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Old 04-10-2010, 09:06 PM
TheFacelessMen (Rob)
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Advice on Astrophotography Setup

Hi All,

I recently upgraded to a Mewlon 250 with EM400 mount.

I am mainly using for visual but am interested in considering Astrophotography.

I am not quite ready yet for Mono and Filter wheels and all of the other complexity and paraphernalia.

Basically I want to put together a simple, colour "one shot" system that requires minimal stacking and post processing.

I would be interested in a 6 Megapixel to 8 Megapixel setup(or more depending on cost vs benefit ).

I have read recently that systems that use the Sony progressive scan SuperHAD sensors like the QHY-8PRO and SXVR-M25C use can provide very good images some which need minimal retouch and minimal stacking.

Also I do not have a second scope for Autoguide at this stage and was hoping that I might be able to use an off Axis Guider.

Targets would be DSO's and Planets.

I would appreciate hearing advice and thoughts on above.

Thanks
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  #2  
Old 05-10-2010, 07:41 PM
TheFacelessMen (Rob)
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Hi All,

Would really love to hear everyones opinions and thoughts on this.

Am I completely thinking in the wrong direction??

Cheers
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  #3  
Old 05-10-2010, 08:11 PM
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Tandum (Robin)
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Sounds like a plan to me. The qhy8 takes great pictures and a one shot colour is the place to start. I think there is one in the 4sale forums right now. Even a canon will get you started.

Never used an OAG so can give no advise there.
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Old 05-10-2010, 09:19 PM
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Very cool optics and mount. A self guiding CCD would work very, very well
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Old 05-10-2010, 09:45 PM
Alchemy (Clive)
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I use a qhy8 and it's a very good place to start imaging with, I am currently going to replace the front filter which is very reflective, but is only noticeable on stars brighter than mag 5.

Scott.... Tornado 33 Uses an off axis guider setup and actually manually guides .... As good as an auto guider, I still prefer a separate guidescope myself. As it's easier to find a guidestar, but there are some available, i think Marco.... Multiweb has one on his setup too, more of an adaptive optics design though, there are no doubt others around.

Sounds like you have some nice gear, the self guided camera would be lovely.... But it ain't cheap.... Sbig do the in camera version, and another company has one with a port on the top to atatch a guide camera.
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Old 05-10-2010, 09:54 PM
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Tandum (Robin)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Ward View Post
Very cool optics and mount. A self guiding CCD would work very, very well
Here's one right now. It's a 4meg camera though, not 6.
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Old 05-10-2010, 10:39 PM
TheFacelessMen (Rob)
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Hi All,

Thanks for the comments so far.

Does anyone know of any good off-axis-guiders that are suitable for Mewlon 250?? Or are they all just generic 2" attach?

Was looking at this SBIG and the qhy8.

Was reading the IIS advertisers(for the SBIG unit) blog on his personal website and it looks like there were some issues with the SBIG so not sure for myself if I would go for it. Too much uncertainty for a second hand unit.

I have heard that the qhy8 is good but has dewing problems?? Are these easy to fix/overcome?

On the downside I heard that the Starlite Express that using the same model chip as the qhy8 has better build and uses a higher "grade" version of the chip. Is this just Brand Hype or real?? as there seems to be a big price difference.


Quote:
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Here's one right now. It's a 4meg camera though, not 6.
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Old 05-10-2010, 11:03 PM
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........... with the SBIG so not sure for myself if I would go for it.....
Que?? ...You have a Benz class mount and optics.

SBIG are running-out Class X KAF-11002 sensors for about $A $9600...sure big money, but given the $A falls off a cliff all too often, this is is about $4000 less than they normally cost....and very worthy of what you are running.
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Old 05-10-2010, 11:39 PM
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The Starlight camera is over twice the price but you get what you pay for I guess. I've owned stalight cameras and they work first time every time without any messing about. I've only seen images from one of those cameras and I think it is also for sale. I think that is too much considering the current dollar value.

Peter, what about the C2 mono cameras ... how much do you want for them here?

Peter is the SBIG dealer in oz. Can you tell?

[edit]
Why don't you get a canon to make it go then upgrade the camera?
There is a lot more to it than plugging in a camera.

Last edited by Tandum; 05-10-2010 at 11:56 PM.
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Old 05-10-2010, 11:59 PM
TheFacelessMen (Rob)
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Hi Peter,

What model and year Benz is that ??

As mentioned I am only just starting out investigating at this stage. So just as I started out with my "Datsun" and "Holden" model scopes I am hoping to get some balanced advice and start off with a unit to get a feel for if Astrophotography will be a major thing for me.

The SBIG may well be a great unit for me further down the track unless I can get a 6MP single shot colour for a reasonable price. Not sure of a 4MP unit though especially if it has had a couple of issues.

One point though is the SBIG uses a Kodak sensor. How do these compare to the Sony SuperHAD's?? Is there a major benefit over one or the other?


Cheers



Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Ward View Post
Que?? ...You have a Benz class mount and optics.

SBIG are running-out Class X KAF-11002 sensors for about $A $9600...sure big money, but given the $A falls off a cliff all too often, this is is about $4000 less than they normally cost....and very worthy of what you are running.
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Old 06-10-2010, 12:07 AM
TheFacelessMen (Rob)
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Hi Robin,

Thanks for the link. I can get one of these from the Starlight Express dealer in SA for $4000.00 brand new, so that add seems to be a bit unrealistic for a second hand unit.

Never read/heard of the C2 cameras before. Will investigate.

Main reason I am not going with a Camera is I believe that you have to get them modded for proper cooling and changing some of the wavelength sensitivity/filters?? So Cost of a nice 6+ MP SLR + Mods might be out not as effective.

Cheers

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tandum View Post
The Starlight camera is over twice the price but you get what you pay for I guess. I've owned stalight cameras and they work first time every time without any messing about. I've only seen images from one of those cameras and I think it is also for sale. I think that is too much considering the current dollar value.

Peter, what about the C2 mono cameras ... how much do you want for them here?

Peter is the SBIG dealer in oz. Can you tell?

[edit]
Why don't you get a canon to make it go then upgrade the camera?
There is a lot more to it than plugging in a camera.
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  #12  
Old 06-10-2010, 04:50 AM
Alchemy (Clive)
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The qhy and dewing problems

The 8 has a removable front filter, if you remove this when it's running it will ice over instantly, however, if you heat up the camera gently with a hair dryer so it is warm and reatatch the filter there is very little moisture inside so you should have no problems, I had a 9 month break whilst I built a new observatory, I then fired up the camera and no dew or ice.
I have now removed the filter due to flaring reflection issues and will be purchasing an astronomic brand 42 mm threaded luminance version hopefully today.... And will be installing it further from the chip hopefully with a better result. Note, this flaring problem only occurs on bright stars, not on galaxys , nebs etc, the fl of your scope you can do those small objects and would keep you busy for ages.
The sbig 11 megapixel was the standard for quite a few years and has produced awesome images, although the top end imagers are now moving to the 16 megapixel chip. The benefits of on board guiding are NO flexure at really long focal lengths, sbig also have adaptive optics.
It's your call, but at sub 1500 dollars for a qhy8 that will get you started.... But you definitely will want to upgrade at some stage.

Last edited by Alchemy; 06-10-2010 at 04:53 AM. Reason: Spelling
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  #13  
Old 06-10-2010, 10:05 AM
loc46south (Geoffrey)
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Hi - Just a bit of advice. Before you leap in and buy a camera decide on what you want to do - the M250 is a great imaging scope but it has it's limitations - I know - I bought one and have spent the last 4 months setting it up and getting it ready for imaging. In it's native form (f12) it's a great planetary scope but not much good for DSO imaging as it's too slow. At f12 with a SBIG ST8 it produces a realitivly flat field (Flatter than a C9.25)(I've got one of those as well) but with the larger format cameras you are going to get curvature. The new CR reducer/flattener for the Mewlons works like a dream - it gives a dead flat field and small tight stars on a ST83000 but at f10 it is still a very slow system. I have the reducer 7.2 but I am still waiting for adapters to arrive from USA so I have no definitive testing on that yet but I expect that being Takahashi it will perform to specs and is probably your best imaging solution. The biggest problem encountered is back focus (Metal back distance) - The internal focuser is not ASCOM compliant so if you intend to automate your focusing then you need an external electronic focuser. I have opted for the Mewlon 250S which uses the external rings and I have direct bolted mounting rings for a SkyWatcher ED100 (F9) which I use as a guide scope - I have replaced the S/W focuser with a Moonlite focuser to get the slop out of the system and it guides without any sign of flexure. Mount used is a G-11 Gemini - So I say again plan your imaging system carefully before buying any camera - there is a lot more you need to do and spend before you have a functional imaging set up.

Geof
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Old 06-10-2010, 02:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheFacelessMen View Post
Hi Peter,

What model and year Benz is that ?? ........

One point though is the SBIG uses a Kodak sensor. How do these compare to the Sony SuperHAD's?? Is there a major benefit over one or the other?


Cheers
........E class I think

Unfortunately Sony don't release absolute QE data, so it's difficult to compare the two sensors. While the KAF is has a higher noise floor, this becomes moot with highly regulated chamber temperatures, using an equivalent dark frame subtraction etc. will easily clean up any noise.

The KAF11002 is also quite a large sensor...most are APS sized or smaller...so you will cover quite a bit more sky with a single exposure.

BTW, even if I wasn't associated with SBIG I'd still be using their cameras as like, Selly's they simply work.
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Old 06-10-2010, 08:07 PM
TheFacelessMen (Rob)
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Hi Geof,

Thanks for the advice. Happy to hear from another Mewlon owner .

I have theTak flattener/reducer and the rings/mountplate etc as well.

The Mewlon focuser on ours should be the same manual electric focuser so I am not sure what you are reffering to here?? I didnt think there was a automated electric focuser available for the Mewlon's??

I am trying to stay away from an external additional guide scope and stay with a selfguided/OAG system but if most of the experienced astrophotographers reckon this is the only feasible way then I may have to look at going down that path.

Cheers

Quote:
Originally Posted by loc46south View Post
Hi - Just a bit of advice. Before you leap in and buy a camera decide on what you want to do - the M250 is a great imaging scope but it has it's limitations - I know - I bought one and have spent the last 4 months setting it up and getting it ready for imaging. In it's native form (f12) it's a great planetary scope but not much good for DSO imaging as it's too slow. At f12 with a SBIG ST8 it produces a realitivly flat field (Flatter than a C9.25)(I've got one of those as well) but with the larger format cameras you are going to get curvature. The new CR reducer/flattener for the Mewlons works like a dream - it gives a dead flat field and small tight stars on a ST83000 but at f10 it is still a very slow system. I have the reducer 7.2 but I am still waiting for adapters to arrive from USA so I have no definitive testing on that yet but I expect that being Takahashi it will perform to specs and is probably your best imaging solution. The biggest problem encountered is back focus (Metal back distance) - The internal focuser is not ASCOM compliant so if you intend to automate your focusing then you need an external electronic focuser. I have opted for the Mewlon 250S which uses the external rings and I have direct bolted mounting rings for a SkyWatcher ED100 (F9) which I use as a guide scope - I have replaced the S/W focuser with a Moonlite focuser to get the slop out of the system and it guides without any sign of flexure. Mount used is a G-11 Gemini - So I say again plan your imaging system carefully before buying any camera - there is a lot more you need to do and spend before you have a functional imaging set up.

Geof
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Old 06-10-2010, 08:57 PM
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[QUOTE=TheFacelessMen;642461]

Was reading the IIS advertisers(for the SBIG unit) blog on his personal website and it looks like there were some issues with the SBIG so not sure for myself if I would go for it. Too much uncertainty for a second hand unit.



Lets get the facts right here.....

There are no issues with the camera I have for sale, it has worked perfectly since 2008 without ANY problems. I explained via PM what the original problem was, the chip died when it was brand new, was replaced under warranty but with a monochrome chip instead of the colour chip, it was then sent back and the mono chip was replaced with the proper upgraded chip.

That can be confirmed by the authorised SBIG dealer in Australia.
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Old 06-10-2010, 09:12 PM
TheFacelessMen (Rob)
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Hi All,

John is 100% correct on this.

After getting his PM yesterday I should have edited the post to clarify the uncertainty of my statement as I was not sure exactly what the "problem" was.

John's reply to me via PM completely answered and satisfied my questions.

I should have updated the post sooner but alas work got in the way of doing so.

Sorry John


[QUOTE=JohnG;642825]
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheFacelessMen View Post

Was reading the IIS advertisers(for the SBIG unit) blog on his personal website and it looks like there were some issues with the SBIG so not sure for myself if I would go for it. Too much uncertainty for a second hand unit.



Lets get the facts right here.....

There are no issues with the camera I have for sale, it has worked perfectly since 2008 without ANY problems. I explained via PM what the original problem was, the chip died when it was brand new, was replaced under warranty but with a monochrome chip instead of the colour chip, it was then sent back and the mono chip was replaced with the proper upgraded chip.

That can be confirmed by the authorised SBIG dealer in Australia.
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Old 06-10-2010, 10:46 PM
TheFacelessMen (Rob)
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Hi Peter,

I used to like the E-Class but dont like the design of the recent MY's. However the S-Class is nice .

A lot of advice seems to be pointing towards "higher quality" builds like the SBIG and Starlite to overcome some practicalities and niggling issues.

Is is SBIG's end-of-quarter soon?? That's the time for a chat

Cheers

Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Ward View Post
........E class I think

Unfortunately Sony don't release absolute QE data, so it's difficult to compare the two sensors. While the KAF is has a higher noise floor, this becomes moot with highly regulated chamber temperatures, using an equivalent dark frame subtraction etc. will easily clean up any noise.

The KAF11002 is also quite a large sensor...most are APS sized or smaller...so you will cover quite a bit more sky with a single exposure.

BTW, even if I wasn't associated with SBIG I'd still be using their cameras as like, Selly's they simply work.
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Old 07-10-2010, 07:56 AM
loc46south (Geoffrey)
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Hi Rob - Moonlite Focusers make a short focuser with stepper motor that fits the Mewlons - it works at F12 and with the CR at f10. But in an attempt to gain more back focus distance I am currently looking into replacing the motor in the Mewlon with a stepper motor and controller.

Question - do you really need a large acreage camera - even at f7.2 the Mewlon is not really suited for the big pics - that's the territory of the Tak 106 & 85 Q's. One reason I bought my M250 was to reach the smaller galaxies and Planetary Nebulae. Currently I have 3 SBIG cameras ST8 - ST2000XCM and ST83000 and I find them adequate for images I take - but if I was starting out fresh I would go with the ST10. I know a lot of people would throw their hands up in horror at the thought of a NABG camera but it's high QE makes it a good choice for the M250 - especially at f10 and the blooms are not that difficult to handle.

Lastly if you intend to start imaging using narrowband filters then you will most likely need to develop some sort of off axis guiding system.

Geof
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Old 08-10-2010, 07:03 PM
TheFacelessMen (Rob)
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Hi Geof,

Sounds interesting.

So the Moonlite is attached to the back of the Mewlon and you are also talking about replacing the Secondary Motor as well??

I take it that the Moonlite focuser has limited travel??

Cheers

SO you are talking about replacing the Secondary Drive Motor??
Quote:
Originally Posted by loc46south View Post
Hi Rob - Moonlite Focusers make a short focuser with stepper motor that fits the Mewlons - it works at F12 and with the CR at f10. But in an attempt to gain more back focus distance I am currently looking into replacing the motor in the Mewlon with a stepper motor and controller.

Question - do you really need a large acreage camera - even at f7.2 the Mewlon is not really suited for the big pics - that's the territory of the Tak 106 & 85 Q's. One reason I bought my M250 was to reach the smaller galaxies and Planetary Nebulae. Currently I have 3 SBIG cameras ST8 - ST2000XCM and ST83000 and I find them adequate for images I take - but if I was starting out fresh I would go with the ST10. I know a lot of people would throw their hands up in horror at the thought of a NABG camera but it's high QE makes it a good choice for the M250 - especially at f10 and the blooms are not that difficult to handle.

Lastly if you intend to start imaging using narrowband filters then you will most likely need to develop some sort of off axis guiding system.

Geof
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