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Old 19-09-2012, 01:51 PM
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Paul Haese
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Point Grey Research Grass Hopper express 2.8mp

I took delivery of this camera last night. The camera is purely for my solar imaging but could easily be used for planetary work using the ROI feature.

First impressions are very good. A little bigger than the flea3 but still the same PGR quality.

Connecting it up was just like using the Flea3 and downloading the latest version of Fly capture will allow programs like Fire Capture to operate the camera.

The camera produces large 2.8mp format images, so video quickly results in 2.5gig for 70 seconds of data using 8 bit. I found using the camera without some RAM support quickly resulted in slowing right down to 3 frames a second. Using a RAM drive allowed 26 frames per second for a period of 40 seconds before any slow down occurs.

Low gain settings produce little if any noise. I could detect hardly any noise in the videos I shot. Imaging the sun will certainly make certain of this. Other users have stated that the gain setting on Sol was nearly at the zero line and that resulted in little noise.

This camera requires an 800mbit adapter to operate at peak speed. Newer laptops don't have the adapter excepting in the business machines of various suppliers. You could run this alternatively on a desktop with the PCI board supplied in the developers kit. If you already have a developers kit you don't need to buy another, and you can tell point grey that you already have one and don't need another. If you are buying a PGR camera for the first time you will not be given the option, you will need to buy the kit.

So from what I have seen so far this camera is going to serve my purposes well. Stay tuned for the images.
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Old 19-09-2012, 02:06 PM
gbeal
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While it is on the "like to have" list, reality is it won't happen for me.
Still watching with bated breath.
Good luck.
Gary
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Old 19-09-2012, 06:44 PM
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Well done Paul!

Looking forward to seeing what it churns out
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Old 20-09-2012, 11:25 AM
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Sounds good Paul. Is this USB3 or firewire?

What's a RA drive - is that a solid state drive? I haven't heard that term before.

What do they cost?

How much was the camera?

I have to get into planetary imaging one day and these Pt Grey Research cameras seem to be the way to go.

Greg.
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Old 20-09-2012, 02:27 PM
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Sounds good!
Over on the Solar Chat group there's plenty of discussions on the Newton's rings with various cameras.
http://solarchat.solarastronomy.org/index.php/en/
(These are more evident when working in extreme narrow band ie 0.5A and are caused by interference fringes generated by the very small gap between the CCD and it's outer cover)
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Old 20-09-2012, 04:14 PM
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Greg this is fire wire. USB3 is not yet available for anything but a CMOS sensor. I am sure in the coming years large format CCD's will be used with USB3 cameras.

A RAM drive is an software drive that utilises the RAM of your machine to prevent dropped frames. It allows all the frames to be gathered and then downloaded after recording stops. It can take some time to do this though.

The camera price is $1995 US plus postage.

Ken Newtons rings don't seem at this stage to be affecting this camera model. I found that the rings become most evident at high magnification with use of a 3x barlow and upwards. Sometimes simply rotating the blocking filter helps to reduce the problem but flat framing works best to eliminate the issue.
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Old 20-09-2012, 04:50 PM
Poita (Peter)
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I'm currently saving up for one of these, I'm hoping the macbook pro with SSD will be fast enough, it has a firewire 800 port built into the laptop which is handy.
Glad to hear it has low noise, I am going to be using it for another project then re-purposing it to Solar Work.

Is the ROI fast enough to use for planetary work as well?
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Old 20-09-2012, 05:02 PM
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I have not used it for that yet Peter, but Anthony has. He says it works well.
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Old 20-09-2012, 09:37 PM
Poita (Peter)
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Thanks, that makes the price a little easier to swallow!
I'm looking forward to your images, it should be a big step up and a lot less hassle for mosaics.

Would I need anything from the dev kit? I already have a firewire 800 cable for my video work.
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Old 21-09-2012, 06:25 AM
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My first dealings with PGR was that the Developers kit was not so much an option but a necessity. Despite the fact that I did not use it? You can try to stop them from selling it to you.
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Old 21-09-2012, 07:04 AM
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There won't be much Sony CCDs on USB3 at start as they aren't fast enough to bright them to the USB3 land. Later yes, but not soon. For example USB3 camera with CMV4000 that has a 2048 x 2048 frame can do 90 FPS. Probably only fast SSD can handle that

I hope that PGR will make a nice USB3 cams with CMOSIS and e2v Ruby sensors. 1" CMV4000 for solar/lunar and Ruby EV76C660 for most sensitive Solar System imaging camera.
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