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APM 150 ED Binocular, My Take

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#226 oldmanrick

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Posted 15 September 2020 - 12:46 PM

Rick,

 

I recently acquired a 90 degree APM100SD for a very attractive price from a friend that found it wasn't quite as sharp as his Takahashi FC100.

They are what inspired me to go for the 150SD since they have excellent color correction.

 

They are equal to my APM150ED in sharpness, but with no visible color in focus. While the 150ED has some color on bright objects, they also have two very well figured and matched objectives.

 

If the 150SD can combine the color correction of the 100SD with the objective quality of my current 150ED, then I will be very satisfied.  

 

I wish you the best during your cataract surgery and hope you will get the most out of the views once healed.

 

Regards, Mike

Thanks Mike,

 

I guess I wouldn't expect a binocular to be as sharp as the Takahashi FC100.  For me, the two-eyed view would make up for a bit of loss of sharpness, although at times I do dream of big APO refractor and the images it would provide.

 

With my copy of the 150, under certain conditions, such as  the limb of the Moon, Venus or Jupiter, I do notice a tiny amount of false color, but I have no problem tolerating this.  

 

Sometimes I wish the 150 was sharper, but I've decided that a lot of loss of sharpness is due to atmospheric conditions, and also I've become convinced that it needs a little time for the temperatures of the tubes to equalize with the outside air.  When the atmosphere is stable and transparent, and it has been out a while to equalize, it is really very good, somewhat better than the 100 Lunt.  My deteriorating eyesight is probably a factor as well.  Hopefully this will be better soon!

 

 

Cestus,

 

Just keep saving and looking forward to the day you can get one, and it may happen.  That's kind of the way I got mine.  

 

One bit of advice though, be sure you have a workable plan as to how you can get set up to use it easily.  It is definitely something that needs to be permanently mounted, as it is quite a chore to wrestle up and down to mount on a tripod each time you use it.  I've done it quite a few times, but it has a few small scrapes where it got against the side of the mount in the process.  What it boils down to is that without a way to make it relatively simple, quick and easy, you won't use it enough to justify the cost.  Mine stays mostly permanently mounted on a wheeled dolly I built for it.  The dolly has some shortcomings, but it works well enough and easily enough that I'm using the big 150 a lot.  

 

Now if this fire smoke would just clear out, I could use it some more!

 

Rick



#227 ZX12

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Posted 15 September 2020 - 05:16 PM

Rick,

 

 I've found the seeing conditions have a greater effect on the APM150's using powers above 150x than on my 160 Apo refractor. 

As seeing improves, the 150's improve more dramatically than the 160 Apo scope. It doesn't match the 160 in absolute sharpness and contrast, but is very good considering the binocular design.

 

I believe the combination of a fast focal ratio and the prisms play a large part in the limitations that are achievable for a 150mm binocular at this price level. 

 

A good test for your eyes, seeing conditions, and the optics is how low of a power binaries with a distinctly dimmer companion can be seen from the brighter star.

One of my favorites right now is Sigma Cass. near Carolines Rose (which is quite spectacular in the 150's).

 

At 3.1" separation, I can see two stars with the 14 Delos at 58x. With the APM100 SD it takes 68x.

 

Mike


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#228 ArsMachina

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Posted 15 September 2020 - 05:34 PM

 I've found the seeing conditions have a greater effect on the APM150's using powers above 150x than on my 160 Apo refractor. 

That is interesting because theoretically the exact opposite should be the case.

Because the two light cones of a binocular are differently affected by seeing (different seeing cells) our brain should use the information of the "better" side and calculate a mix that eliminates at least a part the seeing affected missing information.

 

Jochen


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#229 ihf

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Posted 15 September 2020 - 06:04 PM

the two light cones of a binocular are differently affected by seeing (different seeing cells)

Why do you think so? The two tubes are not independently located on earth. They are right next to each other. If one draws the two external FOV cones they perfectly overlap each other except for maybe the last few dozen meters (a small multiple of 15cm*magnification)?

 

The turbulences inside each tube should be independent though, so maybe less cooling required?


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#230 ZX12

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Posted 15 September 2020 - 06:15 PM

Jochen,

 

 I have seen the APM150's keep up with my 130mm and 105mm Apo's (both fast F ratio scopes) in poor to fair seeing, but the 160mm at F7.5 always wins in the ability to capture planet detail in equal conditions.

I would guess that the faster binocular design has a greater effect on seeing sensitivity. 

 

Typically I stop at the 6mm Delos for 137x with the APM's in less than good seeing, while the 160 can often hit 200x or more before the image quality is unacceptable.

 

In excellent seeing the APM's offer a good image topped out at 275x, while the 160 Apo easily handles 400x.

 

I have seen very little cool down issues with the APM's. They are in the observatory most of the time where temps reach 90 degrees F in summer. After sunset when the roof is open they are stable within 20-30 minutes.    

 

Mike


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#231 Rich V.

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Posted 15 September 2020 - 07:07 PM

That is interesting because theoretically the exact opposite should be the case.

Because the two light cones of a binocular are differently affected by seeing (different seeing cells) our brain should use the information of the "better" side and calculate a mix that eliminates at least a part the seeing affected missing information.

 

Jochen

 

 

Why do you think so? The two tubes are not independently located on earth. They are right next to each other. If one draws the two external FOV cones they perfectly overlap each other except for maybe the last few dozen meters (a small multiple of 15cm*magnification)?

 

I think along the lines of Jochen; the atmospheric turbulence (seeing cell size) is rather small scale; you can see ripples of air moving just within the boundaries of one FOV, let alone two objectives side by side.  Two objectives, even rather closely spaced ones, will see two different and ever changing air columns, hence two different images. Binocular summation allows our brains to process the two images into one better binocular view.  You've only got the one image to work with in mono mode or even with a scope/BV.

 

Rich


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#232 ihf

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Posted 15 September 2020 - 11:05 PM

I guess my argument is that the two air columns are not really columns, nor are they independent. Because the binocular is collimated the two views are not columns but cones that are mostly identical. They are the same at their base at infinity. Their tips at the tubes/eyes are offset by a few centimeters. One can make different arguments by how much the tips are offset, but I think we can agree they are offset by less than 0.4m (15cm diameter for each tube plus IPD).

 

For simplicity lets assume we are looking at the moon and the moon fills both left and right image (collimation). Furthermore lets assume the moon is 4000km diameter at a distance of 400'000km. In other words the moon is 1m wide for every 100m distance.

 

This means the two cones that are offset by 0.4m will touch each others center at 40m distance. (This is not quite yet half overlapping by area but quickly getting there.) Starting from 100-200m distance the cone cross sections start overlapping a lot and should be considered identical. The atmosphere though extends at least another 10km.

 

So any difference that we see in the behavior of the air columns must be attibuted solely to the first few meters away from the binoculars. Of course if the ground is warm there can be a lot of turbulence there.

 

What am I missing?


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#233 oldmanrick

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Posted 16 September 2020 - 12:06 AM

Interesting topic!

 

I have to say that I think the closer the turbulence to the instrument, the more effect it will have on the view.

 

One time on a cold calm winter evening I tried looking South out of the open shop door where I keep the 150 on the dolly.  The shop was relatively warm, so there was definitely turbulence where the warm and cold air met.  The open doorway was about 5 feet from the binocular, and the view was terrible.  I soon realized what the problem was and rolled the outfit outside, probably about 30 feet from the open doorway.  After a few minutes to cool down, I took another look through the bino and the views were great.

 

Under similar circumstances, (awful view through nearby turbulence), I've looked through each eyepiece individually, (to focus, or improve focus), and the views were still awful, but I don't think they were identical.  At this distance each eye is looking through a completely different cone of air.  I would guess this is why binocular vision may not help much when it comes to improving a bad view, caused by poor seeing, at least when caused by close up turbulence.  Both eyes are trying to make a good view from two bad ones, and the brain can't effectively cope with that.  At least mine can't.

 

It may be that far away turbulence, such as that caused by the jet stream, does not adversely affect viewing so much, because both eyes are looking through almost the same cone of air at that point, and are therefor seeing almost identical views, so the brain can sort things out better.  In this case a binocular view should be better than a mono view through a telescope, or just one tube of the binocular.

 

Just my $.02.

 

Rick


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#234 ArsMachina

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Posted 16 September 2020 - 04:22 AM

Why do you think so? The two tubes are not independently located on earth. They are right next to each other.

 

Because I have read multiple times that it is the case.

Like rich described, those seeing cells are rather small and they are behaving different, so binocular addition in our brain can use the available, different information of both tubes to merge a better image than from just one light tube.

 

Jochen


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#235 garret

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Posted 16 September 2020 - 12:15 PM

 

those seeing cells are rather small

That's is what I read so many times.

The turbulence at the transition areas of hot and cold air (Inversion layer) can have very different dimensions, because air is very light, those waves can be very large, much larger than the 5-20 cm that is usually thought (but not impossible).

Inversion layers can form at various heights from 10 cm to 10 kilometers, and have widely varying thicknesses, can be turbulent or stable...

Inversion layers affect the refractive index of the air, resulting in blurred images and less contrast.

And a stable Inversion layer is at least what we want grin.gif


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#236 oldmanrick

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Posted 24 September 2020 - 02:08 PM

I've ordered a set of Baader Mk IV 8mm to 24mm zoom eyepieces to try in the 150.  Tried a pair before in the Lunt 100 and worked fine, except the narrow field bothered me a bit.

 

Main reason I returned them before is that I ordered them as a kit combined with the Baader 2.25X short barlow.  These would not come to focus in the 100 with any eyepiece I had, so returned everything.

 

I hope to be able to use these in the 150 as 2" eyepieces using the included 2" tubes.  They should arrive today or tomorrow.

 

Will post a report when I've had a chance to use them.  Cloudy and rainy today, but that's better than the thick smoke we have had for the past couple of weeks.

 

Rick


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#237 ZX12

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Posted 24 September 2020 - 05:55 PM

I have a set of the Baader zooms for my 150 Rick, and they work great for solar, Moon and the planets.

The field is narrow and has noticeable curvature, but the center is very sharp. 

 

Mike


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#238 oldmanrick

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Posted 24 September 2020 - 09:05 PM

Thanks Mike, that sounds good!

 

Eyepieces came in this afternoon.  Weather had cleared some this afternoon and rain mostly stopped.

The 2" tubes work fine in the 150.  There is just enough in-focus to reach infinity, with maybe +/- 1/4 turn of the focusers remaining.  The small flexible round eyecups seem to work best for me.  The eyepieces came with large twist-up ones which don't leave enough room for my nose.

 

Did a quick comparison with the Morpheus 4.5 pair which I already had out.  Not a fair comparison, as there was quite a bit of wavy poor seeing due to windy conditions and some sun spots heating the ground.  My target was a dead tree, still with most of its larger branches, on a ridge top about 3 miles distant.  Near the top of this tree was a branch with three smaller branches coming off of it in a sort of fan shape.  With the zoom set to maximum magnification, (105X), I could clearly see the three branches, and also barely make out a fourth smaller branch coming off one of them.

 

I installed the Morpheus 4.5 pair at 187X, and took a look at the same dead tree branches with them.  I could barely see the three fan shaped branches, and no way could I see the fourth smaller one visible with the zooms.  This was not a fair comparison as there was obviously too much turbulence for 187X at that time.  I was quite pleasantly surprised that the zooms were so much better under those conditions.  This bears out what Mike said about center sharpness in the last post.  Looking at this target and not specifically looking for it I didn't really notice the curvature, but of course the narrow field was still there.

 

This evening it appears to be clouding up again, but maybe I can catch a hole for a quick look at the sky.  More rain predicted for later tonight and tomorrow.

 

More later.

 

Rick


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#239 ihf

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Posted 24 September 2020 - 09:44 PM

Lets hope for a week of rain!



#240 oldmanrick

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Posted 25 September 2020 - 02:42 PM

Raining again here this morning......hope you in California and Oregon are getting some of it on those fires!

 

I did get a chance for a very quick look at some planets and the Moon last night.  I would rate seeing as no better than mediocre for here, and transparency was not great either, due to lots of water vapor in the air.  Certainly worth taking a quick look with the new Baader Mk IV click-stop zoom eyepiece pair.

 

First target was Saturn.  At 8mm, (105X),  some banding on the planet was visible, and I could distinctly see Triton with direct vision.  Could not see the Cassini division, but it's usually difficult for me in the best of conditions.  The rings and the gap between them and the planet were easily visible.

 

Next was Jupiter, again at 105X.  All four moons were easily visible.  Banding on the planet was visible, but not distinct.  The GRS, just past the center of its transit, was barely visible, but contrast was quite poor.  Backing power down to 70X did not help much for contrast.

 

Old Luna was spectacular as usual.  Started and spent most time at 105X.  A very thin fringe of amber-greenish false color could be seen along the limb, but no worse than I have noticed with other eyepieces.  Backed the power down to the minimum of the zoom range at 35X.  At this setting I could fit about 3 Lunas into the FOV.  At 105X 1 Luna was a tight fit.  On the way back up to 105X, I stopped at each click stop for a quick look.  Each stop had to be refocused, so the different settings in these eyepieces are not entirely parfocal.  Each stop was very sharp and bright after focusing.  Luna through these Baader Mk. IV zooms is very bright, almost blinding.  I must get a pair of moon filters.  I think they would also help on bright planets such as Mars, Venus and Jupiter.

 

Mars was the next target.  At 105X it was a bright orange ball, with obvious dark detail around the center of the planet.  At best, I could see no more than a hint of any polar cap.  Only got a very quick look as clouds quickly completely obscured the planet.

 

I had planned to do comparisons with the 6.5 and 9mm Morpheus eyepieces, but cloudiness ended that possibility.

 

I came away from this limited test with an overall favorable impression of the performance of the Baader Mk. IV zoom eyepieces in the APM 150 APO ED binocular.  Images were all sharp and clear at center, and I didn't really notice much field curvature, nor was I looking for it.  Eye placement was not the easiest of any of my eyepieces, but not at all bad.  For me, either the bare eyepieces with eyecups removed, or the small, round slip-on rubber eye cups worked the best.  I preferred the small slip-on rubber ones, as they provided a point of reference with which to stabilize my position.  Eye relief was about right using the small eyecups, and would probably be sufficient for most eyeglass wearers without any eyecups in place.  The 2" screw-on mounting tubes worked great.  These have no safety kerfs, just very light rings around the tubes which provide a good grip for the focusers, but don't hinder getting a straight solid mounting for the eyepiece in the focuser.  These eyepieces needed nearly all of the in-focus available in the binocular, but came to focus with a bit of adjustment to spare, with the eyepieces fully seated in the focusers. 

 

Negatives I identified were that my IPD of about 63mm forced these eyepieces close enough together that nose interference made the slightly critical eye placement a little more difficult.  Also the click stops are so subtle that one has to be very careful to not overrun or miss finding one of them when adjusting the power in the dark. The false color and curvature were not a problem for me so far.

 

More use will no doubt expose different opinions by me about these, some may be bad and some good, but for now they are keepers.

 

Rick 



#241 oldmanrick

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Posted 07 November 2020 - 11:33 AM

Here are a couple of things I want to mention about the APM 150, and accessories.

 

First a short note about using the Baader Mk IV 8-24mm eyepieces.  For me, after using them more, the most troublesome thing is finding the very subtle click stop locations, especially in the dark.  The power adjustments are performed by twisting the back part of the eyepiece, and this motion is stiff enough that if not held in place with the other hand, the focus is adjusted instead of the FL of the eyepiece.  This makes for greater difficulty in feeling the click stops.  Even in daylight it is awkward to re-position my head to locate and find the index marks to visually set the FL.  It is almost easier to set one eyepiece where you want it, then while looking with both eyes, turn the other to where a good merged image is attained. I think the best solution is to plan ahead and set the FL where it will be the most useful, then don't change it again unless a real need becomes obvious.

 

The second item is that I have been and am still involved in coordination with Serge at Astro Devices, to develop a Nexus DSC kit for my "Big Binocular Fork Mount".  The kit is just getting finalized, and Serge is re-making a couple of parts to get a better fit to the mount.  This has been a great experience, and I plan to start a separate thread about it once I get it all installed and working.

 

More later,

 

Rick


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#242 CharlesStG

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Posted 09 November 2020 - 10:04 AM

Rick,  Always a joy to read of your continuing use of your APM 150s.  May I ask, are you still using the Manfrotto 400 geared head with these, as I seem to recall reading that you were doing so at one time.  I just discovered last night, while doing a tear-down of the 400 that the big altitude gear can be reversed, allowing the altitude adjusting knob to be located at the back of the head instead of having to reach around to the front.  It appears that Manfrotto designed-in this rarely used functionality as it does work much more conveniently now with the altitude knob at the back, and allowing full tilt to Zenith. Cheers!


Edited by CharlesStG, 09 November 2020 - 10:33 AM.

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#243 oldmanrick

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Posted 09 November 2020 - 11:44 AM

Charles, you may have read about my using the Manfrotto 400 head with the Lunt 100 BT.  I've only used the 400 heads, (I have two), with the Lunt 100 bino.  These are my primary heads for that instrument.  One is mounted on a 161 Mk II tripod set up on a Manfrotto rolling dolly for indoor use, or any smooth floor travel.  The other is on a Gitzo series 5 carbon fiber tripod.  This is more of a grab and go setup for when I want to travel somewhere by vehicle with the 100 Lunt, (in the hard case, of course).

 

I originally got the 400 heads used, on eBay, for photo and video use, when using long lenses for nature and wildlife.

 

For the APM 150, I use the APM Big Binocular Fork Mount, made for the 150, but will work with smaller Bt's too. It is mounted on a Berlebach K70 tripod with geared column, and rides on a home made dolly with 10 inch pneumatic tires for easier travel across lawn, driveway and countryside.  Very heavy outfit, but quite stable, and when left set up, very quick and easy to move about.

 

Thanks for posting about the Alt gear in the 400.  I had no idea that could be done.  With the Altitude crank on the back, one would truly feel like an anti-aircraft gunner.  I'll definitely look into that.  Hopefully I can do a tear-down and get the mount back together properly.

 

I haven't really decided which type of mount I prefer.  The freedom and quick movement possible with the fork is certainly attractive and enables usually getting on target quicker, but the precise control, easier tracking ability, and no movement unless a crank is turned really appeal to me, especially for higher magnifications.  I wish the 400 would support the APM 150, but its weight is about twice the rated capacity of the 400.

 

Rick


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#244 CharlesStG

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Posted 09 November 2020 - 01:13 PM

https://www.cloudyni...ead/?p=10643404

 

Above is the link to the Manfrotto 400 gearhead mod and pics showing how nice it works, if you'd like to give it a go for use your smaller binocs and such.  My 400 works very nicely with the APM 120, but I forgot that the 400 is only rated for 10Kg load, so even my 120s with eyepieces are at the limit.   The 400 mod is pretty much just take out a bunch of bolts requiring either 3 or 4mm allen keys, keep an eye on the four springs used to tension the worms (one for tilt, two for altitude and one for azimuth) and just turn the altitude gear around when you put it back together. Also, it's a good time to put in new grease and put the bolts back in around the gear pivot points with just the right amount of tension to hold it all firm, but loose enough to allow nice, easy movement of the big, alt and az control knobs. The yellow grease in mine had turned to glue, binding the works. Works great now though.


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#245 oldmanrick

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Posted 09 November 2020 - 03:29 PM

Thanks Charles, very helpful!

 

Will give it a go one of these days.

 

Rick


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#246 Balenk

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Posted 15 November 2020 - 11:22 PM

Hi there,

 

I'm following this topic with interest, for I own APM 150ED binoculars since two weeks now.

 

I had the pleasure to use them under a good sky last Saturday, but as I tried to use my OIII filters, I discovered that mines (one Thousand Oaks, one Astronomik CCD 12nm) didn't like to work together. So, I'm searching to find other ones (and similar filters, that time). I guess it would be better to use UHC, to enjoy more light (the OIII, especially the Thousand Oaks, are quite dark for 150mm) : which ones would you advice me ?

 

(by the way, I'm selling or exchanging my two filters - in 2" - if someone is interested)



#247 oldmanrick

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Posted 16 November 2020 - 09:12 AM

Hi there,

 

I'm following this topic with interest, for I own APM 150ED binoculars since two weeks now.

 

I had the pleasure to use them under a good sky last Saturday, but as I tried to use my OIII filters, I discovered that mines (one Thousand Oaks, one Astronomik CCD 12nm) didn't like to work together. So, I'm searching to find other ones (and similar filters, that time). I guess it would be better to use UHC, to enjoy more light (the OIII, especially the Thousand Oaks, are quite dark for 150mm) : which ones would you advice me ?

 

(by the way, I'm selling or exchanging my two filters - in 2" - if someone is interested)

I have not used filters on my APM 150, or Lunt 100 yet, so am unable to give advice as to which would be best.  Like you, my first choice would be a pair of UHC filters, (2" to go on the UFF 30mm eyepieces), plus I also want to get a pair of 1.25" moon, or ND filters, as the moon is almost painfully bright in the big 150.  Actually I've found that the 30 UFF's are quite good unfiltered, at picking up faint fuzzies and nebulosity, but would like to try a pair of UHC filters anyway.

 

I have been uncertain as to which filters would be the best for the money, so haven't purchased any yet.  Will have to just "buy and try", I guess.

 

Rick


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#248 ZX12

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Posted 16 November 2020 - 07:00 PM

Hi there,

 

I'm following this topic with interest, for I own APM 150ED binoculars since two weeks now.

 

I had the pleasure to use them under a good sky last Saturday, but as I tried to use my OIII filters, I discovered that mines (one Thousand Oaks, one Astronomik CCD 12nm) didn't like to work together. So, I'm searching to find other ones (and similar filters, that time). I guess it would be better to use UHC, to enjoy more light (the OIII, especially the Thousand Oaks, are quite dark for 150mm) : which ones would you advice me ?

 

(by the way, I'm selling or exchanging my two filters - in 2" - if someone is interested)

I've been using the DGM NPB filters with great success on objects such as the Veil, M27, M42.

 

The difference is impressive. Faint objects appear as they would from a much darker sky zone.

 

They do show stars in red, but I don't mind that when looking at nebulae.

 

Mike 


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#249 Balenk

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Posted 16 November 2020 - 10:40 PM

Thanks, Mike. Unfortunately for me, DGM NPB filters are difficult to find in Japan (and when you finally find them, they are ridiculously overpriced. Same for Lumicon or Astronomik UHC ones). I could order them on Amazon.com, but there is no delivery offer for "my" country. Otherwise, I can buy chinese filters (Optolong, Omegon, Svbony, Astromania...) anywhere for cheap, but I'm not yet that desperate..!



#250 alfaScorpii

alfaScorpii

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Posted 04 December 2020 - 06:28 PM

Close up view of APM 150.

 

Tow handle yoke in foreground.

attachicon.gifIMG_0648.jpeg

Note plywood spacer under dovetail clamp as necessary to achieve vertical balance.

a curiosity.
which is the length and the width of the "dovetail" of the APM ForkMount BIG?

 

thanks




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