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APM 150ED review

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#151 Greenflash1

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Posted 08 July 2019 - 12:33 AM

Mike:
what are the NPB filters you are using on your APM 150? They sound great!
Geoff

Edited by Greenflash1, 08 July 2019 - 12:35 AM.


#152 Greenflash1

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Posted 08 July 2019 - 12:37 AM

Mike:
The NPB filters you used with your APM 150 sound like a nice combination! Who makes them and can I find out their specs?geoff

#153 Greenflash1

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Posted 08 July 2019 - 12:37 AM

Mike:
The NPB filters you used with your APM 150 sound like a nice combination! Who makes them and can I find out their specs?geoff

#154 ZX12

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Posted 08 July 2019 - 07:45 AM

Geoff,

 

 NPB filters are made by DGM Optics here in the U.S. There is a report here on CN by David Knisely that covers the specs  quite well.

 

The early versions had some thread mismatch issues, but that seems to be sorted out now.

 

Mike 



#155 Greenflash1

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Posted 08 July 2019 - 08:39 AM

Mike
Thanks! Ok, so you use them on your 1.25” eyepieces or do you also have the 2” version?
G

#156 vkhastro1

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Posted 08 July 2019 - 09:11 AM

The Omega Optics NPB filters are available in both 2” and 1.25” versions.



#157 Greenflash1

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Posted 09 July 2019 - 07:09 PM

Mike
You sold your APM 120 ED Apo! Question: I’m trying to decide between 120 SD APO and the 150 ED APO.
I don’t see anyone comparing the SD and ED versions of the 120...
Factors to consider.
1-if I had to choose between ED 120 and ED 150 I’d go with the 150 based on your reviews.
2-If the SD 120 is *much* better color corrected than the ED I’d go with the SD 120 over the ED 150....or is that a weak argument? No one seems to have compared ED and SD versions of 100 or 120 to see effect of glass.
3-going with smaller 120 I can use my existing Manfrotto, and get an encoder Kit for my existing APO large fork.
4-choosing the 150 means I’d need to get a Berlebach K70 tripod or similar, as well as a new larger APM fork (apparently the one that I have is ok for 100 and 120 but not 150).
5-I wonder if the small extra aperture of the 150 relative to 120 is worth having to get a new tripod, working with ED rather than SD glass, and a new fork....
6-BTW there is no encoder for the big fork that works with the 150...not available, not planned.

If that 120 of yours was an SD, I wonder how it would have fared ...would you have sold it like you did the ED 120?

Thanks,
Geoff

Edited by Greenflash1, 09 July 2019 - 07:21 PM.


#158 ZX12

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Posted 09 July 2019 - 08:17 PM

Hi Geoff,

 

 As far as I know the 120 only comes from APM as an SD version, but for some reason they are marked ED on the body.

 

I had the 100ED prior to the 120, and there is a new 100SD model just coming out now to customers.

 

The 120 has better color correction than the original 100ED in my opinion after comparing the two, but the color correction is only part of the equation that leads to excellent image quality.

 

Well figured objectives and matching prisms working together as a system has much to do with a good binocular image.  

 

The 150ED has similar CA to the 100ED, but the level of optical refinement is the best I have seen from any of the APM binos so far.

The result is stars appear as sharp as the 120, plus you can push magnification far beyond any of the smaller APM's without image break down.

 

The small amount of color that is visible on the brightest stars and the Moon does not degrade the view in any way that I find a problem.

Overall, the color correction would not be a big concern regarding the 150 from my experience, and even if it is you can use a 140mm aperture mask to reduce CA to the level of the 120.

 

Dealing with the cost, weight, and mounting requirements will be your biggest concern.

 

If you plan on traveling to dark sky sites than you certainly will enjoy the 120 more. The 150 is better suited to being mounted in an observatory unless your consider yourself highly motivated and energetic to lug it around. 

 

Owning the 150 has been pure optical pleasure for me and I would have a hard time going down in aperture at this point, but I have found it to be very satisfying working my way up to the 150. 

 

Mike


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#159 Greenflash1

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Posted 28 July 2019 - 04:33 PM

Just received my APM 150 ED APO.
Mike,
I took delivery of the 2019007 serial number Bino. In the right optical assembly, looking at Jupiter, with the disk centered, I see a pronounced flare that runs diagonally from 8 o’clock to 2 o’clock across the entire FOV! It is quite bright and distracting. I can minimize the flare by placing the disk of the planet in the upper right quadrant. Otherwise, since this flare is seen only in the right eye view, it is quite distracting. Of course not a problem with nebulae and clusters. Do you see this? Markus claims its in all 150 APMs to date. But what would make it only in the right side. I also note a distinct right triangle shaped scuff/scratch mark about 4 mm on each of its edges, 15% in from the (apparent) left edge of the prism aperture at 9 o’clock without the eyepiece in place. I suspect it’s on the Schmidt prism but can’t tell which face other than it is not on the exposed faces of that or the eyepiece prism. I’m concerned it might lead to the scattering effect and flare. Markus seems to think it is from the support of the prism, which is certainly possible. But why only the right eye?  He also says all the 150 bino have this. It’s quite distracting and ruins my view of Jupiter! Do you have this and just ignore it? I don’t see mention. Again it’s not seen at all on the left path.


Edited by Greenflash1, 28 July 2019 - 05:07 PM.


#160 Greenflash1

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Posted 28 July 2019 - 04:40 PM

I’ll post pics of the optical path defect in the prism and of the flare as soon as I figure out how to. DSO and clusters are spectacular, but views of Saturn and Jupiter are marred by the disappointing flare in the right eye view.

#161 Greenflash1

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Posted 28 July 2019 - 04:57 PM

The first image is a simple snapshot with iPhone 8 camera. 12mm TV Delos, distance streetlight through some trees. I realize the main image is overexposed. This shows the flare. In practice it’s about 20% the apparent brightness of the planet. This is only seen in the right barrel. Left side is free of such. The second image is of the prism defect/mark. It is pretty big. 

I don’t see the dreaded “fingernails” or such. This seems distinct from that and Markus thinks the flare is from the prism mount, and that all 150 APM ED APO they’ve made have it. I only see it on the right side though, which is  incidentally the side with the big gouge. Curious what you see on yours.

frustrated in Santa Fe.

Geofffrown.gif

 

ill have to load the image of the defect separately  

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#162 Greenflash1

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Posted 28 July 2019 - 05:04 PM

Mike

here is what I see Looking into the optical path on the right side of the binocular without an eyepiece in place directed at a light partially visible at the top to illuminate the defect against a darker background.

maybe the chip isn’t really in the light cone...but if the scattering flare is coming from the prism support, and not this big gouge, why only the right side has this I wonder? Left eye is pristine.

Markus doesn’t address the gouge or any remedy. I know not to expect perfection but this gouge rubs me the wrong way at 8K...

frown.gif

geoff

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#163 ZX12

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Posted 28 July 2019 - 06:20 PM

Hi Geoff,

 

 I have seen the same flare in my 150 when I move the brightest objects off center of field, but when it is near center it disappears.

Having my eyes too far back from the eyepieces can also create a similar effect.

 

Markus has told me it's in the prism design, but mine was tuned by Wellenform so perfectly that it is hard to detect.

I would expect all of the 150's would be adjusted this way since mine was one of the earliest.

 

My prisms look pristine when viewed from the objective end. That almost looks like a scuff in your photo.

 

I don't see the flare in any situation when the 140mm aperture masks are in place, which I use to reduce the slight amount of CA present in the 150 ED.  

This also helps sharpen the image when looking at planets or binary stars.

 

My 150 still amazes me when viewing Jupiter and Saturn at 100-200x. Very sharp and detailed two eyed views.

 

Mike



#164 Rich V.

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Posted 28 July 2019 - 08:50 PM

Mike

here is what I see Looking into the optical path on the right side of the binocular without an eyepiece in place directed at a light partially visible at the top to illuminate the defect against a darker background.

maybe the chip isn’t really in the light cone...but if the scattering flare is coming from the prism support, and not this big gouge, why only the right side has this I wonder? Left eye is pristine.

Markus doesn’t address the gouge or any remedy. I know not to expect perfection but this gouge rubs me the wrong way at 8K...

frown.gif

geoff

I have a couple of questions; is it just the camera angle or do those prism faces intruding into the circular objective at the 9:00 and 7:30 positions appear like that on axis?  Just wondering if there could be a misalignment. There shouldn't be any chordal intrusions like shown in your photo when your eye (or camera) is looking straight into the focuser on axis.

 

Does the bright spike of light change its orientation when you rotate the rhomb turret or does it stay the same?  Look through it in mono mode and move it to both extremes. That would indicate whether the problem lies with the rhomb turret prism or the main Schmidt roof prism. At least you can narrow it down.  If the triangular "gouge" doesn't move with the rhomb, that would likewise help locate its position, too.  It seems to have streaks pointing upward; could it just be grease or some other crud smeared on the prism face by a tool fumbled during assembly?  Doesn't say much about QC; I'd hoped these would have better attention to detail than that, particularly for the money involved.

 

For any higher end BT like you have, I'd expect both sides to perform exactly the same optically; not one "good side" and the other with a big spike on bright objects.  Whatever is going on does not sound proper to me and deserves attention by the dealer.  There's no reason there shouldn't be two "good sides".   wink.gif

 

Rich


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#165 MB_PL

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Posted 29 July 2019 - 01:38 AM

I agree with Rich. Regardless of whether or not all samples have these problems, they should not be there. These are design, manufacturing or assembly flaws and at the least should have been communicated earlier. They certainly warrant a full refund if you return the BT or a reduction in price if you decide to keep it. But don't expect friendly post sale service if you decide to go down that route... Thank you for posting about these issues. Everyone will be able to manage their expectations and make an informed decision whether or not to buy this BT. I hope this situation is resolved to your satsifaction.
Clear skies
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#166 ricky64

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Posted 29 July 2019 - 07:52 AM

I've been very interested in the 150's. I would have been very disappointed to take delivery with the above issues. I'll be following this situation closely. 


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#167 Greenflash1

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Posted 29 July 2019 - 09:39 AM

Next time I have a chance I’ll take a photo precisely aligned down the optical axis. My observations suggest the left vertical and 45 deg chordal lines are more visible on the right axis.

It is less likely that the flare comes from the defect on the prism. While I’m not ruling out that it might be a grease smear, the way it scatters light from a laser suggests it’s the surface of a chip, tool mark, or marring from a rotation of the prism in a support. Careful examination shows a similar defect outside the pupil/path in the lower right, hard to see in this image.

It’s likely that this defect has little or no direct effect on the focused image. The flare is more likely from the chordal intrusions in the pupil. I think it just a case of something sneaking through QC.

Despite these issues, the views of DSO are exceptional. I’ll make comments comparing this to an Orion BT-100 and Orion 8’and 12 inch dobs with and without Televue bino viewers as soon as skies clear. And the main disk of the visual planets are very good.

I’m going to get some 140 mm aperture masks, Mike ZX12 has reported very good views of the visual planets using those. I’ll report once I have a chance to use.

I would not discourage folks from considering this instrument on the basis of my experience, so far, alone. I think we can all agree that APM has a well-deserved reputation for excellent performance from its instruments. I have several APM components and am overall quite happy with them!


Edited by Greenflash1, 29 July 2019 - 09:40 AM.

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#168 Greenflash1

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Posted 29 July 2019 - 09:59 AM

Superlative for DSO.

 

There is no issue using this instrument for DSO. It far exceeds the performance in this area, of any other bino at this price that I’ve used or owned. I would certainly recommend it for this purpose. The views of DSO are comparable to my 12” Newtonian and Televue binoviewers. Stars are sharper in the Newtonian (F 5) when corrected for coma using the TV Paracorr. 

 

I am am eager to take the APM 150 to dark site once weather clears.

 

markus has offered to address these possible issues, which should certainly indicate the integrity of APM!

 

keep in mind that the intended use of this bino is for DSO, not planet gazing. The fact that it works for planets, showing details normally seen with larger aperture instruments+bino viewers (such as TV binoviewer) but with the advantage of smaller apertures and less sensitivity to seeing conditions, is a big advantage.

 

even with the flare on the right side, I can clearly see several bands of Jupiter, festoons, etc. not quite as sharp as my 12” with Televue, but this is not the primary intended use. For sweeping Milkyway and direct observation of DSO I have not concerns. I will report my comparisons as did Mike ZX12 once conditions are prime.



#169 oldmanrick

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Posted 29 July 2019 - 04:10 PM

I also have flares from Jupiter in my APM 150.  Until you mentioned this, I hadn't really noticed them.  My copy has them in each eyepiece.  When planet is centered in the FOV the left flare runs from the planet to the field stop at about 10:30, and the right runs from the planet to the field stop at about 1:30, forming a vee.  I think the flares I see are much dimmer than yours.  Mine are similar in each eyepiece, and I would guess they are more like 5% as bright as Jupiter.  They haven't been a big problem for viewing to me, if fact I didn't even realize that they weren't an aberration caused by my ancient eyes, until you mentioned seeing it in your bino.  The 2" 30mm APM eyepieces do not seem to be affected, however.  I could detect no such flares in them. 

 

Rick



#170 Greenflash1

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Posted 29 July 2019 - 06:09 PM

Flare is barely noticeable in left eye, maybe 5% or less. Mine is significant in the right side using the supplied UFF APM 30 eyepieces, and get worse the higher the magnification. I’ve tried 24 panoptic TV, 12, 8.
Still have nice views of Jupiter.

#171 Rich V.

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Posted 29 July 2019 - 07:22 PM

  My copy has them in each eyepiece.  When planet is centered in the FOV the left flare runs from the planet to the field stop at about 10:30, and the right runs from the planet to the field stop at about 1:30, forming a vee. 

Does this 10:30 and 1:30 orientation of the flare match the long axis of the rhomb turrets?  Does it follow along with the turret as it is rotated?



#172 starzonesteve

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Posted 29 July 2019 - 07:26 PM

I’ll just chime in here and mention that in my experience Markus is a man of integrity. He is a businessman, in a business filled up with cranky old OCD perfectionists, but he treats his customers fairly. As long as there is some give and take he will listen to your concerns.



#173 MB_PL

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Posted 30 July 2019 - 02:05 AM

Unfortunately, I have to disagree regarding Markus' integrity. I have never come across another distributor as willing as he is to throw around accusations and so rude as he is. To be fair I'll mention that he did replace the flawed 70mm BT I originally received, but afterwards he strongly denied that there had been any problems and said that if even there had been any he's not required to check for pinching of optics. When sending the replacement he said he's sending the best he's got and that he'd blacklist me if I returned it. The replacement arrived with severe astigmatism and some misalignment in one barrel and minor astigmatism in the other. This was later confirmed by Wellenform. When I contacted Markus requesting he compensate me for the extra cost I had to incur to get the replacement to a usable state he blacklisted me.

Edited by MB_PL, 30 July 2019 - 02:14 AM.

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#174 oldmanrick

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Posted 31 July 2019 - 11:19 AM

Does this 10:30 and 1:30 orientation of the flare match the long axis of the rhomb turrets?  Does it follow along with the turret as it is rotated?

Finally got a chance to try this last night.  

 

The flares do not seem to match the long axis of the turrets, if I was looking at the right thing to try to compare.  They seem to be angled farther from vertical than the long axis.

 

The flares do not seem to move when rotating the turrets.  My tripod/mount is very wobbly, so it's kind of hard to tell if there is any movement with things jumping around so much, but if they move, it is almost imperceptible.

 

Discovered another anomaly while investigating the flares.  If I moved the target, (Jupiter) to the top of the FOV the flares would extinguish below the target as it moved upwards.  The angles of the shortening flares remained the same.  This held true while moving the target all of the way to the field stop.

 

If I moved the target down, the flares lengthened down to within about 15% of the distance to the field stop, then abruptly disappeared completely.  No more flares all of the way from there to the field stop.

 

When I moved the target right or left from the center of the FOV,  at some point, (I don't remember exactly where), a third flare, slightly thinner and dimmer than the other two would appear.  It appeared to be bisecting the angle formed by the two flares making the vee.  Upon further investigation, it seemed that that flare only appeared in the left barrel, or at least it was much stronger in that barrel.  The angle of the flares didn't change with this movement.

 

Moving the turrets did not seem to have any effect on any of the above.

 

To me, this is only an interesting anomaly, not something that detracts from my enjoyment in using this wonderful instrument.  The flares are not bright enough or consistent enough to bother me.

 

Will have to check all of this some more by looking at the Moon when it gets full.

 

Interesting!

 

Rick


Edited by oldmanrick, 31 July 2019 - 11:20 AM.


#175 Rich V.

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Posted 31 July 2019 - 12:10 PM

Thanks, Rick, that is interesting.

 

Those flares coincide with the main Schmidt roof prism's inside roof faces; on the right side a face points to the 1:30 position as shown in the image from post #162.  The left side would be the opposite, pointing to 10:30.  Why the spike is happening, I can't say but it sure looks like that prism face plays a part in it. 

 

When you look on axis down through the focuser, do you see the prism face creating a chordal intrusion into the light path like the image provided? The flare could possibly be a diffraction effect off of the prism edge. 

 

Rich

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Edited by Rich V., 31 July 2019 - 12:35 PM.



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