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Skip
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Where Oh Where Has the Cel. NexImage Camera Gone?
      #5188548 - 04/24/12 05:35 PM

Where has the NexImage camera gotten off to??

I've checked Celestron, Astronomics, OPT, Agena, and Amazon. Doing a search on those sites turns up - NOTHING!

It would serve me right if it has been discontinued. I should have bought one before Christmas last year. The price on Amazon went up from $99 to $119 right around Christmas. I didn't check back because I figured it would come back down later. But I was reading another thread here and I was going to recommend the camera to Dan Foley and provide a link. But no linky-dink to be found!

Anybody got a clue? If not I'll volunteer to call our sponsor, Astronomics, and ask what happened.


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hopskipson
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Re: Where Oh Where Has the Cel. NexImage Camera Gone? new [Re: Skip]
      #5188564 - 04/24/12 05:53 PM

I have a feeling it's been replaced by the NexImage 5 for $199. I checked B&H, where I purchaced mine, but like you said it's not listed.

James


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Skip
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Re: Where Oh Where Has the Cel. NexImage Camera Gone? new [Re: Skip]
      #5188565 - 04/24/12 05:54 PM

YIKES!!

I think I've discovered my own answer! It looks like the old ~$100 imager has been discontinued. There is a newer one just coming on the market. It is the Celestron NexImage 5 Solar System Imager. I guess they skipped over 2, 3, and 4? Anyway this one has more than dloubled in price! I'm still gonna call Astronomics (my main astro gear supplier) and see if I can get the skinny on the reason for the discontinuance. I'll let y'all know what I learn.


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Skip
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Re: Where Oh Where Has the Cel. NexImage Camera Gone? new [Re: hopskipson]
      #5188566 - 04/24/12 05:55 PM

Oops! Sorry James looks like I stepped all over you there. That is my conclusion as well. Stay tuned for news!

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Re: Where Oh Where Has the Cel. NexImage Camera Gone? new [Re: Skip]
      #5188577 - 04/24/12 06:00 PM

Hi Skip! Please do let us know when you find out.

sylvie


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Skip
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Re: Where Oh Where Has the Cel. NexImage Camera Gone? new [Re: sylvie]
      #5188628 - 04/24/12 06:29 PM

OK. I just talked to the guy at Astronomics. The old version HAS been discontinued. The new version is called the Celestron NexImage 5 Solar System Imager (not released yet - at least Astronomics and OPT do not have it yet) and it is expected to be in stock at any time. He says it is a better camera (see link below) than the old one but can't comment on the doubling of the price. In other words (this is my assumption) he probably doesn't know if it is twice as good as the original.

Here is the OPT write-up on the new version: linkeroo rahtchere. I also read somewhere that the new software includes aligning and stacking, although Registax and Avistack handle that quite well, so you each will have to determine if that is an advantage. As you can see, the new price is US$199. Amazon used to carry the old version at ~$92, back before Christmas. Shoulda bit back then!

If you want the old version, I guess you'll have to go to the used market. I saw one on CN classified the other day for $75 (used once). Astromart may have some deals as well. I've never used flea-bay and most likely never will, but that is a possibility too.

Cheers gang,


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Skip
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Re: Where Oh Where Has the Cel. NexImage Camera Gone? new [Re: Skip]
      #5188658 - 04/24/12 06:42 PM

More info from the solar system imaging forum here on CN: Linky1

And more yet from Astromnomics: Linky2

Depending on how well this imager lives up to its hype, this may be a good improvement. Time will tell.

Cheers,


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Tel
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Re: Where Oh Where Has the Cel. NexImage Camera Gone? new [Re: Skip]
      #5189240 - 04/25/12 03:16 AM

Many thanks for the information on this new piece of kit, Skip. Let me though, if I may, make a prediction.

It will be soon be available over here too, but at ca. 200 (US. $310) !

Don't complain, it's cheap to you at half the price !

(There's some logic in there somewhere) !

Best regards,
Tel


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Re: Where Oh Where Has the Cel. NexImage Camera Gone? new [Re: hopskipson]
      #5189482 - 04/25/12 09:43 AM

Has the new Celestron Neximager released yet? Don't see it anywhere though.

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Skip
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Re: Where Oh Where Has the Cel. NexImage Camera Gone? new [Re: Maverick199]
      #5189573 - 04/25/12 10:39 AM

Quote:

Has the new Celestron Neximager released yet? Don't see it anywhere though.




Hi Haseeb,

Not yet. But you can pre-order it at Astronomics or OPT (and probably others). Astronomics told me they expect it in any time now.

Good luck, you may be one of the first on this forum if you get one. I, for one, would be most interested in your critical review.

Regards,


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Skip
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Re: Where Oh Where Has the Cel. NexImage Camera Gone? new [Re: Tel]
      #5189593 - 04/25/12 10:49 AM

Quote:

It will be soon be available over here too, but at ca. 200 (US. $310) !




Hi Tel,

I seem to recall from other threads that having it shipped over from, say, Astronomics or OPT, won't solve the problem as your customs folks will charge duty on it and all said and done, the price would be nearly the same (or more considering shipping) as you buying it there.

Sorry buddy. If I were planning a trip to the UK, I'd be happy to bring you one (as a er, um, gift? ). But our next trip to the UK and Europe won't be for a couple of years, most likely.

Cheers,


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Re: Where Oh Where Has the Cel. NexImage Camera Gone? new [Re: Skip]
      #5189854 - 04/25/12 01:22 PM

Can't we send them to our overseas friends in a box of cookies?!!

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hopskipson
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Re: Where Oh Where Has the Cel. NexImage Camera Gone? new [Re: ghataa]
      #5190000 - 04/25/12 02:37 PM

Quote:

Can't we send them to our overseas friends in a box of cookies?!!


Or in a salami for your boy in the army?

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Re: Where Oh Where Has the Cel. NexImage Camera Gone? new [Re: hopskipson]
      #5190099 - 04/25/12 03:31 PM

The Celestron site says it will ship in April. Adorama says it will ship in February. Telescopes.com (hayneedle) says it will ship May 21st and arrive May 24th. I figure I will get mine after the evening thunderstorms begin in August. This is consistent with Murphy's Law which seems to be very accurate.

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Arthur Dent
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Re: Where Oh Where Has the Cel. NexImage Camera Gone? new [Re: WarmWeatherGuy]
      #5190186 - 04/25/12 04:16 PM

Quote:

The Celestron site says it will ship in April. Adorama says it will ship in February. Telescopes.com (hayneedle) says it will ship May 21st and arrive May 24th. I figure I will get mine after the evening thunderstorms begin in August. This is consistent with Murphy's Law which seems to be very accurate.



Do you think they are aware that it is already APRIL and very nearly May

Art


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hopskipson
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Re: Where Oh Where Has the Cel. NexImage Camera Gone? new [Re: Arthur Dent]
      #5190276 - 04/25/12 05:06 PM

Quote:

Quote:

The Celestron site says it will ship in April. Adorama says it will ship in February. Telescopes.com (hayneedle) says it will ship May 21st and arrive May 24th. I figure I will get mine after the evening thunderstorms begin in August. This is consistent with Murphy's Law which seems to be very accurate.



Do you think they are aware that it is already APRIL and very nearly May

Art




They didn't mention which year

James


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WarmWeatherGuy
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Re: Where Oh Where Has the Cel. NexImage Camera Gone? new [Re: hopskipson]
      #5190483 - 04/25/12 07:08 PM

Actually they did. February 2012. They just haven't made any updates since the beginning.
http://www.adorama.com/CNNI5.html
We're all disappointed we have to wait 2 years to try it out on Mars.


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Re: Where Oh Where Has the Cel. NexImage Camera Gone? new [Re: Skip]
      #5194293 - 04/28/12 01:20 AM

Quote:

OK. I just talked to the guy at Astronomics. The old version HAS been discontinued. The new version is called the Celestron NexImage 5 Solar System Imager (not released yet - at least Astronomics and OPT do not have it yet) and it is expected to be in stock at any time. He says it is a better camera (see link below) than the old one but can't comment on the doubling of the price. In other words (this is my assumption) he probably doesn't know if it is twice as good as the original.

Here is the OPT write-up on the new version: linkeroo rahtchere. I also read somewhere that the new software includes aligning and stacking, although Registax and Avistack handle that quite well, so you each will have to determine if that is an advantage. As you can see, the new price is US$199. Amazon used to carry the old version at ~$92, back before Christmas. Shoulda bit back then!

If you want the old version, I guess you'll have to go to the used market. I saw one on CN classified the other day for $75 (used once). Astromart may have some deals as well. I've never used flea-bay and most likely never will, but that is a possibility too.

Cheers gang,




I snagged one on A-mart for $70 last week--so be persistent and have patience, it will show up sooner or later!

Or just put up an ad here (CNC) and there and let *them* come to *you*.


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Skip
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Re: Where Oh Where Has the Cel. NexImage Camera Gone? new [Re: Starman81]
      #5194668 - 04/28/12 10:42 AM

Hi NexStar Compatriots,

Well I just stumbled into something good (for once). A great CNer saw my posts and asked if I would like to have his NexImage to use - free of charge! Well, OK, I agreed to pay the shipping charges from the East coast - not a biggie. Due to his generosity, I'll soon have it. I agreed to pass it on to someone else when I outgrow or replace it.

Now all I need is a laptop!

I have downloaded Sharpcap and will get Amcap with the camera. So, those of you who have used the NexImage, let me know what you think about the video capture software. From what I've seen, Sharpcap seems to be more robust than Amcap, but I have absolutely zero experience here. Opinions please!

Thanx!


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Re: Where Oh Where Has the Cel. NexImage Camera Gone? new [Re: Skip]
      #5195150 - 04/28/12 03:20 PM

Hey Skip,

I use wxAstrocapture with my Neximage. I've tried the other two you mentioned, but I just find wxAC easier to use and better at dialing in the right settings.

To each his own as they say.

Here's the download if you're interested-

http://arnholm.org/astro/software/wxAstroCapture/


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Re: Where Oh Where Has the Cel. NexImage Camera Gone? new [Re: Skip]
      #5195159 - 04/28/12 03:22 PM

Skip Im really happy for you. Ive seen some excellent photos of dolar system objects eith it that were quite inspiring. Its a different world than using a point n shoot or dslr with resukts the others simply cant touch. I used to ghe think nothing beat the big ol chip in my canon dslr. I was flat out wrong. My vid cam is way ahead.

It took some reappreciating of how images are captured but its a mild curve and even the beginner cam attempts match or beat good dslr planetary pics.

Pete


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Re: Where Oh Where Has the Cel. NexImage Camera Gone? new [Re: azure1961p]
      #5195321 - 04/28/12 05:26 PM

Oh Skip, you resisted for soooooo long!

The lure of the Dark Side has finally gotten to you - the delights of AP await

Art


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Skip
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Re: Where Oh Where Has the Cel. NexImage Camera Gone? new [Re: Arthur Dent]
      #5195348 - 04/28/12 05:43 PM

Thanks guys! I've dl'd wxAstroCapture and signed up for the Yahoo Group. I guess I'll need to go shopping for that laptop now.

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Re: Where Oh Where Has the Cel. NexImage Camera Gone? new [Re: Skip]
      #5195386 - 04/28/12 06:27 PM

I use HandyAvi after seeing the ad in Astronomy Magazine.

http://www.azcendant.com/

You can download it free and start using it right away (for 10 days). It will do time lapse and works with all my web cams.


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haytor
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Re: Where Oh Where Has the Cel. NexImage Camera Gone? new [Re: WarmWeatherGuy]
      #5197756 - 04/30/12 07:04 AM

Hi Skip, sorry i missed this, this is great news, would have seen it earlier, but we have had a death in the family,(funeral on Friday this week) and my Daughter is currently in hospital awaiting to give birth to our 20th grand child (at least i think its the 20th, lost count now,)

As said, and with fear of Peter setting Yvonne on me, so glad to hear this news of you getting a NexImage, only thing i can add to that, is that you also say you will now have to get yourself a lappy, i`m sure i dont need to say this, but just be sure its operating system is compatable with the NexImage, i think i read somewhere that there were driver issues with some operating systems,Keep in mind also that should you in the future upgrade to the newer NexImage, that your lappy will also need to be compatable.

Very much looking forward to seeing your first light results with the NexImage Skip once your up and running

best regards,and welcome to the dark side

Tom

Edited by haytor (04/30/12 07:14 AM)


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Re: Where Oh Where Has the Cel. NexImage Camera Gone? new [Re: haytor]
      #5197765 - 04/30/12 07:16 AM

Hi Skip,

Good luck with the NexImage. Hope to be looking at your captures in the near future.

Hi Tom,

Don't think your off the hook.

Yvonne wants to know which bus to catch to your place.

Regards. Peter.


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hopskipson
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Re: Where Oh Where Has the Cel. NexImage Camera Gone? new [Re: Peter9]
      #5197771 - 04/30/12 07:21 AM

From experience, NexImage doesn't play nice with windows XP.

James


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haytor
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Re: Where Oh Where Has the Cel. NexImage Camera Gone? new [Re: Peter9]
      #5197781 - 04/30/12 07:32 AM

Quote:

Hi Skip,

Good luck with the NexImage. Hope to be looking at your captures in the near future.

Hi Tom,

Don't think your off the hook.

Yvonne wants to know which bus to catch to your place.

Regards. Peter.




There`s only one person here on CN, a very good friend i might add,that knows my full address Peter, so i`m sure i`m safe from a visit from Yvonne, hmmm, hang on a mo, i forgot i did have a jibe at his expense not long ago, OH HECK....

Edited by haytor (04/30/12 07:39 AM)


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haytor
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Re: Where Oh Where Has the Cel. NexImage Camera Gone? new [Re: hopskipson]
      #5197871 - 04/30/12 08:57 AM

Quote:

From experience, NexImage doesn't play nice with windows XP.

James




I dont remember having problems with the NexImage running on XP,in fact the specs for the NexImage says it operates ok with XP, however i did run into problems when my old XP lappy died, and i had to get a replacement lappy, i opted at the time to go with the Vista O/S,and found the Neximage drivers would not work, however new drivers were issued later.

So Skip, should you end up with a Vista O/S, heres a link that should provide the driver for Vista, just scroll down the page until you find it if needed.

I should also point out, that my Vista lappy is a 32 bit,so not sure if the Neximage would run on 64 bit machines,you would need to check that out!

http://www.celestron.com/astronomy/accessories/celestron-neximage.html

regards,

Tom.

Edited by haytor (04/30/12 09:10 AM)


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Skip
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Re: Where Oh Where Has the Cel. NexImage Camera Gone? new [Re: haytor]
      #5197894 - 04/30/12 09:17 AM

Thanx Tom and Peter,

If I get a new "lappy" (I love the Brit nicknames for things ), I'm sure it will be a Windows7 machine. I think the drivers for Vista will work well with 7. If anyone knows any different, please chime in so I can be forewarned.


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Arthur Dent
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Re: Where Oh Where Has the Cel. NexImage Camera Gone? new [Re: Skip]
      #5197898 - 04/30/12 09:24 AM

Make sure that it is a happy lappy Skip.

Can't comment about the Vista drivers running on Windows 7 (but it should do because Vista is build 6.0.xxxx and Windows 7 is build 6.1.xxxx - essentially Windows Vista Second Edition).

Windows 8 is a new build 7.x.xxxx (although it is still basically Windows NT4 and DOS 6.22 under the hood).

Oh, the joys of Windows!

Art


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haytor
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Re: Where Oh Where Has the Cel. NexImage Camera Gone? new [Re: Skip]
      #5197904 - 04/30/12 09:27 AM

Hi Skip, it seems that the link i provided for the Vista drivers is no longer viable, so should you need Vista drivers then you will need to search the net and ask questions regarding this. Sorry about that.

Having said that, and before purchasing your new lappy, just check first if the older NexImage will work on windows 7 or not, all i know for sure is that i had the NexImage working perfectly on the older XP O/S.



EDIT......just found this if it may be useful.

http://www.celestron.com/c3/support3/index.php?_m=knowledgebase&_a=viewarticle&kbarticleid=2364

The good news is, that the NEW Neximage 5 ccd, should you later decide to upgrade to the newer ccd, will operate with O/S systems from XP , Vista and windows 7 (32 and 64 bit) machines.

Regards,

Tom.

Edited by haytor (04/30/12 09:57 AM)


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hopskipson
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Re: Where Oh Where Has the Cel. NexImage Camera Gone? new [Re: haytor]
      #5198611 - 04/30/12 04:39 PM

Is there a different driver for windows XP? Everytime I try to capture video with the nexImage my computer "blue screens and then crashes. It works fine on my windows 7 desktop.

James


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Re: Where Oh Where Has the Cel. NexImage Camera Gone? new [Re: hopskipson]
      #5198617 - 04/30/12 04:43 PM

It looks like there is a different driver for Vista.

http://www.celestron.com/astronomy/accessories/celestron-neximage.html

Click on the "Support" tab. There is also information on how to make long exposure images with this camera.


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haytor
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Re: Where Oh Where Has the Cel. NexImage Camera Gone? new [Re: WarmWeatherGuy]
      #5199605 - 05/01/12 07:24 AM

Hi James, the original disc that came with my Neximage had the XP driver which was used for the neximage, on my old XP lappy it worked fine, so not sure why you would get a blue screen, sorry i cannot be of more help with that question.

regards,

Tom,


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Skip
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Re: Where Oh Where Has the Cel. NexImage Camera Gone? new [Re: haytor]
      #5200167 - 05/01/12 01:31 PM

OK, imaging gurus! I have a really dumb newbie question on using the NexImage. Do you put it into the visual back in place of the star diagonal or do you use the diag and put the NexImage "snout" in it, taking the place of an EP??

It may be awhile before I can use the camera (which arrived yesterday) on the sky. North Texas is socked in - no rain, only clouds <yuck>! But I'm going to check out the drivers and the various capture software for compatibility on my desktop.

If the clouds ever go away - and they will - I'm gonna do a one-time thing. I'll haul my desktop out back and hook everything up, just to see what I can capture. If I get anything at all, I'll post it, good or terrible.


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Re: Where Oh Where Has the Cel. NexImage Camera Gone? new [Re: Skip]
      #5200214 - 05/01/12 01:57 PM

Hi Skip,

It probably doesn't matter. I think both ways will come to focus.

However, if you take the perfectionists route, then just insert your Neximage directly into the visual back in place of the diagonal. Less glass to absorb light !

I would also recommend that you use at least a x2 Barlow, otherwise, certainly your planetary images will be very small. If you're imaging the Moon though, then you can be more flexible over the use of a Barlow depending on what you wish to capture. (You may even wish to use a focal reducer in some circumstances).

Finally, to get the best results, (in my humble opinion), focus first on a bright star, (using a Bhatinov mask will help enormously), and when you're satisfied with the result, THEN slew to your imaging subject.

Hoping this helps,

Good hunting and best regards,
Tel


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Tel
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Re: Where Oh Where Has the Cel. NexImage Camera Gone? new [Re: Tel]
      #5200249 - 05/01/12 02:16 PM

An additional thought Skip !

Don't forget to use a low powered EP followed by a high powered to bring the "focusing star" to the centre of the FOV so that the Neximage will "pick it up", otherwise you could be searching for some time before you can work on it.

Secondly, when you're satisfied with the star focus on your LT and thus make the slew, your 'scope may well be slightly off target, particularly when you bear in mind that your Neximage is about equivalent to a 6mm EP !

You may therefore, need to place, say, a 20-25mm EP either directly in the VB or in the diagonal, to bring your target planet back to the centre so that the Neximage can "pick it up".

It all sounds obvious, but at this stage, do NOT change the focus ! You may well see your target planet as a fuzzy blob. No matter: centralise the blob ! The Neximage will then "see" it in focus and you should then be able to proceed with its capture.

Hope this helps a little further,

Best regards,
Tel


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Re: Where Oh Where Has the Cel. NexImage Camera Gone? new [Re: Skip]
      #5200272 - 05/01/12 02:32 PM

Quote:

OK, imaging gurus! I have a really dumb newbie question on using the NexImage. Do you put it into the visual back in place of the star diagonal or do you use the diag and put the NexImage "snout" in it, taking the place of an EP??




It should work either way but I would ditch the diagonal. You want an even number of reflective surfaces or you end up with a mirror image. Also the diagonal is one more piece of optics that can reduce the image quality.

Also note that the NexImage is upside down. The end where the wire comes out is the end that should face North.


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Re: Where Oh Where Has the Cel. NexImage Camera Gone? new [Re: WarmWeatherGuy]
      #5200283 - 05/01/12 02:38 PM

Tel and WWGuy,

Thanks for the tips! Now - clouds, clouds go away!


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Re: Where Oh Where Has the Cel. NexImage Camera Gone? new [Re: Tel]
      #5200296 - 05/01/12 02:47 PM

Hi Tel (and Tom, feel free to chime in too),

OK, my imager is recognized by all the popular video capture software (Amcap, Sharpcap, wxAstro, and Craterlet). So when I can see the sky again, I should be good to go.

Tel, you and Tom use Craterlet. Any specific tips on the Craterlet setup you've found to be most successful? I can find out by experiment, but until I get a laptop I want to make a few attempts as metioned above, with my desktop. I don't want to be hauling it back and forth from the office to the backyard, so your tips would be helpful in my first clumsy attempt.

I'm sure you can tell by my deciding to haul my desktop outside - I'm getting anxious to get this started.

Thanks,


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Re: Where Oh Where Has the Cel. NexImage Camera Gone? new [Re: Skip]
      #5200306 - 05/01/12 02:51 PM

Oh and BTW, the drivers on the product CD are fine with Vista (at least so far) and apparently with W7 as well.

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Re: Where Oh Where Has the Cel. NexImage Camera Gone? new [Re: Skip]
      #5200578 - 05/01/12 05:52 PM

Hi Skip,

I don't know what Tom may have to offer, but I find in operating any of these software products, (I've tried, Amcap, Sharpcap and have finally alighted on Craterlet as arguably the best of the bunch), that manipulating the various "controls" provided, is very much, a "hit or miss" affair. However, there are a few fundamentals to which I adhere.

1) Keep the capture frame rate on the low side to avoid too much compression. (e.g. 10 f/s).

2) Leave the Gamma feature on the default. It was recommended to me though, that progressive reduction to zero should also be tried.

3) Adjust the Gain to give a good image appearance on the LT screen without any tendency to "White out".

4) Don't over saturate in colour, brightness and contrast.

Sorry Skip, that's the best I can give you. I will however take a look through my book by UK astronomer Martin Mobberley on the subject.

I must confess that most of my planetary imaging is, by and large, conducted by trial and error, taking several AVIs at various settings and then selecting the best.

Experimentation is therefore essentially the key as far as I'm concerned because no one selection of settings will guarantee consistency in the quality of the image from night to night.

Best I can offer you at the moment.

Best regards,
Tel


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Re: Where Oh Where Has the Cel. NexImage Camera Gone? new [Re: Tel]
      #5200938 - 05/01/12 10:23 PM

Skip,
Glad you recieived your NextImage. As far as using it, you have received some good advice already. There is a pdf
'Quick Guide to Capturing Images with the Celestron NexImage Solar System Imager" available on NexStarSite.com that I found very useful.
Enjoy
Jack


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Re: Where Oh Where Has the Cel. NexImage Camera Gone? new [Re: jacklbartlett]
      #5201384 - 05/02/12 08:29 AM

Sorry for my delay in responding Skip, been up all night, new Grand Daughter made her entrance into the world at 5.08 am this morning.Mother and baby doing fine!

Yes like Tel, i use craterlet(not for a long time now though) but i can only mirror Tel`s thoughts on settings, frame rates are better at 10 to 15fps, with a capture time usually around 60 seconds.(but this can be increased depending on how many total frames you wish to capture for any given frame rate) If the moon is available, then that would be the best target to try for a first time attempt rather than a planet.

10fps at 60second capture will give you 600 frames, or 15fps X 60 seconds will give you 900 frames and so on.

You can of course take two sets of AVI`s at 600 frames or 900 frames, and import both AVI`s into registax at the same time to increase the total frames to work with.

Other than that, and given what Tel has said, again i can only mirror Tel`s thoughts, in saying no settings are set in stone, since conditions from night to night might/will require slightly different settings.

Good luck therefore with your first attempts,very much looking forward to seeing any results you capture.

best regards,

Tom.


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Re: Where Oh Where Has the Cel. NexImage Camera Gone? new [Re: jacklbartlett]
      #5202096 - 05/02/12 03:07 PM

Hi Jack,

Thanks. I'm sending a PM!


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Re: Where Oh Where Has the Cel. NexImage Camera Gone? new [Re: Skip]
      #5205260 - 05/04/12 10:01 AM

You-Tube has some great real time videos!
I use an inexpensive flip mirror system bought from Bill Vorce at Telescope warehouse. It is plastic but works fine for this.
http://www.telescope-warehouse.com/
he is a sponsor here and is a great guy! cost me about $35.00 or so.


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Re: Where Oh Where Has the Cel. NexImage Camera Gone? new [Re: Skip]
      #5222777 - 05/14/12 09:06 PM

Quote:

Hi Tel (and Tom, feel free to chime in too),

OK, my imager is recognized by all the popular video capture software (Amcap, Sharpcap, wxAstro, and Craterlet). So when I can see the sky again, I should be good to go.

Tel, you and Tom use Craterlet. Any specific tips on the Craterlet setup you've found to be most successful? I can find out by experiment, but until I get a laptop I want to make a few attempts as metioned above, with my desktop. I don't want to be hauling it back and forth from the office to the backyard, so your tips would be helpful in my first clumsy attempt.

I'm sure you can tell by my deciding to haul my desktop outside - I'm getting anxious to get this started.

Thanks,




I just acquired the NexImage camera and intend using it with a Windows 7 TABLET that does not have a DVD-optical drive, so installing the Celestron image-capture (from included DVD) program isn't effortless for me. Can I take it that a downloadable program like Craterlet is a substitute (i.e. can be used stand-alone for image capture without the Celestron SW)? Thanks.


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Re: Where Oh Where Has the Cel. NexImage Camera Gone? new [Re: harioharima]
      #5222793 - 05/14/12 09:12 PM

I use HandyAvi for all my web cams.

http://www.azcendant.com/

It has a time-lapse feature that I really like.


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Re: Where Oh Where Has the Cel. NexImage Camera Gone? new [Re: WarmWeatherGuy]
      #5223678 - 05/15/12 02:38 PM

Hi WWG,

Do you use HandyAVI with the Celestron NexIMage?


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Re: Where Oh Where Has the Cel. NexImage Camera Gone? new [Re: Skip]
      #5223783 - 05/15/12 03:41 PM

Yes, I use HandyAvi with my NexImage. You will still have to install the drivers from the setup CD though. You can copy them from the CD to a small USB drive and plug that into your TABLET, or maybe download them from the Internet.

Then when you plug in the NexImage and it wants to find the driver you can direct it to the place on your USB stick where you copied the drivers. Windows will copy what it needs from the USB drive and you're done.

The windows that have the controls for the camera settings are created by the driver software. These other programs like HandyAvi and AmCap will then call the functions in the driver to make the settings window appear. What this means is that you will have the same setting windows no matter which program you use (HandyAvi, AmCap, etc.) If you try two different programs you will see which windows are the same and which ones are different. The windows that are the same are from the driver software.


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Re: Where Oh Where Has the Cel. NexImage Camera Gone? new [Re: WarmWeatherGuy]
      #5224029 - 05/15/12 06:54 PM

Thanks, WWG!

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Re: Where Oh Where Has the Cel. NexImage Camera Gone? new [Re: Skip]
      #5224474 - 05/16/12 12:53 AM

I just used craterlet and captured a 10 second avi of Saturn at 10fps. The result bears a striking resemblance to a pimple I once sported. All kidding side, the result is a monochromatic little lump with the overall shape of Saturn. I fully intend to put in some time figuring out registax to process the avi-- but is there a quicker/simpler way to ascertain whether the neximage-camera is functioning properly to spec?

Thank you.


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Re: Where Oh Where Has the Cel. NexImage Camera Gone? new [Re: harioharima]
      #5224502 - 05/16/12 01:17 AM

Registax can't do miracles. It sounds like you aren't in focus. I would practice using the setup in the daytime at some trees. Once you have focus you can then swap the camera out for an eyepiece. Notice which way and how far you have to turn to get the eyepiece in focus. Then, at night, you can focus on Saturn with that same eyepiece. Turn the knob back to where it needs to be to focus with the camera. This will get you very close to the best focus.

I actually use a Bahtinov mask and a bright star to get perfect focus. Then the trick is to find Saturn with the tiny field of view the camera gives you.

You also need to play with the brightness, gain, and frame rates / shutter speeds. There are also some other controls to play with. You can get some color that way.

Registax can make some impressive improvements but only if you have something reasonable to start with.

I don't know what telescope you're using. You might want to get a good 2x Barlow. The best planet pictures are taken with C14 and C11 telescopes. There are some reasonable pictures of the planets on YouTube taken with a NexStar 4SE though.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rOlp5iIML4M


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Re: Where Oh Where Has the Cel. NexImage Camera Gone? new [Re: WarmWeatherGuy]
      #5224617 - 05/16/12 05:26 AM Attachment (16 downloads)

Some practice helps.

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Re: Where Oh Where Has the Cel. NexImage Camera Gone? new [Re: harioharima]
      #5224642 - 05/16/12 06:28 AM

Quote:

I just used craterlet and captured a 10 second avi of Saturn at 10fps. The result bears a striking resemblance to a pimple I once sported. All kidding side, the result is a monochromatic little lump with the overall shape of Saturn. I fully intend to put in some time figuring out registax to process the avi-- but is there a quicker/simpler way to ascertain whether the neximage-camera is functioning properly to spec?

Thank you.




Take on board what Warmweatherguy has said. It's great advice.

Certainly focus on a bright star and preferably do so via a Bahtinov mask before moving to your selected planet.

If however, after star focusing, you cannot locate your chosen planet due to the small FOV presented by the camera, remove the camera carefully and, without touching the focus at all, replace it with a relatively long focal length EP, (say, for example, a 20mm).

You should then be able to see the image of the planet albeit probably a blurred one. No matter; so long as you can see it, you can centralise it and, having done so, all you need to do then, is to remove the EP, (carefully so as not to disturb the 'scopes position), and replace it once again with your camera making any further slight adjustments if necessary on the camera focused image.

Additionally, perhaps this UK "You Tube" concerning Version 5 Registax processing of Saturn and its associated series might also assist.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=daXevwCNi4k&feature=related

Hoping this helps a little further and by the way, a very warm welcome to this forum !

Best regards,
Tel


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Re: Where Oh Where Has the Cel. NexImage Camera Gone? new [Re: Tel]
      #5224693 - 05/16/12 07:29 AM

I don't have one yet, but how do you use a Bahtinov mask? Are there instructions provided?

James


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Re: Where Oh Where Has the Cel. NexImage Camera Gone? new [Re: hopskipson]
      #5224774 - 05/16/12 09:16 AM

Hi James

There are, (well as far as the one I bought is concened), but I think you'll have no problem in figuring out from the image it presents via your camera on your laptop screen.

These instructions might however help.

http://www.btinternet.com/~gfcarey/bahtinov.htm

Best regards,
Tel


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Re: Where Oh Where Has the Cel. NexImage Camera Gone? new [Re: hopskipson]
      #5224905 - 05/16/12 11:06 AM

Watch this 16 second video
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KnKOynYBnlI

You will see a star with an X crossed through it. Another streak is present and that streak is moved relative to the star with the X when you change focus. Put the lone streak through the middle of the X and you've got perfect focus.

This is very IMPORTANT: Don't forget to remove the Bahtinov mask when you're done. Actually this is more important before beginning 10 minute exposures.


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harioharima
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Re: Where Oh Where Has the Cel. NexImage Camera Gone? new [Re: WarmWeatherGuy]
      #5225056 - 05/16/12 12:40 PM

Thanks for all the superb advice. I will apply the info contained in the links/videos.

One more question-- During the focus/centering process, the craterlet window exhibited delay (when i change focus for example) and also occasional "greenish" flickering frames. Are these to be expected with a functional neximage?


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Re: Where Oh Where Has the Cel. NexImage Camera Gone? new [Re: harioharima]
      #5225099 - 05/16/12 01:06 PM Attachment (24 downloads)

Hi Harioharima,

And, if I haven't said before; a very hearty welcome to CN and to this forum !

When you "Set Up Camera" (i.e. your Neximage) in "Craterlet", you are instantly given a " Remove Flicker" window which relates to your mains electrical system. In Europe we work on 50Hz. but I believe the US works with 60Hz (the default).

If you are therefore in Europe, then this may be the cause of your screen image flicker and if so apply the option.

As to the image appearing green-ish on screen, this is quite normal, at least as far as my experience takes me, and I use "Craterlet". Here attached is a screen shot from the last AVI raw, unprocessed image of Saturn I captured. This is easily corrected to the appropriate colour(s) at the processing stage.

Hoping this helps,
Best regards,
Tel


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Re: Where Oh Where Has the Cel. NexImage Camera Gone? new [Re: Tel]
      #5230010 - 05/19/12 05:18 PM Attachment (19 downloads)

Quote:

Hi Harioharima,

And, if I haven't said before; a very hearty welcome to CN and to this forum !

When you "Set Up Camera" (i.e. your Neximage) in "Craterlet", you are instantly given a " Remove Flicker" window which relates to your mains electrical system. In Europe we work on 50Hz. but I believe the US works with 60Hz (the default).

If you are therefore in Europe, then this may be the cause of your screen image flicker and if so apply the option.

As to the image appearing green-ish on screen, this is quite normal, at least as far as my experience takes me, and I use "Craterlet". Here attached is a screen shot from the last AVI raw, unprocessed image of Saturn I captured. This is easily corrected to the appropriate colour(s) at the processing stage.

Hoping this helps,
Best regards,
Tel




Hi Tel, Thank you for the detailed response. The pic you put up is orders of magnitude superior to anything i've managed to see with my neximage.

I tried most of the suggestions again without any success. I only get a lump no matter how slowly and patiently I try focus. Last night, the views of Saturn through my eyepiece were breathtaking but despite spending a lot of time, i got nothing better than the attachment. I am beginning to think that the neximage I purchased is defective.

Is there any test possible to figure out whether the sensor is ok? I tried using it indoors to image various objects but it shows nothing (at any focal distance) but perhaps it isn't designed for use as an ordinary camera.

Thanks for any suggestions.


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Re: Where Oh Where Has the Cel. NexImage Camera Gone? new [Re: harioharima]
      #5230088 - 05/19/12 06:47 PM

Hi Harioharima,

I've just picked up you posting but must away to my bed: time here in the UK approaching midnight !


However, before we discuss anything further, can you please provide details of the 'scope you are using in this respect and whether you are attempting your imaging with your Neximage camera via the use of Barlow lenses, or not as the case may be ?

If you can provide such information and anything else you think relevant, I promise I will look at the problem as soon as awake tomorrow morning !

Best regards and goodnight,
Tel


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Re: Where Oh Where Has the Cel. NexImage Camera Gone? new [Re: harioharima]
      #5230112 - 05/19/12 07:19 PM

It looks like you're over exposed. Can you turn down the brightness and gain? Also try a faster frame rate. These things will make the image darker. Also, you can use a Barlow lens which will make it darker (and larger).

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Re: Where Oh Where Has the Cel. NexImage Camera Gone? new [Re: WarmWeatherGuy]
      #5230150 - 05/19/12 07:45 PM

Tel and WarmWeatherGuy, Thanks for posting. Here are some details:
1. I am NOT using a Barlow (don't have one).
2. Scope is a Nexstar N5. My alignment and tracking were bang-on last night with no drift. Image with eyepiece (a recently acquired 8-24mm Celestron Zoom) was absolutely incredible (I could see the CD quite well). So I was disappointed not to have the neximage capturing properly.
3. I experimented with framerates of 10fps and 5fps.
4. I did enable the 60Hz antiflicker (I am in US) but I was only using battery power on the tablet, not ac.
5. The image size with neximage seemed to be selected by craterlet (it was a smallish 117x200 or something like that. When using my tablet's front camera, crater shows an image (of my face) at 640x480
6. I didn't change any of the image settings....perhaps i will experiment with brightness and gain as WWG suggests.
7. What framerate should i try? (I read somewhere that 5 to 10fps is recommended)
8. Do you guys see Saturn LIVE on the computer screen like Tel's image? I've tried both snapshot mode and avi-- both images looked like what i posted previously.


Hope some of what I typed is useful info to diagnose the issue. All I've done is view/center Saturn with my zoom eyepiece magnified to 8mm (or 10mm). Then I replace the eyepiece with the neximage (connected via usb). I try my best to focus s-l-0-w-ly and am sure I didn't shoot past the perfect focus image.

Thanks again.


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Re: Where Oh Where Has the Cel. NexImage Camera Gone? new [Re: harioharima]
      #5230169 - 05/19/12 08:03 PM Attachment (18 downloads)

I am not familiar with craterlet but it should allow you to specify the image size. I use HandiAvi which you can use for free for 10 days.
http://www.azcendant.com/
There are two windows that you should be able to bring up that are provided by the NexImage drivers. One window lets you choose the image size and the other lets you select the brightness, shutter speed, gain, and frame rate. See attached picture.

You should see a live image of Saturn. If you have a frame rate of 5 per second then it will only update 5 times a second. If you don't see a live image then I would work to fix that first.

With a live image you can simply turn down the brightness, gain, and increase the shutter speed to make the image be less bright. You might be able to use a frame rate of 20 or even 25.


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Re: Where Oh Where Has the Cel. NexImage Camera Gone? new [Re: WarmWeatherGuy]
      #5230211 - 05/19/12 08:40 PM

Thanks WarmWeatherGuy. I will try the software you linked and tweak gain etc. So far I've just let the software pick values automatically.

I do see a live image but it looks like what I posted previously, not like what Tel did.


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Re: Where Oh Where Has the Cel. NexImage Camera Gone? new [Re: harioharima]
      #5230369 - 05/19/12 11:37 PM Attachment (21 downloads)

Attached is a picture of Saturn I just took using my NexStar 5SE and the NexImage. It is an animation toggling between the stacked image and the wavelet image. This is at 25 frames per second and taking 600 frames.

I do not know what a NexStar N5 is but it looks similar to mine based on the relative size of Saturn in our pictures.


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Re: Where Oh Where Has the Cel. NexImage Camera Gone? new [Re: WarmWeatherGuy]
      #5230371 - 05/19/12 11:41 PM Attachment (20 downloads)

Here is another picture I just took using the NexStar 5SE and NexImage but also using a 2.5x Powermate, which is basically a really nice Barlow. This converts my telescope from a 1250mm f/10 to a 3125mm f/25. Consequently I had to drop down to 10 frames per second. I took 600 frames as before.

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Re: Where Oh Where Has the Cel. NexImage Camera Gone? new [Re: WarmWeatherGuy]
      #5230386 - 05/19/12 11:58 PM Attachment (22 downloads)

I just got back and did manage some improvement entirely thanks to your suggestions -- i turned down the gain, and turned OFF the anti-flicker feature.

Warmweather guy, what I've got is nothing near what you've posted but I think I managed to verify the camera isn't the weak-link - it is me! Thank you.


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Re: Where Oh Where Has the Cel. NexImage Camera Gone? new [Re: harioharima]
      #5230400 - 05/20/12 12:17 AM

What you have looks almost identical to my 1x stacked (no wavelet) image above. You can squeeze out a little more by doing the wavelet thing in RegiStax. A much bigger improvement can be had by using a Barlow lens. Also notice that RegiStax can improve the 2.5x image more than it can improve the 1x image (in the animations above).

I see two differences in your picture and mine. I have North up. To do this I point the NexImage camera North. On the camera the end where the wire comes out is the end that points up.

The other difference is just the brightness. Other than that I would say your picture is the same as mine.


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Re: Where Oh Where Has the Cel. NexImage Camera Gone? new [Re: WarmWeatherGuy]
      #5230523 - 05/20/12 03:18 AM

Hi Harioharima,

I think that between you and WarWeatherGuy, you've virtually solved your problem ! All I can perhaps add is that it looks as if you haven't being applying the image size variation Craterlet offers. To effect this, press "Mode" on the Craterlet screen to apply the maximum image size of 640 X 480.

Additionally, I'd certainly recommend that you boost your focal ratio to something like f/20, (X2 Barlow or Powermate), or even f/30, (X3 Barlow), although the latter might be a little too much for a 5" aperture 'scope, plus the fact that the higher you push the magnification the less positive the spur gear driven tracking is likely to be due to the diminished field of view.

As to the image set up, as WWG advised, keep the Gain on the dimmer side and, in my opinion, the Gamma at zero. Vary the brightness and contrast to suit but as said, ebb on the dim side for your image capture and use a shutter speed of between 5 and 20 frames per second in order to avoid too much image compression.

Hoping these few additional comments help.

Best regards,
Tel


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Re: Where Oh Where Has the Cel. NexImage Camera Gone? new [Re: Tel]
      #5230558 - 05/20/12 06:18 AM Attachment (22 downloads)

Hi HH,

Just to give you an idea of your 'scope's potential for planetary imaging, I ran your above image through some of the relevant Photoshop features and modified its size a little.

Obviously there's not too much in the way of detail in this one, but once you get into the practice of accurate focusing and full use of "Craterlet", I'm sure you will soon be attaining great results.

Best regards,
Tel


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Re: Where Oh Where Has the Cel. NexImage Camera Gone? new [Re: Tel]
      #5230576 - 05/20/12 07:14 AM

These cameras pretty much require the use of a barlow to produce an image that is large enough to show detail.

I adjust my settings at the laptop so that the live image is a bit dim to my eyes and take as many 2 minute exposures as I can - adjusting settings as I go.

This shoot until I hit it method works especially if the capture program will save a list of your settings with each capture. I've had some luck with SharpCap.

Try and then try again. You'll get a real good one eventually and then it's all up to the seeing conditions (which play a huge role), free time during said conditions and of course luck. I can't tell you how many times I've gotten set up and after numerous snafus was finally ready to take some exposures that the target vanished behind a tree branch.


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harioharima
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Re: Where Oh Where Has the Cel. NexImage Camera Gone? new [Re: herrointment]
      #5232429 - 05/21/12 12:37 PM

Thank you Tel, WWT, Herrointment. I will procure a Barlow and try for more improvement. Also Registax at this point is bufuddling for me, it will probably be a month before I will be ready to use that.

Also, I now have a 8-24 zoom eyepiece that has T-threading (if I am correct). I am curious to try directly photographing (with a interchangeable lens camera) into the eyepiece. Wonder if that would produce better images -- particularly because seeing with the eye seems way superior to a single frame capture with the neximage. I won't be able to try that for a week or two but will post if/when I do.


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WarmWeatherGuy
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Re: Where Oh Where Has the Cel. NexImage Camera Gone? new [Re: harioharima]
      #5232467 - 05/21/12 01:03 PM

What you're talking about is called afocal photography.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Afocal_photography

From my experience I get better pictures with fewer optical elements. The eyepiece projection often gives too much power and not enough light.

The Barlow and Registax will give you the greatest improvement. You can get a used Barlow on eBay for well under $40.

To learn how to use Registax you can go to YouTube and search for Registax and watch some of the videos there. Here is one by AstronomyShed:

Registax 6.Primer
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ALqQfExMRBA


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Tel
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Re: Where Oh Where Has the Cel. NexImage Camera Gone? new [Re: harioharima]
      #5232516 - 05/21/12 01:36 PM

Hi HH,

Personally, I would not recommend a-focal imaging before you have good experience of prime focal astrophotography. To be honest, I can't say that I've ever seen it done with a Neximage or webcam but then perhaps, I haven't lived (?)

I would suggest, (perhaps as before), that you get yourself a Bahtinov mask, (if you don't have one already). Then, with your new Barlow attached to your Neximage, first focus accurately on one of the brighter stars in our skies at the moment.

Once the Bahtinov mask indicates "best focus", slew to your target planet and look for its appearance on your Craterlet screen. The chances are though it won't be there for various reasons; normally attributable to the lesser accuracy of the slew and to the very small FOV presented to the Barlowed Neximage.

As I think I've already mentioned somewhere earlier, no matter: just remove the camera assembly and substitute it with a 25mm EP WITHOUT touching the focuser. You should then see the planetary image you seek, albeit probably blurred, but visible enough to allow its centralisation in the EP. Once centralised, remove the EP and replace it with the Barlowed Neximage which should have remained in focus.(If not make some minor "tweaks" to it but bear in mind that by and large, you will see the image on screen as somewhat of a blur as it "boils" in the Earth's atmosphere) !

Now, with "something" on screen, make your adjustments to Craterlet, (i.e. reducing the Gain so as not to give too bright an image and setting your shutter speed to something less than say, 25 frames/second. Keep the Gamma setting at Zero and make minor adjustments, if you think necessary, to the brightness and contrast. I can't overemphasise though the need to keep the image more on the dim rather than the bright side. Brightness and contrast etc. will come to the image during post capture processing.

Try to capture at least ca. 2000 frames when you're good to go. When you have them, I or for sure others, will certainly help you align and stack them in Registax and indeed take you through the entire process.

Hoping this helps you a little further,

Best regards,
Tel


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harioharima
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Re: Where Oh Where Has the Cel. NexImage Camera Gone? new [Re: Tel]
      #5232616 - 05/21/12 02:36 PM

Tel and WWT,

I read the wikipedia article that WWT linked- I am not sure that what I described is afocal photography. In afocal, the camera WITH a lens seems somehow attached to the OTA. I've also seen some pics where a camera (no lens) is attached to the OTA (with no telescope eyepiece).

What I posted seems a bit different (?)-- I want to attach an interchangeable lens camera WITHOUT lens (i.e. sensor only) to the telescope-eye-piece. This 8-24 eyepiece seems have a T-threading on the outside (haven't seen this on other eyepieces).

The great views seen by the naked eye seem bright enough for a MFT camera to capture but I could be wrong.

I do intend persevering along the lines you suggest with the neximage also...the clicking camera would be a side diversion. It will be a bit before i go for the mask approach, but if i manage to record a nice long avi, this is where i will come.

PS: Also thanks for the youtube link, that would probably be the way to learn for someone like me. :-)


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Arctic_Eddie
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Re: Where Oh Where Has the Cel. NexImage Camera Gone? new [Re: harioharima]
      #5232686 - 05/21/12 03:32 PM

I've used that setup with marginal results. By marginal I mean only narrow FOV and difficulty focusing due to scope vibration. I have the setup in place on an AT80EDTA and ready for the Venus transit. Also present is an improvised mounting plate and my newly built stepper focuser. A photograph is forthcoming. You will need an adapter to go on the EP to accept the camera. Agena has one just for that purpose. The adapter screws directly onto the back of a Celestron 8-24mm zoom eyepiece T threads then accepts any webcam with a 1.25" snout.

http://agenaastro.com/blue-fireball-1-25-t-t2-visual-back-e-10.html


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Arctic_Eddie
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Re: Where Oh Where Has the Cel. NexImage Camera Gone? new [Re: Arctic_Eddie]
      #5232707 - 05/21/12 03:44 PM Attachment (14 downloads)

Here's the photo of a Philips SPC900 webcam mounted on a Celestron 8-24mm zoom eyepiece. It uses the Agena/Blue Fireball adapter. Also present is the stepper focuser. A solar filter will be attached for the Venus transit event.

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WarmWeatherGuy
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Re: Where Oh Where Has the Cel. NexImage Camera Gone? new [Re: harioharima]
      #5232740 - 05/21/12 04:01 PM

Hario, you're right. I confused afocal with eyepiece projection. Afocal is where you hold your camera up to the eyepiece. Eyepiece projection is where you take the lens off of your camera and hold it up to the eyepiece.

I tried eyepiece projection and it was too dark. I gave up and went the Barlow route. If you can adjust the camera to eyepiece distance you might get something to work.

Look at the pictures on AstroBin and see what other people use. Here is one where someone used both a 2x AND a 3x Barlow.

http://astrobin.com/1698/


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Stmag
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Re: Where Oh Where Has the Cel. NexImage Camera Gone? new [Re: azure1961p]
      #5722374 - 03/09/13 01:46 PM

This may not be the correct location to post this question, but I'll through it out there. First of all my wife and I just bought our first telescope..it's a orion xt8i which is awesome, I also purchased the Neximage 5 to use with my hp laptop which is running windows 7. The software iCap v2.2 that came with it will not install correctly, so I tried Sharpcap and Handyavi. Both programs shut down as soon as I select the Neximage 5. Any ideas what I'm doing wrong?

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