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  #1  
Old 28-11-2007, 04:01 PM
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Imaging Source CCD camera? DFK 21AU04.AS

I am looking for a CCD camera for imaging the Planets and maybe even the faint DSOs. Will the DFK 21AU04.AS allow me to do that?

I have found the Imaging Source DFK 21AU04.AS. The camera is a USB2.0 allowing it to capture up to 60fps non-compressed. With a 30-second video, you have 1800 frames!

http://www.astronomycameras.com/en/products/usb-cameras/colorir/dfk21au04as/

Color USB camera with IR cut filter
1/4" CCD, progressive scan
Max. 60 fps
Max exposure time 60 min
Resolution 640 x 480

The camera has a max exposure time of 60min, does that allow it to take long exposures of DSOs?

I am wondering what exactly comes in the box with the camera? Does it include all the cables I need to plug into my USB2.0 port? Can I simply plug it into the PC or do I need other hardware also?

Do you need any additional accessories with it?

If anyone has had any experience with this camera, can please give me your honest opinion about the camera. Thanks

Best Regards
Matt
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  #2  
Old 28-11-2007, 04:50 PM
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Lots of people on here have the various models of these cameras, although the USB2.0 ones are brand new - most here have firewire models.

Planets - definitely.
Guide cam - great.
DSO - hmmmm possible, but they are not going to be awesome.

For a chuckle, I took a 5 second exposure of the trapezium stars in M42 through my 10" scope at F/10. You can see there is some of the nebulosity there. Mind you my camera is a colour one, not the mono, and is 1024x768 and only 30fps (this is scaled down for the web).

In terms of the firewire cameras (can't talk USB ones), you need to supply them power, either by a full 6-pin firewire cable (ie most laptops only have the 4 pin connector which doesn't include power), or by plugging them in to a powered firewire hub.

Mine did not come with the power cable (or power supply), nor did it come with the C-mount->1.25" adapter, which I had to purchase separately. On some of their ads, they do supply the adapter, but you'll have to check with various dealers to see what they offer, as it appears to be changing over time.

Depending on what you're shooting at, you might want to consider getting an IR/UV cut filter. There are people far more expert at planetary imaging here (iceman!) who can give you all the reasons why this might be important.


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  #3  
Old 28-11-2007, 06:12 PM
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The DBK is the better of the colour models of the D*K cameras, rather than the DFK. The USB is great for not needed etc powered cables, if you use 240v at home.

Don't get it for DSO's though. While it can do it, it's not designed specifically for it. It will do ok, but it's real strength is lunar and planetary.

You'll need a 1.25" adapter (as with the ToUcam) but with the C/CS thread. Mogg Adapters sell these. I got mine for US$25.
It comes with the software you need for capture (IC Capture) and for imaging processing you'll use Registax, same as with the ToUcam.
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Old 28-11-2007, 06:22 PM
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Also remember that this is an 8 bit camera, so any stretching of individual frames will be very limited.

Keep in mind the sensor size. On your 200mm SCT, most DSOs will be truly huge. M27 will fill the frame. Guiding would be a tad on the challenging side.
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Old 28-11-2007, 06:35 PM
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Hi Turbo & Iceman,

On the website there is an image taken of the Dumbbell Nebula (M27) and it looks pretty good to me. I know the D*K camera is intended for Lunar & Planetary use but if it is possible of taking half decent images of DSOs. I'm sold! I have a few questions

What is the difference between the DFK, DBK and DMK?

How does the Toucam compare to the D*K cameras? Would it be better with a IR/UV cut filter or without one?

I want to start out with the best possible camera for a reasonable price? Do you think it is worth it?

Thanks for the help

Best Regards
Matt
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Old 28-11-2007, 07:06 PM
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There isn't a single camera that does both (DSO and planets) very well. There's always a trade-off. Similarly, the types of scopes are also best specialised in a particular application.

A C8 is probably ok for planets and will do a reasonable job, but for deep-space, the long focal length will make it very challenging, and the small pixel size will make it even harder.

You probably need to decide what you want to do - lunar/planetary or DSO's. And then pick the scope and the camera to do it well.
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  #7  
Old 28-11-2007, 07:29 PM
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I think my best option is to start out with Lunar & Planetary imaging to get my feet wet. I have decided to start out with the SPC900nc.

How does the D*K compare to the Toucam?

Best Regards
Matt
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  #8  
Old 28-11-2007, 08:41 PM
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The DMK makes a great guide camera....
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  #9  
Old 28-11-2007, 08:49 PM
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I use a DMK21 for lunar imaging. It's superior for that use to the Toucam/SPC900 because you can run it at higher fps and being a B&W camera it has a higher effective resolution than a colour cam like the SPC of the same pixel dimensions. Apparently it also has less noise.

All that said, the SPC900 is much cheaper and a very good introduction to planetary webcamming, since it is colour you can use it on the planets without filters. It,s what I used till I switched to the DMK.
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Old 29-11-2007, 06:32 PM
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If I decided that I want to start out with one of The Imaging Source cameras instead of the Toucam. I would like to know which D*K is the best for a beginner. Ideally I would like to get into imaging with the best quality camera possible. With the D*K series I'd preferably like to get the DFK 21AU04.AS (USB version). Which would be the best to start out with?

DMK
DFK
DBK

I'm still deciding between the Toucam and the Imaging Source cameras. I know both would be great camera and produce amazing images.

My question is now, which one to get?

Best regards
Matt
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  #11  
Old 29-11-2007, 06:43 PM
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The DMK is the best of the Imaging Source cameras and will deliver the best quality images, but it's not a beginners camera. It's monochrome, not colour. So you need coloured filters and a filter wheel. The cost goes up. The time to capture goes up. The time to process goes up. I wouldn't recommend it for you at this stage.

If you want to get a DBK or DFK, get the DBK. It's more suited to astronomical imaging.

Planetary imaging has quite a learning curve so don't expect to get the best results straight away just because you get the best camera. There's a lot of factors to consider and a lot of work in capturing and processing.

I'd still recommend the ToUcam to start with.
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  #12  
Old 29-11-2007, 06:54 PM
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Hi Matt

Do not consider the DFK (colour) – it has a factory fitted (non-removable?) IR filter designed more for general terrestrial use; it is not optimised for astronomy. So, that leaves you with:

DMK – mono, no filter fitted as standard, or,
DBK – colour, no filter fitted as standard.

For both the DMK and DBK you will need to purchase an astronomical UV/IR block filter, such as the Baader one.

I have a DMK (mono) which is great for high resolution imaging of the Moon. It is more sensitive and less noisy that the DBK (colour) if you want to use it as an auto guider.

I also have a DBK (colour) for brighter double stars. When I have compared the DBK with the DMK, I find the DBK noisier (I have to pump up the Gain more) for fainter multiple stars, such as those in the Trapezium in Orion, whereas the DMK requires less Gain and therefore produces nicer images – it allows you to go “deeper”.

I suspect it will be almost impossible to make a judgement based upon just reading text in these posts, so purchasing either camera may be a risk, possibly leading to some disappointment unless you have previously tried imaging with a webcam?

I have used the DMK and DBK on the same objects in the same session and the differences become very clear when seen in this manner. I would recommend you try to get some practical experience if someone lives nearby, as that will reduce the uncertainty in your decision – it is not an easy one!

Cheers

Dennis
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  #13  
Old 29-11-2007, 06:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iceman View Post
If you want to get a DBK or DFK, get the DBK. It's more suited to astronomical imaging.
What is the difference between the DBK and DFK?

Best regards
Matt
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Old 29-11-2007, 07:06 PM
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How is the DBK for planetary use?

I could start out with the monochrome version and only take B & W images. Then when I feel I am ready to advance, I can buy a filter wheel to take colour images.

Best regards
Matt
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Old 29-11-2007, 08:10 PM
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Just a couple of side line issues.

1. Getting 60 fps depends on whether you use a small image scale with a small barlow or using a much larger aperture and a larger aperture. Just like a terrestrial camera you need to expose the frames correctly to prevent either over exposure or in this case under exposure. You won't be able to expose your frames very well and have large image scale with a 200mm telescope. There is just not enough light to make that happen. You will be able to use a 2X or 3x barlow and image at around 6000-7000mm. Jupiter for instance will look about 45mm on a frame. In that case you might be able to image at 30fps. I have a C14 and can only image at 45fps max at 14000mm. Jupiter is the size of an large orange in that case, so you can see 60fps is really only reserved for really bright objects and having a really large scope.

2. Yes, you have a valid point you could buy a mono and learn how to use the camera and some basic processing. It will mean you will not have to spend more money if you really get into planetary imaging. My vote, yes.

3. If you choose not to get the Mono, rather than get a Toucam (900nc) get the DBK; it comes without the IR cut filter in front of the chip. It is better for astro imaging. The DBK is a better performer too. So this is recommended if you want to go with a simple colour camera. It cost more than the 900nc, but gives better images once you practice focus and the controls.

So something to think about, but I reckon the DMK (can be a guide camera and planetary imager but in colour) or the DBK and that will get you better quality images in colour than the Toucam.
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Old 29-11-2007, 08:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matty P View Post
What is the difference between the DBK and DFK?
DBK = Colour - no IR filter built in
DFK = Colour - non-removable filter

Personally, get the DBK, as you can add the filter later, when, and if you need it. Sometimes not having it is a bonus, other times, having it is good. Best of both worlds, but it will cost you more to get the filter. I always opt for the flexibility option.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matty P View Post
How is the DBK for planetary use?
I could start out with the monochrome version and only take B & W images. Then when I feel I am ready to advance, I can buy a filter wheel to take colour images.
I'm lazy, and for what it is, I could not be bothered with the filters and stuff (I already have that with my SBIG camera). For me the DBK was about more "instant" gratification with bigger resolution than a 640x480 webcam.

My results with the DBK31 (slightly bigger chip at 1024x768) are here:
Jupiter: http://www.iceinspace.com.au/forum/s...ad.php?t=24366
Moon: http://www.iceinspace.com.au/forum/s...ad.php?t=24373

Turbo
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Old 29-11-2007, 08:49 PM
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Turbo they are some great images of Jupiter and the Moon. I think the DBK is the best option for a total beginner.

What exactly comes with the camera? Are the cables and mount included?

What is RAW format imaging? Does a camera with a bigger chip produce better quality images?

Thanks for the help
Matt
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  #18  
Old 30-11-2007, 08:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matty P View Post
Turbo they are some great images of Jupiter and the Moon. I think the DBK is the best option for a total beginner.

What exactly comes with the camera? Are the cables and mount included?

What is RAW format imaging? Does a camera with a bigger chip produce better quality images?

Thanks for the help
Matt
You need to talk to a dealer about what comes in the packages now. There are a few extra bits you need to get.

Bigger Chip = Better Quality????? NO - just higher resolution. There's a lot to take in to consideration with this kind of thing. Hence, my next point.

Matt, to be honest, these are not beginner cameras (for the price). They will be good longer term, but you're spending a lot for a "total beginner".
I would recommend you hit eBay or some of the astro trader sites, and see if you can get yourself a Meade LPI or Celestron NexImage - Brand new they are selling for $150, so you should do better than that. The advantage of these over a pure webcam is that you don't have to get any mods to them, all the bits come with them and the software is specifically geared to astro work. They can be had quite cheap second hand. My first planetary image came from the LPI, and it was a great way to learn.

Don't get me wrong; I'm the kind of guy who jumps in at the deep end. My first scope is what I have right now (not even a cheap tasco beforehand). Not what many would consider the sane way to jump in to astronomy when you don't really know if you'll even be able to work out what all the gear is used for.

Before you dive in the deep end, dip your toe!

Turbo
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  #19  
Old 30-11-2007, 06:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by turbo_pascale View Post
I would recommend you hit eBay or some of the astro trader sites, and see if you can get yourself a Meade LPI or Celestron NexImage - Brand new they are selling for $150, so you should do better than that.
I've searched the web and the cheapest price I have found for the Celestron Neximage is $230 not including postage. I'm not quite sure about the Meade LPI though. The Imaging source cameras are only an extra $100 and overall it is probably much better. Is the D*K much different compared to the Neximagers and Toucams?

Best Regards
Matt
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Old 01-12-2007, 07:44 AM
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They are more expensive than the toucams - but you will see why - look at the quality of planetary images people do, and look at the build quality of the camera. Beats any other webcam I've seen.
I did the sums - by the time I'd bought a Toucam, had it modified, picked up a nosepiece for it - I was at least 60% of the DMK price anyway.
Go for it Matt.....
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