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Old 14-01-2015, 09:39 PM
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Should I just cool or also mono my DSLR?

Hi guys,

I have the option of either cooling with a cold finger my trusty old Canon 400D, but also potentially debayering the camera to mono.

Going to mono will increase the cost significantly, and then add the cost of filters and a filter holder (my current filter wheel won't cut it - it's not low profile enough and also only 1.25")

So, my options are:

1. JUST COOLING - $500 PLUS SHIPPING

2. COOLING AND MONO CONVERSION - $820, PLUS $500 for 36mm LRGB FILTERS (Bintel), PLUS $150 FOR A 36mm FILTER HOLDER, PLUS SHIPPING
So the Mono option will take me up to near to $1500.

If I stick with a DSLR, is going Mono and Cooled going to give me a worthwhile improvement over just cooled DSLR OSC?

My set up is a 12.5" f/5 scope, and generally I take captures only on a single object per night typically 1.5 hours to 3 hours has been my average so far as I pack everything and head to a dark sky site away from Melbourne.

My images with the un-cooled 400D here:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/johnka...7594507459369/

https://www.flickr.com/photos/johnka...7627559363154/

My "gut" is telling me cooling the DSLR is very good value, so stick with this for another year but with a cooled camera, and then get a more high end dedicated mono CCD camera later on but still have a OSC cooled unit as a back up.

People that have been on a similar journey - thoughts, advice comments?

Appreciate any advice.

Clear skies,

John K.
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  #2  
Old 15-01-2015, 10:46 AM
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My advice would be to just buy a dedicated CCD mono camera.

Why muck around?
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Old 15-01-2015, 10:53 AM
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Same.

If I were going to use a cooled DSLR I would go for a 5D2 like that used in Leo's recent images. Lovely. Full frame makes up for some of the lack of the DSLR APS sized sensor.

Starlight Express MX25C is often around 2nd hand on Astromart. I think it would be hard to beat by any DSLR mono'd or otherwise. I see there is a QHY8 for sale on IIS for $1200. Its APS sized. Not sure what they are like but its cheaper than your mono option (isn't mono conversion risky to do?).

The current king would appear to be the Sony A7s which is similar really to a KAI11002 chip in that its 8.5micon pixels but even higher full well depth and no doubt cleaner electronics from Sony compared to relatively noisy Kodak chips.

Greg.
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Old 15-01-2015, 10:54 AM
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rustigsmed (Russell)
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hi john,

I like the idea of having a cooled dslr (OSC) and a separate dedicated mono camera.

the cooled osc can capture comets and events like Saturn / Moon occultation with colour (and less fuss). It is also more efficient for a quick and dirty deep space imaging sesh. the dedicated mono for when you want to spend time on a subject.

Rusty
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Old 15-01-2015, 11:11 AM
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I cooled and monofied my 350D, see the thread Here.

It worked great but the cooling was always annoying, if I did it again I would just do the mono mod.

I probably wouldn't going to all the trouble of cooling your 400D, I would spend the money on a newer camera that (uncooled) would almost be as good as a cooled 400D and save a lot of fuss.

If you were keen to go mono though, the 400D would be a good choice, but I don't think it worth the extra money to cool it. The extra sensitivity would somewhat negate the need for cooling anyway.

Cheers
Jo
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Old 15-01-2015, 02:31 PM
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I am of the opinion that a cooled CCD is where you should be heading.
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Old 15-01-2015, 03:19 PM
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1500 bucks is a good part of a QHY9 with a cooled mono sensor, filter wheel and filters.
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Old 15-01-2015, 05:30 PM
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Your dslr images already look great to me - I'm not sure how much you would gain by cooling? Your 400d looks like a good performer so I would leave it as it is and go with the cooled CCD option if you are already considering that.
Otherwise, like others have said, the money would be best spent on a newer model dslr that will perform better overall.

Regards,
Tony.
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Old 16-01-2015, 10:47 AM
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If you have that sort of money, a cooled and mono Sony A7s is the way to go.

CCDs are on borrowed time frankly.
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Old 16-01-2015, 11:51 AM
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Thanks for all the comments Gents.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LightningNZ View Post
If you have that sort of money, a cooled and mono Sony A7s is the way to go.
These are at 2000 euros. I can cool my current camera for only $500AUD or go totally mono for $1500AUD. So don't see it as a option with my budget. Also, I have not seen enough images from the A7s in any case.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter.M View Post
1500 bucks is a good part of a QHY9 with a cooled mono sensor, filter wheel and filters.
This is what I was thinking but to cool my OSC DSLR at the moment as a stop gap.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Haese View Post
I am of the opinion that a cooled CCD is where you should be heading.
Agree Paul - but time and money always an issue.


Quote:
Originally Posted by nebulosity. View Post
I cooled and monofied my 350D, see the thread Here.

I probably wouldn't going to all the trouble of cooling your 400D, I would spend the money on a newer camera that (uncooled) would almost be as good as a cooled 400D and save a lot of fuss.

If you were keen to go mono though, the 400D would be a good choice, but I don't think it worth the extra money to cool it. The extra sensitivity would somewhat negate the need for cooling anyway.

Cheers
Jo
The 400D is quite noisy, and my best images have been taken when the sensor has been below 10 degrees. So I actually suspect cooling will really help here. Perhaps not as much with a newer Canon such as the 7D, but remember all I am talking about is a $500 investment.

Also - not fussed about having a full frame sensor. The current image size with my f/5 scope and coma corrector works well.


...mmmm...decision time!
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Old 22-01-2015, 08:30 PM
stevous67 (Steve M)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LightningNZ View Post
If you have that sort of money, a cooled and mono Sony A7s is the way to go.

CCDs are on borrowed time frankly.
Really? The A7s modded and cooled is significantly more $$, and why would you mono it? Really?! The colour performance is outstanding.

Lastly, "CCD's are on borrowed time"?! Wow, interesting advice.

It's not too bad a plan your suggesting, getting the CCD later. Having a cooled (only) and modded DSLR would be very handy for specialty objects.

Steve
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Old 22-01-2015, 09:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stevous67 View Post
Really? The A7s modded and cooled is significantly more $$, and why would you mono it? Really?! The colour performance is outstanding.

Lastly, "CCD's are on borrowed time"?! Wow, interesting advice.

It's not too bad a plan your suggesting, getting the CCD later. Having a cooled (only) and modded DSLR would be very handy for specialty objects.

Steve
How far have CCDs advanced in the last 5 years? How far have CMOS devices advanced in the last 5 years?

We consumers haven't even gotten our hands on Scientific CMOS (sCMOS) devices yet. 27000:1 dynamic range with 70% QE anyone? They're expensive but only a couple of companies own the patents and they want to make a return on their investment.
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Old 23-01-2015, 01:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LightningNZ View Post
How far have CCDs advanced in the last 5 years? How far have CMOS devices advanced in the last 5 years?

We consumers haven't even gotten our hands on Scientific CMOS (sCMOS) devices yet. 27000:1 dynamic range with 70% QE anyone? They're expensive but only a couple of companies own the patents and they want to make a return on their investment.

I think it is most important to have reasonable experience with various equipment types first, not solely relying on statistical details, to support an advice to another like this.

Steve
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Old 23-01-2015, 07:23 PM
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Topic has diversed a bit to the old DSLR vs CCD debate.

At this stage, my plan is to send my camera to be cooled in March, so then I will have a low cost cooled OSC DSLR unit.

I will then save for a high efficiency, wide, mono chip CCD and filters that hopefully will be good for many years. Moravian, Atik, QSI and QHY will all be considered, but not at least for another 12 months.

I also think that for bright objects especially with red components such as M8, Trifid, Eagle, Eta Carina, etc etc, a modified DSLR still delivers similari"sh" results and a great return on effort vs cost vs return.

Effort vs cost vs return, particularly with a portable non observatory set up, is also something that I don't often see discussed and should (at least for me) be a crucial element in any consideration.

Clear skies.

John K.

Last edited by John K; 23-01-2015 at 09:06 PM.
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