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Equipment Discussions >> Video and Electronically Assisted Astronomy

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mpgxsvcd
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 12/21/11

Loc: Raleigh, North Carolina
Re: Panasonic GH3 for near real time AP new [Re: mattflastro]
      #5580948 - 12/20/12 03:50 PM

Let me first say that this setup is not meant to be a standalone maintenance free setup. For instance if you are thinking about setting it up in an observatory and then remote viewing via the network connection that probably isn’t going to work.

What I use it for is simply staying out of the cold. You still need to have access to the scope for the initial polar alignment and to set the initial focus. I guess you could get an automated focus motor but I don’t have that.

The steps I have to do manually are listed below. All of my observing can be done remotely after these things are setup. I checked and the wireless works from at least 70 feet away and through several walls.

1. You have to manually polar align the scope. There is no way to affect the polar alignment remotely. Well I guess you could do it if you have a motor on the mount.

2. Focusing must be done manually at the scope. Once my focus is set I use the focus lock on the scope and it doesn’t need to be adjusted after that.

3. Collimation cannot be done remotely.

Once I do those things. I can simply go inside where it is warm and where I can watch TV. I can monitor the camera’s live view remotely or review the pictures that it has already taken and move the mount with the iTouch.

The camera itself is limited to 1 hour exposures or less in B mode. However, the app does not support “B” mode yet so exposures are limited to 1 minute or less. You can get a lot in 1 minute or less when ISO 6400/12,800 is useful.

The GH3 simply creates a standard wireless network that any wireless device can connect to. It looks like any other wireless connection when I bring up the available wireless connections on my phone. It supports WEP and maybe the other encryption schemes. I wasn’t too concerned with security so I just went with the basic WEP I believe.

The Battery on the GH3 is simply incredible. It lasts twice as long as the one in the GH2. It is MUCH larger though. Also it takes 4 hours to recharge the battery. I have two of them and 1 more on the way.

I was out imaging the other night from 6:15 PM till 2:00 AM the next day. I imagined the entire time and used the LCD. The battery still had at least 50% power when I left. It will go all night without any worries. The big benefit of mirrorless cameras like the GH3 is that they don’t have to use power to leave the shutter open. The natural state of the GH3’s shutter is open and it doesn’t have a mirror to move of course.

You can buy a battery grip for the GH3 but it is unnecessary. It just adds weight to the camera.

The sensor in the GH3 is reported to be a brand new sensor made by Sony. It is also the same sensor used in the new Olympus OMD camera and quite possibly very similar to the sensors in the Sony NEX line.

The noise at ISO 6400 is very minimal even in long exposures and without using the in camera noise reduction. My GH2 was simply horrible for noise in long exposures. That is why I actually used my very old GF1 camera for AP before the GH3 came out.

Simply put. I think they actually designed the GH3 to do Astro Photography. They included all of the necessary features to do good wireless AP.

I know some of you scoff at the idea that a CMOS based interchangeable lens camera could be better than a purpose built CCD camera. However, technology specifically in software is advancing very rapidly. There is a lot that they can do to overcome the problems of the past.

I will try some stacking the next time we get clear weather to see if this camera is as good or perhaps better than the Cannon offerings. For now, I am completely thrilled with the results I have been getting for near real time work.

My ultimate goal is to do the Messier Marathon in the spring. I want to get every single messier object with a single shot. The challenge is “Can someone take a single “good” exposure for every single Messier object without retaking any of them”.

I want to have a single SD card with every Messier image on it in sequence. That way if I am doing outreach with kids and the conditions are not right I can still show them what the objects would look like if the conditions had been better.

Edited by mpgxsvcd (12/20/12 04:12 PM)


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mpgxsvcd
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 12/21/11

Loc: Raleigh, North Carolina
Re: Panasonic GH3 for near real time AP new [Re: mpgxsvcd]
      #5580969 - 12/20/12 04:01 PM Attachment (96 downloads)

Here is a single 60 second exposure from the GH2 with the lens cap on. This is with the in camera noise reduction that makes the exposure twice as long.

Trust me you don't want to see it without the Noise Reduction. It is hard to believe but it is even worse.

Keep in mind that this is a straight 800x600 crop of the original jpg file. No other editing was done and the in camera regular(Non dark frame) noise reduction was dialed down to -2.

Edited by mpgxsvcd (12/20/12 04:12 PM)


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mpgxsvcd
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 12/21/11

Loc: Raleigh, North Carolina
Re: Panasonic GH3 for near real time AP new [Re: mpgxsvcd]
      #5580980 - 12/20/12 04:08 PM Attachment (110 downloads)

Here is the GH3 ISO 3200 60 second exposure with the lens cap on but without the noise reduction that takes twice as long.

Edited by mpgxsvcd (12/20/12 04:08 PM)


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mpgxsvcd
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 12/21/11

Loc: Raleigh, North Carolina
Re: Panasonic GH3 for near real time AP new [Re: mpgxsvcd]
      #5580982 - 12/20/12 04:09 PM Attachment (92 downloads)

And here is the GH3 with the dark frame noise reduction. 60 seconds ISO 3200 with an extra 60 seconds of dark frame noise reduction.

I would call this a vast improvement over the GH2. Wouldn't you? Just getting rid of the pink glow helps a lot.

Edited by mpgxsvcd (12/20/12 04:12 PM)


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mattflastro
Vendor - Astrovideo Systems


Reged: 07/31/09

Loc: Brevard County , FL
Re: Panasonic GH3 for near real time AP new [Re: mpgxsvcd]
      #5581028 - 12/20/12 04:39 PM

For collimating I should've said software assist , since you are right, there are no motors on scopes . I was thinking of software like Metaguide that improve collimation accuracy greatly. Or like CCDinspector , which allows you to analyse collimation or detect flexure and misalignment in your optical train .
Similarly, for polar alignment I should've said software assist , since there are no motors on mounts for polar align. Software like PoleAlignMax or Pempro .


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mpgxsvcd
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 12/21/11

Loc: Raleigh, North Carolina
Re: Panasonic GH3 for near real time AP new [Re: mattflastro]
      #5581040 - 12/20/12 04:46 PM

Tommorrow night will be a good test for this setup. It will be below freezing here with winds above 20 mph. However, the humidity will be the lowest it has been all year with very clear skies.

No chance I would sit outside in those conditions all night. However, with the GH3 I might actually be able to image just fine.

I will try to block the wind by putting the scope near the house. That still might not block it enough though. 20+ mph wind is pretty strong. At least I won't freeze to death though. Wind Chill will be miserable for a southern like me.


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GlennLeDrew
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 06/18/08

Loc: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Re: Panasonic GH3 for near real time AP new [Re: mpgxsvcd]
      #5583040 - 12/21/12 07:06 PM

Travis,
The in-camera noise reduction on the GH3 looks impressive, indeed! At what temperature was this test series performed?

And the single-frame DSO shots are most intriguing, as well. This camera certainly looks like a contender.

Have you identified the source of the significant, diffuse halos surrounding the bright stars?


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mpgxsvcd
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 12/21/11

Loc: Raleigh, North Carolina
Re: Panasonic GH3 for near real time AP new [Re: GlennLeDrew]
      #5586475 - 12/23/12 11:57 PM

Quote:

Travis,
The in-camera noise reduction on the GH3 looks impressive, indeed! At what temperature was this test series performed?

And the single-frame DSO shots are most intriguing, as well. This camera certainly looks like a contender.

Have you identified the source of the significant, diffuse halos surrounding the bright stars?




The test shots were at room temperature. I am not certain what caused the halos. It was super humid that night though. I think I had moisture in my scope. Maybe it was some sort of reflection?


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mattflastro
Vendor - Astrovideo Systems


Reged: 07/31/09

Loc: Brevard County , FL
Re: Panasonic GH3 for near real time AP new [Re: mpgxsvcd]
      #5587520 - 12/24/12 05:00 PM

The very low noise WITHOUT the in camera noise reduction is impressive.
I'm sure cameras like this will eventually become mainstream and replace the aging Canon DSLR's . The image quality and low noise is there already .
There are significant mechanical advantages such as lighter weight, lack of mirror , shorter mount flange to sensor distance reducing backfocus requirements .
One could only hope that software such as BackyardEOS , MaximDL and others will evolve and become compatible with the new cameras and not stuck with Canon forever .


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mpgxsvcd
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 12/21/11

Loc: Raleigh, North Carolina
Re: Panasonic GH3 for near real time AP new [Re: mattflastro]
      #5589162 - 12/26/12 02:11 AM

With the GH3 there is no need to have software or a computer at all while you are observing. You can completely control all aspects of the camera either through the camera itself or remotely through the app.

BackyardEOS is a great program. However, I would rather get rid of the computer and programs all together than make them work with other cameras.


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mattflastro
Vendor - Astrovideo Systems


Reged: 07/31/09

Loc: Brevard County , FL
Re: Panasonic GH3 for near real time AP new [Re: mpgxsvcd]
      #5592071 - 12/28/12 01:33 AM

you need a computer for mount control. Nothing on tablets and iphones has the capability of creating a mount pointing model like TPoint . Also if you want to automate your picture taking , plan and schedule , or have a multitude of ASCOM stuff , temp compensated focuser , adaptive optics , etc.

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FishInPercolator
professor emeritus


Reged: 04/30/13

Loc: NYC
Re: Panasonic GH3 for near real time AP new [Re: mattflastro]
      #5883179 - 05/24/13 10:05 PM

Very lovely... so far I've learned the GH3, E-PM2, and 60Da are three highly capable SLR cameras. With the exception of 60Da, is it recommended to have them modified for IR?

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ScottAz
Fleet Navigator
*****

Reged: 02/06/05

Loc: Kenosha, Wisconsin
Re: Panasonic GH3 for near real time AP new [Re: FishInPercolator]
      #5885309 - 05/26/13 10:08 AM

I'm really starting to like some of the aspects of the Panasonic GH-3 for quick-session, live viewing with my high-school astronomy students. In camera RAW stacking, HDMI output and in-camera HDR capabilities sounds cool. I especially like the wireless sharing aspect, as all my students seem to have iPads and iPhones and such!

I wonder how it compares to Panasonic's new (forthcoming?) G6? Still researching, but so far I believe that there are some features that GH3 doesn't have but G6 has. For example NFC +better Wi-Fi: the G6 has wireless recording function with start/stop recording and 30fps video stream feed to tablet/smartphone. GH3 can only start recording/no video stream feed.

Anyway ... looks like either one would very much compliment something like a Mallincam Jr. or VSS+ in our observatory for near real time AP and public outreach.


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mclewis1
Thread Killer
*****

Reged: 02/25/06

Loc: New Brunswick, Canada
Re: Panasonic GH3 for near real time AP new [Re: ScottAz]
      #5885326 - 05/26/13 10:21 AM

Scott,

It would probably better compliment to the longer exposure VSS+ rather than the Jr. That would make for an interesting combination of capabilities - Small sensor, high sensitivity, long exposures with SD video vs. larger sensor, less sensitivity, and more features with HD video.

It's great to see extended features/functions on these consumer oriented products, it helps drive the price down for other uses in the future (wireless, onboard stacking, etc.).


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chasing photons
member


Reged: 03/19/13

Loc: Minnesota
Re: Panasonic GH3 for near real time AP new [Re: ScottAz]
      #5887657 - 05/27/13 06:51 PM

I so very much want to pull the trigger on the G6 as I have been waiting a long time for so many of its new features. The Wi-Fi and NFC implementation for near real time remote observing is fantastic, but the in camera generation of time lapse and stop motion video files just blows me away. Yeah, that's right; I am not a bit interested in any post processing.

Let me do simple, near real time observing at night with a fast telescope and simple, quality stills and video during the day with the same moderately priced camera and I am a happy camper. Then throw in basic wide angle night sky time lapse and the fun I've always wanted to have playing with basic stop motion animation.

But the big question that still remains is how will the G6 compare to the GH3 in low light and low noise performance in long exposures up to 60 seconds? Hopefully, Panasonic has tweaked the image sensor and new Venus engine to approach the excellent performance of the GH3.


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ccs_hello
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 07/03/04

Re: Panasonic GH3 for near real time AP new [Re: chasing photons]
      #5887902 - 05/27/13 08:56 PM

Todd,

Per DPR, G6 is using the same sensor as GH2 (Panny made).
We know that GH3, Oly's EM-D M5, E-PL5, and E-PM2 are using newer SONY Exmor IMX109 (baby IMX071) sensor.

Of course, for selection, it's not just the sensor but the total package. Some astro-friendly features are hard to come by.

Clear Skies!

ccs_hello


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chasing photons
member


Reged: 03/19/13

Loc: Minnesota
Re: Panasonic GH3 for near real time AP new [Re: ccs_hello]
      #5888098 - 05/27/13 11:23 PM

Although many are already lamenting Panasonic's decision not to use the GH3 sensor in the G6, so far the majority of reviewers of the preproduction G6 are very excited about the performance improvements over the GH2 and G5. I am keeping my fingers crossed that Panasonic has solved the low light noise issues of the GH2 with the G6. If not, I will probably go with the GH3 or hold out for the GH5.

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jdbastro
sage


Reged: 08/18/07

Loc: W. Coast
Re: Panasonic GH3 for near real time AP new [Re: ccs_hello]
      #5888236 - 05/28/13 01:03 AM

Quote:

Todd,

Per DPR, G6 is using the same sensor as GH2 (Panny made).
We know that GH3, Oly's EM-D M5, E-PL5, and E-PM2 are using newer SONY Exmor IMX109 (baby IMX071) sensor.

Of course, for selection, it's not just the sensor but the total package. Some astro-friendly features are hard to come by.

Clear Skies!

ccs_hello




I own a Panny GH3. How do you know what sensor is in this camera? Do you have a reference? Sony EXMOR? Wow, that's great if true.


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ccs_hello
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 07/03/04

Re: Panasonic GH3 for near real time AP new [Re: chasing photons]
      #5888457 - 05/28/13 07:51 AM

Quote:

...I am keeping my fingers crossed that Panasonic has solved the low light noise issues of the GH2 with the G6. ...



In the realm of CMOS Active Pixel Sensor (APS), the fate is sealed when then sensor was made in the fab.
Its digital output is the resulted raw image. Everything after the APS is post-processing.

Clear Skies!

ccs_hello


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ccs_hello
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 07/03/04

Re: Panasonic GH3 for near real time AP new [Re: jdbastro]
      #5888465 - 05/28/13 07:54 AM

See E-PM2 analysis:
http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/50885809

The rest can be interpreted from Dxomark's sensor comparison thru interpolation.

Clear Skies!

ccs_hello


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