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NEW VIDEO ASTRO CAMERAS AND FOCAL REDUCERS

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#1 mattflastro

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 08:09 AM

http://www.astro-video.com/
Long exposure supersensitive Frame Integration Color Video Cameras using the latest Sony ExviewHad II and SUperHAd II CCD sensors, the most sensitive on the market today bar none.
Remote controlled via dual purpose RS485 handremote and PC
Cooled models available
F1.8 Focal Reducers for reducing Meade and Celestron F10 SCT/ACF/EDGE scopes down to a blazing fast F1.8 for use with my astro-video cameras !
This is not a misprint .
Your 8" to 14" SCT can be used with my cameras at F1.8 , faster than Fastar or Hyperstar .
This focal reducer just attaches to the rear cell the same way as normal reducers.
It does not mount in place of the secondary like Fastar . Your scope secondary remains in place and there are no modifications to the scope
.
http://www.astro-video.com/

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#2 germana1

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 10:44 AM

Any idea on prices? Nothing on website?
Pete

#3 budman1961

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 11:20 AM

Maybe some sample images too?

#4 mattflastro

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 11:46 AM

Any idea on prices? Nothing on website?
Pete

Prices are posted on the website , just have to scroll down the pages to see them.
Thanks,

#5 seryddwr

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 12:29 PM

Where does one source the LN-300?

#6 core

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 12:38 PM

Thanks much for the new products/services, the more astro vid stuff the better! - I have a quick question about the actual product/service Astro-Video Systems offer, as I'm reading your home page info and got a little mixed up. As you mention, many components are usually made outside of the USA, and you stated that "I do not resell cameras made by others" - ie, does that mean the cameras you will be selling (the TEC COOLED VIDEO CAM) are designed and built in the US (PCB, soldering, etc) by your company? Comparatively, your currently available mod services are for commercial Lntech/Samsung CCTV's. Also, can I send in my Lntech camera for mods, or do I have to purchase it directly from you?

A quick suggestion - you might consider re-labeling the Low Power Video Camera Modification to something like Entry Level Video Camera Modification; I read Low Power to either mean it takes less power (which it would w/o Peltier cooling) or it's meant for 'low power' viewing/telescopes.

#7 mattflastro

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 01:50 PM

Where does one source the LN-300?

I got them from the manufacturer but people on CN have bought from various sources , there are posts on Video Assisted Astro with first hand details.

Thanks,

#8 mattflastro

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 01:58 PM

Thanks much for the new products/services, the more astro vid stuff the better! - I have a quick question about the actual product/service Astro-Video Systems offer, as I'm reading your home page info and got a little mixed up. As you mention, many components are usually made outside of the USA, and you stated that "I do not resell cameras made by others" - ie, does that mean the cameras you will be selling (the TEC COOLED VIDEO CAM) are designed and built in the US (PCB, soldering, etc) by your company? Comparatively, your currently available mod services are for commercial Lntech/Samsung CCTV's. Also, can I send in my Lntech camera for mods, or do I have to purchase it directly from you?

A quick suggestion - you might consider re-labeling the Low Power Video Camera Modification to something like Entry Level Video Camera Modification; I read Low Power to either mean it takes less power (which it would w/o Peltier cooling) or it's meant for 'low power' viewing/telescopes.


Thank you very much for your improvement suggestions , I'm going to start on them as soon as I have some time this evening .
Until then, here are some answers:
- I do not want to become yet another reseller for some Chinese products. That's why I want to offer my modification services, much like the DSLR guys are doing (Gary Honis, Brent , etc ).
The electronic boards I designed are all made locally (bare PCB made locally and SMD components stuffed locally ). Parts for these boards are bought thru US based distributors , AFAIK . But Digikey, Mouser etc don't really tell me where they get the parts from. We all know there's no Sony CCD manufacturing in the US , or tantalum caps or SMD rsistors. Enclosures from US companies ,and mechanical mods, machining all local . However, I have no way to verify if the enclosures I buy from an American company are made in the USA or not .
- about the low power option, it's called that because it reduces the power dissipation vs. the standard camera and this way it reduces the CCD temp and noise .

Thanks,

#9 johnnyha

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 03:40 PM

Good luck Matt! The market sorely needs an HD astro video cam, it will revolutionize astronomy. From your website I take it you are developing the HD camera as we speak?

#10 mattflastro

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 05:03 PM

Good luck Matt! The market sorely needs an HD astro video cam, it will revolutionize astronomy. From your website I take it you are developing the HD camera as we speak?

Thank you . I agree with you , the more gear the better :cool: I am definitely trying to develop new things and am grateful for the feedback I'm getting from CN .

#11 Atl

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 06:24 PM

Well I just jumped in and gave Matt a chance to see what he can do. Good luck, Matt.

#12 seryddwr

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 10:05 PM

Is there a monochrome equivalent of the LN-300.

#13 A. Viegas

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Posted 25 May 2013 - 08:47 AM

Matt-

Few questions here:

Can you advise where I can buy the LN300 camera and have it shipped to you for modification?

Also I just want to understand that with the RS485 connector, do you supply the cable and is this a telephone type serial with a DB9 that in turn plugs into the typical USB-rs232 dongle?

Do you have a price for your F1.8x reducer?

Given the increased imaging speed with the reducer, at the max 17sec integration, do you see much difference in hot pixels between the normal/advanced (non tec cooled) mod?

Depending on the price for the F1.8x reducer, your normal mod+Ln300+Reducer could be a very compelling buy.

Looking forward to seeing/hearing more.

Al

#14 ASTERON

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Posted 25 May 2013 - 01:53 PM

Hi Matt,

Thanks for trying to develop such innovative products for the astro community. I appreciate your intentions and spirit in this.
I have long wanted to enter the live video astronomy field but I was deterred by the price barrier (for a high quality product like the Malincam etc.).

However, that said, allow me to provide a few comments to help you and the entire astrocommunity turn this into a success story:

1) the first (at least for me) big problem is that anyone who is interested in one of your cameras must buy one and send it to you for modding and shipping back.
For anyone outside the US, this is a big no-no. If I have to buy a camera and have it shipped to me from the US (or China)to Israel, pay for the shipping, pay taxes and customs and VAT on it and then send it to you for modding and pay again shipping from US to Israel, pay again taxes, customs and VAT all over again. The whole concept sounds insane to me.

2) Even if someone will agree to go through the ordeal, do you guarantee that the modding (or at least the IR filter removal ) will be successful without destroying the CCD and voiding the warranty? (If not, there will be a third cycle of shipping back under warranty, taxes customs and VAT again..... You get what I mean). If you are confident in your modding sucess rate, why not sell entire package including a modded tested camera + your Electronics directly to the customer ?

3) To me it would appear that it makes much more sense to Buy an already moded and tested system (including the price of the Camera) Pay the Total cost for the entire package and get the whole thing in a working tested condition while paying shipping and customs only once.

4) I recognize the fact that changing this will force you to buy your own stock of cameras which for a small bussiness may not be very easy. However, You don't have to Buy hundreds of Cameras to proceed (10 cameras will be a start) and if demand skyrockets you can just regard this as a good bussiness practice to have a stock available to you at your own planning and timing.

5) While I am very interested in buying one of your cameras (Preferably a TEC cooled one), I will only do so If I can buy the entire Package including a modified guaranteed camera + controller + Focal reducer from you directly.
I don't mind paying in advance and waiting as long as needed for you to buy and modd the camera, but I will not go through the ordeal of shipping stuff back and forth unnecessarily and paying Taxes, customs and VAT twice.

6) I know you may be hesitant to pile up a stock of cameras but this is the only way it may work for me and for many other amateurs residing outside the US.

I also have a question : where do you source the F/1.8 reducers ?, I dont mean to steal your commercial secrets, but I need to know if such reducers will have acceptable optical quality otherwise what you gain in Camera performance may be lost due to inadequate optics.
I think a F/1.8 focal reducer of High quality is not trivial to make, so I think a few words about the optical specs and general source for such optics (no specific manufacturer name is needed but it would help to know were in the world the reducer is made).
And last but not least, as the proverb says a picture here will be worth a thousand words.
Some pictures taken with the cameras and reducer (with Full resolution) at your website may bring many customers sitting on the fence to a buying decision.
I wish you great success in the new venture ( I really like your technical solution for reducing the noise :jump:)

If you ever intend to sell a ready made package I will be one of your first customers.

Send me a PM if this ever becomes possible :bow: :D

#15 mattflastro

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Posted 25 May 2013 - 02:23 PM

Thank you.

#16 mattflastro

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Posted 25 May 2013 - 02:24 PM

Is there a monochrome equivalent of the LN-300.

No , there isn't . We could make one if there's enough interest though.

#17 mclewis1

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Posted 25 May 2013 - 02:33 PM

Lihu,

I obviously can't speak for Matt and as someone outside of the US I understand your points well.

I'm hoping that buying a LN300 camera and having it directly/drop shipped to Matt and then once modded shipped onto the final customer will work out for many folks. There's apparently no customs/duty on the cameras coming into the US and if I remember from the earlier discussions that the shipping costs were very reasonable so there shouldn't be much of premium to do this. It will of course require Matt to agree to this type of setup.

Warranty work and such is however likely going to be a bit of an issue outside of the US no matter what.

#18 mattflastro

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Posted 25 May 2013 - 02:39 PM

Matt-

Few questions here:

Can you advise where I can buy the LN300 camera and have it shipped to you for modification?

Also I just want to understand that with the RS485 connector, do you supply the cable and is this a telephone type serial with a DB9 that in turn plugs into the typical USB-rs232 dongle?

Do you have a price for your F1.8x reducer?

Given the increased imaging speed with the reducer, at the max 17sec integration, do you see much difference in hot pixels between the normal/advanced (non tec cooled) mod?

Depending on the price for the F1.8x reducer, your normal mod+Ln300+Reducer could be a very compelling buy.

Looking forward to seeing/hearing more.

Al


The Lntech company sells their cameras thru various distributors and vendors. I started this as a modification service because I didn't want to get involved in reselling Chinese cameras , or give people the impression that my cameras are just rebranded Lntech .
I wanted to make it clear from the very beginning that the Lntech cam is just a good pile of parts basically.
They use the Sony CCD's and Analog Devices AFE chips, and that's state of the art today .
But the original camera functions as a surveillance camera. That's where my mods change it into an astro camera by changing the circuitry for the CCD vertical drive, power supply , waveforms, timing and bias.

That being said, I had several requests to get the unmodded cam for people in order to perform my modifications.
I was in touch with the manufacturer and I can get the cameras for anybody who wants my modifications.
I will get it from the vendor and pass it to the customer at cost.

There is no difference in camera hot pixels or dark current due to the F1.8 reducer. There is great improvement indirectly due to the reducer, because being such a fast system , there is no time for the camera to accumulate camera noise and dark current . The limiting factor is only the sky glow due to light pollution at your observing site , or how good your LP filters are.
The circuitry mods and the cooling reduce the hot pixels and dark current significantly , there's a comparison under the "Technology" heading on my website.

The reducer is available now for $299 . This includes the back adapter for the Lntech camera and for the upcoming TEC Cooled camera, which uses T-mount instead of the C-thread of Lntech . I'm not sure the huge reducing ratio is fully explained on my website. What would take 60 seconds with a regular F10 SCT would take 2 seconds with the F1.8 reducer.

#19 A. Viegas

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Posted 25 May 2013 - 03:08 PM

Thanks for the prompt reply!

What do you think is the timeframe for you to be able to offer the HDTV - uber - high end video camera?

Ok, so would you say basically it would be like:

$350 for the advanced and $200 for the basic (assuming here $100 for the LN300 camera) - with you sourcing the camera and selling to the end user a fully modded product?

Lastly, I had asked a question about the RS485 connector -- although I appreciate the little handy remote, realistically I really prefer full computer control. And I just want to make sure that the camera would come with appropriate cable to connect to USB. Lastly, a minor point, but I think you need to throw in the BNC to composite converter as most people will only have composite cables, or at least supply a BNC to composite video cable.

Obviously you are very much at the beginning of the process so there are many loose ends to tie up, but I sense it could be very promising...

Al

#20 mattflastro

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Posted 25 May 2013 - 06:58 PM

Thank you for your comments.
They are all valid points .

The camera modification service for people who already own cameras is a valid approach, because otherwise they'd have to live with its limitations or get rid of it .

There are a large number of people who fall into this category , bought a Lntech or Samsung and would rather have it modified than dispose of it .

I am offering a one year warranty on my modifications , including the IR filter removal .
Once the camera is in my hands, you are guaranteed to receive a 100% working modification with a one year warranty.

Your idea to offer premodified cameras is also a good one and I'm going to include it on my webpage.

If you have me get the camera from Lntech for you and modify it , then the warranty is one year for everything, camera and mod .

In the next few days I will have the new offers up on my site at http://www.astro-video.com , including the complete premodified cams and the warranty info.

The reducers are not sourced from anybody, they are my own design . I designed the reducer in Oslo from LAmbda Research and used off the shelf lenses in the design.
I am investigating a possible patent application for the reducer.
I'll post some spot diagrams and images on my website as soon as I can.

#21 mattflastro

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Posted 25 May 2013 - 08:27 PM

[/quote]

Ok, so would you say basically it would be like:

$350 for the advanced and $200 for the basic (assuming here $100 for the LN300 camera) - with you sourcing the camera and selling to the end user a fully modded product?

Lastly, I had asked a question about the RS485 connector -- although I appreciate the little handy remote, realistically I really prefer full computer control. And I just want to make sure that the camera would come with appropriate cable to connect to USB. Lastly, a minor point, but I think you need to throw in the BNC to composite converter as most people will only have composite cables, or at least supply a BNC to composite video cable.

Obviously you are very much at the beginning of the process so there are many loose ends to tie up, but I sense it could be very promising...

Al [/quote]
I started with the composite video cameras just to place my company on the map . I would be very unhappy if I stopped at this level. I am working on the HD cam but it would be just speculating and wishful thinking to announce a release date right now.
You're correct about the pricing, as the Lntech cams with insured fast shipping are just barely under $100 . I tried the free shipping but it doesn't carry insurance and it takes a random amount of time up to 40 days , not worth the $25 that would be saved.

The remote has a wire terminal block for the 2 RS485 wires that come from the computer . Included but not pictured is the choice of USB to RS485 dongle OR RS232 to RS485 dongle that you have to insert into your computer . Wires are not included due to the varying length and installation requirements. Basically the camera is always remote controlled by the handpad and the handpad gets its commands either from your keypresses OR from the computer RS485 connection .

For the premodified cameras, I could offer a complete package with the modified camera, remote, RS485 dongle, power adapter, twin video plus power cable , BNC to RCA adapter , 1.25" to C-mount nosepiece .

#22 A. Viegas

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Posted 25 May 2013 - 08:49 PM

Matt-

My 2c is to offer the complete package. Make it complete and as close to 'plug & play' as possible. You will gain much more in terms of potential customer interest. Offering the mod-service only limits you only to existing Sammy/Lntech users and sort of CN afficionados who regularly follow the banter on the Video forum. If you instead offer a complete package that is ready to go, I believe you will be casting your net much wider and allowing for more potential customers who will not be intimidated by any looming DIY aspects. Hence, I strongly suggest you offer the complete package, if it carries a slight premium price point, so be it.

Cheers,
Al

P.S. I am likely customer if you go down that route. :jump:

#23 faackanders2

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Posted 25 May 2013 - 10:38 PM

Hi Matt,

Thanks for trying to develop such innovative products for the astro community. I appreciate your intentions and spirit in this.
I have long wanted to enter the live video astronomy field but I was deterred by the price barrier (for a high quality product like the Malincam etc.).

However, that said, allow me to provide a few comments to help you and the entire astrocommunity turn this into a success story:

1) the first (at least for me) big problem is that anyone who is interested in one of your cameras must buy one and send it to you for modding and shipping back.
For anyone outside the US, this is a big no-no. If I have to buy a camera and have it shipped to me from the US (or China)to Israel, pay for the shipping, pay taxes and customs and VAT on it and then send it to you for modding and pay again shipping from US to Israel, pay again taxes, customs and VAT all over again. The whole concept sounds insane to me.

2) Even if someone will agree to go through the ordeal, do you guarantee that the modding (or at least the IR filter removal ) will be successful without destroying the CCD and voiding the warranty? (If not, there will be a third cycle of shipping back under warranty, taxes customs and VAT again..... You get what I mean). If you are confident in your modding sucess rate, why not sell entire package including a modded tested camera + your Electronics directly to the customer ?

3) To me it would appear that it makes much more sense to Buy an already moded and tested system (including the price of the Camera) Pay the Total cost for the entire package and get the whole thing in a working tested condition while paying shipping and customs only once.

4) I recognize the fact that changing this will force you to buy your own stock of cameras which for a small bussiness may not be very easy. However, You don't have to Buy hundreds of Cameras to proceed (10 cameras will be a start) and if demand skyrockets you can just regard this as a good bussiness practice to have a stock available to you at your own planning and timing.

5) While I am very interested in buying one of your cameras (Preferably a TEC cooled one), I will only do so If I can buy the entire Package including a modified guaranteed camera + controller + Focal reducer from you directly.
I don't mind paying in advance and waiting as long as needed for you to buy and modd the camera, but I will not go through the ordeal of shipping stuff back and forth unnecessarily and paying Taxes, customs and VAT twice.

6) I know you may be hesitant to pile up a stock of cameras but this is the only way it may work for me and for many other amateurs residing outside the US.

I also have a question : where do you source the F/1.8 reducers ?, I dont mean to steal your commercial secrets, but I need to know if such reducers will have acceptable optical quality otherwise what you gain in Camera performance may be lost due to inadequate optics.
I think a F/1.8 focal reducer of High quality is not trivial to make, so I think a few words about the optical specs and general source for such optics (no specific manufacturer name is needed but it would help to know were in the world the reducer is made).
And last but not least, as the proverb says a picture here will be worth a thousand words.
Some pictures taken with the cameras and reducer (with Full resolution) at your website may bring many customers sitting on the fence to a buying decision.
I wish you great success in the new venture ( I really like your technical solution for reducing the noise :jump:)

If you ever intend to sell a ready made package I will be one of your first customers.

Send me a PM if this ever becomes possible :bow: :D


Makes perfect sense to get more business sales. Just make customer pay 50% up front and remaining 50% before shipping.

#24 mattflastro

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Posted 25 May 2013 - 11:59 PM

Matt-

My 2c is to offer the complete package. Make it complete and as close to 'plug & play' as possible. You will gain much more in terms of potential customer interest.


Many thanks to everybody who replied here and offered advice .
You guys convinced me that a complete turn key package is needed.
It's actually funny that when I began thinking about making cameras I envisioned exactly a complete camera turn key package.
But I got carried away with the details of engineering the bits and pieces and remained stuck in this engineering/tinkering mode .
The requests I got here for a complete finished product with no DYI and having all the cables, parts , adapters included , were a good wake up call .
A turn key package is easier actually, making identical batches of the same product at a time is much easier and more efficient than dealing with the variables of individual cameras of various models and ages from various customers coming in at random times .

#25 ASTERON

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Posted 26 May 2013 - 03:22 AM

Matt-

My 2c is to offer the complete package. Make it complete and as close to 'plug & play' as possible. You will gain much more in terms of potential customer interest.


Many thanks to everybody who replied here and offered advice .
You guys convinced me that a complete turn key package is needed.
It's actually funny that when I began thinking about making cameras I envisioned exactly a complete camera turn key package.
But I got carried away with the details of engineering the bits and pieces and remained stuck in this engineering/tinkering mode .
The requests I got here for a complete finished product with no DYI and having all the cables, parts , adapters included , were a good wake up call .
A turn key package is easier actually, making identical batches of the same product at a time is much easier and more efficient than dealing with the variables of individual cameras of various models and ages from various customers coming in at random times .


Hi Matt,
Thanks for the flexibility and for listening to what we have to say.
I have another question, are the cameras you will be offering video output only ?
If I read you correctly, the output from the camera will be a video output that will be fed to a Video monitor supplied by the customer.
So the computer connection is just for controlling the camera operation and there is no bidirectional connection between the camera and the computer that will be able to display the video output on the computer (or Laptop) which is controlling the camera operation ?
In such a case, the customer will have to have some kind of video display device or monitor to display the captured integrated frames, or alternatively, some video capture card or device installed on the computer and capable of capturing the video signal from the camera and displaying it on the computer/laptop screen ?

As I am not familiar with the output from the LN 300 or other cameras which you may be offereing , please let us know what configurations will work with the modded camera/controller that you will be offering, and what type (if any) of additional equipment will be needed in order to make a complete, working system live astro-video system capable of displaying the video output.
Many Thanks






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