APM-100 ED BINOCULAR
I had scopes from 2" to 12" in Dobsonians, Refractors and SCT and to views were excellent but there was some drawbacks in which a portability and FOVs.
I also have had some nice Binocular collections and they certainly show me right field but again the drawbacks too. So, after a lot of researched; I concluded myself that I should look at the Big Binocular with Interchangeable eyepiece to view from Open Clusters to Nebula and Planets.
I jumped at the Orion BT-70 first. It was an awesome binocular Telescope especially in portable and full illumination. The views were really spectacular on DSOs but it uses propriety eyepiece so one can only use what it provide with the binocular. Soon after used couple of months; I found out that yes the 45degree or 90 degree is what I need but with the standard eyepiece system. The BT-70 was the 90degree view and It was really satisfied my craving but I wanted to use standard eyepieces and more aperture that I can afford so, I looked at ORION BT-100 (90degree with standard eyepiece system). It was really good but had some collimation problem which was taken care by Orion Tech Dept. I did check myself if it utilize full aperture as some of the websites users claimed that the 90degree angled 100mm binocular actually utilize only 82mm to 91mm. I tested and realize that indeed it showed me only 92mm with mean of three reading to eliminate any error. Though the test was not 100% correct but gave me the Idea that it is not using more then 92mm. To me, if paid for 100mm and get the 90mm not good so I returned in favor of APM-100 ED binocular telescope because of good reviews and fully utilize its 100mm aperture.
ENTERING THE REALM OF APM-100ED
First, I was really hesitate to decide to go for because it uses 45 angle turret system and I was already got use to 90 degree angled binocular which was a joy to use it but talking with few buddies and asking their experiences; I started making my mind to give it a try.
I gathered its technical information through various websites as much as possible and looked for only disadvantage. As much I know about its weakness; it will give me more control to make a final decision to buy it or not. I contacted to APM office in New Jersey area but they told me that the office is shrinking the business and they do not carry anymore nor in the future but the lady gave me answers of my each questions I asked. She even contacted herself to MARKUS at APM-Germany to satisfy my needs.
Markus sent me an email asking about what can he do or how he can help me to get the right instrument of my needs. I asked bunch of questions and he promptly and patiently gave me the answers. By conversation through emails; he built a trusted relationship but I was ready to spend $1250.00 so I wanted to make sure that I get the right product. Well, Finally I decided to go for APM-Germany to buy 100mm ED-Binocular although, I was worried about offices not in the United States if I encounter any problems but he said that he will star test under the real sky and his package will mostly eliminate anything related to misalignment while traveling from Germany to United States.
After waiting for three weeks; I finally got it through USPS. The package was quite secure and used double brown box and foam liner inside to eliminate possible problem as I talked to him before shipment.
At first glance while laying in the supplied box; it looked beautiful. I took out from the box and mounted on my ORION EZ-mount that has a 50# capacity. I got two pair of eyepieces with it which is a pair of 20mm wide angle 70degree and 9mm wide angle 60degree "Planetary HR".
Use the flash light test to see if I can find any dust or foreign matters inside the tubes. The tubes were free of any dust particles and the coating looked evenly applied. While inspected with the flash light; I saw the outer grooves actually reflecting light which I know will degrade the optical performance. I put 20mm eyepiece and looked at the distant pole about couple of miles away. I immediately saw vignette so the field stop was defiantly smaller then 24.40mm. I inserted a 17mm eyepiece and according from website where I bought the eyepiece has a 20mm field stop. So with the 17mm eyepiece; I did not see any vignette at all though I did not try to find its exact field stop but it may be 22mm.
At 20mm eyepiece and looking at my target; I could see colour around object. It was enough to bother my eyes in the day time. I then inserted 9mm supplied eyepiece to see if I can see some curvature and aberration. At 55x (9mm); I can still see some colour around my target but it was now quite less then at 25x !
Daylight was leaving and Dark was replacing its place so I start preparing for a real test. I took my setup once again outside in my backyard where the NELM is 4.20 Looking at the sky; realize that the seeing is not really good and 50% of sky covered with clouds but my intention is to get an idea that how does it perform.
My first object was VEGA which was about 60degree in the eastern sky. I first put the 20mm eyepiece to see if it shows me a pin point star on-axis. It did show me pinpoint but I see colour around it which was a bit disappointed. I let drift VEGA to see if in some area show me unexpected views. VEGA was not seen as a true pinpoint star but look quite round pin point up to 70-ish degree. I would say outer 20% was showing me like streaks so the entire 70% was good and 10% could tell you that it is a star. Using the supplied 9mm "Planetary HR" was a little surprise to me. Yes you read it correct "surprise". As everyone knows that supplied eyepiece usually adequate to use but this pair of eyepiece was sharp up to 90% if not 95% of the entire FOV! The colour around object almost none. Yes, with tilting head a little left or right will reappear the colour around object but not objectionable for users. At 20mm the image merges with no problem but with 9mm; I have to turning the eyepiece to get one image. To me it was a little annoying though it takes only few seconds but according to APM; they use a new compression ring so I should not have any problem. With 15mm Antares 70degree wide angle eyepiece; It was now really annoying me to get a single image even after a minute. 15mm Eyepieces use undercut so I know the actual problem was eyepiece barrel. I observed about a dozen DSOs and was quite happy to see its performance.
The focuser really smooth and with new compression ring; it was a joy to use eyepieces into the focuser.
I observed now almost 3 weeks and I know it is an excellent buy. Keep in mind that no instrument is perfect and there always a flaw in the system so if it has some strong good points then obviously it has some weaker points too.
Easy to managed.
Good++ supplied eyepieces.
Newer Compression Ring.
Solid fit and finish
Groove outside the objective inside the barrel is reflective.
Objective cover was poor.
No offices in United States.
No option for finder.
No supplied top or bottom cover for eyepieces.
No plugs for focuser when not use.
At the end; I can give you my personal experience that I am very happy to keep it. I understand that it uses two ED-elements to control color aberration but it is really hard to control when the objectives are f5. I would say that if the objectives f6 with ED-elements; I would see almost colour free but still it is well controlled. They also need to change the objective cover and include with the MASKING objective colour if the user desire to observe brighter objects like Planets at high power. I used 73x and the image was not really broken down. If using the mask; one could go up to 100x !
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