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APM 82mm SD APO 45° Binoculars - 18 Months Review

APM 82mm SD APO 45° Binoculars - 18 Months Review

-By Darren Hennig, M.Sc.

I have had the  APM 82mm SD APO 45° binoculars for about just over 18 months. This is the “Ferrari” in my arsenal. It is sleek, easy to setup and provides SUPERB views of both earth-based and sky targets. I mainly purchased it for astronomical use. Since owning it, I mounted it on an Oberwerk Wooden tripod, shown below with a single fork mount form eLLe. Since then, I am using it now with the APM 82mm mounting single fork.

APM 82s on the eLLe single fork mount. Solar observing in late winter

APM 82s with twin Baader ASBF80s – solar observing – using APM single fork mount

While I use these for Solar and Lunar observing (AMAZING contrast and views!), I also find these a superb instrument for lower power daytime planetary observing and deep sky. In October 2021, early on, I was out with two friends and this instrument showed amazing contrast at 23.5x and 33.5x showing dark nebulae throughout the southern Cygnus and Auriga regions. Barnard’s “E” was so easy to see in this pair; dark nebulae showed as dark ink-black spots as if the sky had an eraser rubbing out the stars.

Lunar views are amazing in this instrument at ALL powers. I typically run between 18x and 55x, and on occasion 73x. 55x shows amazing details on Jupiter and Saturn (MUCH more than one expects at this power). Solar observing shows deep granulation, faculae, plages, and spot detail – I can easily see <2” small spots or larger granules in this instrument even at mid-20 powers. The  APM 18mm eyepieces provided as part of the package have superior contrast, and a very flat field. Color saturation is very impressive in these eyepieces, and with proper focus, one is able to see very tight double also stars.

I have been doing astronomy for many decades, and in the past 8 years or so a lot of binocular observing. APM binoculars (I also have the  10x50MS APO16x70MS APO, and 25x100MS APO Porro prism binoculars as well) show superior optical performance and each unit is tested rigorously before shipping. These instruments are a superb choice for a wide range of viewing, and the individual focus allows for optimal matching of each eye to the respective optical train, leading in VERY sharp, crisp views.

Some of the “landmark” firsts (or impressive binocular firsts) for me using these instruments were:

  • GRS observing and detection at as low as 16x during dusk and mid-morning (!!)
  • Mercury occultation in November 2021 with the moon < 2% illuminated. Mid-afternoon.
  • Mercury midday. (with caution to avoid solar accidents!)
  • Io/Europa separations < 3” using the pair. (23.5x)
  • Sun spots during solar observing < 2” in size, at mid-20 powers in the APM 82s – also one white light flare seen!
  • Countless Venus and Jupiter observations midday
  • Transit of Europa at 55x, and 73x (!!) in the 82s
  • Fantastic view of M1 at 37x in the 82s. Good start to seeing hints of the Crab’s structure using Nebula filters (Binos!)
  • Comet Neowise – amazing views of the coma, nucleus and bifurcated tail initial split off the main tail. (in Binos!)
  • Observing > 2 dozen B (Barnard) Dark nebulae in one night during a survey. FUN!

These instruments are an exceptional value – as competing Japanese-made units may run 50% and up over the price of the APM models. Also, the optics are SEALED. Some Vixen units are not on the eyepiece side. These ARE fully sealed and weatherproof! The twin binocular-telescope format is really nice in that with the 45-degree prism system, the views are comfortable over a wide range of target elevations without craning one’s neck. I highly recommend the APM SD models. I am planning on getting my next one this spring: a  120 mm APM 45-degree pair to round out my binocular equipment!

Highly recommended!

Darren Hennig, M.Sc.

Winnipeg, MB, Canada

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