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APM 150 ED Binocular, My Take

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#276 Mr. Bill

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Posted 21 January 2021 - 07:18 PM

M 4.5mm even better.....you can also use a silver ball Christmas tree ornament placed out about 100-200 yards as a point source when sun out during the day.....worked for me during startesting and no tracking problems.


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#277 garret

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Posted 22 January 2021 - 12:05 PM

Has anybody split Sirius A and B with the APM 150 or other big binocular? separation is now 11 arc-seconds.



#278 ZX12

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Posted 22 January 2021 - 11:01 PM

Has anybody split Sirius A and B with the APM 150 or other big binocular? separation is now 11 arc-seconds.

I've seen Sirius B with my APM150ED binos in good conditions at 82x and 103x using a 135mm aperture mask making it effectively an F/6. This removes the slight amount of CA visible and adds just a bit of sharpening for close observations. 

 

The companion would remain visible for 3-4 seconds, and then disappear multiple times over the course of an hour.

 

It's amazing how tiny the B star is when it becomes visible.

 

Mike


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#279 Tyson M

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Posted 23 January 2021 - 04:54 PM

I've seen Sirius B in good conditions at 82x and 103x. 

 

The companion would remain visible for 3-4 seconds, and then disappear multiple times over the course of an hour.

 

It's amazing how tiny the B star is when it becomes visible.

 

Mike

This is exactly how I typically see this companion with various refractors.  That mag range, and popping into view like this.

 

Brilliant but small blue secondary.



#280 oldmanrick

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Posted 06 February 2021 - 10:37 PM

Whenever the weather clears and warms a bit I will have to take a look at Sirius.

 

Right now it's snowing hard and temp is supposed to get down to single digits or lower by tomorrow.

 

The 150 BT has been sitting at home in the shop far too long.  I suspect it is starving for photons, but it will just have to wait.  Even if the weather clears, the cold temps are too much for me these days.

 

Rick


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#281 oldmanrick

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Posted 18 February 2021 - 12:07 PM

My 150 hasn't moved since my last post here.  Weather has been almost always cloudy at night or else too cold, (down to -15F), for reasonable observing.  Plus, even though I have plowed most of the snow off the driveway where I usually observe with the trusty Kubota tractor, there still remains a light covering that I can't remove without also removing too much gravel.  The dolly under the 150 does not work well in snow.  At least that's my excuse.

 

Anyhow, this gets back to the often read statement that the best binocular to have is the one that gets used the most.  I'm having a slight amount of guilt due to not using the 150 more.  My 100mm Lunt is set up on a tripod in the house, in front of one of the three best windows for an outside view, and gets used every day.  Astro use for it is rare, but I still use it to watch wildlife and just generally looking around at the scenery, or whatever else I can find.

 

Yesterday, I watched a coyote hunting mice, then bedding down in a secluded sheltered spot for the better part of an hour.  I also watch the antics of birds of prey and other birds, especially ravens.  Anyway the 100 bino gets used a lot, while the 150 sits in the shop.  I could use the 150 inside, but it is just so large that it takes up too much space, and is much more difficult to move from window to window.  It's dolly is too large to roll through the house.  Also the distortion imparted by looking through window glass would likely reduce a lot of the optical advantage the 150 APM has over the 100 Lunt.

 

Don't get me wrong, I'm not about to put the 150 up for sale, I still consider it my "best" binocular.  I'm just wishing that I could put it to more use this time of year.  I don't plan on selling it as long as I can use it at all.

 

The Canon 18X50 IS is still my most used binocular, but can't match the long range clear views the larger Lunt and APM provide.  

 

In my mind, this rambling post reflects some justification for having a good variety of binoculars.  I think I've been cooped up in the house too long!  Come on springtime!

 

Rick


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#282 ArsMachina

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Posted 18 February 2021 - 12:32 PM

Hello Rick,

 

I think the bigger aperture would not give you any advantage over the 100mm at daylight.

Also the 2" eyepieces would not be any benefit.

So probably the 100mm is best for your needs at daylight.

 

Your 150mm setup with the wooden dolly and tripod is really huge.

But if you have a plain land and can roll it in and out ist is a good solution.

 

My land is a mountain even with stairs.

I have no chance to roll something.

This is why I decided for a light tripod, the fluidhead and the quick release.

 

Here snow is gone since just two days and the weekend should finally become warm enough for my taste.

 

I would not worry about rarely using the 150mm, it depends on situation and weather everywhere.

I still find the 150 way easier to move and use than a dobson.

My 12,5" Portaball was nice but way heavier and a mess to move around on the stairs in my yard.

 

Maybe some day I will build a permanent pier so I only have to move the bino and the eyepieces...

 

Jochen


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#283 ihf

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Posted 18 February 2021 - 12:33 PM

The Canon 18X50 IS is still my most used binocular, but can't match the long range clear views the larger Lunt and APM provide.  

Have you had a chance to compare the Canon 18x50 to a 70mm/45 degree bino? I am somewhat tempted by 30x/84 degree views, but I am not sure if the mobility hit is worth it. There are shorter sturdy tripods, but the N8 seems a bit big for mobility.



#284 ihf

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Posted 18 February 2021 - 12:41 PM

Also the 2" eyepieces would not be any benefit.

So probably the 100mm is best for your needs at daylight.

I really like the idea of 2 inch eyepieces. But my IPD is 62.5, which is right on the edge as I understand. And until I had a hut in the mountains I would need to lift the bino into a car including my camping equipment etc. which would only work with a sturdy case. Nearly 30kg and bulky as hell. Now the Oberwerk 127 is 10 percent faster than the APMs making up a tiny bit for the lack of 2 inch eyepieces, and half the weight of the 150 promising the use of the modest N12 head. That is a tempting proposition too. Waiting for reviews...


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#285 ArsMachina

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Posted 18 February 2021 - 01:44 PM

Now the Oberwerk 127 is 10 percent faster than the APMs making up a tiny bit for the lack of 2 inch eyepieces

... and the 45° angle.

 

Yes, size and weight is an issue on the APM and the 90° is even heavier than the 45° because of the bigger prisms.

The bulky case of the 90° really is a big mess, even worse than the hardcase of the 45°

 

I will always carry the case and the bino separately, the case is only for storage at home or in the car / van.

Carrying the bino in the case is only possible with two persons.

 

But we in Germany are used to say "if there is a wish there will be a way"

And my wish always was to have 150mm aperture with 90° angle under the sky

.

The weight is not such an issue as I did expect, the big handle is helping a lot.

The key fact is to have a tripod / mount where you do not have to lift the bino very high.

 

Jochen


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#286 STEEL

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Posted 18 February 2021 - 04:38 PM

As they rightly advised you, always use the same eye for both tubes for the point-like star test. I recommend you test on real stars. Use the brightest stars of Orion and if you see them perfectly point-like, you can be sure that your binoculars are perfectly sharp for any type of observation (these must be strictly point-like). And if you want to test your optics with maximum severity, check with the Vega star (visual magnitude about 0). If you see it perfectly punctate you are a super lucky (rare). The brightness of Vega will greatly accentuate even the smallest defects, so a slight astigmatism or coma in the center of the field is still an indication that you have very good binoculars. I have always recommended the stars of Orion because even those who do not practice astronomy can recognize them very easily. The test on these stars is very valid for all binoculars (from 6x30 onwards), very decisive for quantifying the sharpness, which in turn will have an impact in the observation of nature or landscape.wink.gif


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#287 STEEL

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Posted 18 February 2021 - 05:19 PM

Two simulation images of Vega in the center of the field. The first image is almost perfect (very good optics) .. the second is not really beautiful, but tolerable. the optics and mechanics of binoculars are much more complex than the refractor. I don't simulate an Orion star because it has to be perfect.

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  • Vega 2.jpg

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#288 oldmanrick

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Posted 18 February 2021 - 07:00 PM

Hello Rick,

 

I think the bigger aperture would not give you any advantage over the 100mm at daylight.

Also the 2" eyepieces would not be any benefit.

So probably the 100mm is best for your needs at daylight.

 

Your 150mm setup with the wooden dolly and tripod is really huge.

But if you have a plain land and can roll it in and out ist is a good solution.

 

My land is a mountain even with stairs.

I have no chance to roll something.

This is why I decided for a light tripod, the fluidhead and the quick release.

 

Here snow is gone since just two days and the weekend should finally become warm enough for my taste.

 

I would not worry about rarely using the 150mm, it depends on situation and weather everywhere.

I still find the 150 way easier to move and use than a dobson.

My 12,5" Portaball was nice but way heavier and a mess to move around on the stairs in my yard.

 

Maybe some day I will build a permanent pier so I only have to move the bino and the eyepieces...

 

Jochen

I have found that there is really some advantage with the 150 and 2" APM 30mm UFF eyepiece pair for daylight terrestrial use.  The brighter, sharper image allows seeing more detail when viewing wildlife or birds that are in deep shadows or at twilight.  The 100 is very good, and of course much more portable, but optically the 150 is better.

 

Fortunately, my large yard is flat enough that I can wheel the dolly with the 150 on it almost anywhere.  I usually don't go much beyond my driveway, and don't like wheeling it in snow.

 

Rick 


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#289 oldmanrick

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Posted 18 February 2021 - 07:11 PM

Have you had a chance to compare the Canon 18x50 to a 70mm/45 degree bino? I am somewhat tempted by 30x/84 degree views, but I am not sure if the mobility hit is worth it. There are shorter sturdy tripods, but the N8 seems a bit big for mobility.

No, I do not have a 70mm bino, and have not had a chance to use one.  The nearest thing I have used would be a 100mm spotting scope.  The 18X50 is much more portable than a 100mm scope, and probably also more portable than a 70mm 45 degree bino.  My thoughts are that there is really no comparison between the 18X50 and the 70mm 45 degree bino's.   The 18X50 is made for grab and go handheld viewing, and the 70mm is best used on a tripod with a good mount.  The ability to interchange eyepieces on an instrument is really a big deal in my book.

 

Rick


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#290 oldmanrick

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Posted 18 February 2021 - 07:14 PM

As they rightly advised you, always use the same eye for both tubes for the point-like star test. I recommend you test on real stars. Use the brightest stars of Orion and if you see them perfectly point-like, you can be sure that your binoculars are perfectly sharp for any type of observation (these must be strictly point-like). And if you want to test your optics with maximum severity, check with the Vega star (visual magnitude about 0). If you see it perfectly punctate you are a super lucky (rare). The brightness of Vega will greatly accentuate even the smallest defects, so a slight astigmatism or coma in the center of the field is still an indication that you have very good binoculars. I have always recommended the stars of Orion because even those who do not practice astronomy can recognize them very easily. The test on these stars is very valid for all binoculars (from 6x30 onwards), very decisive for quantifying the sharpness, which in turn will have an impact in the observation of nature or landscape.wink.gif

Thanks for the advice on doing a star test.  I will try this when the weather and skies are suitable.

 

Also thanks for the simulated images.

 

Rick


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#291 ArsMachina

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Posted 19 February 2021 - 04:25 AM

I have found that there is really some advantage with the 150 and 2" APM 30mm UFF eyepiece pair for daylight terrestrial use.  The brighter, sharper image allows seeing more detail when viewing wildlife or birds that are in deep shadows or at twilight.  The 100 is very good, and of course much more portable, but optically the 150 is better.

 

That is interesting.

I did not expect an advantage of more aperture using a bino at daylight.

For my understanding 100mm is already more than enough.

 

Maybe it is the extra resolution of the bigger aperture?

Or just the quality of the 30mm eyepiece?

Did you compare it with a 24mm Panoptic, which should be at least of the same quality?

 

Jochen



#292 oldmanrick

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Posted 19 February 2021 - 03:48 PM

I was not expecting a noticeable advantage in the daytime either.  In bright sunlight or other well illuminated targets it's not so noticeable, although in a crude side by side test I did at our cabin overlooking Flathead Lake, in near-perfect lighting and atmospheric conditions, the 150 clearly was better.  As a target for this test, I used a small sign located on the front wall of the US Post Office about 1.2 miles distant, which denotes the identity of the P.O.  The sign has a white background with black lettering approximately 2" in height.  The sun was low to the West, behind my back, so lighting was excellent.

 

In the 100 mm Lunt bino, it was about a toss-up between the 6.5 and 9mm Morpheus, with the 6.5 being slightly the best.  I also tried the 7mm Delites, but to my eyes they were not quite as good. The Docter 12.5 pair was very good, but did not provide quite enough magnification to be as good as the 6.5 or the 9.  

 

In the 150 APM I tried the 2" 30mm UFF pair, but they did not provide enough magnification that I could read the lettering with certainty.  The Docter 12.5mm pair was good, but the 9 and 6.5 Morpheus pairs were even better.  With all three pairs I could clearly read the lettering.

 

I had not yet acquired the 4.5 Morpheus at this time, but I suspect that for this target the eyepieces I tried would have been the best.

 

While the 30 APM UFF pair did not provide enough magnification for the best view of the sign in my test, use on more fitting occasions have shown it to be the equal of any, and for certain situations, better than any.  They are very good at dusk, and outstanding for wide-field spotting of nebulization and faint fuzzies at night.

 

I think you are right, it's probably the larger aperture plus perhaps the extra time and care spent in assembly of the optics in the 150.

 

The only pair of tv eyepieces I have are the 7mm Delites, so no chance to try the 24 Panoptics.

 

Rick


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#293 ArsMachina

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Posted 19 February 2021 - 04:34 PM

Thanks for this explanation, Rick.

It is very interesting to see this advantage of aperture at daylight.

 

I always thought for hiking at daylight a small and light bino would be similar good than one with more aperture.

It seems I might have to see this different or at least also need to make some tests.

 

But comparing my Leitz 8x20 Ultravid to my Canon 15x50 IS will not be easy because if the different magnification.

Maybe with my 2x Swaro boosters at the Leitz, but this would make them even dimmer.

 

Jochen


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#294 oldmanrick

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Posted 19 February 2021 - 06:28 PM

Jochen, I'm a firm believer in using the most aperture that is convenient for the situation.  

 

I have an ancient Nikon Sportview 8X20 that is quite good for its size and price.  It has travelled many miles over many years on short hikes and long treks, tucked inside a shirt pocket or suspended by a lanyard, down inside a jacket.  If I am planning a hike and it isn't too long, and I anticipate using binoculars a lot, I will usually take the larger Nikon SE 10X42, which is an excellent binocular, but although still light and easy to carry around my neck, is not comparable to the 8X20 for portability.  Optically, the 10X42 blows the tiny 8X20 away.

 

Some of the notable advantages of the 10X42 are:

Much more comfortable to view through.

Less critical eye placement.

Much brighter image.

Wider FOV.

Much better definition of small details.  (Some of this is no doubt due to the greater magnification, but I think most is due to brightness provided by the larger aperture).

 

I have never used a Leitz 8X20 Ultravid, so your mileage may vary.

 

I see a comparison between the 100mm Lunt and the 150 APM in about the same way, but scaled up.  If I need portability I will grab the 100 and a light tripod with mount, and go.  If I need the greatest binocular performance I will go to the trouble to pack up the 150, tripod, head, with all of its weight and bulk and take it.

 

Rick


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