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Any Mailincam Micro, AVS DSO VS LN-300 Comparisons

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#1 saemark30

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Posted 04 July 2014 - 01:44 PM

There seems to be a lot of words being rehashed about the differences but the only scientific method to demonstrate the superior improvements if any over a stock LN-300 is a head to head image comparison.

There is even debate over whether the menus are the same so I think this topic warrants investigation.
The cost difference is more than $30 if we factor in shipping, taxes and if making a group purchase for a school or club.

#2 barbarosa

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Posted 05 July 2014 - 01:00 PM

I suggested this, but actually it could be quite a project, assuming that someone has or can get on loan, a Micro, and an LN-300 or an AVS DSO 1. It would be nice to test all three cams, however I think that either the LN-300 or the DSO-1 would make for a fair test.

Which brings me to what is a fair test. I think the first requirement is for blind or double blind testing. If possible whoever sets up the gear should not know which cam is used. Those evaluating the images absolutely must not know. That might seem silly, but bias in testing is a powerful thing.

The rest is easy if tedious. Same scope or two identical scopes, same targets, same location, etc. Then it can be, "which is better, number one or number two?" Images from two cameras can be displayed side by side for comparison and screen grabs. WebcamMax or similar software, would allow side by side live comparison on NSN. There is some quality loss on NSN, but whether or not cameras can be differentiated on NSN is itself a test.

Yet I wonder if there is much or even any serious interest in comparing similar cameras. So how about this? On the assumption that this forum is more likely to have Micro owners than LN-300 or AVS DSO-1 owners, I will go on the AVS Yahoo group and solicit volunteers. In fact I think I will post in the Mallincam group also.

I will not ask Rock or Matt for cams, however if both make the offer that would be great.

If it helps I have an SCB-2000 I will loan for comparison benchmark. An Xtreme limited to the same integrations would also make an interesting comparison.

So how about it? Are there Lntech, AVS and Mallincam owners willing to invest a bit of time in this?

#3 ccs_hello

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Posted 05 July 2014 - 11:14 PM

When performing the comparison, please make sure you know what you are comparing with. Example, earlier LN300 is rumored to use the ExviewHAD II ICX672, while later production batches are using SuperHAD II ICX810.

Here is the bonding pad "signature" of my LN300 (purchased around June/July 2012.)
<edit> found this CCD is a 810. See my later post.

Clear Skies!

ccs_hello

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#4 Dom543

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Posted 06 July 2014 - 12:25 AM

Is there any way to tell, without disassembling the camera, which sensor is in it? Do you know, if your "signature" is from and Exview HAD or from a Super HAD?

I believe that the Samsung SCB-2000 also has two versions.

Thank you,
--Dom

#5 David B in NM

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Posted 06 July 2014 - 03:03 AM

Dom,

If you have a good magnifying glass you can tell without disassembling the camera.

Tilt the camera slightly in front of you and you will see the top side. Turn the camera 180 degs the other way and you will see the other side.

I can see ccd signatures with the magnifier on my soldering station.

David B in NM

#6 A. Viegas

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Posted 06 July 2014 - 07:04 AM

CCS & David -- is the sony CCD model printed on the chip when you tilt it or do we have to look at the wire bonding pattern like in the magnified picture CCS posted? I am assuming that is the older chip, not the 810?

Al

#7 David B in NM

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Posted 06 July 2014 - 07:15 AM

Al,

You look at the pattern of the wire to gold tab attachment.

Added: Maybe I'm wrong, but I believe the signature for CCS's ccd is a Super HAD II (ICX810/811).

David B in NM

#8 David B in NM

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Posted 06 July 2014 - 07:31 AM

I'm basing it on this information. Click on the specs tab and then the images tab. In the images tab you'll see the signature of the ICX810/811 if the company has posted "correct information".

Added: I just noticed a pic of it appears on the same page when you open the link below if you scroll down.

Link To ICX810/811 Board Camera Specs and Images

David B in NM

#9 A. Viegas

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Posted 06 July 2014 - 07:56 AM

Wow is that $27 board the actual LN300 stock board and components?

Al

#10 David B in NM

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Posted 06 July 2014 - 08:15 AM

Al,

That's an Effio board. Not anything like the LN300 board. If I recall the seller on ebay (Miracle Cottage) did offer the LN300 board camera only (2 pcs) and the price was about $40 (I think).

If you go to the auction site and type in "Astronomy Camera" you'll see a listing for the LN300. Click on it then go to the sellers other listing.

IMHO, they have a dome camera for $50 that may be of use to those looking for an All Sky Cam. I've used domes with Super Had II ccds and OSD (256 sens up) and they work very well during meteor season. The black you see inside the dome is normally an insert. Mine (not this camera model though because I don't own it) have always snapped out after you remove the dome. The dome should be clear plastic. You can purchase M12 Fisheye lenses for them on the same auction site. I wouldn't leave the camera outside 24/7, but for viewing the entire sky when you're out there (for meteors) mine have served their purpose quite well.

David B in NM

#11 ccs_hello

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Posted 06 July 2014 - 08:48 AM

I'm basing it on this information. Click on the specs tab and then the images tab. In the images tab you'll see the signature of the ICX810/811 if the company has posted "correct information".

Added: I just noticed a pic of it appears on the same page when you open the link below if you scroll down.

Link To ICX810/811 Board Camera Specs and Images

David B in NM


Per spec, it is using an ICX810 and its DSP is NextChip 2090.

A board-only version of the LN300 can be found http://www.aliexpres...D-CCD-Board-... for $45.39 shipped.

My main point is comparing a SuprHAD II with an Exview HAD II on Ha rich objects will not be fair.

P.S. I found the vendor's picture is not necessarily accurate nor consistent (roll a dice.) Since ICX810 and ICX672 are pin for pin compatible and chip swappable, vendors sometimes just use the part that is available during the manufacturing time.

Clear Skies!

ccs_hello

#12 ccs_hello

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Posted 06 July 2014 - 06:08 PM

BTW, for NTSC super-fine type-1/3" CCD designed for SD video:
ICX672 (ExviewHAD II, 2450mV) was announced around Aug, 2010.
ICX872 (ExviewHAD II, 2800mV) was announced on 2013, seems to be an improved version.
SuperHAD II type is ICX810 (around 2012, 2350mV.)

ICX872 is nice but probably not easy to find (yet).

Attached picture came from a videocam which the mfg spec says it's an ICX872. Who knows :) :)
<edit> it turns out to be a false alarm. Vendor cheated on me.

Clear Skies!

ccs_hello

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#13 ccs_hello

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Posted 06 July 2014 - 09:19 PM

Dug out my Student Microscope and made some adaptation for afocal.

Sadly, found out my LN300 is using a SONY ICX810 :( :(
(See the third post. It's in that picture's lower left corner.)

Clear Skies!

ccs_hello

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#14 ccs_hello

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Posted 06 July 2014 - 09:46 PM

Try one more. Afocal is hard.

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#15 CharlesC

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Posted 04 August 2014 - 10:47 PM

Uncle Rod did a review of the Mallincam Micro EX yesterday.  Looks pretty good.

http://uncle-rods.bl...01_archive.html

 

That said, the LN300 are now for sale on ebay with IR filter removed upon request. $69 /w free shipping

from China (Search ebay for "Camera for Astronomy")

http://www.ebay.com/...=STRK:MEBIDX:IT

 

Mallincam explains difference of MallinCam Micro-EX vs. LN300 here.

https://groups.yahoo...ns/topics/57479

 

Probably worth the extra $30 for Mallincam with remote programming and IC tweaks.


Edited by Charles Copeland, 04 August 2014 - 10:53 PM.


#16 David B in NM

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Posted 05 August 2014 - 06:43 AM

I have both (LN300 and MC Micro) and am awaiting delivery of a DSO-1.  The remote does not come as part of the Micro for the extra $30.  I paid about $150 (with shipping) for my Micro with a hard-wired remote (received a $15 discount during the first shipment Sale Jack H. offered). 

 

I made the Remote (hard-wired via CCS's instructions here on CN) for under $20 for the LN300. 

 

You can buy a cable from the LN300 ebay Vendor for about $8 (shipped) if you contact them.  The joy stick cable offered is plug and play (remove 2 plugs from the front end (unscrew 4 screws to remove the face plate first) then drill a hole in the camera body to insert the cable, then plug in the cable).  I prefer buttons (large ones) on my remote.

 

I've conducted controlled tests between the cameras.  I've found no evidence of any tweaking.  IMHO both are the same model.  The only differences I've seen is the green LED on the back of the LN300 vs the red LED on the Micro and the name Mallincam.  There is some tweaking on the menu options but the sequence is the same as are the image results.

 

The "exclusive" Mallincam WDR claim is also a part of the LN300.  The LN300 pictured on ebay has "WDR" stamped on the camera in the picture.  My camera (ordered on ebay from the same seller) does not have the WDR stamped on it but has the same WDR function.

 

I'd like to add, my the 1/4 inch mounting plate on my Micro is mounted on the wrong side of the camera body.  The name Mallincam appears upside down when I use it.  I believe this occurred during the hard-wiring process for the remote and the face plate was put on upside down IMHO. 

 

Both the LN300 and Micro default to black and white when the AGC is placed in the on position (Low and above).  Because of this, no on-board camera stacking can occur in color.  The Micro Manual even states to put the camera in night mode when stacking images when the AGC on.

 

I believe the Astro Video Systems DSO has been tweaked to allow for full color operation with the AGC on as well as applying the camera's DNR function.  I will validate this once I receive the DSO.

 

In a nutshell, I see no difference in the performance or image results between a Micro or the LN300.

 

David B in NM


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#17 Relativist

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Posted 05 August 2014 - 02:50 PM

David, what kind of side by side tests are you planning? I'm kind of curious how one would test relative sensitivity. In addition, maybe you can confirm which chip you have in the LN300 and maybe the mallincam. The assumption is the mallincam will always have a certain chip, and if I understand correctly the LN300 chip can vary?



#18 David B in NM

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Posted 05 August 2014 - 03:43 PM

Curtis,

 

I am an unbiased and honest person.  You posed the question of sensitivity.  Mallincam makes a very bold statement in regards to the Micro (quoted):

 

- Sony sensitive EXview HAD II  plastic ccd sensor in a 1/3" format can exceed sensitivity up to 40% more than any competitors! ICX672AKA Sensor with micro lens Technology.     End quote

 

Let’s gather some facts.  Sony manufactures all the CCDs used in the Micro, DSO and LN300.  Sony lists the sensitivity of each chip that they manufacture.

 

The Micro uses an ICX672.  Sony specs list the sensitivity as 2450.

 

The LN300s I “first" purchased came with an ICX810 and ICX811.  Not the ICX672.  Sony specs list the sensitivity as 2350.

 

In order to obtain factual data. I contacted the ebay Seller (miracle cottage) and informed them of the wrong chip.  If you look at the feedback for miracle cottage you will see two back-to-entries for the “astronomy camera” on July 26, 2014.  That person is me.  I reordered a camera and paid an additional $5 (off-line) to get a camera with the ICX672 CCD.

 

Astro Video Systems offers the DSO in four CCD models.  They offer the ICX632, ICX638, ICX810 and ICX672 (these are all NTSC, I also believe they offer PAL CCDs too in that series).

 

Sony lists the ICX632 sensitivity value at 3800.  It does not offer the resolution the other chips offer.

 

Sony lists the ICX638 value at 2250.

 

The ICX810 and ICX672 values are listed above.

 

I’m not sure what competitors Mallincam is addressing in the 40% higher sensitivity claim.

 

The 810 vs the 672 is:  2350/2450 or .95 percent (that is point 95 percent).

 

The 632 is higher in sensitivity (but lower in resolution) than the 672.  3800/2400 or 55 percent higher.

 

The 638 vs 672 is:  2250/2450 or .93 percent (that is point 93 percent).

 

As you can see there is some clear misrepresentation of facts on the Mallincam website when it is compared to the AVS DSO or the LN300 CCDs.

 

Testing was conducted under no-light conditions (total darkness) in a controlled area.  A colored wall chart was employed.  The test was conducted at the same time using duplicate lenses I have available.  I see no difference in the cameras at all.

 

A simple question one can ask themselves is if the Micro was manufactured to Mallincam’s specs and they used an engineer at the manufacturer to deliver those specs, why doesn’t the Micro stack in color.  Wouldn’t most everyone want it to be capable of using the DNR function (on-board stacking) in both color and black and white when the AGC is switched on?

 

The same values for gamma and other options exist on both the Micro and LN300.

 

As I said, I see no difference in performance or images between the LN300 and Micro.  I also see no difference in the 810 vs the 672 CCDs I have.

 

David B in NM


Edited by David B in NM, 05 August 2014 - 05:04 PM.

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#19 CharlesC

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Posted 05 August 2014 - 05:03 PM

Rock claims to have RS485 serial control added.  Uncle Rod mentions a PC program and cable was included.  Not sure what is in that cable but must have some type of RS485 converter chip.

 

"All the Micro’s program does is throw up a window on your screen that duplicates the five buttons on the rear of the camera. You use the onscreen buttons to navigate menus and make changes to settings that appear on the video screen not the computer screen"



#20 David B in NM

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Posted 05 August 2014 - 05:09 PM

Charles,

 

You are correct.  I'm sorry I neglected the RS485 control as a feature exclusive to the Micro.  The RS485 is available on the Micro and DSO but not the LN300.  However,  CCS (CN member) recently posted instructions for DIYers for wiring the LN300 for RS485.  There is also another LN model on ebay that has RS485 for several more dollars.  However, it has a larger in footprint than the DSO, Micro and LN300.

 

David B in NM


Edited by David B in NM, 05 August 2014 - 05:10 PM.


#21 barbarosa

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Posted 05 August 2014 - 05:44 PM

David,

 

Your posts above, and the earlier posts by css  hello, do more than bring fact based information and objectivity to this teapot tempest, although that alone is worth several of these. :goodjob: :waytogo:

You are also creating a model / standard / best practice, to better understand and evaluate product claims, from any vendor.

 

Now if I can just understand the practical effect of sensitivity ploted against wavelength. ;)



#22 David B in NM

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Posted 05 August 2014 - 05:55 PM

David,

 

Thanks for the Kudos.  I felt it was time for someone to clear the air and decided I could afford to purchase the cameras.  I actually wanted to do it to see the outcome personally.

 

Readers of this thread,

 

In an effort to identify what I "hope" is a mistake in the description of the Micro on the new Mallincam website, I’d like to present this discrepancy.

 

This is a quote of the Mallincam description for the Micro (taken from the MC website):

 

WDR: Combines two fields which high shutter speed exposure are taking in bright light and low shutter exposure  into one composite image to help see dark parts and bright parts of a image. This feature can extend shutter speed above 17 seconds without saturation. A MallinCam unique system.  End quote

 

In the Mallincam Micro manual:

 

page 22 provides specific directions on setting the WDR for viewing the moon.

 

page 49 states (quoted): This mode provides you with an opportunity enhance objects with large dynamic range such as the Moon.  When the WDR MODE is set to AUTO you can manually adjust the WDR LEVEL to bring out the best of the displayed image.  When WDR is set to ON, the Micro-EX fixes the value.

 

page 79 provides guidance to turn WDR on for viewing the moon and white light sun

 

Page 2 of the Mallincam Micro Menu pdf document states:

 

EXPOSURE

There are four EXPOSURE modes – NORMAL, BLC, WDR, and HLI.

NORMAL – This mode is used for most observing situations. The exceptions are when observing the Sun or Moon – see WDR and HLI below. When this option is selected, there are no sub-menu selections that are available.

 

Pages 2-3 of the Mallincam Micro Menu pdf document states:

 

(Wide Dynamic Range) – This mode is used when viewing the Moon due to this target’s high dynamic range. There are two options available when this mode is selected – AUTO and ON. When AUTO is selected, one can pick the dynamic level value. When ON is selected, the value is fixed.

 

The WDR function has nothing to do with 17 seconds.  One does not integrate a 17 second image of the moon or sun (under white light).  The image would be washed out.

 

Why is it correct in the manual and menu document, but not in the description?  Is it a mistake or an attempt to mislead and increase sales?

 

Links for the above quotes:

 

http://www.mallincam.net/micro-ex.html

 

http://www.mallincam...user_manual.pdf

 

http://www.mallincam...ammicromenu.pdf

 

David B in NM


Edited by David B in NM, 05 August 2014 - 05:57 PM.


#23 CharlesC

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Posted 05 August 2014 - 06:08 PM

Charles,

 

You are correct.  I'm sorry I neglected the RS485 control as a feature exclusive to the Micro.  The RS485 is available on the Micro and DSO but not the LN300.  However,  CCS (CN member) recently posted instructions for DIYers for wiring the LN300 for RS485.  There is also another LN model on ebay that has RS485 for several more dollars.  However, it has a larger in footprint than the DSO, Micro and LN300.

d

David B in NM

 

I am new at imaging and the Mallicam brand.  It is concerning if they are hyping their version beyond its implementation.  Even if nothing was done other than RS485 and being a US distributor would be worth $30 alone.  Otherwise you are stuck ordering out of China with extremely difficult time dealing with warranty or DOA problems.  Of course, that is contingent on Mallicam being a reputable company.  Seems documentation is murky on what is included.  It mentions RS485, but no cable is mentioned, and no connector is visible.  Its not clear at all how it works.  


Edited by Charles Copeland, 05 August 2014 - 06:09 PM.


#24 David B in NM

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Posted 05 August 2014 - 06:32 PM

Charles,

 

You're correct in the lack of documentation provided with the LN300.  They enclose a simple 1 page (one-sided) manual in the box.  The Mallincam Micro Manual is very well done and easy to understand. 

 

The Micro is a very nice camera and performs very well.  So does the LN300.  The shortfall for both is they are not capable of color imaging when you turn the AGC on.  If you're satisfied with monochrome images when you need to use the AGC they do put out crisp and clear images when the DNR is engaged.

 

In a few days I hope to have an Astro Video Systems DSO-1 in my hands.  Perhaps it will allow color images with the AGC on.

 

I use hard-wired remotes.  I see little benefit in using up a USB port on my netbook.  It also allows me the opportunity to take only a monitor outside vs a computer if I only wish just to view objects.

 

The base model cameras (Micro/DSO/LN300) come with the bodies only.  Everything else is additional.

 

David B in NM



#25 mclewis1

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Posted 05 August 2014 - 06:50 PM

Charles,

 

What Rock has done with the Micro-EX is use the connector that's commonly used for the Auto-Iris control on security cameras for the RS485 (computer) and remote control (manual) connection .

 

The RS485 cable uses 3 wires and has an RS485 to RS232 adapter/converter on one end. That then becomes a rather standard DB9 RS232 serial connection. You can then connect directly to a real RS232 serial port on a PC (rare these days) or into a USB to RS232 adapter and then into a PC USB port. Alex at Zengineering builds Mallincam control cables and in addition to the regular Micro-EX control cable has a version that incorporates the RS485 adapter with a USB adapter so it plugs directly into a USB port (no RS485 to RS232 in the middle).  http://zengineering....roCablesAll.htm

 

Your comments about the value of the Micro-EX are IMHO right on (that it would sell just fine with the obvious value add he's incorporated into the camera). If you are at all concerned about the additional marketing comments I would ask Rock directly via email or on the Yahoo group.

 

One of the things that I've seen time and time again are competitive statements that don't clearly define the context of the statements, the details of the competitive product or the conditions of the comparison. Vendors tend to be very uncomfortable discussing their competitors in detail, this certainly isn't something unique to Rock, it's quite common in every marketplace.








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