Return to the Cloudy Nights Telescope Reviews home page


Astrophotography and Sketching >> Solar System Imaging & Processing

Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | (show all)
zAmbonii
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 01/19/08

Loc: Ypsilanti, MI
Going mono + heads up for cheapskates
      #5316325 - 07/13/12 05:07 PM

Just put in an order for a mono camera. I'm not going to go full hog on the filter wheel and other stuff, but I ran across a deal that I couldn't pass up and would like to share with the rest of ya.

I have an ebay search that will throw me an rss feed update if anyone posts a sale/auction for anything related to TIS or Pt. Grey, just in case I can see a really good deal on stuff. Yesterday something interesting popped up and I jumped on it.

These guys apparently have a raft of Firefly MV mono cameras (752 x 480) for sale at the whopping price of.....$25. They replied to me yesterday that the shipping to the US would be about $8-9.

Piotr has tested the color and mono versions of the camera and I said "why not?" It looks to be good for some sunspot and lunar imaging and may give it a shot on Jupiter when it starts to get higher in the sky. I think it would good for trying out some more ISS transit captures....especially when I can capture at 60fps.

May give it a shot to see how it works for an autoguider for my deep space imaging. Looks like the shutter is limited to 1/2s max though. Might not have to ditch the DSI I if it doesn't work out.

From the ebay page, it looks like they may have like 400+ of them available. I'll let ya know how it goes when it arrives.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
PiotrM
Post Laureate


Reged: 01/03/10

Loc: Poland
Re: Going mono + heads up for cheapskates new [Re: zAmbonii]
      #5316380 - 07/13/12 05:43 PM

For that price... The only thing Firefly 0.3 lacks is high gain. For Sun or Moon it's not a problem, but for Saturn it's a big issue, and for Jupiter at higher f-ratios (~f/20) probably also.

But for that price you can start shooting mono luminance images. Orange visual filter for planets, orange/red visual for Moon and green/Solar Continuum/yellow 590 filter for white light Sun.

If you want a best possible, fully operational mono setup - get a different camera


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
UmaDog
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 09/15/10

Loc: Long Island, NY
Re: Going mono + heads up for cheapskates new [Re: PiotrM]
      #5316651 - 07/13/12 09:49 PM

Yes, let us know. I paid 10 times in the past, so I'm somewhat suspicious of this...

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
MessiToM
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 12/21/09

Loc: Huntingdon PA
Re: Going mono + heads up for cheapskates new [Re: UmaDog]
      #5316844 - 07/14/12 12:25 AM

That IS tempting

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
rgrossen
newbie


Reged: 08/11/11

Re: Going mono + heads up for cheapskates new [Re: zAmbonii]
      #5317880 - 07/14/12 06:20 PM

Tempting for sure, but I don't see how it will mount to a scope. It looks different from the ones shown on the Point Grey web site.

Richard


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
PiotrM
Post Laureate


Reged: 01/03/10

Loc: Poland
Re: Going mono + heads up for cheapskates new [Re: rgrossen]
      #5317968 - 07/14/12 07:33 PM

They have a lens that has to be unscrewed. Also they seems to not have the C-mount thread so the 1,25" nosepiece adapter would have to be glued to the camera somehow

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
zAmbonii
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 01/19/08

Loc: Ypsilanti, MI
Re: Going mono + heads up for cheapskates new [Re: PiotrM]
      #5318105 - 07/14/12 09:36 PM

Yea, I may have to be creative in mounting the camera. I was just poking around the Point Grey site and for their OEM stuff, they had boards that either had the microlens mount (like the one in the ebay sale) or a CS mount attached to the board.

While searching, I found someone who contacted Point Grey about getting a CS mount, but they wouldn't sell him one (this was in 2008). I have an old holder for a barlow that I may be able to attach to the outside of the case. We'll have to see how it goes when the camera arrives.

Who knows. It is possible that the threads for the microlens are the exact same threads that are on my SPC900NC that I have. In that case, I just can use the camera adapter I have for that on this camera.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
zAmbonii
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 01/19/08

Loc: Ypsilanti, MI
Re: Going mono + heads up for cheapskates new [Re: zAmbonii]
      #5329695 - 07/22/12 12:25 PM Attachment (132 downloads)

The camera came in yesterday and after getting everything installed, the camera reads as a FMVU-03MTM just as expected. Firefly MV mono camera. Also just as expected, the lens screws out (has the ir cut filter in the lens), and my nosepiece adapter for my spc900nc screwed directly into the threads the lens came out of.

Easiest mounting solution would be to get a Toucam adapter or SPC900nc adapter. The toucam adapter may be a little better because the extra length is not really needed. Just need to be a slight bit careful because of the narrow support when attached. That is not that much of a problem because the camera is so small and so light (the case is plastic). Was really surprised just how small and light the camera is.

BTW, anyone worried about the camera, it looks like it is "new old stock". The camera came in an unopened package and was most likely a custom batch (has a unique part number) that could not have been returned or resold by Point Grey.

Tried to do some testing, but there really wasn't much to test it on yesterday. The sun is nearly void of sunspots, and the moon is thin and bathed in daylight . Tried to get some shots of the one sunspot but the seeing was not really good, and seeing only settled down during the last video I took with the FireflyMV. I also took a few videos with my SPC900nc to compare to, but it is really tough because to compare because the seeing was so sketchy.

For the videos I used a Celestron UV/IR cutoff filter. I am not that familiar with Flycap and Firecap so I was winging it with the settings. For the comparison image below, I took the video with FlyCap 60fps, lowest gain, and adjusted shutter to get the histogram about 50%. For the SPC900NC image, I took it at 15fps, and tried to get the histogram about the same place (I believe the shutter was 1/1000). Took 1000 frames and then stacked the best 150 frames for each. Applied the same wavelet setting in registax 5.1 (single alignment point on the sunspot). Used my C6-N + 2x barlow (f/10 ~1500mm) + Baader Astrosolar filter).

Question: why are the file sizes for FlyCap about 3x the size of the ones from FireCap?

One thing to note, it seems that the cameras may be selling pretty well that the people selling have now upped the price To $35 from $25, Shipping for me in the US was $8. This is the new URL

Here is the pic. FireflyMV on top, SPC900NC on bottom. No resizing, just rotation to line up the orientation.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
PiotrM
Post Laureate


Reged: 01/03/10

Loc: Poland
Re: Going mono + heads up for cheapskates new [Re: zAmbonii]
      #5329738 - 07/22/12 12:47 PM

It's cool that the webcam adapters fit in the lens thread.

For the histogram - if you can use settings that will give 80-90% of histogram fill.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
zAmbonii
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 01/19/08

Loc: Ypsilanti, MI
Re: Going mono + heads up for cheapskates new [Re: PiotrM]
      #5329773 - 07/22/12 01:08 PM

I'll have to do that the next time out. I have a tendency of choosing values for the moon and sun to make it look decent (worried about blowing out the stuff like the darker sunspots), but should just trust the histogram and can always adjust the dark points in post processing.

Having settings that makes the image look good on the screen aren't necessarily the best settings for a final image.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
ZielkeNightsky
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 10/01/06

Loc: Denmark
Re: Going mono + heads up for cheapskates new [Re: PiotrM]
      #5329776 - 07/22/12 01:11 PM

Great news - thanks for sharing your experience with this camera.

I've bought a couple myself - at that price I couldn't resist.
2 cameras for $50 + $9 for shipping - That could be the deal of the year.

I'm hoping I can use one for guiding - Need to get rid of the old Qcam5, it's not to stable any more.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
zAmbonii
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 01/19/08

Loc: Ypsilanti, MI
Re: Going mono + heads up for cheapskates new [Re: ZielkeNightsky]
      #5329787 - 07/22/12 01:18 PM

I was wondering about using it for guiding, but it looks like the max exposure length for the camera is only about 1/2 sec. The problem last night is that I couldn't figure out how to get Flycap or FireCap to give me the longer exposure lengths.

I haven't upgraded the firmware on the camera yet either. Just wanted to get a quick test in before I did anything like updating the firmware.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
PiotrM
Post Laureate


Reged: 01/03/10

Loc: Poland
Re: Going mono + heads up for cheapskates new [Re: ZielkeNightsky]
      #5329796 - 07/22/12 01:23 PM

Quote:

I'm hoping I can use one for guiding - Need to get rid of the old Qcam5, it's not to stable any more.




With additional Flycap1 it should be usable in PHD and alike, but also it would require a bright guide scope as it's limited in exposure time (0,5sec unless software can trigger its own exposure timing). I'm using Orion finder-guide-scope and QHY5 sees a lot of stars at 1 sec, so at 0,5 there should be also something for Firefly.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
ZielkeNightsky
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 10/01/06

Loc: Denmark
Re: Going mono + heads up for cheapskates new [Re: PiotrM]
      #5329815 - 07/22/12 01:39 PM

Hi again

Most of the time when I'm guiding I have no problems finding guide stars at 1/2 sec. with the Q5 - So I keep my fingers crossed.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
zAmbonii
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 01/19/08

Loc: Ypsilanti, MI
Re: Going mono + heads up for cheapskates new [Re: ZielkeNightsky]
      #5329841 - 07/22/12 02:06 PM

I'll give it a test with my 50mm finder the next clear night (may be a couple of days). I have my DSI-I color and SPC900NC to compare it to.

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Happy Birthday Takashi
sage
*****

Reged: 11/22/05

Loc: Stockholm, Sweden
Re: Going mono + heads up for cheapskates new [Re: zAmbonii]
      #5329876 - 07/22/12 02:27 PM

Could you also post pictures of the camera (so we all can see how small it is?)

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
zAmbonii
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 01/19/08

Loc: Ypsilanti, MI
Re: Going mono + heads up for cheapskates new [Re: Takashi]
      #5329933 - 07/22/12 03:11 PM Attachment (103 downloads)

Here ya go. Put some other things in the picture to give some size comparison. I have my webcam adapter attached to the camera in this pic (it is the one on the far left )

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Happy Birthday Takashi
sage
*****

Reged: 11/22/05

Loc: Stockholm, Sweden
Re: Going mono + heads up for cheapskates new [Re: zAmbonii]
      #5329939 - 07/22/12 03:14 PM

Wow that is really small! Looking forward to seeing more pictures from you. Then I will decide whether I should jump on this deal as well :-)

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
tim53
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 12/17/04

Loc: Highland Park, CA
Re: Going mono + heads up for cheapskates new [Re: Takashi]
      #5331287 - 07/23/12 01:00 PM

I've ordered two of these as well. Even at $35, that's less than 10 percent of the cost of a new one from Pt Grey. Thankfully, I got mine at the $25 price, too. They haven't arriven yet, though. Should be here in the next day or two, I expect.

I use Astro IIDC and Macs for all my imaging these days (my windows-only cameras I run via VMWare Fusion and Windows 7 on the mac). Milton Aupperle says that Astro IIDC can run the camera up to 0.833 sec/frame, but the website says 8 seconds. That might be a misprint, though. I was planning on using one of these as a finder, and one as an autoguider, depending on how they perform. For autoguiding, Milton suggested binning 4x4 and shooting up to .833 sec exposures could allow guiding on 9th mag stars with an OAG on an 8" SCT.

When my cameras arrive, I'll experiment with imaging Saturn using the MV, compared to the flea2 color camera and Scropion mono cameras.

-Tim.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
PiotrM
Post Laureate


Reged: 01/03/10

Loc: Poland
Re: Going mono + heads up for cheapskates new [Re: tim53]
      #5331302 - 07/23/12 01:09 PM

bin4 with big pixels may not be an efficient solution.

FMVU-03MT can go to only 512 ms according to PGR website.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
zAmbonii
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 01/19/08

Loc: Ypsilanti, MI
Re: Going mono + heads up for cheapskates new [Re: PiotrM]
      #5331681 - 07/23/12 04:40 PM

The larger chip version of the MV can do 8s, but the smaller chip version is only reported to do 512ms max.

Finally played around last night and was able to get the longer exposures and was able to get it to work in PHD guiding.

The trick to get it to work is to do two things.
1) download and install the FlyStream Driver
2) download and install FlyCapture 1.8 version of the software

It didn't work for me at least in using the 2.2 version of FlyCapture. Just make sure that you install 1.8 in a different directory from the 2.2 version.

With Flystream and Flycapture 1.8 installed, the camera would be recognized in programs like K3CCDTools and PHD guiding. You need to open up FC 1.8 and control the settings there. I was able to get a shutter speed up to the 0.833ms like Tim said...BUT there is a lot of constant background signal. Very noticeable at no gain, and very horrible looking at max gain. I should take an image to show how bad it is. It is making me wonder how well it would work as a guidescope. In PHD guiding I did a dark frame subtraction, but it really left holes all over the place.

Wanted to get out last night and do a comparison and see how it worked as a guidescope, but it took me a while to figure out how to get the long exposures and by the time I did, clouds had rolled in. I might have a chance to do so tonight.

BTW, the camera seems to get quite warm on the back case after running it for a while.

Edited by zAmbonii (07/23/12 04:43 PM)


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
tim53
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 12/17/04

Loc: Highland Park, CA
Re: Going mono + heads up for cheapskates new [Re: PiotrM]
      #5332400 - 07/24/12 12:27 AM

Quote:

bin4 with big pixels may not be an efficient solution.




I'll see.

Quote:

FMVU-03MT can go to only 512 ms according to PGR website.




Astro IIDC can run the Unibrain Fire-i cameras at about 1 second exposures even though the manufacturer doesn't say this is possible.

-Tim.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
zAmbonii
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 01/19/08

Loc: Ypsilanti, MI
Re: Going mono + heads up for cheapskates new [Re: tim53]
      #5341200 - 07/29/12 06:26 AM

Wanted to give you all an update on the camera. Just finished an all nighter testing various things (not any type of rigorous stuff like Piotr does, but just stuff to satisfy myself on several things

1) The camera is worth the money just for lunar images. I did a mosaic at prime focus with my C6-N with both my spc900nc and the Firefly MV and the MV just kicked the webcam's butt from here to Tycho. I'll post some pics of everything when I get things processed....may be in a couple of days, my day today is already taken for other stuff.

2) Guiding: Verdict is kinda out. Its not going to replace my DSI. Just not sensitive enough. It may equal or slightly surpass my SPC900NC in terms of picking up stars, but the stars are going to need to be relatively bright. Also I ran into a problem with PHD Guiding. High gain sucks on the camera so there are a lot of static hotish pixels, and the dark subraction in PHD doesn't quite work right. The MV doesnt easily have a way to set a fixed round FPS. The lowest FPS I have been able to obtain is like 1.151FPS. If you set PHD guiding to 1 FPS, then it captures a bunch of single frames, then 2 frames that isn't dark subtracted right, and causes problems.

3) Planetary = Meh Took some images of jupiter and venus and they are just *OK*. Ill go into it later.

need to get some sleep now....catch ya later.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
PiotrM
Post Laureate


Reged: 01/03/10

Loc: Poland
Re: Going mono + heads up for cheapskates new [Re: zAmbonii]
      #5341207 - 07/29/12 06:39 AM

Other first-light from this camera is on http://astropolis.pl/topic/39108-pierwsze-fotki-kamera-point-grey-firefly/page__pid__464851#entry464851

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
luukieboy2
sage


Reged: 05/01/10

Re: Going mono + heads up for cheapskates new [Re: PiotrM]
      #5341408 - 07/29/12 10:16 AM

I'm interested to see how this one performs on Lunar, Solar and Planetary. After a SPC900NC, I was looking for a cheap step up, this could just be it. But does it also performs better on Planets like Jupiter then your SPC? And how much...

Looking forward to you pictures.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
PiotrM
Post Laureate


Reged: 01/03/10

Loc: Poland
Re: Going mono + heads up for cheapskates new [Re: luukieboy2]
      #5341466 - 07/29/12 11:05 AM

Quote:

I'm interested to see how this one performs on Lunar, Solar and Planetary. After a SPC900NC, I was looking for a cheap step up, this could just be it. But does it also performs better on Planets like Jupiter then your SPC? And how much...




At some cases SPC will win (higher gain) and at other FireFly will win (mono, lack of compression and high framerate). For lunar, solar and bright planetary imaging Firefly should win. Pure RGB imaging - probably webcams. Luminance-RGB possible with mono Firefly could however even the results.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
luukieboy2
sage


Reged: 05/01/10

Re: Going mono + heads up for cheapskates new [Re: PiotrM]
      #5341481 - 07/29/12 11:16 AM

Thanks, I think I'm just gonna go for it. The higher framerate without compression and with a mono is what I'm looking for. Usually use my SPC900NC for imaging the sun, the moon and Jupiter. I will use this cam without RGB-filters, only a IR-pass from Baader.

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
tim53
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 12/17/04

Loc: Highland Park, CA
Re: Going mono + heads up for cheapskates new [Re: luukieboy2]
      #5341514 - 07/29/12 11:44 AM

I got my 2 Firefly MVs yesterday, after about a week and a half wait.

I use Astro IIDC on the mac to control my other Pt Grey cameras (FW 400 and 800). So, I first tried controlling the camera from Astro IIDC. The software found the camera, but the video didn't start. Astro IIDC needs the latest firmware update to be installed to run the camera via Windows (I'm running Windows 7 in VMWare Fusion on a Macbook Pro), so I went to the Pt Grey website and downloaded Flycapture, so I could run UpdaterGUI3 and install the firmware update for the MV.

First, I tried running the camera with Flycapture. Everything seems to work fine. But when I tried updating the firmware, I get a "failed" message every time. Anybody else have this problem?

-Tim.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
PiotrM
Post Laureate


Reged: 01/03/10

Loc: Poland
Re: Going mono + heads up for cheapskates new [Re: luukieboy2]
      #5341517 - 07/29/12 11:45 AM

For Moon IR-Pass should be ok. For planets and alike try orange or red visual filters - brighter. For white light solar imaging a filter could help to (like solar continuum).

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
luukieboy2
sage


Reged: 05/01/10

Re: Going mono + heads up for cheapskates new [Re: PiotrM]
      #5341593 - 07/29/12 12:46 PM

I'm e-mailing them this evening how it will be transported and some additional questions. Worth the shot.

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
zAmbonii
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 01/19/08

Loc: Ypsilanti, MI
Re: Going mono + heads up for cheapskates new [Re: luukieboy2]
      #5342448 - 07/29/12 09:58 PM Attachment (97 downloads)

Here is a quick comparison between the SPC900 and the MV. The pixels on the SPC900 are slightly smaller, so the image scale on the SPC900 is about 7% larger. Note: I forgot to put my UV/IR filter on the nosecap so these images are taken with no filter in place.

The MV has a larger dynamic range, and has the added bonus of a max image size of 752x480, the SPC900 has 640x480. I captured the SPC900 @ 20fps here, and the MV @ 30fps. On my laptop, anything above 30fps (at full size) my HD lags in writing. Seeing was a tad above average here.

SPC900 on left, MV on right.

Edited by zAmbonii (07/29/12 09:59 PM)


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
ZielkeNightsky
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 10/01/06

Loc: Denmark
Re: Going mono + heads up for cheapskates new [Re: zAmbonii]
      #5370589 - 08/15/12 07:19 PM

Hi

Finally got to test my cameras.

Upgraded the firmware to 1.6.3.0, just had to select all files to see the ".ez2" file in "UpdaterGUI3"

USB driver 2.3.3.23

FlyCapture 2.2.3.14

60 fps. right away on my W7 64bit laptop with FireCapture, works great.

Guide cam, can't get it to work
PHD, AmCap etc. can't see the camera WDM, FlyStream driver seems not to exits for W7 64bit.

Any suggestions?


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
ZielkeNightsky
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 10/01/06

Loc: Denmark
Re: Going mono + heads up for cheapskates new [Re: ZielkeNightsky]
      #5370610 - 08/15/12 07:39 PM

Well, installed and reinstalled/modified the 1,8 version (checked 32 and 64 bit components) and now I can get frames from PHD guiding.

Used "Camera Dialog" in PHD to get exposures at 0,5 sec.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
sullij1
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 11/08/08

Re: Going mono + heads up for cheapskates new [Re: ZielkeNightsky]
      #5370776 - 08/15/12 09:51 PM

I picked one of these up for solar at 25.00 after a friend brought them to my attention. Glad I did now. Haven't had the chance to try it yet. I will post some filtered solar when I get the oppertunity.

Thanks for the comparisons and opinions. I feel a lil better about the purchase now.

Edited by sullij1 (08/15/12 09:52 PM)


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
PiotrM
Post Laureate


Reged: 01/03/10

Loc: Poland
Re: Going mono + heads up for cheapskates new [Re: sullij1]
      #5371107 - 08/16/12 05:46 AM

Revolution in planetary imaging - someone is selling boxes of Fireflies on ebay :] When do they start selling SWIR cams for $30 ?

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
ZielkeNightsky
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 10/01/06

Loc: Denmark
Re: Going mono + heads up for cheapskates new [Re: PiotrM]
      #5371356 - 08/16/12 10:17 AM

60 fps. second in FireCapture, not bad....



Still working on a prober guide setup. The camera dialogue in PHD gives me a little trouble. I'm not sure I'm getting 0.5 sec. exposures


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
PiotrM
Post Laureate


Reged: 01/03/10

Loc: Poland
Re: Going mono + heads up for cheapskates new [Re: ZielkeNightsky]
      #5371439 - 08/16/12 11:20 AM

From what I remember from Chameleon guiding howto - you set the exposure in flycap 1.* settings, quit and then launch PHD and it should get the exposure time from the settings.

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
zAmbonii
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 01/19/08

Loc: Ypsilanti, MI
Re: Going mono + heads up for cheapskates new [Re: PiotrM]
      #5385445 - 08/24/12 10:55 PM

Been out of the loop for a bit in imaging and haven't been checking in on the CN forums here .

One of the problems I had with PHD and the cam is that PHD guiding wants round framerates and I couldn't figure out how to get a nice and round framerate with flycap. For example, I couldnt get a 0.5 fps with flycap, but something like 0.51 (going on memory here)....so every couple of frames in PHD guiding it would double up on exposures and it would cause problems in the guiding. Couldn't get the dark frames to work right either because that odd frame would get thrown in with the dark frame exposure and throw things off.

I wanted to get some comparison images from my SPC900 and the MV, but couldn't get PHD to work quite right for me...but I think the SPC900 worked better just from judging the exposures....and definitely wouldn't replace my DSI for a guide camera. .

I think I am going to pull the scope out in the morning and do a comparison on Jupiter with the SPC900 and the MV. I also have an ISS Transit of the sun in the afternoon that I am going to see how the MV does on it.

Unfortunately, my normal capture laptop (an older Thinkpad X60) cant keep up with the 60fps the MV can kick out, but it does keep up at 30fps.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Deven Matlick
Vendor - Criterion Machine Co. LLC
*****

Reged: 12/31/05

Loc: Moatsville, WV
Re: Going mono + heads up for cheapskates new [Re: zAmbonii]
      #5401757 - 09/03/12 08:04 PM

Any thoughts on how to get MetaGuide to recognize this camera? I have FlyCap 2.3 and the latest firmware installed.

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
PiotrM
Post Laureate


Reged: 01/03/10

Loc: Poland
Re: Going mono + heads up for cheapskates new [Re: Deven Matlick]
      #5402252 - 09/04/12 01:37 AM

You need also FlyCap 1.X to get the driver that can be used by PHD or similar apps.

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
olivdeso
super member


Reged: 02/20/11

Loc: Paris FR
Re: Going mono + heads up for cheapskates new [Re: PiotrM]
      #5407714 - 09/07/12 04:02 AM

Hello guys, is there any body here who tried Guidemaster?
Because the "on the fly sracking" feature of guidemaster may be interestung for such small exposures,. Stacking 5 or 6 ftames should give a better snr...but not sure it can work with the PG...


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
PiotrM
Post Laureate


Reged: 01/03/10

Loc: Poland
Re: Going mono + heads up for cheapskates new [Re: olivdeso]
      #5408189 - 09/07/12 12:07 PM

Should work. FlyCap 1.X give the WDM driver which can be used by most of that guiding software.

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
vikan
member
*****

Reged: 10/05/10

Re: Going mono + heads up for cheapskates new [Re: PiotrM]
      #5463136 - 10/09/12 11:58 PM

I just bought one of these and i am having trouble installing it on my windows 7 machine.
I installed the flycapture software and connected the camera using a usb cable. The led on the camera lights up but my laptop doesn't see it.
Any suggestions?


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
PiotrM
Post Laureate


Reged: 01/03/10

Loc: Poland
Re: Going mono + heads up for cheapskates new [Re: vikan]
      #5463251 - 10/10/12 01:57 AM

If you have 64-bit Win7 then you need to install both 32 and 64 bit software sets.

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
vikan
member
*****

Reged: 10/05/10

Re: Going mono + heads up for cheapskates new [Re: PiotrM]
      #5463886 - 10/10/12 01:48 PM

i tried it on both 32bit and 64bit machines. I will try installing both on the 64bit system. thanks.

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
morsanimi
member


Reged: 12/16/11

Re: Going mono + heads up for cheapskates new [Re: vikan]
      #5532423 - 11/21/12 02:50 PM

Hello

has anyone tried this camera on other software like MaximDl or something else?


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Mark Swift
newbie


Reged: 12/28/12

Re: Going mono + heads up for cheapskates new [Re: morsanimi]
      #5619635 - 01/12/13 06:50 PM

Guys, check out: http://stargazerslounge.com/topic/155930-very-cheap-pgr-firefly-03-mono-on-eb...

Here you will find links to a Frenhc site that includes ASCOM drivers! Further, a method to boost the gain. It's an awesome guide cam!

Regards from the UK,

Mark


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
PiotrM
Post Laureate


Reged: 01/03/10

Loc: Poland
Re: Going mono + heads up for cheapskates new [Re: Mark Swift]
      #5619679 - 01/12/13 07:15 PM

Firefly is turning out quite nicely. The higher gain can be set by modifying the register entries, but maybe future firmware will give it in a more sane way

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
pippo
member


Reged: 01/12/13

Loc: Paris (FR), Pantelleria (IT)
Re: Going mono + heads up for cheapskates new [Re: PiotrM]
      #5620205 - 01/13/13 05:44 AM

Indeed,
I can resume my present experience in tuning the camera sensitivity using the internal sensor and camera registers.
Have also a look to the discussion (mostly in French) at:
http://www.webastro.net/forum/showthread.php?t=97230

The camera sensor is very similar to that of the qhy5v camera. The qhy5v shows performances similar to those of dmk21:
http://www.cloudynights.com/ubbthreads/showflat.php/Cat/0/Number/3910167/Main...

This indicates that the low sensitivity of the camera is not due to an intrinsic limit of the sensor, but it is related to how the sensor is tuned.

The good news is that the sensor can be tuned using the sensor and camera registers following the manuals:
http://www.isgchips.com/pdf/mt9v022.book_data_sheet.pdf
https://pixhawk.ethz.ch/_media/dev/electronics/cameras/firefly_mv_technical_r...
and
http://www.ptgrey.com/support/downloads/documents/Point%20Grey%20Digital%20Ca...

There are 3 registers that can be used to this goal:

a) register 2C hex of the sensor (discovered by Thx8411): the reference potential of the AD converter. The default setting is 1.2 Volt. The output signal can be increased by a factor x1.2 by putting the value 00 in this register. Indeed such a value reduces to 1.0 Volt the reference potential.

b) the 80 register of the sensor: digital_gain. In the 8-bit mode the digital-gain setting is important because it selects which are bits lost in the 10-bit output of the AD converter to the 8-bit format. However one should use just the x2 amplification (put F8 in the register) to avoid artifacts of interpolation that appear if higher values are used. In the 16-bit mode digital-gain setting is not important since no bit is lost

c) the register 820 hex of the camera (not of the sensor): the analog gain. The gain can be controlled using the camera software. However the gain is limited to 12dB, that corresponds to a 40 hex value of this register. The sensor however supports a maximum amplification of 24dB that it is selected by putting the value of 7F in this register (FF gives the same amplification since only 7 bits are used). The sensor manual discourages to use amplifications beyond 12dB. However I used the gain up to 24dB without apparent damages to the camera.

For guiding a low fps rate is used and a 16-bit mode (limited to 40fps) is to be preferred (and the b tuning is irrelevant). For planetary imaging, when a high fps rate is needed, a 8-bit mode (limited to 61fps) is to be preferred.

The histogram coverage can be increased with all these tricks by a total of 2*2*1.2=4.8 factor!


In practice the registers can be manipulated in this way:

- connect the camera
- open Firecapture
- open Flycap2 and click "configure selected"
- in Flycap2 go in the window "camera registers"
- follow these instructions:

to reduce the reference potential of the AD-converter (amplification x1.2 of signal):
1) in the window "camera registers"
type register (hex) : 1A00
value: 00 00 00 2C
2) click on "write register"
3) type register (hex) : 1A04
value: 00 00 00 00
4) click on "write register"

to increase the digital gain (x2):
1) in the window "camera registers"
type register (hex) : 1A00
value: 00 00 00 80
2) click on "write register"
3) type register (hex) : 1A04
value: 00 00 00 F8
4) click on "write register"

to increase the analog-gain to the 24dB limit (x2 factor with respect to the maximum value allowed by direct gain changes):
1) in the window "camera registers"
type register (hex) : 820
value: 82 00 00 7F
2) click on "write register"

Notice that if you change the gain in the standard way the analog-gain (register 820 of the camera) is set back to values <12dB. Instead the sensor registers 80 and 2C are not modified as far as the camera is on.

- use Firecapture to capture the avi file

Using these tricks, it is possible to use the camera at f/27 and Shutter times as small as 7.6ms and still cover 80% of the 8-bit histogram on Jupiter!

Edited by pippo (01/13/13 08:54 AM)


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
PiotrM
Post Laureate


Reged: 01/03/10

Loc: Poland
Re: Going mono + heads up for cheapskates new [Re: pippo]
      #5620220 - 01/13/13 06:30 AM

Here: http://pmamot.blogspot.com/2013/01/reczne-podwyzszenie-wartosci-gain.html is an example of the higher gain in action.

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
pippo
member


Reged: 01/12/13

Loc: Paris (FR), Pantelleria (IT)
Re: Going mono + heads up for cheapskates new [Re: PiotrM]
      #5620291 - 01/13/13 08:39 AM

Did you use in this example only the analog-gain or also the digital one?

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
PiotrM
Post Laureate


Reged: 01/03/10

Loc: Poland
Re: Going mono + heads up for cheapskates new [Re: pippo]
      #5620292 - 01/13/13 08:40 AM

Thats my friend website. He only changed the gain at 820 hex.

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
pippo
member


Reged: 01/12/13

Loc: Paris (FR), Pantelleria (IT)
Re: Going mono + heads up for cheapskates new [Re: PiotrM]
      #5620313 - 01/13/13 09:00 AM

I did not perform a systematic study on this, but I think that, in order to optimize the signal/noise ratio, the following is probably the best strategy:

1) use the x2 digital gain (80 hex register) + the x1.2 reference_potential (2C register) and tune the analog gain to cover the histogram
2) if the 12dB analog gain is not sufficient, use the 820 register to increase the analog_gain beyond the 12dB limit

Will be useful to report systematic tests on these strategies

Edited by pippo (01/13/13 09:12 AM)


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
pippo
member


Reged: 01/12/13

Loc: Paris (FR), Pantelleria (IT)
Re: Going mono + heads up for cheapskates new [Re: pippo]
      #5629384 - 01/18/13 06:04 AM Attachment (31 downloads)

Good news,
I contacted Edelmann, Torsten the author of Firecapture.
He reacted very rapidly in a very effective manner: he has implemented the modification of the 3 registers in the beta version build #37.

You can download the code here:

http://firecapture.wonderplanets.de/betas.html

A big thanks to Torsten for his code and his availability to our community!

To manipulate the 3 registers, there are new controls into the GUI under the additional controls (right-click or left-click on the gamma control to open the popup).

You should see:

1) "Gain2x". This controls the digital-gain. Namely which are the bits not considered in the 10bit to 8-bit conversion. The button puts F8 in the register 80 of the sensor. This corresponds to an increase x2 of the signal (independently of the actual value of the analog-gain).

2) "SignalBoost". This controls the reference potential of the AD converter. The button puts 00 in the 2C register of the sensor. This corresponds to an increase x1.2 of the signal (independently of the actual value of the analog-gain).

3) "GainBoost". This sets the analog-gain beyond the 12dB standard limit. It puts 7F in the 820 register of the camera. This corresponds to a 24dB gain level. For the moment the intermediate values of the analog-gain between 40 and 7F are not implemented. If you need these you should use Flycap2 as described above.
Notice that the off-state of this third button (of just this one) does not work, i.e. it does not restore back the standard level of the analog-gain. However, to restore the standard values, you have just to move the standard control of the gain.


On Jupiter (with average turbulence) at f/27 (with a Mak Intes 703 + barlow, Astrotech Voyager manual AZ mount, I have to manually follow the planet! No space for a bigger mount on my balcony) with very short exposition time, no IR filter, and the 3 new buttons activated:

FPS=61
Shutter=4.998ms

I have the following:

Histogramm(min)=0
Histogramm(max)=178
Histogramm=69%
Noise(avg.deviation)=27.09

Not bad (the histogram)!

Edited by pippo (01/20/13 06:28 AM)


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
chboss
professor emeritus


Reged: 03/24/08

Loc: Zurich Switzerland
Re: Going mono + heads up for cheapskates new [Re: pippo]
      #5632648 - 01/20/13 04:53 AM

Great stuff I have been using this camera since September... nice for such a cheap piece of equipment.

regards
Chris


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
pippo
member


Reged: 01/12/13

Loc: Paris (FR), Pantelleria (IT)
Re: Going mono + heads up for cheapskates new [Re: chboss]
      #5632675 - 01/20/13 06:49 AM

The performances/price ratio is close to infinity! I am considering to buy a second one...

Edited by pippo (01/20/13 11:10 AM)


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
zAmbonii
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 01/19/08

Loc: Ypsilanti, MI
Re: Going mono + heads up for cheapskates new [Re: pippo]
      #5633192 - 01/20/13 01:16 PM

I had put aside the MV after my first couple of times out because of the gain issue. I need to give it a try again to see if I can get better results! Now if the weather will cooperate some, I would be able to do so.

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
pippo
member


Reged: 01/12/13

Loc: Paris (FR), Pantelleria (IT)
Re: Going mono + heads up for cheapskates new [Re: zAmbonii]
      #5634296 - 01/21/13 01:56 AM

I have both the spc900nc and the Firefly and I did some comparative test. Without the register manipulation on planets, the low-light performances of the Firefly are competitive with those of the spc900nc only if the two cameras are used without the IR filter.

However the situation is radically changed with the 3-register manipulation. Indeed with the three button activated, the covered histogram is amplified by a factor of 4.8. The performances of the Firefly become by far superior with respect to those of the spc900nc (in term of the signal/noise ratio for a given shutter time).

I suggest you to always activate the "Gain2x" and "SignalBoost" buttons, and to play with the standard gain-control to cover 60-80% of the histogram. Just in the case that the maximum gain is not sufficient to cover the histogram, the third button "GainBoost" should be used.


Edited by pippo (01/21/13 05:34 AM)


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Mark Swift
newbie


Reged: 12/28/12

Re: Going mono + heads up for cheapskates new [Re: pippo]
      #5639398 - 01/23/13 06:39 PM

Hello Pippo,

Mark here off the French forum site :-)

Okay, so I've tried the latest Firecapture Beta... I'm some what confused though. Using FlyCap2, I get great result, little noise and a very bright image! Using Firecapture beta however, my results are not so good, the image is darker and there is a lot of noise (If I use the dark frame feature I lose a lot of detail!).

Do you know what causes this?

Question, if we are running x64, do we need to install the x32 version, or will the x64 version work with the new Flycapture beta?

Mark

P.S. Ignore me, I failed to take into account the night mode in firecapture and the effect it had on illumination in the dark, ha ha!

Edited by Mark Swift (01/23/13 07:39 PM)


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
pippo
member


Reged: 01/12/13

Loc: Paris (FR), Pantelleria (IT)
Re: Going mono + heads up for cheapskates new [Re: Mark Swift]
      #5639935 - 01/24/13 01:55 AM

Dear Mark,
could you be more specific?

I get identical results with flycap2 (+register manipulation) and firecapture beta version (if identical settings are used in the two codes).

Could you verify that the settings are identical?

Is the gamma button switched off in firecapture (it increases a lot the noise)?


What do you mean by:

"my results are not so good, the image is darker and there is a lot of noise"

Are you referring to the action of the 3 additional buttons or the "image is darker" with respect to that of flycap2 already without the buttons activated?

Did you try the effect of each button individually?

Can you post a screenshot (with the histogram activated) that illustrates your problem.

Edited by pippo (01/24/13 03:35 AM)


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Mark Swift
newbie


Reged: 12/28/12

Re: Going mono + heads up for cheapskates new [Re: pippo]
      #5640045 - 01/24/13 05:48 AM

Hello Pippo,

All fixed now!

I've installed 2.4.2.8 x64 and x64 and can get the camera working in Firecapture and PHD (PHD requires you to pick WDM camera).

Does anyone have any experience getting PHD to work, i.e. exposure times etc? Is it better to use the ASCOM drivers here? http://pludov.free.fr/ascom_firefly.html ? I'm not familiar with the software and would be grateful of any assistance, Firecapture on the other hand seems pretty straight forward!

I have 2 cameras and plan to use 1 for guiding and 1 for planetary...

Update: It seems the ASCOM drivers do not work correctly under Windows x64. I have FlyCapture x32 and x64 installed, but when trying to connect to the camera using ASCOM diagnostics I get an error:

Connect Failed...Could not load file or assembly 'FlyCapture2Managed_v100, Version=2.3.3.18, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=76c6583b4a4585f4' or one of its dependencies. The system cannot find the file specified.

Can anyone do this successfully?

Mark


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
pippo
member


Reged: 01/12/13

Loc: Paris (FR), Pantelleria (IT)
Re: Going mono + heads up for cheapskates new [Re: Mark Swift]
      #5655521 - 02/01/13 03:07 AM Attachment (47 downloads)

I post an other image of Jupiter + Europe taken with my un-drive alt-az (manual) mount on the 30th of Jan 2013 a mak intes 703 (7") at f/26.5 with a fair turbulence (pickering scale 5) and an IR filter

http://www.damianpeach.com/pickering.htm

FPS=60
Shutter=16.15ms
FPS=3051 (off)
GainBoost=0 (off)
Brightness=140
Exposure=7
SignalBoost=0
Gain=935
Gain2x=0
Gamma=0 (off)
Histogramm(min)=0
Histogramm(max)=139
Histogramm=54%
Noise(avg.deviation)=11.07

Edited by pippo (02/01/13 03:08 AM)


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
ourobouros2k2
sage


Reged: 11/10/11

Loc: okc area, oklahoma
Re: Going mono + heads up for cheapskates new [Re: pippo]
      #5684140 - 02/16/13 07:50 PM

I almost pulled the trigger on this as a mono imager for use with my coronado pst, however after reading Piotr's review, it was evident that this camera is prone to newton's rings interference. My current Orion SSAG autoguider (QHY-5) has the same issue with newton's rings, and no amount of twisting the camera eliminates them and they are present no matter what power I use. I assumed it was due to the IR cut filter.

My question is, after removing the lens on the firefly that has the IR cut filter, is the newton rings interference still present and if so, does anyone know a viable workaround? Money is tight right now and I can't get the imager I want and this would be a great temporary solution while I save for an AS120MM or similar.

thanks,


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
PiotrM
Post Laureate


Reged: 01/03/10

Loc: Poland
Re: Going mono + heads up for cheapskates new [Re: ourobouros2k2]
      #5684309 - 02/16/13 09:44 PM

It's related to Micron/Aptina sensors. Firefly and QHY5 use them. The rings are caused by the sensor cover glass which can't be removed. ASI is also Micron based... but those cover-based artifacts don't show up in every sensor of given type.

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
ourobouros2k2
sage


Reged: 11/10/11

Loc: okc area, oklahoma
Re: Going mono + heads up for cheapskates new [Re: PiotrM]
      #5684526 - 02/17/13 01:08 AM

Thanks for the clarification, it looks like I will pass on that one for the time being. I know the rings are on the SSAG and thusly will be on the firefly as well then.

thank you!
Andy


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
pippo
member


Reged: 01/12/13

Loc: Paris (FR), Pantelleria (IT)
Re: Going mono + heads up for cheapskates new [Re: ourobouros2k2]
      #5685529 - 02/17/13 04:56 PM Attachment (26 downloads)

Here an other image of Jupiter + Europe +Ganimede's shadow with the Firefly on the 15th of February.
Mak 703 at f/26 from Paris

Edited by pippo (02/19/13 03:20 AM)


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
pippo
member


Reged: 01/12/13

Loc: Paris (FR), Pantelleria (IT)
Re: Going mono + heads up for cheapskates new [Re: pippo]
      #5688250 - 02/19/13 02:49 AM Attachment (22 downloads)

Jupiter + Io's Shadow + Io, from Paris with the Intes 703 at f/26 and the Firefly on the 18th of Feb 2013:

This with IR-cut filter at at 20:15 UT (21:15 local time)

Edited by pippo (02/19/13 03:57 AM)


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
pippo
member


Reged: 01/12/13

Loc: Paris (FR), Pantelleria (IT)
Re: Going mono + heads up for cheapskates new [Re: pippo]
      #5688276 - 02/19/13 03:33 AM Attachment (19 downloads)

Jupiter + Io's Shadow + Io, from Paris with the Intes 703 at f/26 and the Firefly on the 18th of Feb 2013:

This without IR-cut filter at at 20:31 UT (21:31 local time).

The image with IR-cut filter is more resolved (the Airy disk is bigger in the IR) and with the IR-cut filter the red spot exhibits more contrast (it is darker).

Edited by pippo (02/19/13 03:58 AM)


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
pippo
member


Reged: 01/12/13

Loc: Paris (FR), Pantelleria (IT)
Re: Going mono + heads up for cheapskates new [Re: pippo]
      #5690148 - 02/20/13 03:01 AM Attachment (32 downloads)

Yesterday the turbulence was minimal so I tried to push the focal length to f/35 (with a televue barlow 3x, Intes 703 mak 7", IRcutoff filter and obviously the Firefly MV).


Here is the result without rescaling:

Edited by pippo (02/20/13 03:05 AM)


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
pippo
member


Reged: 01/12/13

Loc: Paris (FR), Pantelleria (IT)
Re: Going mono + heads up for cheapskates new [Re: pippo]
      #5690151 - 02/20/13 03:07 AM Attachment (25 downloads)

And here the same rescaled at 80% to compare with the f/26 images.

Edited by pippo (02/20/13 03:08 AM)


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | (show all)


Extra information
3 registered and 17 anonymous users are browsing this forum.

Moderator:  TG, Starman81, bilgebay, WOBentley 

Print Thread

Forum Permissions
      You cannot start new topics
      You cannot reply to topics
      HTML is disabled
      UBBCode is enabled


Thread views: 5639

Jump to

CN Forums Home




Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics