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New APM 100mm ED - first impressions

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#1 Mike Harvey

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Posted 16 August 2010 - 02:17 PM

Just had my first light with this binocular under truly dark skies.
I'm SO impressed that I'm planning to write a full review in the next few

Just for reference... I've owned Miyauchi BJ 100's, Nikon 20X120, Fujinon 25X150 and Vixen 25X125's ( in addition to countless smaller binoculars).

While the APM ED's look like the Miyauchis all you need to do is take a look thru them to realize this is a different animal.

While they, of course, don't have the light grasp of the 120's or 150's - they compensate with sharper images across the field... Not to mention, you can carry the APM's onboard a plane in a backpack!

Brief impression: no noticeable CA except the slightest hint on the lunar limb. Stars are beautiful pinpoints out to the last 10% (or less) of the field. In fact, unless there was a bright star right at the edge, I had to deliberately LOOK to even notice any aberrations.

I was pleasantly surprised that the sharpness and excellent contrast were exhibited in BOTH the 23X and the 46X eyepieces.

I have a reputation for being so finicky about my optics that I rarely keep ANY of them for long.
The APM 100 ED's may prove to be the exception. At this price I've never seen better binoculars!

#2 hallelujah

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Posted 16 August 2010 - 03:07 PM

I have a reputation for being so finicky about my optics that I rarely keep ANY of them for long.
The APM 100 ED's may prove to be the exception. At this price I've never seen better binoculars!


C O N G R A T U L A T I O N S ! :waytogo:

#3 pcad

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Posted 16 August 2010 - 03:27 PM

This is like a breath of fresh air. It's great that you're happy with them. That list is like a who's who of giant binoculars. If these APM's work as well or better than those, you've got a keeper as far as I'm concerned. Congratulation are certainly in order.

Any further info or pictures or impressions would be most welcome.

#4 KennyJ

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Posted 16 August 2010 - 04:56 PM

Are these made in China , Mike ?

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#5 Mike Harvey

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Posted 16 August 2010 - 09:43 PM

Are these made in China , Mike ?

Kenny


Hi Kenny....I don't know where they are made but it wouldn't surprise me if they were made in China.
Regardless of where....they did a great job! :)

Mike

#6 Andresin150

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Posted 16 August 2010 - 10:40 PM

are those 45 deg or RA?

#7 daniel_h

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Posted 16 August 2010 - 10:55 PM

the company told me they are made in china

#8 GamesForOne

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Posted 17 August 2010 - 11:57 AM

I'm SO impressed that I'm planning to write a full review in the next few


As a fellow owner I look forward to your detailed review.

Not to mention, you can carry the APM's onboard a plane in a backpack!


Yes! They sure do pack a punch in a lightweight package.

Brief impression: no noticeable CA except the slightest hint on the lunar limb.


The CA is well controlled, but at higher power you do start to see a color blur. Curiously, though, the blur doesn't seem to rob the image of sharpness as much as I have observed in other optics with the same apparent level of color correction.

Stars are beautiful pinpoints out to the last 10% (or less) of the field. In fact, unless there was a bright star right at the edge, I had to deliberately LOOK to even notice any aberrations.

I was pleasantly surprised that the sharpness and excellent contrast were exhibited in BOTH the 23X and the 46X eyepieces.


Hmm, I can't say I had the same impression if you speak of the included eyepiece sets. I found the 23X set was sharp until the outer 20-30%. I find my Pentax XW20 start to show some softness in the outer 10%.

I personally found the included 46X set quite soft starting at halfway to the field edge. I don't know if the stock eyepieces have changed since I ordered mine though. In comparison, my Pentax XW10 are sharp to the edge.

However, if you find the stock eyepieces acceptable, try some premium eyepiece sets and you should be blown away. :grin: The on-axis sharpness is a strength of these binos in my opinion too.

The APM 100 ED's may prove to be the exception. At this price I've never seen better binoculars!


Yeah -- I bet you got 'em at the sale price which was quite a bargain.

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#9 Mike Harvey

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Posted 17 August 2010 - 01:48 PM

are those 45 deg or RA?


45 deg.

#10 Mike Harvey

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Posted 17 August 2010 - 02:18 PM

Hi Michael.....YES...I grabbed them at the close-out price!

I may have gotten an exceptional set of eyepieces with my binos.
As indicated, I was pleasantly surprised.

Based on previous experiences, I fully expected the 46X set to be soft and practically unusable.
Instead, I found myself using them more often than the 23X!

My 13mm ETHOS' won't reach focus. :( The only others I've tried, so far, are the 21mm Denkmeiers and did not find them to be appreciably better than the 23X set that came with the binocular.
Knowing the quality of the DENK'S, this speaks highly of the supplied oculars!

CA, even with the 46X eyepieces was simply not a problem. Even on the moon, the fringing was minimal.

More to come......

Mike

#11 Wes James

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Posted 17 August 2010 - 02:22 PM

Congratulations on a good 100mm 45* bino!!!

#12 Mike Harvey

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Posted 17 August 2010 - 02:44 PM

Almost forgot to mention.....
Since I was at Yellowstone, I also used the binocs for daytime wildlife viewing and found NO, ZERO, NADA, color fringing at 23X.
Images were razor-sharp and wonderfully 'contrasty'. Set up next to a top-of-the-line KOWA spotting scope (I think it was 82mm), the views with the APM 100's were noticeably more detailed (and being able to use both eyes was, of course, vastly superior).

This was also a pleasant surprise.

Mike

#13 Photoner

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Posted 17 August 2010 - 04:47 PM

Mike what are you using to mount these 16lbs fellows?

#14 beachchairbill

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Posted 17 August 2010 - 10:50 PM

Mike,

Have you given them the Flash Light test where you shine the light down throught the Objective lenses to see how the inner tubes look like. Are they nice and clean?

BB

#15 Mr. Bill

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Posted 17 August 2010 - 11:00 PM

I may have gotten an exceptional set of eyepieces with my binos.

Mike


How does one get an exceptional set of eyepieces?

:question:

#16 Mike Harvey

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Posted 17 August 2010 - 11:00 PM

Mike what are you using to mount these 16lbs fellows?


I'm using a Manfrotto 504 HD head and, for my trip to Yellowstone, I mounted it on a 546 tripod. The entire setup was small and light enough to carry-on the plane in a padded cordura bag. The head is rated for 19 lbs. and the combo was very user-friendly and rock steady.

For home use I'm putting the head on a heavier Manfrotto 475 tripod that features a geared center post and the height of the binocular can be easily adjusted without having to make changes in the leg lengths....just crank the handle!

Mike

#17 Mike Harvey

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Posted 17 August 2010 - 11:07 PM


I may have gotten an exceptional set of eyepieces with my binos.

Mike


How does one get an exceptional set of eyepieces?

:question:


Could have just been "luck-of-the-draw". Or Markus may have changed the supplier or design of the eyepieces (I'll ask him).

Whatever the reason...I'm not having the issues Michael Mc has desribed.

#18 Mike Harvey

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Posted 17 August 2010 - 11:27 PM

Mike,

Hve yuo given them the Flash Light test where you shine the light down throught the Objective lenses to see how the inner tubes look like. Are they nice and clean?

BB


Just did it. One small dust speck in one tube.
There is a screw about half-way down on the bottom of each tube that has pushed through the black lining and appears as a white spot.
If my OCD was really acting up I'd want to put a dab of black paint over them. But, they don't seem to have any negative affect.
Anyway, for me, the proof is in the performance and this binocular is remarkably good.

#19 GamesForOne

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Posted 18 August 2010 - 12:40 AM

Whatever the reason...I'm not having the issues Michael Mc has desribed.


The fact that the stock eyepieces are not sharp to the field edge is not a problem per se, it is just less than optimal performance given the capability of the bino's optics.

Perhaps if you did more A/B comparisons with premium eyepieces you might see the difference? I don't know the reputation of the Denk 21 at f/5 -- perhaps they perform as well as other premiums. I do know there is a difference in my bino using TeleVue and Pentax oculars vs. those supplied with the binos. Otherwise those would be magic eyepieces and we would all want them in our f/5 dobs too!

Also, as far as color correction I have done A/B tests with my APO triplet setup side-by-side. On bright objects it is readily apparent that the APM has significant false color. However, it certainly is a step above your average f/6 Chinese achromat. I believe the claim of ED doublet performance, albeit at a less than optimal f/5 for a doublet. Most ED doublets that claim APO levels of correction are f/7 or longer, no?

That said, I still find the APM is a great value and performs as well or better than any 100mm binocular I have ever used. I am certainly a proponent of these but I also want to be realistic in my opinions of its performance.

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#20 pcad

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Posted 18 August 2010 - 01:56 PM

"There is a screw about half-way down on the bottom of each tube that has pushed through the black lining and appears as a white spot."

Seems that APM/Markus have used flocking inside the tubes. I'm not aware of anyone else doing that. Sounds like a good idea to me.

#21 GlenM

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Posted 18 August 2010 - 03:51 PM

I also found the standard eyepieces that were supplied with my Garrett 100/45° very good indeed.

Now,I was lucky.

#22 GlennLeDrew

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Posted 18 August 2010 - 06:32 PM

I do know there is a difference in my bino using TeleVue and Pentax oculars vs. those supplied with the binos. Otherwise those would be magic eyepieces and we would all want them in our f/5 dobs too!


Michael,
Field curvature generally scales with focal length. If an eyepiece is optimized for the stronger field curvature of such a short-focus instrument as a bino, it will not necessarily enjoy the same degree of correction in a longer focal length scope, even if the f/ratio is the same. This seems to be even more true for simpler eyepiece designs (generally having fewer elements.)

#23 GamesForOne

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Posted 18 August 2010 - 07:00 PM

If an eyepiece is optimized for the stronger field curvature of such a short-focus instrument as a bino, it will not necessarily enjoy the same degree of correction in a longer focal length scope, even if the f/ratio is the same. This seems to be even more true for simpler eyepiece designs (generally having fewer elements.)


I am pretty confident in my assessment, unless as I stated, a different eyepiece design is provided with the latest shipments.

I like to use a moderately bright, close double to judge the edge sharpness. It was clear to me when moving such a double toward the edge that the included eyepieces lost some sharpness well before the extreme edge of the field relative to other eyepieces I had available to test.

If the included eyepieces are manufactured only for the binos, then it would make sense to better optimize them for the f/5 field curvature. Maybe Mike H. will get some feedback from APM regarding any recent changes.

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#24 Gordon Rayner

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Posted 18 August 2010 - 07:16 PM

What is the true aperture, as shown by the flashlight test, or by measuring the exit pupil with a comparator such as sold by Peak or Edmund, while using an eyepiece of confidently known focal length?

#25 GlennLeDrew

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Posted 18 August 2010 - 07:52 PM

Gordon,
If these babies are configured like Michael McCullough's, they should work at least close to the nominal 100mm; no less than 95mm, at any rate. (Hopefully I've gotten nothing mixed up here.)






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