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Old 01-02-2013, 01:05 PM
BMO (Hasen)
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SBIG STX models - the real story?

Dear fellow forum readers,

I've been working at 3 professional astronomical observatories for the past 29 years and involved from the very early days of CCD imaging. Mostly, I have used a large range of SBIG models - although I have installed Apogee CCD cameras for various large observatories around the world, most recently in Oman, on a 24" RC. For our 24" Planewave, we have also ordered a Apogee U16M.

Without repeating innuendo and rumours I have read on the 'net regarding SBIG - does anyone really know what is going on with their range? You can't seem to buy any CCD camera outside of 5.4 - 9 micron pixel size anymore and although I find my new STF-8300 nice on my astrograph, I still want a larger pixel size self-guiding chip to run on my various long focal length SCT telescopes.

I am aware that SBIG has the patent for on chip guiding but although there are more "models" available a lot of them are still based on the 8300 chip and I would very much like to get hold of a STL-1001E - now no longer made.

Sure, I can try and find a second hand (one day?) but I seem to find that SBIG are going into an entirely new direction, a direction which gives us little choice. Even the ST-10XME is no longer sold - one of the most popular CCD cameras in the market. I could at least use this at Bin2x2, as I had done previously (I have since left the observatory that had that camera model and want to replace it).

I can't seem to find the rational for all of this! Any suggestions on alternatives? Does anyone really know what is going on with SBIG and the sudden "lack of choice"?

Hasen.
Blue Mountains Observatory
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  #2  
Old 03-02-2013, 08:13 AM
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gregbradley
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FLI and Apogee will put any chip in their bodies. There are quite a few that they offer. Have a look through the more common ones at optcorp.com

They vary in size of pixel. The back thinned CCDs are quite expensive though and often around $25K.

I did see a 1001E camera for sale recently. Perhaps it was on Astromart.

As I recall SBIG also are offering more chips in some of their bodies. It may be STXL from memory which is fairly new.

Greg.
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Old 03-02-2013, 08:28 AM
BMO (Hasen)
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Thanks for your time but I have been aware that Apogee will put any chip inside their models (didn't know FLI did).

The issue is obtaining a self-guiding CCD camera, which SBIG seems to have the "patent" for. I'm by no means a newbie (used to be here on another username but left that facility after 27 years) but I suppose my "gripe" is that there is not much of a selection with SBIG now, unless you want to go up to really big bucks, for a self-guided cameras anymore.

I'll just keeping trying to hunt for second hand SBIG ST-10XME or even a SBIG ST8-XME and hope one turns up.

I'm not going to spend the bucks on a STT-3200 or such like because basically because, I only have a 2" focuser and the flat plane of my reducer for the 'scope I want to put it on, only has a maximum diagonal of 17 mm. Being a SCT, I don't want to have to worry about guide scope deflection with a seperate guider either. It is not going on the old C14 I used to use, that had the "flopper stopper" mirror locks - the OTA I want this camera to be on, is my 12" LX-200 f/5 OTA Meade on a Losmandy mount.

We have other high end cameras on our 24" Planewave, 5" refractor and C14 hyperstar. I have used a ST-8, ST-9 and ST-10 on this very 'scope but those cameras were at a previous facility or on loan. I don't have them anymore.

Hasen.
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Old 03-02-2013, 10:16 AM
clive milne
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I'll just keeping trying to hunt for second hand SBIG ST-10XME or even a SBIG ST8-XME and hope one turns up.
Hansen,
Here's two that may interest you:

ST10XME with maglev cooling fan upgrade, $2495.
http://www.astromart.com/classifieds...fied_id=809502

ST10XME with CFW8 loaded with filters, Remote guide head and Mitsuboshi OAG6 off axis guider, $4095
http://www.astromart.com/classifieds...fied_id=808882

Regards,
~c
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Old 03-02-2013, 11:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BMO View Post
Thanks for your time but I have been aware that Apogee will put any chip inside their models (didn't know FLI did).

The issue is obtaining a self-guiding CCD camera, which SBIG seems to have the "patent" for. I'm by no means a newbie (used to be here on another username but left that facility after 27 years) but I suppose my "gripe" is that there is not much of a selection with SBIG now, unless you want to go up to really big bucks, for a self-guided cameras anymore.

I'll just keeping trying to hunt for second hand SBIG ST-10XME or even a SBIG ST8-XME and hope one turns up.

I'm not going to spend the bucks on a STT-3200 or such like because basically because, I only have a 2" focuser and the flat plane of my reducer for the 'scope I want to put it on, only has a maximum diagonal of 17 mm. Being a SCT, I don't want to have to worry about guide scope deflection with a seperate guider either. It is not going on the old C14 I used to use, that had the "flopper stopper" mirror locks - the OTA I want this camera to be on, is my 12" LX-200 f/5 OTA Meade on a Losmandy mount.

We have other high end cameras on our 24" Planewave, 5" refractor and C14 hyperstar. I have used a ST-8, ST-9 and ST-10 on this very 'scope but those cameras were at a previous facility or on loan. I don't have them anymore.

Hasen.
A 24 inch Planewave CDK? Nice. I have a 17 inch CDK and love it. Planewave also are continually updating their product.
9 micron KAF16803 chipped cameras work well on a CDK and are an excellent match.
For an SCT your choices are definitely limited. ST10XME is 6.6 micron pixels though. 1001E would be one choice as you mention.

off axis guiders though are better than self guiding unless you only do LRGB imaging in which case self guiding is good. OAG with an SBIG STi is quite a bit superior to self guiding so unless you have a lack of backfocus I think that is the way to go. QSI have the 583 and 683 series with the 5.4 micron 60%QE KAF8300 chip which can have a built in OAG and filter wheel. That would work with a small corrected circle more than likely.

8300 chip is no good though for 24 inch CDK. 9 micron 16803 is best, 12 micron KAF9000 is an alternative but you would be limited to FLI as it requires RBI control (ghost images). FLI implements that the best. So a FLI Microline 09000 or FLI Proline 09000 with 12 micron pixels and an off axis guider (Astrodon MMOAG) with an SBIG STi guide camera may be a hot setup for you. You'd have to satisfy yourself that the RBI problem (its bad with the 09000 chip) is conquered though.

I have been working up at Leura in the last few months. Such a gorgeous place.

Greg.
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Old 03-02-2013, 12:03 PM
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Originally Posted by BMO View Post
Dear fellow forum readers,

......Does anyone really know what is going on with SBIG and the sudden "lack of choice"?

Hasen.
Blue Mountains Observatory
SBIG were bought out by company called Aplegen a couple of years ago.

With the new CEO, much of the product range was culled and new products introduced. Production was moved to northern California, but that proved problematic. Production of cameras being returned to Santa Barbara to keep a tighter reign on QC.

While companies like FLI/Apogee can give you a TrueSense KAF1001 chip, I doubt they actually build many. The reality is: there is virtually no market for 24 micron pixel cameras.

SBIG actually only have one self -guide model now, the STX.

Guiding has been migrated ahead of, and integrated into filter-wheels in all other models...they offer way-better delta-T (up to 60degrees C below ambient), frame buffers, USB plus ethernet control and fast read-up speeds...frankly, they make the legacy models look dated.

SBIG's current push it to forther improve their guiding technology advantage by offering differential-guiding and AO-X products by about mid year, if not sooner.

Cheers
Peter
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Old 04-02-2013, 11:07 AM
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PRejto (Peter)
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Originally Posted by BMO View Post
Thanks for your time but I have been aware that Apogee will put any chip inside their models (didn't know FLI did).





I'm not going to spend the bucks on a STT-3200 or such like because basically because, I only have a 2" focuser and the flat plane of my reducer for the 'scope I want to put it on, only has a maximum diagonal of 17 mm. Being a SCT, I don't want to have to worry about guide scope deflection with a seperate guider either. It is not going on the old C14 I used to use, that had the "flopper stopper" mirror locks - the OTA I want this camera to be on, is my 12" LX-200 f/5 OTA Meade on a Losmandy mount.



Hasen.
Maybe I am missing the point, but have you considered the ImagingForesight ONAG? It seems to address the flexture issue and potentially would be easier to use than off axis guiding. Also with only a 17 mm usefull image size the ONAG should not vignette. If you are using a focal reducer, however, things get complicated....this is an issue I m trying to resolve. My scope is also an LX200 12" ACF, but it certainly is not f5. May I ask which FR you are using and how satisfied you are with it?

Thanks,

Peter
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Old 04-02-2013, 06:46 PM
BMO (Hasen)
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Hi Peter.

I am using a Meade LX-200 OTA on a Losmandy G/11 and Gemini GOTO. The focal reducer I am using, is a Optec 5X. It is unforgiving with chips that have a greater diagonal than 17mm.

If I use a OAG, I know I can slide in and change focus but the issue is that you normally have to have a rotater and I don't have the funds for that.

At any rate, it seems I have found a ST-10XME. I'm working on details know with the seller.

Hasen.
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