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  #1  
Old 21-06-2018, 08:37 AM
brenchen
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ZWO or Altair?

I'm in the market to get my first astro dedicated camera and I've narrowed it down to 2 brands: ZWO or Altair. AFAIK, ZWO has a big presence in Australia, Altair doesn't. But since getting an altair camera isn't an issue for me, and so far my experiences with altair (in pre-sales support and communication) has been quite positive, their products look very promising and has a big customer base in the Northern Hemisphere, I'm stuck between the two.

Trying to find comparisons between the two brands (quality, build, value for money etc.) and customer experience has proven challenging. So has anyone experienced the two or is there any reason to choose or not to choose one brand over the other? Or are they both so similar that it doesn't really matter which I go with?

Thanks in advance
Brendan
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  #2  
Old 21-06-2018, 08:44 AM
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LewisM
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I may be wrong but I believe the Altair are simply rebranded and different anodise colour ZWOs. You can even buy the same colour anodise ones with again another brand on AliExpress (maybe Altair QC rejects)
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  #3  
Old 21-06-2018, 09:02 AM
brenchen
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I doubt it, they seem to have a pretty different product line, and being a British company, I doubt they'd be rebranding someone else's product.
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  #4  
Old 21-06-2018, 09:20 AM
glend (Glen)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brenchen View Post
I doubt it, they seem to have a pretty different product line, and being a British company, I doubt they'd be rebranding someone else's product.
You might be surprised about the depth of rebranding that goes on in astronomy products.
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Old 21-06-2018, 10:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brenchen View Post
I doubt it, they seem to have a pretty different product line, and being a British company, I doubt they'd be rebranding someone else's product.
Yes, Altair DEFINITELY rebrands others products, especially their refractor line.
Besides, service from Altair is abysmal - unless you are in the UK, good luck! They've never once answered a product query I sent, and I know I am not alone there.
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  #6  
Old 21-06-2018, 12:01 PM
brenchen
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LewisM View Post
Yes, Altair DEFINITELY rebrands others products, especially their refractor line.
Besides, service from Altair is abysmal - unless you are in the UK, good luck! They've never once answered a product query I sent, and I know I am not alone there.

Oh wow, really!? AFAIK they are trying to enter into Aus market because I've been talking to the owner, and also there is an active advocate for Altair, and talking to him wasn't too difficult. I'm keen to hear more!
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  #7  
Old 21-06-2018, 12:47 PM
AstroApprentice (Jason)
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Altair correspondence

I agree with Lewis - three months ago I sent Altair an email asking for clarification on a products specs/availability & still haven't heard a peep from them!
I'd go with the ZWO through Bintel or direct. I recently managed to damage part of my EFW through user error (nothing to do with the quality of the product) and after explaining my stuff up to ZWO, they sent me a replacement part for $20 with free postage. Pretty good service IMO.
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  #8  
Old 21-06-2018, 05:28 PM
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I thought Altair cameras were rebranded Toupcams. AFAIK none of their cameras are TEC cooled. And they don't seem to have Linux drivers (should you want to use Indi) certainly not for ARM devices.
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  #9  
Old 22-06-2018, 12:41 PM
brenchen
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Originally Posted by kens View Post
I thought Altair cameras were rebranded Toupcams. AFAIK none of their cameras are TEC cooled. And they don't seem to have Linux drivers (should you want to use Indi) certainly not for ARM devices.

What's the advantages of using indi drivers?
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  #10  
Old 22-06-2018, 07:23 PM
kens (Ken)
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Indi runs on linux on a number of devices including Raspberry Pi. It can run on distributed devices communicating over IP. That means you could have a Raspberry Pi mounted at the scope running just the drivers while your AP application (e.g. Kstars/Ekos) runs on another machine communicating via Wifi. Plus it is all open source
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  #11  
Old 26-06-2018, 09:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brenchen View Post
I doubt it, they seem to have a pretty different product line, and being a British company, I doubt they'd be rebranding someone else's product.
WRONG, British brands do it all the time with outrageous markups too using cheapest quality chinese rubbish. Stanley Gibbons "hardware" is all like this and all misrepresented by SG on specs.



I've never heard of anyone having problems with ZWO cams (I have several and they are superb), all complaints are really because people dont learn how to use imaging cams properly not because of the cams themselves. ZWO is one of the rare Asian companies that build for quality not down to a price and their cams have spoken for themselves no matter the price point. Imaging cameras regardless of brand at the same price points tend to all use the same imaging sensor and comparisons are easily found if you search google for "brandx model123 vs ZWO" and decide for yourself the pros and cons. I have no reason to look elsewhere these days outside of ZWO, my old ASI120MC is at least six years old i think and still performs great, I recently upgraded it with a newer zwo and the old one will be installed on another scope. As with any brand of imager you need to comprehend what the specs mean in terms of your target imaging in order to make the correct purchasing decision regarding model. For most zwo models its typically the Qhy5 equivalent thats its closest rival. You should check FireCapture supports the Altair you are considering I wouldnt go near any consumer imager that was tied to its own propriety software.

The electronics in ZWO are compact and reliable with good cable connections and the heatsink case design is great but their cooled models are even better, cooling the sensor quickly to a stable temperature. Fans in the cooling models are dead quiet (double check in your software they are turned on with a target temperature!). The design of ZWO tries to ensure it wont hit your mount when imaging at the zenith, they are as discrete as possible. Buying directly from the zwo website is easy and painless, the cams are well packaged for transit and the prices hard to beat. If you're worried about a local dealer to support you I have to ask Why The Hell? What abuse are you intending? Or are you too lazy to read manuals and learn how to use your gear? Instructions are on the zwo website, follow those and you'll be imaging without hassles. Unlike webcams and other astro imagers zwo drivers have been the most painless to get operational unlike the Orion imagers which would fight with my laptops built in webcam drivers and were painfull to get working. ZWO simply does everything as easy and painless as possible, I've never even had the slightest reason to contact zwo, I don't know if other brands are similarly bulletproof but on my experience I would pick ZWO on brand alone as one I can trust.
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