Return to the Cloudy Nights Telescope Reviews home page


Astrophotography and Sketching >> Solar System Imaging & Processing

Pages: 1 | 2 | (show all)
BKBrown
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 08/23/09

Loc: Northern Virginia, USA
Re: Visual observer wants to start webcam imaging new [Re: ohioalfa64]
      #5945730 - 06/28/13 10:29 PM

Quote:

Mr. BK Brown is a good salesman. I ordered the ASI120MC tonight after his comments. However, I think you are both wrong about the free protective cover/dust shield for the chip. Only the postage is free. The covers cost $20. IR-cut for color and clear for mono. I bought it anyway with the camera at AliExpress. What do I do about imaging capture and processing software? Rely on the ZWO software download or cd? Or, is there something I should be using ( I immediately think MaximDL again).




Gosh, and I don't even get a commission Glad you placed the order, I don't think you will be disappointed in the least. But, ummm, one thing...I didn't say anything about the new little cover widgy; the ZWO cams have been shipping with a UV/IR filter as part of the standard kit, mine certainly had one. And while serviceable, it is not IMHO up to the standard of the Baader 1.25" UV/IR cut filter I use with my color cams. As for software, the enclosed CD has FireCapture - the preferred capture software. You probably also want to download Autostakkert (AS!2) if you don't have a stacking application. Hope this helps!
On another note: Steve, Darryl is dead on about the Bahtinov mask - I can''t think of any planetary imager I know who uses one. If the seeing is so bad that you can't draw focus on your target, it's probably a good night to go catch up on your reading.

Clear Skies,
Brian

Edited by BKBrown (06/28/13 10:31 PM)


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
WarmWeatherGuy
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 08/27/11

Loc: Orlando, FL 28 N, 81 W
Re: Visual observer wants to start webcam imaging new [Re: BKBrown]
      #5945735 - 06/28/13 10:33 PM Attachment (23 downloads)

Quote:

There's some good feedback there Steve, but I have to disagree with you on one major point: there is an enormous difference in quality between what the ASI120mm/mc will produce and what the NextImage 5 will give you. The Celestron offering is not in the same league as the ZWO cams with their superior electronics, outrageous 100+ fps frame rates, and all-around performance; and the Orion StarShoot cameras are even further behind the power curve (that's where I started, and I jumped off that ship very quickly). I guess those "starter" cameras are a cheaper way to get into the game if your primary consideration is to get the least expensive camera you possibly can to get under way, but it doesn't take long to discover their considerable limitations. If you have to use a lap top already, it is well worth the extra cost to step up to the ASI120 cams. Just cruise the forum here and see how many high quality images are being taken by guys with these ZWO cameras compared to those taken with the Celestron/Orion imagers...

Clear Skies,
Brian




#1 StarShoot webcam
#2 NexImage 5 webcam
#3 ASI120 webcam

I'd say we agree more than disagree. I agree that #3 is better than #2 which is better than #1. I agree that #3 is sufficiently better than #2 for me to upgrade from #2 to #3. If I was buying one from scratch it would be even easier for me to choose #3.

The only thing we might disagree on is the word enormous. Like all things you get diminishing returns as you pay more and more. Some people are happy with a $30 stereo and other people won't be happy with anything cheaper than a $2000 stereo.

If you plot quality versus #1, #2, and #3 the line continues to go up going all the way across. I'm saying the slope between #2 and #3 is less than the slope between #1 and #2 although they both slope up. Quality is subjective. Depending on what you mean by the word enormous you might be saying that the slope is greater between #2 and #3.

I have attached an image of Jupiter taken with #1, #2, and #3. Obviously this is not a fair comparison because each was taken with a different telescope in different parts of the world with different skills. Still, this is what I see when I look at the images on CN.

The top Jupiter is #1 and I took that myself. You can read more about that image here:
http://www.cloudynights.com/ubbthreads/showflat.php?Cat=&Board=beginners&...

The middle Jupiter was taken with camera #2 and a 10" Newtonian from this post:
http://www.cloudynights.com/ubbthreads/showflat.php/Cat/0/Number/5609957/page...
and I brightened up the image and fixed the color.

The bottom Jupiter was taken with camera #3 and a C8 from this post:
http://www.cloudynights.com/ubbthreads/showflat.php/Cat/0/Number/5687916/page...

Clearly the pictures continue to get progressively better as you go down the column. Each of the cameras could do better given the right conditions and effort. If you think it is unfair that the middle picture was taken with a 10" scope and the other two were taken with a 8" scope then here are some pictures taken with camera #2 and a 5" scope:
http://www.cloudynights.com/ubbthreads/showflat.php?Cat=&Board=Imaging&am...

There are more crummy picture on CN taken with the NexImage 5 because there are more beginners using that camera. If you compare the best from both cameras (#2 and #3) the difference is less.

Someone with a NexStar 5SE might not want to spend the extra $100 for a slightly better image. Here are some pictures I took with my C5.
http://www.cloudynights.com/ubbthreads/attachments/5931421-JS.JPG
If all I had was the C5 I wouldn't be upgrading to #3.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
WarmWeatherGuy
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 08/27/11

Loc: Orlando, FL 28 N, 81 W
Re: Visual observer wants to start webcam imaging new [Re: ohioalfa64]
      #5945746 - 06/28/13 10:38 PM

Quote:

Mr. BK Brown is a good salesman. I ordered the ASI120MC tonight after his comments. However, I think you are both wrong about the free protective cover/dust shield for the chip. Only the postage is free. The covers cost $20. IR-cut for color and clear for mono. I bought it anyway with the camera at AliExpress. What do I do about imaging capture and processing software? Rely on the ZWO software download or cd? Or, is there something I should be using ( I immediately think MaximDL again).




The ad was confusing to me. It might be that the covers (IR and clear) come with the camera. The $20 is if you want to buy an extra one. You might end up with two.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
WarmWeatherGuy
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 08/27/11

Loc: Orlando, FL 28 N, 81 W
Re: Visual observer wants to start webcam imaging new [Re: BKBrown]
      #5945757 - 06/28/13 10:45 PM

Quote:

Steve, Darryl is dead on about the Bahtinov mask - I can''t think of any planetary imager I know who uses one. If the seeing is so bad that you can't draw focus on your target, it's probably a good night to go catch up on your reading.

Clear Skies,
Brian




I found the Bahtinov mask necessary for DSI and continued using it when doing planets. I focus the planet by looking on the screen and then slew to a star to see if the Bahtinov mask will help. 8 or 9 times out of 10 the focus is already perfect and no change in focus needs to be made. You may be right that those few times I didn't get it right the seeing conditions were terrible. I live in Florida, so terrible is in the median of conditions (i.e. more than half the time things are terrible).


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
ToxMan
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 01/23/11

Loc: Tucson, Arizona, USA
Re: Visual observer wants to start webcam imaging new [Re: WarmWeatherGuy]
      #5946310 - 06/29/13 10:40 AM

I'll throw in my 2 cents...

Since I'm shooting monochrome, a planet's surface detail has been sufficient for focusing. Although advertised as parfocal, none of my filters focus exactly the same. So, I'm focusing telescope at each filter change. Obviously, a mask would be ridiculous, having to slew to a star and back to the planet with filter changes. Too cumbersome and time-consuming. To acheive the best focus, collimating the entire imaging train will give the best results. Thierry Legault has demonstrated this nicely at his web page. Link: Collimation by T. Legault

As for cameras...let me remind folks, Damian Peach captured some astounding images lately with the Flea 3. There are many good cameras. And, we all know that seeing is king when it comes to imaging. Why else do some of the best imagers travel to other locales? If seeing is bad, "the best camera in the world" makes no difference.

My advice: spend all the money you want! But, you must be very diligent to details for set-up and collimation to be ready for your best seeing conditions.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
mark8888
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 09/24/10

Re: Visual observer wants to start webcam imaging new [Re: ToxMan]
      #5946317 - 06/29/13 10:46 AM

Hi,

I'm also a visual observer who wants to start webcam imaging, of the planets, moon, and sun. After reading a ton of threads, I have pretty much decided on buying the DBK21AU618 camera. But I see that the camera recommended in this thread is the ASI120mc. I was under the impression that the DBK21AU618 is a significantly higher quality camera, and it isn't an enormous amount of money more than the ASI120mc... so I'm wondering, was I wrong in my assessment? As I'm surprised not to see it at least mentioned here. Are there any advantages of buying the ASI over the DBK, besides price? Is it much easier to use for some reason, or is the image quality it produces actually pretty comparable, or...?


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
aaube
super member


Reged: 04/10/11

Loc: Trois-Rivieres, Canada
Re: Visual observer wants to start webcam imaging new [Re: mark8888]
      #5947039 - 06/29/13 06:57 PM

Mark,

Both of these color cameras are very good. The Sony ccd sensor used in the DBK being more sensitive in the near infrared while the CMOS sensor of the ASI seems more sensitive in the blue wavelength.
Imho, the strongest point in favor of the ASI camera is that you can select any frame rate you want. The Imaging Source product does not give you that option.

Sincerely,

Alain


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
ausastronomer
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 06/30/03

Loc: Kiama NSW (Australia)
Re: Visual observer wants to start webcam imaging new [Re: aaube]
      #5947139 - 06/29/13 08:27 PM

Thanks for all the information thus far. You guys have been very helpful. I plan to order the ASI 120MC today as I think the colour version will suit me better as a beginner imager. There will be enough for me to learn without worrying about changing filters etc. Further, I think the processing time will be reduced with the colour camera, and spare time is something I don't have all that much of.

I have contacted Sam at ZW Optical about what's included and what's not, and as soon as I have this sorted I will order the Camera. Someone mentioned the Baader IR Cut filter was much better than the supplied IR cut filter. Could someone please provide me with a link to the Baader IR cut filter that I should order please?

I have a 2" 1.6X Antares barlow that I was hoping to try out also with this camera. Obviously physically connecting it isn't a problem by using a 2"/1.25" adaptor in the barlow and then inserting the M42-1.25" nosepiece into the adaptor. However all my Newtonians are optimised for visual use with 2 speed Feathertouch focusers and short focuser travel. Using the 2"/1.25" adaptor I am not sure I will have sufficient focuser in-travel to hit the chip. I actually have slight concerns that I will be able to "hit the chip" in any configuration. Is a M42-2" nosepiece available from ZW Optical, or elsewhere, that might allow me to use the 2" barlow?

I saw someone mentioned somewhere that they couldn't run medium/high frame rates with this camera, due to the limitations of their laptop. The laptop I plan to use is a Lenovo T400 Thinkpad about 5 years old. It has a 2.66Ghz P8800 Core 2 Duo CPU, with 4GB of ram, running Windows 7 64 Bit professional. Will this laptop be capable of running the Camera and Software at the maximum frame rate of the camera?

Cheers


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
bunyon
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 10/23/10

Loc: Winston-Salem, NC
Re: Visual observer wants to start webcam imaging new [Re: ausastronomer]
      #5947181 - 06/29/13 08:59 PM

I've said this elsewhere but I think the Flea3 and ASI120 are fairly comparable in terms of image quality - basing that only on the images I see posted (with the obvious selection bias that those are used by "elite" imagers while the SSI and Neximage are often used by newcomers).

However, the ASI is several hundred dollars lower in cost. I let the user draw their own conclusions.

(The TIS 618 cams are also very good but the locked in frame rate really hurts them. And they cost the same as a Flea3).

In my opinion, while solar system imaging isn't easy, operating the cams is, pretty much. What you will have to do to operate the SSI or Neximage is pretty much what you'll have to do to operate the higher end cams. The tricky bits are operating the scope and processing. With the cam, you slide it in, select frame rates, gain, gamma, etc. and press record. That is all going to be the same for any cam (in fact, it might be easier for the higher end cams because they can be run from FireCapture which is an excellent piece of software). Given that, why go with an "entry" level cam?


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Kokatha man
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 09/13/09

Loc: "cooker-ta man" downunda...
Re: Visual observer wants to start webcam imaging new [Re: ausastronomer]
      #5947248 - 06/29/13 10:09 PM

Quote:

I have a 2" 1.6X Antares barlow that I was hoping to try out also with this camera. Obviously physically connecting it isn't a problem by using a 2"/1.25" adaptor in the barlow and then inserting the M42-1.25" nosepiece into the adaptor. However all my Newtonians are optimised for visual use with 2 speed Feathertouch focusers and short focuser travel. Using the 2"/1.25" adaptor I am not sure I will have sufficient focuser in-travel to hit the chip. I actually have slight concerns that I will be able to "hit the chip" in any configuration. Is a M42-2" nosepiece available from ZW Optical, or elsewhere, that might allow me to use the 2" barlow?





.....A section of the ASI camera's body is a 2" "fitting" actually, you can insert this portion of the camera into any 2" compression clamp device such as the Antares 1.6X.....a unit I personally used in the early days when getting these cameras operational with Sam, Torsten & Emil.

Longer f/l's can be problematic due to the smaller-pixelled sensors but an 18" f4.5 shouldn't encounter any image scale problems with this scope using barlow amplifications of up to 3X or even greater...

In this thread http://www.cloudynights.com/ubbthreads/showflat.php/Cat/0/Number/5761815/page... is my personal Mk1 roughie variable amplification unit (haven't had the time to create the more sophisticated "Mk2" ) which gives you an idea of how these camera's componentry fits together.....appreciating of course that you can merely screw cheap extensions (1&1/4" GSO etc) onto the camera's 1&1/4" NP to vary the effective f/l AFTER a barlow, using a 2"-1&1/4" adapter in the Antares.....this presents a very solid imaging train "unit" - and remember to do all your collimating onscreen!

I have no idea about the laptop's suitability, using a "high end" job myself....."suck it & see" would be my advice!


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
ohioalfa64
sage


Reged: 08/16/12

Loc: Ohio (NW)
Re: Visual observer wants to start webcam imaging new [Re: Kokatha man]
      #5947977 - 06/30/13 12:36 PM

It is stated here that the Bader IR-cut filter is superior to the ASI IR-cut filter/shield that comes on the ASI120MC. Does this mean that we should not use the IR-cut dilter that comes with the webcam and but/use the clear shield that comes with the mono camera, while using a Bader IR filter? Or can a second IR filter be used while using the IR-cut filter/shield that comes standard with the webcam?
The filter comes standard. I am getting two since I ordered it separately thinking it was an option, so I will have two. This was confirmed via email received today from ZWO.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
ausastronomer
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 06/30/03

Loc: Kiama NSW (Australia)
Re: Visual observer wants to start webcam imaging new [Re: ohioalfa64]
      #5956812 - 07/05/13 10:22 PM

Good Morning all,

I took the imaging plunge and purchased the ASI120MC camera. I ordered it directly from Sam at ZW Optical.

I have to say Sam's customer service and product delivery was outstanding. His website was continually updated on when the new version would be available. As soon as they shown as "available" on the website, I ordered using the online store. I ordered at about 3pm Tuesday afternoon, Sydney time and had the camera on my desk at 9am Friday morning shipped from China. It doesn't get any better than that. Great service Sam, thank you. I wish all vendors could do the same.

It might be a couple of days before I get to try the camera out due to work commitments, but I will post some images from my first attempts when I get going.

Cheers,


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
WarmWeatherGuy
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 08/27/11

Loc: Orlando, FL 28 N, 81 W
Re: Visual observer wants to start webcam imaging new [Re: ausastronomer]
      #5956828 - 07/05/13 10:33 PM

I ordered one also. I plan on using it primarily for planetary imaging but also as an auto-guider and even for deep sky imaging with my little NexStar 5SE (just for grins).

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
ohioalfa64
sage


Reged: 08/16/12

Loc: Ohio (NW)
Re: Visual observer wants to start webcam imaging new [Re: WarmWeatherGuy]
      #5959405 - 07/07/13 06:37 PM

It arrived UPS overnight pouch, bubble wrapped, personalized with my name in marker on outside wrap.

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Pages: 1 | 2 | (show all)


Extra information
15 registered and 28 anonymous users are browsing this forum.

Moderator:  TG, Starman81, bilgebay, WOBentley 

Print Thread

Forum Permissions
      You cannot start new topics
      You cannot reply to topics
      HTML is disabled
      UBBCode is enabled


Thread views: 2045

Jump to

CN Forums Home




Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics