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Old 12-07-2015, 01:39 PM
glend (Glen)
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First CCD Camera advice?

I think I have raised this question before but not followed up on it for various reasons, but with the current sale on Atik cameras I am revisiting it. I would like to try out CCD imaging (mono/narrowband) and would like some advice on a basic camera suitable for my scopes, preferably Atik if possible. This is for DSO imaging. My current Canon DSLR (modified) has 5.19 pixels but of course is OSC, and on my scopes (10" imaging newt (1200 fl) and MN190 Mak-Newt (1000 fl)) give a ratio of 0.86/pixel and 1.03/pixel respectively. Would like to keep the cost below $2k for this first CCD camera if I could. Options?
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Old 12-07-2015, 01:42 PM
SpaceNoob (Chris)
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If you're aiming for that image scale with those optics, or say 800-1200mm focal length then it's hard to go past something with an 8300 sensor.
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Old 12-07-2015, 01:55 PM
glend (Glen)
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Yes Chris I have considered the Atik 383 but it's outside my budget. Looking at other 8300 chips there is the SBIG and QHY. The QHY9 reviews suggest that the Atik 383 quality is better. Will consider all manufacturers if within my budget and good reviews. Doesn't have to be the 8300 now maybe that's next step.

Last edited by glend; 12-07-2015 at 02:16 PM.
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Old 12-07-2015, 02:15 PM
SpaceNoob (Chris)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by glend View Post
Yes Chris I have considered the Atik 383 but it's outside my budget. I could get the Celestron Nghtscape 8300 within my budget but not sure if it is equivalent, the review I saw said to avoid the OSC versions of the 8300 and I want mono anyway. Will consider all manufacturers if within my budget and good reviews.
I've seen good results with the Atik 414EX mono...
Very sensitive, low noise, but a little small. I'm sure at your desired focal length, plenty of targets would still fit within the field.
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Old 12-07-2015, 03:55 PM
LewisM
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I can highly recommend the SBIG St-8300 series of camera. Just work.

Atik has been VERY hit and miss with me, having has a 4000 and a 383. Neither seemed to work efficiently in MaxIM.

QHY has been a total DISASTER for me - from their QHY5 guide cam to the QHY9 - the QHY5 was a nightmare to try to get to work, and the QHY9 CCD was problematic.

ST-8300's pop up regularly enough, and at good prices. I got mine for $1200 posted. The newer STF's will cost a little more, but even new, I think they are still under $2K US (without filter wheel). the STT's are double that.
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Old 13-07-2015, 01:49 AM
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JD2439975 (Justin)
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Hello Glen,

Many speak highly of 8300 based cameras, excellent Mpxls/$ just be aware that 1.25" filters have be kept close to the sensor to avoid vignetting.
I feel your pain in being limited by budget, not many cameras to chose from down this end of the market.
If you're chasing DSOs perhaps a high quantum efficiency is a priority? The 428ex has an impressive 76% QE over the 8300s 56%...in either case though it's save more money, sell your body or buy secondhand.

Justin
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Old 13-07-2015, 06:52 AM
glend (Glen)
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Justin, ........" either case though it's save more money, sell your body or buy secondhand."

There is another low cost option, convert my spare DSLR to mono. I will watch for a second hand 8300 come up for sale. Thanks.
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Old 13-07-2015, 10:03 AM
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Shiraz (Ray)
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Glen, a couple of other things to consider are the cost of the filter wheel/filters and the weight of whatever you get. Your MN is a great system for the 8300, but the standard focuser will sag a little with a 1.3kg SBIG + filter wheel - Atik is 0.7kg and QHY is 0.5kg, which is much more doable with standard focussers.

Some seem to have had trouble with lower end cameras, but my experience has been that they do the job fine (I have 3x QHY and 1x SX and they have all been acceptably reliable). It seems that even the premium makers produce occasional lemons, so don't let the odd bad report put you off too much.

If you are going to dip your toes in the mono water, it really is worthwhile getting a cooled camera, rather than a mono modded DSLR.

might be worth a read http://www.iceinspace.com.au/forum/a...p/t-89521.html

Last edited by Shiraz; 13-07-2015 at 10:58 AM.
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Old 13-07-2015, 10:08 AM
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JD2439975 (Justin)
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Oooh...DIY debayering, that'll be good for an adrenaline rush.
Bit like finding out both pilots had the fish while you had chicken...
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Old 13-07-2015, 11:07 AM
glend (Glen)
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Ray my primary DSLR is cold finger sensor cooled to -25C from ambient and regulated so I could use that as the mono platform. I heard back from JTW today and despite their advertising the debayering service, they are too busy to do it in the near future. So yeah it would have to be a diy job, not sure I want to try that even with a spare sensor. I was reading a paper by Craig Stark that suggested it was a bad idea. And there is always the well depth issue. So the DSLR mono model is not the preferred path right now. Still looking. Unfortunately Andrews does not stock the Atik 414EX and the sale only applies to in stock cameras.
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Old 15-07-2015, 11:53 AM
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The KAF8300 cameras are the best bang for your astrophotography buck at the moment. Kodak must have made a ton of them and its kept the cost down.

5.4 micron pixels suit a range of telescopes. They are starting to get a bit small when you get past 1500-2000mm focal length though.

Have a look at the long stream of superb astro images on this site that use the KAF8300. Its by far the most popular sensor and for good reason.

Imaging gets a whole lot more expensive and more difficult plus slower to process when you go up in size. File sizes get a lot larger and that makes processing slower and more time consuming.

Greg.
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Old 15-07-2015, 04:12 PM
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codemonkey (Lee)
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Probably depends on what you want to do, really. How big are the targets you're most interesting in shooting?

The 8300 is a fairly decent size sensor, nice for wider FOVs, but it is (relatively) low in QE and high in read noise compared to the Sony sensors on the market.

If your focus is on wide field work then an 8300-based camera might be the go. If you're interested in small, dim targets then maybe one of the Sony-based cameras would be better, such as the 414ex.

The other factor is, how good is your seeing? No point sampling at 0.83"/px if your typical seeing is 4".
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