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Old 31-10-2015, 12:50 PM
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mental4astro (Alexander)

mental4astro is offline
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: sydney, australia
Posts: 4,880
Hi Craig,

I enjoy video astronomy, and find it a fantastic tool with outreach nights under light polluted skies. For outreach, I take two scopes, one for visual use, and another with the camera and a small portable DVD player as the monitor.

I started with the GSTAR EX CLR colour video camera from myastroshop. It is a dedicated astro video camera that is easy to use. Being colour, its resolution is not as good as a monochrome camera. But is you want an all in one colour camera, it is a good place to start. It has a built in UV/IR filter over the chip that cannot be removed. It comes with a 1.25" adapter.

I now use another camera, a 'cheapie' from aliexpress. It is more sensitive than the GSTAR, but because it is not a dedicated astro video camera, it is a more involved to do what we want. It also has more TV lines than the GSTAR, and shows a wider true field of view. This camera can be ordered either with or without a built in UV/IR filter. Using the camera under light polluted skies, you really do need a UV/IR filter, which can be a 1.25" one put into the 1.25" adapter. Like the GSTAR, it has the camera controls on the back of the unit. It is much less expensive than the GSTAR, but it IS more tricky to use to achieve the astro results we want. You will need to purchase a separate c-mount to 1.25" adapter, coax-video cables and power source (12V). All up it is comes in at about half the cost of the GSTAR.

If you want a camera that just works with minimal buggerizing to switch between planets/Moon & DSO's, I'd recommend the GSTAR.

If you don't mind the extra work that the 'cheapie' camera involves in order to get more grunt, you might enjoy using the cheapie. Make no mistake, it really is more involved as the instructions are poor, and you will need to do all the ground work to determine the appropriate settings - no free lunch here...

I've also used a ZWO colour CMOS camera, and found it similar to the GSTAR in terms of sensitivity, but probably better resolution, but not as sensitive as the 'cheapie'. In terms of ease of use, it is as easy to use as the GSTAR, with very similar imaging capabilites (software wise).
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