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Old 24-07-2017, 04:26 PM
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Crushellon (Tim)
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Guide camera options.

So I'm looking around for a guide camera, just looking for some feedback from experience or other options.

My requirements: SHORT TERM, will be used with a mini finder scope type setup. Will be guiding a DSLR with focal ranges from 14-620mm.

LONG TERM, Will be guiding a 500-600mm f5-6 (I want something fast, so whilst f6 will be an option I'm hoping for something at f5) scope with an ASI1600, hopefully with an OAG. Needs to work with PHD2 for guiding and I'm hoping to use it with sharpcap for polar alignment instead of getting a polemaster (hopefully its as easy as a polemaster sounds, or I will probably just end up with one of them too).

options that I can see:
$279 ZWO ASI120MM 3.75um pixels 1/3 inch sensor. I like the price of this camera, but with the long term view including an ASI1600 I'm not sure if running two ZWO cameras would cause driver issues.

$355 QHY-5 II 5.2um pixels 1/2 inch sensor.

$360 QHY-5L II 3.75um pixels 1/3 inch sensor.
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Old 24-07-2017, 05:50 PM
glend (Glen)
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I can tell you that running a ASI guide camera and an imaging camera does not cause driver issues. I run an ASI130M as a guide camera, with the ASI1600MM-C imaging camera, no dramas. ZWO quickly addressed a potential problem when the 1600 was first released, enabling two ZWO cameras to operate at the same time.

Either of these cameras can be used with Sharpcap 2.9 polar alignment tool, no issues.

If your running the guide camera through a hub, i recommend a Mbeat powered hub. I run my QHY filter wheel through it as well. If you need to extend the 1600 USB3 cable then make sure to use a powered active USB3 extension cable, and try to run it to a dedicated USB3 port on your laptop, don't try to run both the guide camera and imaging camera through the powered hub.
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Old 24-07-2017, 06:08 PM
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that_guy (Tony)
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Hi Tim, I actually have a Meade DSI that I've been using for guiding (with the finder guider). I've just purchased a QHY5 from the classified and no longer need it. I received it for free from one of the members here quite a while back. I think its only fair that I return the favour to someone else. Shoot me a PM if you're interested in a free Meade DSI.
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Old 25-07-2017, 09:05 AM
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Crushellon (Tim)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by that_guy View Post
Hi Tim, I actually have a Meade DSI that I've been using for guiding (with the finder guider). I've just purchased a QHY5 from the classified and no longer need it. I received it for free from one of the members here quite a while back. I think its only fair that I return the favour to someone else. Shoot me a PM if you're interested in a free Meade DSI.
Thanks for the offer, but I had a quick look and saw that I might have issues running it with an x64 based operating system. So I ended up just ordering an asi120mm.
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Old 25-07-2017, 11:51 AM
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Marke (Mark)
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If you want it for dedicated guiding especially with OAG just bite the bullet and get a Lodestar its the last word in guide cameras
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Old 25-07-2017, 12:02 PM
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Crushellon (Tim)
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Originally Posted by Marke View Post
If you want it for dedicated guiding especially with OAG just bite the bullet and get a Lodestar its the last word in guide cameras
Yeh, that's true but at 1/4 of the price the asi120mm will do. When I do try an oag it will only be on a short fast scope so the 120 might do the trick. And if I need more sensitivity I'll go for the lodestar then, but that probably wouldn't be for another year or so of saving,considering the price range of the scopes that fit the bill.
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Old 25-07-2017, 12:05 PM
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Marke (Mark)
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I did have a 120 and I can tell you the loadestar shows stars where the 120 showed nothing at all but yes it is expensive .
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Old 25-07-2017, 12:25 PM
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Camelopardalis (Dunk)
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I use an ASI224MC as it is super sensitive. It doubles duty as my planetary cam.

If you can spring for the extra $$$ for the 224 it's a great multitalented camera
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Old 27-07-2017, 03:28 PM
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I've been using SBIG STi guide cameras for the last several years. The main advantage to them is the shutter so it will do an autodark.

Sometimes with guide cameras you get hot pixels and line artefacts that the software can confuse with the guide star and give whacky corrections. It also makes callibrating the autoguider nearly impossible as the software keeps confusing artefacts with the guide star.

The STi is set to auto dark in the Sky X and you can see the hot pixels being removed that if you click auto select guide star before the dark subtraction you can see the software chosing a hot pixel very often. It takes one autodark when you start it and the software keeps using that and subtracting it from every exposure from then on.

I have found them trouble free. You can't run too long a cable though as you can get a voltage drop and the shutter can stick. But with a short good cable that isn't a problem.

Lodestar is more designed to work with Maxim or some other software that can do a library dark subtract. Otherwise you could collide with the problem above.

I don't use Maxim so I couldn't rig it to do a library dark subtract like the SBIG does. Also the build quality of the SBIG is higher than the Lodestar where the board you plug your cable into is weakly glued in place.

As far as sensitivity goes I think they are similar. If the Lodestar is a tad better that won't mean much if you get whacky corrections from a hot pixel that ruins your images.

Perhaps the Lodestar firmware has been improved but I would check that out pretty carefully as they are quite expensive for what they are. Also there is a newer model which is more sensitive. I think its called UltraStar.

Greg.
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Old 27-07-2017, 03:53 PM
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lazjen (Chris)
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Btw, since the OP mentioned PHD2 - I can confirm the SBIG ST-i works very well with it, and it's easy to build the darks library with it because of the shutter.
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