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andysea
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Re: First CCD camera choice new [Re: orlyandico]
      #5702745 - 02/26/13 11:57 PM

Thanks Orly. I am wondering if there are any large format sony chips that are as good as the ICX694 or similar. I would love to have such a camera....if it was matched with outstanding electronics.

Andy


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orlyandico
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Re: First CCD camera choice new [Re: andysea]
      #5702751 - 02/26/13 11:59 PM

There isn't.. because the 694 is the largest mono chip that Sony makes.

All the new Sony DSLR sensors (IMX021, IMX071) are all CMOS now. The D200 is the most recent Nikon DSLR that is CCD.

As I mentioned in some other threads and perhaps above, the swankiest camera you can get today with the 694 is probably the Apogee Ascent A694. Unless FLI also has one.. (so far they have a 285 camera)


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andysea
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Re: First CCD camera choice new [Re: orlyandico]
      #5702763 - 02/27/13 12:11 AM

The Atik460 is pretty inexpensive tho.

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orlyandico
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Re: First CCD camera choice new [Re: andysea]
      #5702785 - 02/27/13 12:47 AM

2800. vs 3100 for the qhy22, and 3300 for the apogee.

i'll pay an extra 500 bucks for an apogee if i'm ever in the market.


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AddictedToAstro
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Re: First CCD camera choice new [Re: hytham]
      #5702786 - 02/27/13 12:47 AM

Quote:

Looking at the QHY9M it states on their website that the 2" filter wheel with RGB filters are only included as a part of a special deal available until March of 2010.




Well, since that date has long since passed, I wonder if it's still going on or they just haven't changed the website. Worth a phone call to see. I actually didn't see that on the website though. Are you looking at www.astrofactors.com?


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AddictedToAstro
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Re: First CCD camera choice new [Re: AddictedToAstro]
      #5702791 - 02/27/13 12:55 AM

The Atik 428EX was on my list of contenders, and has the ICX674, which is the little brother of the ICX694. I'm pretty sure the only difference is half the resolution. I thought about that one too, but it's $2100 without a filter wheel. The Atik 460EX has the ICX694, but it's way outside my budget at $2900.

Again, being a Sony chip might be worth it, especially since I really don't *need* a color wheel for a while. If I get a camera at the max of my budget, an Ha filter is all I will have for a while so I can just leave it on all the time.

You know, I can't help but to slightly consider the Atik 420. It's has the smallest pixels and the smallest FOV at 50x38 with my refractor, but it's also only $1100 at nearly 2 megapixel with set point cooling to -30C. I could bank the savings and get some CCD experience under my belt with the 420, and then maybe next spring move on to something bigger and better.

Too many choices.


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korborh
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Re: First CCD camera choice new [Re: orlyandico]
      #5702799 - 02/27/13 01:07 AM

Quote:

i'll pay an extra 500 bucks for an apogee if i'm ever in the market.




Me too.


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andysea
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Re: First CCD camera choice new [Re: orlyandico]
      #5703217 - 02/27/13 10:34 AM

I agree with you Orly, I would get Apogee.
I discovered that for CCD's that are made in the US I get much quicker customer support than with imports where I have to deal with a distributor. Most of the time support is just one phone call away.

Andy


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rigel123
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Re: First CCD camera choice new [Re: AddictedToAstro]
      #5703289 - 02/27/13 11:11 AM

Quote:

The Atik 428EX was on my list of contenders, and has the ICX674, which is the little brother of the ICX694. I'm pretty sure the only difference is half the resolution. I thought about that one too, but it's $2100 without a filter wheel. The Atik 460EX has the ICX694, but it's way outside my budget at $2900.

Again, being a Sony chip might be worth it, especially since I really don't *need* a color wheel for a while. If I get a camera at the max of my budget, an Ha filter is all I will have for a while so I can just leave it on all the time.

You know, I can't help but to slightly consider the Atik 420. It's has the smallest pixels and the smallest FOV at 50x38 with my refractor, but it's also only $1100 at nearly 2 megapixel with set point cooling to -30C. I could bank the savings and get some CCD experience under my belt with the 420, and then maybe next spring move on to something bigger and better.

Too many choices.




If you really want to start out inexpensive, look for a used DSI III Pro mono, it is the exact same chip as the Atik314L+ but without cooling. That was what I started out with and actually learned about darks from!


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Inverted
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Reged: 01/19/13

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Re: First CCD camera choice new [Re: rigel123]
      #5703459 - 02/27/13 12:44 PM

Quote:


If you really want to start out inexpensive, look for a used DSI III Pro mono, it is the exact same chip as the Atik314L+ but without cooling. That was what I started out with and actually learned about darks from!




That's actually not bad advice for a beginer. Starting out, I don't think I had the processing skills to tell the difference between a cooled and uncooled CCD. At that point, the only benefit to cooled would have been less darks, but I was using short subs, so, no big deal. Actually, purists all make a big deal out of equipment, but after 10ish years off and on in the hobby, I think processing ability is still my limitation, not so much equipment. Not to say my equipment isn't a lot better, or that the improvements haven't helped, but as I get better equipment there is only so much improvement before my processing skill limitations become apparent. Learning on less expensive equipment seems fine. Although, big chips are easier. I started on a DSI and remember spending literally hours trying to find targets LOL (but it was a pretty *BLEEP* mount too). Big chips are much more forgiving in many ways, I think that is why a lot of people start with DSLR and I may get flamed for this, but that is not a bad way to go either to start... But as you have the DSLR experience, you may already have some good processing experience, so, a better ccd may be preferable.


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orlyandico
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Re: First CCD camera choice new [Re: Inverted]
      #5703474 - 02/27/13 12:52 PM

the only uncooled camera i have is a meade DSI 1.

and boy is it noisy. hot pixels, stuck pixels galore. huge dark noise even with 5-second exposures.

i don't think an uncooled camera is at all comparable to a cooled one..


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orion69
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Reged: 05/09/10

Loc: Croatia
Re: First CCD camera choice new [Re: orlyandico]
      #5703706 - 02/27/13 03:32 PM

Main problem for "new" astrophotographers is that they don't really know what level of AP they want or if they really even want to persue AP as serious hobby. I know from personal experience.
If one wants to just shoot some quick pictures with minimal personal engagement and without intent to upgrade AP equipment then some low end camera is perfect.
But, if one intentions are more serious about AP then low end (or OSC) camera is waste of money and time. IMHO


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AddictedToAstro
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Loc: Cincinnati OH
Re: First CCD camera choice new [Re: orion69]
      #5704003 - 02/27/13 06:34 PM

Quote:

But as you have the DSLR experience, you may already have some good processing experience, so, a better ccd may be preferable.




I've been shooting with DSLR since I started last July and continued as I got more serious with AP in October by adding guiding. I've thrown away ten times more images than I've kept, mostly due to guiding problems, under/over exposing, excessive noise, etc. Although there's always more to learn, I feel much more comfortable with guiding now. But what I'm most interested in imaging (nebula) seems to be the most difficult for me to learn on DSLR in a light-polluted area. All of my successful images from my light-polluted suburb have been star clusters with a few of the brighter nebula, like the rosette and M42. And with it not being practical to go out to a dark site every time I want to image, or even every once in a while, I need to do most of my imaging from my home.

Ideally, I would only image from a dark site, but it just isn't practical for me to go out very often at all.


Quote:

Main problem for "new" astrophotographers is that they don't really know what level of AP they want or if they really even want to persue AP as serious hobby. I know from personal experience. If one wants to just shoot some quick pictures with minimal personal engagement and without intent to upgrade AP equipment then some low end camera is perfect. But, if one intentions are more serious about AP then low end (or OSC) camera is waste of money and time. IMHO




Well said! I completely agree. I'm sure most people jump in with the intention of being serious, then see how difficult it is and give up. That's not me. I know how difficult it is and I'm up for the challenge. I just need to approach it the correct way for me, which is to not jump in too deep all at once. And I don't think any of these cameras I mentioned above are too much to start with. I think if I wanted to immediately jump from DSLR to LRGB with some narrowband thrown in, that might be too much. But I want to start with shooting monochrome narrowband, which should work extremely well from my somewhat light polluted front yard.

My post-processing skills are improving, but certainly not where I would like to be. But I have to wonder if it's partly because I'm not starting with good data. Processing star clusters is going very well. Nebula, not so well, I think partly because of shooting from a suburb. If I don't have good data, then it's harder to learn proper post-processing, in my opinion. If I can learn to capture better data from my somewhat light-polluted home with a narrowband monochrome setup, then that might help me get better at post-processing. Plus, post-processing monochrome data has to be easier anyhow.

Then, as I get better and more comfortable with operating a mono ccd and processing in mono, I'll add RGB.

Is this logical, or is my thinking process way off?


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tjugo
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Reged: 11/06/07

Re: First CCD camera choice new [Re: AddictedToAstro]
      #5704148 - 02/27/13 07:56 PM

The Orion StarShoot pro 3 is cooled, but is not regulated. IMO is the best bang for the buck. I had one and I let it go for a KAF8300, right away I saw the difference between Kodak and Sony.

There is another variation of the new Sony CCDs:

http://www.sxccd.com/sxvr-h814-progressive-scan

The specs are excellent for short focal length fast scopes...

Cheers,

Jose


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orlyandico
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Re: First CCD camera choice new [Re: tjugo]
      #5704233 - 02/27/13 08:42 PM

1) if you want to do mono narrowband then I think a Sony 694 is best. You need all the sensitivity and QE you can get. An OSC is a waste of money.

2) what mount do you have? Doing long exposure narrowband is all well and good, but the mount has to he up to it

3) another option is to go fast. Powernewt or hyper star. You still will need a good camera but the mount requirements will be relaxed.

4) large diffuse nebula or planetaries? The latter are small and bright, hence don't need long exposures or high sensitivity. They do need long focal length. I.e. you'll need a long scope and a great mount.


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AddictedToAstro
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Re: First CCD camera choice new [Re: orlyandico]
      #5704639 - 02/28/13 01:17 AM

Quote:

1) if you want to do mono narrowband then I think a Sony 694 is best. You need all the sensitivity and QE you can get. An OSC is a waste of money.

2) what mount do you have? Doing long exposure narrowband is all well and good, but the mount has to he up to it

3) another option is to go fast. Powernewt or hyper star. You still will need a good camera but the mount requirements will be relaxed.

4) large diffuse nebula or planetaries? The latter are small and bright, hence don't need long exposures or high sensitivity. They do need long focal length. I.e. you'll need a long scope and a great mount.




1) I don't want an OSC, and I wish I could afford the ICX694. I *might* be able to swing the ICX674, which I think is the same specs except for a lower resolution.

2) I'm using a CGEM and guiding with an SSAG and 50mm mini guidescope from Orion. This setup has served me well for up to the 10 minute exposures I've done. With my LP and DSLR, exceeding 5 minutes is a waste of time. But I did a 10 minute to see how it guided and it was spot-on.

3) I would love to be ready for hyperstar with a narrow bodied ccd. But, I don't want that to be any significant factor to my decision, as most of my use would be my refractor until I could afford the additional grand for a hyperstar.

4) I prefer the larger and medium sized nebulas, but everything interests me... small nebula and galaxies. My primary interest, though, is filling the image with nebula. I can cover both with my ED80T CF and EdgeHD 8" (getting the focal reducer when it's released). Not sure if I can successfully guide with a 50mm guidescope on my C8, but if not, I'll get an 80mm guidescope and try it. I'm also planning on getting my CGEM hypertuned this summer, so hopefully that will help with longer focal length imaging.

Guys, I just downloaded CCDCalc and punched in the numbers for the cameras I'm considering and my telescope, and I was surprised. I thought the Atik 314, 420 and 428 FOV would be too small, but it's actually perfect for all but a few (veil, california and n. american come to mind). But, that being said, I want to fill my image with nebula and with those three, the image would certainly be full. I checked the FOV of the QHY9M and it was remarkable wide. I guess when looking at the numbers, I had a different vision in my head. Seeing it on CCDCalc though made it much clearer. I guess a wider 8300 chip and higher resolution means that I can crop in if I want. But then I end up with a resolution probably not too far from the atik cameras. Never thought of it that way.

I'm actually really considering the Atik 420 now. It's just over a grand and uses the sony 274 chip with -30C set point cooling and fairly good numbers. I could bank the rest of my money and save it for a 694 camera while cutting my teeth with this one. I don't know though. Wow, never thought deciding would be so tough. I just wish I could find someone that has the Atik 420 to get their opinion. It seems like on one has it. Maybe that's a sign.


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orlyandico
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Re: First CCD camera choice new [Re: AddictedToAstro]
      #5704664 - 02/28/13 01:45 AM

well with narrowband you'll be surprised how long you can go...

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pfile
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Re: First CCD camera choice new [Re: orlyandico]
      #5704703 - 02/28/13 02:37 AM

yeah i was doing 12 minute subs at f/2.8 with 5nm Ha and i probably could have gone longer.

i banged my head against a wall with a DSLR for a long time. but i think it made me a much better post-processor. having to deal with excessive noise and banding really forced me to learn a lot about processing.

now that i have a cooled CCD i feel like the images almost "process themselves".

this is all under really badly light polluted skies. i'm shocked how well the "real" camera does even shooting L during a full moon.


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kozzina
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Reged: 09/28/09

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Re: First CCD camera choice new [Re: AddictedToAstro]
      #5704830 - 02/28/13 07:57 AM

Quote:

I'm actually really considering the Atik 420 now. It's just over a grand and uses the sony 274 chip with -30C set point cooling and fairly good numbers. I could bank the rest of my money and save it for a 694 camera while cutting my teeth with this one. I don't know though. Wow, never thought deciding would be so tough. I just wish I could find someone that has the Atik 420 to get their opinion. It seems like on one has it. Maybe that's a sign.




After 2-3 years with self-moded and uncooled Canon 1000D DSLR i decided to buy Atik 420m camera. Its about half year i bought this camera and due bad weather (like every winter in cz) i did only 2 test atik 420m]images with this camera.

Im really satisfied with this camera despite the fact that this camera has really small chip. Its only about choosing right scope to shoot with (some short focal lenght refractors). Calibration of light frames is ridicuously simple in comparsion with DSLR data. Hotpixel map, bias and flat frames is all you need, with chip cooled to -10C (there is no reason to get lower like with other cameras). I can only recommend this camera, if you can live with its small chip, you will be more than satisfied Imho small chip got some advantages to big ones ... 1,25" filters are much cheaper than 2", small chip is less exacting on quality of optics. Like we say in czech republic: even with small clown you can make big show


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AddictedToAstro
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Re: First CCD camera choice new [Re: kozzina]
      #5705125 - 02/28/13 11:18 AM

Quote:

After 2-3 years with self-moded and uncooled Canon 1000D DSLR i decided to buy Atik 420m camera. Its about half year i bought this camera and due bad weather (like every winter in cz) i did only 2 test images with this camera.

Im really satisfied with this camera despite the fact that this camera has really small chip. Its only about choosing right scope to shoot with (some short focal lenght refractors). Calibration of light frames is ridicuously simple in comparsion with DSLR data. Hotpixel map, bias and flat frames is all you need, with chip cooled to -10C (there is no reason to get lower like with other cameras). I can only recommend this camera, if you can live with its small chip, you will be more than satisfied Imho small chip got some advantages to big ones ... 1,25" filters are much cheaper than 2", small chip is less exacting on quality of optics. Like we say in czech republic: even with small clown you can make big show




This is good news! Thanks for sharing, and I loved your two photos. I agree about the 1.25" filters being much more affordable. Didn't think of that one.


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