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Mallincam Jr. question from a noob

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#1 palmer570

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Posted 19 October 2012 - 11:34 AM

I've been trying to find pics or video of its capabilities but haven't found anything yet. I'm hooked on getting a mallincam but with my current setup of a stock nexstar 8se and no experience with "live view" I was thinking of getting the Jr. until I can afford a better mount, then look to upgrade the mallincam.

Was wondering what I would be able to view with the Jr. and my 8se under excellent skies (I'm only a two hour drive from Cherry Springs)

#2 A. Viegas

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Posted 19 October 2012 - 12:05 PM

Palmer570-

I recommend you log into the Mallincam Tech user group on Yahoo and read through the various posts there on the Mallincam in general and the Jr. in specific.

see here: http://tech.groups.y...roup/mallincam/

Next, I suggest you think about perhaps buying a used Mallincam, now that Rock has come out with a new CCD imaging camera - the Universe at $2000 - we are beginning to see many more older Mallincam Hyper Plus cameras on the market... in fact I recently saw one on Astromart for $799! Which is a great price. Finally, Rock is releasing this weekend the new planetary/solar/lunar imager, the SSI - at $500 this camera with its sophisticated circuitry will most likely canibalize anyone interested in the older and more limited Jr.

There has not been such a good time as right now to pick up a used Mallincam or potentially buy the new SSI if your goal is more planetary. I have not seen as many Jr.'s for sale, but I think there is a good chance we will see more of those for sale too. In fact, I would advise you to post a Wanted To Buy add in the Swap&Shop section here in imagers for a Jr. if that is the price point you wish to start.

I really, really, really like my Mallincam Extreme. I have also ordered the new SSI, sight unseen... this is how much faith we Mallincammers have in Rock's products.

Cheers,
Al

#3 mclewis1

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Posted 19 October 2012 - 12:18 PM

Jeff,

If you plow through some of the bigger threads where where folks have posted their shots you'll find some Mallincam Jr. pics. I'd also join the Mallincam Yahoo/group ... pics there too (although Yahoo's photo section is kinda brain dead and not easy to browse around in ... so patience will be useful).

As for what you'll see ...

Well the Jr. is a 4 second camera with very sensitive read amplifiers and a great ExView HAD chip. If you use a focal reducer on your 8SE (to get it down to f4 or below) you'll be able to view most of the brighter Messier objects, especially the brightest stuff (M1, M8, M13, M15, M16, M17, M42, M51, M57, etc.) and anything concentrated or stellar in nature (many planetary nebula, globular and open clusters). You should also be able to see some details in a few of the brighter galaxies like M51, M80, M81/82, and M100.

At 4 seconds your not going to see lots of color and great swirls of nebulae and arms of galaxies but you will see some of that ... especially considering that you'll be under "excellent skies".

Details in the images on a good monitor will be faint, and you will find that many folks will stack multiple images together to get something more impressive.

I'd concentrate on the brighter objects mentioned above and develop the skills to tease out more details on the live images. Then when you move up to a more sensitive camera you'll be all set to really have some fun.

#4 nomosnow

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Posted 20 October 2012 - 12:00 PM

Jeff ....I have the Nexstar 8 SE and use it with a Junior and the Xtreme.
First of all I think the Nexstar 8 SE alt/az mount is a good mount.It works very nicely with both cameras.If I had it to do all over I would not have bought the Junior and would have gone straight to the Xtreme camera .
I like the abilty to control all aspects of capture with the Xtreme and of course remote control of the Nexstar alt/az is also easy. Allowing control of everything from my warm house.
The mount allows up to 30 second exposure however at 14 secs most images are good ie. no star trails.
One thing is that slew limits must be set a 70 degrees in altitude as the cameras will strike the telescope base . But since Alti/az mounts don't work very well at high angles this is not a problem.Link to my pictures here..

http://www.cloudynig...l/fpart/35/vc/1

#5 palmer570

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Posted 26 October 2012 - 07:13 PM

Thank you all for the info/help. I'm gonna go with the Xtreme when I can afford to. Need to get a new/different camera to sell all my toys I never use, mine started to streak any light or glint really bad.

#6 MadHungarian

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 09:21 PM

Thanks for the info on the new/upcoming Mallincam products! I too was thinking about starting with a Jr, and later jumping up to an Extreme. I liked the idea of the simplicity/reliability of video astrophotography and not having to drag a laptop out in the field.

But i'll have to look at the new items now. But at a first glance, they both require laptops? And i suppose they're now moving into competitors' territory, so i'll have to review all the competitors too. Argh, scope creep. Simplicity (and reliability) is starting to disappear now.

#7 mclewis1

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 11:40 AM

Yes, things have gotten a bit more complicated ... but there are still more simplistic options.

Rock has really just extended the Mallincam product family. The latest products (the Universe and the SSIc) don't replace the more traditional Mallincams. These newest products are however only PC connected (they only have a USB connection for image data and control).

Those traditional Mallincams (Jr, MCHP, VSS, Xtreme) all have NTSC/PAL video output (so they can be connected directly to a video monitor), rear onscreen menu (OSD) buttons and in the case of the VSS and Xtreme models optional remote control units so they can continue to be used without a PC.

Mallincam's started out with only manual control operations (push the OSD buttons and switches on the the camera). Some cameras later on added wired and later wireless remote control capabilities. With the Xtreme model full PC control has offered and that's the way most folks use that camera today. The video display side of things was been similar with primarily direct video monitor support moving to a lot of PC attached video display.

For use in areas where you don't want to have a PC these Mallincams can be used with an LCD monitor and the whole setup can be powered from basic 12v batteries.

Rock's been pretty vocal about how for someone who wants the best possible near live experience (shortest exposures, best sensitivity) that the traditional Mallincams will continue to be the best choices ... in other words they are not going away.

Instead the new cameras offer more capabilities, the Universe gives you a full on longer exposure CCD imaging camera that also has capabilities to perform near live viewing. The SSIc is a CMOS camera optimized for high resolution imaging of brighter objects (solar system objects and perhaps a few DSOs).

#8 MadHungarian

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 02:19 PM

...
For use in areas where you don't want to have a PC these Mallincams can be used with an LCD monitor and the whole setup can be powered from basic 12v batteries.
...


That's sort of what i originally had in mind. With the addition of a DVD stick recorder like perhaps that Orion model.

It seems once the laptop enters the picture, reliability drops through the floor, from what i've seen. Plus of course you've now got to drag around massive batteries also.

Though at the same time, i'm not overly thrilled with the low resolution of video, and i'd certainly appreciate the added capabilities the laptop adds.

Oh well, i've got to make a decision one of these days.

#9 mclewis1

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 05:19 PM

I think there are a couple of issues with PC control ...

1) USB to RS232 adapters. There are plenty of examples of incompatibilities between various PCs and the adapters. Problems with the adapters aren't obvious in operations, it looks more like the camera is hanging which makes it difficult to troubleshoot. One option is to try Tom Veik's Mallincam Xtreme control software which has a comm dialog area so you can watch the comm activity (or not). Once you have a good solid adapter/PC combination you'll find the Mallincam setup very robust.

2) Ease of "tweaking" ... the PC control apps make it very easy to try various settings at a whim. Sometimes this gets folks in trouble.

The resolution of a NTSC or PAL video stream is what it is, it doesn't matter if it's displayed on a video monitor or a PC screen, you'll get the same thing (although many folks find the best quality image comes from high quality CRT based video monitors). I would personally suggest not looking at the numbers but at the screen of a live image which will probably really surprise you.






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