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Old Video Camera with wow factor

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#1 John59

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 11:24 AM

Hello all,
Recently I have decided to exit astrophotography completely and remain only within the visual and video side of astronomy. I really like the video aspect of astronomy and lately I have looking in Cloudy Nights and AstroMart classifieds for good deals on camera equipment.

Last week I found a Stellacam II that was posted as having very little use and in excellent condition. I received it yesterday and it looked brand new. Not a single scuff mark and no indications that it was ever used. Being a good clear night with a near full moon I decided that it would be a good test to see how it would perform in a light polluted environment ( in town as well).

My setup was the ES AR152 on the CGEM-DX. The camera was on a flip mirror and parfocal with a 15mm ED eyepiece. The camera was connected to a 7 inch flat screen LCD monitor.

I first went to several easy open clusters NGC 1545 +6.19, NGC 1528 +6.40, NGC 1444 +6.59. The camera easily pulled out these clusters and resolved the stars. Many of the stars in NGC 1444 are 12 to 14 magnitudes and it easily pulled these out of the muck and keeping a dark grey background. SNR on this is really good.

I then went to M33 +5.69, and structure of the galaxy was there. It was washed out as I expected with the near full moon but you could positively identify the galaxy.

I then swung over to IC 1747 +12, a small faint planetary nebula, and there it was, easily picked out on the 7 inch flat screen.

The real kicker of the night was going over to Perseus A (NGC 12750) +11.89. The surrounding galaxies were as little as +14. I had my grandson take a look through the eyepiece and his comment was “What am I looking for? There is nothing in here but gray sky and a couple of stars.” I then turn on the camera and to have him look at the screen. His opinion changed quickly. He was counting out the number of galaxies he could see in the star field!

This camera is only B/W which I highly prefer as without the Bayer Layer the CCD is highly more sensitive, resolving greater detail and processing images faster. The other good thing is that there has been great success in doing the whole LRBG and narrowband capturing and producing some great images upon post processing.

In short, a great video camera and I cannot wait to get it into my other telescopes with more aperture. I expect great things from this in dark skies.

This video camera is no longer made and only the Stellacam III seems to still be available with gives the video and long exposure. I may end up with this one as well as it too remained B/W only.

Clear skies everyone!

#2 StarStuff1

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 12:15 PM

The S/C II is a great camera. I had one for a while and only gave it up for a color cam since I do quite a bit of outreach, especially with kids. Nice observing report. Have fun!

#3 StarStuff1

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 01:04 PM

Also consider using a short fl lens/scope that is "fast". The first imaging with a video camera I ever did was with a 4-in f/6 achro on the Lagoon Neb. Very impressive! Since then I have used scope/lens combos from 50mm f/2.3 up to 12-in f/5. Probably the most fun factor comes with an 80mm f/3.7 achro used with a .5 focal reducer. Great for larger structures.

#4 John59

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 03:53 PM

Also consider using a short fl lens/scope that is "fast". The first imaging with a video camera I ever did was with a 4-in f/6 achro on the Lagoon Neb. Very impressive! Since then I have used scope/lens combos from 50mm f/2.3 up to 12-in f/5. Probably the most fun factor comes with an 80mm f/3.7 achro used with a .5 focal reducer. Great for larger structures.


Thanks Starstuff!
I have an Orion ST80A, Celestron C11 and orion 180mm MAK as well.
I have 6.3 focal/corrector for the SCT and .5 reducer for camera. I am looking into the faststar for the SCT as well.

#5 rmollise

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 07:45 AM

The SC-II is a great camera, which I used for about 5 years, till my head was turned by a pretty Mallincam Xtreme... :lol:

#6 John59

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 12:06 PM

I have looked at the Mallincam cameras and I think when I upgrade next year I will most likely go with the Stellacam III as I really like Mono and having the choice to produce color finals if i want to. Mostly it is all about observing as much detail in as near as real time as I can get. With Stellacam having the ability to do what the II can, plus planets and long exposure, and all in mono appeals to me more that the color and price of the Mallincam. Not to mention, Uncle Rod, it was your writeups that firmed up my decision :grin:






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