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New APM 150 binocular update

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#151 oldmanrick

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Posted 15 April 2019 - 10:58 PM

Is FPL 55 really necessary for what I imagine is a small improvement in CA?. On a system that probably has it controlled very well to began with. At $3,000 additional cost???

 

Someone enlighten me.......

Does anyone have an idea just what the characteristics of FPL 55 glass will be, compared to the FK 61 used in the current 150 ED and 100 ED APO binoculars?

 

We seem to be getting a good handle on FK 61 and Hoya FCD 100 glass, as used in APM's current BT's, but I've seen very little information about the FPL 55, said to be used in the 150 SD, when and if it's ever forthcoming.

 

Clear Skies,

 

Rick 



#152 ZX12

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Posted 16 April 2019 - 07:55 AM

Hi Rick,

 

From what I have read, the FPL55 performs similar to FPL53 and there should be no difference in performance visually regarding the APM binos. I'm not sure if the actual glass being used for the 150 SD will be FPL55 when and if it becomes a reality.

 

I spoke to Markus at NEAF just over a week ago and he mentioned several things about the APM150 status.

 

So far, there are three ED models that have been shipped including mine. Possibly one other is sold, so I would guess that six ED versions are available.

The SD is on hold for now until the ED sales are enough to make the SD possible. 

 

I forgot to ask about the 90 degree version, but it could also be on hold until the (10) 45 degree ED units are sold.

 

My experience with the 150 ED is that the longer focal length, higher resolution, and light gathering ability of the 150mm lens makes up for any small loss in performance between the two glass types.

In other words, it allows me to see what I want to see at a very sharp level of resolution.

 

For a lens system operating at F/5.5 the 120 is good on planets, but the 150 is clearly superior despite the glass type.

 

 

Mike


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#153 range88

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Posted 16 April 2019 - 08:59 AM

http://bbs.imufu.cn/...781991-1-1.html

 

You may find this interesting.



#154 oldmanrick

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Posted 16 April 2019 - 10:52 AM

Hi Rick,

 

From what I have read, the FPL55 performs similar to FPL53 and there should be no difference in performance visually regarding the APM binos. I'm not sure if the actual glass being used for the 150 SD will be FPL55 when and if it becomes a reality.

 

I spoke to Markus at NEAF just over a week ago and he mentioned several things about the APM150 status.

 

So far, there are three ED models that have been shipped including mine. Possibly one other is sold, so I would guess that six ED versions are available.

The SD is on hold for now until the ED sales are enough to make the SD possible. 

 

I forgot to ask about the 90 degree version, but it could also be on hold until the (10) 45 degree ED units are sold.

 

My experience with the 150 ED is that the longer focal length, higher resolution, and light gathering ability of the 150mm lens makes up for any small loss in performance between the two glass types.

In other words, it allows me to see what I want to see at a very sharp level of resolution.

 

For a lens system operating at F/5.5 the 120 is good on planets, but the 150 is clearly superior despite the glass type.

 

 

Mike

Very interesting info, Mike, thanks!  I was hoping that they might have sold more than four units, but being as costly, and not too well known, I understand.

 

Nice that you got to speak to Marcus at NEAF.  Any idea how many units he will have to sell before he can start assembling the 150 SD models?  I'm hoping that I'm not waiting for something, (the SD), that will never happen!

 

You're probably right about the glass for the SD, I've noticed that plans and spec's, etc, sometimes seem to change a lot before final release of a model.  I've wondered why they didn't just choose to use FPL 53 for the SD model in the first place.

 

I'm glad to hear that the ED unit is just what you need for your purpose.  It sounds like a wonderful instrument.  I'm a little surprised that aperture wins out over the better glass in the 120.  With yours being so good with the FK 61 glass, I wonder if I'm setting my sights too high, and should just order the ED model.  On the other hand I have to wonder just how good the SD might be with FPL 55 or similar glass.  

 

If I can ever get a copy of the 150, I still want the SD, if i can get it, since it will be the only large astro instrument I have.  I would like to be able to get the best planetary views, as well as other higher magnification use.  I think the better glass might enhance higher magnification use quite a bit.  I have enough dark skies and good seeing here that I think it would be worthwhile.

 

Hope I'm not missing the boat by waiting for the SD.

 

Still not sure whether I would order the 45 or the 90 right now.  I've leaned toward the 90, but I use my 100 mm Lunt for a lot of terrestrial viewing, so may end up going for the 45. 

 

Please excuse the long ramble, I'm just excited about the prospects of this new instrument!

 

Clear Skies,

 

Rick



#155 starzonesteve

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Posted 16 April 2019 - 06:48 PM

Clearly the way forward is to try to get enough people excited about this so that they want to purchase. More purchases will mean more choices. MOAR!!grin.gif


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#156 ZX12

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Posted 16 April 2019 - 06:53 PM

You're welcome Rick.

 

I hope you end up with a 150 either way. While I also wanted to wait for the SD version, I'm very glad to have tried the ED first. It confirmed what I expected from a binocular of this aperture for less money.

 

My main concern was if the SD model is shelved because of poor ED sales, then it would also be possible that no more ED's would be made as well. 

 

My APM120 is already sold to an observing friend because the 150 would likely be out in the observatory most of the time, and I have several other binos for traveling.

 

If the 150 SD is produced, then it's easier to trade up now as I have several friends that would be happy to buy my 150.

 

Mike


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#157 range88

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Posted 16 April 2019 - 07:13 PM

You're welcome Rick.

I hope you end up with a 150 either way. While I also wanted to wait for the SD version, I'm very glad to have tried the ED first. It confirmed what I expected from a binocular of this aperture for less money.

My main concern was if the SD model is shelved because of poor ED sales, then it would also be possible that no more ED's would be made as well.

My APM120 is already sold to an observing friend because the 150 would likely be out in the observatory most of the time, and I have several other binos for traveling.

If the 150 SD is produced, then it's easier to trade up now as I have several friends that would be happy to buy my 150.

Mike

Probably you need not worry too much about the 150ed sales number, the retail market won't count anyway. There are several industrial applications, and these number will count. Despite this, the 150 idea won't be existing at the first place, can't justify the development costs.
However this is a great opportunity for an individual to own such a great instrument for such a low price. Never before. Thanks to the times.
My 2 cents.
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#158 range88

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Posted 16 April 2019 - 07:24 PM

My another 2 cents.

Actually this model does not have as much to do with Markus as you may think. The Sky Rover model has been officially published(see above link), it is marked designed and manufactued in China. And you may see there are quite a few rebranders out there now.

26FB69E8-C366-44AA-A79D-56E506AD179C.jpeg


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#159 ZX12

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Posted 16 April 2019 - 08:09 PM

Thanks for the info Range.

 

I would think the maritime industry would be looking at the 45 degree 150 as well. Though it's possible they prefer a straight through model instead.

 

Mike



#160 oldmanrick

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Posted 18 April 2019 - 10:01 PM

My another 2 cents.

Actually this model does not have as much to do with Markus as you may think. The Sky Rover model has been officially published(see above link), it is marked designed and manufactued in China. And you may see there are quite a few rebranders out there now.

attachicon.gif 26FB69E8-C366-44AA-A79D-56E506AD179C.jpeg

Thanks for the link Range.

 

If I understand the translation of that link correctly, Sky Rover has been marketing the ED version since 2014,  and talk about coming out with new products, but don't say what they will be.  No indication of whether their ED version uses FK 61 glass either, as in the APM version.  Sky Rover SD model next?

 

Wondering if anyone has marketed an SD version yet, and if so, what glass is used?

 

Clear Skies,

 

Rick



#161 range88

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Posted 19 April 2019 - 04:10 AM

Thanks for the link Range.

 

If I understand the translation of that link correctly, Sky Rover has been marketing the ED version since 2014,  and talk about coming out with new products, but don't say what they will be.  No indication of whether their ED version uses FK 61 glass either, as in the APM version.  Sky Rover SD model next?

 

Wondering if anyone has marketed an SD version yet, and if so, what glass is used?

 

Clear Skies,

 

Rick

It seems the translation sucks. Sky Rover is just another branding, dedicated to domestic market, no whatsoever difference besides the appearance.



#162 rednuclei1

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Posted 03 May 2019 - 02:47 PM

I got a response from Markus about 150-90 and was told that it won't be coming this year. I just wonder if he were to offer pre-order and gets enough people for it, would it be helpful in expediting the manufacturing ?



#163 oldmanrick

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Posted 16 May 2019 - 10:35 PM

I'm hearing that APM is getting such great reports about the capabilities of the ED version of the 150mm binocular that they may not market an SD version.  Someone has reportedly tried it at over 350X with good results.  I know no further details, but find that hard to believe.  scratchhead2.gif

 

Rick


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#164 ZX12

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Posted 16 May 2019 - 11:10 PM

Hi Rick,

 

 Where did you hear about the SD not being made? I don't think Markus at APM has said anything about his plan for it yet.

 

I can see why the SD makes less sense as I get more time with the 150ED under different conditions.

My feeling is that the fast focal ratio combined with the binocular prism design puts enough limitations on image quality that the upgrade in glass will have too small of an effect to justify the cost.

 

Seeing also plays a larger role with the 150 due to the aperture, and because much higher powers are possible than with smaller binoculars.

 

When seeing is fair, I tend to use powers in the 25-60x range, which is perfect for many DSO's anyway.

On nights of good seeing, I use powers above 100x and sometimes go to 275x for viewing binaries.

 

The image quality is good enough in the 150 ED that I don't find I'm looking for more to satisfy myself, and I think it's unlikely the SD version will make someone happy if they are looking for Takahashi like sharpness. 

My Tak FS102 binoscope is my comparison. 

 

If you have not tried an APM120, I would recommend you first go that route to get an idea of what the image quality is like.  

 

Mike

 


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#165 edwincjones

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Posted 17 May 2019 - 05:09 AM

.............
However this is a great opportunity for an individual to own such a great instrument for such a low price. Never before. Thanks to the times.
My 2 cents.

 

I agree with the above except for the "never before" statement --- my fujinnon 150MT would disagree.

Looking at the fujinon history, the main, but limited astro seller, was the MT model.

They also made an ED and an ED45 but sales..............?

as I recall  early 2000s    MT  $5000,   ED  $ 12000,   ED45  $16000

 

edj



#166 oldmanrick

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Posted 17 May 2019 - 11:09 AM

Hi Rick,

 

 Where did you hear about the SD not being made? I don't think Markus at APM has said anything about his plan for it yet.

 

I can see why the SD makes less sense as I get more time with the 150ED under different conditions.

My feeling is that the fast focal ratio combined with the binocular prism design puts enough limitations on image quality that the upgrade in glass will have too small of an effect to justify the cost.

 

Seeing also plays a larger role with the 150 due to the aperture, and because much higher powers are possible than with smaller binoculars.

 

When seeing is fair, I tend to use powers in the 25-60x range, which is perfect for many DSO's anyway.

On nights of good seeing, I use powers above 100x and sometimes go to 275x for viewing binaries.

 

The image quality is good enough in the 150 ED that I don't find I'm looking for more to satisfy myself, and I think it's unlikely the SD version will make someone happy if they are looking for Takahashi like sharpness. 

My Tak FS102 binoscope is my comparison. 

 

If you have not tried an APM120, I would recommend you first go that route to get an idea of what the image quality is like.  

 

Mike

Hey Mike,

 

The news that the 150 SD may not be made, came from a USA colleague of APM that sometimes markets some APM products, and I'm assuming results from a recent communication with Markus.

 

I'm guessing that Markus has arrived at about the same conclusion as you regarding the merits of an SD version versus the ED.  Apparently you, Markus, and other users are finding that the ED is so good that any small improvements gained by the SD would likely not be worth the higher cost.

 

Regarding trying a 120 first, I appreciate the advice, but am committed to finding the best all around binocular astronomy viewing that I can get or afford.  After reading your posts and noting that you have sold your 120 in lieu of the 150, I'm confident that I will eventually end up there, enough so that I'm now about ready to go the 150 direction.  I'm still hoping for the SD, but it's sounding more unlikely and far in the future.

 

The good versions of binoscopes have also intrigued me, but the fragility, cost, and fiddling with setup puts me off.  My vision is probably not good enough to appreciate that "Takahashi sharpness", anyway.  

 

I'm curious as to how your Tak FS 102 fits into your astronomy viewing scheme?  Apparently the APM 150 has many advantages over the Tak.  Are there any that I haven't mentioned, or have mentioned in error?

 

Thanks again Mike, for all of the information and insight you have provided.  I really enjoy reading your posts, and have learned a lot from them.

 

Rick 



#167 ZX12

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Posted 17 May 2019 - 11:07 PM

The funny thing is Rick you might either be blown away by the performance of the 150ED, or somewhat disappointed depending on your prior experiences and expectations.

 

In a previous post I mentioned how I progressed through the sizes until reaching the 150, so I knew exactly what to expect from this type of instrument.

It's remarkable how similar all of the APM's perform regarding the appearance of star fields. The focal ratio and overall design being scaled are likely responsible for this. 

 

The Tak binoscope is quite different in many ways. They are F/8's and have a very sharp, flat field using most eyepieces.

I use it less because it is rare, delicate and somewhat fussy with IPD and focus due to the length/height variation created by the EMS system.

The image quality is spectacular in the Tak's, but that extra sharpness was not enough for me to choose it over the APM120 on most nights. 

On planets and binary stars the Tak's really impress because of that same level of sharpness. I can easily use 273x and split the Double Double into two sets of perfect dots. You can even see a slight color variation in them.

 

I did not find the APM 120 to be very good with high powers like that, and was quite surprised when the 150 could do considerably better despite using the lower glass index.

 

As Markus pointed out to me early on, the 150 was given a much greater level of attention since only 10 units were scheduled to be made initially.

 

The APM 150 has now become my most complete two eyed viewing system because it has superior light gathering ability combined with a good level of sharpness in a tough, weather resistant, user friendly package.

 

Mike

 

 

 

  


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#168 oldmanrick

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Posted 18 May 2019 - 01:22 AM

My experience astronomically viewing is probably much less than yours, Mike.  I've spent many hours of my life looking through binoculars from 7X35 on up through 8X25, 8X40, 8X42, 8.5X44, 10X42, 18X50 IS, 20X80, a Pentax 100mm 20X-80X spotting scope, and the latest, Lunt 100mm ED APO, (same as the APM 100).  I did a lot of research prior to buying the Lunt, and at the time it seemed to be the best binocular available for the price.  I have not been disappointed.

 

Although I've looked at the sky on many occasions over the years, I've only developed an interest in astronomy during the last few years.  Discounting the mobility and ergonomics difficulties of the 100mm Lunt, it is by far the best and most versatile optically, of any instrument I've owned.  Even though it is good, when seeing permits, I always wish for something bigger and better so I can see more detail in the night sky.  The Canon 18X50 IS binocular is very good, mainly due to the IS, but it isn't even in the same league as the Lunt, even at a lowly 26 power.  I would expect a similar but somewhat smaller jump in performance going from the 100mm Lunt to the 150mm APM ED.

 

It was quite surprising to me when I read that the APM 150 ED is being used successfully at over 350X.  I still take that with a grain of salt, but it must be very good to even approach that much useful magnification.  The rare occasions when that kind of magnification can be used must have pristine seeing and a bright target!

 

The sharpness you experience with your Tak binoscope is very appealing, but my eyesight has degraded some over the years, so I doubt that I could use that to good advantage.  I'm probably going to need cataract surgery soon, and that should give some improvement to my vision, so perhaps I would change my mind at that point, but for now, I think the 150 binoc would be the best upgrade for me. 

 

Rick



#169 ZX12

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Posted 18 May 2019 - 09:51 AM

While the APM 150 does handle high powers well, I don't find myself using it for that reason very often. Only out of curiosity do I bump it up above 150x to see what it can handle. And that is usually to split binary stars.

 

Globulars are best in my typical sky conditions from 103x to 137x.

 

The true strength of a binocular like this is the ability to use lower powers with a corresponding wide field that is difficult for a telescope with binoviewer to achieve.

 

A particular favorite is 34x with 24 Pan's. The 150 really shines with this combination. Much better than with the 100 or 120 APM's.

No signs of vignetting and very sharp across the field. 

 

The other often used power is 58x with the 14mm Delos. Galaxies like M81/82 are quite a sight at this power.  

 

I'm looking into the 22 Nagler's as the option for the widest field at the highest power. This will provide 37x and over a two degree true field. 

Since I have not looked through one I'm not sure about field curvature.

 

Mike

 

 



#170 oldmanrick

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Posted 18 May 2019 - 10:34 AM

While the APM 150 does handle high powers well, I don't find myself using it for that reason very often. Only out of curiosity do I bump it up above 150x to see what it can handle. And that is usually to split binary stars.

 

< snip >

 

I'm looking into the 22 Nagler's as the option for the widest field at the highest power. This will provide 37x and over a two degree true field. 

Since I have not looked through one I'm not sure about field curvature.

 

Mike

Can't help you about the 22 Nagler's, I've never looked through any tv eyepieces except the pair of 7 Delite's I bought for the 100mm Lunt bino.  I don't like them much due to the uncomfortable eyecups, (for me), narrow for, and critical eye placement.  For higher power I like the 6.5 Morpheus best, then the ES 4.7 82 degree pair, and the ES 6.7 82 last, a close finish to the Delite 7's.

 

My favorite eyepiece pair for the  Lunt 100 is the Docter 12.5's, with the Morpheus 17.5 being a close second.

 

Since I have no high powered telescope, my binoculars have to serve for any high power needs, thus the array of shorter eyepieces.

 

Have thought a lot about getting a decent refractor, but I just enjoy bino viewing so much more, I haven't made that investment and may not.

 

Rick 



#171 ZX12

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Posted 18 May 2019 - 11:52 AM

I have a very nice 160mm refractor that provides a superbly sharp image, yet I find that binoviewing with it is not as pleasurable as the binoculars for most visual work.

 

I prefer mono mode when using it for planets and binaries as the image becomes too dark at high power in bino mode.

 

The best compliment to the APM 150 would be a nicely made Dob in the 18-24" range. That way you can have both wide field and high resolution covered. 

If I could only have one instrument then it would be the 150 because of the ease of use.

 

Mike


Edited by ZX12, 18 May 2019 - 04:17 PM.

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#172 Kunama

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Posted 18 May 2019 - 05:09 PM

I have a very nice 160mm refractor that provides a superbly sharp image, yet I find that binoviewing with it is not as pleasurable as the binoculars for most visual work.

 

I prefer mono mode when using it for planets and binaries as the image becomes too dark at high power in bino mode.

 

The best compliment to the APM 150 would be a nicely made Dob in the 18-24" range. That way you can have both wide field and high resolution covered. 

If I could only have one instrument then it would be the 150 because of the ease of use.

 

Mike

I would be very interested in the APM 150 if it were a 90º, for me 45º would not suit as the planets here transit so high in the sky.... (Jupiter at 77º last night)



#173 ZX12

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Posted 18 May 2019 - 05:44 PM

Hi Matt,

 

 I can understand your desire for the 90 degree version. I have the opposite situation here with the planets quite low for some time now.

 

I'm not sure what the situation is for APM producing the 90 degree 150, but it certainly looks like there would be more sales in the astro community if it was available.

 

Mike 


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#174 faackanders2

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Posted 18 May 2019 - 08:39 PM

Hi Matt,

 

 I can understand your desire for the 90 degree version. I have the opposite situation here with the planets quite low for some time now.

 

I'm not sure what the situation is for APM producing the 90 degree 150, but it certainly looks like there would be more sales in the astro community if it was available.

 

Mike 

DSOs look better at zenith through less atmosphere and that requires 90 deg


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#175 oldmanrick

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Posted 23 May 2019 - 12:05 PM

I am also far enough North that planets are nowhere near the zenith.

 

I've been unable to notice any significant difference in the quality of the view, between about 45 to 50 degree viewing angle, and zenith.  The atmosphere follows the curvature of the earth, so it takes a flatter viewing angle to really be looking through a lot more of it than at zenith.

 

I find that I use my 100 Lunt bino a lot for terrestrial viewing as well as astro, so would probably be happier with 45 degree eyepieces on a 150 too.

 

I do agree that for pure astro viewing, the 90 degree model would probably be better.

 

Rick




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