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Old 21-03-2008, 02:49 PM
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Member # 159

JohnH is offline
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: NSW
Posts: 1,179
OpticStar DS335 Ice - "First Light"

Hi all, I was lucky enough to be asked by this UK company:

to test their DS335 Ice one shot colour CCD camera and the PL130M mono guide camera.

The latter uses the same sensor you would find in the QHY5/QGuider and is therefore, as you would expect, a superb guide camera. It has the advantage of a better software setup - including a driver for windows so it will function as a webcam - allowing very high mono frame rates for planetary imaging. Something I have not tried yet.

The 335 is a cooled colour CCD with a Sony ICX262AQ, 3.3 Megapixel 1/1.8" Colour CCD with a resolution of 2140 x 1560 pixels and a pixel size of 3.45Ám x 3.45Ám. I understand it has an 11 DAC.

Its price puts it in competition with the Meade DSI III.

The very small pixel size caused me issues with my two scopes- the arc"/pixel ratio when at prime on my VC200L is only 0.39, even with my 0.63 FR in place it only improves to 0.62 and my fov is 16x22 arc mins. Guiding at these accuracies is, to say the least, a challenge!

On the WO66 the camera is a better match but the small appature and small pixels lead to longer exposure times than I expected.

Another shock for me (with a mostly DSLR background) was the processing required with CCD images and I am still a beginner with AA4. I do appreciate the camera can do things a DSLR cannot - eg photometry and astrometry.

So, having said all that I wanted to share my first (useable) light image from this setup, taken last week I was only able to process it today. It is a combination of 120s and 10s images of M42 taken binned 2x2 with the FR in place. I should mention I was lazy and did not take darks on this occasion only flats so there are some hot pixels in the image.

I believe this camera will be a good introduction to CCD imaging ideally would be match to a F4-5 6-8" reflector such as a Vixen R200SS or similar.

I will post more results when I get a chance...
Attached Thumbnails
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Click for full-size image (keyhole.jpg)
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Click for full-size image (eta_filtered_small.jpg)
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Last edited by JohnH; 25-03-2008 at 05:30 AM. Reason: Add picture
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