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NexImage 5 -- yes or no?

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#26 butsam

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Posted 24 February 2013 - 06:53 AM

Thanks all!

For people wanting more details on NexImage v. NexImage 5 at least, here's a few details that I've found online while researching and comparing (I can't vouch for the accuracy at this point, but I am assuming it is all true):

* NexImage pixel size is 5 microns, for NexImage 5 it is 2.2 microns. The FOV is a bit larger for the NexImage 5 as well (although that isn't so critical for planetary imaging...but it may make it easier to initially find the planet).
* Sensitivity is about the same (although Celestron's webpage for the original NexImage doesn't give a precise figure, making it difficult to compare). For the 5, the sensitivity at 550 nm is 0.53 V/(lux*s).
* Original NexImage is similar to the semi-famous Philips ToUCam. (Not sure what the 5 compares to in this respect, though.)
* Original NexImage is roughly comparable to a 5 mm EP; NexImage 5 is roughly comparable to a 7 mm EP.
* NexImage 5 has variable integration time from 1/10000 s to 30 s (but you need to update firmware to take full advantage of this range -- see Celestron's website). You probably don't want to go much higher than 30 s integration time with the Alt-Az mount anyway, I have read in many places online. I believe the original NexImage doesn't have as wide a range on integration time, but I couldn't get definitive numbers online.
* NexImage 5 frame rate is up to about 5 fps at highest resolution, and up to 52 fps at lowest resolution. (Again, not sure how this compares directly, but the manual implies the original NexImage could at least support 30 fps.) Naively, to me, this means you should find the planet and center it at highest resolution, then switch to lower resolution for easier focusing. (The lowest resolution is 640x480, equal to the resolution of the original NexImage, but the pixel spacing is about 2x tighter.)
* NexImage 5 appears to support 2x2 and 4x4 pixel binning. Not sure how useful this is for planetary imaging yet, but I think this could help with either or both noise reduction and low-light. This might turn out to not be a useful feature, though, since you would probably rather have the middle 640x480 pixels all active than bin groups of 2x2 and 4x4, since the planets aren't going to take up more than the 640x480 pixels most likely on the screen.
* For NexImage 5: upgrade the firmware immediately upon receiving the device. See Celestron's FAQs for the device here for the details: http://www.celestron...se&_a=viewar...

* There are better cameras out there than either of these two; the primary tradeoff is cost v. camera quality. For the price and relative simplicity, they appear to be a great deal for the complete newbie, especially if planetary imaging is your main interest and/or you have an Alt-Az mount (so longer exposures are not even an option without upgrading the mount also).

More to come once it arrives and the requisite induced clouds dissipate! My apologies to my astronomical friends in Ohio....

#27 ben2112

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Posted 24 February 2013 - 07:38 AM

That is some good information about the Neximage 5. I got the Neximage 5 as a surprise late Valentine's Day gift from the wife. I have yet to use it as I have been covered in clouds for the past week or so. From what I have seen of it so far, its basically a modified webcam that the housing is made to work for astrophotography. I don't see it being used on DSOs but that isn't what it is designed to do. It is designed for lunar and planetary astrophotography.

Here is a pic of a piece of a shingle from about a block away through a window and very overcast skies..

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#28 WarmWeatherGuy

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 05:48 PM

Here is a pic of a piece of a shingle from about a block away through a window and very overcast skies..


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#29 ben2112

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 07:08 PM

That was really strange.. I fixed the attachment. I don't know why that happened.. :scratchhead:

#30 Chaz659

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 03:06 PM

My NexImage 5 should be delivered by Friday. Very excited to be able to view at the same time with my girlfriend. This should keep the "My turn! My turn!" comments to a minimum.

#31 butsam

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 08:22 PM

I've only had 1 clear night so far, under Poor sky conditions, but I'm already impressed :) I hope it serves you well! Assuming you have an 8SE (although procedure should be similar regardless), I found it was best to start with 25 mm EP and center, then go to 13 mm EP and center, then put in the NexImage 5 at full resolution, then center the fuzzy disc. Reduce resolution gradually, then focus (you can focus before centering and reducing resolution--just keep in mind the frame rate at full resolution is 5 fps, so it may take 1/5 a second to show the results of your new focus at full resolution; at lower resolution the fps is a lot higher, and the pixel spacing is still the same so you still get the same level of detail -- it just reduces the field of view). If your EPs are like mine, you *will* have to refocus significantly -- you are not doing anything wrong, don't worry.

You should familiarize yourself with the NexImage 5's iCap program before going out, especially if you are somewhere where it is cold this time of year. Find the Gain setting in particular -- it is the most important one. Also, figure out how to change resolutions and frame rates. You will want highest resolution initially to acquire the object, then lower resolutions as you center the object so you can get higher frame rates. For planets (especially Jupiter), you want to collect several fps since it rotates so rapidly.

Also, if you are itching for something to do during the day, here are 3 things I recommend (or rather, wish I did prior to my first session, and will do this Saturday)...they aren't critical, but they may help you tweak things a bit. None of them are necessary. In order of importance:
(1) Try determining the correct orientation for the NexImage 5. I put it in at an angle (unknowingly), which meant a minor inconvenience when centering on the CMOS sensor...that is, when I hit "left" the planet moved up & left on the sensor; when I hit "down" the planet moved down & left on the sensor; etc. It will be slightly more intuitive if you note the sensor orientation that allows for more intuitive remote control.
(2) Try looking at something far-off but with color in your area. Using the NexImage 5 with iCap, tweak the color settings until something that you know is white looks white, and likewise for other known colors. (My first night's video had a slight yellow tinge to it...it wasn't horrid, but it was noticeable on closer inspection. The iCap software lets you tweak the gain for each color separately as well as overall gain, so I just need to tweak those settings a bit. This is something you can do during the day while waiting for that clear, dark sky.)
(3) This is *very* minor, but you might want to try the computer-controlled remote. I haven't tried it yet, but will on Saturday. The advantage is somewhat reduced vibrations since you don't have to press the remote's arrows, which can cause some small but noticeable vibrations. This isn't critical, nor even strictly necessary (the vibrations dampen out in a few seconds at worst), but it might be something to try if you have the inclination...you need a laptop out there anyway.

Most of all, I wish you clear skies!

#32 ben2112

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 09:28 PM

Also, something that will help is an electric focuser. It will keep the vibrations down by not having to touch the focus knob. You can build one for the 6/8SE for about $30 or so. You can buy the JMI version version, but it's about $200.

All this talk about the NI5 makes me wish the skies would clear up so I can give mine a try. So far, I have a pic of a shingle. :lol: :roflmao:

#33 Chaz659

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Posted 01 March 2013 - 05:15 PM

Well, got the NI5 yesterday and like many comments on a few other threads, it doesn't work on my laptop. Even though my processor exceeds the minimum requirements, I have read threads here and other forums that state it will not work with an AMD processor like mine. Tried all the patches and fixes suggested except one. HandyAvi can be used, but after the trial period it's $40.00. Contrary to others experience, Celestron support has been great. Attentive and really trying to figure this out. The engineers are involved now and they have been in constant contact with me. My fingers are crossed.

#34 Tel

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Posted 01 March 2013 - 06:36 PM

Hi Chaz,

Just a random and ignorant shot in the dark, but have you tried using your Neximage 5 with any alternative software such as "Amcap" (used for the old Neximage webcam), or either of its derivatives, Sharpcap or Craterlet: all of which are free downloads ? :idea:

Best regards,
Tel

#35 Chaz659

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Posted 01 March 2013 - 09:04 PM

No I haven't Tel. You are the first to suggest that. Are they on Cnet? And thanks in advance even if they don't work.

#36 Chaz659

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Posted 01 March 2013 - 09:32 PM

Tel! Downloaded Sharpcap as you suggested. It is definitely recognizing the NI5 and appears to be sending images but I'm stuck inside because of bad weather....frustrated but hopeful. Thanks.

#37 butsam

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Posted 01 March 2013 - 09:59 PM

Glad you have a potential solution! I didn't realize that about the AMD versus Intel...my laptop is an Intel i5 mobile processor with a 1 GB video card, so I didn't notice processing issues. I hope Sharpcap allows you to get some images from this nice camera! Does it allow you to change resolution, frame rate, exposure length (from 1/10000 to 30 s), and gain (both overall and per-color)? Also, did you upgrade the actual camera's firmware? (You actually need to plug the camera into the PC and go through Celestron's update process.)

#38 Chaz659

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Posted 01 March 2013 - 10:30 PM

Celestron support never mentioned that and I do not see any firmware updates for the NI5 on their website. I have been on the phone with them 4 times since delivery and firmware updates were never discussed.

#39 TmaninTn

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Posted 02 March 2013 - 01:58 AM

Chaz, check out wxAstrocapture, I bet it works perfect with the NI5. It's what I use with the old Neximage cam.

http://arnholm.org/a...wxAstroCapture/

#40 Tel

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Posted 02 March 2013 - 04:35 AM

Hi Chaz,

I'm glad to hear that at least your NI5 is being recognised by Sharpcap ! Equally so as Tim has proposed, wxAstroCapature is another very popular piece of software which you might find compatible and indeed superior to those packages I suggested.

There is however one caveat: at least I think there's the possibility of one. Therefore I strongly advise you to seek the truth of my conjecture.

I believe one of the features of the new NI5 over the older NI, is that it will permit up to 60 frames/second without any compression, whereas the older NI was limited to 30 f/s and was more at home operating at a lower rate to avoid any such compression. In other words, it was the software (Amcap?) that limited the NI's performance; NOT the (web)camera itself.

So saying, it is my belief that the new NI5 allows the higher rate (60 f/s), by its OWN design and is NOT limited by the any compatible, (of Celestron origin or otherwise), software. (On the other hand, the installation of the Celestron package may indeed be necessary to achieve this high rate).

Truth is that I just don't know and therefore I might well be talking utter nonsense here, but if you do decide to go the Amcap, Sharpcap, Craterlet or wxAstroCapture route with your NI5 and abandon the use of its factory software, I think you should seek confirmation that the aforementioned software packages permit an uncompressed 60 f/s download of your subframes.

:idea:

Best regards,
Tel :gramps:

#41 butsam

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Posted 02 March 2013 - 07:36 AM

I don't think the firmware updates are required just to get it to work (although I never tried without), but you should update the firmware as well -- at a minimum, it gives you more options for shutter speed; I don't know what else was changed. Here's a link with download and instructions:

http://www.celestron...se&_a=viewar...

#42 Chaz659

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Posted 02 March 2013 - 12:41 PM

It would not download.

#43 ben2112

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Posted 02 March 2013 - 01:14 PM

I was able to download it. It might be your virus scanner blocking it.

#44 Chaz659

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Posted 02 March 2013 - 01:19 PM

OK. Well I took the scope outside (127 SLT) let her sit for a bit and hooked up the NI5. I used sharpcap as suggested by Tel. The firmware update just would not work, error code. However, it was 1300 here on Long Island so I aimed at a neighbors roof. I saw someone else post a pic of someone else's roof. A little tweaking and there it was, a shingle. Now I did not let it sit for long so the image was wavy as expected due to temperature change between house and outside BUT the cam did finally work. Next step is to become more proficient with the "Align" features, the tracking of the scope and the bells and whistles of sharpcap and we might be good to go. Clear night tomorrow night hopefully. Thank you to everybody and I will follow up, perhaps on a new thread.

#45 Tel

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Posted 02 March 2013 - 07:22 PM

Hi Chaz,

Just a note to say that I did a little checking tonight and can say, (as you probably already know), that Sharpcap will indeed support 60 frames/minute, which is the rate, I believe, the NI5 is ideally designed to deliver.

As to the quality, however, (i.e. whether any compression takes place as a result of using Sharpcap as opposed to the Celestron software), is of course something you'll have to establish.

As it stands though, it looks as if Sharpcap will at least give you working software from which to work.

Wishing you all success and please keep us posted on your progress,

Best regards,
Tel

#46 Robin Leath

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Posted 27 July 2014 - 05:29 PM

Just got a Neximage 5 for $129 new ebay....Im new at this and have recently purchased a Nexstar 8SE OTA and an EQ5 advanced GT mount to put it on....have taken a few shots with my Nikon d300s on a t2 but wanted something to give some better sharper picsand all the reviews ive read and watched pointed to the NI 5 for my budget...

#47 WarmWeatherGuy

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Posted 27 July 2014 - 06:43 PM

Just got a Neximage 5 for $129 new ebay....Im new at this and have recently purchased a Nexstar 8SE OTA and an EQ5 advanced GT mount to put it on....have taken a few shots with my Nikon d300s on a t2 but wanted something to give some better sharper picsand all the reviews ive read and watched pointed to the NI 5 for my budget...


Congratulations on getting that camera at that price. I've taken some really nice pictures with it and seen even better pictures taken by other people with it. The C8 is a good scope for planetary imaging. Unfortunately right now Mars and Jupiter are gone for a while and Saturn is starting to fade away. I would try to get Saturn while you can. Jupiter will be available in the morning starting around September/October.

Visit the Solar System Imaging & Processing forum for tips on how to get good pictures and to upload your pictures there for us to see.

#48 fivestring

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Posted 28 July 2014 - 07:05 AM

C'mon, Chaz....
Post some pics!

#49 CharlesC

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Posted 10 August 2014 - 02:27 PM

WarmWeatherGuy did amazing shot with NexImage 5 camera.  Believe he tried four cameras before this.

Here is his pic  link.  After seeing this, I'd definitely get this camera.

 



#50 WarmWeatherGuy

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Posted 10 August 2014 - 08:38 PM

WarmWeatherGuy did amazing shot with NexImage 5 camera.  Believe he tried four cameras before this.

Here is his pic link.  After seeing this, I'd definitely get this camera.

I used this picture of Jupiter as an example of the best I've seen with the NexImage 5 & C8 but it is not a picture I took. Mitch Robbins took this picture (aka StrangeDejavu). You can see more of his work here.








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