ITE recently sent one of the LABT 100 binocular telescope to Mike Palermiti, consulting optical designer, Jupiter, FL for optical bench tests and field “evaluations under the stars.” Here is Mike’s field test report on this outstanding optic:
“My optical laboratory certainly qualified this binocular as a well made optical system using a front triplet group and properly sized prisms for the oculars tested. My optical bench tests revealed the optic to be “diffraction limited” operating within a system f/ratio of 6.25. The objective lenses show the excellent color correction.
However, what was really enjoyable was taking the binocular under the night sky. On an evening where the first quarter moon was an hour from setting, I was able to easily discern the Ring Nebula, not as a smudge, but rather as a small ring with a dark center. At 29X (using a matched pair of INTES MICRO 21mm eyepieces), with a 2-degree field of view, the image contrast was excellent. Globular clusters, large and small, jump out and reveal their stellar outer regions well resolved. The more massive clusters, like M13, and M22 are well observed at 29X. I spent nearly a full 8 minutes allowing these giant stellar masses to drift across a rich wide field of stars. The edge sharpness and light transmission allow for almost the entire field of view to be used without any flaw to the observation.
ITE LABT 100 Binocular Telescope
Next, I turned my attention to the nebulae, as found in the southern Milky Way regions. The M8 and M20 group was outstanding, as was M17 and M16 along with numerous NGC clusters and diffuse objects. Sweeping the Milky Way with these high transmission optics is a rewarding experience.
What about other eyepieces and magnifications? I used several different matched eyepiece sets to obtain a range of magnifications from 20X, with a 3-degree field of view on up to 125X with a 0.3-degree field of view. At the low end, some light fall off and some edge sharpness loss was experienced, but not to prevent the use of such a combination. The use of a single 40mm ocular appeared to be excellent throughout the field (magnification 16X at nearly 3.5 degrees). One look at M31, M33 and M51, for example, was simply stunning, and an edge of field distortions was soon overlooked!
At the higher end of magnification is where I was delighted to see the binocular perform. The Double-Double in Lyra was easily resolved at 125 X. The early morning observations of Jupiter revealed planetary details in the same field as the Jovian moons. The next evening, the binocular was turned to the moon. At 125X, no false color was observed using a high end orthoscopic and Plossl ocular.
I used a wide variety of oculars, each of a different focal length. Each ocular was moved from the right side to the left side of the binocular viewer. Each objective lens showed the same high performance — the use of different magnifications made for exciting observations. For example, while observing the moon, the left eye had 50X, while the right eye had 70X to 125X. For deep space objects, there is an advantage to using a wide field low magnification ocular giving say 16X alongside a 40X to 60X ocular.
Comparing the laboratory tests to other 4-inch aperture class binoculars, along with the field tests conducted on this binocular, I would conclude that there are no others in its class for price, functionality or performance.”