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Video Camera Advice for astro

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#1 issdaol

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Posted 09 March 2013 - 07:42 PM

Hi All,

I am totally new to astronomical video so would appreciate advice and pointers.

First off I have a Takahashi Mewlon 300 on a Takahashi EM400 Mount. I can drive this by IPAD using SkySafari or The Sky using a laptop.

Essentially I want to replace the eyepiece with a high quality astro video cam/ccd for live viewing potentially dumping to a monitor via HDMI/RGB/SVHS or Ethernet/IP to laptop screen.

Also may want to capture frames for stacking images.

Basically looking at all targets including Lunar, Planetary and Deepspace.

I have heard a lot of things about Mallincam. Is this the best unit for this?? What about Point Grey products like the Flea 3/Grasshopper3/Zebra or any other product.

At this stage imagine no budget limit on the product just so I can get a feel for which might be best then look at budget later.

Any help and Advice much appreciated

Cheers!!

#2 Atl

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Posted 09 March 2013 - 07:57 PM

I asked this very question and started a flame war...lol. Good luck...

#3 issdaol

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Posted 09 March 2013 - 08:54 PM

I asked this very question and started a flame war...lol. Good luck...


LoL

I don't want to start up a brand war like Tak vs AP or AP vs TEC just open advice, pointers and opinions.

Apart from the general use specifications mentioned main other criteria is higher sensitivity, higher resolution video/image quality in a live viewable format.

#4 Dwight J

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Posted 09 March 2013 - 09:15 PM

Depends on what you mean by high quality. The Point Grey etc cameras you mentioned would do for solar system objects and perhaps some double stars and the brightest DSOs but not anything dimmer. If you like high quality images you could use a Mallincam Universe camera which outputs a 6.3 mp image in video. Higher sensitivity comes with Mallincam Exteme but the chip is small and the pixels large. Focal reduction is fairly essential for any of the cameras you see used by members of this forum with many using around F3 or less. Check out the image gallery here for examples of what you can expect from each type of camera. Nice thing about the Tak mount is that you likely will not have to guide as exposures are typically less than 2 or 3 minutes. Visit Nightskiesnetwork to see deepsky video cameras in action live. If you become a member you can chat with others about their cameras and other equipment. Membership is free but not necessary as you can view as a guest but then you cant chat. I am biased towards Mallincams because that is what I use but other cameras may meet your needs. I am sure you will see others jumping into this thread touting what cameras they think are the best. Good luck!

#5 issdaol

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Posted 10 March 2013 - 06:00 PM

Hi Dwight,

Thanks for the tips

I have the Mewlon Flattener Reducer but that only brings it down to F9.

I have always been visual so not much practical experience with effects of F Ratio on imaging.

Will look up the Mallincam Extreme. At first glance their web site looks pretty disorganized.

#6 Atl

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Posted 10 March 2013 - 06:07 PM

Well I will chime in. I bought a used Matrix DXB-9300EX which is a rebranded Mintron camera. It is a very sensitive camera to learn the ropes on and it cost $130. I think the Sony SCB4000 might be a good starter as well for about $170. If mine ends up floating my boat I might go for a high end Mallincam.

#7 ccs_hello

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Posted 10 March 2013 - 06:38 PM

I like Atl's approach, if the audience has no previous experience on video. SCB2000 (less than $100) and the friends are quite capable devices and can get people through the initial learning curve.

Then the user can decide the next step, may be a good one as a reward for the patience :) :) .
The old cam then can go to the classified and still worth some money.

Clear Skies!

ccs_hello

#8 mclewis1

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Posted 10 March 2013 - 06:50 PM

Atl, That's interesting ... where did you find an SCB4000 for $170? That would be a very good deal.

Getting one of these nice little low light security cameras with a good 1/2" sensor at a good price is a great way to get into video astronomy. Interestingly the more of these cameras that find their way into the hands of folks who are interested in video astronomy the more high end cameras that eventually get sold. They can be thought of as the "gateway drugs" of the video astronomy market. :lol:

I once half seriously suggested to Rock that he buy a bunch of these cameras and give them away. The cost of this could be applied against any marketing/advertising budget.

#9 Atl

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Posted 10 March 2013 - 07:02 PM

Samsung SCB2000...must have lost my train of thought there...too many number designations..

In the future I will be more thoughtful to accommodate those less tolerant of errors such as yourself.

The fact that a newbie seeking advice here either gets silence or sarcasm speaks volumes of the culture of this particular forum.

http://item.mobilewe...47&index=1&n...

#10 mclewis1

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Posted 10 March 2013 - 07:24 PM

There was absolutely no sarcasm in my previous post ... none whatsoever. I don't keep track of the pricing on a day to day basis and finding an SCB4000 at under $350 would be a great deal ... and I was simply wondering where you found it ... period.

I don't think I'm any less tolerant of errors than anyone else around here ... and an honest mistake is hardly a big deal.

#11 skinnyonce

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Posted 10 March 2013 - 07:29 PM

theres some good youtube vids of this camera doing wide field work, with comparisons to other types and the results for the pc165 are pretty good

http://www.supercirc.../color-hi-re...

#12 Atl

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Posted 10 March 2013 - 07:43 PM

My apologies then. So there IS an scb4000? Really?

I have had some negative forum experiences over the years and have become jaded...lol...sorry.

#13 Atl

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Posted 10 March 2013 - 07:47 PM

Very cool looking specs for the cash.

#14 issdaol

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Posted 10 March 2013 - 07:52 PM

hi guys,

thanks for the feedback,

I might look at one of these as a testing/"dip toes in water" approach while still trying to uncover information on best "top end" astrocams in parallel so please keep the feedback coming.

In terms of these cheaper cams, it looks like these don't come with nose-pieces for insertion into a standard scope 2 inch diagonal. Can 2 inch nose-pieces be sourced from somewhere or is it a case of custom making one up ??

cheers

#15 Stew57

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Posted 10 March 2013 - 08:34 PM

SCB-4000
http://www.surveilla...ucts&kw=scb4...

#16 Atl

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Posted 10 March 2013 - 08:36 PM

Just use an 1 1/4" nosepiece with a 1 /4" to 2" adapter...it works fine.

#17 skinnyonce

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Posted 10 March 2013 - 08:37 PM

there are 1.25 nose pc's out there and I just use my 2-1.25 adapter to hold it

#18 Atl

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Posted 10 March 2013 - 08:39 PM

SCB-4000
http://www.surveilla...ucts&kw=scb4...


That's hilarious...I should have played it off instead of being a jerk. What an accurate mistake.

#19 A. Viegas

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Posted 10 March 2013 - 09:35 PM

the original poster said he had no real budgetary concerns so I don't see the value in suggesting a modified security camera. In fact I think it important to point out for newbies that a Samsung or one of those Chinese Ntech cameras require some modification to work with your astro equipment. Hence it's not like you can just open the FedEx box and start imaging right away, rather with some of these cameras you need to remove Filters or solder wires and then deal with control interfaces not designed for astronomy.

Personally I do not have the patience nor interest in DIY video astronomy, that is why I went with a mallincam extreme. It worked great within 10 minutes of putting it into the SCT visual back. I am sure we will see a new generation of higher resolution video cameras for astronomy over the next few years... But for now for true live imaging, the Extreme is a great product and given the OP low priority on how much is spent, it seems we should fous on the higher end products. Heck, I am curious too... What can $5k or $10k buy in ultra high end video astronomy? :question:

Al

#20 ccs_hello

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Posted 10 March 2013 - 09:50 PM

No budget limit??

Then buy an EMCCD or sCMOS based product. Readily available.
Or bring money to Canon's front door and ask them to sell that demo low-light camera (made by ZERO Corporation) using the full-frame sized 19um pitch CMOS imager.

#21 A. Viegas

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Posted 10 March 2013 - 10:04 PM

what EMCCD or sCMOS astronomy video camera is that? What exists today that works right out of the box and is higher end than a mallincam X2 ??????

#22 A. Viegas

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Posted 10 March 2013 - 10:04 PM

what EMCCD or sCMOS astronomy video camera is that? What exists today that works right out of the box and is higher end than a mallincam X2 ??????

#23 ccs_hello

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Posted 10 March 2013 - 10:17 PM

Just to provide a general sense...

Search fleaBay on EMCCD.
There are two used items for sale for merely $9999 each,
since budget is with no limit?

For new ones, ask Andor.

P.S. be careful on sCMOS, there are fake/mis-labeled devices pretending to be sCMOS (Scientific CMOS).

#24 A. Viegas

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Posted 10 March 2013 - 10:31 PM

Neat... So here is the spec sheet for one of those EMCCD cameras

Photometric's EMCCD

And I found this thread where some one was asking about using an older EMCCD for photometry... Checkout the picture, looks like a Meade 10" SCT with the EMCCD camera attached...

EMCCD on a Meade sct

Finally, here is a whole line of super high end professional astronomy cameras...

Pro astro cameras

Ok... So I would very curious to see some typical DSO images captured on the fly with one of these fancy cameras, no processing just a screen capture...

Al

#25 ccs_hello

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Posted 10 March 2013 - 10:34 PM

Also a brief discussion on EMCCD in CCD subforum here in CN:
linkie :rainbow:






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