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APM 100ED v.s. Kowa Highlander

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#1 Tamiji Homma

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Posted 29 April 2011 - 03:55 PM

Yesterday, I received Kowa Highlander from JimP. Thanks, Jim.

I put them together on HH mount and was planning to do first light last night. I was ready but local weather condition wasn't favorable for shootout (marine layers rolling in and windy).

Just quick CA check against Saturn. As every review that I read about Kowa Highlander Fluorite objective lens, I see no hint of CA at 50x at least with Saturn.

Terrestrial view is very clean, very flat with 14mm eyepiece, view is just like what a good APO refractor shows. I enjoy spotting rabbits on the hill, background of the photos below. Kowa will take the place from APM 100ED.

I like 14mm eyepiece, AFOV 70 degree, yielding 32x best. I wish they have made the same spec as 14mm eyepiece for other eyepieces, 9mm (AFOV 67 degree, 50x), 21mm (AFOV 63 degree, 21x). Even better, if they made to accept 1.25" standard eyepiece.

I'll post my observation report to this thread as I have a chance to observe.
I'll do flashlight aperture and edge illumination test this weekend.

I think Jim will regret by letting this binoculars go :)
I took a few side-by-side of APM 100ED and Kowa photos.
Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image

Tammy

#2 Wes James

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Posted 29 April 2011 - 04:38 PM

Tammy-
Will certainly look forward to your further impressions of these two bino's! What an opportunity you have here!!

#3 Moggi1964

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Posted 29 April 2011 - 04:50 PM

Nice, Tammy.

You do have a pretty view and very good taste in bino's :)

#4 Jawaid I. Abbasi

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Posted 29 April 2011 - 05:46 PM

Tammy,
I am sure it is lot better then APM-100 and your mini reviews will tell us but I wish; I could spend money for this finest binocular telescope. It is certainly out of my range unless I hide my tax return from my wife. :)

#5 Andresin150

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Posted 29 April 2011 - 05:51 PM

Excellent!! congratulations!!
I'm very interested in their performance at the edges (I'm sure your test will give true 82mm apperture :) )
I'm also more interested in their performance at edge with other non proprietary eps, such as the modified Naglers used by Milt (R.I.P) in his set.
I think you'll love their original metal case. At first I thought that it was overpriced (well, yes, it is) but the metal case of my Fujis is indestructible and as with you, it came in the deal (it costs near $1000) and proved its value in a few trips; simply no better protection.

#6 GamesForOne

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Posted 29 April 2011 - 06:52 PM

Tammy,
I am sure it is lot better then APM-100 and your mini reviews will tell us but I wish; I could spend money for this finest binocular telescope. It is certainly out of my range unless I hide my tax return from my wife. :)


It will be interesting to see if Tammy finds that the premium optics of the Kowa compensates for its smaller aperture compared to the APM in lower magnification views. It might since the Kowa should concentrate more light to a smaller spot size.

I certainly would hope that the Kowa would outperform the APM with regard to CA alone at 4x the price! :smirk:

Unfortunately it probably won't be possible (in the short term anyway) for Tammy to really push the magnification to 100x+ and see if the improved optics allow serious planetary observing since it will require custom eyepieces.

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Michael Mc

#7 Rich V.

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Posted 29 April 2011 - 07:32 PM

I'm expecting the Kowa to put up more pinpoint star images due to better optical figure and less CA. It should be the obvious winner on bright objects.

What I'm curious about is how the 82mm Kowas can compare to the 49% greater light gathering of the 100mms on DSOs. Can the Kowas overcome the sheer brute force of the APM's considerable aperture advantage on fainter objects and MW scanning? I'm thinking the APMs might come out ahead here.

Time will tell; what a great opportunity, Tammy! :D

Rich V

#8 marcelof

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Posted 29 April 2011 - 08:00 PM

Good Tammy, which less you like, you can give it to me.
I will accept it been grateful.
That the enjoyments.
Certainly, which is the Kowa and which the AMD?

#9 Tamiji Homma

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Posted 29 April 2011 - 08:07 PM

Hi Michael,

I checked 3 Kowa eyepieces along with other my favorites.

FS 10.50mm AFOV 66.9 (67) Kowa 9
FS 17.49mm AFOV 71.6 (70) Kowa 14
FS 17.60mm AFOV 72.1 (72) Nikon NAV SW 14
FS 19.21mm AFOV 88.1 (84) Docter UWA 12.5
FS 21.98mm AFOV 72.0 (72) Nikon NAV SW 17.5
FS 23.07mm AFOV 63.0 (63) Kowa 21

(AFOV #) is what manufacturer published.

All 3 Kowa eyepieces are very decent. Kowa 14 is the best among them, 21 is last. The Kowa 21 (I mean not bad at all) has bit mushy 7% outer field . I would say it is better than Denk 21 , though. This test is with my eyepiece test scope (Vixen ED80SF f/7.5). I compare and measure all eyepieces that I have access to with the same scope, which gives me a good reference point.

I hope I can spot 6 Saturn Moons with Kowa Highlander. I was able to do with APM 100ED but it was not that easy. So I think it is a good test to see if Kowa has a good transmission and tight star (moon).

Hi Andres,

I've heard that Highlander does not have full aperture (82mm). I'll find out.
I'd love to use Docter UWA 12.5, nothing comes close to it, optical performance, AFOV with 20mm long eye relief. It is a perfect eyepiece for this but it won't fit to Kowa, it won't come to focus to infinity with my APM 100ED. New APM 100ED seems to work with the eyepiece, though.

Hi Jawaid,

The fund came from my tax return and I gave up on 150mm 90 degree binoculars.

Hi Morris,

We lost our favorite target to observe every day from backyard. There was an American Flag on hilltop about a mile away, a hill in the first photo next to APM 100ED on right. It was blown away by storm a few months ago.

It is pretty (green) for now. It will be dry hill until November here :) A lot of sunshine during day, a lot of fogs at night :(

Hi Wes,

I was planning to get Docter Aspectem 40x80ED. Well I saw JimP's ad, I quickly changed mind :)

Hi Rich,

It is interesting to try DSO. Coating on objective lens on Kowa is definitely better, how much better the rest is to get more light through. But I don't think that is enough to compensate aperture difference specially I can use even better eyepiece and filter with APM 100ED... As you said, time will tell.

Tammy

#10 Wes James

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Posted 29 April 2011 - 08:12 PM

Gee, Tammy- I guess the Docter's will have to wait until next year!! ;)
Wes

#11 Vondragonnoggin

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Posted 29 April 2011 - 09:10 PM

Interesting shootout. Maybe close to $4000.00 difference when buying new? I am guessing you will see some differences for sure, but will they be $4000.00 worth of difference? I suppose when you buy a Kowa Highlander prominar, that you don't hesitantly flashlight inspect it hoping you got a "good day" build. Something to be said for that along with optical advantage. I think this shootout would be interesting with Jawaid's aperture masks for his APM.

#12 mercedes_sl1970

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Posted 29 April 2011 - 10:16 PM

Very nice looking binos. I'm sure the views through the Kowa will be superb. Nice looking mounts too.

Andrew

#13 Tamiji Homma

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Posted 29 April 2011 - 10:17 PM

Here is flashlight aperture test photo. It seems that it has full aperture. It was taken with 14mm eyepiece.

Posted Image

Tammy

#14 Rich V.

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Posted 29 April 2011 - 10:23 PM

Good flashlight test, Tammy; I guess you can sleep well tonight even if it's cloudy. Looking forward to a few good nights for you, as I'm sure you are! ;)

Rich V

#15 BobinKy

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Posted 29 April 2011 - 10:49 PM

Tamiji...

I have a low-end Kowa TSN-661 normal glass 66mm spotting scope with similar lenses: TSE-21WD 20x AFOV 66
TE-14WD 30x AFOV 72
TE-9WD 45x AFOV 60In my scope size and type, I find my preference goes first to the 21, then 14, and last 9. I think I prefer the 21 because of the bright views, however, the 14 produces better resolution. For my scope series, Kowa has discontinued the 21. Maybe I should go back and scrutinize my eyepieces again.

I love my Kowa spotting scope for distance terrestrial observing. I cannot even imagine how much you enjoy the excellent views of the Highlander.

Thank you for posting your review. You and Andre will have to schedule some kind of optics show. :)

#16 APM M.Ludes

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Posted 30 April 2011 - 05:49 AM

Hi Tamiji,

I call the Kowa my own since very many years. My one was a rather expensive set up. I bought 2 pc Coronado SM 60 with large 60 mm Blocking filters, extra eyepiece sets with additional mounted second blocking filter, 2 pc custommade 82 mm UHC and 2 pc O-III Filters, the Binooptic Spacelifter, Kowa Forkmount ( a must with this bino )in total close to Euro 20,000.
I modified a pair of Nagler 4.8 mm Typ 2 to come to focuse, which give me 92 x power.
My Kowa has fluorite apo quality better then many well known doublet Fluorites. Its a pleasure to observe Planets and moon with this large power.
Planets , Double Stars coming of course out better then in the APM, but for deep sky, planetary nebulaes, galaxies etc. the bigger shows more details due brighter image.
Still the Kowa is a Hotkeeper. Use 50 power and Observe ISS with it and you will enjoy it even more.
To bad that your APM 100 does not focuse the Docter 12.5 , we use excactly this match this year at WSP many nights , you don't know what you are missing :-).
I am pretty shure you will fall very quickly into same deep love to the Kowa as I did .
Enjoy your nice views

#17 Scopyfrank

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Posted 30 April 2011 - 08:46 AM

Verrrry nice toys,
For the price difference here in Europe I nearly get a 12.5 inch Obsession Dob; but that does not count in that league ;-)

#18 Tamiji Homma

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Posted 30 April 2011 - 05:45 PM

OK I took edge illumination photo. I forgot to take upper side but you can guess what it would look like:

Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image

and objective lens with green laser :)
Posted Image

Tammy

#19 Tamiji Homma

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Posted 30 April 2011 - 05:49 PM

Hi Marcus,

Yes, I remembered that you mentioned about having a good time at WSP with APM 100ED and Docter UWA 12.5. So newer APM 100ED has more infocus distance to accomodate Docter UWA 12.5. That's nice.

Tammy

#20 Tamiji Homma

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Posted 30 April 2011 - 06:14 PM

Hi Bob,

I think Kowa is an interesting company. When I was a kid, Kowa was very famous by stomach medicine, not optics :) I think Kowa has optics factory in Sendai, where the big quake hit hard. From the their web site, they didn't have much impact in terms of production. But I can't imagine no impact by the massive damage done in the region by the quake.

Comparing to other APOs in the similar size with triplet objective lens, Highlander fluorite doublet objective lens is remarkably color free and on-axis image is outstanding. From quick observation last night, 14mm eyepiece edge performance is very good, more than 95% of field has very tight star.

Tammy

#21 beachchairbill

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Posted 30 April 2011 - 06:45 PM

Tammy,

Nice pictures of the Objectives and part of the inside. They look very well built compared to the GBT 100/45 and they look like they have baffles in the inner tube. Must cut down on the CA.

Would like you to show the inner of the APM as well as I'm sure that they have no baffels at all.

BB

#22 GamesForOne

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Posted 30 April 2011 - 07:00 PM

Tammy,

Nice pictures of the Objectives and part of the inside. They look very well built compared to the GBT 100/45 and they look like they have baffles in the inner tube. Must cut down on the CA.


Baffles reduce internal reflections. A properly designed baffle has no effect on CA (an improperly designed baffle that restricts aperture would reduce CA -- and aperture of course!).

Would like you to show the inner of the APM as well as I'm sure that they have no baffels at all.

BB


I've posted those pics in previous threads about the APM. Here they are for comparison:

Edge views of APM ED100

View through objective showing internals of APM ED100

I believe the internal circle in the APM that looks like a baffle is a body joint flange. It doesn't really line up with the optical path, but neither does it restrict aperture in any way.

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Michael Mc

#23 beachchairbill

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Posted 30 April 2011 - 08:08 PM

MM,

Total difference between the Kowa and the APM. Thanks for attaching the pictures.

Did note that their is a slight difference between the APM and the GBT, I don't have a small phillips head screw in the front.

BB

#24 APM M.Ludes

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Posted 01 May 2011 - 06:38 AM

Tamiji,

look again the pictures ...do you see you did not fully line up the edge and baffles ?
If you want to do it right, use a pinhole adapter with a 1,2,3,4,5, mm hole , put it into the eyepiece focusers and then line up again , but perfectly from objective edge over baffles

#25 Rich V.

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Posted 01 May 2011 - 10:57 AM

It looks to me that Tammy got it pretty close; maybe he could have moved a tad more off axis. As long as he had an eyepiece in the focuser, this should be accurate enough as far as an "eyeball test" showing off axis vignette or prism intrusion goes!

One wouldn't expect to see a perfect round exit pupil off axis on any prism bino with a focal ratio as short as f5.4 or so, don't you think?

Rich V


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