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APM 150ED review

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#101 range88

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Posted 09 May 2019 - 07:44 PM

This ia definitely the best factory-made big binoculars in two decades. So go for it.
We'll test the binoculars at the Yangtze River Delta binoculars party in a couple of days.
The 150 has arrived at the location and 30 people will take part. I'll report back soon.
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#102 ZX12

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Posted 09 May 2019 - 09:46 PM

Range,

 

I'm looking forward to reading about your experience with the 150.

 

Hopefully you will have conditions that wilI allow you to use the full range of power that it is capable of.

 

One trick I found for a better way to merge images in mine is to allow both eyepieces or eyepiece holders to relax with the binocular close to the horizontal position and then lightly tighten the collet.

 

If there is a slight misalignment, then loosen one side to rotate it into position.

 

This seems to work better than pushing downward on the eyepeiece while tightening, especially for high powers.

 

Mike

 

 


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#103 range88

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Posted 09 May 2019 - 10:27 PM

Range,

I'm looking forward to reading about your experience with the 150.

Hopefully you will have conditions that wilI allow you to use the full range of power that it is capable of.

One trick I found for a better way to merge images in mine is to allow both eyepieces or eyepiece holders to relax with the binocular close to the horizontal position and then lightly tighten the collet.

If there is a slight misalignment, then loosen one side to rotate it into position.

This seems to work better than pushing downward on the eyepeiece while tightening, especially for high powers.

Mike

The factory project manager will be present, too.
So we expect any technical problem will be dealt with at site.

#104 oldmanrick

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Posted 18 May 2019 - 10:37 AM

Mike, just curious, but how much do you find that you use the APM 30mm UFF pair that came with your 150, now that you have had more time to use and evaluate what works well with it?

 

Rick



#105 ZX12

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Posted 18 May 2019 - 11:09 AM

The 30mm UFF work extremely well with the 150 for the lowest power while being very flat field. I also have the 32mm Masuyama and it is super sharp at center field, but the outer field quickly degrades with field curvature.

 

When the sky is at it's darkest I spend quite a bit of time with the low powers. I've just started panning the Milky Way recently early in the morning, and it's easy to lose track of time as you come across endless knots and asterisms throughout the center of the galaxy.

 

Percentage wise I would put the following time spent at each power:

 

27 and 34x - 30%

 

47, 58, 66, 82x - 40%

 

103 and 137x - 20%

 

150x and up - 10%

 

This can vary from each season depending on what is available in the sky, but I would say that is a rough estimate of where I end up on most nights.

 

I like to only use two levels of power each session so I can spend more time observing rather than switching eyepieces and getting everything just right.

 

Mike 

 

 


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#106 ZX12

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Posted 19 May 2019 - 11:04 PM

Early this morning I had a chance to view Jupiter and Saturn in fair to good seeing with the APM150. I also had a Meade 8" SCT on the EQ mount to do some simple comparisons.

The 8" Meade has what I would consider excellent optics for a mass produced SCT.  

 

The 150 had the 6mm Delos for 137x and the 8" SCT was at 145x with the 14mm Delos. I tried to match power rather than exit pupil to equalize the effects of seeing.

The 8" took about 20 minutes to reach equilibrium once I opened the observatory, while the 150 is typically ready to go right away.

Not having to deal with thermal management is a big plus with the 150.

 

The image was very comparable overall. Brightness was close, with the edge going to the 8". Both instruments were quite sharp, but the 8" had moments when I could pull a bit more detail out of the belts on Jupiter.

 

There was just a hint of red seen on the very edge of Jupiter in the 150, though color correction is excellent for such a fast ED lens. The four Galilean Moons appeared sharper in the 150 and were seen as perfect disks.

 

Saturn was a clean image in the 150 with no false color seen. Both instruments showed the Cassini Division distinctly along with two cloud bands. I could also see the same amount of moons around Saturn using direct vision. 

  

The 8" SCT was affected by seeing more noticeably, while the 150 maintained a cleaner image the entire session.

Using two eyes was also a big plus in the 150's favor as it allowed me to relax and study the details more easily.

 

Next session I will try the binoviewer on the 8" to see how much it dims the image.  

 

I matched the 150 against the 8" SCT because it is one of the more popular scopes for many amateurs and it gives them a good baseline to gauge what the APM 150 is capable of.

 

Mike


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#107 Beg

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Posted 20 May 2019 - 12:40 AM

Mike you should do an article on CN with all of this info so everybody can see it. Very interesting. 
 


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#108 Edwin

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Posted 20 May 2019 - 01:17 AM

Nice comparison, very usefull to get an idea of its potential!



#109 Erik Bakker

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Posted 20 May 2019 - 01:58 AM

Wonderful stories and insights on your 150ED Mike.

 

Love your personal and detailed impressions of what you see in the eyepieces!



#110 oldmanrick

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Posted 20 May 2019 - 11:05 AM

Another great report, Mike.  You are giving us great information as to what we could expect from the APM 150.

 

Keep up the good work!

 

Much appreciated!

 

Rick



#111 robertasumendi

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Posted 22 May 2019 - 11:54 AM

"I like to only use two levels of power each session so I can spend more time observing rather than switching eyepieces and getting everything just right."

 

How long does it take to change eyepieces? What does "getting everything just right" mean?

 

Robert



#112 ZX12

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Posted 22 May 2019 - 09:59 PM

Hi Robert,

 

 Binoculars and binoscopes have one area that makes them a bit less user friendly than a mono mode telescope, and that is getting both eyes to be in a perfect relaxed state with the equipment.

There is more to it than just switching out an eyepiece in a diagonal.

 

The APM150 uses a set of adapters that allow 1.25" eyepieces to be inserted into the 2" holders.

 

This requires you to first loosen the 2" holder, remove the adapter/eyepiece and then loosen the adapter to remove the 1.25" eyepiece. 

 

After inserting both eyepieces into the adapters and then inserting them in to the 2" holder, you have to check for image merging issues which typically increase with power . 

 

Sometime I can drop a set of 8mm Delos in for 103x and it is perfect. Other times I have to loosen one holder and rotate the combined adapter/eyepiece until perfect merging is obtained.

 

I also tend to decrease the IPD adjustment as powers go up as it becomes difficult to merge the image when it's set at the same distance I use for low power.

 

This whole process can take up to 5 min. at most, but it's also taking away from precious viewing time and is not fun when it's below 30 degrees.

 

The smaller APM binos are easier because they only take one size eyepiece, but they also don't have the range of powers that the 150 is capable of using.

 

Mike 


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#113 TOMDEY

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Posted 23 May 2019 - 09:30 PM

If you have extreme IPD or have the barrels turned down, the 21 Ethos would be nice for moderately dark skies at 39x and a 2.5 degree field.

It comes to focus with range to spare in the 150. Eye relief is a bit tight and would probably be difficult for eyeglass wearers.

Mike

Yikes! I measure the diameter of the 21mm Ethos at 76mm (75 with rubber grip removed). My pupils are "a mere" 71mm...

 

The thought of turning a pair of those on a lathe... and hoping to not hit glass... Hmmm...

 

Maybe some kinda surgery on my face would be more cost-effective? Would also make room for more brains.

 

PS: I still want to spring for the 150s, but need a new car and insist on paying cash for everything... This would leave quite a noticeable depression in my mattress!    Tom


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#114 ZX12

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Posted 23 May 2019 - 10:57 PM

Hi Tom,

 

 I was incorrect when I first tried the 21 Ethos. It was fine focusing on terrestial objects, but when I tried it later that night it was incapable of coming to focus on stars. 

 

I was looking into the 22 Nagler, but it looks like it might be just short of in focus travel.

 

The 24 Pan's work exceptionally well along with the 30mm UFF's. 

 

Mike



#115 ZX12

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Posted 23 May 2019 - 11:25 PM

Last night I tried the APM 150 with 8mm Delos for 103x along side the Meade 8" with a binoviewer using 24 Pan's, which works out to 96x at the mid power setting of the Binotron 27.

 

What stood out right away with the 8" was the image being dimmed considerably from mono viewing.

Faint stars that were previously easy to see in M13 were now barely visible. For globulars the 150 was the clear winner.

M81 and M82 were helped out by the very dark sky background in the 8", so the views were closer in how well the galaxy stood out.

 

The two pairs of faint binary stars near M81 were interesting in both instruments. It was impressive how well resolved they were, especially in the 150 at that power.
The very tight pair appeared as tiny dots with a small gap between that was enough to make a clean split. Currently listed at 2.1" seperation.

 

The darker image in the 8" handicapped it enough that the 150 easily could resolve stars just on the edge of detection in the 8".
This is quite a change from mono mode as the 8" had a slight edge over the 150 in that regard.

 

I'm going to try the 12" SCT with the binoviewer next session to see how well it compares to the 150. From memory I think the 12" will have enough aperture to overcome the dimming effect of a split light path.

 

After that it will be a 160mm Apo with the binoviewer compared to the 150.

 

Mike


Edited by ZX12, 24 May 2019 - 06:59 AM.

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#116 starzonesteve

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Posted 24 May 2019 - 02:19 AM

Last night I tried the APM 150 with 8mm Delos for 103x along side the Meade 8" with a binoviewer using 24 Pan's, which works out to 96x at the mid power setting of the Binotron 27.

 

What stood out right away with the 8" was the image being dimmed considerably from mono viewing.

Faint stars that were previously easy to see in M13 were now barely visible. For globulars the 150 was the clear winner.

M81 and M82 were helped out by the very dark sky background in the 8", so the views were closer in how well the galaxy stood out.

 

The two pairs of faint binary stars near M81 were interesting in both instruments. It was impressive how well resolved they were, especially in the 150 at that power.
They very tight pair appeared as tiny dots with a small gap between that was enough to make a clean split. Currently listed at 2.1" seperation.

 

The darker image in the 8" handicapped it enough that the 150 easily could resolve stars just on the edge of detection in the 8".
This is quite a change from mono mode as the 8" had a slight edge over the 150 in that regard.

 

I'm going to try the 12" SCT with the binoviewer next session to see how well it compares to the 150. From memory I think the 12" will have enough aperture to overcome the dimming effect of a split light path.

 

After that it will be a 160mm Apo with the binoviewer compared to the 150.

 

Mike

Great stuff, Mike. Hope you're able to keep it coming. Thanks,

 

Steve



#117 GamesForOne

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Posted 24 May 2019 - 08:07 AM

Last night I tried the APM 150 with 8mm Delos for 103x along side the Meade 8" with a binoviewer using 24 Pan's, which works out to 96x at the mid power setting of the Binotron 27.

 

What stood out right away with the 8" was the image being dimmed considerably from mono viewing.

...

 

Mike

Can you test with the OCS removed from the Binotron? I have found that adds to the dimming effect when using a binoviewer with a newt.

 

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#118 ZX12

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Posted 24 May 2019 - 04:27 PM

Hi Michael,

 

That is how it was configured, without the OCS.

 

Mike



#119 GamesForOne

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Posted 28 May 2019 - 08:52 AM

Hi Michael,

 

That is how it was configured, without the OCS.

 

Mike

And without the "power slider"? Just a 2" nosepiece?

 

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#120 ZX12

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Posted 28 May 2019 - 09:18 PM

I have it configured with the 2" nose piece, power slider and Binotron body docked directly to the IVB star diagonal allowing removal of the 2" eyepiece holder.

 

My recent observations with the APM 150 and the Meade 12" with binoviewer were comparable as the 12" image was close in sky background darkness to the 150.

 

I was using the 24 Pan's in the 12" configured with the OCS since the F/8 version runs out of focus adjustment without it.

This should translate to 131x, which seems correct when comparing the true field size to the 150 with 6mm Delos at 137x. 

 

The core of M13 is slightly brighter and more stars are resolved in the 12", but not dramatically so.

When back in mono mode with the 12" at 141x and 17.3mm Delos there is another jump in core brightness, but the sky also brightens enough to reduce the contrast difference.

As seeing changed, the 12" image would improve/degrade quickly while stars in the 150 remained relatively sharp for the conditions the entire hour. 

 

On Jupiter and Saturn there is clearly more detail seen with the 12", whereas the 8" Meade with binos was providing about the same level of detail at similar powers to the 150.

 

I'm typically seeing limited here, so it's rare that large apertures can take advantage of their greater resolving power. Thermal issues also cause problems for the 12" compared to the 8" Meade which usually goes most of the night without issue.

 

Mike

 


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#121 winterprillan

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Posted 29 May 2019 - 11:53 AM

I have it configured with the 2" nose piece, power slider and Binotron body docked directly to the IVB star diagonal allowing removal of the 2" eyepiece holder.

 

My recent observations with the APM 150 and the Meade 12" with binoviewer were comparable as the 12" image was close in sky background darkness to the 150.

 

I was using the 24 Pan's in the 12" configured with the OCS since the F/8 version runs out of focus adjustment without it.

This should translate to 131x, which seems correct when comparing the true field size to the 150 with 6mm Delos at 137x. 

 

The core of M13 is slightly brighter and more stars are resolved in the 12", but not dramatically so.

When back in mono mode with the 12" at 141x and 17.3mm Delos there is another jump in core brightness, but the sky also brightens enough to reduce the contrast difference.

As seeing changed, the 12" image would improve/degrade quickly while stars in the 150 remained relatively sharp for the conditions the entire hour. 

 

On Jupiter and Saturn there is clearly more detail seen with the 12", whereas the 8" Meade with binos was providing about the same level of detail at similar powers to the 150.

 

I'm typically seeing limited here, so it's rare that large apertures can take advantage of their greater resolving power. Thermal issues also cause problems for the 12" compared to the 8" Meade which usually goes most of the night without issue.

 

Mike

I can understand that the 12 with binoviewer was brighter and showed more of the planets, but...

What scope, 150 bino or 12 meade with binoviewer, produced the sharpest and cleanest image of the planets?

Binoviewers always degrade sharpness and contrast some amount.

I currently have the mark V and Siebert Elite 45. I also had the Denk 2 supersystem a couple of years ago. All of them cause a little less sharpness and contrast.

Xz 12, i salute you for a exelent thread.



#122 garret

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Posted 29 May 2019 - 05:13 PM

I have it configured with the 2" nose piece, power slider and Binotron body docked directly to the IVB star diagonal allowing removal of the 2" eyepiece holder.

 

My recent observations with the APM 150 and the Meade 12" with binoviewer were comparable as the 12" image was close in sky background darkness to the 150.

 

I was using the 24 Pan's in the 12" configured with the OCS since the F/8 version runs out of focus adjustment without it.

This should translate to 131x, which seems correct when comparing the true field size to the 150 with 6mm Delos at 137x. 

 

The core of M13 is slightly brighter and more stars are resolved in the 12", but not dramatically so.

When back in mono mode with the 12" at 141x and 17.3mm Delos there is another jump in core brightness, but the sky also brightens enough to reduce the contrast difference.

As seeing changed, the 12" image would improve/degrade quickly while stars in the 150 remained relatively sharp for the conditions the entire hour. 

 

On Jupiter and Saturn there is clearly more detail seen with the 12", whereas the 8" Meade with binos was providing about the same level of detail at similar powers to the 150.

 

I'm typically seeing limited here, so it's rare that large apertures can take advantage of their greater resolving power. Thermal issues also cause problems for the 12" compared to the 8" Meade which usually goes most of the night without issue.

 

Mike

I own the Meade 12" F10 GPS SCT for 17 years now, I'm no longer use the scope since I own the (lightweight) APM 100 APO..., I was never happy with optical performance on planets; always soft, even with the best sky conditions, it was ok on small deep sky objects, and impressive on the moon (with the Televue binoviewer + Radian 12 and 18mm  ep).

With the binoviewer and 32mm Plössl ep field of view was only half degree wide, compare the APM 150 + 32mm Plössl's : 1.84 degree wide: that's 13.5 times more sky!  

With 2" eyepieces (for example the 22mm Nagler) field is 2.1 degree wide.

Exit pupil size, magnification, field of view they all are completely different; you can not compare a 12" F10 SCT with the APM 150.... and don't forget 35% obstruction fore the SCT...


Edited by garret, 29 May 2019 - 05:13 PM.


#123 ZX12

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Posted 29 May 2019 - 05:45 PM

Garret,

 

I did compare the APM150 and 12" SCT and they have some areas that are quite comparable. Other areas not so much.

My 12" F/8 Meade is very sharp optically and when conditions are good, puts up a near refractor like image.

 

The whole point of these comparisons is to give readers here many viewpoints on what the image is like in the APM150 binocular, not treat them like they are in some kind of competition that has an ultimate winner or loser. 

 

There are simply no other binoculars that I have looked through with such a wide range of ability.

 

Would the majority of readers here prefer I only compare them to binoculars?  

 

Mike



#124 bcarter1234

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Posted 29 May 2019 - 09:45 PM


Would the majority of readers here prefer I only compare them to binoculars?  

 

Mike

 

Put me down for one "No". I have an RB-66 binocular telescope and a 13.1" Dob. I want to know if I would find binoviewers a nice complement. Thanks for your efforts.

 

Take care,

Brent 



#125 garret

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Posted 30 May 2019 - 12:56 AM

 

Would the majority of readers here prefer I only compare them to binoculars?

The Fujinon 150, the <no-name> 150mm binoculars, the 152mm F5.9 <no-name> refractor with Matsumoto EMS system...

On all three the APM 150 will be the winner.

 

With your 12" F8 SCT...with 45% obstruction, comparison with the APM 150 is complicated as you can read in your posts.




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