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Go Back   IceInSpace > Beginners Start Here > Beginners Equipment Discussions

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  #81  
Old 17-11-2015, 02:28 PM
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mental4astro (Alexander)
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Colour stability all comes from the settings. I've slowly come to the settings I have settled on after reading several threads on the camera, none of which had a definitive set of settings. I ended up zeroing on the last parameter that needed tweaking. Like I mentioned earlier, it took this thread for me to find the leads that I needed!

The controls of the camera are cryptic AT BEST. Remember that this is not a dedicated astro camera, and our purposes are out of the ordinary for it. GSTAR & Mallincam cameras are astro purpose cameras, so instructions are geared that way. You will need to ask Steve at Astroshop to send you the full instructions as the instructions that come with the colour camera are just too brief really,

Mirko, no offense taken, . It is all about horses for courses. Yes the images I've posted are 'underwhelming', as you say. I have a lot more to do to improve my image quality, and there are those who do get amazing results. For me VA is an out reach tool, & what I have is enough for me. But if you have vision impairment, or mobility difficulties, or a really confined to urban skies, VA can be the solution for you.

My initial inspiration for VA came from an astro night I did at Bear Cottage, a children's hospice, a few years back. I took my 17.5" dob, but a little voice told me to also pack my C5 & the modified webcam I had recently converted - the 17.5" sat in the corner all night, and we had a brilliant night looking at the Moon and Saturn! . Not one of those kids had any chance of looking into an eyepiece. VA was the ONLY way I could show off the sky to them.

Today I use VA to compliment visual scopes at urban astro nights
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  #82  
Old 19-11-2015, 07:58 AM
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Here's a few links to image taken either as screen grabs and/or with post-processing:

* Australia's own Ken James, from astrovideoforum with a 120mm f/5 achromat and from Ken's own Video Astronomy website

* Fellow Aussie Shevill Mathers

* Chris Appleton

* Arthur Inacio

* LN300 images from astrovideoforum member giorgosrg. What I like about giorgosrg's pictures is he is using the same modest LN300 camera as me, but the difference is the quality of the video grabber device and the computer software for the on-screen image, and a 100mm f/5 achromat. No too shabby at all

Last edited by mental4astro; 19-11-2015 at 08:26 AM.
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  #83  
Old 19-11-2015, 11:43 AM
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Can you still get this LN300 camera anywhere ? I can't find anyone on ebay or aliexpress that has it with sense-up to do the long image exposure stacking.

Or do you have to go with the DSO-1 etc.

Thanks, Chris
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  #84  
Old 19-11-2015, 12:09 PM
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Have a look here:

http://m.aliexpress.com/item/32431232707.html

No longer available at the bargain basement price of before.
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  #85  
Old 23-11-2015, 05:06 PM
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DSO-1 camera body only (nil cables) would be about US$140 shipped to Australia. That would be a better deal than the LN300 at the moment. DSO is already adapted for Astrovideo.
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  #86  
Old 25-11-2015, 03:43 PM
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The US$70 camera is up on aliexpress again - with x1024 sense-up. Looks OK, although there has been a bit of discussion about its processing chipset on cloudynights.

I might as well get one and give it a go. I have a dodgy little DVD monitor and a pile of leads sitting around.

Chris
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  #87  
Old 28-12-2015, 06:42 PM
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Like Wayne (posted 15-11-2015 11:54am), I too use a dslr/shutterless on high'ish ISO for live viewing.

I own 3 Mallincams and one ZWOptics camera for live viewing which I have done for about 4 years now. I have herniated disks in my neck and back so have troubles holding in position staring through EP's. Hence took to live viewing all those years ago.

But IMHO the dslr/shutterless route is easier to use and yields much sharper images. I use a Canon 700D for wider FOV (APS-C size sensor) and a Nikon J1 4/3's sensor which is about twice the mag of the Canon as its abut half the size. I say if you have a dslr, and a laptop, then try that first. Plus join night skies network on the web (free) to watch various guys use Mallincams, Samsungs, A7S's, Canons, ZWO's and other cams doing live broadcasting. You'll see the images live realtime from all those and learn heaps about the techniques with each.

My fav is my second hand Nikon J1, an adapter for it off fleeBay, a wireless shutter release, and a eye-fi card for it for a grand total of AU$230. I use a second hand 2006 Macbook which I got for $400 off Gummytree and use that for the past 4 years with a Windows partition on it in field.

It works fine as a totally wireless setup. Press the wireless shutter release, wait 2 secs @ ISO3200 double stars/focusing, or 5 to 20 secs for widefield, or globs or bright nebs, or stacked 20 secs series for galaxies ... which all come wirelessly to the macbook.

I use some free software called AstroToaster on the Mac which auto reads the incoming images from the Nikon and stacks auto if you tell it to. It uses the DSS Live engine (also free). Many of those live NSN broadcaster with Mallincams, Samsungs, Sony's, Canon's, ZWo's etc use AT to stack and colorise those cams images on the fly too.

Mallincam, the Atik Infinity cam, the Sony A7 series and cooled ZWO cams are all changing the live viewing scene. Quite an interesting time.
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  #88  
Old 09-02-2016, 11:45 AM
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Hi all,

I've had a chance to play around with my new 8" f/4 dobbie set onto a Crossbow Equatorial Platform the last two nights, and a coupled my video camera to it. I got to view M42, the globular NGC 2808 and Eta Carina. I've attached screenshots from my computer. I also viewed these three using my kids' DVD monitor, and the image quality is down a noticeable amount on the computer compared to a live monitor image. But difference in aperture and focal length from the first lot of pics is remarkable. The second image of M42 is a photo I took directly of the TFT monitor.

Again, this is just showing what a video camera is capable of doing live. These screenshots I've just fiddled with a little detail to clean up the screenshot image to better resemble the direct monitor image. I need to work a little more in refining my alignment routine, which will come with some more practice. I'm also hoping to be able to adjust the amount of saturation around the stars. Might be an artefact to do with the camera too.

Ooooh, I can't wait until I've got my 12" and 17.5" dobs on this platform!!!
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Click for full-size image (Snapshot M42 Jan 7 2016.jpg)
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Click for full-size image (Snapshot Eta, Jan 7 2016.jpg)
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Click for full-size image (TFT photo, M42 LR.JPG)
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  #89  
Old 09-02-2016, 12:18 PM
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Wonderful stuff Alex
Brian.
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  #90  
Old 10-02-2016, 03:12 PM
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AG Hybrid (Adrian)
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That crossbow tracking platform looks mighty interesting indeed indeed. I must research them.
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  #91  
Old 08-04-2016, 03:40 PM
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Revolution Imager - Screen Grabs

I recently bought the Revolution Imager kit from Mike Fowler.

Gave it it's first serious workout last night using my Bresser 5" achromat operating at about f 4.7 on an EQ6 goto.

Views were spectacular on my old 20" analog TV.

Here are a few screen grabs. No processing.
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Click for full-size image (Sombrero 1024 (2).jpg)
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Click for full-size image (Tarantula 512 2.jpg)
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  #92  
Old 08-04-2016, 06:54 PM
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Very nice pics Robert. So are Alex's too. Those are exactly the views that made me decide to get into video astronomy.

Both cameras do the job.

I got the DSO1 camera, based on reviews ob Cloudy Nights. Also bought a 7" lcd monitor. Easy to setup but my days are too busy at the moment.
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  #93  
Old 08-04-2016, 07:17 PM
eskimo20 (Robert)
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Thanks Mate

This has really changed the way I look at the sky. I'm an old codger, my back hurts and my eyes are getting dim.

Looking at the universe on a colour TV is just what I needed to keep going in the hobby.

Cheers
Robert


Quote:
Originally Posted by csb View Post
Very nice pics Robert. So are Alex's too. Those are exactly the views that made me decide to get into video astronomy.

Both cameras do the job.

I got the DSO1 camera, based on reviews ob Cloudy Nights. Also bought a 7" lcd monitor. Easy to setup but my days are too busy at the moment.
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  #94  
Old 08-04-2016, 08:37 PM
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Robert

Nice images. Below are frame grabs using10-20sec exposures with the Rev Imager (basically the LN300 Alex presented) through an 80mm refractor or a C8 and a cheap focal reducer.

I've just got a zwo224mc and started using sharpcap to do live stacking (5sec subs for ~1min) and get even better images of fainter objects. There is a current explosion of USB cameras from atik & zwo that are doing amazing things when coupled with the available software.

Chris
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Click for full-size image (M42a.jpg)
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Click for full-size image (M83.jpg)
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Last edited by ChrisV; 09-04-2016 at 09:33 AM.
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  #95  
Old 10-04-2016, 01:52 PM
eskimo20 (Robert)
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Chris

Nice work. Dark skies too. Something I'm struggling with at the moment.
The Southern Pinwheel is a challenging object for video - I'm still working on that one.

I have a ZWO ASI 120MC that I have used a few times for lunar & planetary. Nice camera at a good price. I don't think it will be suitable for DSOs without cooling (lots of hot pixels).

How do you find the 224MC handles the longer exposures?

Robert
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  #96  
Old 11-04-2016, 10:07 PM
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Robert

Here's Pinwheel with the ZWO ASI224MC (on my 80mm refractor f5.9) - 6x 20sec stacked in sharpcap (the darkish background is a fudge from altering contrast during stacking). I need to use a good UV/IR filter otherwise its a mess in my light polluted area. I've put up some other pics on AVF.

The 224 has a lot of amp glow. You can see it in the bottom right corner. And I'm too lazy to take darks. You can't do high gain and long subs, its one or the other, then stack. Most of the stuff I'm doing now is mid-gain & 5-10sec subs for a minute or two.

Chris
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  #97  
Old 12-04-2016, 01:55 PM
eskimo20 (Robert)
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Chris

That's nice - especially with the minimal processing.

I'll work on it some more with my video camera when the skies clear.

Seems it (and probably most galaxies) emit into the IR so I'll try it without the IR filter.

At this stage I think I'll just use "live" video on DSOs - basically for observing rather than imaging, with a few screen grabs here and there.

I'll dust off my ZWO for Mars and Saturn shortly.

Cheers
Robert
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  #98  
Old 26-04-2016, 09:23 AM
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A quick question... Alex mentioned an eq platform for his dob 8inch. Is an eq platform absolutely needed for vidastro with a dob, even goto?

I was all but set on 12gotodob, i would like good ep views, but i would like the ability to drop a camera in as well. 50/50 timeshare, eyepiece or Ln300 (or cheap equivalent).
Ken Ballaratdragon's 4 or 5 second exposures with refractor on utube, is it doable on gotodob?

Should i reconsider the dob? Can someone suggest a scope for dso, vid and ep?

Moon and planets are cool, but ya get a good enough eyefull of those with everything. So 85% dso, 15% moon and planets....i know i know, ya cant have it all.

Sick of google running me in circles, thanks for your help or link.

Clear skies
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  #99  
Old 26-04-2016, 10:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CrazyGiza View Post
A quick question... Alex mentioned an eq platform for his dob 8inch. Is an eq platform absolutely needed for vidastro with a dob, even goto?
I was all but set on 12gotodob, i would like good ep views, but i would like the ability to drop a camera in as well. 50/50 timeshare, eyepiece or Ln300 (or cheap equivalent).
- There's a few out there doing video with a dob alone, no EQ or ALTAZ mount, but not many. More using 80mm achros such as ST80, or small newts/MAks/SCts. You might need a bit of focal reduction on a dob/SCT/MAK as the cheaper CCDs are small, 1/3". Bigger glass doesn't = much better image with video. Its all about focal length.
- If you want to shift to such a mount - GOTOs just make life easier. Then you can do all the observing and controlling from inside on a monitor or a computer. And spend more time observing.
- If you get GOTO or a motorised mount an EQ mount is not essential. Most people use ALTAZ mounts as they are easier to set up. If you use a sensitive camera such as the LN300-type then is short exposures especially if you have focal reduction.
- Also many (including me) now run analog cameras though a frame grabber (or use a USB camera). Then you do short exposures 5 – 20sec and stack them in something like sharpcap which aligns, reduces noise etc. Again most use ALTAZ mounts with this just because they are easier.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CrazyGiza View Post
Ken Ballaratdragon's 4 or 5 second exposures with refractor on utube, is it doable on gotodob?
Should i reconsider the dob? Can someone suggest a scope for dso, vid and ep?
I don’t use eyepieces so shouldn’t comment, but will.
I use an 8” SCT for smaller objects (with f6.3 or f3.3 focal reducer) and have an 80 APO for wider field.
For a cheap foray into videoastro a lot of people use (1) 6-8" f4/5 imaging newts (like the GSOs) on GOTO mounts. (2) 80-100mm achro refractors (see ken Dragonman’s advice on using those), even an ST80 gives beautiful wide-field video (on a manual mount). I'm told the problem here is you need an imaging newt to get it into focus - so that might make eyepieces difficult.
To get video and EPs maybe an SCT is good or a MAK. A few use 5-6” to great effect.
The big boys use 8-10" SCTs on ALTAZ with heavy focal reduction or hyperstar and get amazing stuff. But they are also using $1.5-2k cameras such as the Ultrastar, Infinity, ASI1600 etc. Watch some of their live broadcasts.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CrazyGiza View Post
Moon and planets are cool, but ya get a good enough eyefull of those with everything. So 85% dso, 15% moon and planets....i know i know, ya cant have it all.
DSOs a killer with video - full beautiful colour pics as Alex showed. Big nebulae great, galaxies take a while to sort out but great.
Moon is fun with video.
But planets - stick to your eyepieces. Have sent a PM.

Cheers Chris
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  #100  
Old 26-04-2016, 12:05 PM
CrazyGiza (Satan)
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Wow, awesome info chris.
I'll have my afternoon full now.
Thankyou very much...off to research...n check your pm.
cheers
clear skies
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