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Old 28-05-2010, 04:56 PM
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renormalised (Carl)
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Join Date: Apr 2008
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Originally Posted by gregbradley View Post
I have a FLI ML8300.

Good points - the best cooling of any manufacturer, the lowest read noise of any manufacturer, the fastest download times, the Microline is small and light the Proline would be rather large and heavy and overkill for this chip.

It has an image buffer. To connect the camera using CCDsoft takes about 1 second and the drivers are stored in the camera once connected so you can disconnect it from the computer and reconnect it and it is still going at its cold temperature. SBig cameras need to be rebooted from scratch if you interrupt the power supply (easy to do due to the extremely low quality power plug in the ST402 and 8300 body) and takes a little while. It also loses it cooling and has to do it again.
A very annoying aspect of the SBIG and a bit antiquated.
FLI ML8300 gets me -35C in summer and -40C in winter easily. It cools in about 5 minutes. It has a very stable and high quality power plug.
It has no bad points as a camera.

FLI make several filter wheels all are compatible with their 2 model cameras. I use the CFW 4/5 as I also use it with a Proline 16803.
The filter wheel uses a plastic chain to ensure exact repeatability and a solid filter wheel carousel which prevents dust getting in to the camera.
Apogee has cutouts and can let some dust through.
The FLI filterwheel has a large opening and to attach an adapter you have a fairly shallow thread depth and this needs to be known to suppliers of adapters as I have had to grind a couple down to make them fit otherwise they jam the carousel. FLI seem to be associated with Maxim DL but also works in CCDSoft which is what I use.

Apogee also make a nice 8300 camera although the cooldown time is about 30 minutes but it gets cold to -50C.

QSI also make a nice 8300 camera with the built in off axis guider model and built in filter wheel. But its cooling is weaker at up -40.

The FLI also has the plus of a very large opening for the chip so there is no chance of vignetting. Also their adapters have a V cut in them and a grub screw to engage so it is very positive and solid and self aligning which is another piece of clever engineering.

FLI is simply the best. Ask Richard Crisp who is a CCD engineer and routinely tests various astronomy cameras for performance and FLI has beaten them all. Apogee is another close contender. The slow cooling is my only concern with Apogee but in every other way they are also excellent. Except perhaps for the cutouts in the filter which is otherwise a marvel.

Greg.
Greg...a couple of questions. How much does the ML8300 cost and how does it stack up to the Proline version.
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