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Equipment Discussions >> Electronically Assisted Astronomy

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ccs_hello
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Reged: 07/03/04

Can be a competitive imager in the future new
      #4894357 - 11/02/11 06:08 PM

This Orion StarShoot Gen3 Deep Sky Imager (color or mono) can potentially in the future be a very competitive product, once the software is improved upon to support near-real-time (live stacking) viewing.

See this CN thread.

Type-1/2" CCD, almost the same as MallinCam. (PAL version is used.)
Has regulated TEC (set temperature).
Software supports auto-dark and flat .
$500 price tag.
No need to convert the image data to analog NTSC format then use a USB video capture dongle to convert it back to digital for computer processing (when compared with MC Extreme).

Con: no analog video output. But hey if you are 100% using PC to view and do not use an analog monitor any more ...

I am just guessing here (not much info is available yet...)
May be a pro or con: this guy may not have a super high gain analog front-end (thus better S/N and better image quality). The tradeoff is slower in gaining the picture (loosely called: less sensitive).

Clear Skies!

ccs_hello


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Stew57
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Reged: 05/03/09

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Re: Can be a competitive imager in the future new [Re: ccs_hello]
      #4894487 - 11/02/11 07:24 PM

There has been many posts about how much better their dedicated ccd imager are ai live views with the right software than the mallincam. I have been very interested in the details but not one has posted any details. I have PM soem of them but still no details. I have come to the conclusion if you want live view without all the processing hassles a video cam is the only way to go, with the mallincam at the top of the heap at the present. Chris has shown that the mallincam can do imaging quite well, I have yet to see someone show a dedicated imager compete with the mallincam on live mode.

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mclewis1
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Reged: 02/25/06

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Re: Can be a competitive imager in the future new [Re: Stew57]
      #4894772 - 11/02/11 10:06 PM

Mark,

One of the reasons we don't see many live comparisons on sites like NSN is the difficulty of getting a CCD camera to produce a video stream that is compatible with the Flash s/w the broadcasting websites use. It is possible to adapt static images for broadcasting using apps like ManyCam or WebCamMax but it takes some extra fiddling to set them up, and then there's the need to stack the images to create something with better image quality (using something like DSS Live).

For most folks it's simply so much easier to convert live video to the webcam like video streams that Flash can use.

I'm with you on being really interested in seeing some form of comparisons, especially with the new Orion SS G3 camera.


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Chris A
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 02/03/07

Loc: Toronto, Canada
Re: Can be a competitive imager in the future new [Re: Stew57]
      #4894788 - 11/02/11 10:14 PM

Thank you very much Mark for the kind words. The key word written here is "stacking". The beauty of the MCX is that you really do not have to stack in order to produce a very pleasing near real-time image for display. Yes if I want to do live stacking, (have done it many times on NSN) then I can by using DSSLive. On most nights I like to keep it simple and show single near live images during my broadcast.

The Mallincan camera has so many excellent features going for it such as a terrific digital zoom, amazing AGC (Gain), CMYG micro filters over RGB, a fantastic TEC, dual Heat Dissipator with dual fans, APC and many other cool features. You just cannot beat a MCX for video viewing.

Edited by Chris A (11/02/11 10:17 PM)


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ccs_hello
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Re: Can be a competitive imager in the future [Re: Chris A]
      #4894955 - 11/02/11 11:46 PM

Chris,

Quote:

Thank you very much Mark for the kind words. The key word written here is "stacking". The beauty of the MCX is that you really do not have to stack in order to produce a very pleasing near real-time image for display. Yes if I want to do live stacking, (have done it many times on NSN) then I can by using DSSLive. On most nights I like to keep it simple and show single near live images during my broadcast.




Hmmm... I mentioned live stacking because I suspect SS G3 may not have gain set so high, even at its max. gain setting, due to its main objective to be leaning toward high S/N as oppose to fast(er) image acquisition.

Now that SS G3 has the active cooling, thus single frame long exposure thermal noise control becomes more manageable. Live Stacking may become optional. However, I always would like to see the live stacking feature made available to increase flexibility.

Quote:

The Mallincan camera has so many excellent features going for it such as a terrific digital zoom, amazing AGC (Gain), CMYG micro filters over RGB, a fantastic TEC, dual Heat Dissipator with dual fans, APC and many other cool features. You just cannot beat a MCX for video viewing.




Let's demystify these terms: (video industry/CCTV camera trade indeed likes jargon)

digital zoom == ROI (region of interest) capture and image scaling with interpolation

amazing AGC (Gain) == high(er) gain amplifier, Mallincam may have higher gain, just a S/N trade-off. The "automatic" part of setting in astro applications should be unnecessary.

CMYG micro filters over RGB == indeed complementary color Bayer is preferred, SS G3 uses CMYG

a fantastic TEC == SS G3 uses TEC, temperature regulated one

dual Heat Dissipator with dual fans == how many fans are not the key, effectively carry the heat off the cam is important. BTW, SS G3 has less camera electronics inside the body (just an imaging head, no DSP, no need to have any analog video) thus less heat generated.

APC == image processing such as sharpening and gamma (curve). PC based software can do the same and more. The key is to do it near-real-time. PC based software can do more such as automatic dark, flat, etc.

Clear Skies!

ccs_hello


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Stew57
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Re: Can be a competitive imager in the future new [Re: ccs_hello]
      #4896106 - 11/03/11 06:04 PM

Didn't mean to insinuate it could not be done, I just have yet to see an imager compete doing live view. It would open up some larger format, higher resolution for video use. The main draw back of the mallincam is the narrow field of view and lower resolution. Now when Rock comes out with a 1080P large format video camera we are all set!

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Lorence
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 09/15/08

Re: Can be a competitive imager in the future new [Re: Stew57]
      #4896142 - 11/03/11 06:30 PM

Quote:

Now when Rock comes out with a 1080P large format video camera we are all set!




It's only a matter of time

http://www.mintron.tw/1.3M/HD%20module.html

These sort of things have a habit of snowballing.


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nytecam
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Reged: 08/20/05

Loc: London UK
Re: Can be a competitive imager in the future new [Re: ccs_hello]
      #4896249 - 11/03/11 07:28 PM

ccs_hello - interesting post and prospects for Orion StarShoot Gen3 cooled Deep Sky Imager to rival video sounds great value but it's NOT actually a video cam and will fall on deaf-ears hereabouts

Data here eg 8mm diag =imaging area = 7.4 x 5.95mm = 752p x 582p; pixels= 8.6um[high] x 8.3um[vert] .

This chip is ~1mm larger in each dim than my SX Lodestar-C with same 752p x 580p pixel array so should sensitive. Think the stacking option for 'deeper' imaging is unnecessary via single longer exposures... and auto dark+flats and two-cable set-up via USB2+cooler cable


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ccs_hello
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Re: Can be a competitive imager in the future new [Re: nytecam]
      #4896449 - 11/03/11 09:27 PM

nytecam,

I hope the recent introduction of MC Xtreme's "CCD Mode" can generally warm people up on PC-based image processing. Of course, I am only talking about near-real-time display.

In this SS G3, its instruction manual calls the "Loop" mode.

Your SX Loadstar-C has a nicer Exview CCD (ICX429) while SS G3's ICX419 is a non-Exview version.
The pixel size is identical for these two (8.6um x 8.3um).
MallinCam uses ICX418 (8.4 x 9.8) which is a sister product of the '419.

Clear Skies!

ccs_hello


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biomedchad
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Reged: 04/13/09

Loc: Marion, Ohio
Re: Can be a competitive imager in the future new [Re: ccs_hello]
      #4896493 - 11/03/11 09:55 PM

Well my G3 showed up today. Its decently solid. Plastic but its heavy and built pretty solid. The weather is looking good for tomorrow night so i will be warming it up along with my new C9.25. Wish me luck guys! Reports and images to follow!

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Chris A
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 02/03/07

Loc: Toronto, Canada
Re: Can be a competitive imager in the future new [Re: ccs_hello]
      #4896504 - 11/03/11 10:02 PM

For me what you are mentioning is possible, but the fun is now gone and it becomes too much like ccd image processing trying to show the results to a live audience. The great part of the Mallincam is it's built-in processors that handles a lot of the conversion.

I have seen on NSN some great results using a ccd camera, but the color conversion uses a script to create the color from the raw data. This works very good and stacking will make it much better esp. on the faint objects. Once you start though with adding sharpness, DDP, curves etc. it now starts to become imaging and not near live viewing. I think dark subtraction is a great idea, but I think when trying it for this purpose it is going to be very hard to do.

Clear skies


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Chris A
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 02/03/07

Loc: Toronto, Canada
Re: Can be a competitive imager in the future new [Re: Chris A]
      #4896515 - 11/03/11 10:06 PM

I just wanted to add that I believe that traditional ccd cameras are the best for what they were meant for and that's imaging and video cameras (Mallincam & Stellacam) are best for what they were created for and that's near live real-time viewing.

Cheers


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Chris A
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 02/03/07

Loc: Toronto, Canada
Re: Can be a competitive imager in the future new [Re: biomedchad]
      #4896525 - 11/03/11 10:13 PM

Congratulations Chad with the new camera. Is it possible you can show us all live on NSN how this camera performs once you get comfortable with it? All you will need to display an image on NSN is WebcamMax and they have a free version to try.

Clear skies,

Chris


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ccs_hello
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Re: Can be a competitive imager in the future new [Re: biomedchad]
      #4896556 - 11/03/11 10:31 PM

biomedchad,

Congrad on your purchase. Hope it's a nice cam.

I would suggest place a 0.33x focal reducer on your C9.25 f/10 though.

Clear Skies!

ccs_hello


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biomedchad
professor emeritus


Reged: 04/13/09

Loc: Marion, Ohio
Re: Can be a competitive imager in the future new [Re: ccs_hello]
      #4896578 - 11/03/11 10:53 PM

Chris i def will once i figure it all out and can put a show together.

Ccs i am going to throw the mfr5 in there at some point. I may just use the f6.3 reducer tomorrow. All depends on what im looking at.


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nytecam
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Reged: 08/20/05

Loc: London UK
Re: Can be a competitive imager in the future new [Re: biomedchad]
      #4896847 - 11/04/11 05:09 AM

Quote:

Chris i def will once i figure it all out and can put a show together. Ccs i am going to throw the mfr5 in there at some point. I may just use the f6.3 reducer tomorrow. All depends on what im looking at.


Chad - keep us posted on your progress - CCD live *viewing* is great fun.

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nytecam
Postmaster


Reged: 08/20/05

Loc: London UK
Re: Can be a competitive imager in the future new [Re: ccs_hello]
      #4896853 - 11/04/11 05:22 AM

Quote:

nytecam, I hope the recent introduction of MC Xtreme's "CCD Mode" can generally warm people up on PC-based image processing. Of course, I am only talking about near-real-time display. In this SS G3, its instruction manual calls the "Loop" mode.

Your SX Loadstar-C has a nicer Exview CCD (ICX429) while SS G3's ICX419 is a non-Exview version. The pixel size is identical for these two (8.6um x 8.3um). MallinCam uses ICX418 (8.4 x 9.8) which is a sister product of the '419.
Clear Skies!ccs_hello


I fully appreciate your sentiments I think it fair to say that perhaps 95% of CN users eyeball their astronomy and video is a very good extension of the hobby giving, as you've said in the past, an *instant fix* with the bonus of colour and much deeper penetration than possible by eye alone

I post some DSO images on the CN Deepsky forum where the eyeball is paramount and get the response that some of my brief 2s-10s exposures mimic the visual appearance of targets. With 60s - 120s exposures you're really flying way beyond visual expectations. I love my single USB2 cable Lodestar and survive dire LP that the camera completely ignores. The glamour of NSN b/casting can wait


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biomedchad
professor emeritus


Reged: 04/13/09

Loc: Marion, Ohio
Re: Can be a competitive imager in the future new [Re: nytecam]
      #4896980 - 11/04/11 08:06 AM

im kinda of with you. i broadcast every so often. some broadcast everytime they are on. to me it just takes the personal alone time out of it. it like your putting on a show everytime and not sitting back and enjoying the views. the flash/nsn thing limits creativity too because you have to constantly worry about 2 screens..your monitor and the nsn cap screen.

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Happy Birthday Dragon Man
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Reged: 03/07/06

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Re: Can be a competitive imager in the future new [Re: biomedchad]
      #4897149 - 11/04/11 10:50 AM

Chad, we don't have to broadcast every time we want to view with our AstroVideo cameras.

I have got into the habit now of doing all my star alignments and settings adjustments on screen BEFORE I go in to NSN.
Sometimes I just view and NOT broadcast.

I use Gstar-Ex Program which is the same as the Amcap program.
They are much the same as NSN, just not on the Net

But as far as alone time goes, I've had too many years of alone time.
If I can share my skies with the rest of the world, many who may never see the Southern skies, then I will broadcast as much as possible. I actually prefer broadcasting than going it alone.


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