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  #1  
Old 20-04-2010, 11:56 AM
bird (Anthony Wesley)
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new flea3 planetary camera from PGR

Ok, so I'm excited... after more than a years wait I've just received my new flea3 firewire camera from Point Grey Research...

I haven't tested it yet ( I guess I have to wait until it gets dark...) but the specs look very promising.

First impressions: it's *small*. I mean *tiny*. It's not much bigger than my thumb, seriously. I've attached some photos for you to see, including some comparison images with my DMK.

The lens mount is a C-mount, so that should give some idea of scale.

The vendors website is http://www.flea3.com

cheers, Bird
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  #2  
Old 20-04-2010, 11:59 AM
gbeal
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Looks nice Bird, although I am convinced you could take my 100 year old Box Brownie and produce award winning shots.
Gary
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  #3  
Old 20-04-2010, 12:05 PM
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duncan
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Hi Bird,
Wow! That sure is small.Looking forward to seeing some results.
By the way have you ever tried any sort of Deep Sky stuff with the DMK.
I'm looking for opinions something for both P & DS Budget is $1000
Cheers,
Duncan
Ps to be used with my 150x1200 refractor & Heq5Pro
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  #4  
Old 20-04-2010, 12:38 PM
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Quark (Trevor)
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Strewth Bird, how small is that!!!

Doesn't look like it would it would produce anymore load on the focuser than the DMK. Looking forward to some images of Saturn & Jupiter with your new toy.

Regards
Trevor
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  #5  
Old 20-04-2010, 01:11 PM
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That is exciting.

I look forward to your review as I am thinking about ordering one.

It may also double for as an autoguiding camera, small and fast frames and high resolution, fast downloads, low noise - what's not to like.

Greg.
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  #6  
Old 20-04-2010, 01:38 PM
bird (Anthony Wesley)
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So far I've powered it up and confirmed that it works with my Linux capture program (Coriander), and I have the 16 bit data the correct endian-ness.

Bring on darkness!

Bird
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  #7  
Old 20-04-2010, 01:40 PM
bird (Anthony Wesley)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quark View Post
Strewth Bird, how small is that!!!

Doesn't look like it would it would produce anymore load on the focuser than the DMK. Looking forward to some images of Saturn & Jupiter with your new toy.

Regards
Trevor
I haven't weighed it for sure, but it's much lighter than the DMK, probably less than half the weight.

cheers, Bird
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  #8  
Old 20-04-2010, 05:42 PM
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renormalised (Carl)
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Got enough fleas here at home (there's a plague of them in parts of town), don't need anymore
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  #9  
Old 20-04-2010, 05:54 PM
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renormalised (Carl)
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58grams!!!!. You'd be more worried about the connector on the end of your cable causing more flex in your draw tube than the camera!!!
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Old 20-04-2010, 05:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gregbradley View Post
That is exciting.

I look forward to your review as I am thinking about ordering one.

It may also double for as an autoguiding camera, small and fast frames and high resolution, fast downloads, low noise - what's not to like.

Greg.
I think it would make a great autoguider.
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  #11  
Old 20-04-2010, 09:11 PM
bird (Anthony Wesley)
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Ok, first impressions from use on the scope...

The pixel size of the flea3 is 5.6 microns (same as the dmk), but different to my current dragonfly2 camera which has 7.4 micron pixels, this makes it tricky to compare the cameras, I have to change barlows etc and try to get the image scale equalised between the two cameras so that the image brightness can be properly compared.

I didn't quite succeed, so the tests were done with an image scale on the flea3 about 10% larger than the dragonfly2. This should mean that images will be a little dimmer than they ought to be.

But in any case, the flea3 has massive red sensitivity, at least 50% more than my current dragonfly2, maybe more than 50%. The green sensitivity is also higher, but not by as much, and the blue sensitivity is about the same between the cameras as far as I can tell, but again the slight differences in focal lengths in the tests makes it hard to be exact.

Another complicating factor was thin cloud that kept drifting through, again making it hard to get exact measurements.

But there's no doubt that I'm keeping this camera... the red sensitivity is amazing.

Just for laughs I switched to my ir742 filter, and at 30fps and a large image scale Saturn still showed quite a decent image, again very surprising.

The only downside at the moment is that my capture software (coriander) doesn't completely understand the flea3, so the gain slider refuses to go to more than about 60%. Thanksfully I can switch it to absolute mode and type in the max value by hand. I guess I have some hacking to do to get it working properly.

cheers, Bird
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  #12  
Old 20-04-2010, 09:45 PM
Emil (Emil)
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"Just for laughs I switched to my ir742 filter, and at 30fps and a large image scale Saturn still showed quite a decent image, again very surprising."

I told you so, the ICX618 really is a great sensor I didn't know you ordered that camera a year ago though? You got some close contacts at Pt Gray or something?

I do have one little concern though; what about the heat consumption in such a small camera. My DMK21 can get relatively warm, and you can feel that on the outside of the camera. But the outside actually acts like a cooling block (aluminium, and nicely connected to the PCB of the camera so it actually draws out heat pretty nicely). I'm guessing the power consumption is probably more or less the same (?), and the heat has got to go somewhere. It might not make a worlds difference, but I would definately look into that.

Now GL with those clear skies

(ps. I'm a little bit jealous)

(ps2; start thinking about imaging Jupiter/Saturn in other longer wavelenghts. )
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  #13  
Old 20-04-2010, 10:04 PM
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Good one Bird looking forward to your updates with this new camera.

"I didn't know you ordered that camera a year ago though? "

Hey Emil, I think it just seemed like a year
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  #14  
Old 20-04-2010, 10:22 PM
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A years wait?

Quote:
Originally Posted by bird View Post
Ok, so I'm excited... after more than a years wait I've just received my new flea3 firewire camera from Point Grey Research...

I haven't tested it yet ( I guess I have to wait until it gets dark...) but the specs look very promising.

First impressions: it's *small*. I mean *tiny*. It's not much bigger than my thumb, seriously. I've attached some photos for you to see, including some comparison images with my DMK.

The lens mount is a C-mount, so that should give some idea of scale.

The vendors website is http://www.flea3.com

cheers, Bird
Bird you mentioned a years wait? not from it being a backorder I hope, just getting your finances together?

Price shipped to Aus = ? Disregard now found the price on the web site just having a blonde day

Last edited by trick; 20-04-2010 at 11:00 PM. Reason: Found Price
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  #15  
Old 20-04-2010, 10:22 PM
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ICX618 is red-oriented as those webcam-ish CCDs are green-oriented to mimic human eye sensitivity and color balance, so you get massive sensitivity boost at red and IR. Look at the attachment - it's even better than ICX285 from cams like Atik314, DSI III Pro (relativity taken from the max sensitivity in mV per square pixel micron numbers). ICX424AL from Dragonfly 2 (and others) would be slightly better than ICX098.

I'm thinking about convincing my local astroshop to do a test of Baader methane filter when I get the Basler Ace.
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  #16  
Old 20-04-2010, 10:46 PM
bird (Anthony Wesley)
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I started looking for a new camera a year ago... first I wanted the "new" grasshopper2 camera from PGR, but after waiting about 6 months while that sat on the "upcoming products" page it got canned... fallout from the global financial meltdown.

So I was back to square 1, and still with no new camera and then I heard about the icx618ala and asked PGR who sai that it was coming in their new Flea3, that was about a month or so ago :-)

cheers, Bird
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  #17  
Old 20-04-2010, 10:47 PM
bird (Anthony Wesley)
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The red sensitivity is amazing. It's a shame the blue end is not as much of an improvement.

Emil, the Flea3 does get warm, not a problem for use outside in the cold on a scope, but I would hesitate to put one of these in a closed box without extra cooling.

cheers, Bird
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  #18  
Old 20-04-2010, 10:50 PM
bird (Anthony Wesley)
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I've posted this elsewhere, but this is the first image from the flea3 camera...

cheers, Bird
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  #19  
Old 20-04-2010, 10:53 PM
riklaunim
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Well it should be 2x in blue, 1,8x in green and 3x in red. The blue may also suffer from seeing.
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  #20  
Old 20-04-2010, 10:59 PM
bird (Anthony Wesley)
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could be right with those numbers, thin clouds tonight make it hard to get any real numbers.

ps Trick I paid about $AUS750 all up, PGR charge $US595 for the camera and $US100 for shipping which is a bit steep, but on the other hand they shipped it last friday by fedx and I got it today.. I'm happy to pay for that :-)

cheers, Bird
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