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Oberwerk 15x70 Ultra versus APM 16x70 ED MS

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#1 Fiske

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Posted 14 June 2021 - 10:07 AM

Started to go off topic on another thread and realized this comparison should be a new topic.

 

I went to a dark site for observing yesterday evening with a friend. Well, last night actually. We didn't meet there until 9 pm and it was after 10 pm local time before it got dark enough for deep sky observation. And then the next thing you know it is 12:30 AM (and you were telling yourself you would pack up at midnight and you have only looked at a tiny portion of what is on your observing list). smirk.gif

 

I spent part of my time doing side by side comparisons with the OB 15x70 Ultra and the APM 16x70 ED MS delving into my preference for the latter. We had a lovely three day waxing crescent moon, 9% illuminated, and I forgot to bring the 82XL eyepiece case (a rare thing for me to forget an essential) so the 7mm XW eyepieces were not available for what would have been a fabulous view -- still quite nice with the 14mms. (Plus, a total of 11 binoculars were along for the ride so there was no dearth of equipment available. grin.gif ) Anyway, I compared views of the crescent moon and of star fields with both the Ultra and APM.

 

The game changer for me was the discovery that the APM does not perform well for uncorrected near-sighted vision -- in this regard, the Ultra has a decided advantage. I mean, optically the performance of the Ultra is better than the APM when the instruments are focused for my uncorrected vision (-5.50 sphere in both eyes). But the APM has ample eye relief for eyeglass wearers and star hopping is easier when you can actually see stars to point the binocular so observing with my glasses on has become my standard mode with the APM. Interestingly, the problem with uncorrected vision is specific to that instrument -- the APM 12x50 ED MS is fine both with and without glasses. It must be due to some characteristic of the 16x70 eyepiece design. When wearing glasses, in all categories -- CA correction, brightness, sharpness, edge performance, and eye relief -- the APM is slightly better. Most noticeably so with CA -- well controlled and not objectionable with the Ultra, but close to undetectable in the APM. It's biggest advantage. The cumulative effect of all the small differences outweighs the disadvantage of its slight eye position fussiness for me, making the APM my 16x70 binocular of choice.

 

The OB 15x70 Ultra is an excellent binocular with a lot to recommend it and at a bargain price. The APM just offers a bit more in the way of performance -- not enough to show more than the Ultra, but enough to make a more pleasing view in side by side comparisons. It's twice the money. If that is a concern, or if you are an eyeglass wearer and prefer to observe without glasses (at least part of the time), you will be happy with the Ultra. Otherwise, my recommendation is the APM.

 

Fiske


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#2 wrvond

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Posted 14 June 2021 - 10:19 AM

Great post!

 

I've bought all my large binos and binoscopes from Kevin at Oberwerk because they are reasonably close to me (close enough to visit) and I like to support local business when I can. Kevin is also a great guy that offers more than just a product, so that helps, too.

 

Still, I've often wondered if I might be missing out by going with the Obies instead of APM. Your comparison has really confirmed I made the right choices for the right reasons.

 

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#3 Fiske

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Posted 14 June 2021 - 10:48 AM

Great post!

 

I've bought all my large binos and binoscopes from Kevin at Oberwerk because they are reasonably close to me (close enough to visit) and I like to support local business when I can. Kevin is also a great guy that offers more than just a product, so that helps, too.

 

Still, I've often wondered if I might be missing out by going with the Obies instead of APM. Your comparison has really confirmed I made the right choices for the right reasons.

 

waytogo.gif

Thanks, wrvond.

 

Make no mistake, I love Oberwerk! smile.gif Kevin and Linda do a great job -- best customer service going, great values, terrific instruments. I like supporting an excellent small business that has provided outstanding service to the amateur astronomy community for decades. I recommend Oberwerk without hesitation and with total confidence.

 

But I also really like the two APM binoculars in my collection. wink.gif

 

Fiske


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#4 MarMax

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Posted 14 June 2021 - 11:20 AM

Nice report!

 

I've wondered what the difference in the OD of the eyepieces is between these two binos. With the eye cup removed the 15x70 Ultras are 1.71". With the trimmed eye cup on the OD is 1.81". If the APMs are smaller I may need to give them a try.

 

The 1.71" is measured at the outer (slightly smaller) edge of the eyepiece.



#5 Rich V.

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Posted 14 June 2021 - 11:51 AM

The APM's eyepieces are larger, not smaller.

 

I have previously measured the 16x70 APM eyepieces at 46mm (1.81") across the rubber eyecups and 50.7mm (2") across the body of the eyepieces.

 

Rich



#6 Nate1701

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Posted 15 June 2021 - 07:28 AM

Ultra's working well with uncorrected vision was also mentioned by Dave Brody.

https://www.space.co...ars-review.html


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#7 Fiske

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Posted 15 June 2021 - 08:46 AM

Thanks Nate! smile.gif



#8 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 15 June 2021 - 10:09 AM

Field:

 

Nice comparison.. I always like to hear something good about the Ultras/Resolux's..

 

I always view uncorrected but it's not much of an issue since my observing eye is 0.0 and my other eye is 0.25 and neither has astigmatism.  That doesn't mean my eyes are all that sharp, I think it just means the doctor can't make sense of his tests so he just writes down something.

 

Jon


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#9 Fiske

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Posted 15 June 2021 - 10:36 AM

Field:

 

Nice comparison.. I always like to hear something good about the Ultras/Resolux's..

 

I always view uncorrected but it's not much of an issue since my observing eye is 0.0 and my other eye is 0.25 and neither has astigmatism.  That doesn't mean my eyes are all that sharp, I think it just means the doctor can't make sense of his tests so he just writes down something.

 

Jon

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#10 MT4

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Posted 16 June 2021 - 11:31 PM

Fiske,

 

Thank you for the nice side-by-side comparison.   I've been wondering for a little while if I should have the APM MS ED 16x70.  Reports of (almost) edge-to-edge sharpness and ample eye relief for eyeglass wearers have made them nearly irresistible.  The problem is that I already have the Maven B5 15x56 and the Nikon 18x70, both excellent instruments with the right combinations of weight, size, mag and FOV for my polluted skies.  I actually sent Markus an email the other day inquiring about availability of the APM 16x70, and offered him a silent thank-for for the instant reply saying that it's out of stock for the next 3 months.

 

Your side-by-side comparisons are all very nice, informative and free, but could turn out to be very expensive smile.gif


Edited by MT4, 16 June 2021 - 11:33 PM.

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#11 Fiske

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Posted 17 June 2021 - 12:55 AM

Fiske,

 

Thank you for the nice side-by-side comparison.   I've been wondering for a little while if I should have the APM MS ED 16x70.  Reports of (almost) edge-to-edge sharpness and ample eye relief for eyeglass wearers have made them nearly irresistible.  The problem is that I already have the Maven B5 15x56 and the Nikon 18x70, both excellent instruments with the right combinations of weight, size, mag and FOV for my polluted skies.  I actually sent Markus an email the other day inquiring about availability of the APM 16x70, and offered him a silent thank-for for the instant reply saying that it's out of stock for the next 3 months.

 

Your side-by-side comparisons are all very nice, informative and free, but could turn out to be very expensive smile.gif

They have surely been expensive for me. wink.gif But also a lot of fun and an opportunity for learning, for exploring the night sky, and for engaging with other binocular enthusiasts.

 

I normally observe from my backyard but stepped out in my front yard last night "just for a minute" with the Steiner 8x56 to see what I could see, noticed a beautiful and bright binocular double well down in the south -- my front yard is the north side of my house and affords a better view in the south because I'm farther from my backyard neighbor's tall trees. Anyway, I worked out that the double was Alpha Librae and I could see the entire triangular asterism of the constellation, pleasing because I didn't realize I could see that far south from my yard. Then I noticed a stream of stars west of Sigma Librae (20 Lib) which turned out to be 54/55/56/57 Hydra. Not far from which I noticed in the Sky Atlas 2000 is the globular cluster NGC 5694. I thought I'll just take a quick look with the OB 15x70 Ultra (easier to hand hold used without glasses because the eye cups are about perfect eye relief for me). But then I thought what the heck and grabbed my Bogen tripod -- the Ultra plays nicely on it. I couldn't see 5694 -- atmospheric extinction, light pollution, moonlight, etc. But I had a nice long look at Alpha Librae (light straw yellow and gray) and glassed around a bit with the 15x70 before going back inside. 

 

There is nothing wrong with that binocular. It is plenty sharp and comfortable to observe with. Optically I think the APM is a little better, but I don't like the Ultra less for that. I am happy to own both and expect to keep them both.

 

The Oberwerk 25x100 Deluxe arrived today, and I spent a few hours out observing with it this evening. It is another excellent binocular at a great price. Sharp to about 95% of the FOV. Sure a bit of CA but it's an achromat. And the CA is well controlled. I got it for a deep sky binocular where that isn't a critical issue, frankly. I'll write plenty more about it. It's enormous! lol I also have the 20x80 Deluxe III and the 25x100 dwarfs it. lol.gif But it rides nicely on the OB PM1 mount and again is extremely comfortable for me. I am quite near-sighted (-5.50 sphere in both eyes) and noticed that 0 diopter on the 25x100 is about right for my uncorrected(!) vision. Kevin knows about my eyesight. I wouldn't be a bit surprised if he adjusted the instrument to provide more focus latitude for me.

 

I was contemplating the APM 25x100 ED MS too, but I'm going to skip it. It's nearly $1300 USD versus $470 for the OB. I expect the optical performance is a little better, but I'm pleased with the Oberwerk and there is just always going to be something a little bit better for a lot more money. Enough! grin.gif

 

Fiske

 

PS: And now I am finally going to take my binocular collection picture to post on the How Many Do You Own topic...


Edited by Fiske, 17 June 2021 - 01:17 AM.

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#12 MT4

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Posted 17 June 2021 - 01:27 AM

Fiske,

 

Apologies in advance for the off-topic question, but I'd like to ask if you don't mind answering.

 

I enjoy reading your field reports and side-by-side comparisons a lot.  One thing that I've noticed is that you don't seem to have any IS binoculars.   If true, I wonder why that's the case.

 

The Canon IS 18x50 has been on my mind on/off for a while.  If it were to have a few more millimeters of aperture or have the better "L" optics that are used in the smaller 10x42, I'd bite in a heartbeat.


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#13 Corcaroli78

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Posted 17 June 2021 - 02:17 AM

 

Fiske

 

PS: And now I am finally going to take my binocular collection picture to post on the How Many Do You Own topic...

Please do us a favor Fiske and show us your nice OB collection. grin.gif

 

Carlos


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#14 Fiske

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Posted 17 June 2021 - 07:20 AM

Please do us a favor Fiske and show us your nice OB collection. grin.gif

 

Carlos

lol.gif

 

Oberwerk is well represented, for sure. But instruments from Nikon, Fujinon, APM, Steiner, and Orion are also in the mix. All porro prisms, though. Not counting the Nikon 8x and 10x42 Monarch HG binoculars, which are almost exclusively for daytime use. Except, however, when I happen to see a baby possum trotting along the top of my backyard fence (last night). The 8x42 HGs are handy there.

 

Fiske


Edited by Fiske, 17 June 2021 - 07:20 AM.

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#15 Fiske

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Posted 17 June 2021 - 07:29 AM

Fiske,

 

Apologies in advance for the off-topic question, but I'd like to ask if you don't mind answering.

 

I enjoy reading your field reports and side-by-side comparisons a lot.  One thing that I've noticed is that you don't seem to have any IS binoculars.   If true, I wonder why that's the case.

 

The Canon IS 18x50 has been on my mind on/off for a while.  If it were to have a few more millimeters of aperture or have the better "L" optics that are used in the smaller 10x42, I'd bite in a heartbeat.

I've observed with the Canon 15x and 18x50 IS binoculars and they work precisely as billed. Excellent instruments. The reason I don't own one is I prefer a mounted binocular -- the advantage being that the instrument stays pointed at whatever I'm observing (or trying to find!) while I consult charts, take notes, make sketches, or share views with friends. (Or sip wine -- my OB tripod tray arrived along with the 25x100 and four more quick release plates for the PM1.) I find binocular mounts a breeze to set up. Pretty much grab and go compared with a 22-inch Dob, trust me! wink.gif

 

If I were going to add one, it would be the 18x50 IS. It is a treat for double stars, among other things. I'm also a little bit anti- image enhancement. That is irrational I admit. grin.gif Borrowing a line from Robert Frost (inveighing against free verse poetry), it seems to me like tennis with the net down.

 

Fiske


Edited by Fiske, 17 June 2021 - 08:05 AM.

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#16 MT4

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Posted 17 June 2021 - 08:04 AM

Thank you Fiske for entertaining my off-topic question.   Your explanation makes perfect sense.  I'm glad to hear that you think highly of the Canon 18x50, which would be the top IS model for me.


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#17 Coco

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Posted 17 June 2021 - 08:06 AM

Great post, satisfied that my Helios Apollo 15x70 is worth keeping, as selling second-hand to buy a new 16x70 APM ED MS  is not the upgrade I thought maybe worthwhile (assuming the internal are the same).  Planning on replacing the Apollo's with 18x70 Astrolux at some point, someone will come along and tell me the APM's are not far behind the Astrolux next :D


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#18 Echolight

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Posted 17 June 2021 - 09:41 AM

They have surely been expensive for me. wink.gif But also a lot of fun and an opportunity for learning, for exploring the night sky, and for engaging with other binocular enthusiasts.

 

I normally observe from my backyard but stepped out in my front yard last night "just for a minute" with the Steiner 8x56 to see what I could see, noticed a beautiful and bright binocular double well down in the south -- my front yard is the north side of my house and affords a better view in the south because I'm farther from my backyard neighbor's tall trees. Anyway, I worked out that the double was Alpha Librae and I could see the entire triangular asterism of the constellation, pleasing because I didn't realize I could see that far south from my yard. Then I noticed a stream of stars west of Sigma Librae (20 Lib) which turned out to be 54/55/56/57 Hydra. Not far from which I noticed in the Sky Atlas 2000 is the globular cluster NGC 5694. I thought I'll just take a quick look with the OB 15x70 Ultra (easier to hand hold used without glasses because the eye cups are about perfect eye relief for me). But then I thought what the heck and grabbed my Bogen tripod -- the Ultra plays nicely on it. I couldn't see 5694 -- atmospheric extinction, light pollution, moonlight, etc. But I had a nice long look at Alpha Librae (light straw yellow and gray) and glassed around a bit with the 15x70 before going back inside. 

 

There is nothing wrong with that binocular. It is plenty sharp and comfortable to observe with. Optically I think the APM is a little better, but I don't like the Ultra less for that. I am happy to own both and expect to keep them both.

 

The Oberwerk 25x100 Deluxe arrived today, and I spent a few hours out observing with it this evening. It is another excellent binocular at a great price. Sharp to about 95% of the FOV. Sure a bit of CA but it's an achromat. And the CA is well controlled. I got it for a deep sky binocular where that isn't a critical issue, frankly. I'll write plenty more about it. It's enormous! lol I also have the 20x80 Deluxe III and the 25x100 dwarfs it. lol.gif But it rides nicely on the OB PM1 mount and again is extremely comfortable for me. I am quite near-sighted (-5.50 sphere in both eyes) and noticed that 0 diopter on the 25x100 is about right for my uncorrected(!) vision. Kevin knows about my eyesight. I wouldn't be a bit surprised if he adjusted the instrument to provide more focus latitude for me.

 

I was contemplating the APM 25x100 ED MS too, but I'm going to skip it. It's nearly $1300 USD versus $470 for the OB. I expect the optical performance is a little better, but I'm pleased with the Oberwerk and there is just always going to be something a little bit better for a lot more money. Enough! grin.gif

 

Fiske

 

PS: And now I am finally going to take my binocular collection picture to post on the How Many Do You Own topic...

I wonder.... if you had to pick just one mounted binocular, because there was only one Husky bag and it was too small to fit two? Which size would you prefer?

 

I get that the 15x70 can be hand held in a pinch or just out of convenience. So maybe that's the easiest answer.


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#19 Fiske

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Posted 17 June 2021 - 10:49 AM

I'm glad I don't have to pick!

 

lol.gif lol.gif lol.gif

 

The APM 16x70 would be a serious contender. Also the 25x100.

 

If I had to limit to three binoculars it would be 10x50, 16x70, 25x100.

 

But the truth is I'm happy with the whole binocular posse. wink.gif

 

Fiske

 

PS: Need to update my signature...


Edited by Fiske, 17 June 2021 - 10:50 AM.

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#20 MarMax

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Posted 17 June 2021 - 11:40 AM

It's sounding like if I'm really enjoying the 15x70 Ultras but want to take it up a level, that next level is the APM 16x70 ED.

 

This is also sounding like my path with eyepieces. Started cheap, then tried some ES, then ended up with TeleVue. Yes the ES 18/82 is good but the 17T4 is better.

 

Or when viewing with friends in a group situation the 15x70 Ultras will get passed around for all to use while the 16x70 EDs would just stay in my hands . . . lol.



#21 Nate1701

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Posted 17 June 2021 - 01:13 PM

It's sounding like if I'm really enjoying the 15x70 Ultras but want to take it up a level, that next level is the APM 16x70 ED.

 

This is also sounding like my path with eyepieces. Started cheap, then tried some ES, then ended up with TeleVue. Yes the ES 18/82 is good but the 17T4 is better.

 

Or when viewing with friends in a group situation the 15x70 Ultras will get passed around for all to use while the 16x70 EDs would just stay in my hands . . . lol.

ya I'm on the fence between these two. Just worried about Viewing with the Ultra's mounted and any discomfort getting my eyes up close to get the full FOV.

 

Enjoying this thread however. Not too much info putting the ED against the Resolux / Ultras. But there are a couple reports about the MS / Lunt vs. the Resolux / Ultras. Rich V. and Steve Tonkins are noteworthy.


Edited by Nate1701, 17 June 2021 - 01:14 PM.


#22 Fiske

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Posted 17 June 2021 - 03:46 PM

My consistent issue with binoculars is too much eye relief, not too little. If my experience were the opposite I would choose the APM.

 

Having both the OB 15x70 Ultra and the APM 16x70 ED MS and being able to use them side by side has been invaluable, helping me to understand the differences between the two instruments and how they suit my preferences and approach to observing. The APM 12x50 is the only instrument I have in that size range, and I won't be looking at others. I like it that well. I was seriously considering an APM 25x100 ED MS to double up at that magnification/aperture, but after an evening with the OB 25x100 Deluxe I'm not going to do it. I'm satisfied with the OB and switching back and forth between instruments is work. And a 25x100 is a big binocular. 

 

bigshock.gif

 

I get that the APM is better optically -- particularly when it comes to CA. But I didn't get a 25x100 for daytime use. Or for lunar observing (82XL territory, or 20x65ED) or the planets, etc. I wanted it for deep sky. The difference between the two instruments for that isn't going to be as significant. Not saying a difference would not be apparent, but is it worth nearly $1250 USD versus $470? At this point, for me, the answer is no.

 

Fiske


Edited by Fiske, 17 June 2021 - 06:16 PM.

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#23 Rich V.

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Posted 17 June 2021 - 04:16 PM

Nate, for me, the luxury of the 16x70 MS ED's long ER and flat field in combination are worthwhile.  I replaced my Fuji 16x70 FMTs with the APMs mainly for the longer ER, which for my face, is way more comfortable viewing at high angles than the shorter ER eyepieces like the FMTs and the Ultra-type binos. I can rock the binos upward from my browbones to gain altitude without bending my neck as much due to that longer ER.  Both the FMTs and APMs have flatter fields than the 70mm competition, while the Ultras lose some sharpness towards the edges of the field, as the Nikon 18x70s are reported to do as well, FWIW.

 

For me, the ER of the APMs is perfect.  For Fiske, the Obies work well for him.   shrug.gif   We're all unique in how our eyes and facial features interact with any particular bino and the only way to know what you'll like best is to try them yourself.  The Obies are a relative bargain, though. The ED is a big help for daytime use but not so much for night unless you spend a lot of time on the Moon.

 

Rich


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#24 Nate1701

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Posted 17 June 2021 - 05:07 PM

Nate, for me, the luxury of the 16x70 MS ED's long ER and flat field in combination are worthwhile.  I replaced my Fuji 16x70 FMTs with the APMs mainly for the longer ER, which for my face, is way more comfortable viewing at high angles than the shorter ER eyepieces like the FMTs and the Ultra-type binos. I can rock the binos upward from my browbones to gain altitude without bending my neck as much due to that longer ER.  Both the FMTs and APMs have flatter fields than the 70mm competition, while the Ultras lose some sharpness towards the edges of the field, as the Nikon 18x70s are reported to do as well, FWIW.

 

For me, the ER of the APMs is perfect.  For Fiske, the Obies work well for him.   shrug.gif   We're all unique in how our eyes and facial features interact with any particular bino and the only way to know what you'll like best is to try them yourself.  The Obies are a relative bargain, though. The ED is a big help for daytime use but not so much for night unless you spend a lot of time on the Moon.

 

Rich

Thanks Rich. Nice tips. That helps -  In that case i think i might go for the Lunt 16x70. I don't view the moon with binos, or planets either.

Even though the ED will be a bit brighter - i think the Lunts ( MS non-ED) will fit the bill - same eye relief, not as expensive and a bit lighter too. Only thing is... I notice they are disappearing from Vendors sites.

 

Btw. i was thinking of starting "The 15/16x70 Bino thread"... since they are a standard workhorse. But first i should get a pair. And second; this thread i am enjoying immensely.


Edited by Nate1701, 17 June 2021 - 05:10 PM.

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#25 Rich V.

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Posted 17 June 2021 - 06:11 PM

In my 2017 16x70 comparison, the views from the Lunt MS and APM MS ED were practically identical for most intents.  The ED showed less color fringing on the brightest stars but most objects were unaffected.  The MS and FMT performed very similarly except for the longer ER of the MS. 

 

My initial impressions of 16x70 Lunt MS compared to FMT in 2015 were very favorable.  The MS is a really good performing binocular and the 16x70 size hits a sweet spot in the lineup with that particular eyepiece and objective combination, IMO.

 

If you an still find a MS 16x70 at a good price, I think you'll be impressed.

 

Rich


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