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Old 21-01-2008, 03:29 PM
tornado33
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Q guider monochrome CMOS camera

Hi all
I was fter a more sensitive guide cam than a toucam and think ive found an affordable one.
Today my Q Guider (QHY-5 Cmos camera)arrived. It cost me just $300 plus $22 overnight courier. Ordered it friday PM and it arrived today lunchtime
I used the software that was recomended by the vendor rather then the maker here
A test image with an IR pass filter shows it is very IR sensitive. The sensor has a peak QE of just over 50% and is a great way for me to experiment with monochrome imaging. In theory it can be used for DSO imaging like a modded webcam though they do say it is mainly meant as a guider or planetary imager

The sensor is 10 bit CMOS monochrome
http://download.micron.com/pdf/datas..._1300_mono.pdf

Sensitivity graph on page 32 is shown here
The IR shot is of trees a few kms away through misty drizzle with the IR pass filter on the 6 inch scope, which is stopped down to about 60mm aperature
I cant wait to star test it. Although I dont yet have an autoguidable mount, I want to simply guide by putting a guitestar on the laptop screen rather then squinting down the off axis guider, I also am assuming this monochrome chip will be mugh more sensitive than the human eye
I also want to try planetary imaging.
The software and drivers I use came from here
The video streaming app allows making an avi, taking .bmp, or 10 bit .fit images
The video isnt compressed so cannot get fast framerates at full res. which is a nice 1280x1024, that should be great for Lunar imaging.
I might also use it for imaging small Planetaries.

It does 2x2 binning as well, making it VERY sensitive

I should point out that Theo from Gamma Electronics was very helpful, and even though I rang him on Friday PM to enquire about the camera, after deciding that it would be what Im after, he even offered to send it as soon as I did the online bank transfer and sent him the reciept, even thgough the actual money takes a full busines sday to go through He emailed me the links for the software and 2 rego keys (currently the writer of the software allows it to be registered on 2 machines, one to my notebook the other to the desktop pc). The software is free to those buying the camera. So I happily recommend Gamma Electronics. He had a few of the mono cameras in stock when I ordered mine.
The camera is usb powered and runs fine from my notebook. It as a bright red LED that blinks each time a pic has been taken. It has a thread that screws into a standart T adaptor, and so will screw onto a standard 1/25inch nosepiece which normally have T threads (mine does anyway). I wouldnt mind seeing if I could get an adaptor that allwos me to put it onto camera lenses too (300mm lens from bert and 50mm lens)
Scott
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Last edited by tornado33; 21-01-2008 at 03:41 PM.
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Old 21-01-2008, 04:07 PM
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pvelez (Pete)
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Looks interesting

How does it compare to a Meade DSI? I use a DSI with my LXD 75 - no guide port, so I use PHD

Pete
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Old 21-01-2008, 05:02 PM
tornado33
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Actually the camera has driver support for PHD as well, I may in fact get that as it does not support Guide dog. Then I can guide by pressing the fast or slow button when the guide program says to, in theory at least anyway
Scott
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Old 21-01-2008, 06:02 PM
tornado33
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Heres another IR image. Taken as a 10 bit .fit, opened in PS with the .fit image plugin, then saved as a jpg.
Scott
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Old 21-01-2008, 07:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tornado33 View Post
Actually the camera has driver support for PHD as well, I may in fact get that as it does not support Guide dog. Then I can guide by pressing the fast or slow button when the guide program says to, in theory at least anyway
Scott
There is support for "guidemaster" also.
I use both PHD and guidemaster with mine. It is very sensitive and I am yet to find an area of sky using my 120mm f5 achromat that I can't find a guide star with a 2 sec exposure.
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Old 21-01-2008, 10:03 PM
tornado33
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Excellent, Im looking forwards to using it for guiding (if the weather ever clears)

Heres a longer exposure, think it was about 30 secs long.
Theres horozontal banding. Thats obviously not a big issue for guiding. Theers probably proceedures for removing it. Exposures shorter then a few seconds dont show any such banding
Scott
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Old 21-01-2008, 11:04 PM
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Excellent, Im looking forwards to using it for guiding (if the weather ever clears)

Heres a longer exposure, think it was about 30 secs long.
Theres horozontal banding. Thats obviously not a big issue for guiding. Theers probably proceedures for removing it. Exposures shorter then a few seconds dont show any such banding
Scott
Hi Scott,

A bit of noise as well. Still for 300 bucks it seems an absolute bargain. The colour version is almost cheap enough at $260 to just buy and see how it performs. I could always then sell my DSI 1 which i got for 100 bucks and use the qhy as a guide camera. The colour version should be far more sensitive than the DSI.

I notice from the specs that the shutter speed is limited to 60 seconds. Is this true or can you go beyond this?

Paul
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Old 22-01-2008, 03:22 PM
tornado33
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Hi Scott,

A bit of noise as well. Still for 300 bucks it seems an absolute bargain. The colour version is almost cheap enough at $260 to just buy and see how it performs. I could always then sell my DSI 1 which i got for 100 bucks and use the qhy as a guide camera. The colour version should be far more sensitive than the DSI.

I notice from the specs that the shutter speed is limited to 60 seconds. Is this true or can you go beyond this?

Paul
The slider only goes so far (its in milliseconds) shortest possible is 1 millisecond though really short exposures dont do well theres some uneven ness in the images till one gets to past 10 millisecs or so. However one can numerically input any value, even past 60 secs, ive tested it up to 4 mins, by that time theres a fair bit of noise but for an uncooled camera thats expected.
Scott
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Old 22-01-2008, 03:37 PM
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looking forward to hearing how it goes Scott,
ive had one of these on my 'to get' list for a while now.

by all the reports ive read it really is an excellent guide cam and some of the images ive seen on the qhy forum look pretty impressive for a cheap cmos cam.
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Old 22-01-2008, 10:14 PM
tornado33
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Hi
This is a pic made up of 40 three second images. Unguided. IRIS cannot read
the .fit files the camera generates so I used Registax. I also took 5 darks
and put them into registax as well. Taken with camera fitted to my 10 inch f5.6 newtonian

The camera has a lot of dark current so would not be suited to long
exposures unless it was cooled, but seems to suffice as a guide camera, I
also gave it a guiding test, in the off axis guider and 2.8x barlow taking an infra red image of the Tarantula with
my modded 350D, I will process that tomorrow. I could guide a long thin
comatic guidestar on the laptop with the qguider okay
Scott
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Old 23-01-2008, 03:33 PM
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It is a fine hi res, sensitive guidecam and good value - I use mine with a WO66SD and Guidemaster but have also used it with PHD again guidestar options all over the fov never have to go over 2s but sometimes I do to compensate for seeing effects. There are plug-ins for other programs too - eg AA. My feedback can be found here:

http://www.iceinspace.com.au/forum/s...highlight=qhy5

Most recently this has been rebadged by Orion I believe, OpticStar also produce a similar unit though it is configured to stream video (like a webcam) rather than individual frames an cannot go more than 2s in that mode but it does open up the possibility of using other guideprogs such as Metaguide...
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Old 23-01-2008, 09:59 PM
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Thnaks John, a great review there
Scott
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Old 01-02-2008, 12:43 PM
Karls48 (Karl)
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Bintel is going to stock this camera. Iím thinking about getting one. Not so much for guiding (I got DSI Pro for that, but it is bit heavy) but for imagining. Can anybody provide some feedback on QHY-5 colour?
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Old 01-02-2008, 03:54 PM
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As much as i would like to sell you one, i would NOT recommend it for imaging only.
Planetary work, i would recommend.
Your main issue would be the resolution of your image. You really need more than 12 Bit A/D converter to get decent color and smoothness for DSO's etc. These cameras are 10 bit.
I recommend a Sony HAD sensor for any non cooled sensors. Noise is just so low, its amazing.

But for Guiding they are excellent, its just some use them as imagers because they could, but of course with its limitations.

Stick to the DSI Pro, as it has the Sony sensor, and has a better A/D converter and lower noise.
I have the data for it here http://web.aanet.com.au/gama/QHY%20Cmos.html . If you want any specific information, you could email me and let me know what you need.

Theo.
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Old 03-02-2008, 12:26 AM
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heres info on the sensor the Q guider uses
http://download.micron.com/pdf/datas..._1300_mono.pdf Its 10 bit ADC is built into the chip. Even though it is 10 bit I love its anti blooming properties. No matter how saturated, it never blooms. 30 sec exposures pulls it up, any longer and theres too much dark current noise (might go better in winter) but still not bad for an uncooled camera
I always like to see what i can squeeze out of a camera. See

http://www.iceinspace.com.au/forum/s...364#post293364

Its excellent value for a 1024 x 1280 format camera with around 50% qe
"Mr Tom's" drivers are indeed better, I tried the original QHY software on my other pc and seems a bit too "clunky"
I am very happy with the q guider.
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Old 03-02-2008, 11:55 AM
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Thanks for info Gama and Tornado33. I have Mintron MTV-62-EX colour camera that is using EX-View Sony CCD. For astronomy it is almost useless because of noise and hot pixels. It is so bad that often I got problem to orient myself in visible star field because of extra ďstarsĒ(hot pixels). It may get better when I will fit it with Peltier cooling. GStar is OK but it is very difficult to get good RGB images with it and 100mm Achromat because need to very accurately refocus for each colour. DSI Pro produces much cleaner pictures then Mintrons, Gama is right those two extra ADC bits make big difference. But, same problem with focusing (it is actually more difficult to focus then Mintrons) and also it is bulky and heavy; especially with Peltier I fitted on it.
The solutions as to get APO refractor or to spend few thousands on good camera are financially out of reach.
I like Q-quider because itís ani blooming feature and its size and its higher resolution. It should not be too difficult to fit it with Peltier cooling. I will be watching for any images done with this camera.
Other option is to get colour security camera that uses Sony HAD CCD and frame integration. It may not be so noisy as EX-View CCD.
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Old 04-02-2008, 02:30 PM
tornado33
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No worries
Regarding guiding, the Q guider has drivers available for PHD guiding and Guidemaster, both these allow dark subtraction "on the fly" so darks are actually subtracted from the guiding images, making spotting stars much easier. Ive experimented with both.
Scott
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Old 05-02-2008, 02:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Karls48 View Post
Bintel is going to stock this camera. Iím thinking about getting one. Not so much for guiding (I got DSI Pro for that, but it is bit heavy) but for imagining. Can anybody provide some feedback on QHY-5 colour?
I've ordered one from Bintel. They are expecting them in as soon as the Chinese New Year Celebrations are over. There is a review of this guider in the August/September 2007 edition of AstroPhoto Insight by Craig Stark (the PHD man). He makes the point that the function of the device is to guide, not to image and that it fulfils its design function very well.
Geoff
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Old 06-02-2008, 12:01 PM
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I've ordered one from Bintel. They are expecting them in as soon as the Chinese New Year Celebrations are over.
Geoff
i could not find that on their site.
if you do not mind saying, how much was the Q-Guider?

Happy Chinese New Year for tomorrow!

cheers,
DJDD
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Old 06-02-2008, 12:25 PM
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i could not find that on their site.
if you do not mind saying, how much was the Q-Guider?

Happy Chinese New Year for tomorrow!

cheers,
DJDD
I was keen too - I saw it on the website last week but its now gone. Very odd.

If anyone knows what the story is, can you post please

Pete
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