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Old 02-10-2011, 03:44 PM
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Point Grey Flea 3 versus DMK21AU618

I have been planning to do some planetary imaging at some point. I was originally going to get a Point Grey Research Flea 3. I now see there is a DMK 21AU618 mono and DBK21AU618 colour version with the same chip.
Only this is USB2 which is more convenient.

What are the pros and cons of each?

It seems the DMK is cheaper overall. But the DBK21AU618 colour version has a bad red colour bias. Is that true of the Flea 3 version?

What control software is needed in addition to the camera?

If I used the mono I should be able to get an adapter made and fit onto my FLI colour filter wheel right?

Greg.
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Old 02-10-2011, 10:13 PM
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I'm using the Flea 3 mono version. It is very sensitive overall but mainly in the red. Not a problem though, as I compensate for this anyway.

The IS camera is pretty good and has produced some great images. Imaging with OSC is convenient but not as sensitive as the mono version. The mono version allows going longer on the video runs too.

If you just want to do planetary occassionally then use the OSC.

For the mono, you use Fire Capture, which is freeware. For the IS cam, you use IC capture.
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Old 03-10-2011, 08:36 AM
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Thanks Paul.

So DMK mono versus Flea 3 mono - both the same or is one better?

With the Flea 3 don't you need a firewire card and it costs more?

I would use it with a laptop. My laptop does not have a firewire card. I could put one in my observtory computer though. Is it worth having firewire?

Greg.
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Old 03-10-2011, 09:05 AM
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The Flea3 is much better. You can go as fast as 120 FPS if you have enough light. You do need firewire to use the Flea3. The camera uses a 9-pin Firewire 800 (1394b) connector. Firewire 800 cables and a Firewire 800 card are best. To go top speed that will need to be PCIe or an ExpressCard rather than PCI or PC Card (PCMCIA). These cards are inexpensive. In addition to the card, you'll need a 12V adapter or 12V power source to plug into the card. That's because the camera is powered via the Firewire 800 cable. The Firewire 800 cable supplied by Point Grey with their development kit is very stiff. You can get longer and/or less stiff cables as well as Firewire 800 hubs from 1394store.com. Constant plugging and unplugging of the cable to the camera is not good for the camera. It's generally best to leave a "short" cable plugged into the camera all the time, plug that into a hub and then use a "long" cable from the hub to your computer. One advantage of using a hub is that you can power the hub rather than the ExpressCard.

For capture you can use either the included Flycap2 utility or Firecapture. Flycap2 doesn't have the world's greatest UI, but it's faster than Firecapture.

I've been playing around imaging Jupiter with the color Flea3 for the past few weeks. I just now received a mono version of the camera, an Orion motorized filter wheel, Astronomik type 2C LRGB filters (less expensive than the Astrodons I use for deep space imaging) and two different Astronomik IR pass filters, the 742 and the 807. I can't wait to get a chance try out the IR pass filters because supposedly Jupiter is sharper in the near IR.

Last edited by frolinmod; 03-10-2011 at 09:19 AM.
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Old 03-10-2011, 04:53 PM
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Thanks for that Ernie.

Is the extra frame rate worth the extra cost though? The DML21AU618 is about $499 at Bintel. The Lea 3 with development kit is more like $1000 isn't it?

Greg.
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Old 03-10-2011, 05:12 PM
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Im going to get the DBK21-618. Firewire is not an option for my laptop, and as I am just starting out, I might try 'one shot' imaging.
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Old 03-10-2011, 05:40 PM
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Don't agree with Ernie about which is better. I have seen great images from both camera's (this is what I am known for really; planetary imaging, so I should know). The IS colour camera is most likely going to suit your needs more at this stage Greg. Get used to planetary imaging first before jumping into the really deep end. It ain't as easy as some might think. You will find issues with your cooling of your gear and becoming accustomed to much higher focal lengths can be daunting. Start with straight colour and then when you start producing good images go to monochrome (that is just my advice )

The camera from point grey can only do 120 fps in extremely bright circumstances. If you were imaging the sun, you could nearly get to that. The moon around 80fps with a 14" and some magnification.

Firecapture is made for astro dudes by an astro dude. It works better than fly capture.

Want a tip, wait for the next version of the camera. Some really cool stuff is going to happen in the next year or so.
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Old 03-10-2011, 08:42 PM
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Thanks Paul. I think I'll take your advice and get the one shot colour DBK21AU618.

I already have a 5X powermate I bought some time ago for planetary.

I'm hoping the CDK will be a good platform for it although I see your point about the seeing. If I cool it off well in advance and image over several nights and get used to predicting the seeing it could be a good learning curve in itself.

Fortunately these cameras are a fraction of the cost of Deep Sky cameras so another next year is fine with me.

Greg.
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Old 03-10-2011, 11:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gregbradley View Post
The Flea 3 with development kit is more like $1000 isn't it?
$595.00 direct from Point Grey. You don't need the development kit. I think they charge an extra $100 for the development kit. All the development consists of is a Firewire 800 card and a pair of Firewire 800 cables.
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Old 04-10-2011, 11:54 AM
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Hi Ernie,

When you say you don't need the development kit - I don't have any firewire card in my computer, so is that what the development kit contains - a card for you computer and the cables it needs?

Greg.
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Old 04-10-2011, 01:46 PM
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Greg, when I bought the flea I had no choice about the developers kit. PGR might have changed its policy in the last 8 months or so but it would not budge on this. I made use of the cable, it is not that heavy and since I paid for it I might as well use it for imaging. The card is around some where, but I don't use that. If you don't have a port get the developers kit if you buy the Flea.
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Old 04-10-2011, 11:08 PM
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Neither Paul or Ernie have mentioned the "artifact" issue that sometimes seems to crop up using these high frame rate cameras. There has been a lot of discussion about this on the Cloudy Nights Forum (and here), but I have not seen too much recently. Has the issue been resolved? If not, how do the two cameras compare on this issue?
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Old 05-10-2011, 09:06 AM
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Peter I have read about this problem on CN, but have never experienced the issue myself. With the Flea I can only get it up to 45 fps on Jupiter and this does not have any artifact problems. I don't know about the IS camera but I have not seen any issues with images of the last couple of months. Perhaps it has been resolved.
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Old 05-10-2011, 02:00 PM
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Thanks Paul. You've been a big help here.

Greg.
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Old 05-10-2011, 06:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gregbradley View Post
Is the extra frame rate worth the extra cost though? The DML21AU618 is about $499 at Bintel. The FLea3 with development kit is more like $1000 isn't it?
I didn't pay anywhere near $1000 for my Flea3 + Development Kit, which I haven't used yet, probably never will use. Neither of my laptops had an Express Card 34/54 slot so I got my hands on a second hand MAC Pro which has the standard 1394b Firewire 800 port. Now I have read you can connect direct to this port, without the firewire interface card, and run AstroII DC as the capture software.
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Old 05-10-2011, 07:53 PM
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Hi Hans,

You are correct. The Mac Pro has FW800, and will run Astro IIDC to control the cam. Note that Astro IIDC can control IS FW cams too, and most other FW DCAM compliant cams.

Regards,
Tony Barry
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Old 26-10-2011, 01:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PRejto View Post
Neither Paul or Ernie have mentioned the "artifact" issue that sometimes seems to crop up using these high frame rate cameras. There has been a lot of discussion about this on the Cloudy Nights Forum (and here), but I have not seen too much recently. Has the issue been resolved? If not, how do the two cameras compare on this issue?
It would appear that the artefact issue has to do with the gamma settings if >100
See Jason's analysis here:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/jasmel9...n/photostream/

BTW, he gets the best damn images of Jupiter I have ever seen through a C8 with OSC camera.
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Old 29-10-2011, 10:44 PM
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Point Grey Flea 3 cameras are now USB 3.0:

http://www.ptgrey.com/products/flea3...Flea3_USB3.pdf

I don't see the Sony IX chip that is popular at the moment though.

I got a USB 3.0 card for my desktop today. It only cost $25.

Greg.
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Old 13-03-2012, 10:49 AM
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greg did you get the flea3 USB3 camera?
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Old 13-03-2012, 02:34 PM
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Hi David,

No I didn't. I don't think they offer that particular camera in USB3 yet or at least last time I checked which was a while ago.

Greg.
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