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Review of the APM 152 ED serial number 245


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Review of the APM 152 ED serial number 245

 

 

Here is my astronomy bio, so we can clarify where my biases are and my experience.

 

I restarted the hobby in November 2008. My first “real” telescope was a Meade Schmidt Newtonian, which taught what I liked and what I didn’t. I really liked nice focusers and while the SN6 was a nice widefield scope, it was very hard to get a lot of power, so planets were always small. I joined AAI of Cranford NJ as a member and as the Sidewalk Astronomy chair at AAI 2009-2011. We did over 50 observing sessions with the public. My first goal as an Amateur Astronomer was to complete the Messier list which I did in 2010, that was the year I started in Astrophotography. I got into meteorites in 2011 and have a pretty nice collection (over 3 kilos of meteorites). I was also a member of UACNJ and was the recording secretary from 2012 to 2014. On January 2015 I had my first picture published in Sky and Telescope, I’ve been published in several newspapers, trade journals and other magazines. In March 2017, I had 2 photos published in 101 Amazing Sights in the Night Sky. I also had several gallery showings including a 28-picture presentation in 2017 and a 15-picture showing in 2018. I have sold several (over 15) framed astro photos.

 

As to telescopes I have used visually extensively the below are a few and some notes for each one:
 

Celestron 9.25 = Mechanics C, Optics B. Major issue is image shift. Light bucket, bloated stars

 

Meade SN 6 = Mechanics C-1, Optics B+. Focuser sucked was replaced with a moonlite. No flatner available that correct field to the edge for imaging. Hard on eyepieces.

 

Orion 80MM EON = Mechanics B, Optics B. Fast optics hard to get high power, dim view. Good imaging scope with a moonlite.

 

Stellarvue SV 70T = Mechanics B+, Optics B-. As good as the Orion 80MM. The risers and focuser are nice, but hard to motorize, focuser upgraded to moonlite. Question is it better than the Orion 80MM, hard to answer.

 

Tec 140=Mechanics A, Optics A. As good as I have seen. Probably perfect scope.

 

AP 178= Mechanics A, Optics B. Probably the best at its time. Newer glass actually improves on color correction.

 

Explore Scientific 152= Mechanics B, Optics C = This is a triplet? Wow, not impressed.

 

Explore Scientific 127= Mechanics B, Optics B- = The 120 EON has more contrast and better color correction.

 

Orion 120MM EON = Mechanics B, Optics A- = Needed a moonlite for imaging, but otherwise, a light weight, very good scope. Not a TEC or TAK, but honestly don’t feel like I need it.

 

TAK TOA 130 = Mechanics B+. Optics A= Optically perfect. Cost is too high, for same amount you can get a TEC 140. Focuser is mehhh. Does this thing need to be made out of neutron star material? Why is this scope so HEAVY?

 

I’ve looked at a few more, but this gives you an idea of what I feel about a particular scope mechanically and optically.

 

BUT I know you don’t care about the other scopes, you care about the APM 152MM and here it goes:

 

Mechanics: This scope is an A

 

 

The focuser is robust, super smooth and doesn’t shift. The dual rotation and shift lock really make the 3.7” focuser premium. The only issue is the lack of space for a 2nd finder. Not a major issue, but if you could do one thing to make it better, that would be it.

 

The dew shield is massive and its sliding. Fixed Dew shields SUCK!!! Really SUCK. If your scope has a fixed dew shield, you should sell it to Chas smile.gif not really kidding, I don’t like fixed dew shields, the lock is a nice touch.

The paint job on the APM is superb. Really really nice and pretty. I will state, I have no idea how it will hold up over time, but now it’s really nice. 

 

Robust rings and the losmandy dovetail is a beast. Heavy duty and solid. The dovetail needs 2 stop screws, for .98 cents at Home Depot, get them before the scope falls on the ground. The handle is a great idea, all refractors should come with a handle.

 

The case is incredibly robust. Well thought out and super strong, only recommendation would be a handle in the front or on top. The side handles make it cumbersome for one person to carry.

 

The only reason the scope isn’t a A+ mechanically is that I haven’t seen an AP 130 recently so I can’t say it’s as good as an AP.

 

Optically: This Scope is a A/A-

 

6" of aperture are just sooooo sweet. Stuff that was faint in the 120 just pop in the APM. There is color in out of focus stars, but if you like looking at out of focus stars, then this scope isn't for you. In focus even on Vega the color correction was as good as the EON 120. 

 

When I started the temperature was dropping quickly so you could see color in in focus stars, but as the scope acclimated the color just went away. I started off on some bright stars that I was using for the model, so Vega, Albireo, Enif, Arcturus, Mizar and several others. Of all of these, Arcturus was the only one that showed false color and that was more because it was directly over the roof of our house, all the others had no structures really nearby. Vega being directly overhead was probably the prettiest. 

 

I had a list of objects that I wanted to test with. I started off with my favorite summer open cluster M39. I used the 20MM ES 100* and it was like sparkling diamonds on velvet (never gets to black in Union, NJ), so dark grey velvet wink.gif This cluster is nice in the 120, but it really sparkled in the 152. 32MM (or almost 70% more light gathering) really makes a difference. 

 

From M39 I went to M13 and again, just brighter than in the 120ED. I've seen M13 in some high-end smaller scopes and aperture just rules. It’s really bright and can handle magnification well. I went to 5.5 but it was framed better in the 9MM ES.

 

I then went to Saturn as it cleared the roof line and was between the house and the trees. At this point I just stopped testing and enjoyed the view. The creamy view of Saturn was really nice. The other thing about 6" is how much more colorful the planets are. Saturn was a creamy yellow and the various bands were just there. I'm not an averted vision type of person, it’s not visible time to go to a different object. Saturn was really pretty. Really there. I used the 3.5MM and Saturn was HUGE (342 magnification), the scope handled the magnification well, but seeing rarely supports 300X in NJ.

 

I went to Mars, hate Mars and at this point the moon cleared the trees and roof line. Stayed with the moon for a while. Took a short break to get some water and get the camera for some pictures smile.gif .

 

At 11:00 the moon was between the roof line and the trees. With the limited amount of time I had I stuck in a camera for a quick picture. Around 12 I packed it in. Covered the scope and went to bed.

 

So here are my thoughts. No matter how much you paid for a premium triplet, on most objects the 152MM can keep up with it. If you want to see no false color and need your ego stroked because the scope is not expensive, don't buy the APM. Get a TAK/TEC/AP, you'll feel better about yourself. If you consider the value, this scope is just an excellent buy. It’s like the EON version of the SW150. You get a better focuser/case/sliding dew shield/rings/ and a much prettier scope.

 

To me the APM 152 is like a bigger version of the 120ED, which is an excellent scope. Only thing I still want to do is motorize the focuser so I can take DSO images, but I'm pretty certain this scope is an excellent buy.

 

 

 

 

In summary:

 

Collimation was spot on, concentric circles in and out of focus
False color is minimal, based on the conditions, very close to the 120MM EON
Contrast was excellent when starting but got worse as conditions worsened.

At F8, the APM is really easy on eyepieces, edges were very good/excellent with the ES 100*

 

Overall, the APM 152MM is an impressive scope, both visually and mechanically.

 


  • lightshow, doctordub, JoeBftsplk and 15 others like this


35 Comments

Enjoyed reading that, its a monster frac!

    • hfjacinto likes this
Enjoyed the article. A good read, objective and informative. I've been thinking about getting a refractor. Your article was helpful. Thanks.
    • hfjacinto likes this

Your write up seems legit.

I have both large ED's and med Triplets and know their limitations (which Is why I currently have both).

    • hfjacinto likes this
Photo
Spacefreak1974
Dec 24 2018 02:17 PM
I have an 8” Schmidt cassegrain currently and looking for my next scop. Given the unobstructed view I’m speculating that I won’t lose any brightness on object vs my 8” SCT’s and it might be slightly better? Thoughts?

I’ve had friends suggest that I get a 16” dobsonian for more reach but I’m hung up on looking at refractors. I have access to a 12” dob from the club as well as a C14.

Jon
Photo
Spacefreak1974
Dec 24 2018 02:18 PM
I have an 8” Schmidt cassegrain currently and looking for my next scop. Given the unobstructed view I’m speculating that I won’t lose any brightness on object vs my 8” SCT’s and it might be slightly better? Thoughts?

I’ve had friends suggest that I get a 16” dobsonian for more reach but I’m hung up on looking at refractors. I have access to a 12” dob from the club as well as a C14.

Jon

Jon,

 

I have the 9.25 and while the 9.25 gathers more light compared to the APM 152, it also has bloated stars and more scatter and image shift which is annoying to me. It also takes much longer to cool down compared to the 152. The 152 will probably show you every object that the C8 shows you so it won't really complement your stable. A 16" dob or 14" SCT will let you go deeper. Now I know this sucks but refractors have a certain color and sexyness that an SCT doesn't.

 

So here is my recommendation, if you want to go deeper get a larger DOB or SCT.

If you want to replace your C8, the 152 is a good alternative but needs a robust mount.

If you think you want a refractor, the 120M (SW/etc) is a really good size. Its not so big that it needs a killer mount but has enough aperture that it will show you lots of DSO's. I have an 80 and 72MM APO and honestly they are only used for imaging.

 

Just to show you the size difference between a 120 and the 152.

post-64219-0-11323100-1533922607.jpg

    • doctordub, denis0007dl, Bomber Bob and 1 other like this

This is a 70MM next to the 152.

 

post-64219-0-10451400-1533922479_thumb.j

 

and the 120MM in a side view

post-64219-0-73387300-1533922564_thumb.j

    • kenkolen, GilATM, denis0007dl and 1 other like this
I too, have the APM152 and yes, the views are great. However, it is a monster. Probably five feet long, and heavy. As I get older and weaker, mine just doesn't go out much.

But oh those views!
    • hfjacinto and ShaulaB like this

I have lens 121, excellent scope. I was surprised as I received the strehl test from Markus and it was only .927 I thought that was a little low. I am no expert at strehl. I am very happy and this is my go to scope on a DiscMount DM-6 with Nexus DSC to grab and go to the field. Yes grab and go!

I did upgrade my focuser to a Moonlite which is motorized, why, because with high power planetary eyepieces the moonlite allows very very tiny ticks to the focus. And no scope shake.

Thanks for the review and much success to Markus, he really contributes so much to this hobby.

 

Neal

    • hfjacinto, Star Rider 1 and Bomber Bob like this

Thanks for the nice review!  I've been wishing for a large refractor, and the APM 152 is one of the top candidates, even more so since reading your report.

 

You touched on a lot of things that matter to me.  This sounds like an excellent scope for the money, and really just plain excellent, regardless of price.

 

Thanks again, and Merry Christmas and a happy 2019 to you and all the readers here on CN, from the cloud enshrouded, frozen, Rocky Mountain West!  coldday.gif

 

May your skies be clear and your nights be warm!

    • hfjacinto likes this

I enjoyed reading your review.  The 152ED is still on my list... as is the 92mm Stowaway.  Gotta buy the Stowaway first though.  :)  Two refractor purchases in one year... yes please.  

 

Chris

Thanks for the rundown.  The Taks I've owned have all been very good.

I understand the reviews for these scopes.  I've yet to see a low-priced, larger apo that has a really good diffraction pattern.  There is probably variations from one to another as well. Disappointing because I've got an older Japanese Antares 127mm f/8.0 achro lens with essentially a perfect diffraction pattern and it cost very little.  But, it doesn't surprise me that there is a price level you need to get to in order to obtain something really impressive.  You might consider uploading slightly better photos, the ones in the article are pretty low resolution (a phone?).

    • Corwinmageoin likes this

Rich all photos were taken with a full frame dslr. I sent compresssd but high resolution photos to the admin but somehow the resolution suffered. This article is actually a rehash of my review in the the refractors forum. You can check it out here:

https://www.cloudyni...o-in-the-house/

 

Pictures there are much better and I included a few astrophotos I took with the APM152

Thanks for the great write up on the scope I am about to buy. You aren’t on the payroll, right? Hank

Hank not only did I have to pay for the scope I brought beer and burgers to the delivery guy :) I got the scope from
Tolgaastro and when Tolga dropped it off I took him out for burger and beers.
    • Bomber Bob likes this
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Lew Chilton
Dec 27 2018 01:38 PM

Everything you said about the Tak TOA-130 is true; that's why I traded it in for a TSA-120. It's lighter and easier to handle, although I miss the advantages of larger aperture. (Its focuser is also bleh.) If I were 20 years younger, I'd definitely consider the APM 152, thanks to your splendid review.  -Lew

    • hfjacinto likes this
Photo
wangwang004
Dec 28 2018 11:19 AM

well done!maybe I need one APM 152ED

    • hfjacinto likes this

well done!maybe I need one APM 152ED

everyone that has a mount for it needs an APM152 ED wink.gif

    • Astrojensen likes this

I have lens 121, excellent scope. I was surprised as I received the strehl test from Markus and it was only .927

 

Neal, according to a chart on Strehl ranges I saw published by Valery a Strehl between 90 and 95 is considered excellent.  

    • Bomber Bob likes this

I bought the same scope. Its excellent and very light weight. OTA is under 19 pounds stripped. This will be my awesome back yard and front yard scope. I don't need to take it out to dark skies to enjoy it.

 

I had a TOA 130 also. It was very heavy for a small 5" refractor. 

 

Your review was excellent. You talked about what mattered and left out everything that didn't mater.

 

Hoping for some good spring and summer observing this year!

 

....Ralph

    • hfjacinto and Spacefreak1974 like this

I have the Lunt-marketed version of this scope, which I bought a few years ago (made by APM).  It sounds like APM has upgraded the focuser, which is good because the one on the Lunt version definitely had problems (see my CN posting on how to fix it).  The Strehl on mine, according to the test report that came with it, is 0.94.  I've used the ES focal reducer/field flattener with it for photography, which works fine.  I agree with the comments about the optical performance of this scope.  I don't agree about the performance of the Celestron scopes.   My C8 and C11 both have pinpoint stars. 

I don't agree about the performance of the Celestron scopes. My C8 and C11 both have pinpoint stars.


Having looked through various SCT’s the best that I have looked through have been the Edge series. Then it would be the 9.25. My friend Tony’s 9.25 is older than mine but he has very little mirror shift and more pinpoint stars than I do. But neither of these compared to an almost optically perfect 14 Edge scope a former member of our AA club had. Now that was an impressive SCT.

Having looked through various SCT’s the best that I have looked through have been the Edge series. Then it would be the 9.25. My friend Tony’s 9.25 is older than mine but he has very little mirror shift and more pinpoint stars than I do. But neither of these compared to an almost optically perfect 14 Edge scope a former member of our AA club had. Now that was an impressive SCT.

Yes my Celestron scopes are the Edge series models.  I don't use them at high powers because the atmospheric conditions in the middle of the city don't support that.  I might notice more of a difference between them and the 152 under better conditions.

    • hfjacinto likes this
Tom

I live 17 miles of NYC on the plain west of the Watchung mountains (or hills, if you live on the west coast) and seeing isn’t usually terrible and on good days you can pull a lot of power. It’s not always great but on those clear, transparent and good seeing days you really need to push the power. I like the view one gets with a refractor and 6” really is a sweet size. On those days it’s when I really notice the difference between an SCT and a refactor.

I found this review to be quite accurate and fits my experience with the same refractor.  I have the Lunt version of this with a great focuser.  there is very little if any color when in complete focus.  I have been completely happy with this instrument.  It is not really very heavy and is quite portable.  I have never tried astrophotography with this.  I am sure it would work well for mono work and maybe with a lrgb  filter setup. 

Great scope especially for the money!.

cjacobson



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