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Panasonic GH3 for near real time AP

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#26 mpgxsvcd

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Posted 20 December 2012 - 04:46 PM

Tommorrow night will be a good test for this setup. It will be below freezing here with winds above 20 mph. However, the humidity will be the lowest it has been all year with very clear skies.

No chance I would sit outside in those conditions all night. However, with the GH3 I might actually be able to image just fine.

I will try to block the wind by putting the scope near the house. That still might not block it enough though. 20+ mph wind is pretty strong. At least I won't freeze to death though. Wind Chill will be miserable for a southern like me.

#27 GlennLeDrew

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Posted 21 December 2012 - 07:06 PM

Travis,
The in-camera noise reduction on the GH3 looks impressive, indeed! At what temperature was this test series performed?

And the single-frame DSO shots are most intriguing, as well. This camera certainly looks like a contender.

Have you identified the source of the significant, diffuse halos surrounding the bright stars?

#28 mpgxsvcd

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Posted 23 December 2012 - 11:57 PM

Travis,
The in-camera noise reduction on the GH3 looks impressive, indeed! At what temperature was this test series performed?

And the single-frame DSO shots are most intriguing, as well. This camera certainly looks like a contender.

Have you identified the source of the significant, diffuse halos surrounding the bright stars?


The test shots were at room temperature. I am not certain what caused the halos. It was super humid that night though. I think I had moisture in my scope. Maybe it was some sort of reflection?

#29 mattflastro

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Posted 24 December 2012 - 05:00 PM

The very low noise WITHOUT the in camera noise reduction is impressive.
I'm sure cameras like this will eventually become mainstream and replace the aging Canon DSLR's . The image quality and low noise is there already .
There are significant mechanical advantages such as lighter weight, lack of mirror , shorter mount flange to sensor distance reducing backfocus requirements .
One could only hope that software such as BackyardEOS , MaximDL and others will evolve and become compatible with the new cameras and not stuck with Canon forever .

#30 mpgxsvcd

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 02:11 AM

With the GH3 there is no need to have software or a computer at all while you are observing. You can completely control all aspects of the camera either through the camera itself or remotely through the app.

BackyardEOS is a great program. However, I would rather get rid of the computer and programs all together than make them work with other cameras.

#31 mattflastro

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Posted 28 December 2012 - 01:33 AM

you need a computer for mount control. Nothing on tablets and iphones has the capability of creating a mount pointing model like TPoint . Also if you want to automate your picture taking , plan and schedule , or have a multitude of ASCOM stuff , temp compensated focuser , adaptive optics , etc.

#32 FishInPercolator

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 09:05 PM

Very lovely... so far I've learned the GH3, E-PM2, and 60Da are three highly capable SLR cameras. With the exception of 60Da, is it recommended to have them modified for IR?

#33 ScottAz

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Posted 26 May 2013 - 09:08 AM

I'm really starting to like some of the aspects of the Panasonic GH-3 for quick-session, live viewing with my high-school astronomy students. In camera RAW stacking, HDMI output and in-camera HDR capabilities sounds cool. I especially like the wireless sharing aspect, as all my students seem to have iPads and iPhones and such!

I wonder how it compares to Panasonic's new (forthcoming?) G6? Still researching, but so far I believe that there are some features that GH3 doesn't have but G6 has. For example NFC +better Wi-Fi: the G6 has wireless recording function with start/stop recording and 30fps video stream feed to tablet/smartphone. GH3 can only start recording/no video stream feed.

Anyway ... looks like either one would very much compliment something like a Mallincam Jr. or VSS+ in our observatory for near real time AP and public outreach.

#34 mclewis1

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Posted 26 May 2013 - 09:21 AM

Scott,

It would probably better compliment to the longer exposure VSS+ rather than the Jr. That would make for an interesting combination of capabilities - Small sensor, high sensitivity, long exposures with SD video vs. larger sensor, less sensitivity, and more features with HD video.

It's great to see extended features/functions on these consumer oriented products, it helps drive the price down for other uses in the future (wireless, onboard stacking, etc.).

#35 chasing photons

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Posted 27 May 2013 - 05:51 PM

I so very much want to pull the trigger on the G6 as I have been waiting a long time for so many of its new features. The Wi-Fi and NFC implementation for near real time remote observing is fantastic, but the in camera generation of time lapse and stop motion video files just blows me away. Yeah, that's right; I am not a bit interested in any post processing.

Let me do simple, near real time observing at night with a fast telescope and simple, quality stills and video during the day with the same moderately priced camera and I am a happy camper. Then throw in basic wide angle night sky time lapse and the fun I've always wanted to have playing with basic stop motion animation.

But the big question that still remains is how will the G6 compare to the GH3 in low light and low noise performance in long exposures up to 60 seconds? Hopefully, Panasonic has tweaked the image sensor and new Venus engine to approach the excellent performance of the GH3.

#36 ccs_hello

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Posted 27 May 2013 - 07:56 PM

Todd,

Per DPR, G6 is using the same sensor as GH2 (Panny made).
We know that GH3, Oly's EM-D M5, E-PL5, and E-PM2 are using newer SONY Exmor IMX109 (baby IMX071) sensor.

Of course, for selection, it's not just the sensor but the total package. Some astro-friendly features are hard to come by.

Clear Skies!

ccs_hello

#37 chasing photons

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Posted 27 May 2013 - 10:23 PM

Although many are already lamenting Panasonic's decision not to use the GH3 sensor in the G6, so far the majority of reviewers of the preproduction G6 are very excited about the performance improvements over the GH2 and G5. I am keeping my fingers crossed that Panasonic has solved the low light noise issues of the GH2 with the G6. If not, I will probably go with the GH3 or hold out for the GH5.

#38 jdbastro

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Posted 28 May 2013 - 12:03 AM

Todd,

Per DPR, G6 is using the same sensor as GH2 (Panny made).
We know that GH3, Oly's EM-D M5, E-PL5, and E-PM2 are using newer SONY Exmor IMX109 (baby IMX071) sensor.

Of course, for selection, it's not just the sensor but the total package. Some astro-friendly features are hard to come by.

Clear Skies!

ccs_hello


I own a Panny GH3. How do you know what sensor is in this camera? Do you have a reference? Sony EXMOR? Wow, that's great if true.

#39 ccs_hello

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Posted 28 May 2013 - 06:51 AM

...I am keeping my fingers crossed that Panasonic has solved the low light noise issues of the GH2 with the G6. ...

In the realm of CMOS Active Pixel Sensor (APS), the fate is sealed when then sensor was made in the fab.
Its digital output is the resulted raw image. Everything after the APS is post-processing.

Clear Skies!

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#40 ccs_hello

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Posted 28 May 2013 - 06:54 AM

See E-PM2 analysis:
http://www.dpreview....s/post/50885809

The rest can be interpreted from Dxomark's sensor comparison thru interpolation.

Clear Skies!

ccs_hello

#41 mpgxsvcd

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Posted 28 May 2013 - 09:01 AM

In the realm of CMOS Active Pixel Sensor (APS), the fate is sealed when then sensor was made in the fab.
Its digital output is the resulted raw image. Everything after the APS is post-processing.

Clear Skies!

ccs_hello


That is a true statement but a pessimistic way of looking at it. Yes anything you do to the RAW file is post processing. However, that doesn’t mean that the post processing does not improve the image.

In the past post processing could only be done in a non-real-time fashion. However, with more and more cameras including post processing techniques like Stacking, HDR, and Noise Reduction post processing is becoming a near real time function.

#42 ccs_hello

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Posted 28 May 2013 - 06:51 PM

Travis,

May be "fate is sealed" is too strong a statement :). I am in the school that best (or g......) in then best (g......) out so naturally I like to see a good sensor to be used in the first place.

I could also say the G6 has an opportunity to excel after GH2 would be a hard sell to me. Both are using the same sensor (still very good one) and I am thinking the image science (post-processing) has not reach a significant advancement that G6 would produce a significant improvement than GH2's. Beside, from marketing "tiers" point of view, it does not make sense for a lower tier to excel than its higher sibling.

Clear Skies!

ccs_hello

#43 FishInPercolator

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Posted 30 May 2013 - 11:03 PM

Is a GEM necessary for taking these HDR photos? I'm looking at a modded canon t3i and I believe it supports it...

#44 ccs_hello

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Posted 31 May 2013 - 07:14 AM

AFAIK, none of the current Canon products support near realtime view for DSO low light viewing.

HDR is taking multiple shots then digitally combine. Some niche cams do it in the camera body (almost immediately)
while most cams don't and need post-processing by a PC (not near realtime though.) If these shots varies too much (e.g., tracking error, field rotation) HDR will look horrible.

Clear Skies!

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#45 mpgxsvcd

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Posted 31 May 2013 - 08:16 AM

AFAIK, none of the current Canon products support near realtime view for DSO low light viewing.

HDR is taking multiple shots then digitally combine. Some niche cams do it in the camera body (almost immediately)
while most cams don't and need post-processing by a PC (not near realtime though.) If these shots varies too much (e.g., tracking error, field rotation) HDR will look horrible.

Clear Skies!

ccs_hello


I finally got a chance to really test the GH3 out last night in a darker location. I will try to post the pictures a little later.

Yes the HDR and internal stacking features require not only good tracking but also guiding for optimal results. If the image is out of alignment at all then the subs won’t match up exactly and it will be apparent. That being said the HDR mode works best at ISO 12,800 and it has a max exposure time of 1 minute and 8 seconds.

Those subs are fairly short and alignment errors don’t show up as much with the HDR mode. However, they show up a lot in the internal stacking mode because it is limited to ISO 3200 and below.

I took some interesting in camera stacked shots last night. It worked great for getting a nice clean image in a relatively short amount of time. However, the RAW Stacking definitely required guiding. My guiding was good at first. However, the humidity crept up last night and after a couple of hours my guidescope was all fogged up.

I really need to get a dew heater for the guidescope.

#46 mattflastro

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Posted 31 May 2013 - 10:02 AM

AFAIK, none of the current Canon products support near realtime view for DSO low light viewing.

HDR is taking multiple shots then digitally combine. Some niche cams do it in the camera body (almost immediately)
while most cams don't and need post-processing by a PC (not near realtime though.) If these shots varies too much (e.g., tracking error, field rotation) HDR will look horrible.

Clear Skies!

ccs_hello

You are correct that Canons don't support frame integration out of the box.
However, Canon DSLR's have a long history of being hacked , beginning with the old 300D which got that "Russian hack" that basically turned it into a 10D .

For DSO viewing with FRAME INTEGRATION up to 4 sec there's this free firmware called "Magic Lantern" .

You may find here all the info and download :

http://www.magiclantern.fm/

Hope it helps.

#47 FishInPercolator

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Posted 31 May 2013 - 10:05 AM

Hmm, and here I was wondering how viable HDR would be for short altaz exposures...

#48 mpgxsvcd

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Posted 31 May 2013 - 10:31 AM

Hmm, and here I was wondering how viable HDR would be for short altaz exposures...


The Panasonic HDR mode will do some very minor aligning. However, it really isn't that much. For diffuse objects with lots of dynamic range(Orion's Nebula) it would work. For anything with lots of stars(Clusters) it won't work. You will see the misalignment there.

I still haven't heard what really want out of this. You simply won't be able to have it all in your budget. However, you will be to get a lot if you pick the right equipment.

Here is how I see it.

1. You must have a low focal ratio. F4.0 or below. This will help you no matter what you are doing.

2. You must have some sort of tracking. Whether it requires Alt/Az or GEM depends on where in the sky you are looking.

3. You must find a light weight solution if you are going to carry all of this by hand.

If you satisfy the 3 criteria above I think whatever system you choose will work out in the end. If you can't satisfy those 3 criteria I doubt you will be successful at this in the scenarios that you have described before.

#49 FishInPercolator

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Posted 31 May 2013 - 10:35 AM

Yeah Travis, I've decided. The 6SE it is for now and I'll fiddle around with AP to learn how to use whatever camera I'll eventually end up getting and how to get the most out of an altaz mount. Then I'll take a step forward and acquire the ZEQ25 for long exposures.

#50 mpgxsvcd

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Posted 31 May 2013 - 11:11 AM

Yeah Travis, I've decided. The 6SE it is for now and I'll fiddle around with AP to learn how to use whatever camera I'll eventually end up getting and how to get the most out of an altaz mount. Then I'll take a step forward and acquire the ZEQ25 for long exposures.


Start researching what focal reducer will work with the C6 and whatever camera you buy. I don’t think the Hyperstar will work with a 6 inch scope. I think that you will find that the focal reducer will determine which camera you have to buy. There are not that many cameras that will work well with an aggressive 1.25” focal reducer.






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