He is taking delivery of a Meade 14" LX850 next week. Since he didn't have a scope yet we decided to hook up his Mallincam Extreme to my scope to try it out.
We had no experience with the Mallincam and the clouds were rolling in so we weren't sure how far we would get. I aligned my mount with my camera and took a couple of test shots for comparison. Then we hooked up the extreme and started playing with the settings.
We probably started with the wrong subject. I had the scope centered on the Horse Head but we hadn't set the focus with the Mallincam so we had trouble even finding a star much less finding that dark object.
We realized our mistake and slewed to Sirius. However, we had to stop that slew because we forgot about the Meridian flip. We settled on Rigel instead because doing the Meridian flip required us to move the computer, frame grabber, and cabling in the dark.
As soon as Rigel came into view we quickly got it in focus with the Mac program's "Focus mode" setting which appeared to give us just the right shutter duration for focusing.
Then we decided to slew to Orion and figure out the settings with a brighter object. I was totally shocked at how the Mallincam refreshes the screen. I knew that it integrated the object over time and showed the object getting progressively brighter. However, I was surprised to see that if we slewed away and back the object still had the same brightness that it had when we left. I don't know how it is remembering the brightness?
We tried all sorts of settings like Hyper mode for 3 minutes, Sense up mode at X128, and AGC on a manual setting of 8 and on Auto. None of them seemed to expose more than the picture below even after several minutes of integration. I know we were just not using the correct setting because I have seen much brighter exposures than what we were getting.
Can you all take a look at the image of the program below and let us know what settings would give us more exposure? I am not sure what program he was using so if there is a better way to control we are all ears.
We slewed back to the Horse Head after that but we still couldn't get the exposure high enough to see anything but stars. I know it was just our inexperience with the control program so any help with that is appreciated.
Overall we were very pleased with how far we got. The fact that we got the mount setup and aligned before testing the Mallincam helped a lot. I have had several friends try to learn Aligning, tracking, focusing, and centering with all new equipment in a single night and it makes it so much harder.
I really enjoyed the ultra narrow view of the Mallincam on my 800mm scope. The core looked fantastic. However, I warned my friend that his 14" 2800mm scope will give such a small field of view with the Mallincam that centering and finding objects will be difficult. He has a 5DMKII as well and I suggested using his 80mm APO with the Mallincam and the 5DMKII with the 14" will give him a much more forgiving field of view for learning the new equipment.
Overall I was impressed with the Mallincam. It is a very well crafted device that is extremely versatile. I hope to get to test it again after we figure out the settings.
Here is a picture of the settings panel from the program. How should we have set this up to get more exposure?