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APM 150 ED Binocular, My Take

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#51 bcarter1234

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Posted 25 September 2019 - 09:44 PM

ricky64,

 

I have three binocular telescopes, one 80mm achromatic refractor, one 127mm achromatic refractor and an RB-66 150mm reflector. I love each and use them often. Viewing with both eyes is amazing. I certainly prefer it to mono.

 

That said the only way I would want to be without a larger Dob (13.1") would be if I actually built the 10" reflector binocular telescope I'm considering. The Dob provides 275X from my light polluted driveway pretty regularly. The 150mm can do it occasionally but not as comfortably nor as cleanly. The 127mm gives good views up to 170X and both are fabulous at lower power wide field views. When I want to see detail that requires magnification the Dob is the tool, at least until I bite the bullet and build a 10" binocular. I've never been to a dark site if that helps.

 

Take care,

Brent 


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#52 ArsMachina

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Posted 26 September 2019 - 06:55 AM

I compared a 12.5" Portaball to a 120mm ED Binoscope for many night with all sorts of objects.

The dob had to leave me and now I am waiting for the APM 150 / 90°

 

Jochen


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#53 GamesForOne

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Posted 26 September 2019 - 03:23 PM

I compared a 12.5" Portaball to a 120mm ED Binoscope for many night with all sorts of objects.

The dob had to leave me and now I am waiting for the APM 150 / 90°

 

Jochen

I had a 12.5" Portaball for a few years. Once I got into binoviewing it just did not cut it. It was great for cyclops viewing though and I learned the sky with its free and easy manual movement.

 

I now have a Skymaster 12" collapsible dob where I can use my binoviewers with just a 2" nosepiece and any eyepieces I want. The views are quite nice although the mirror quality is nowhere near the Zambuto that was in my Portaball.

 

The views of globular clusters with my 12" dob, Pentax XW20 pair, and Denk II binoviewers (~75x) are excellent -- big, bright image with gobs of resolved stars. It easily outperforms my APM 100mm APO binos for that application. Of course, the APM's excel at wonderful widefield views!

 

I'd love to move up to 120mm or 150mm binos, but I cannot personally sacrifice portability.

 

I think a 10-12" dob with binoviewers (preferably OCS free!) and a 80-100mm binocular telescope is a great combination for anyone and should provide years of satisfying views with excellent portability.

 

If planetary viewing is your thing, then a superior quality APO telescope is also in the equation.

 

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#54 ArsMachina

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Posted 26 September 2019 - 04:02 PM

Michael, when I compared my Portaball with the 120mm Borg Binoscope I also tested binoviewers, even a 2" binoviewer with ethos eyepieces.

The views were very close with a small advantage for the Portaball with globulars.

 

I am sure a 150mm binoscope will outperform a 12.5" dob

We can read here in the forum that the step from a 120mm to a 150mm binocular is quite a big one.

 

And a binocular gives me the possibility for wide views too - sure I do have some restrictions in very high magnifications what was never my big observing pleasure.

I never liked cyclop observing at all :-)

 

Jochen


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#55 GamesForOne

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Posted 26 September 2019 - 04:55 PM

Jochen,

 

No doubt the 150mm will be awesome. My response was directed more to post 49.

 

I enjoyed cyclops observing with the Portaball, but the comfort of two-eyed viewing beaconed once I was exposed. I was also never a big fan of binoviewing with a dob until I was able to do so without any OCS or barlowing. The brightness and contrast seem noticeably improved to me without all the extra (bulky) optics required to make binoviewing come to focus. The Skymaster collapsible dob series is very binoviewing-friendly. 

 

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#56 oldmanrick

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Posted 28 September 2019 - 08:44 PM

A pair of 3X, 1.25" E.S. barlows, or "focal extenders', as they are called by the manufacturer,  arrived in the mail today.  Just had to conduct a quick test after the Montana Grizzly football game was over, in spite of biting winds, darkish, cloudy conditions, and snow coming over the eastern horizon.

 

The extenders were tried on my APM 150 and 100 ED binoculars.

 

These extenders have the standard E.S. cuts in the tubes, supposedly to keep them from falling out of the focusers.  I had a little trouble getting them to seat and tighten properly in the 2" to 1.25" eyepiece adapters, and the adapters to tighten up properly in the big focusers.  Maybe because of the sudden cooler temperatures?

 

I also usually had to rotate and fiddle with the eyepiece location in the barlows to get good image merging.  I always could do it with enough fiddling, though.

 

All of the eyepieces that I tried came to focus with travel to spare in both the APM 150 and the 100 ED binoculars.  These were Morpheus 17.5's, and 6.5's, Pentax XL14's, Docter 12.5's, and E.S. 4.7's.

 

Image quality was expectedly not great in the 4.7's and 6.5's, but not that bad considering they were providing just short of 550X and about 388X in the big 150, respectively.

 

The lower powered eyepieces were much better with generally clear, sharp views.  I would say that image quality rivaled that of the original eyepiece without the extender, although no direct comparisons were made.  

 

There was a problem getting close to a full field view in the Pentax XL14's, until I discovered that I had the adjustable eyecups screwed all of the way down.  A quick rough adjustment of eyecup height pretty much solved that problem, although it seemed that eye placement was still somewhat critical with these.  

 

The same was true of the E.S. 4.7's, but at that power, I'm not surprised.

 

It became evident that eye placement and consequently inter-ocular adjustment of the bino was more critical when using the extenders, especially at higher powers. 

 

I believe these extenders will be very useful in both of my APM bino's, when higher powered views are needed.

 

I was greatly relieved to see that all eyepieces tried easily came to focus.

 

Can't wait for this storm to clear so I can try them out on the night sky!

 

Rick grin.gif


Edited by oldmanrick, 28 September 2019 - 08:49 PM.

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#57 oldmanrick

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Posted 12 October 2019 - 12:53 PM

Having had several opportunities to view Saturn and Jupiter using the 3X focal extenders in the big APM 150 binocular, I'll briefly report my findings.

 

The 387X provided by the Morpheus 6.5mm eyepieces and the 3X focal extenders was marginally useful on the moon and bright terrestrial views, but suffered lack of contrast and a not very sharp image.  The view was much too fuzzy on the planets.  Better detail could be resolved by using the Baader Morpheus 6.5 eyepiece pair alone.

 

The Morpheus 9mm pair with 3X extender did noticeably better.  Seeing conditions were not great for any of my viewing sessions, but I think that this combination at 279X would be useable when seeing conditions allowed.  I got some pretty good glimpses of very good views when seeing would improve for a few seconds.  I could see the Cassini division in the rings of Saturn, which for my eyes is usually very difficult.

 

The Docter 12.5mm pair plus 3X extender provided 201X.  This combination was realistically about as high in power as I would want to go.  Quality of views provided seemed quite good, but again really hard to judge due to less than stellar seeing.

 

When viewing the Moon, a slight rim of color could be seen at the limb when using the focal extenders.  This usually disappears with just the eyepieces alone.  Color when viewing Jupiter and Saturn was not noticeable.

 

I plan to keep the ES focal extenders for those rare times of pristine seeing when more power than I can get with my current eyepiece pairs alone, can be used.

 

Another plus to using the extenders is that it is much easier to exchange 1.25" eyepieces than when using the eyepieces alone inserted into the 2" to 1.25" adapters, as the adapters have to be removed from the binocular before the eyepieces can be removed from the adapters and a different pair inserted. 

 

Rick


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#58 garret

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Posted 12 October 2019 - 05:29 PM

 

as the adapters have to be removed from the binocular before the eyepieces can be removed from the adapters and a different pair inserted.

Can you order more adapters for each eyepiece?


Edited by garret, 12 October 2019 - 05:30 PM.

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#59 oldmanrick

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Posted 12 October 2019 - 07:55 PM

Can you order more adapters for each eyepiece?

Yes, apparently you can.  One of mine was damaged during shipment and Markus replaced it.  He said it had to come from China, and it took around 4 or 5 weeks to get it.  I don't know what the cost is.

 

There also may be other 2" to 1.25" adapters that would work.

 

Rick



#60 oldmanrick

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Posted 25 November 2019 - 08:40 AM

My APM 150 binocular now resides on a home-made dolly that I put together.  The dolly is not pretty but works well.  

 

Also my Berlebach Planet K70 tripod with geared center column arrived, and it is now sitting on the dolly with the 150 in its APM fork mount on top.  The tripod would not reach the built in spread stoppers on the dolly without the bino being much too high off the ground for practical viewing.  The solution I chose was to remove the spread stopper from the tripod, which let the legs spread enough to reach the stops, and still achieve a useable height. 

 

This provides a much more stable and mobile mounting setup than I had with the Manfrotto dolly and 161 mark II tripod.  The big pneumatic tires on the dolly easily roll over the gravel driveway and any other terrain I've tried to negotiate with them.  Once set up and leveled, the outfit is surprising stable and vibration free.

 

IMG_0606.jpg


Edited by oldmanrick, 25 November 2019 - 08:41 AM.

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#61 Beg

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Posted 25 November 2019 - 12:19 PM

You adapted Rick. It looks good. Bet that is a lot of fun.....


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#62 oldmanrick

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Posted 25 November 2019 - 12:54 PM

Yes, I'm really enjoying this outfit, although the weather has been lousy lately this fall.  I'm getting a little diversity out of it though.  A few evenings back a herd of elk appeared in the field about 1/2 mile to our west.  I wheeled out the 150 and quickly had a very nice view.  Counted 83 elk, five were bulls, one smallish 5-point and four spikes, one of which had a tiny fork at the top of one antler.  There were many calves, which were very playful, with lots of running around through the herd.  Glad to see the all calves, the wolves must not have been too bad this year.

 

Crystal clear views at 28X using the APM 2" 30mm UFF pair of eyepieces.

 

Rick


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#63 starzonesteve

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Posted 25 November 2019 - 08:01 PM

Outstanding, Rick! Let us know how this works out for you going forward.

 

Steve


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#64 Mr. Bill

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Posted 26 November 2019 - 01:20 PM

Only issue I see with your setup is moving the binoculars in azimuth without tripping over mount (especially in the dark)


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#65 oldmanrick

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Posted 26 November 2019 - 04:32 PM

Only issue I see with your setup is moving the binoculars in azimuth without tripping over mount (especially in the dark)

Yes, that is an issue.  I just have to remember that this large dolly takes up a lot of space and sticks 'way out in the path of travel when moving around to view another azimuth area.

 

I tend to select certain areas of the sky that I want to view, then set up so the legs of the dolly aren't in the way too much.  It's very awkward to view directly opposite one of the legs!

 

When building this thing, I was torn between setting the wheels inboard of the jack-stands so I could shorten the legs a lot, but opted for the greater stability while moving, provided by the outboard location of the wheels.

 

The stands are necessary to level the dolly on uneven ground, and to take the wobble out of the whole assembly.  Even with stands extended, I have to stabilize them with a ratchet strap to eliminate wobble.

 

The stabilizing ratchet strap is very much in the way of my feet, as now situated.  I plan to soon locate it under the dolly legs to get it out of the way of my feet when observing.

 

Guess I need to build a turntable and just set up the tripod on that.  Haven't devised a practical way to build one that would assure stability yet.

 

Rick

 

 

 

IMG_5970-Edit.jpg


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#66 starzonesteve

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Posted 27 November 2019 - 04:53 PM

Yes, that is an issue.  I just have to remember that this large dolly takes up a lot of space and sticks 'way out in the path of travel when moving around to view another azimuth area.

 

I tend to select certain areas of the sky that I want to view, then set up so the legs of the dolly aren't in the way too much.  It's very awkward to view directly opposite one of the legs!

 

When building this thing, I was torn between setting the wheels inboard of the jack-stands so I could shorten the legs a lot, but opted for the greater stability while moving, provided by the outboard location of the wheels.

 

The stands are necessary to level the dolly on uneven ground, and to take the wobble out of the whole assembly.  Even with stands extended, I have to stabilize them with a ratchet strap to eliminate wobble.

 

The stabilizing ratchet strap is very much in the way of my feet, as now situated.  I plan to soon locate it under the dolly legs to get it out of the way of my feet when observing.

 

Guess I need to build a turntable and just set up the tripod on that.  Haven't devised a practical way to build one that would assure stability yet.

 

Rick

 

 

 

attachicon.gif IMG_5970-Edit.jpg

Necessity is the mother of invention, Rick. Looks like you are off to a great start.


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#67 oldmanrick

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Posted 28 November 2019 - 12:18 PM

Really, the best solution to a dolly leg being in the way of observing, is to just crank up the jack stands and wheel the dolly around to reposition the legs.  This requires re-leveling, but is fairly quick to do, even in the dark.

 

I would also like to find a way to eliminate the ratchet straps that anchor the tripod down to the dolly.  Some type of clamping device down at the tripod feet would be best.  I've thought about bolts anchored to or through the dolly legs, slanted and sized properly to match the bottom of the tripod legs where the feet screw in.  The bolts would be awkward to access for tightening due to the close proximity of the jack stand tubes.  I may have to take a closer look at this, though, as it would be the cleanest solution, and the tripod shouldn't need to be removed or replaced very often.  This isn't a high priority, as the ratchet straps work very well, and aren''t in the way, they just look bad.

 

Rick



#68 Beg

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Posted 29 November 2019 - 03:22 AM

    "Guess I need to build a turntable and just set up the tripod on that.  Haven't devised a practical way to build one that would assure stability yet".

 

Rick

 

Or just break down and choose the best location on your property, and pour a concrete slab, and build a cost effective roll top observatory around the Berlebach and the APM. Throw the dolly in the trash and enjoy an effortless viewing experience for the rest of your days..... wink.gif


Edited by Beg, 29 November 2019 - 03:32 AM.

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#69 oldmanrick

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Posted 29 November 2019 - 06:41 AM

    "Guess I need to build a turntable and just set up the tripod on that.  Haven't devised a practical way to build one that would assure stability yet".

 

Rick

 

Or just break down and choose the best location on your property, and pour a concrete slab, and build a cost effective roll top observatory around the Berlebach and the APM. Throw the dolly in the trash and enjoy an effortless viewing experience for the rest of your days..... wink.gif

Hi Brian,

 

I've thought a lot about the option of building an observatory too.  I would worry about having to maintain heat in it in the winter to avoid too much moisture, plus building it tight enough to keep out bugs and other critters that could be a problem.  We have a lot of wasps and hornets here that would love to occupy a space like that, let alone spiders, ants, etc.  I could not tolerate those critters invading my instruments.

 

I also like being able to move around in the yard to get better views of different parts of the sky.  I think the dolly is the best answer for that.

 

Obviously a turntable would not solve that problem.  I was being a bit sarcastic about building a turntable anyway.  An observatory would probably be easier to build, as well as being more practical.  

 

For now I will continue with the dolly and Berlebach.  That combination is much more stable than any other option I have used.

 

Rick



#70 Sarkikos

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Posted 06 December 2019 - 09:25 AM

If only these binoculars had 90 degree eyepiece turrets. 

 

Mike



#71 jdown

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Posted 06 December 2019 - 11:11 AM

One man's opinion on an observatory:  I've thought of building/buying one for something like the APM 150mm, which is not really a 'grab 'n go,' setup.  But for me, one of the pleasures of stargazing is to be out under the open sky - from horizon to horizon, where one can sense the sheer vastness of all that is above us & out there.  That feeling would be diminished if I were inside an observatory.  


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#72 ZX12

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Posted 07 December 2019 - 12:51 AM

Rick,

 

After building my observatory five years ago, I have spent much more time actually observing rather than fussing with equipment and worrying about ever changing weather conditions, especially here in NE.

 

The observatory does not need heating to control moisture since it has excellent air flow, and the only bug issues that arise are spiders building the occasional web in the warmer months that I vacuum out monthly.

 

It's surprising how fast dew disappears when I close the roof, which allows me to return several hours later to see another part of the sky. 

 

The 150's are the only optic that stays out most of the time, and being sealed it does not have problems with moisture or critter penetration.

 

I use dessicant packs to keep any moisture on the objectives away, as well as in the eyepiece holders. 

 

The TTS 160 has become the perfect mount for the 150's as it is simple and sleek in design. The hand controller works intuitively once learned and works well with a gloved hand in winter.

 

Mike 

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#73 oldmanrick

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Posted 07 December 2019 - 06:33 AM

Mike,

 

Nice observatory!  Thanks for posting the photo.  I have been really tempted to build one of these, but like the ability to move around to be able to achieve 360 degree views.  I haven't figured out just where I would locate mine if I decide to build.

 

We've had an inversion here for the last several days, and mostly "fogged in".  Little opportunity for viewing lately.

 

As a consequence, I'm still modifying the ramshackle dolly.  I've re-routed the tensioner strap for the jack stands to get it more out of the way, and am currently working on a tie-down system that will anchor the tripod feet directly to the dolly.  I've also installed an extra clamp on each leg of the tripod for more security.  This outfit is still a "work in progress"!

 

So far though, I do like the concept of having the large dolly.  The 150 stays set up on the tripod, with a Telegizmo cover over it when needed, and for longer periods of storage.  It is easy to wheel in and out of the shop where I park it, to about any location I need to go for a good view.  It does take two or three trips to the observing spot, one for the dolly, tripod and instrument, one for the observing chair and a light folding table where I set the eyepiece case, I-pad, etc., plus a trip for the eyepiece case, red flashlight, I-pad, etc.  Still not bad, as the observing spot is usually fairly close to the shop.

 

Rick



#74 oldmanrick

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Posted 12 December 2019 - 01:18 AM

Has anyone using the APM 150 found any other good 2" eyepieces for this instrument?  I really like the APM 30mm UFF pair that came with the binoc.  For me, (IPD = 62-63mm), they would need to be near the minimum diameter for 2 inchers.

 

In general, besides not having to mess with 1.25/2" adapters, what are the optical pros and cons, of 2" vs 1.25", if any?

 

Rick



#75 oldmanrick

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Posted 23 December 2019 - 10:15 AM

For 2" eyepieces, I'm thinking that it would be nice to have pairs at around 40mm; 30mm, (I have the APM UFF 30's); 20mm; 15mm; and 10mm.  Most of these sizes are probably not available at a small enough diameter to be useable for me with my 63mm IPD.

 

The homemade dolly and Berlebach Planet K70 tripod assembly are now ready for action.  I've added an extra set of Berlebach leg clamps to the tripod legs, eliminated the tie-down straps from the assembly by installing 10mm SS threaded studs in place of the tripod feet.  

 

The studs are inserted down through angled holes in the dolly legs, and fastened with wing nuts, to anchor the tripod down to the dolly.  I've also re-routed the ratchet strap that pulls the jack stand feet towards the center of the dolly for stability, to directly under the dolly legs where it is much less in the way.  It is also more effective at stabilizing things in this position, and I've found that once tightened, I don't have to adjust it when retracting or extending the jack stands.  It just stays in position on the jack stand legs, and automatically tightens up as the stands are lowered.

 

This setup now provides good mobility, with the ability to keep the whole outfit assembled and covered while stored in the shop or garage.

 

It is not grab and go, as far as driving somewhere with it, but the dolly will fit in my small trailer, so it would be reasonable to transport dolly and tripod all assembled, wheeled up the tailgate ramp into the trailer, and tied down. The binocular in its case would go in the pickup truck.  Realistically, though, I would probably take the tripod off the dolly and just take the tripod, mount, bino, and other necessary equipment, if I were driving to another viewing site.

 

Now if we would ever get some clear nights, I could better report on actual use experience with this outfit!

 

 

More later. 

 

Rick




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