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Ben the Ignorant

Too good to be true or technical progress following its usual course?

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I've been thinking of switching to apo binoculars, and the APM 10x50 ED is the one I'm ogling the most, it seems to be better than even the deified but non-ED Fujinon FMT-SX 10x50. However, nearly at the same moment I started pondering the upgrade from my TS achro 10x50 MX, it seemed to be offered with that extra-low dispersion glass for exactly the same price.

https://www.teleskop-express.de/shop/product_info.php/language/en/info/p1403_TS-Optics-10x50MX-Outdoor-ED-APO-Fernglas-mit-Nitrogen-Fuellung.html

So, what is going on? Has TS' supplier (Kunming, right?) stretched the definition of their high-performance achro glass, or do they really have switched to extra-low dispersion glass, and managed to keep the price at the precise same level?

William Optics has offered clones of the 7x50 and 10x50 MX for a long time, but labeled as "ED", and priced higher. Are they really apo binocs with FK-61 (what APM uses)  or FPL-51 glass, or are they the same with William's usual higher price for everything?

APM's instrument costing twice as much as the apparently new TS, the question is serious to me.

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Posted (edited)

Well they specifically state they are using ED glass so I can’t see it being a ‘HD’ marketing ploy. I note the APM ones state the type of ED glass they are using while TS don’t. I would imagine TS are using a lower quality ED glass. 

 

It's not just about the glass in the objective though. It looks like the APM have a higher quality body and are probably using better quality eye pieces and coatings. The tripod adapter is included with the APM too. Whether all this merits the extra cost I’m not sure.

 

Why not fire off an email to TS. They’re usually quite helpful.

 

 

Edited by Icesheet

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Posted (edited)

This is the achro version but with the same body as TS:

https://www.omegon.eu/instruments/omegon-binoculars-argus-12x50/p,47247

You can probably choose between two bodies (rubber or leatherette) and two glass version (achro or ED). As the APM uses the FK61 (one of the cheapest ED glass available), it's difficult to downgrade the glass even more while keeping the "ED".

Different coatings are available, probably.

Edited by Rick_It

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1 hour ago, Icesheet said:

It's not just about the glass in the objective though. It looks like the APM have a higher quality body and are probably using better quality eye pieces and coatings. The tripod adapter is included with the APM too.

The glass in the objective does make a large difference. I own an 80mm f/7.5 achro and an 80mm FPL-51 f/7 doublet, at medium and higher magnifications the false color halo is three to four times thinner and three to four times dimmer in the apo. Of course the whole achro image is awashed in the unfocused light, not just the edge of bright things, so contrast and resolution are in another league.

Not sure about the body quality because the TS is extremely robust, but the APM seems to be as tough while wheighing 300grams less, that would be a nice plus. Indeed the eyepieces have to be better because they contain seven lenses per APM's website, while 65° binoc eyepieces nearly always have only five. You're also right about the coatings, my MX has greenish coatings on the objectives and dishsoap yellow-green coatings on the prisms, but the APM has dark and dim blue coatings, a color to which the eye is less sensitive, so the flaring must be exceedingly dim or absent. (It is very, very, very faint in my MX).

I also got a tripod adapter with my MX, don't know if it was a gift for my first order from TS or a standard accessory because it was not featured in the accessories list. All in all I'm leaning toward the APM if I finally decide to go apo.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Rick_It said:

You can probably choose between two bodies (rubber or leatherette) and two glass version (achro or ED).

Yes, I've studied all the versions from all the brands, Orion, TS, Omegon, Oberwerk, William, 7x, 10x and 12x. But if I go through the trouble of selling my MX I won't take chances with edge aberrations (the MX has no center aberrations but the edge is soft), so the APM apo ED is the logical choice when the Fujinon costs twice the cash but is reported to have a tiny, tiny bit less edge sharpness.

Edited by Ben the Ignorant

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I bought the helios mistral WP6 10x50 ED from FLO for £125 a few weeks ago. I was dubious about the ED claims for that sort of money but was tracking circling buzzards and eagles across the Alps for the last three weeks and there was an unbelievable level of contrast and lack of CA against any background so I would guess its certainly achievable at that price point although I don't know how. I did notice a slight drop off from about 85-90% out but compared to something like the Pentax ZD ED 10x50 I didn't really experience a noticeable difference. 

I really don't understand the economics of binoculars!

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Posted (edited)
23 minutes ago, Mr niall said:

I really don't understand the economics of binoculars!

I think as with many astronomy or sports item it is a market minus pricing strategy rather than cost plus. 

Brand reputation (deserved or not) carries a premium as does demonstrated quality and customer support.

Regards Andrew 

 

Edited by andrew s

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I checked Kunming United Optics' website and found they have each of their 7x50, 10x50, 12x50 as well as their 11x70, 16x70 and 20x70 in an achro and an apo version so that's 12 models. However none of the specs and pictures are clickable so no info about weight and glass type.

http://www.united-optics.com/showproject.asp?ProdNum=163

I'm assuming they display the achros and the apos together but will phase out the achros since it seems they can make the apos at the same cost.

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Looked further again and it turns out the 10x and 15x 70mm high-end binoculars from TS have also been upgraded with ED glass without changing the price.

https://www.teleskop-express.de/shop/product_info.php/language/en/info/p1405_TS-Optics-15x70MX-Outdoor-ED-APO-Fernglas-mit-Nitrogen-Fuellung.html

At 2.550 grams it is way too heavy for me but the apo glass is a game changer, now the value of these versus their APM competitors is different.

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On ‎13‎/‎08‎/‎2019 at 09:09, Icesheet said:

Why not fire off an email to TS. They’re usually quite helpful.

This is what I asked:

I'd like to ask a question about the 10x50 MX binocular which is now labeled as APO ED but the price is the same. A single 50mm ED finder costs 209€, so, with the prisms and eyepieces and armored body, how is it possible that the binocular costs 229€?

And their reply:

It´s always critical to compare different articles that way.

Our sales price always depends on many single reasons.....the prices of the producers and also the number of ordered parts. So when we order a bigger number of articles we will get a better price and so we can sell ich cheaper.

Additionally the price of the binoculars is reduced - maybe because we will get new ones or we have a large number on stock and want to sell it faster.

I find the answer a little vague, and the pictures in their site don't show any ED label on the binocs but the APM ED does not sport that label either. The APM is lighter and proven but more expensive so I hesitate.

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16 minutes ago, Ben the Ignorant said:

Our sales price always depends on many single reasons.....the prices of the producers and also the number of ordered parts. So when we order a bigger number of articles we will get a better price and so we can sell ich cheaper.

I believe it. Binoculars are sold in much greater quantities than astronomical telescopes.

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I think you have to trust that these have an ED element and I agree with what @Stub Mandrel is saying. However, I do believe they could have given you a bit more info on them without revealing anything that might compromise their product design or whatever they feel they need to protect. 

 

Is it possible to order both and return the ones you don’t want? If not I would just bite the bullet and get the APM’s as you seem more confident in their quality. 

 

Also, you might want to check the Bird Forum to see if there are any reviews there. That’s my go to place for anything binocular. 

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1 hour ago, Icesheet said:

Also, you might want to check the Bird Forum to see if there are any reviews there. That’s my go to place for anything binocular.

I had completely forgotten about the birding forums, thanks for the reminder.

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