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Latest ASI120MM effort from Downunder...

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#1 Kokatha man

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 07:01 AM

Well, I decided to only use the cmos-sensored ASI120MM camera that Sam from ZW Optical sent me for these last "serious attempts" to extract some reasonable Jovian images this apparition: seeing all the fantastic images from the Northern Hemisphere does make attempts to battle the low elevation in Oz rather trite.....but I really wanted to discover whether this camera was going to "cut it" for future use..! :question: :)

Getting the large image scale under control (3.75uM pixels) was a major challenge with the C14's large f/l but by getting a friend to make a new camera "plug" that I could screw the TeleVue 2X barlow's lens element straight into and have its rear surface only millimetres from the sensor enabled this - and I can extract a mere 1.25X from this 2X barlow now!

Anyway, last night was horrific due to the hot wind making the image ricochet across the screen idiotically, and the transparency was down also (again! :() but incredibly, seeing was rather good.....funnily I prescribe this in part to the impending tropical downpour that hit about 20 minutes after everything was under tarpaulin - the thunder and lightning was literaly like being on the frontline during an intense artillery engagement, and we had 60mm of rain dumped on us in about 90 minutes..!!! :shocked:

Clouds also hindered us during imaging and that storm front slowly crept closer with its flickering lightning.....talk about running things close - but we have plenty of "data" to sift through now and maybe something beter might come up..... :) :bow:

But despite nothing comparing to the great images we're seeing here on CN of late I am quite happy that I got some reasonable outcomes and that we were able to match the image scale to the seeing and sensor's characteristics...so that despite the lowish elevation we felt satisfied - and hope that maybe there might be another night or 2 of reasonable seeing in the next week..... :question: :bow: :)

Here's a 120% of capture scale Jupiter with Io having recently emerged from behind...done on the laptop so apologies for any anomolies in colour etc! :grin:

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#2 MvZ

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 07:08 AM

Looks pretty good Darryl!

Could you tell a bit more about the custom adapter? I'm also struggling with my barlows to get a good focal length with this camera.

#3 Kokatha man

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 07:58 AM

Hi Emil - I'm away from home (tryimg to crib a few more degrees elevation than the measly 30 degrees there) and I don't have any piks with me.....but essentially it is the black aluminium "disk" which screws into the camera's red body and takes the 1&1/4" nosepiece.

The outside thread of this is M40 so my friend turned up one with this thread on the outside and put a thread the same as the TeleVue barlow's lens element in it in the centre.....these barlow's are a PITA because they all use fifferent threads but it means I can now get the back of the barlow right up against the sensor almost. :)

It's not anodised but I just used a very black marker pen on the internal faces to stop light reflection...the trouble with anything else was that I just couldn't get it close enough and that's a real issue with the C14.

I reckon on Newtonians you could just use the lens element of any decent barlow without the body - previously I'd just cut down the ASI120MM nosepiece (well, "parted it" in a lathe as they say, to preserve the internal thread so I could add extensions if I needed to...) and got the back of the barlow element as close as I could to the sensor.

I'll email you my setup when I get back home...

#4 Kokatha man

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 08:45 AM

.....imaging earlier in the evening was spoiled because I departed from my usual habit of always collimating before I start imaging - but I'd just driven 1200km and unpacked everything on a hot and humid night...and the images looked pretty good onscreen, so I went with the flow..! :lol:

But when I did check collimation about an hour and a half later it was considerably off.....not surprising after 2300km and lumping it in and out of the new box I made for it numerous times to check the fit before even leaving home 2 days ago!

I can only rue the possibility that I might've had considerably better images than the one below had they been from the scope after collimation.....but atm I have to cop the guilt of my tiredness/laziness - but no more slackness about collimating before imaging..! :shameonyou: :grin:

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#5 shawnhar

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 11:54 AM

That's still pretty darn good for low elevation and out of colimation!
How do you collimate when the seeing is not so good?

#6 Jim Chung

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 11:59 AM

Daryl, those are incredibly good in spite of the elevation challenges. Jupiter maybe high for me here in Toronto but the weather and seeing has been pretty horrendous.

Jim

#7 tjensen

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 03:42 PM

better than any of mine this season!

#8 lcd1080

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 04:09 PM

Darryl, in the second image the GRS has the parts of a human eyeball with both a sclera and iris, all that's missing is the pupil, lol. Good going for such an elevation; I'd be happy to record that at 70 degrees elevation let alone 35!

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#9 Space Cowboy

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 05:01 PM

Very impressive! That cam is the business!

#10 DesertRat

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 05:17 PM

Those are great images Darryl! Better than what we got under similar elevations a few years ago - but we did'nt have the technology you have now either! :)

So that first image was done after collimating? It sure looks great!

We've all skipped collimation at one time or another. In the backyard collimation for me is just a check as it seems to hold pretty good - but I'm not traipsing across continents!

Glenn

#11 mak5

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 05:53 PM

Great images, Darryl, looks like the new camera is another alternative to consider.
With regards to the low elevation of Jupiter "downunda", don't worry too much, it will be our turn to suffer imaging the low elevation Saturn in a few months...

#12 Kokatha man

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 07:27 PM

Thanks for the generous comments everyone - the first image (taken after collimation!!! :rainbow:) was at 60fps and 640x560 resolution to give me plenty of room for the madly oscillating image onscreen.....later I switched to 800x640 and 50fps because the wind made it almost impossible to hold the planet onscreen with the first-mentioned screensize..! :shocked: :foreheadslap: :lol:

The broad range of resolutions and framerates means that there are numerous possibilities - for instance, if I have Saturn onscreen and the wind is sending the planet swinging madly laterally I could dial in 1024x400 @ 80fps or 1024x600 @ 55fps, depending upon image scale....! :roflmao:

For anyone's information here is my onscreen list for the various resolutions and exposures/framerates of this camera (I think they're all there!)

RES EXP (mS) FPS
1280x960 30 30
1280x720 25 40
1280x600 22 45
1280x400 16.2 60
1024x768 12.5 40
1024x600 19.2 55
1024x400 12.5 80
800x800 25 40
800x640 20 50
800x512 16.3 60
800x400 12.5 80
800x320 10 100
640x560 16.2 60
640x480 14 70
512x440 13.7 74
512x400 12.5 80
480x320 10 100
320x240 7.6 130

#13 Jason H.

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 09:35 PM

Really nice going Darryl. I know it's been really tough on you fellows down there, but this is really nice stuff (GRS and the moon tell the story :) The other night I was imaging (in my primitive fashion) and thought I'd start losing 'the seeing' but even a few hours after meridian crossing the seeing surprisingly was still holding up fairly well, so well in fact that I was starting to feel GOOD-SEEING-GUILT somewhat before the end of the session as I was exhausted but didn't want to walk away from such a good sky, which brings me to your down-under predicament.

That range of shutter speeds on the new camera seems to present interesting opportunities. Looking at your signature line, perhaps you should consider on a night that you'd never use the C14 due to bad 'seeing' (especially with Jupiter so low) to experiment with one of your smaller scopes to try and beat the seeing with smaller cells combined with the highest frame rate (I'm sure it's hard to go down in aperture, but perhaps it's better than not doing it at all?) I've read a number of accounts over the years where a smaller scope can beat the seeing under certain conditions, and of course not all "seeing" conditions are the same, but even if you fail one night with smaller scope, perhaps you could give it a go when the conditions change (but are still bad for the C14.) Just a thought.

Really glad to see you guys in the saddle again! Jason H.

Regards, Jason H.

#14 Kokatha man

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 10:08 PM

Thanks for your reply Jason - in fact I do think about trying some of your suggestions and really would have liked to have taken the old C11 along with us.....but there is just so much you can cart around in our present situation! :grin:

I know it can be carried on the HEQ5 with an extension to the counterweight bar and that scope put out some really good images for me.....I might be shooting off here but I "think" the contrast was better in the C11 compared to the C14 although I haven't checked whether the secondary to primary % ratio is different betwen the two.....and although it isn't supposed to be of any benefit I flocked everything in the C11 - OTA, primary baffle and secondary baffle..! :question:

Leaving that direct comparison aside I've read the threads on this (broader) subject but I'm not certain whether in general a smaller scope performs better under adverse conditions as opposed to using the larger scopes with reduced image scale in them.... :question: :confused:

At present any half-decent night is at a premium and as I said at the start of this thread I want to devote those times to giving the ASI120MM mono cam the best workout I can give it.....although I do want to test the ASI120MC colour camera that Sam also sent me..! :)

#15 edsplace

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 11:44 PM

What capture program did you use? Can you get uncompressed data with this camera? Are you able to use the full 12bits, or are you only ale to save video in 8 bits?

Camera looks good but I see you need to use thrird party capture software under WMD mode.

#16 Kokatha man

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 12:31 AM

Hi - this camera is a DirectShow device but is now fully-compatible with FireCapture which is the capture software I employ for both it and my PGR Flea3.....imho the best capture software program available and infinitely superior (again imho) to proprietary ones such as the TIS camera's IC Capture...

Torsten Edelmann had previously provided very limited support for DirectShow devices in F/Capture and told Sam and I when we approached him with this camera that he had actually envisaged removing said support except for people's requests for him to retain it.....

However, he then took on the task for us to upgrade this aspect of the software enormously :waytogo: - and as I said we now have an excellent capture software program in FireCapture 2.2beta Build #32.....and I would expect Torsten to officially release this version sometime in the near future (he may have already for all I know! :question: :grin:) And it is available of course right now for interested users...

The ASI camera's DirectShow has all the required controls enabled in F/Capture along with all the other "standard" F/Cap options: gain, a large exposure range, gamma, brightness/blackpoint setting (ask Emil or Sam re this, the updates I've downloaded haven't enabled me the ability to shift b/point.....I'm slack on that point, pardon the pun! :grin:)

Being where I am I'm unable to reference your question re bits.....I believe the PGR Flea3 saves avi's as uncompressed 8-bit data and I suspect this is the same for the ASI120MM, although I really don't believe there is any detectable deterioration of image quality vis a vis 12bit & 8bit that anyone could see on planetary images (just a personal viewpoint).....I appreciate the Flea3 can achieve 12bit by capturing .ser files etc instead of avi's, but I haven't personally done any trials of said to determine the merits thereof... :question:

Sam at ZW Optical would be able to answer your question thereon specifically - but from my perspective this camera is a definite frontline "player" in the planetary imaging stakes with its huge range of resolutions and framerates as well as the sesitivity/high QE of this particular cmos sensor.....at a fraction of the price of the Flea3 and no need for FW cables and power supply to an Expresscard (as well as the need for such with a Windows OS, and the necessity to find a laptop that still provides a slot for this device!!!) - making it even more competitive imho.....I still use my Flea3 but the simplicity of a simple usb2 cable instead of the aforementioned does cut down on the network of cabling I have when I use the ASI cam... :)

I believe Emil in his recent great Jupiter capture thread gave his appraisal of this camera... :)

#17 Kokatha man

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 12:37 AM

ps to both Jason & Ed.....even though there are set framerates for each sensor resolution there is an almost infinite veriety of exposure values available which does extend the camera's flexibility further imho... :)

#18 Kokatha man

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 08:21 PM

.....to wrap this thread up here's the red channel of the first-posted image revealing quite a depth of detail in both Polar and adjacent regions! :)

Last night was another quite reasonable night's imaging even with a fair amount of haze reducing transparency and we even gave the ASI120MC (colour) camera a whirl towards the end of our long session, although the seeing had suddenly dropped significantly just before then - but that's for another thread..! :grin:

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#19 ZuoZhao

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Posted 01 December 2012 - 12:08 AM

Well Done! I still not use FireCapture shot Jupiter yet. What a pity! The FireCapture is powerful. But that have any difference between varied capture sofeware?

#20 Hillbrad

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Posted 01 December 2012 - 01:03 AM

Great images Darryl! That red channel has a lot of nice detail. Really nice considering your location...but just look on the bright side..Saturn will be up soon!

#21 wenjha

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Posted 01 December 2012 - 01:10 AM

Great image!Darryl
nice to see you post again :)

#22 wenjha

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Posted 01 December 2012 - 01:12 AM

What capture program did you use? Can you get uncompressed data with this camera? Are you able to use the full 12bits, or are you only ale to save video in 8 bits?

Camera looks good but I see you need to use thrird party capture software under WMD mode.

hi edsplace
ASI120MM can only output 12bit image though ASCOM driver.we will release ASCOM driver soon.
thanks

#23 Kokatha man

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Posted 01 December 2012 - 04:20 AM

Thanks ZZ, Brad & Sam!

ZZ - FireCapture has recording benefits that just make things a whole lot easier during capture...automatic channel-naming and instant capture settings for each channel once you have initially set them etc, etc: this just makes the whole process of capturing so much smoother and quicker as well as being able to "tailor" the exposure values you desire.

Naturally it isn't going to make the capture any better per se but it sure makes it much easier to capture..! :)

Yep Brad, you win some and lose some and as you say, Saturn with the rings exposed more and riding very high in the sky at home will be our good fortune soon! :grin:

Obviously we can't compete with the quality you and a few others have produced of Jupiter this apparition from our lowly elevations, but last night the seeing went up several notches on that of the images in this thread (and no bl**dy wind!!!) and I'm very pleased with the initial processings.....will post later!

Sam, I'm glad I did decide that this time I'd use your cameras exclusively to really give them a proper testing - I hope you'll agree that the images I post tonight or tomorrow do suggest very strongly that - despite the huge impediment that elevation around 45 degrees presents, the ASI120MM really does shine and you have put together an excellent planetary camera..! :grin:

#24 wenjha

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Posted 01 December 2012 - 10:09 PM

Thanks Very much Darryl
I have to admit it is not a easy job to get a so nice image at a 45 degree.
nice done!

#25 MrMagoo

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Posted 02 December 2012 - 09:02 AM

hello guys,
Here in Italy I and 4 other friends we ordered from Sam ASI120MM should arrive between 5/6 days, after reading your test I hope to try soon!
Hello
Marco Guidi






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