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Equipment Discussions >> Video and Electronically Assisted Astronomy

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Astronomiser.Com
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Mallincam Alternative-Digital
      #5210090 - 05/07/12 11:16 AM

Anyone think we need a Digital Video Camera? Mallincam is great, but why not digital?

What about this new product for DSO's just coming out?

http://www.astronomycameras.com/products/usb/dbk51au02as/


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mega256
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Re: Mallincam Alternative-Digital new [Re: Astronomiser.Com]
      #5210137 - 05/07/12 11:56 AM

No dso unless you stack and adjust image..Not the same thing.
Mallincam can do much more.No stacking,no processing..
Sorry but its true.
But I am testting a canon T2i in star HD mode that will auto
stack up to 10 frames.With BYe software.
Works on the sun well so far.


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Chris A
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Re: Mallincam Alternative-Digital new [Re: Astronomiser.Com]
      #5210149 - 05/07/12 12:02 PM

If you really want the correct answer(s) to your question then see the discussion here

http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/mallincam/message/34426

Chris A


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mpgxsvcd
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Re: Mallincam Alternative-Digital new [Re: Chris A]
      #5210251 - 05/07/12 01:02 PM

Quote:

If you really want the correct answer(s) to your question then see the discussion here

http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/mallincam/message/34426

Chris A




A lot of great information there. I now believe that the Mallincam does have a tremendous advantage in sensitivity over just about everything else.

However, it still seems like Mallincam users think that pretty much all other cameras have to have a computer attached to them to do live viewing.

Almost all Interchangeable lens cameras today can use composite or HDMI video output. It is just the same as the Mallincam. You plug a cable into the camera and a cable into the display.

The big difference is that I can plug into any display with just about any resolution or video format(ie: PAL or NTSC). Heck my car even has an HDMI input now. I can take a 50 foot HDMI cable that cost me all of $20 and plug my scope into it.

So it is clear that the Mallincam has the exposure advantage. I have seen evidence of that. However, I really want to know what makes its live viewing any different than using the video output of a different camera? If I can overcome the exposure difference with good tracking and a low focal ratio scope what other advantages will the Mallincam offer?

You can get a 32" LCD monitor for $220 now. That would work very well as a display for any of the interchangeable lens cameras.

Edited by mpgxsvcd (05/07/12 01:57 PM)


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Lorence
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Re: Mallincam Alternative-Digital new [Re: Astronomiser.Com]
      #5210384 - 05/07/12 02:26 PM

Quote:

Anyone think we need a Digital Video Camera? Mallincam is great, but why not digital?

What about this new product for DSO's just coming out?






Your name suggests you're no miser. Go for it, it's only a Grand.


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Dwight J
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Re: Mallincam Alternative-Digital new [Re: mpgxsvcd]
      #5210386 - 05/07/12 02:27 PM

The thing is you can't overcome the exposure difference with better tracking and a lower F ratio. If it worked so well we would be seeing those images in the gallery. You can do solar system objects with any camera and even some detail in brighter DSO's. This discussion keeps coming up about how other cameras and chips can mimic a Mallincam and can you "image" with it and why does it have low resolution and other requests of it that are not it's intended purpose. It does what it does better than any other camera currently available. I haven't seen any evidence to the contrary.

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Astronomiser.Com
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Re: Mallincam Alternative-Digital new [Re: Lorence]
      #5210412 - 05/07/12 02:42 PM

Thanks to all. I really thought The Imaging Source cameras were not comparable to Mallincam at this time. However I am still amazed that someone has not developed a digital cam, which has all the sophisticated amenities. You can't find anything analogue nowadays. Heck even sewing machines are digital ! As a retired commercial pilot, we dispensed with analogue devices in the cockpit over 20 years ago. Love Mallincam though, and I'll bet money, Rock goes digital in the future. I believe he will be forced to. Clear Skies.

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mpgxsvcd
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Re: Mallincam Alternative-Digital new [Re: Dwight J]
      #5210421 - 05/07/12 02:50 PM

Quote:

The thing is you can't overcome the exposure difference with better tracking and a lower F ratio. If it worked so well we would be seeing those images in the gallery. You can do solar system objects with any camera and even some detail in brighter DSO's. This discussion keeps coming up about how other cameras and chips can mimic a Mallincam and can you "image" with it and why does it have low resolution and other requests of it that are not it's intended purpose. It does what it does better than any other camera currently available. I haven't seen any evidence to the contrary.




Why not?

The only thing I havenít seen is a reason why you couldnít make up that exposure difference with tracking and a lower F ratio scope. Does the Mallincam do special processing that cuts through the light pollution?

I have noticed that most of the Mallincam images always have a pure black back ground even with images that the users say are in a light polluted area. Is it possible that the Mallincam can cut through the light pollution?

Edited by mpgxsvcd (05/07/12 02:52 PM)


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Chris A
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Re: Mallincam Alternative-Digital new [Re: mpgxsvcd]
      #5210669 - 05/07/12 05:34 PM

All I can say and you will have to witness it for yourself is you just cannot beat the Mallincam for it's super sensitivity. For those who are not members or do not want to become memebers of the MC Yahoo group just to read the posts, I have done a cut and paste of Rock Mallin's (creator of the Mallincam) own words. Notice where it is stated that a 14 sec Mallincam exposure is equivalent to a 5 minute guided image with a cooled ccd camera. After using ccd and DSLR cameras for many years and several different Mallincam models I can agree with this when using the same telescope at equal focal ratios. See below!

Curtis, (this is gonna be long)

You are comparing apples with oranges here. MallinCam was never intended to be a
imager or a webcam based camera. Its a handcrafted camera with highly
specialized components custom made for the MallinCam and meticulously
hand crafted one at a time including hand picked all class 1 ccd sensors with
options of class 0 sensors available. Something you will never find on the DMK.
The MallinCam is built like a tank, industrial grade, made to last and last all
with grade one electronic components not general consumer type grade components.

Ask yourself:
- Are the competitor offer hand made, handcrafted highly specialized components?

- Do they offer true research grade ccd sensor complete with grade of ccd sensor
available?

- What is their service department like?

- Do they offer any upgrades?

- DO they offer any direct communication with the company?

- Are they offering direct talk with any designer or engineers?

There are tons more to be investigated from your part.


The MallinCam provide a camera that was designed to be used as a live observing
instrument in the field or in a observatory where no computer is needed. With a
75 Ohms and S-VIDEO true video output, it makes the camera far more flexible
than any others out there. The MallinCam is a high performance instrument and
designed for astronomical use. it was made to electronically increase aperture
of any telescope. Its a camera made for telescope use only. Not a web cam, not a
security cam, not a cooled ccd imager cam, but a astronomical live "video" ccd
camera to provide live views live instant aperture increase well over 5X and
provide a lifetime of true observing enjoyment and a pride of ownership that
reflect all users from a SkyWatcher use all the way to a Obsession user and
more. Heck, even NASA just recently purchase some more MallinCam for upper
atmospheric studies among other research they are conducting.

The highly specialized electronics used in each MallinCam has far-far-far-far
more gain and sensitivity than any others out there for astronomical purpose.
Just think for a moment: a 5 minutes guided exposure with a expensive cooled ccd
imager will equal the same result as a 14 seconds exposure with a MallinCam. I
seriously doubt DMK will even come close to this or any other video ccd cameras.
I have been sent many and I do mean many e mails with results from happy and
impressed customers who have made the test themselves about the result I just
mentioned above. I am not making this up.

Comparing a "Obsession" telescope to a "SkyWatcher" telescope or comparing
TeleVue eyepieces to any others out there is an insult and proof of inadequate
research was done. Same applies here. In my opinion, your comparative
information is not accurate and very misleading.

I understand your research into video cameras and in my opinion you should stick
to video cameras that has a true 75 Ohms output and viewed on a video monitor to
keep you informative presentation fair.

Curtis, please do not read this reply with hast. I am simply trying to sort out
the apples with oranges for you. The people who you will do the presentation
need to be educated on the difference from a USB webcam type camera and true
Astronomical video ccd camera. A serious difference prior to even begin any
comparative notes.

If you need additional help and or information, let me know. Send me a private e
mail if you have to.

Good luck with your presentation and thank you for owning a MallinCam.

Rock M.


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Chris A
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Re: Mallincam Alternative-Digital new [Re: Dwight J]
      #5210721 - 05/07/12 06:01 PM

Well put Dwight!!

Chris A


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Astronomiser.Com
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Re: Mallincam Alternative-Digital new [Re: Chris A]
      #5210840 - 05/07/12 07:06 PM

Hello My Fellow Astronomy Friends:

I think Rock's reply to Curtis in above post was very interesting. I read the original exchange on Mallincam Group, prior to starting this thread. I do not believe Curtis was confrontational at all, and merely was trying to inquire about alternative options in video astronomy.

Now back to the subject. Since NSN began I am sure Mallincam sales have skyrocketed, and rightfully so. As I have stated several times, the Mallincam is a great product, and at this point far superior to anything else in the video field. Interestingly, I believe NSN has opened up lots of folks thinking, including mine, who were not that familiar with the video arena prior to NSN launch couple years back. This is a good thing I believe, as inquisitive minds often are instrumental in formulating knowledge, and thus progress.

Many DSLR and CCD Imagers are simply blind to why Video has not gone digital? We are not intending any malice nor intending any degradation towards any one existing product. We are simply asking the question.

I understand that sensitivity and cooling are issues, but they are CCD issues also. I understand that Mallincam was originally designed as a in the field aide to enhance viewing pleasure, while not requiring a computer, and no one can deny Rock has far exceeded anyone's expectations in this accomplishment. Maybe their are many more issues blocking digital development, but I certainly am not smart enough to know what those might be.

However I am smart enough to know that if it can be done, Rock is the person to figure it out. I laugh sometimes while viewing Rock's occasional broadcast. His knowlege level of video devices is so far advanced that he often seems to toy with the audience in his Q & A responses, unintentionally I am sure. Ha !

When and if Rock decides to offer a digital alternative, their is no doubt he will be able to deliver the goods.

These are my last words for now, and I wish all viewing clear Skies, and Good Luck!

Semper Fi 1966-69


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mclewis1
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Re: Mallincam Alternative-Digital new [Re: mpgxsvcd]
      #5210880 - 05/07/12 07:34 PM

Quote:

The only thing I havenít seen is a reason why you couldnít make up that exposure difference with tracking and a lower F ratio scope. Does the Mallincam do special processing that cuts through the light pollution?



You certainly can extend the capabilities of a Mallincam with a faster scope or longer exposures but you can only effectively push things so far before the Law of diminishing returns starts to really take hold. Large scopes that are optically well corrected and very fast (under f4) are usually also very expensive, as are highly accurate mounts that can carry those large scopes. Ideally it would be great if the increased sensitivity was totally linear but it's tough to get f ratios down below f3 and longer exposures need accurate tracking and most mounts can't maintain highly accurate tracking beyond a few minutes without extra help (autoguiding, etc.).

No, there's nothing "special" about the way Mallincams handle noise and bright backgrounds. The in camera controls can only do so much.

Quote:

I have noticed that most of the Mallincam images always have a pure black back ground even with images that the users say are in a light polluted area. Is it possible that the Mallincam can cut through the light pollution?



Experienced Mallincam users are usually fairly adept at getting an aesthetically pleasing image (camera settings, monitor or PC capture settings), and that means as dark a background as possible/practical. There are also a number of external devices that help here. For a few years Mallincam sold a DVE (digital video enhancer), it is an inline device that offers an improved black level. Recently Rock has started to modify his frame grabber (MCV-1) with enhanced black level capabilities as a replacement for his original DVE.

Another method of reducing light pollution many Mallincam users employ is the use filters. The extra sensitivity of the Mallincam allows you to effectively use narrow band filters with smaller scopes.


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mpgxsvcd
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Re: Mallincam Alternative-Digital new [Re: mclewis1]
      #5211116 - 05/07/12 10:15 PM

One thing I have noticed is that when comparing the mallincam to other cameras it is often said "Can your camera see the horse head in a short amount of time".

Well, no. It has a built in filter that prevents most of that light from coming through. The Mallincam is purpose built to let all of that light come in.

However, I have seen some modded Canon cameras that can get the horse head in what I thought was impossibly short. So is it just extremely sensitive to Ha or is it sensitive to all light?

Can someone post an M51 live view image from the Mallincam with 8 second integration time? If it can be done in about 2 minutes with other cameras then the Mallincam should be able to do it in about 8 seconds if the 5x-21x the light claims are true.


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Vondragonnoggin
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Re: Mallincam Alternative-Digital new [Re: mclewis1]
      #5211131 - 05/07/12 10:22 PM

14 seconds of mallincam is equal to 5 minutes with a ccd imager???

Any other dual users of mallincam and latest ccd cameras care to corroborate that claim?

So my 6" telescope should see the equivalent detail of a 30" scope?

Just want to be sure I am understanding this correctly. Does that scale linear? So 28 seconds is equal to 10 minutes exposure in a regular ccd? 56 seconds (max for hyper plus) is equal to 40 minute exposure?



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Dwight J
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Re: Mallincam Alternative-Digital new [Re: mpgxsvcd]
      #5211358 - 05/08/12 12:41 AM Attachment (71 downloads)

Quote:

One thing I have noticed is that when comparing the mallincam to other cameras it is often said "Can your camera see the horse head in a short amount of time".

Well, no. It has a built in filter that prevents most of that light from coming through. The Mallincam is purpose built to let all of that light come in.

However, I have seen some modded Canon cameras that can get the horse head in what I thought was impossibly short. So is it just extremely sensitive to Ha or is it sensitive to all light?

Can someone post an M51 live view image from the Mallincam with 8 second integration time? If it can be done in about 2 minutes with other cameras then the Mallincam should be able to do it in about 8 seconds if the 5x-21x the light claims are true.



I don't have an 8 second or 4 second one but I do have a screen grab of 112 sec of M 51. I think the color adds to the image which is tough for a dedicated ccd camera to do with a short exposure. My guess is that this duration of exposure of 112 sec looks similar to what one would get with a 20 minute or so exposure with a dedicated ccd. A DSLR would take longer. This was a Mallincam VSS on a C11 @ F3.3


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GlennLeDrew
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Re: Mallincam Alternative-Digital new [Re: Vondragonnoggin]
      #5211376 - 05/08/12 01:12 AM

Black sky backgrounds in astro images are a symptom of one or more of:
- short exposure
- strong reduction of sky glow via filtration
- excessive contrast
- setting the black point aggressively

In DSO imaging where I want to retain the fainter parts of nebulous subjects, I tend to keep a reasonable degree of sky glow. Too harsh a black sky risks artificially clipping the faint bits to invisibility.


Increased sensitivity us not really equivalent to an increase in aperture. The ultimate limit to exposure time is sky glow, which determines image contrast and limiting stellar magnitude. A less sensitive camera will fundamentally capture the same image as would one more sensitive, only requiring a longer exposure (disregarding for the moment differences in noise.)

And if one could claim an equivalent increase in aperture as garnered by better sensitivity, at best it would scale as the area of the aperture, not diameter. For example, if a camera is 4X more sensitive than another, no way does it effectively make the aperture 4X larger in diameter. Rather, one might, in limited cases, say that the aperture 'gain' is 2X larger in diameter (4X the effective area.)


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Vondragonnoggin
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Re: Mallincam Alternative-Digital new [Re: GlennLeDrew]
      #5211634 - 05/08/12 09:14 AM

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

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

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



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


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Raginar
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Re: Mallincam Alternative-Digital new [Re: Vondragonnoggin]
      #5211640 - 05/08/12 09:16 AM

I had both for awhile. 14 sec does generate some amazing pictures, however the quality is definitely not equal to a 5-minute exposure from my CCD. HOWEVER, caveat that with I can explore about 15 targets with a mallincam in the time it took me to take that 5-minute CCD image.

I think mallincams and CCD are mutually exclusive; and I prefer the quick viewing of a mallincam for visual purposes. BUT, if I want to print something... of course I want the CCD.

I'll second that customer service is more important than getting a slightly cheaper product. I've bought tons of astro/computer gear in the last year setting up my ROR... and I've sent more stuff back because they employed poor tech support that couldn't provide basic information such as drivers, or simple troubleshooting when the product didn't work out of the box.

Buy a mallincam and you'll have customer service for the rest of your camera's life. I'll guarantee you won't get that from Samsung or whatever else we've rigged to act like a mallincam on the cheap.

Good luck,
Chris


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Vondragonnoggin
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Re: Mallincam Alternative-Digital new [Re: Vondragonnoggin]
      #5211651 - 05/08/12 09:20 AM

Here is a YouTube video showing 15 minutes of M51 by way of 30 second exposures, then stacked, but it shows the individual 30 second subs too - M51 in stacked 30 second exposures

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Vondragonnoggin
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Re: Mallincam Alternative-Digital new [Re: Vondragonnoggin]
      #5211662 - 05/08/12 09:24 AM

Unfortunately after reading all the stuff in this thread and the entire mallincam users group yahoo messages, I was really believing it would be impossible to get anything worthwhile in less than 5 minutes of shooting with a ccd. I thought this sounded wrong, so did a little investigation.

Not very nice to mislead so dramatically! I thought I would have no alternative but buy the mallincam to get the short shots I wanted in screen grabs - not true.


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