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Beam quality: PPL vs. RPL


New member
Aug 11, 2010
I've recently acquired both a 150mW PPL 532nm and a 450mW RPL 532nm. Upon firing up the RPL, however, I noticed that the beam is larger, fuzzier, and less focused than that of the PPL. I haven't done exhaustive testing, but I observed the following:

Wider visual beam while wearing goggles
Wider spot while wearing goggles
Larger hole burned in objects
"Melting" around the edges of the hole
Adding the 3X beam expander makes a larger, fuzzier dot at any focal length

I somewhat expected that for the extra $1,150 my RPL would have far superior beam characteristics to the PPL, not just have more power. Granted, it melts through things much faster, but I bought my RPL in order to achieve better beam qualities for optical experiments, not to burn things.

Were my expectations just way off? Is my PPL just godly? Or is my RPL faulty in some way?

Any advise or information would be appreciated. I'll try and get some pictures later, but I think anyone with experience should have some ideas based on the description.