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Equipment Discussions >> Video and Electronically Assisted Astronomy

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Chris A
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 02/03/07

Loc: Toronto, Canada
Re: Mallincam Alternative-Digital new [Re: mpgxsvcd]
      #5212486 - 05/08/12 05:20 PM

The only reason a capture device is requireD is to convert the analog signal to digital so your computer can read the data. Since you are going to be using I imagine your USB 2.0 in order to capture an image to download to PC then you will need Manycam or WebcamMax to lasso the image and display on NSN. Your NSN camera connection would be Manycam or WebcamMax. You would only need a frame grabber if you were using the AV output for live view but that would be only real time and would only be good for the moon, planets or solar.

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Chris A
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 02/03/07

Loc: Toronto, Canada
Re: Mallincam Alternative-Digital new [Re: mpgxsvcd]
      #5212498 - 05/08/12 05:25 PM

No, I do not believe that a ccd/dslr camera could be used the *exact* same way a mallincam can be used for near live viewing. I will believe once I see it and I am very much looking forward to your weekend broadcast on NSN. Could you please share a name so we at least know who is going to be on?

Thank you!

Chris A


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mclewis1
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Reged: 02/25/06

Loc: New Brunswick, Canada
Re: Mallincam Alternative-Digital new [Re: mpgxsvcd]
      #5212508 - 05/08/12 05:30 PM

yeah sometimes owning a Mallincam does feel a bit like you've joined a religion.

We've talked about stereotypes before and it cuts both ways, I wouldn't be overly critical and try to suppose that those vocal folks are being that black and white.

It's never been about what does and doesn't work. It's more about how well something works or how appropriate the technology is. Heck I could make my old Canon 350D appear like a live view camera on NSN with a little scripting.

Many of us are well aware of the newer non SLR digital cameras and how nice they've become. Getting them with removable lenses has been a big step as has the low noise higher sensitivity circuitry that's showing up. Can you get nice live views with them? Sure. Is one of these cameras someone's first choice for live viewing? Not usually.

A few things that frustrate Mallincam users are the stereotype of it's just a cheap security camera with a few mods and that other types of imagers are just as good at the live view stuff. The issues have been debated over and over in a variety of forums and many folks are tired of those debates. Each individual owner usually articulates what works for them about the Mallincam but in a general debate those features and functions may not be what works for someone else (yeah, there are a lot of common things too), so it can be difficult to get a complete picture of a product like the Mallincam from just a few points of view. This is why it's common to suggest joining the Yahoo group run by the manufacturer himself when the discussion gets very complex. There you can get a more complete picture.

And I should add that it's not about having to join the Mallincam group and ask questions (although that's never a problem), rather it's more about being able to read some of the extensive exchanges and view the photos.

Edited by mclewis1 (05/08/12 06:15 PM)


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Dwight J
scholastic sledgehammer
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Reged: 05/14/09

Loc: Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada
Re: Mallincam Alternative-Digital new [Re: Chris A]
      #5212512 - 05/08/12 05:33 PM

:Me too

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Chris A
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 02/03/07

Loc: Toronto, Canada
Re: Mallincam Alternative-Digital new [Re: mpgxsvcd]
      #5212526 - 05/08/12 05:41 PM

For vandrogonnoggin - Eric? and mpgxsvcd - no name

This is what I am talking about that surely shows you an extremely hard object to see not only from a light polluted site but a dark site. This was a single capture on my NSN broadcast one night using a C9.25 @ F5.8 from a very light polluted city of magnitude 3.5. It is a single 130 sec capture using my MCX and no filters. No processing done except I sampled the image 2 x and labelled the main galaxies. Please before you make any comments do your research first regarding the Hickson 50.* Click on the image to display it larger

http://www.flickr.com/photos/47296963@N08/7061889393/in/photostream

Chris A


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Vondragonnoggin
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Reged: 02/21/10

Loc: Southern CA, USA
Re: Mallincam Alternative-Digital new [Re: Chris A]
      #5212539 - 05/08/12 05:48 PM

You are still avoiding my direct questions and that was a 130 second capture you had to wait 130 seconds for - not a 14 second capture compared to a 5 minute capture

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Vondragonnoggin
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Reged: 02/21/10

Loc: Southern CA, USA
Re: Mallincam Alternative-Digital new [Re: Vondragonnoggin]
      #5212548 - 05/08/12 05:54 PM

2 minutes and 10 seconds is still live then? So if I was to get three shots at 40 seconds each stacked using DSS Live, I would still get my stacked image 10 seconds faster than your 130 second capture, correct? Still, it wouldn't be live enough though according to everyone?

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Stew57
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 05/03/09

Loc: Silsbee Texas
Re: Mallincam Alternative-Digital new [Re: Vondragonnoggin]
      #5212617 - 05/08/12 06:32 PM

I for one while a real supporter of the mallincam would love to see this. I have yet to see someone post something like this. I would like to step up a little in resolution even if it means longer exposures, I just don't want any exta work or processing. Someone show me how I would give it a go. So far I have not found anything that compares to the mallincam but I am looking. I have done comparisons between my dsi and mallincam and the dsi needed much longer exposures and darks and still the mallincam images are better.

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ccs_hello
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Reged: 07/03/04

Re: Mallincam Alternative-Digital new [Re: mpgxsvcd]
      #5212626 - 05/08/12 06:40 PM

First post in this thread for a good reason...

Short answer: why pick that astroCCD to compare in the first place ? I'm not going to say anything about it.

Another short answer: the debate happened "there", why let it spill over to here?

Long answer and for the benefit of our friendly CNers:
If you are a long time CNer and have checked in on other subforums, especially in Astrophotography & Sketching section, you'll notice from time to time people brought up the comparison or praising (a specific product) topics such as:
astroCCD imager vs. DSLR, solar system imager (mostly fast frame rate) vs. astroCCD vs. webcam (and recently vs. Liveview DSLR), and even long-exposure capable NTSC videocam vs. astroCCD,
most people just jumped in say something then bail out, and other simply do not respond (i.e., zero follow-up).

The reason, IMHO, is one (eventually) found out debating/comparing a multi-dimensional subject is fruitless. There is no consumer report type of 1-5 scoring system. At least, people appreciate that there is no one-size-fits-all clear winner on all fronts. So you take what's the best fit for your need.

I certainly can appreciate in this forum, the emphasis has always been how fast one can "see" the faint stellar objects, thus (in layman's term) "sensitive" trump everything else.

Few posts awhile back I stated that if you want to see "deep" and quick, then get a recent generation CCD sensor with large pixel size. Do an extremely high gain over the post-sensor analog signal (i.e., immediately after the CCD output), then do a strong dose of signal processing (modern videocams are all doing digital image processing using DSP inside the cam). At the same time, perform some tricks to keep the noise low (one popular one is active cooling), and incoming signal high (fast f-ratio under the same focal length.) Add some special sauce (e.g., do not look too closely), do not put an award-winning astro photo side by side, gather people at the same virtual porch to chat (no popcorn supplied, that s*@ks), do not count trial-and-error wasted time as image acquisition time, and if do not know the reasons behind a tough question, just point to that blackbox and say "it's automagic".

Then you have a winning formula:
good enough pixel-level minimally required S/N, a slightly better picture-level S/N, (never compare that with the normal astro imager's expected/achievable S/N), and be happy that the best "sensitivity" is in front of your eyes (thru a CRT display.)
For the rest of other desirable attributes, just throw them out of window. Can't win them all.

I said these not because out of disrespect. Actually I 100% appreciate this style of observing the beautiful sky.
I just feel there is no need to use a single attribute to compare a complex topic.
BTW, I should also mention that (thru my obscured crystal ball) there are other solutions to make some selected imaging devices "fast". Most of them have not been exploited in commercial sense (due to market segmentation decisions). We'll just have to wait until the climate changes.

P.S. For most of the urban-legends I'd suggest take them as a grain of salt. You know better than that.

If I offend any of you in some ways, I apologize.

My 0.02

Clear Skies!

ccs_hello


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David B in NM
super member
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Reged: 09/05/10

Re: Mallincam Alternative-Digital new [Re: Chris A]
      #5212694 - 05/08/12 07:33 PM

Ken (Dragon Man) should remember me (I helped him "read" some of his words in a manner he didn't intend).

I tend not too post much on CN, but, spend many hours reading posts on various CN Forums. This forum is one I frequent.

I find this thread odd. The MC Xtreme has clearly crossed the line because it is no longer a "true" video camera. It is computer controlled like any other CCD camera now.

Others who try to post live views taken in CCD cameras that use a computer are scolded in this forum and told to post their images elsewhere. Yet, the MC Xtreme snapshots are "welcomed". Can you take those snapshots in the MC Xtreme without a computer controlling the time or adjusting the image?

The MC Xtreme is clearly a computer controlled camera due to the software interface. The camera itself is also a mini-computer.

Why is it that the MC Xtreme owners have the right to be "welcome" here in this forum and the CCD users are not?

What is the reason nytecam is banned from posting the images in the link below, yet, the MC Xtreme owners are allowed to?

Brief Exposure CCD Snapshots

nytecam does not process his images. They are snapshots. The MC Xtreme is using a computer to control the camera. Right?

I find it odd this forum only allows the MC Xtreme owners to post their images here and not others.

If a computer is used to control the camera in any way other than the "snapshot capture", it should not be allowed here. That's the reason you gave nytecam and other CCD "users" who tried to post here in the past. If MC Xtreme snapshots are allowed in this forum, all CCD live view (unprocessed images) snapshots should be allowed here.

Honestly, I feel if the Xtreme owners are allowed to post their images in this forum, it should open up. Samsung owners who use DSS Live should be allowed to post their live shots. That too, is a "live view". DSS live is enhancing (stacking) the image they see outside at the mount. Isn't that why this forum was established? A CCD (video or other camera) can see more that one's eye through the eyepiece.

Why not open the door wider in this forum and allow others to participate. If an MC Xtreme owner posts a 2-minute or more capture, why can't screen shot of a DSS Live stack (2 minute) taken with a Sammy be allowed here?

Perhaps I'm wrong. However, I see this forum is really turning in to a Mallincam "Group" forum. The rules here seem to bend to allow Xtreme owners the right over other "snapshots".

It is apparent that if someone "questions" a Mallincam here that an offensive begins. Maybe I'm seeing things wrong.

David B in NM


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GlennLeDrew
Postmaster
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Reged: 06/18/08

Loc: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Re: Mallincam Alternative-Digital new [Re: ccs_hello]
      #5212705 - 05/08/12 07:40 PM

Chris,
Your Hickson 50 image, taken with a C9.25 w/ focal reducer for ~2 minutes under a 3.5m sky, is not much inferior to a friend's image taken with a Meade 14" at prime focus on a ST10-XME for 10 minutes (30 sec. subs, stacked) under his 5.3m sky.

One time I hooked up my VSS+ to his 14" scope for some live viewing, with the MFR-5 reducer working at about f/5. This allowed the smaller-chip MC to have near the same field as his CCD camera at prime focus. And so it must be borne in mind that to start with the image surface brightness was 2 f-stops, or 4X brighter with my setup installed. But of course the pixel count is a heck of a lot smaller, with ~330,000 vs ~6,000,000.

He was astonished to see that the several objects we looked at appeared in some respects almost as good as his images. (Note: He is something of a beginner at imaging, and so he does virtually no processing aside from a linear stretch. Most of his images are around 10 minutes, built up from 30 sec. subs. But this does allow for a somewhat fairer comparison, given that he hasn't tweaked and massaged for ultimate prettiness.) I had the MC updating every 20-50 seconds, depending on sky brightness.

He has seen how potent a good video camera is, and is seriously contemplating adding an MC Xtreme to his arsenal.


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GlennLeDrew
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Reged: 06/18/08

Loc: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Re: Mallincam Alternative-Digital new [Re: GlennLeDrew]
      #5212720 - 05/08/12 07:51 PM

David,
While the Xtreme can be computer controlled, I believe it can operate with just the optional wireless remote. More importantly, it's still an analog video camera which can send its signal directly to a monitor. Hence it's a 'live'-view device--by virtue of the simplicity, I suppose--just like other non computer-controlled video cameras.


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Chris A
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 02/03/07

Loc: Toronto, Canada
Re: Mallincam Alternative-Digital new [Re: Vondragonnoggin]
      #5212724 - 05/08/12 07:54 PM

Eric I am sorry but you are not making any sense to me. What do you mean did I have to wait for a 130 sec image to appear?? Of course I had to wait!! The Mallincam uses an electronic shutter and the shutter remains open for a given exposure time provided by the user via software or wireless remote and then the image appears on the screen. You then tweak the video settings in real-time to your liking. The camera will keep refreshing a new image until you stop the exposure or it reaches the specified number of exposures you requested.

I am not avoiding your 14 sec to 5 min question since it is really not relavant for me and I have nothing to prove. I suggest you go on NSN and you would be better off to sign in and participate by asking questions. There are many of us on always willing to help out!

Chris A


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Chris A
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 02/03/07

Loc: Toronto, Canada
Re: Mallincam Alternative-Digital new [Re: Vondragonnoggin]
      #5212731 - 05/08/12 07:58 PM

Please define Live?? No one can see any deep sky objects Live it is just impossible. The only objects that I am aware of that you can see Live is the moon, planets and solar.

Chris A


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Vondragonnoggin
Post Laureate
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Reged: 02/21/10

Loc: Southern CA, USA
Re: Mallincam Alternative-Digital new [Re: GlennLeDrew]
      #5212747 - 05/08/12 08:06 PM

Ok, I'll bite here. Why is that a class 2 large array sensor like the ST-10XME takes 10 minutes of 30 second subs in a 14" to equal the 9.25" with a 130 second screen grab, but the 60 second lodestar-C unprocessed screen grab looks as good as the 112 second MC screen grab of the same object?

Obviously these cannot fall under a blanket statement of descriptions or none of the examples would be that close.

There must obviously be some difference in size or class of sensor in the SBIG camera to have to image for 10 minutes to equal the quicker MC, but not get close to the lodestar or 314e Atik used in examples I posted.

The examples I posted are definitely not the first I've seen of single OSC pictures or screengrabs of small 1/3 to 1/2 size sensors on ccd's achieving good detail on objects like many of the galaxies or globulars. I've seen pics of Leo trio like this, horsehead and flame, crab nebula (tendrils included), M16 pillars, etc, etc. may photos less than 60 second shots done without using a $5000 SBIG camera and stacking, but actually with sub $1000 small ccd's.

Are these guys posting these shots all making it up, or is it actually very individual on the setup and gear you use?



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Chris A
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 02/03/07

Loc: Toronto, Canada
Re: Mallincam Alternative-Digital new [Re: Stew57]
      #5212754 - 05/08/12 08:09 PM

Hi Mark

What gets me though is that NSN has been around for 2.5 years now and this discussion keeps coming up but no one except for one nice man (John I believe his name was) came on NSN using his Starlightxpress SXVH9C ccd camera and was showing us some pretty nice deep sky objects in color using Maxim and a script to automatically convert the raw data to color. He was able to do this because he had decent skies and most importantly was using a C14 in *Hyerstar mode* which was the key at f2 and even admitted this to us that this was the case. I then asked John if he could show us some fainter objects like the Rosette and the Christmas Tree nebula and he hit a limit regarding detail and color without going into stacking.

I know someday it will happen that ccd cameras will do very well with showing near real-time views using the needed proper software but that day has not come yet.

Chris A


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Chris A
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 02/03/07

Loc: Toronto, Canada
Re: Mallincam Alternative-Digital new [Re: GlennLeDrew]
      #5212776 - 05/08/12 08:24 PM

Hi Glenn

Thank you for the kind words. That was very interesting to hear your experience with your friends setup and his views regarding the VSS. These MC video cameras are truly amazing.

Clear skies,

Chris A


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Vondragonnoggin
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Reged: 02/21/10

Loc: Southern CA, USA
Re: Mallincam Alternative-Digital new [Re: Chris A]
      #5212784 - 05/08/12 08:32 PM

Quote:

Eric I am sorry but you are not making any sense to me. What do you mean did I have to wait for a 130 sec image to appear?? Of course I had to wait!! The Mallincam uses an electronic shutter and the shutter remains open for a given exposure time provided by the user via software or wireless remote and then the image appears on the screen. You then tweak the video settings in real-time to your liking. The camera will keep refreshing a new image until you stop the exposure or it reaches the specified number of exposures you requested.

I am not avoiding your 14 sec to 5 min question since it is really not relavant for me and I have nothing to prove. I suggest you go on NSN and you would be better off to sign in and participate by asking questions. There are many of us on always willing to help out!

Chris A




But it seems you do have something to prove and you posted that information to start with. If you are not prepared to answer how you think a 30 second to 60 second screen grab of unprocessed ccd image that clearly comes close to the same MC image is not valid here or doesn't exist, then I have to dismiss everything you post. If I am looking for a live view and have to wait 60 seconds for it to appear on a CRT or LCD, then it is no different to me than having to wait 60 seconds to appear on a monitor.


I am asking for help Right Here , why do I need to go on NSN to get an answer?

I am just curious as to both styles of live viewing, but it seems they really cross boundaries each way. I don't understand the refusal to see the examples all over the forums or refusal to accept a style as live if you don't broadcast it on NSN (I am a member already under same username).

I thought this forum was Video and Electronically Assisted Astronomy, not Video and Broadcasted Astronomy Only.

I find this all a little weird.


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David B in NM
super member
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Reged: 09/05/10

Re: Mallincam Alternative-Digital new [Re: GlennLeDrew]
      #5212793 - 05/08/12 08:37 PM

Glen,

The way I read this description is the MC Extreme is computer controlled (quote is copied and pasted in Caps from the website):

"OPTIONS INCLUDE
BRIGHTNESS, CONTRAST, GAIN, GAMMA, HUE, SATURATION, SHARPNESS AND WHITE BALANCE. SINCE PC CONTROL IS THROUGH THE RS-232 AUXILIARY PORT ON THE MALLINCAM".

quoted from:

http://mallincam.tripod.com/id54.html

That is no different than an imaging CCD to me. All of those functions are part of a CCD imaging cam.

IMHO, Digital vs analog should not be a determining factor. Live view is a live view. Being able to broadcast the image on NSN should not be a weighted factor.

David B in NM

Added: Wireless is an option with the MC Xtreme. If anyone is snapping pics in this forum using the Xtreme with an RS232 interface it is "computer controlled" via software. That is a disqualifier for this forum so some say. If the RS232 is used for the Xtreme, why can't a USB interface via a computer be used for a CCD imaging camera in this forum for "liveview"?

This is a quote for this forum on the CN Forums page:

"This forum is dedicated to 'semi-live' electronically assisted viewing of astronomical events and targets. Discussed devices include (but are not limited to) the Collins I3, StellaCam, Mallincam and other 'semi-live' output devices. "

Why aren't live CCD imaging camera snapshot allowed here? Is it too much competition for the Mallincams?


Edited by David B in NM (05/08/12 08:48 PM)


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Dwight J
scholastic sledgehammer
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Reged: 05/14/09

Loc: Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada
Re: Mallincam Alternative-Digital new [Re: Chris A]
      #5212819 - 05/08/12 08:58 PM

Gee, I better hang on to my HX916. Who knew it was a video camera too! What is the difference between video observing and viewing short exposures? Our club's Mallincam Extreme has never been near a computer and we view via a TV set. No images are saved unless we record the session on DVD. We often expose for over three minutes so the screen is refreshed every three minutes. Think of it as very slow motion. Does that make it not video? At what exposure time does it transmute to imaging? The camera output is a video signal. The output of my CCD camera is not despite how short of an exposure I take. I will need a computer to view it's output. Same with my DSLR and "Live view" can be a video output but unsuitable for most deepsky objects. Call it macaroni or whatever, a Mallincam is a deepsky video camera and CCD cameras and DSLR's are imagers. The video mode of DSLR's are not well suited. for most deepsky objects.

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