#1  
Old 17-05-2010, 04:11 PM
Robert9's Avatar
Robert9 (Robert)
Registered User

Robert9 is offline
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Mt. Waverley, VIC, Australia
Posts: 741
Imaging Camera - which one?

I am considering the purchase of a video-camera for imaging and can't choose between the GStar-EX (mono) or the Imaging Source DMK 41 AF03AS (mono). They are both similarly priced, both use a 1/2" CCD, however the G-Star uses the Sony ExView HAD chip and the Imaging Source the Sony ICX205AL. Which way should I go? What other features are there that I should consider?
For the moment I have ruled out the Meade DSI III Pro because of price. Is the price difference well founded?
Your experience, comments and advice would be greatly appreciated.

Robert

Hey guys, Surely someone has had experience with or knows about these cameras.
Robert

Last edited by Robert9; 21-05-2010 at 03:55 PM. Reason: Add a comment
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 21-05-2010, 03:57 PM
Robert9's Avatar
Robert9 (Robert)
Registered User

Robert9 is offline
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Mt. Waverley, VIC, Australia
Posts: 741
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert9 View Post
I am considering the purchase of a video-camera for imaging and can't choose between the GStar-EX (mono) or the Imaging Source DMK 41 AF03AS (mono). They are both similarly priced, both use a 1/2" CCD, however the G-Star uses the Sony ExView HAD chip and the Imaging Source the Sony ICX205AL. Which way should I go? What other features are there that I should consider?
For the moment I have ruled out the Meade DSI III Pro because of price. Is the price difference well founded?
Your experience, comments and advice would be greatly appreciated.

Robert

Hey guys, Surely someone has had experience with or knows about these cameras.
Robert
Bump
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 21-05-2010, 05:11 PM
rogerg's Avatar
rogerg (Roger)
Registered User

rogerg is offline
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Perth, Western Australia
Posts: 4,540
I'm not going to help much, but a question that begs asking: What do you want to use it for? That'll change what's best.

[edit] ... oops, I meant "not going to be able to help much...
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 21-05-2010, 05:39 PM
tonybarry's Avatar
tonybarry (Tony)
Registered User

tonybarry is offline
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Penrith, Sydney
Posts: 540
Hello Robert,

I think Rogert asked the right question ... what did you want to do with the camera? What telescope optics / mount did you have to pair it with?

If your interest is in big deep sky objects (think galaxies) then you would need a camera that is sensitive, can accumulate, and preferably is cooled to reduce hot pixels.

If you want to image the ISS, Saturn or other planetary objects, then you need the frame rate as high as possible.

I hope this helps.

Regards,
Tony Barry
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 22-05-2010, 09:47 AM
Robert9's Avatar
Robert9 (Robert)
Registered User

Robert9 is offline
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Mt. Waverley, VIC, Australia
Posts: 741
Tony, Barry, many thanks for your replies.
I have a Celestron Nexstar 6SE. I understand the limitations of the small size, the SCT design and the ALTAZ mount, but this arrangement suits me as I like to travel around with wife, dog and 12 ft. caravan and get out bush where the skies are clear.
I'm interested in the whole gamut of astro objects and would be happy to hear from you as to how the various targets affect the choice of camera. Also how CCD size effects the image.
From the way this post is developing, perhaps I should have listed it in the Beginners section, but it just started out as a straight equipment question. So please forgive the intrusion into the advanced section.

Robert
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 22-05-2010, 10:10 AM
riklaunim
Registered User

riklaunim is offline
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Poland
Posts: 74
With alt/az mount you are limited in the exposure time to about 30 seconds, after which the field on the image will be rotated (unless you have a wedge). You can easily do planetary and lunary imaging, as well as imaging of bright DS objects at lower focal ratios (with SCT focal reducers f/3.3 or f/6.3)

In planetary section good and easy to use is DMK21 and other Imaging Source cameras, however it's beeing superseded by Point Grey Flea 3 (an probably Basler Ace) with new CCDs. The problem with Flea 3 is that it uses new 9-pin firewire (you would need probably some adapter) and it's quite new product. Such cameras can also be used to image DS objects (new cams especially) but they won't produce super images.
Dedicated astro-cameras like DSI III Pro can't do planetary efficiently, but they are very good at solar, lunar and DS imaging. For DS imaging you would have to keep the exposures very short like below 15-20 seconds which is doable with a focal reducer and bright targets like globular clusters
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 22-05-2010, 03:27 PM
bmitchell82's Avatar
bmitchell82 (Brendan)
Newtonian power! Love it!

bmitchell82 is offline
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Mandurah
Posts: 2,597
I think what we are trying to say is there is no "Catch all" camera. you have to kind of pick what you want to do and go for it. As for your telescope riklaunim nailed it with the rotation, the thing is the OTA doesn't rotate with the sky, and a Alt az operates in a up down left right fashion, making unguided exposures very difficult.

Doing DSO astrophotography requires different hardware than say planetary/solar. Lots to think about let us know if you would like any more information.

Brendan
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 23-05-2010, 09:15 AM
renormalised's Avatar
renormalised (Carl)
No More Infinities

renormalised is offline
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Townsville
Posts: 9,698
Robert, here are the guys to talk to, and gauge image quality from...

http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/gstar-users/

Steve (videocast) will steer you in the right direction so far as the GStar goes.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 23-05-2010, 09:57 AM
mch62's Avatar
mch62 (Mark)
Registered User

mch62 is offline
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Glenore Grove Queensland
Posts: 649
You might want to have a looky over at Starizona web site and the Hyperstar section and see what can be done even with an Alt Az mount 6SE:at F2 30 secs is a long time thumbsup:
Mark
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 23-05-2010, 01:17 PM
Robert9's Avatar
Robert9 (Robert)
Registered User

Robert9 is offline
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Mt. Waverley, VIC, Australia
Posts: 741
Hi Riklaunim and Brendan,

Thanks for your input and advice.

I am aware of the the rotational issues with the altaz mount and can see why a still camera needs an equatorial mount. This is why I was looking at video capture. I have been lead to understand that with a number of single frames, these can be stacked and de-rotated in software. I think there are cameras with built-in frame integration and de-rotation. Alternatively, I understand that this be done by software eg Registax, after capture.

If video cameras aren't for DSOs, why are they advertised as "Deep Space Imagers"? I seem to be missing out on some piece of knowledge or logic, but I don't know what. Perhaps its just quality of image, related to the size of the CCD. I'll certainly follow up on the gstar-users link. I'll also check out Starizona - thanks Mark.

Thanks,
Robert
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 25-05-2010, 07:24 PM
Jfinis (Jim)
Registered User

Jfinis is offline
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Adelaide, Australia
Posts: 46
Hi Robert,
If you're interested in a magnificent Live Video camera check out the Mallincam VSS, http://mallincam.tripod.com/ - I bought one of these cameras and although initially I wanted to use it for live viewing and loved what I could see on my screen and was able to capture the video to disk and the process using programs like DSI Imaging and others, I eventually started to get into serious Imaging and found out that these cameras are for what they initially were made for LIVE VIEWING (Great for star parties showing the stars to the family etc), I did get some very nice images with the camera but to get really good images you can't go past a cooled CCD camera.
I've just purchased a QHY8 for imaging and I'll be putting the Mallicam up for sale in the next week or so.
So if you're really after a Live Video System go for a Mallincam they're more expensive but they're worth the extra money.

Cheers
Jim
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 25-05-2010, 08:48 PM
riklaunim
Registered User

riklaunim is offline
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Poland
Posts: 74
You can capture a lot of short exposure frames with standard DS camera and de-rotate them during stacking. Check my globular clusters images (very amateur ) made with DMK21 and DSI III Pro. The exposures 1-2 sec for DMK and slightly more for DSI III Pro (but it should be longer to get better image depth, but I was limited by bad mount ). With good cameras and focal reducers for SCT you can get short exposures for brighter objects.

Integrating TV/Video cameras anren't cheaper and for imaging they lack resolution - http://mallincam.tripod.com/id14.html
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 25-05-2010, 09:43 PM
renormalised's Avatar
renormalised (Carl)
No More Infinities

renormalised is offline
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Townsville
Posts: 9,698
Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by riklaunim View Post
...Integrating TV/Video cameras anren't cheaper and for imaging they lack resolution - http://mallincam.tripod.com/id14.html
No, they're not megapixel imagers (most are around 760 x 580, or around 390,000 pixels), but those images on that page are not good images. Looks like most of them weren't even processed all that much.

I've seen much better images than that from these cameras. Actually, I've seen worse images posted by people using DSI III's and the Image Source cameras. It all depends on how you use the camera and your skill levels in processing. They're great for what they do and used properly they're OK imagers, but you don't expect them to turn out masterpieces of sub-arcsecond pixellated perfection. That's not what they're meant to be. I'm happy with mine. I can't afford to buy an SBIG, QHY, any other multi-megapixel camera or even an Orion Starshoot, but I can buy a GStar (either model) or a DBK/DMK, or (if I save for awhile) a Mallincam. That's the position most people are in. You make do with what you've got
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 25-05-2010, 10:13 PM
renormalised's Avatar
renormalised (Carl)
No More Infinities

renormalised is offline
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Townsville
Posts: 9,698
Just had a quick peek at the Flea3 site...the 76FPS 1/2" Sony 414ICX chip model would be the one to get, but at the current exchange rate and GST (sans custom payments and shipping), you're looking at $1110 buying directly from the manufacturer. Although shipping on a camera that weighs 58g would probably amount to $1. You'd pay more for the parcel they put it in!!!. Here, go and have a look...

http://www.flea3.com/

http://www.ptgrey.com/products/flea3/index.asp
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 25-05-2010, 11:03 PM
riklaunim
Registered User

riklaunim is offline
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Poland
Posts: 74
You are looking at the wrong camera. ICX414 isn't for planetary imaging so you don't need very fast camera with latest electronics - and thats the most pricey part in Flea 3. It will be also superior to any TV/Video camera as it's not limited by old TV video standards like 570-600 TV lines of resolution - so it costs more.

I got quite new DSI III Pro for $700 and thats very good dedicated camera. There are smaller DSI II or Atiks that are cheaper than DSI III Pro and still can do very good images.
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 26-05-2010, 12:20 AM
renormalised's Avatar
renormalised (Carl)
No More Infinities

renormalised is offline
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Townsville
Posts: 9,698
Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by riklaunim View Post
You are looking at the wrong camera. ICX414 isn't for planetary imaging so you don't need very fast camera with latest electronics - and thats the most pricey part in Flea 3. It will be also superior to any TV/Video camera as it's not limited by old TV video standards like 570-600 TV lines of resolution - so it costs more.

I got quite new DSI III Pro for $700 and thats very good dedicated camera. There are smaller DSI II or Atiks that are cheaper than DSI III Pro and still can do very good images.
Yes it is the dearest, but he also has an F10 optical system and those other cameras with small pixels won't suit his system as well as the larger pixel ICX414. And being at F10, he'll get a much better FoV shot of the planets with his small 6" than he would with a F5-7 refractor or an F4.5 Newt, which would suit the other cameras better...their FoV's would leave the planet sitting in a huge pall of black looking like a pinprick against the sky. Plus, the speed of the camera will allow him to shoot relatively steady pics (lots thereof) in short time and in less than ideal conditions. The larger pixels will also mean more sensitivity, which is good for longer focal length scopes. Yes, it is better than the astrovids, no question. But there's also price to consider and what he'll be using the camera for. Yes the small Atiks and DSI II can give reasonable pics, but no better than the astrovids...in some cases their resolution isn't as good.

Not only all that, but the Flea is so small, even if his tube went vertical, the Flea would clear the base easily...extension tube (if needed) and all. He probably wouldn't even need any counterweights to balance the tube.

Like I said before. It's horses for courses and the best way to find out is to hook up with people who have and are using them. Join the online forums for the cameras. Look at the piccies and see how each camera operates.
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 26-05-2010, 05:31 AM
riklaunim
Registered User

riklaunim is offline
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Poland
Posts: 74
Bigger pixel does not equals to bigger sensitivity, expecially when you compare totally different CCDs - ICX618 and ICX414. For 5,6x micrometer pixels optimal focal ratio is f/20 at which you get max of details. You can go further and get bigger planet image but there won't be more details and the view will start to degrade due to seeing effect at longer exposures. For camera with bigger pixels stronger Barlow would be needed to image at optimal f/36 for ICX414 (you get the same scale and details). If the CCDs would have equal absolute sensitivity per square micrometer of a pixel - then effect would be the nearly the same.

Looking at the CCD sheets at "Typ." max sensitivity in mV and calculating mV per square pixel micrometer you will get:
ICX098BL: 15.94 mV/μm2 (DMK 21, webcam family)
ICX618ALA: 38.26 mV/μm2 (PG Flea 3, Basler Ace)
ICX285AL: 31.25 mV/μm2 (Atik 314L, DSI III Pro, QHY 2 Pro...)
ICX414AL: 8,98 - 11,73 mV/μm2 (the cheap TV camera, used in PG, Unibrain and IDS industry cameras.)

So bigger pixel in ICX414 at optimal focal lenght (f/36) will be probably more than 3x less sensitive than ICX618 at optimal focal length (f/20). Things like termal noise, readout noise and tons of other things come in here also. Newer design are expected to have less issues with all that stuff. So - it's nearly impossible to "save money" on imaging cameras without limiting imaging capabilities.


If you are McGuyver type and want basic, but good CCD camera for imaging think about modding SPC900NC (or silent clone SPC880NC) webcam. You can even put ICX618 there (40-45 euro for a unit).
http://www.ccd.neostrada.pl/SC3.htm -- those images were made with modded webcam with ICX424AL (like in Lumenera skynyx2.0, Atik Titan). This old mod is described as SC3 There are also simplier SC2: http://www.ccd.neostrada.pl/SC2.htm (amp off and cooling) or SC1 with nearly no changes http://www.ccd.neostrada.pl/SC1.htm

Second level would be DMK21, which is faster and less noisy than a webcam. Monochrome CCD at start, and can be modded to ICX618 if someone wants to be a McGuyver.

Third level would be Meade DSI III Pro/no-pro second hand (USA market best, as outside USA the low price is killed by duties and margin at local astro shop ) This has 16 bit, very good sensor and doesn't require modding (except cooling if someone is hot McGuyver).


Between second and third level - the 2,5 level I would put 12 bit industry cameras supported by some astro imaging software like cameras from Unibrain, example: http://objectstyle.org/astronominsk/...Sat2008_en.htm Unibrain Fire-i 702 has ICX285 - the same CCD as in DSI III Pro or other astro cameras. To get this cheap you have to usually find a local vendor that makes usable industry cameras. Something for Google searching McGuyver.

Last edited by riklaunim; 26-05-2010 at 05:45 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old 26-05-2010, 08:47 AM
Robert9's Avatar
Robert9 (Robert)
Registered User

Robert9 is offline
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Mt. Waverley, VIC, Australia
Posts: 741
Hi,
Thanks for all your input. It seems like I have stirred up a quite a hornet's nest though, but all your opinions are of interest.
I have considered a range of cameras from the simple low-lux security cameras and those suggested here. In view of it all, and considering my current telescope and aspirations, I think I'm heading toward a DSI II mono. (I would prefer the DSI III with the larger CCD, but its outside my price range.) I like the 1/2" Sony EXview HAD CCD and the 16bit A/D conversion as a camera basis. The camera itself is light and compact and yet equipped with a decent heat exchanger. It also features on board frame integration, temperature sensing and compensation etc. I prefer it to the GStar because of the better A/D resolution and its compact size - better for my mount when viewing high objects.
On all counts I think this has been a very profitable discussion, possibly not only for me.
Many thanks to all who contributed.
Robert
Reply With Quote
  #19  
Old 26-05-2010, 09:44 AM
renormalised's Avatar
renormalised (Carl)
No More Infinities

renormalised is offline
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Townsville
Posts: 9,698
Smile

Quote:
Originally Posted by riklaunim View Post
If you are McGuyver type....someone wants to be a McGuyver....(except cooling if someone is hot McGuyver)....Something for Google searching McGuyver.
Now you're creeping me out!!!!. This McGuyver obsession is going wayyyyy too far!!!

I'm going to have images of Richard Dean Anderson haunting me for the rest of the day!!!

Well, if he starts to come through the stargate...just so long as he brings Amanda Tapping with him. She can stay, but he can go back to McGuyverdom

Last edited by renormalised; 26-05-2010 at 09:58 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #20  
Old 26-05-2010, 09:47 AM
renormalised's Avatar
renormalised (Carl)
No More Infinities

renormalised is offline
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Townsville
Posts: 9,698
Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert9 View Post
Hi,
Thanks for all your input. It seems like I have stirred up a quite a hornet's nest though, but all your opinions are of interest.
I have considered a range of cameras from the simple low-lux security cameras and those suggested here. In view of it all, and considering my current telescope and aspirations, I think I'm heading toward a DSI II mono. (I would prefer the DSI III with the larger CCD, but its outside my price range.) I like the 1/2" Sony EXview HAD CCD and the 16bit A/D conversion as a camera basis. The camera itself is light and compact and yet equipped with a decent heat exchanger. It also features on board frame integration, temperature sensing and compensation etc. I prefer it to the GStar because of the better A/D resolution and its compact size - better for my mount when viewing high objects.
On all counts I think this has been a very profitable discussion, possibly not only for me.
Many thanks to all who contributed.
Robert
DSI II colour = $509 at Bintel

DSI III mono = $1199 at same

Cooling fan for all you McGuyver's out there (Aaaargghhh!!!!), at same, $69
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 08:01 AM.

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