screen.
On the right hand side of the screen DEPTH indication is provided and this indication is active at all times.
When the Pinpoint mode is activated, the center of the screen changes from displaying the target ID value to show the targets depth. In the lower right corner of the screen is an icon that provides relative battery strength which helps ensure you do not find yourself with a dead battery in the midst of a productive hunt.
The F2 provides two search modes normal discrimination and notch discrimination as well as a non-motion all-metal pinpoint mode.
The Notch Discriminate mode allows one to easily accept or reject any of the segments based on what target(s) you might be searching for or trying to eliminate.
This allows specific trash targets to be rejected while still accepting targets that read lower on the meter, thereby not missing potentially valuable items because you opted to reject a piece of trash (which will happen on a non-notch detector), another feature not usually found on detectors in the price range.
In addition to the visual target ID capabilities provided via the LCD screen, the F2 also provides audio target ID through four different tones based on the detected targets composition.
The tones include low (typically iron objects), low-medium (pull-tabs, nickels and smaller gold jewelry), medium (zinc and Indian Head pennies, screw caps, lead relics and larger gold jewelry), and high (silver, copper and clad coins).
When combined with the visual ID capabilities of the F2, users can quickly and accurately decide if a target is worth recovering or not.
The F2 is powered by two 9-volt batteries (included with the detector) and NiMH cells can be used with no adverse effect on performance.
There is a standard 1/4 stereo headphone jack in the bottom of the control housing which accepts any set of stereo headphones and their use will extend overall battery life as well as ensure you do not miss any faint signals.
After doing some air tests to see what type of response a range of targets produced, I spent a little while in my test garden to see how it responded to targets at varying depths.
While it did not hit the deeply buried targets (as expected, since some more expensive units also struggle on them), it did give repeatable signals on coins and relics down to the 6 mark
Since the F2 was designed to be an entry-level or backup detector, I opted to hit a few of the local schools and parks to see how well it fared on the type of targets one usually recovered at these areas.
Thankfully, we had been getting rain every few days recently which made target recovery a good deal easier than it had been during the drought conditions we had experienced for almost than past year in the southeast.
The first site was a picnic area with a ball field adjacent to it and it was clear that whatever beverages were enjoyed there, the cans they came in had their pull-tabs removed and discarded all over the ground.
This was a good opportunity to try out the Notch circuit, so I increased the Discrimination to reject Iron and Foil and then, using the Notch feature, eliminated the Tab segment as well. Setting the sensitivity at 4 out of 5,
I started off around the edge of the ball field. The combination of the mineralized ground and high concentration of trash forced me to reduce the sensitivity to 3 and, once that was done, the F2 ran fairly quietly.
The first few targets registered in either the nickel or Zinc regions and after recovering several and finding them to be bent rectangular pull-tabs or larger screw caps, I learned to identify them based on their ID value.
After the first dozen or so, I was able to ignore virtually all the rest I came across while still recovering 11 nickels and 32 zinc pennies in addition to a number of clad coins ranging from just under the surface to 5 deep.
The depth reading had been a little off in that it said coins were shallower than they actually were; however, using a tip obtained from one of the Internet forums, I found that by raising the coil an inch or so off the ground when switching to the Pinpoint mode, the accuracy of the indicated target depth improved greatly.
Having planned a trip to Myrtle Beach with the family for a few days over Spring Break, I loaded the F2 into the truck along with an assortment of water machines I intended to spend much of my time using.
Unpacking at the condo we were staying at, I took the F2 down to the beach for a spin to see how it handled the salt water / black sand conditions Myrtle Beach is known for. In the dry sand I was able to run the sensitivity to 4 before the detector started chattering.
Running with minimal discrimination (only rejecting iron), I started off along the beach. Despite the cooler weather and it being early in the season still, targets started to appear on a regular basis and the target ID was dead-on for the most part.
While virtually all of the targets were recently lost by beachgoers, I did unearth three .50 caliber machine gun casings with a 1942 or 1943 date stamped on them.
Subsequent research revealed they had come from a WWII training base in the area which had trained pilots to conduct strafing runs.
As I got into the wet black sand, the F2 started to act up and required that I drop the sensitivity to 2 and raise the coil an inch or two off the sand in order to reduce the falsing produce by the severe ground conditions.
Not many detectors even more expensive models can handle these conditions without a loss in sensitivity, but the F2 handled the dry sand with ease and with some adjustments and patience, could still detect targets in the wet sand.
Returning to Rock Hill, I opted to try the F2 with the 4 coil at a few older, but trashy, sites in the downtown area.
The smaller coil does provide for enhanced target separation which is ideal in high trash areas, but there is a trade-off in detection depth and I was interested to see how this balance paid off in areas that had the potential to hold some decent targets.
I picked a vacant lot near an old cotton warehouse that I had hunted a few times in the past. I knew there were good targets there if one had the patience to work through the 100s of trash targets that littered the site.
I was not able to get the sensitivity above the 3 before the F2 started to chatter, so I set the Discrimination at Foil and started hunting near the front of the lot. I could tell from the target ID readings that were jumping all over the board that there was a good deal of trash under the coil, but I kept looking for a consistent reading that might indicate a keeper.
It took nearly 20 minutes to get what I felt certain was a good target and, after cutting a plug and pulling it back, I saw the unmistakable glint of silver from the bottom of the hole.
Reaching in I pulled a well worn, but readable 1944 Mercury dime from its resting place any piece of silver makes for a great day in the field!
I spent a few hours at three different sites in the area and, while I did not make any super rare finds, I did manage to recover four wheat cents, a 1942P war nickel and several clad coins in addition to the Mercury dime. The smaller coil seemed to do the trick in separating good targets from trash and, while there was some noticeable loss of detection depth, the targets had been clear and repeatable at depths in the 4 to 5 range.
Fishers new F2 was designed to provide treasure hunters with a detector that offers both performance and features not typically found on a detector in this price range.
Through the use of new technology and reduced production costs, Fisher has been able to provide a detector that would probably have cost $200+ more even a few years ago. The F2 allows anyone interested in giving metal detecting a try, or who wants a quality backup unit, to get a detector that is more than just a toy without breaking the bank.
Audio and visual target ID, notch discrimination, depth reading, multiple coils and weight under 3 pounds are all clear pluses that make it hard to pass the F2 up when looking for a new detector.
While some users have commented that it does not perform as well as their $800+ detector, that was never Fishers intent and, for the price, it more than fulfills the goals set for it when the design and development work started.
The Fisher F2, with both the 8 and 4 concentric search coils, lists for $249 with the new 5-year Fisher limited warranty.
For more information about the new F2, the rest of the Fisher line, or the name of your nearest Fisher dealer, contact the factory at 1465-H Henry Brennan; El Paso, TX 79936, call them at (800)-672-6731, or visit their website at http://www.fisherlab.com.
Be sure to mention you read about the new Fisher F2 in Lost Treasure Magazine.