After many long months of review, reading and wishing, an opportunity came along to buy an APM 150 binocular.
The binocular arrived safe and sound in its protective case, but the 2" to 1.25" eyepiece adapters were packed in the outer cardboard box, outside of the binocular case. One of the adapters suffered a dent during shipping, in the lower part of the body, between two of the reinforcing webs. I didn't see this dent until I noticed a little difficulty getting it to fully seat to the bottom of the eyepiece holder. On closer examination I found a small dent distorting the bottom of the adapter just enough to cause it to hang up a bit internally in the focuser. I didn't want to use this adapter for fear that it might damage the inside of the focuser.
The APM big binocular fork mount arrived in a separate box and was in good shape.
The supplied 2" 30mm eyepieces that came with the bino are wonderful. Very bright, wide FOV, and comfortable to use. The only problem is that one of them has a very small black oblong speck about 1/4 of the way off center of the FOV. This is very distracting, as the speck is in sharp focus, and rotates with the eyepiece, so moves while focusing. It's not so bad at night but I still don't like it being there.
A quick email correspondence with Markus Ludes, owner of APM, resulted in him agreeing to replace the damaged focuser and the eyepiece. I will return the eyepiece with the speck in it upon arrival of the replacement, and I can keep the damaged adapter. Great service by APM!
Now for the good stuff.
After Markus agreed to replace the eyepiece and adapter, and said I didn't need to return the adapter, I took another close look at it. It looked like I might be able to repair it enough that it would work, so I could use my 1.25" eyepieces while waiting for the replacement. By very careful use of some small round nosed needle nose pliers, I was able to roll and bend most of the dent back to the original shape. I used a small file to remove any burrs and rough spots on the bottom to where I thought it should enter the focuser properly. It does slide in fairly easily, but does tend to hang up a bit in spots, but nothing that a little wiggling won't free up. I was surprised at how soft and workable the metal is in these adapters. They should be handled with care. The adapter is not pretty, but it now works well enough that I can use 1.25 eyepieces with it until the replacement arrives.
Comparing views of mostly the moon and Jupiter, using the same eyepieces between my Lunt 100mm APO ED binocular, and the 150, I believe with all eyepieces tried, the 150 shows slightly less false color than the 100. The same holds true for daylight terrestrial use, looking at various high-contrast objects. On the moon there is a very thin, dim, almost invisible reddish brown ring at the edge of the limb. The better the focus the more this disappears.
I'm amazed at how well the 150 performs at higher magnifications. Both the Morpheus 9mm and 6.5mm eyepieces are very good. In my 100mm, the 6.5's seem more comfortable, but in the 150, they are nearly equal, with perhaps just a slight edge going to the 9mm. At 93X and 129X respectively, the images are still very bright and sharp, at least to my eyes. The Docter 12.5's are great as are the Morpheus 17.5's. I did try a set of ES 82 degree 4.7mm at 179X, but didn't like the view much. Difficult to focus, and not too comfortable getting proper eye placement. Seeing was pretty poor that night, so maybe not a fair trial.
I'm wondering about my eyesight being up to the task of using an instrument as good as the 150. Contrary to what Mike, (ZX12) posted about his 150, I feel that mine is more difficult to achieve the best focus than with my Lunt 100. Granted, atmospheric conditions were not very good so far during my testing, and I've found that I need a better tripod, as any little touch to the binocular sets off a bunch of serious wobbles, which are very detrimental to accurate focusing. So far I've used a 55 series Gitzo carbon fiber tripod with elevating column, and a Manfrotto 161. Both support the load, but lack stability. Hopefully a Berlebach Planet K70 is somewhere in the near future. Look out again piggy bank! The APM big binocular fork mount has been used exclusively for my testing so far.
I've measured my IPD at somewhere between 63 and 65 mm, and judging by how the setting looks on the 150, I believe this is approximately correct. I have no trouble merging images, with still a little bit of IPD adjustment to spare. Occasionally, I do have to turn and reseat one of the eyepiece adapters to perfect the merging of images, but so far this has always worked.
Fingernails and ghost images seem to be much better controlled in the 150 than the 100. I've noticed no fingernails, and the only time I saw a ghost image was of the moon. It several degrees away from being in the FOV, and was very dim, so not very bothersome. I'm wondering how it even produced a ghost image being that far from the point of aim.
These are my initial impressions, and if anything changes significantly I will update here.
Edited by oldmanrick, 21 July 2019 - 08:47 PM.