Return to the Cloudy Nights Telescope Reviews home pageAstronomics discounts for Cloudy Nights members
· Get a Cloudy Nights T-Shirt · Submit a Review / Article

Click here if you are having trouble logging into the forums

Privacy Policy | Please read our Terms of Service | Signup and Troubleshooting FAQ | Problems? PM a Red or a Green Gu… uh, User

Equipment Discussions >> Electronically Assisted Astronomy

Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | (show all)
Chris A
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 02/03/07

Loc: Toronto, Canada
Re: Mallincam Alternative-Digital new [Re: Vondragonnoggin]
      #5212853 - 05/08/12 09:44 PM

I see when you are asking for help you are contradicting one who is trying to help you out. If you want to see live views (meaning views on the display at that time)so they can only be manipulated by using the video settings like brightness, contrast, hue, saturation and sharpness, then the best place to see this is on NSN or at a star party showing live observations and not images. You do not know at all if theses images have had any type of post processing like dark, flat, curves, clone stamp etc. now do you??

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


Reged: 02/03/07

Loc: Toronto, Canada
Re: Mallincam Alternative-Digital new [Re: David B in NM]
      #5212863 - 05/08/12 09:55 PM

Computer control has nothing to do with near live observation. It is the way that the image for display has to be put together by using a software programs when using a CCD or DSLR. This is too time consuming and very tedious to show for public observing. Also what I do not like is the post processing like curves, calibration etc. that is done when posting a lot of these images saying that they were captured as is on their computer screens.

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Vondragonnoggin
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 02/21/10

Loc: Southern CA, USA
Re: Mallincam Alternative-Digital new [Re: Chris A]
      #5212879 - 05/08/12 10:01 PM

Well, it sounds like you are saying that ALL of these individuals that post these screen grabs from ccd single shots must be lying about not processing at all and you know that they are indeed processing.

I don't know how you seem to know this. All I have to go off of are the claims made by the posters of such images. I don't know why they would all be lying about it. Particularly in other forums with no mention of Mallincams, so I don't think it is some sort of conspiracy to make the ccd's look much more powerful than they are or make the mallincam seem less like the amazing video cam it is.

Why do YOU think they would all be actually processing and claiming they aren't?


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
mallin
Vendor - Mallincam Video


Reged: 01/27/11

Loc: Ontario Canada
Re: Mallincam Alternative-Digital new [Re: David B in NM]
      #5212897 - 05/08/12 10:09 PM

David,

You did not post the correct statement from the MallinCam website thus indicating wrong information to others on this forum.

It clearly state from the MallinCam website:

"THE SOFTWARE CONTAINS A VIDEO CONTROL INTERFACE THAT WORKS IN
CONJUNCTION WITH THE USER SUPPLIED CAPTURE DEVICE. THE
AVAILABLE VIDEO CONTROL OPTIONS IN THE SOFTWARE ARE LIMITED BY
THOSE SUPPORTED BY THE CAPTURE DEVICE. 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,"

Adjustments you state are from a capture device (frame grabber) and not a MallinCam. This make the MallinCam short of a ccd imager. Its a live Video Interlaced via composite 75 Ohms output and through S-VIDEO observing system as clearly indicated on the MallinCam website.

Also by your statement:

"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."

Based on your statement, you just disqualified the excellent Collins I3.

Video is Video not data capture like a dedicated ccd imager where raw data is capture and post processed. MallinCam is a Live Video CCD camera dedicated to observers. Two different world, two purpose.

I highly respect all the companies who makes dedicated cooled ccd imager and I don't "trash" any of them. In fact MallinCam provide a "thirst" for imaging to all future astro imager and encourage others to purchase dedicated ccd imagers for those who "thirst" astrophotography.

At the end of the day its all good for everyone.

Peace.
Regards,
Rock Mallin


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


Reged: 02/03/07

Loc: Toronto, Canada
Re: Mallincam Alternative-Digital new [Re: Vondragonnoggin]
      #5212927 - 05/08/12 10:23 PM

I am not saying that they are doing this, so please do not put words in my mounth. I am saying that this can be easily done and you would not even know it that's all. Enough of this and I am sorry to the other members here for this silly debate dragging on.

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

Reged: 07/03/04

Re: Mallincam Alternative-Digital new [Re: Dwight J]
      #5212932 - 05/08/12 10:27 PM

Quote:

... Same with my DSLR and "Live view" can be a video output but unsuitable for most deepsky objects. ... The video mode of DSLR's are not well suited. for most deepsky objects.



Since DSLR LiveView mode was referenced, I'd like to add some clarifications so misperception will not become yet another urban legend:

DSLR, especially the ones using CMOS image sensor (much less heat generated), nowadays started to offer preview capabilities in lieu of the traditional optical viewfinder. Actually, for SLD/EVIL/MILC digital cameras, preview is the primary way of display the image in "framing and focus-assist" mode, before the actual still capture (one shot) or movie/HD video recording.

I have been very careful choosing the word "preview" to generalize the scenario. The camera designers from different manufacturers are making couple of different decisions depend on what they think the market wants while also fits the manufacturer's market segmentation strategy.

When enough illumination on the framed objects are available, the preview mode (also known as draft recording mode) will attempt to follow the user's camera setting to mimic the actual result in the actual shooting.
When under insufficient lighting, the preview mode setting starts to depart from the user setting. Some mfgs designers chose to use the strategy of
- overriding aperture,
- increasing ISO,
- increasing the exposure time

On the third one, Canon DSLRs will do that up to a degree, i.e., approx 1/10 sec but not more. I.e., it prefers to give the live experience than let user see anything at all.

Few mfgs chose to skip the "live" aspect, but allowing the exposure time to go much longer. I.e., use "can see" strategy than the "make it live" strategy.

Another area that DSLR mfgs have not yet fully explored is to make ISO even higher while sacrifices S/N (much noisier and grainy).
I would guess mos of this subforum viewers would love to see this happening. But this is not happening.
The main reason is DSLR, as a higher quality tier, would not want to degrade DSLR's name (the image) and be put into the same tier as the tiny pixel pitch P&S digicam tier.
The second reason is those DLSR review sites will not give it a good press, which can break the sales volume.
DSLR's main audiences are regular photographers.

Can the situation change or a custom settings (allow long-exposure preview, extra high-gain but low S/N preview image allowed) to made? I'd say sure but probably is in mfg's low priority to-do list.

I'd like to also hint that astroCCD imager's mfgs tend to have the same thinking. I.e., quality picture than just make it "can see".

One more hint:
none of the CCD (other than EMCCD) can natively provide high "sensitivity". All are bound by a simple and unbreakable physical principle: you cannot generate energy than what the energy put in (or we'll going to have cold-fusion already .) Energy in is one photon at a time, and energy out is one electron at a time. This is the most basic of promise of Q/E<-- normalized by area and the value cannot be greater than 1. So we know the conversation we have heard about A sensor vs. B are really post photosite gains (if we normalize the photosite area). In this thread, the difference is just one component: the analog amplifier (part of AFE). Some vendors is willing to go for extremely high gain amp.
Actually, the same CCD sensor used is also used in some CCDimagers/video cameras without extreme gain.

I hope this information is useful for some.

Clear Skies!

ccs_hello


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


Reged: 02/03/07

Loc: Toronto, Canada
Re: Mallincam Alternative-Digital new [Re: ccs_hello]
      #5212956 - 05/08/12 10:44 PM

I would say your are bang on and it will take a lot of time (if ever) for those manufacturers to change their way of building their products in order to make this happen.

Chris A


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Vondragonnoggin
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 02/21/10

Loc: Southern CA, USA
Re: Mallincam Alternative-Digital new [Re: Chris A]
      #5212967 - 05/08/12 10:50 PM

Quote:

I am not saying that they are doing this, so please do not put words in my mounth. I am saying that this can be easily done and you would not even know it that's all. Enough of this and I am sorry to the other members here for this silly debate dragging on.




Me too. It would not have been dragging on so long if I had actually had my questions to you addressed, rather than 100% avoidance other than offering up that some people might be doing more processing than they claim. I posted the links to examples specifically that contradicted what you were saying, but to end up only with the suggestion that those people might be doing more processing than they let on is quite disappointing. I am still highly doubting they all are processing more than they let on, so it leads me to believe that a non processed short exposure will get me similar results if I were to be using similar cameras on similar scopes in similar conditions.

I think I understand that some people cannot grasp that waiting for 30-60 seconds for a screen grab on a laptop seems to be no different an idea for some people than waiting for the same length of time until your video monitor updates with its new image. Seems like it would be live enough to me.

I apologize for wasting my own time as well as everyone else here.



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


Reged: 02/03/07

Loc: Toronto, Canada
Re: Mallincam Alternative-Digital new [Re: Vondragonnoggin]
      #5213038 - 05/08/12 11:41 PM

I'll tell you what, one night I will go on NSN (channel Astrogate) and use both my Mallincam Xtreme and Canon 40D modified (Baader UV/IR Filter)using my Macro 100 mm f/2.8 camera lens to be fair with no filters and perhaps this will answere your question for you live in front of all the viewers. Feel free to sign in and ask any astro questions you want to ask. This is the best way to answere this for you I believe. I will post here when that will take place and it will not be too far away.

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Vondragonnoggin
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 02/21/10

Loc: Southern CA, USA
Re: Mallincam Alternative-Digital new [Re: Chris A]
      #5213047 - 05/08/12 11:48 PM

I'm not interested in DSLR views compared to mallincam. I am specifically interested in lodestar - C, superstar - C, Atik Titan, Atik 420-c, Atik 314e, or Atik 314l+ color comparisons. Particularly the Atik Titan or Lodestar -c as it uses larger pixels, are cooled, and the Atik Titan does 15fps along with long exposure or short exposure and uses class 1 HAD Sony chip with larger pixels.

I think that would be a better comparison. Comparing a DSLR to mallincam is not what I had in mind for live views. The Atik software has a preview feature built in their software too.

But thanks for the offer - I think that one IS apples to Oranges, while the cameras I mentioned are not so much.

I believe even the prices are comparative in what I'm looking for:

$700 for the Atik Titan + $700 for Acer laptop I had in mind is comparable to MC xtreme price, minus a monitor of course.

Edited by Vondragonnoggin (05/08/12 11:52 PM)


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


Reged: 02/03/07

Loc: Toronto, Canada
Re: Mallincam Alternative-Digital new [Re: Vondragonnoggin]
      #5213099 - 05/09/12 12:31 AM

Hope whatever you find makes you happy and meets your expectations.

Over and out!


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

Reged: 06/18/08

Loc: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Re: Mallincam Alternative-Digital new [Re: Chris A]
      #5213184 - 05/09/12 03:13 AM

Do any of the DSLR makers offer the option to bin pixels? That most sensors used in these cameras have 3-5 micron pixels impairs sensitivity. Video chips with ~7 micron pixels have nearly 4X the area per pixel and so right off the bat have the potential for better sensitivity. A DSLR which could bin 2X2 (or 3X3) could begin to approach video's base sensitivity. (Of course, other aspects such as micro-lensing, on-chip filter masks, amification etc., do play their part in the output image.)

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
jimb1001
sage
*****

Reged: 11/14/09

Loc: Florida
Re: Mallincam Alternative-Digital new [Re: Vondragonnoggin]
      #5213187 - 05/09/12 03:14 AM

Quote:

I really like what I hear about what the mallincam can do, but I don't think the comparisons are even close to realistic. 14 sec equal to 5min exposure, single 112 second to 20 minutes exposure, etc. It's really misleading.

I have seen short exposure ccd similar to what you get.

Here is a link for a single 30 second exposure of M51 with a 10" scope - Look at second pic on that page and compare that to the 112 second mallincam screen grab with the 11" that was used.



I would like to hear about many methods used in short exposures, but really need unbiased reports that show strengths on both sides.




I've done all three, I currently a Mallincam Xtreme, a dslr, and I have an old Meade ccd but have sold the better cams.

As far as the 14 second equals 5 minutes, who said that, when did they say it and in what context?

To me, the rationale for the Mallincam is ease of use. Since sky glow limits the exposure time any camera can use, todays cameras, from typical light polluted back yards, will not be all that different.

Again, for me, the Mallincam is all about ease of use. Its easy to change settings, move around areas of the sky at slow slew rates and, at the 10-20 seconds the sky glow allows, many objects are easily acquired and viewed and viewed in a short time. The Mallincam is not fussy.

Three years ago the Mallincam might have had a greater advantage over dslrs and ccds. Today, I don't think the advantage is as great as it once was. But for what it does, the Mallincam might not be magic but it is still a very useful tool as an alternative to visual observing.

I've seen video taken with the Mallincam from dark sky sites with large telescopes and the images are gorgeous.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
David B in NM
sage
*****

Reged: 09/05/10

Re: Mallincam Alternative-Digital new [Re: mallin]
      #5213266 - 05/09/12 07:19 AM

Rock,

I'm sorry if I misquoted you. However even if the USB device controls the camera "output" in any way it is "computer controlled". Right?


To all others:

For the life of me I can not understand why live view shots from CCD imaging cameras are not allowed here. Once again I quote the purpose of this forum from 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. "

end quote.

Isn't a CCD imaging camera electronic? Isn't a computer electronic?

If a CCD camera does have the capability to do some enhancing process but is able to refresh the image in lets say 2 minutes via the computer, isn't this a live or semi-live view? The action is taking place on the screen when the observer is there?

Other cameras are disqualified because they do not send an analog signal. A TV monitor or computer monitor is pretty much the same. Netbook computers are pretty powerful and have a small footprint. To me a CCD inmaging camera and "analog" camera are electronic. Right?

IMHO, there are alternatives to the Mallincam that can fill two purposes. Some CCD cameras can provide nice live views and beautiful AP photos.

I've seen people post a live unprocessed CCD image on this forum, and people on this forum, have politely told them this was only a "video" forum.

IMHO a video camera is no longer a video camera when it is not capturing say 30 frames per second. That is video. Just because an analog signal is passed by a camera for a "extended" exposure should not make it any different than a CCD imaging camera. Once again, that only my humble opinion.

Does anyone really know what "magic tricks" the Mallincam circuits perform under the hood? Who knows, it may have a mini processor inside. Right?

The phrase "not limited to" for the purpose of this forum, clearly indicates that live view snaps shots taken from any camera are allowed in this this forum. Right?

When this Video Assisted Forum first started the video cameras were "short duration" exposures. Times have changed. Integration times have become longer and CCD imaging chips have become better. I feel if a 30 sec to 2 min exposure from an analog camera is allowed here, the same image time for a ccd camera should be allowed here.

This forum is a place to educate others and provide a means to let them see how they can spend money and what they would get. The current "by laws" in this forum preclude capable ccd imaging cameras from posting snapshots that are far better than an analog camera.

If processing can be done on the fly...that's great! The intent of this forum was an electronic device and "semi-live". However, as many can see, this is still an "analog forum".

I guess in 20 years this forum will still be "analog signal".

Perhaps CN will start a new Forum for EMCCD and other cameras when they become more affordable.

Technology is changing everyday



David B in NM

Edited by David B in NM (05/09/12 07:28 AM)


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

Reged: 07/03/04

Re: Mallincam Alternative-Digital new [Re: David B in NM]
      #5213281 - 05/09/12 07:46 AM

David B,
I will not be able to say anything about the picture posting rules in this subforum. I'd guess it might have been people do not want to see Apple v. Oranges comparisons if there is a heavy dose of photoshop'ing while not able to tell if the end result is from a near real-time PC (x86 CPU) based image processing, a near real-time in-videocam DSP (Digital Signal Processing) based image process, or an after tedious manually edited photoshop'ed image.

I am not aware of any ban on discussing any PC based alternatives on near realtime image processing. In-videocam DSP is doing image processing routine while PC software based (using x86 general purpose CPU as opposed to mission-specific DSP) image processing. They are essentially the same while the latter is much more powerful and feature rich. Indeed the latter is less mature, but with jointly effort and more people pushing for it, it will evolve fast.

BTW, I welcome the new MCX CCD mode, since it's dual-use and also open another conduit for near realtime PC based image processing.

Clear Skies!

ccs_hello


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Stew57
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 05/03/09

Loc: Silsbee Texas
Re: Mallincam Alternative-Digital new [Re: David B in NM]
      #5213293 - 05/09/12 07:58 AM

Perhaps once there is software that takes over the functions that are native in the mallincam we will see cooled ccd imagers do what the mallincam can. It seems to me in my limited expierence that the ccd imager requires much more work and time for an equivelent image. Investing the time and effort often results in a superior image for the ccd imager, but for me, viewing with a group, the effort is not worth it.

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
David B in NM
sage
*****

Reged: 09/05/10

Re: Mallincam Alternative-Digital new [Re: ccs_hello]
      #5213295 - 05/09/12 08:02 AM

css-hello,

I agree that a "processed" image (takes much more than seconds to do) is not what this forum wishes to see and agree an image like that should be posted elsewhere. However, on-the-fly images are no different than what DSP is capable of doing.

I've seen people (nytecam for example) disqualified for posting screen captures here in this forum. You must have seen it too (I know you visit this forum daily!).

Yes, DSP and a PC are pretty much one in the same. The difference in output is what people in this forum want in analog form.

IMHO, the last generation of what I would consider true video cameras are the 512x. Once you add a TEC and longer exposure you begin to operate in the same world as a CCD.

There are many people who may "think" the DSP is not a value added feature. It is a mini-processor that does much more than they may realize under the hood. It may not be software, but, it is embedded "directions".

I would dare place a bet that many "video camera" users have a PC with them out in the field when they are viewing. Monitors may be useful for outreach. A netbook takes up nearly the same footprint as a monitor now.

David B in NM


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
mallin
Vendor - Mallincam Video


Reged: 01/27/11

Loc: Ontario Canada
Re: Mallincam Alternative-Digital new [Re: David B in NM]
      #5213296 - 05/09/12 08:04 AM

Hi David,

I think some (not directed at you specifically) are missing the information and should read the website carefully . The MallinCam, all of them in fact, are made to be used without a computer control of the camera. The MallinCam Xtreme was design to be used manually via rear camera menu buttons and a wireless external exposure controller. IF, and only IF a user decide to control the camera via computer (not the image), they can. The camera is versatile in both ways. "No computer needed" still stand for all MallinCams. Video signal is transmitted analog not digital from the camera. Ccd sensor are all analog.

I've noticed a few posts that talked about exposure of 14 seconds. Well a few weeks ago I was on live on NSN and observing Hickson 50 live from my magnitude of 2.8 downtown Ottawa polluted sky. It was seen by more than 60+ people live. Not photograph. Exposure was less than 20 seconds but exposure of 30 seconds clearly shown a less noisy image of the faint target down to magnitude 20.8. Jack Huerkamp has seen Hickson 50 (including the 20.8 magnitude galaxy)live and he "frame grabbed it" it in 2.1 seconds under dark skies with a 17.5" telescope in New Mexico. I, did it in 12 seconds in 2006 live from Foymount at the Video Star Party with a 16" LX 200. Denis Legault (astronomer) with a Discovery 14" Dob did it in 12 seconds as well live. Dr. Simon Hanmer did it next to Denis Legault and myself in 6 seconds using a LX 200 8" under magnitude 6.9 Foymount sky back in 2006. The camera is a live instrument design to be live. Not made to compete with any ccd imagers. That comparing "bananas with potatoes". Live video requires a lot more "horse power" (sophisticated electronics) designed for short exposure to benefit mount tracking error and show a decent image live in short expsoure and view the final result through a T.V., monitor or frame grabber.

Peace.
Regards,
Rock Mallin

PS: I have picture of Hickson 50 taken from Foymount (on the MallinCam Website). Jack Huerkamp has picture of Hickson 50 taken at 2.1 seconds Contact me off list for links. Or better yet contact Jack Huerkamp direct.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
David B in NM
sage
*****

Reged: 09/05/10

Re: Mallincam Alternative-Digital new [Re: mallin]
      #5213305 - 05/09/12 08:17 AM

Rock,

Yes, I do realize that the night skiy does make a difference in what one can do with a video or ccd camera.

I am blessed in the area I reside. I live on 10-acres midway between NMSkies and Apache Point (Sloan/Sunspot) Observatory here in NM. A video camera capable of 256x-512x does well here for me.

David B in NM


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

Reged: 07/03/04

Re: Mallincam Alternative-Digital new [Re: GlennLeDrew]
      #5213306 - 05/09/12 08:17 AM

Glenn,

Let's go over some figures on pixel area comparisons (in square microns), not adding any other factors (some of them are major) into the picture:

(Just a sample set)

ToUCam SC4 mod 98
MC, SCB-4000, Orion DSCI G3 (type-1/2" NTSC) 82.32
ST-402ME 81
Meade DSI I, SAC8 72
Meade DSI II 71.38
QHY8, SXV-M25C, also Nikon D70, D100, Pentax *ist DS, and many 6Mpxl DSLRs 60.84
Atik16 54.76
Many type-1/3" videocams (NTSC) 47
Meade DSI III, SXV-H9 41.60
EOS 5D Mk II 40.96 approx.
Philips SPC900NC 31.36
Nikon D300, Sony Nex5 30.14
SAC10 11.9
Nikon 5400 7.7
Some tiny pixel HDvideocams and cams for smartphones 1.96


Just for fun!

P.S. eventually I'll write something about sensor evolution and benchmarking (being saying that for more than 3 years already )

Clear Skies!

ccs_hello


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | (show all)


Extra information
3 registered and 14 anonymous users are browsing this forum.

Moderator:  droid, David Pavlich, JayinUT 

Print Thread

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


Thread views: 12365

Jump to

CN Forums Home


Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics