#1  
Old 01-05-2013, 07:09 PM
Bassnut's Avatar
Bassnut (Fred)
Narrowfield rules!

Bassnut is offline
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Sydney
Posts: 4,771
CCD purchase FLI vs SBIG

I have ordered an SBIG STXL6303E for my rig soon to be installed at Siding Spring (ive been out of the game for a while, its about time ) and I thought I might share the decision, it was interesting homework.

First, the chip. It was 16803 vs 6303 pretty much for me. Im interested in NF narrowband so even though the 16803 is the sweet spot these days bang for buck, the 16803 has some 45% QE (ABG) vs 65% for the 6303 (at Ha 656nm, where it counts for me), and the 16803 requires 65mm filters vs 50mm round for the 6303, big price diff. Also, Im not so interested in the extra FOV or extra MP of the 16803.

So then brand. FLI don't make a 6303 Proline, so the comparison is with the Microline ML6303. I actually don't know why one would prefer proline over the microline generally. The Microline is smaller but similar in spec otherwise and only slightly cheaper than the Proline.

The spec difference for the ML6303 and STXL6303 isn't huge either, cooling, RBI etc is about the same and of course the chip specs are identical. The big difference though is in features and (somewhat) in price.

All prices are ex OPT to keep it simple.

Since the STLX6303E has a built in guide-chip-before-the-filter so the following is equal.

ML6303E $7895. 7 pos filterwheel $995 plus MMOAG $825 plus SBIG STI Guide cam $495 (whatever guide cam, an example)= $10210 total.

STLX6303E plus 8 pos filterwheel =$9995. (built in OAG camera).

OK, price is pretty close ($200 diff, whatever), but the SBIG advantage generally is substantial.

FLI warranty= 1 year, SBIG 2 years.
SBIG set has MUCH less back focus (integral guide chip).
SBIG filterwheel 8 pos, FLI 7 pos.
SBIG Option for AO.

I ordered it via Peter Ward (ATS). Its a myth that OZ dealers are always more expensive than an OS purchase, Peters price was about on par with OPT (adding GST, shipping and insurance), with a lot less bother. Peters support (and SBIG direct on one occasion) has been outstanding in my experience in the past, so local purchase was a no brainer this time. I understand FLI support is also excellent either direct or via agents, I have no bias either way support wise.
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 01-05-2013, 07:48 PM
Screwdriverone's Avatar
Screwdriverone (Chris)
I have detailed files....

Screwdriverone is offline
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Kellyville Ridge, NSW Australia
Posts: 3,306
Interesting read Fred,

Good information for others who may be contemplating the same purchase.

I look forward to the images out of the SS scope.

Cheers

Chris
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 01-05-2013, 08:43 PM
bert's Avatar
bert (Brett)
Automation nut

bert is offline
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Bathurst
Posts: 667
Has sbig got the ao working on the later model cameras?

I spoke to them at the aic in the us and they informed me they were still working on the stx ao unit and that the existing models (aol and ao8) are not compatible. It sounded like they were more interested in the differential guiding module,

Has the new ao unit been released?

Coming from a person who has both fli and sbig products, the support from sbig has been excellent. Fli has been more difficult. In the first place, I think that the sbig cameras are more reliable.

After playing around with a proline and microline, I am surprised people get the proline at all. The only benefit I can see for the proline is the 5 degree difference in cooling. Usb built in is neither here nor there, but the weight of the proline is a real put off. The miroline is a real featherweight... but in a good way. If I had the choice of the 2 fli cameras, I would take the microline, even at the same price.

You'll love the 6303 sensor. I sure do....
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 02-05-2013, 12:50 PM
Peter Ward's Avatar
Peter Ward
Galaxy hitchhiking guide

Peter Ward is offline
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: The Shire
Posts: 6,618
Quote:
Originally Posted by bert View Post
Has the new ao unit been released?
The short answer is not yet.

I've been pushing SBIG for about 2 years to get the AO-X to market, but the good news is SBIG are now working hard to have all options available for the STXL series, with a view to have them shipping by the 2nd half of 2013.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 02-05-2013, 04:47 PM
Bassnut's Avatar
Bassnut (Fred)
Narrowfield rules!

Bassnut is offline
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Sydney
Posts: 4,771
Quote:
Originally Posted by bert View Post
Has sbig got the ao working on the later model cameras?

I spoke to them at the aic in the us and they informed me they were still working on the stx ao unit and that the existing models (aol and ao8) are not compatible. It sounded like they were more interested in the differential guiding module,

Has the new ao unit been released?

Coming from a person who has both fli and sbig products, the support from sbig has been excellent. Fli has been more difficult. In the first place, I think that the sbig cameras are more reliable.

After playing around with a proline and microline, I am surprised people get the proline at all. The only benefit I can see for the proline is the 5 degree difference in cooling. Usb built in is neither here nor there, but the weight of the proline is a real put off. The miroline is a real featherweight... but in a good way. If I had the choice of the 2 fli cameras, I would take the microline, even at the same price.

You'll love the 6303 sensor. I sure do....
I've heard FLI support is good, but I have no personal experience. I had an SBIG cam fixed direct once, I kid you not, I got daily updates on progress by the repair tech, and the cost was very reasonable.

Given the 16803s size, mounting orthoganitaly is apparently critical, so you'd think the extra weight of the proline would be a real disadvantage . But, it has "pro" in the name, not as cool as "micro", so maybe that's the reason .

Yes, every pic I see from a 6303 has a warm analog feel. Doesn't make any sence of course, but ittle do me .

The whole SBIG dual guiding thing seems to have died it seems. I just don't understand why SBIG or any manuf hasn't done something like it. Mike Betha-jones coded up multiple star dual guiding in a few weeks and it's a killer in action. Even 1-2 min exposures on an OAG chip BEHIND NB filters with 2sec ext guide exposures at an insane FL on a 20" , with multiple stars, worked perfectly on 1hr subs, no flex problems at all. If am amature can knock this out in weeks, you'd think it would be a snitch for a cam manufacturer
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 03-05-2013, 10:26 PM
strongmanmike's Avatar
strongmanmike (Michael)
Woohoo it's clear

strongmanmike is offline
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Canberra
Posts: 14,649
I've loved both my FLI ProLines (11002 & 16803), served me very well without missing a beat since 2007, perfect (and without self guide)

Mike
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 06-05-2013, 06:44 PM
gregbradley's Avatar
gregbradley
Registered User

gregbradley is offline
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Sydney
Posts: 15,403
To be fair Fred STXL probably weighs even more than Proline. Also you are underestimating the value of high powered cooling. Its not only for thermal noise it also gets rid of cosmetic artifacts like dead lines and hot pixels which is especially important for 6303 which degrades faster than other CCDs. Also with RBI to work properly it needs to be heavily cooled as the resulting bleeding noise is reduced after the multiple infrared fushes at the start. RBI is more of an issue with 6303E chip as well. I have only seen it on 16803 chip once or twice and it was negligble in effect in the image. It median combined out. 2 lines that faded in several subs from a planes navigational lights going through the frame. Not sure really if RBI would be an issue or not. I suspect not. Its more an issue with the rarely used 09000 chip.

MMOAG works well with Proline. But I do think SBIG has the edge in autoguiding solutions. MMOAG though is a very fine solution once you get used to the tacked on nature of it.

Greg.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 14-05-2013, 01:24 PM
Peter Ward's Avatar
Peter Ward
Galaxy hitchhiking guide

Peter Ward is offline
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: The Shire
Posts: 6,618
Quote:
Originally Posted by gregbradley View Post
To be fair Fred STXL probably weighs even more than Proline. Also you are underestimating the value of high powered cooling. Its not only for thermal noise it also gets rid of cosmetic artifacts like dead lines and hot pixels which is especially important for 6303 which degrades faster than other CCDs. Also with RBI

Greg.
Lets see, STXL has:

Deep cooling minus 60 delta T in air. Probably run minus 70 with air plus water...hence I don't see a practical difference from the FLI spec.

RBI *is* available with the STXL (user selectable)

Built in Web server.

User selectable pre-processing

Pre-filter self guide, or remote guide head or (soon) adaptive optics or differential guide.

Sure FLI make a good camera, but I'd suggest SBIG make way better integrated systems.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 15-05-2013, 04:54 PM
Bassnut's Avatar
Bassnut (Fred)
Narrowfield rules!

Bassnut is offline
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Sydney
Posts: 4,771
Quote:
Originally Posted by gregbradley View Post
To be fair Fred STXL probably weighs even more than Proline. Also you are underestimating the value of high powered cooling. Its not only for thermal noise it also gets rid of cosmetic artifacts like dead lines and hot pixels which is especially important for 6303 which degrades faster than other CCDs. Also with RBI to work properly it needs to be heavily cooled as the resulting bleeding noise is reduced after the multiple infrared fushes at the start. RBI is more of an issue with 6303E chip as well. I have only seen it on 16803 chip once or twice and it was negligble in effect in the image. It median combined out. 2 lines that faded in several subs from a planes navigational lights going through the frame. Not sure really if RBI would be an issue or not. I suspect not. Its more an issue with the rarely used 09000 chip.

MMOAG works well with Proline. But I do think SBIG has the edge in autoguiding solutions. MMOAG though is a very fine solution once you get used to the tacked on nature of it.

Greg.
Greg, the weight of an SBIG STXL6303 is 4.5 lbs. A Proline plus MMOAG plus filterwheel plus guide cam is at least 9.5 lbs, more than DOUBLE the weight .
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 21-05-2013, 04:35 PM
gregbradley's Avatar
gregbradley
Registered User

gregbradley is offline
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Sydney
Posts: 15,403
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bassnut View Post
Greg, the weight of an SBIG STXL6303 is 4.5 lbs. A Proline plus MMOAG plus filterwheel plus guide cam is at least 9.5 lbs, more than DOUBLE the weight .
Fair enough. Does that 4.5 lbs include the filter wheel as well?

Greg.
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 21-05-2013, 04:38 PM
gregbradley's Avatar
gregbradley
Registered User

gregbradley is offline
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Sydney
Posts: 15,403
Sure FLI make a good camera, but I'd suggest SBIG make way better integrated systems.[/QUOTE]

Yes I agree with this. FLI cameras are great but rely on 3rd party manufacturers for the guiding solution which is not good. It kind of boils down to MMOAG and thats it. Perhaps Starlight Express AO, if it works on large chipped cameras. So your options with FLI cameras and for that matter Apogee as well for guiding are poor. QSI at least has the built in OAG. It will be interesting if they can incorporate that in their upcoming large chipped camera range (their ads did not mention OAG models).

Greg.
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 21-05-2013, 05:17 PM
Bassnut's Avatar
Bassnut (Fred)
Narrowfield rules!

Bassnut is offline
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Sydney
Posts: 4,771
Quote:
Originally Posted by gregbradley View Post
Fair enough. Does that 4.5 lbs include the filter wheel as well?

Greg.
Mm, I thought it did, but now im not so sure, bit hard to tell, there is no weight spec for the filter either. Sorry for the confusion, I think the filter wheel is extra now.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT +10. The time is now 07:46 AM.

Powered by vBulletin Version 3.8.7 | Copyright ©2000 - 2019, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Advertisement
NexDome Observatories
Advertisement
OzScopes Authorised Dealer
Advertisement
Lunatico Astronomical
Advertisement
SkyWatcher Australia
Advertisement
Meade Australia
Advertisement
Celestron Australia
Advertisement
Bintel
Advertisement
Astronomy and Electronics Centre
Advertisement