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Old 06-02-2009, 05:51 PM
Neil
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Gstar-ex

G,day , would like to hear from GSTAR-EX owners about their experiences with the camera and any critisium(i,m sure i spelt that wrong) be it good,bad or any other advice that may assist a fellow enthusious.
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  #2  
Old 06-02-2009, 06:20 PM
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renormalised (Carl)
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Good little camera. Haven't had much call to be using mine the last few months (rain!!!), but before that I used it when I could. Only two gripes with it....it should be cooled (it's an uncooled camera) and it sometimes shows a ring effect around bright stars (like it's sharpening them up). The ring effect can be processed out, the other needs attending to with a bit of imagination. jjjnettie (Jeanette) has produced some quite good images with her camera of late. You can also go and see Steve Quirk's piccies at his website.... Frog Rock Observatory and pickup some good imaging tips too. His book (along with Steve Massey), "An Atlas of the Southern Night Sky" has most of the pics in the book taken with the GStar.

If you haven't purchased one, yet, Steve (Massey), who owns MyAstroShop, should have some of the new wireless version of the GStar in stock. If you have an earlier version, it can be retrofitted. But you'll have to wait for the kit as he's out of stock at present.
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Old 06-02-2009, 08:37 PM
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Hello Neil,
I am also looking at the GSTAR-EX as a possible astro camera. I have been speaking with the crew out west (WSAAG) who in general prefer Canon DSLRs and other enormous CCD beasties which cost arm + leg to purchase, and then you need a mount + scope worthy of the camera ... etc, etc.

All good.

However, for those of us without research grade budgets, the GSTAR has some compelling features.

You get an image in 2.6 seconds max. Very good for focussing. You get about 750 x 575 pixels per image, which is more or less dependant on the frame grabber you use. It's also 8-bits per image as far as I can tell from my frame grabber docs, although the camera operates internally at 10-bits which will make a difference while it does the internal 128x accumulation. It's light (about half the weight of a Canon DSLR) so it's less strain on the mount.

It's a good camera (as far as I can tell) for me - I have a goto scope (LX90 8" UHTC GPS) operating in Alt/Az, which I have to transport to the viewing site when I wish to do stuff. No drift aligning needed, and the mount Goto / track does not need to be perfect (i.e. LX200 quality or better - 1arcmin). I can download the camera feed to my Mac via Craterlet and then process in Nebulosity (both from Stark Labs).

I will need a f6.3 and probably an f/3.3 reducer to make it function for deep sky objects - that's because the LX90 is f/9.6 and the native GSTAR will probably occupy around 12 x 8 arc minutes (cf NGC253 at 23 arc minutes, 47 Tuc at 32 arc minutes, and M42 at over 1 degree).

If colour is desired , then I'll need the colour wheel + filters.
The RS232 cable is a big +, and better by far in my thinking than the EXC remote box.

Now the bad news - this is what I have discovered from talking with other people here and at WSAAG. I have not yet had a chance to test one out - and that for me will be the acid test. No point in spending big on a camera if at the end of the day it's not suitable.

If you get anywhere in your research into this camera, please post your thoughts here ... I'd be pleased to hear any thoughts on the subject.

Regards,
Tony Barry
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Old 06-02-2009, 10:44 PM
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renormalised (Carl)
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If you're going to buy a GStar camera, you should buy the kits and not just the bare camera. In the kit you get the camera, filters, power supply, cable etc and the case is a nice one as well. A Lumicon filter selector will cost about $240.

The good thing about purchasing a f/6.3 and/or a f/3.3 FR is that not only will you be able to tailor your shots to extended DSO's like many galaxies, nebulae, globs and OC's, but you'll have the native f/10 of the scope to grab small objects like most PN's, and smaller versions of the above. Plus it's a cracker on planets...and you can use it's ability to go deep for supernova/nova and asteroid patrols, variable star observations etc. Use the FR's to track novae and asteroids down in widefield then pinpoint them at long FL. Or you can piggyback it with a camera lens attached. It even makes a good guide camera.

It's not the be all and end all of cameras. It's not going to produce megapiccies like you see some folks churning out, but for what you pay for it the camera does a good job and will keep most satisfied.
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Old 07-02-2009, 01:47 AM
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AstroJunk (Jonathan)
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I couldn't praise them more for what they do. My astronomical world took a new direction when I bought my first (yes, I have two).

I have broadcast all over the world on my channel and as a guest of others: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/ajs-night-sky and made a whole raft of valuable scientific obsevations including: http://www.youtube.com/user/astrojunk

Not to mention the fun of just imaging using a dob!

The only other CCTV contender which is worth considering is the Watec 120N+ which uses a similar chip, but has a longer exposure length should you really want to go deep. (not nearly as flexible though).

If imaging is your thing, then the DSI II that Bintel are selling off cheap at the moment is outstanding value...
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Old 07-02-2009, 07:37 AM
Neil
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Thanks for the great info fellas,and i am looking at the full kit and wireless.Tony i,ll be sure to pass on any further info found.Once again thanks very much
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Old 07-02-2009, 11:07 AM
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You'll definitely want to talk to jjjeanette, Jeanette has been using a GSTAR-EX camera for a while now to capture some fantastic images.. She really has the system down to a very fine art these days.

Alex.
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Old 07-02-2009, 11:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlexN View Post
You'll definitely want to talk to jjjeanette, Jeanette has been using a GSTAR-EX camera for a while now to capture some fantastic images.. She really has the system down to a very fine art these days.

Alex.
Yeah, that one she did of the horse was a cracker.
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Old 07-02-2009, 03:26 PM
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The next camera up from the GSTAR as far as I could ascertain was the Mallincam hyper colour camera - pretty much the same box, but with a thermoelectric cooler (TEC) and a colour chip. Otherwise similar pixels and light sensitivity. Price is a hefty AUD1800 though.

GSTAR is quite reasonably priced, I think.

Regards,
Tony Barry
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Old 14-02-2009, 11:17 PM
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Shucks guys
Neil, I can't praise the Gstar high enough.
It's one of the most versitile and sensitive astro cameras on the market.
So simple to setup and use in a variety of ways.
It doesn't matter if you use it with an Alt Az mounted scope or a GEM because the exposures are a maximum of only 2.56 seconds, so field rotation isn't a problem. This also means that your polar alignment doesn't need to be pedantically perfect.
You can mount it on a tripod with a cctv or camera lens attached for wide field viewing and capture of meteor showers.
If I am using my DSLR, I mount the Gstar piggy back and use it as a guide cam.
For public outreach nights, plug the Gstar into a 51cm TV and you'll wow everyone with awesome realtime images of DSO's.
The back up support is the best too. Go to the Gstar users group and see for yourself what others are doing with the camera.
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Old 16-02-2009, 10:14 PM
Neil
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Hi Jeanette, thanks for the info.I have ordered and paid for the G-STAR-X wireless today, should have it in 5-7 days.I may need to seek your advice in the future if i strike any problems, Thanks again Bye.
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Old 17-02-2009, 10:27 PM
Dr Jack Giles
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Originally Posted by Neil View Post
G,day , would like to hear from GSTAR-EX owners about their experiences with the camera and any critisium(i,m sure i spelt that wrong) be it good,bad or any other advice that may assist a fellow enthusious.
Hi Neil,

I have 2 GStar EX Cameras, one with and one without a hand controller, plus several other CCD cameras including a Starlight Xpress H9C. The GStar is a superb instrument, GREAT value for money, and a device that allows real time viewing of very faint objects with or without taking an image. The associated software is also superb.
Regardas

Jack Giles
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  #13  
Old 18-02-2009, 08:34 PM
Neil
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Thanks Jack,and to every one else who responded.
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