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Help on choice of camera requested

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#1 Andy D

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 05:35 PM

Hi all,

First I should say that I have virtually no knowledge of video astronomy. That's been one branch of astronomy that hasn't interested me until now. However our local astronomical soc are looking at getting a video camera for the weekly 'public nights' (along with visual viewing with an AC refractor and 10" dob). You're probably going to ask what the budget is, but with grants that has yet to be decided and if we put forward a proposition there's a good chance it would be succesful. I've had a look at the 'sticky' notes here, but looking at the 'freq Q&A' for technical advice it seems dated. Cameras that I've been looking at are : Mallincams, GSTAR-EX2, the WATEC cameras. Mintron cameras and the Orion StarShoot Deep Space video camera II. The camera has to be capable of PAL o/p.

Looking at the Orion camera mentioned above I see it has a Mintron 72S85HN-EX-R, 768x494 chip. Does this mean it won't be as sensitive as the cameras with Sony EX view chips ? There aren't that many people with video set ups in NZ that I know of. I saw a Mallincam (don't know what type it was) about 4 years ago at a star party, and saw what it was capable of. However I've also heard that another astro soc are disappointed with their Mallincam (again type unknown). I know that the Carter Obs in Wellington are happy with their Orion camera (of the type mentioned above). But I don't think they've 'pushed it' v much and just used it for solar/lunar & globs. We have some pretty bright globs in the SH skies, we don't bother looking at M13 ;-) Reading the blurb on the Orion camera they claim it can do a lot more than is mentioned above. The camera would be behind a 14" SCT most of the time. But it's possible that the camera could also be used on a shorter FL scope piggybacked on the same permanently mounted tracking mount.

Has anybody any suggestions of other cameras we should be looking at. Has anybody any comments about what the cameras are capable of, partic the Orion camera as that would be relatively easy to obtain, however we would be looking at performance first.

Open to any suggestions or redirections for further reading on CN info

andy

#2 Dwight J

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 06:30 PM

It would be helpful for you to catch some of the cameras in action on NightskiesNetwork. Free to watch as a guest and free to register to engage in the chat. You can see deep sky and solar system objects displayed and ask questions of the users. In my case, our astro club uses a Mallincam Extreme for outreach and university astronomy program labs. The key is sensitivity so that exposures are short enough so interest is not lost waiting for long integrations and that the results are worth waiting for. I also capture images to DVD for use on cloudy nights (pun intended). Our camera stay attached to our C14 all the time and is ready to go at a moments notice. BTW, Mallincams are PAL compatable. In terms of performance, Mallincams are tops. They may be outperformed by $10,000 cameras but I have never seen those in action before. If budget is a concern the new Mallincam JR Pro may be worth a look.

#3 Relativist

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 09:38 PM

I'm currently trying to decide on an entry level camera. From what I've seen if you check out NSN it will give you an idea of what's out there and what people are using. From what I've seen on NSN, with the proper budget the simplest way to get very good views fast is the MC Extreme along with the Miloslick software.

That said, the best advice was already given IMO, check out NSN and see for yourself!

I'm currently contemplating either the MC JR PRO or a Lodestar Color for video astronomy.

#4 Andy D

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 11:15 PM

Hi Dwight / Curtis, Thanks for the info. Have registered at NSN

andy

#5 JimT

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Posted 19 October 2013 - 08:48 AM

Andy

Hope you learn a lot and find what you need from NSN.
I think you can just don't be shy ask questions in the chat.

#6 Stew57

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Posted 19 October 2013 - 09:13 AM

The VSS does not need any software to operate. It may be a bit easier to use than the extreme. It only goes to 112 seconds but that is really plenty for most objects.

#7 Dwight J

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Posted 19 October 2013 - 10:58 AM

I most often use the wireless controller for the Extreme Mark when doing outreach. No computer required.

#8 rmollise

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Posted 19 October 2013 - 12:55 PM

Hi all,

First I should say that I have virtually no knowledge of video astronomy. That's been one branch of astronomy that hasn't interested me until now. However our local astronomical soc are looking at getting a video camera for the weekly 'public nights' (along with visual viewing with an AC refractor and 10" dob). You're probably going to ask what the budget is, but with grants that has yet to be decided and if we put forward a proposition there's a good chance it would be succesful. I've had a look at the 'sticky' notes here, but looking at the 'freq Q&A' for technical advice it seems dated. Cameras that I've been looking at are : Mallincams, GSTAR-EX2, the WATEC cameras. Mintron cameras and the Orion StarShoot Deep Space video camera II. The camera has to be capable of PAL o/p.

Looking at the Orion camera mentioned above I see it has a Mintron 72S85HN-EX-R, 768x494 chip. Does this mean it won't be as sensitive as the cameras with Sony EX view chips ? There aren't that many people with video set ups in NZ that I know of. I saw a Mallincam (don't know what type it was) about 4 years ago at a star party, and saw what it was capable of.


Avoid the Orion camera. It's limited to a 4-second exposure, and that's just, well, limiting. For just a little more you can have the much more capable Mallincam Junior Pro. You can read my review here.

#9 Stew57

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Posted 19 October 2013 - 02:17 PM

I forgot about the remote. I don't have one for my x2. When I don't want a pc tagging along I have always used the VSS. Thanks for the reminder.

#10 David Pavlich

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Posted 19 October 2013 - 05:46 PM

Hi all,

First I should say that I have virtually no knowledge of video astronomy. That's been one branch of astronomy that hasn't interested me until now. However our local astronomical soc are looking at getting a video camera for the weekly 'public nights' (along with visual viewing with an AC refractor and 10" dob). You're probably going to ask what the budget is, but with grants that has yet to be decided and if we put forward a proposition there's a good chance it would be succesful. I've had a look at the 'sticky' notes here, but looking at the 'freq Q&A' for technical advice it seems dated. Cameras that I've been looking at are : Mallincams, GSTAR-EX2, the WATEC cameras. Mintron cameras and the Orion StarShoot Deep Space video camera II. The camera has to be capable of PAL o/p.

Looking at the Orion camera mentioned above I see it has a Mintron 72S85HN-EX-R, 768x494 chip. Does this mean it won't be as sensitive as the cameras with Sony EX view chips ? There aren't that many people with video set ups in NZ that I know of. I saw a Mallincam (don't know what type it was) about 4 years ago at a star party, and saw what it was capable of.


Avoid the Orion camera. It's limited to a 4-second exposure, and that's just, well, limiting. For just a little more you can have the much more capable Mallincam Junior Pro. You can read my review here.


I just saw the videos that Jack Heurkamp did with the Jr. Pro at the video camera star party (forgot the real name) and it looked terrific. Surprisingly, the standard chip does better for color.

David

#11 Dwight J

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Posted 19 October 2013 - 06:14 PM

My take on the standard chip too David.

#12 Andy D

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 01:30 AM

Thanks for your help everybody. We (New Plymouth A.S.) have decided on the Mallincam Jr Pro plus DSS. It will be the color chip. My Q is whether we should get the std Sony chip or the EXview HAD. I was surprised to see Dwight's & David's comments about the std chip being the better one for color. Is this the general concensus on this matter. Sorry to question people's comments but this is other people's money we're spending here so want to get it right. Thanks for your help

#13 Dwight J

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 02:00 AM

The standard chip is less sensitive so the colors don't over-saturate and it is less noisy with less amp glow. Really just a matter of taste. Others prefer the improved sensitivity of the EXVIEW HAD chip. I personally like richer colors and don't mind going extra time to "catch up" to the EXVIEW.
Glad to see you have bought a camera. Now start to have fun. The public eat up astrovideo and many take pictures on their phones of the screen. Astrophotography for the masses.

#14 Dragon Man

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 07:38 AM

Andy, I have both chips.
The Standard in a Mallincam Xtreme and the Ex-View in a Samsung SCC-A2333 (SCB-4000)[cooled].

What I have found is that the standard chip (even though it is a Class 0) gives a tidier image with far less noise.
The Ex-view in the Samsung, although noisier, gives an image faster though, which makes it better for heavily light polluted skies. That is it's advantage.
But for dark skies, or only slight light pollution, the Standard seems to give a better result.

If you have bad light pollution or intend to take the set-up onto the streets for Outreach, then the Ex-view would help.

But if your club spot is dark or not too spoilt, then the standard will do fine.

These are my experiences. Others may have different results.






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