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Astrophotography and Sketching >> Beginning and Intermediate Imaging

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Reged: 10/05/08

Loc: Palo alto, CA.
Re: Advice needed... new [Re: jeffscra]
      #5653445 - 01/30/13 11:54 PM

For CCD I have to ask specifically about budget. (?) It's sure fun to help others stimulate the economy I'd recommend something 'monochrome' with 'regulated cooling', a filter wheel of some sort and filters, and include an Ha filter with RGBL?.. (OK I said it) At the high $ mark.

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Reged: 03/03/06

Re: Advice needed... new [Re: CounterWeight]
      #5655111 - 01/31/13 09:24 PM

HAHA....Jim.....what about a grand or less?

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Reged: 10/05/08

Loc: Palo alto, CA.
Re: Advice needed... [Re: jeffscra]
      #5657767 - 02/02/13 09:28 AM

Hopefully someone can help out here, the one I used I was never really happy with - it was OK... but I was expecting more from it, in ways an expensive lesson in time and effort for me. Importantly, it was not a big loss in $, as I was able to sell the CCD for about 75% what I bought it for. The good thing about buying it new was that it did need several warranty trips back to the mfg and they were fantastic about honoring the warranty. I consider the $ I lost as a sort of learning/class fee.

Another thing I learned the hard way - the CCD shipped with a stripped down version of Maxim, a capture/calibrate/initial processing program. It made initial capture and calibration pretty easy, but what was missing IMO was pretty huge in the initial processing - to the point where it wasn't much different than DSS. I'd seen some fantastic results using the full program package (which is capture/calibrate/process/post process/guide/ ...) and mine were nowhere near. So in purchasing my next CCD (the one I have now) I saved and ponied up for the full version of MaximDL - it is quite expensive and it took a while to save for. Sorry for long way down the trail with this but it's just that the software you use can have a lot to say about what you can pull out of the data you do get.

So in ways I'd recommend to keep in mind the possibility of purchasing something on the used market to get started, and what software you will need to get the most from it.

We don't get a lot of imaging time here, and so it took a long time (far longer than it might have in a better area for this) for me to understand just what I was up against in terms of limiting exposure times, different type objects, 'da woyks'... and what I wanted to try and get from my imaging. I image from a 'white' LP zone and that adds a significant amount of difficulty.

So I think choice of a camera or CCD has a lot to do with your particular area and climate, and expectations beyond the initial euphoria of getting an image or two. I used to describe the process for me as one of excitement, enthusiam, reality, panic... Sorry for the long and wandering response, but I think there is a lot to consider here that only you can determine.

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