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New CCD Camera For Solar Imaging?

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#1 marktownley

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Posted 13 April 2010 - 03:18 PM

Has anybody had any experience of the Opticstar PL-131M Coolair? http://www.opticstar...?p=0_10_0_50_88

At 22fps it delivers a 1280x1024 pixel fov. That would be plenty for a full disk from quite a few of the smaller Ha scopes...

The best bit - it costs £199 which is pretty much half the price of a DMK41, with a larger field and faster frame rate. I'm kinda tempted by one :p

#2 pjr200

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Posted 13 April 2010 - 03:26 PM

I think CMOS chips (rather than ccd chips) have lower sensitivty although this is not much of an issue on the sun as long as the noise is low. Not heard anything about about it.

#3 zjc26138

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Posted 13 April 2010 - 07:38 PM

It looks pretty interesting for the price at 270.00 US. :)

#4 Oldfield

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Posted 13 April 2010 - 10:01 PM

Worth to try.

#5 marktownley

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Posted 14 April 2010 - 03:11 AM

They have an intersting range. Look at this one though http://www.opticstar...?p=0_10_0_50_81 - same resolution, 12fps but 10 bit resolution... Oh, the price £149 is even more tempting still. I'm sooooo tempted to give one a go...

#6 pjr200

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Posted 14 April 2010 - 05:06 AM

Stop that! Your getting me tempted as well ;)
I'm toying with the idea of getting a camera with the new icx618 ccd chipset (although still 640x480) which has much more sensitivty than the DMK cameras.

#7 Montana

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Posted 14 April 2010 - 06:18 AM

Hi Mark,
In January I was seriously considering this camera, but all of you lot persuaded me to get the DMK41 (which is great) !!!. No one seems to have used this camera and it made me nervous. I only found one review on the web and they said that the software was a bit dodgy and difficult to get working. However they have just updated the software and camera a few weeks ago. Another thing at the time was that the software didn't work with Windows 7 64 bit and that would be coming in mid 2010, in January I was just not that patient to wait!
If you do get it I would be very interested in hearing a review.
Regards
Alexandra

#8 stephenramsden

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Posted 17 November 2012 - 05:54 PM

Im reviewing it now...

#9 sullij1

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Posted 17 November 2012 - 06:51 PM

Stephen, please link us to the review when you are done.

I almost bought one of these before I got the software to let the SSAG work as a QHY5. Once I had the QHY5 working I thought this one might be redundant.

It will be interesting to see the review.

#10 aposunwatch

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Posted 17 November 2012 - 07:49 PM

This camera looks like it is begging to be taken apart and modified with a TEC. It already has a built in fan controller which is rare for such a cheap camera.

#11 PiotrM

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Posted 18 November 2012 - 12:08 PM

1. Do not use a Micron CMOS for solar imaging. Either rolling shutter or usually strong Newton rings will kill the imaging.

2. Opticstar isn't a good brand ;) In Europe you have Basler, IDS Imaging, TIS or also Point Grey cameras with better sensors and usually a good group of users.

If you want a big diagonal - 1/1.8" like in DMK51 but faster, cheaper and with better sensitivity - try e2v CMOS based camera. Either cheaper Sapphire (Ximea USB3, IDS Imaging USB2... PGR Blackfly GigE) or more expensive and newer Ruby line sensor. There are also very big sensors (1" CMV4000) but they cost much more. There are also good Sony CCDs like ICX445 - but those are smaller and bit slower.

You can find more on:
http://airylab.com/i...cle&id=93&am...
or http://astrochonum.c...article&id=1... :)

And on my blog.

#12 sullij1

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Posted 18 November 2012 - 06:42 PM

Thats all well and good Piotr but how much do those cost in US dollars?

I have used the QHY 5 with good success and no newton rings.

#13 Trevor Durity

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Posted 18 November 2012 - 08:03 PM

I've been eyeing this one up as well. Opticstar keep trying to temp me in with their offer emails. ;-)

The sensor held me back in this case as there was no wealth of sample shots out there. Can't wait to see Stephen's review.

#14 drksky

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Posted 18 November 2012 - 08:38 PM

The Blackfly is an e2v that's posted at a price of $395, but I don't think any have actually been sold yet. Point Grey site says the 1.2MP availability is Q4 2012, but they're rapidly running out of 2012.

They also have the currently available e2v Flea3 USB 3.0 claiming 60FPS and a global shutter. I've been eyeing that one pretty closely. Even moreso now that I can't get the stupid DMK51 to run full speed on my new laptop.

#15 sullij1

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Posted 18 November 2012 - 08:59 PM

Tony,

Thanks, good to know. Let us know if you see a release date.Good luck with the 51. In my experience with the 51 it is an awesome solar machine.

#16 drksky

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Posted 18 November 2012 - 09:10 PM

I have no problem with the 51 itself, other than the fact that the driver doesn't seem to get along with USB 3.0 ports and the manufacture seems very disinterested in fixing it.

#17 *skyguy*

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Posted 18 November 2012 - 10:39 PM

1. Do not use a Micron CMOS for solar imaging. Either rolling shutter or usually strong Newton rings will kill the imaging.


I have the Micron 1280x1024 chip in my SSAG and I use it for solar imaging when it's setup as a QHY5. I've been very happy with its performance ... see image:

Attached Files



#18 PiotrM

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 01:47 AM

I have the Micron 1280x1024 chip in my SSAG and I use it for solar imaging when it's setup as a QHY5. I've been very happy with its performance ... see image:


The Newton rings show up quite randomly. One sensor will give them, another will not. That's the risk with getting a Micron based camera.

Here is one example (no tilting or rotating will help):
Posted Image


At the moment best thing would be PGR Chameleon from ebay.

e2v based cameras sell in Europe - quite cheap when compared to other cameras (cheaper than big DMK).

#19 WahHK

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 03:28 AM

These Newton rings should be from the optical window of the sensor.
If there is no anti-reflection coating there, the rings should be obvious.

#20 sullij1

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 11:10 AM

Piotr,

You said,

cheap when compared to other cameras (cheaper than big DMK).
The PGR's are good cams no doubt but it is a 1/3 inch chip compared to the QHY 1/2 inch and the DMK 51's 1 / 1.8 chip. These are big size differences.
You won't get full disks on larger scopes with that 1/3 inch chip.
So shure there will be price differences. All 3 of these cams have about the same frame rate. And all 3 "ARE" delivering good results on solar objects.

We all want a big 1/1.8 chip delivering 80 fps with the highest res, unfortunately it is not in the budget for many of us.

#21 drksky

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 12:04 PM

Piotr,

You said,

cheap when compared to other cameras (cheaper than big DMK).
The PGR's are good cams no doubt but it is a 1/3 inch chip compared to the QHY 1/2 inch and the DMK 51's 1 / 1.8 chip. These are big size differences.
You won't get full disks on larger scopes with that 1/3 inch chip.
So shure there will be price differences. All 3 of these cams have about the same frame rate. And all 3 "ARE" delivering good results on solar objects.

We all want a big 1/1.8 chip delivering 80 fps with the highest res, unfortunately it is not in the budget for many of us.


The PGR Blackfly is a 1/1.8 sized e2v sensor for an advertised $395 and claimed 60fps over GigE. How much cheaper do you want?

The Flea3 is the same chip with a USB 3.0 interface. It's quite a bit more expensive than the Blackfly, but still beats out the DMK51 by a couple hundred bucks and is 45fps faster.

#22 frolinmod

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 02:47 PM

Is the Blackfly for sale at the Point Grey web store yet? I wasn't able to find it there. For me, it's vaporware until it's there.

#23 ValeryD

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 03:02 PM


e2v based cameras sell in Europe - quite cheap when compared to other cameras (cheaper than big DMK).


Piotr,

Can you, please, give us a link(s) to such places where these camera are in shops?

#24 drksky

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 03:04 PM

Is the Blackfly for sale at the Point Grey web store yet? I wasn't able to find it there. For me, it's vaporware until it's there.


Still says Q4 2012. However, since they do have one camera using the same chip (the Flea 3) already for sale, I tend to not doubt that the Blackfly will be released. At that price, well...

All you have to do is look to find it on the PGR site.

#25 sullij1

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 03:22 PM

Is the Blackfly for sale at the Point Grey web store yet? I wasn't able to find it there. For me, it's vaporware until it's there.


Agreed, "Vaporware"!

I will be happy to buy one at that price point "when and if one ever appears"!






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