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AVS - DSO-1 comparison with Mallincam Micro-EX

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#1 A. Viegas

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Posted 24 August 2014 - 09:46 AM

Last night I got a chance to broadcast and compare both the $99 DSO-1 and the $99 Micro-EX.  Both of these cameras are based on the same LN300 box camera.  The testing was done on my CPC11 using a standard Celestron 0.63x reducer.  Conditions were average with high humidity but fortunately no moon, there were some scattered clouds, but overall once my desktop computer decided to cooperate things got off to a good start.   FIrst here are the links to the relevant cameras:

DSO:  http://www.astro-vid...vel-camera.html

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

 

I am much more familiar with the MICRO having had this camera since it first came out over 9 months ago.  I just acquired the DSO-1  so my experience with that camera was less. In any regard I used computer control with both cameras.  On the Micro I purchased a $49 cable that connects to an RS485 dongle and then to a standard serial connector, which I then use a USB-to-Serial dongle.  The DSO-1 came with a more direct USB connection which allows me to not have to deal with a serial dongle.  Both the AVS and the Mallincam cameras also come as complete  kits with video wires, power adapter and nose piece for $199 and $169 - however the AVS camera kit also includes the USB computer control cable which the Micro retails for $40-60 more depending on serial or usb variety.  Hence, apples to apples the complete DSO is $199 while the Micro-EX is closer to $229.

Of course if you already have a power adapter or video cable and nose piece, you just need the camera body for $99 from either merchant.  And you can buy the power adapter and video cables on Amazon for like $10 each in any regard...

OK...  onto the tests....

So what makes these little cameras so great is that they have onboard stacking and noise reduction which does just excellent job on image enhancement.  Both cameras are x1024 which means they go up to 17 seconds of exposure and both have maximum DNR 5 stacking which means 5x17s or about 85s of equivalent exposure integration.  The biggest difference among these two cameras that I noticed was that the DSO can use DNR stacking and display the results in color while the MICRO cannot.  So lets check it out.

DSO -  NGC 7331  x256  AGC High and DNR 5

 

ngc7331 x256 dnr5

 

MICRO   --  NGC 7331   x256  AGC high and DNR 5
 

ngc7331 micro 256dnr
 
DSO - M57  x128  AGC high and DNR 5
 
M57 x128 dnr5 agchigh
 
MICRO - M57  x128  AGC high and DNR 5
 
M57 MICRO dnr5 acglow
 
DSO - M27  x256  AGC High and DNR 5
 
M27 x256 36db
 
MICRO - M27 x256 AGC High and DNR 5
 
M27 MICRO x256dnr5agsamec

 

 

---------------

 

Of course the MICRO can do color, if we do not use stacking and DNR...

MICRO -- M57  --NO DNR - just x1024  or 17s

 

micro M57 x1024
 
DSO -- M57  NO DNR just x1024 or 17s

M57 DSO x1024 B99
 
 
One last feature of the DSO is that it has ZOOM which the MICRO does not...

DSO -  M57   3x Zoom with DNR5
 
M57 3xzoom
 
 
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
Conclusion...    the DSO is a better camera.  no doubt about it.  AVS has tweaked it and for the same $99 there is much better range of colors with DNR than without it.  As you can see from the images above, you really need to use DNR with these cameras to get the best out of them.  


Al

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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#2 John59

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Posted 24 August 2014 - 10:18 AM

Thanks Al!

Thanks for taking the time to put this together.

That was a really great comparison and report.

Very informative and non-biased!



#3 ses956

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Posted 24 August 2014 - 05:45 PM

Can you use your DSO-1 while your scope is not tracking?



#4 Dom543

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Posted 24 August 2014 - 07:07 PM

You can but you will see star tails of length proportional to the exposure. This is so with every camera.

Can be o.k. for moon and planets that require very short exposures.

--Dom



#5 ses956

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Posted 24 August 2014 - 07:15 PM

is there an exposure that can provide a descent image of a DSO while at the same time not giving a star trail length.   Or would a short exposure time like that not provide an image at all?



#6 Relativist

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Posted 24 August 2014 - 07:18 PM

Al great show with that comparison on NSN btw. Can you post a zoomed on crop of the galaxy at 11 o'clock from NGC 7331?

Will you be doing further comparisons? Also, did you find out which chip AVS used?

#7 A. Viegas

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Posted 24 August 2014 - 08:44 PM

Curtis.  The DSO and Micro chip look very similar...   The DSO I think is a 632 or a 638 as compared to,some images posted by CCS here in this forum.  

 

DSO chip

DSO Chip
 
MICRO Chip
micro chip

 

 

 

 

 



#8 ccs_hello

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Posted 25 August 2014 - 06:47 AM

One thing I learned from the show is that

 

when setting AGC to OFF, it will automatically defeat the 3D-DNR setting (if it is set at 1 through 5, not in OFF position) and make it behaving as if it's OFF.

 

Note: 3D-DNR's "3D" means the third dimension, the time.  It means different frames are software stacked inside the videocam body.

 

 

BTW, a great show and device comparisons.

 

Clear Skies!

 

ccs_hello



#9 ccs_hello

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Posted 25 August 2014 - 06:53 AM

Al  hope you don't mind that I sidetrack your thread a bit:

 

ICX810 looks like this

http://www.cloudynig...74312802076.jpg

 

ICX638 looks like this

http://www.cloudynig...perhad-ii-show/

all 3 are ICX638, the 3rd one came from a SDC-435.

 

ICX632 looks like this

http://www.cloudynig...-1408834445.jpg

 

(BTW, 632 and 638 look like the cousin to each other.)

 

 

ICX672 (perhaps) looks like this

http://www.cloudynig...74313124924.jpg

 

 

Clear Skies!

 

ccs_hello


Edited by ccs_hello, 25 August 2014 - 07:20 AM.


#10 A. Viegas

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Posted 25 August 2014 - 08:09 AM

Thanks CCS. Yea very hard to tell them apart... Wish i had a higher power magnifier !

Al

#11 A. Viegas

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Posted 25 August 2014 - 09:16 AM

Hi Curtis 

 

I will try another broadcast this coming weekend.  Unfortunately I a traveling but i only took small jpg files so you can try downloading that picture and see if you can enhance anything, but it's probably Ngc 7336 in theuppers left of the frame

 

Al


Edited by A. Viegas, 25 August 2014 - 09:23 AM.


#12 ccs_hello

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Posted 27 August 2014 - 07:25 AM

...
Note: 3D-DNR's "3D" means the third dimension, the time.  It means different frames are software stacked inside the videocam body.
...

Stock firmware's 3D-DNR has the emphasis on "motion", since it is for a videocam designed to show motion, after all.
It is applying a moving average algorithm while the most recent image has the highest weighting factor in summing/averaging the last 5 images (if 3D-DNR is set at 5.)
 
On the other hand, for astro, stacking is for still shooting.  Equal weighting factor on those 5 (when the setting is 5) images would be a better approach.
I don't have MC Micro or DSO-1 so I don't know if they have done some work in this department (may be one did.)
 
Clear Skies!
 
ccs_hello



#13 Ptarmigan

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Posted 27 August 2014 - 10:10 PM

Cool. Interesting. Sorry if I am a bit off topic, when will Peltier Cooled 960H HDMI output ExviewHad II Video Camera be released? The announcement was in May 2013.



#14 Relativist

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Posted 28 August 2014 - 01:20 AM

Who announced it?

#15 A. Viegas

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Posted 28 August 2014 - 07:16 AM

I will do a broadcast tonight to again test the DSO-1 and Mallincam Micro using greater focal reduction. If the weather cooperates I will start around 9:30pm EST

Al

#16 Ptarmigan

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Posted 28 August 2014 - 09:10 PM

Who announced it?

 

http://www.cloudynig... video camera

http://www.astro-vid...-video-cam.html



#17 ccs_hello

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Posted 28 August 2014 - 11:26 PM

Cool. Interesting. Sorry if I am a bit off topic, when will Peltier Cooled 960H HDMI output ExviewHad II Video Camera be released? The announcement was in May 2013.

Hehe a trick question...  It said HDMI :) :)



#18 budman1961

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Posted 28 August 2014 - 11:52 PM

Hmmmm, smell like vapor-ware to me.....

 

Andy



#19 Relativist

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Posted 29 August 2014 - 01:12 AM

 

Sounds to me like you should post the question on the thread you linked, that way the vendor himself can respond if he's able to. It's a good question. I'd also ask how he's getting HD from a 960H chip?



#20 ccs_hello

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Posted 29 August 2014 - 07:29 AM

I'll say it this way:

the commonly accepted HD means 720P or 1080i/1080p.

720P is 1280x720 and 1080i/1080p is 1920x1080.

 

Both will require a different/higher image sensor resolution to gain the proper image data from the source.

 

 

960H videocam in the NTSC format at most can offer 480P with a slightly better horizontal resolution.

 

BTW, HDMI cable is capable to transmit video signals in 480i, 480p, 720p, 1080i, and 1080p format.

 

Clear Skies!

 

ccs_hello



#21 cbwerner

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Posted 29 August 2014 - 02:43 PM

Folks, let's make sure we stay on topic here (not directed at anyone in particular). Thanks!

#22 A. Viegas

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Posted 30 August 2014 - 01:48 PM

Last night I performed a little more testing of the DSO and Micro-EX.    Although the two cameras appear similar it is evident that the DSO has had significant changes to its firmware which allows for the in-camera image enhancement/stacking in color, whereas the Micro-Ex I believe has the factory firmware like the LN300 -- If someone has an LN300 and can post menu images to compare with these below that would be helpful.   Anyhow, see below the menu item differences:

 

Micro-Ex Exposure Menu:

Micro expose M13
 
DSO-1 Exposure Menu:  (notice the custom "AVSYSTEM" header and the differences in AGC and INTG)
M13 20140829 224555
 
 

Micro-EX Effect Menu:
 

micro effectsTab
 
DSO-1 Effect Menu: (Here notice the addition "Freeze - freezes an image on the screen" and Zoom which is a digital zoom feature
M27 20140829 231356
 
Micro-EX Enhance Menu:
M27 micro enhance menu
 
DSO-1 Enhance Menu (Title changed to ProCamp) - notice "Stack #" vs. DNR and it has a Vignette correction)
M27 20140830 000903
 
The firmware in the DSO has been changed and a few features added of which the ability to do internal stacking in color being the most important.  These are the key differences between these two cameras. 
 

In any event they are both great values for $99 and significantly add to the pleasure of our hobby...  here's a quick picture of Comet C/2014 Jacques from last night using the Mallincam Micro with AGC and DNR5 at x128 on the CPC11 at F4.5

 

cometjacMicro

 

 

 

 

Al

 

 



#23 ccs_hello

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Posted 30 August 2014 - 02:08 PM

Set stacking aside,

I see one key benefit is DSO-1 when its AGC is not set at the "OFF" position, the resulted long exposure images are still in color, while the other two (LN300 and Micro) hardly can accomplish displaying in color (when AGC is in Low/Medium/High position.)

 

Clear Skies!

 

ccs_hello


Edited by ccs_hello, 30 August 2014 - 02:18 PM.


#24 Dom543

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Posted 30 August 2014 - 02:14 PM

Al,

 

Thank you for buying both cameras with your own money and performing this objective comparison. It is great help to the entire EEA community.

 

I am curious, is it possible to change the AGC settings of the DSO-1 from the menu? What is the finest granularity: 1 dB, 6dB...?

 

Thank you,

--Dom



#25 A. Viegas

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Posted 30 August 2014 - 02:35 PM

Dom-

 

The AGC settings in the Micro are Low, Medium, High   and in the DSO they are 12db, 24db and 36db is memory serves.  I do not think there is that much of an increase in sensitivity from "Low/12db" to "High/36db"   in my experimenting the increase in sensitivity seems gradually more in "high/36db" but also the noise reduction is better at that setting.  They are both very inexpensive cameras.  I bet if you look at your eyepiece collection you have probably quite a number of eyepieces that cost more than $99.  For me, when I got back into this hobby I spent over $1,000 on 'quality' eyepieces...  I have subsequently sold my Ethos and Delos and gone mostly video...  looking at my eyepiece case I see I still have probably too many there collecting dust... hmmmm  :hmm:

Al








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