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OGMA AP26CC Review


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OGMA AP26CC Review

by Brian Puhl (CN member WhooptieDo)

 

Hello my Astrophotography Friends...

Many folks keep asking me, "How do you like your OGMA camera??"

I've been lurking CN since I started astrophotography a little under a year ago.  This hobby has become a passion for me very quickly.   Once I picked up a second scope, I realized it was time to get a new camera.  I, like many, debated if I should spend full price on a new QHY camera to compliment the 268M I already had.... or should I try one of those 'other brands'?

The Touptek/RisingCam IMX571 camera was becoming a hot topic at the time.   Lots of satisfied folks were providing feedback and reviews on various social media outlets.   It certainly looked appealing, but given that these cameras were still an investment for most, personally my biggest concern was support.  What would happen should the camera fail?   RisingCam was sold on Aliexpress, a china based retailer. What kind of nightmare would this be?  An acquaintance of mine had already been going through a year long nightmare with his QHY camera.

In came OGMA.   Of course, the first thought was... who the heck is OGMA?  Kinda sounds like just another chinese brand.  Well, thanks to the wonderful world of Google, I managed some research and discovered OGMA is actually a company based in Raleigh, NC.   Honestly my first discovery of the camera was through facebook marketplace.  Being a new company, there was VERY little about the camera's reputation, or the company.

I reached out to OGMA via a Facebook ad I saw, inquiring into the new company.  I was greeted by a man named Juan Martinez.  Juan was quick to answer any questions I had, and especially my concerns about support.   Without surprise, I learned OGMA is in fact built by Touptek.  The key difference is Juan is working directly with the designers and manufacturers, capitalizing on issues discovered with some of the first iterations of Touptek, and applying positive changes to the OGMA camera, making it better.   Juan also claims most repairs he should be able to do in Raleigh, should something go wrong.

I've had the AP26CC (Color cam) now for roughly 5 months, and it's been nothing but a dream to use.   I chose the color version to get some 'experience' with color cams, since I started out with a full mono setup.   I've often compared it to my QHY268M.   My 268 was initially a pain to set up because the driver installation isn't intuitive.   The 268 also has some weird issue where if I come back the next day, all I get is a black image, forcing me to shut down and power off the entire system in order to resolve it.      None of these were an issue with the OGMA.   It has worked 100% of the time, every time.

  
I am not a technical man by any means, I just like to make pretty pictures.  If you want to see a sensor analysis chart, feel free to search CN here, or you can see a sensor analysis for the mono version on the OGMA website:
https://getogma.com/...analysis-ap26mc

 

Here's some of the juicy important details:

OGMA comes with 17.5mm of backspacing.

The camera has the typical 6 screw pattern that matches up with things like QHY's ecosystem.   The key difference is the screw size is 2.5mm on the OGMA vs 3mm on QHY.    I cannot comment on ZWO, but I would guess they're 2.5mm.   I hope someone here can chime in.   Currently I am using QHY OAG-M and it matches up without any issue (other than changing out the screws).

The thread size on the camera is 42mm female.

The cooler system claims a temperature delta of up to -40C.   I've never pushed that hard, but comparing my QHY, the OGMA cooler seems to use roughly the same amount of power.  I'm usually imaging around -10C, and my nights are usually around 20C.    On a 15C night, I took both cameras down to -10C, both coolers used approximately 50% power.

Currently, when you buy the color cam, it comes WITH a filter holder and filter.   Both are branded by OGMA, but Juan assured me the filter was made by a reputable company, but he could not tell.  I can only speculate, but based on the 'details' of the filter.... I suspect it is an Optolong.  The filter holder is really nice quality and occupies 21mm of backspacing, 42mm male threads on one side, 48mm male on the other side.  Combine this with the camera, and you have 16.5mm of backspacing left to put you at the standard 55mm.   The filter overall is good BUT, I will go into more detail later as it is not ideal for my setup.

 

How about some astrophotos?   All these photos were taken from my backyard in eastern North Carolina, Bortle 4.

Here's M106.    A 16 hour project utilizing my 8" (GSO) Newtonian with Starizona 0.75 Coma Corrector, putting me at F/3     This is 194 frames at 300 seconds a piece.   LCG Mode, Gain 100 with an offset of 256.    The bright stars do exhibit some signs of halo with the OGMA Filter, but realistically this is not a fault of the filter.  I'm asking wayyy too much of it at F/3.   To be honest, it performed still rather well.   Many faint background galaxies were observed.   The blue channel was still improving, but weather started becoming a factor and I cut the project a bit short.

A galaxy in space with stars with Gallery Arcturus in the background

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Full resolution: https://www.astrobin.com/ob4cec/

 

Don't have alot of time?   The OGMA performs well with short integration times as well.    Here is 3.8 hours of Whirpool Galaxy.   54 frames at 240 seconds a piece with the same scope as above.

 

A galaxy in space with stars

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Full resolution: https://www.astrobin.com/yjjmgv/

 

How about Leo Triplet?   Here's 8 hours, 120 frames at 240 seconds a piece.  Again, same setup.   You may begin to notice a fault in my data acquisition.    My stars are VERY bright.    I've been pushing the exposure time to the max honestly.  This was some of my first rounds with the Starizona, and I learned F/3 is no joke.    The stars however are still not blown, with the exception of maybe the brightest one or two.   Being that they're so bright though, I was having a rough time balancing them when theres so much background signal acquired as well.

A group of stars and galaxies

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Full resolution: https://www.astrobin.com/7hz1j4/C/


Lastly, I have an image of M101 from before the supernova.  In the case of this image, I used my Paracorr coma corrector instead, which changed my focal ratio to F/4.5   The halos are much more under control, but this was the image that led me to discover an issue with some pinched optics using my paracorr.   It's far from my favorite image, but it has some appeal, but many things to improve upon.   This is 120 frames, 240 second exposure totalling 8 hours.

A galaxy in space with stars

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Full resolution: https://www.astrobin.com/arbagb/

You're welcome to critique my processes, as I am still comparatively very new to Astro.

 

The ONLY quarrel I have with the camera at this moment, is one that is present on all versions of the Touptek.    Typically a single exposure every night comes in with a large band in the middle.  It's just one and hasn't been much of an inconvenience, but it does exist. The rest of the signal in this image is rather weak as well, so I generally just throw away that one exposure.   I have spoken with Juan about the issue and he assures they are actively working on a solution.   Maybe by the time you read this, it could already be fixed.

  

Overall, I am very happy with my OGMA.   It's much more reliable than my QHY has ever been.  Juan has been super receptive to my communications, and I have no doubt that if something did go wrong, he'd be 100% behind his product.  I am still tweaking some settings, and will likely start running 180 second exposures as well.    With my QHY I always shot HCG mode, but I decided to go with LCG mode on the OGMA, so that's new to me.  I will likely switch to HCG mode.   The camera has since been moved over to my Meade Quad 70mm, which will be much more forgiving for the UV/IR filter.    I can't downtalk it since I was asking much more than it was ever capable of.   Weather here, combined with smoke, has not been favorable lately.  I had really hoped to produce more imagery with the camera.   I would gladly buy the camera again.  I do have plans to get my hands on the mono version at some point.   Also, recently released, and still to be tested by me is the new OGMA O’tilter, a new tool that can be attached to the OGMA camera (as well as Touptek) to precisely adjust backfocus and tilt of your imaging train.

 

If you’re an astrophotographer living in the US, I think this one should be a no-brainer.  If you have any questions feel free to ask.   I plan on continuing to image more with this camera once the weather becomes favorable.  Once I do, I will be posting them in my astrobin gallery:

https://www.astrobin.com/users/WhooptieDo/

 

 

 

 


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