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Kokatha man
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Still hunting Mars - CMOS camera trials!
      #5451220 - 10/02/12 12:53 AM Attachment (549 downloads)

Hi everyone - we are still hunting Mars for that extended series of images from opposition down to "can't-image-it-anymore-point."

Jupiter is proving very elusive at our home latitude (33 degrees maximum elevation) re any sort of semi-decent seeing atm but we are soon heading North 20 degrees or so and hopefully we'll get some opportunities then.....

Meanwhile I have been testing a new planetary camera kindly sent to me by Sam from ZWOptical.....this is a cmos sensor-based unit featuring an Aptina MT9M034 chip with high QE, rolling shutter (no problems noticed so far) and variable resolutions from 1280x960 (30fps) down to 320x240 (130fps) from a 1.2Mpx, 1/3" & 3.75uM chip.

There is also a AR0130CS sensor unit that is being considered which might have a slight edge over the MT9M034..!

It operates via USB2 and it is somewhat simpler than the Expresscard with power and FW800 that I usually need to use with my Flea3.....

Sam has generously sent me a colour camera also (ASI 120MC) which uses the same sensor and specs but I have not had time so far to give that unit a run.....but both are very compact and professional-looking units.

I suppose that I should state that I have no commercial or other interests whatsoever in these products or company.....just an interest in trying out new/different imaging equipment!!!

We are still doing trials but it should be stated that the camera's operationality is going ahead in leaps and bounds.

On that score Torsten Edelmann (Mr. FireCapture! ) has been fantastic reading through my (typically long-winded!!! ) test appraisals and adding to his 2.2beta FireCapture builds to accomodate these cameras.....Sam also has been great with constant responses to my reports and changing driver files etc to get things optimal!

As a camera utilising DirectShow we now have, with the latest beta build of FireCapture, far greater control than ever before with these types of webcams: and we are on the verge of complete compatability - thanks once again Torsten!

So what's it like as a planetary imager?

At heart I'm a "nuts & bolts" person tbh.....I want to see what something can do, and I think with the results I've obtained so far the night before last with tiny Mars in seeing that was "fair" at best and 30 degrees elevation there is plenty of room for optimism with this camera!

I understand its' price will be super-competitive, so that in resolving a final issue to achieve complete compatability in FireCapture there should be another option available to us planetary imaging fanatics..!

Here is the Mars image from my C14: an rgb sequence taken over 8 mins 21 seconds (short for 4.83") at 130fps, best 2500 frames processed from AS!2, #1 & #2 wavelets (not linked) in R6, then AstraImage & CS4.

Image shown at capture and 150% & 200% with CalSky simulation - given what I've managed with the Flea3 at slightly larger diameters and similar or higher elevations I'm pretty impressed so far with these results.....

Edited by Kokatha man (10/04/12 02:13 AM)


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DesertRat
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Re: Still hunting Mars - CMOS camera trials! new [Re: Kokatha man]
      #5451760 - 10/02/12 11:42 AM

Thanks Darryl for the Mars! You have an image of the south polar hood - we have'nt seen that feature in quite a while!

Looks like that cmos camera did pretty well. Still don't like the rolling shutter, but if you have that many frames to work with it seems to fair pretty well.

Cheers,
Glenn


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ToxMan
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Re: Still hunting Mars - CMOS camera trials! new [Re: DesertRat]
      #5451813 - 10/02/12 12:06 PM

I'm impressed.

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karlo
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Reged: 05/21/09

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Re: Still hunting Mars - CMOS camera trials! new [Re: ToxMan]
      #5452291 - 10/02/12 05:09 PM

still very sweet Darryl!! Keep em comin' for as long as you can !

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wenjha
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Re: Still hunting Mars - CMOS camera trials! new [Re: karlo]
      #5452768 - 10/02/12 10:19 PM

Thanks Darryl for your hardworking test and beautiful Mars

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BKBrown
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Re: Still hunting Mars - CMOS camera trials! new [Re: Kokatha man]
      #5452837 - 10/02/12 11:04 PM

Terrific work Darryl! I will be following your tests of the new cams with interest, thanks for the update.

Clear Skies,
Brian


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Kokatha man
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Re: Still hunting Mars - CMOS camera trials! new [Re: BKBrown]
      #5453106 - 10/03/12 06:35 AM

Thank you Glenn, Paul, Karlo, Sam and Brian.....much appreciated!

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Kokatha man
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Re: Still hunting Mars - CMOS camera trials! new [Re: DesertRat]
      #5453122 - 10/03/12 07:01 AM

Quote:

Thanks Darryl for the Mars! You have an image of the south polar hood - we have'nt seen that feature in quite a while!

Looks like that cmos camera did pretty well. Still don't like the rolling shutter, but if you have that many frames to work with it seems to fair pretty well.
Cheers,
Glenn




I caught "The Hood" back on July 21st but Mars was quite a bit larger (6") and nearly 13 degrees higher in better seeing Glenn.....I could only say "fair" re the seeing for the image above because I actually had to "guesstimate" focus - with such minimal features on display it's never easy with these facets of Mars but the seeing was so ordinary that the SP region was only fleetingly visible, and barely discernable re anything more than a darkish "rim" to that edge.....

To me that gives this image (and camera) quite a bit more credibility for said conditions.....I appreciate your comments re rolling shutters (I actually gave a little frown when I first learnt this!) but I think that the downside possibilities aren't seeming to actually manifest themselves.....Torsten's review of the e2v Ruby CMOS sensor EV76C661 is one example, and I suspect fast frame videos where we are to all intents and purposes "freezing" the "foreground" images may be one explanation...

I've changed the image I posted above on this thread because the first was a "quickie" (I just "rgb combined" the channels straight out of R6) but more importantly I was very rough with my selecting of the disk in CS4.

I "clipped" the edge of Mars between 7&5 o'clock and although I haven't got it really right second time around I think it is much better and doesn't exhibit the rather odd shape, phase notwithstanding..!

I've found Mars in poor seeing (even around opposition) presents a lot of "flaring" around the peripheries and requires astute post-processing.....and the smaller the image you start with the more difficult it becomes, especially becuase enlarging the image in P/shop sufficiently almost inevitably creates a pixelated image to start with!

And I can now report that the last impediment to complete compatability with FireCapture is almost sorted out - the ability to change resolutions in the F/Capture main panel dialogue...thanks once again to Torsten - you are a champion bro!

For those not aware of what this entailed, it should be pointed out that the ZWOptical cameras are DirectShow devices.....in other words they utilise this Windows software like ordinary webcams: but they are much more sophisticated and Torsten has done a heck of a lot of alterations in his builds to allow these cameras to have the control we now have with them.....

I'll post a QE graph later and some further information and reports that I think might be interesting.....


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sfugardi
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Re: Still hunting Mars - CMOS camera trials! new [Re: Kokatha man]
      #5453489 - 10/03/12 12:32 PM

Mo, awesome Mars image! Details and color look great. You must be the last one on the planet still imaging Mars. I see that you have also upgraded to the C14. Nice scope, it has been very popular on this forum. I need to start saving some ca$h and get one...

Regards,
Steve


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Kokatha man
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Re: Still hunting Mars - CMOS camera trials! new [Re: sfugardi]
      #5455771 - 10/04/12 09:37 PM Attachment (161 downloads)

Thanks Steve. I'm as eager as anyone to shoot Jove but I just have to wait for the right time!

Actually I've had the C14 for well over a year now, but I kept the C11 and have plans for it in an outreach program for young Aboriginal kids, especially when it can all be organised properly...art is a big part of our culture, so you'll hardly recognise the old Celestron when its' exterior has been re-painted!

I'm having a few glitches with Torsten's latest build which Sam isn't getting on his machine: and Emil has one of these cameras also and hopefully he'll be able to give his own reports sometime soon.....Torsten also when he gets his.

Another plug for Torsten - he's a champion!!!

He has also given me permission to use his graph of various QE's that he posted sometime ago when testing the EV76C661.....

It ended up with rather strange colours but at least I think the different graphs can be distinguished a bit better than in my first attempt and I also included a colour bar for the visible light spectrum (actually a bit more either end than humans usually discern but that's neither here nor there.)

QE graphs are probably somewhere between giving the number of cylinders and the horsepower of an engine, not terribly revealing in themselves but they do provide some perspective between sensors: it does drop off noticeably in the infra-red, 430-630nM seems to be where it performs best. As previously stated, I am quite impressed with its trials on Mars - more than impressed enough to spend imaging opportunities when I could be using my Flea3.....so that's at least saying something from my own perspective...

Hopefully with several people doing testing over the next few months we'll have a better idea of its stregths but personally I think it is well worth persisting with.

I'll post some more piks etc later...


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claytonbigwood
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Re: Still hunting Mars - CMOS camera trials! new [Re: Kokatha man]
      #5457071 - 10/05/12 08:19 PM

Very nice Darryl
Nice to see some results, and nice ones at that:)
Given the circumstances I can't wait to see some results under good conditions


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CPellier
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Reged: 08/07/10

Re: Still hunting Mars - CMOS camera trials! new [Re: claytonbigwood]
      #5457501 - 10/06/12 06:31 AM

These are really excellent images, so far in the season !
The planet was exactly on northern fall equinox on sept. 30th. The springtime south polar cap is visible as well.


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Paco Yepes
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Reged: 01/12/12

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Re: Still hunting Mars - CMOS camera trials! new [Re: CPellier]
      #5458297 - 10/06/12 06:28 PM

impressive

regards


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Kokatha man
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Re: Still hunting Mars - CMOS camera trials! new [Re: Paco Yepes]
      #5458824 - 10/07/12 05:46 AM Attachment (161 downloads)

Thank you very much Rob, Christophe and Paco: I didn't realise the Autumn Equinox had arrived on Mars Christophe, thanks for pointing it out and getting me to research these issues a little more!

Here is a comparison between 2 images.....the 1st taken with the C14 & Flea3 mono on 21st July when Mars was 6" in diameter, 43░ elevation and in clearly superior seeing to the 2nd where Mars was 4.83" & 30░ elevation - ie, the image in this thread via the C14 & ASI 120MM mono camera.....

"Clearly superior seeing" most definitely by the much greater ease of focusing and onscreen image.....not to forget that the down-sized 6" image is sharpened further in comparison to the 4.83" image.

Again, I emphasize that this in no way can be seen as making any specific statement vis each camera's relative merits...but more an example of how much more immproved these cmos sensor cameras have become: I really look forward to getting some decent seeing for Jupiter to work them further...as well as Mars in similar seeing and with a more detailed face presented! :)


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tjensen
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Re: Still hunting Mars - CMOS camera trials! new [Re: Kokatha man]
      #5458920 - 10/07/12 08:13 AM

Very interesting Darryl. It looks like the camera stacks up well. It would be very interesting to see how it handles both bright Jupiter and dimmer Saturn. That is the only place that I can see an issue if you can only get those fast frame rates at 320x240.
Having said that, I'd be happy to test one for you too
Cheers mate


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Kokatha man
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Re: Still hunting Mars - CMOS camera trials! new [Re: tjensen]
      #5458970 - 10/07/12 09:12 AM

Hi Tim - Sam originally sent me some very interesting Saturn images he took with the cam very early in its development, and also some very nice recent Jupiters with the ASI 120MC (the colour version which he's also sent me but I haven't had the time to try that unit out yet...)

I have to say that in the 3 weeks I've had the mono camera I've been mercilessly haranguing him and Torsten, both of whom have been magnificent with their updates - both to the camera driver by Sam and "builds" in FireCapture beta2.2 by Torsten....!

I've still got some problems with the operation of the largest resolution (1280x960) myself but the camera operates in numerous other resolutions from 800x640=50fps, 640x560=60fps, 640x480=70fps, 512x400=80fps, 480x320=100fps & 320x240=130fps.....more are planned for the immediate future and all the preceding are operating for me atm with FireCapture Build28.1, so you can see this is a camera with heaps of potential...


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wenjha
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Re: Still hunting Mars - CMOS camera trials! new [Re: Kokatha man]
      #5460219 - 10/08/12 08:33 AM Attachment (174 downloads)

Here is my jupiter shoot days before using ASI120MC Camera

Edited by wenjha (10/08/12 08:34 AM)


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MvZ
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Re: Still hunting Mars - CMOS camera trials! new [Re: wenjha]
      #5460311 - 10/08/12 09:56 AM

Excellent Sam! Could you tell us a bit more about the recording settings you used for these images?

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wenjha
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Re: Still hunting Mars - CMOS camera trials! new [Re: MvZ]
      #5461390 - 10/08/12 10:43 PM Attachment (128 downloads)

Hi Emil
the image I took using this parameter:
Exposure (s)=0.033222
Gain=66
And the first one I took 5mins
the second one I took 3mins
both stacked by your AS!2
It seems AS!2 handle it great even the 5 mins video.

I also did a test to see which para should be the best.
It seems 20ms exp is the best one


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wenjha
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Re: Still hunting Mars - CMOS camera trials! new [Re: MvZ]
      #5461406 - 10/08/12 11:05 PM Attachment (155 downloads)

but its a little different for ASI120MM
because it has more sensetivity
here is the R channel compare of ASI120MM


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