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Collins I3 and MallinCam - a match made in heaven

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#1 Bob S.

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Posted 24 December 2007 - 05:51 PM

Well, now that you have your spiffy Mallicam Hyper Color Camera and the screen of your choice, how are you going to center those faint fuzzies on the chip? Oh, you are going to use a 10x60mm finder scope with your constricted pupils? Tried that to no avail. Oh, you can find Mag 18-20 fuzzies to put on your MCHC with a Telrad? Don't even think about it. Now that I have you quivering with anticipation, in comes the Collins Electro Optical thin-film I3 image intensifier to help you put those faint fuzzies onto that little chip. Ok, now you say, $5K for a total viewing system (I3 and MallinCam) that will do most of it in real-time, isn't that over the top? Well, yes and no. Have you seen how much folks are spending on RC's and their cameras? Hey, this represents maybe 1/20 or 1/30 of those costs and boy, what fun! Each system as a stand alone has soooooo much to offer. Putting the two together has been an absolute match made in heaven for my tastes. YMMV. Bob Schilling

#2 Bowmoreman

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Posted 24 December 2007 - 06:00 PM

Well, now that you have your spiffy Mallicam Hyper Color Camera and the screen of your choice, how are you going to center those faint fuzzies on the chip? Oh, you are going to use a 10x60mm finder scope with your constricted pupils? Tried that to no avail. Oh, you can find Mag 18-20 fuzzies to put on your MCHC with a Telrad? Don't even think about it. Now that I have you quivering with anticipation, in comes the Collins Electro Optical thin-film I3 image intensifier to help you put those faint fuzzies onto that little chip. Ok, now you say, $5K for a total viewing system (I3 and MallinCam) that will do most of it in real-time, isn't that over the top? Well, yes and no. Have you seen how much folks are spending on RC's and their cameras? Hey, this represents maybe 1/20 or 1/30 of those costs and boy, what fun! Each system as a stand alone has soooooo much to offer. Putting the two together has been an absolute match made in heaven for my tastes. YMMV. Bob Schilling


One word, Bob...

:drool:

clear skies

#3 Tom T

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Posted 25 December 2007 - 09:49 AM

Uh, not to be picky, but I don't think :drool: is a word Dave.

:lol:

#4 smokin oakum

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Posted 25 December 2007 - 09:55 AM

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a graemlin must be worth a few, don't you think?

Neil

#5 Douglas

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Posted 25 December 2007 - 10:16 AM

It would be an awesome combo.

The Collins is pretty expensive, BUT, believe it or not, you can build one yourself. I used one which John Paladini made himself and it worked great, and cost him 1/3 the price to build. There was a bit more scintillation than the Collins but it worked great. John posted a thread last year about how to go about purchasing the parts and putting it together. It's night vision technology. I plan on building one myself this year.

- Doug

#6 Bob S.

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Posted 25 December 2007 - 11:05 AM

The I3 one night with my 20" Starmaster and Charlie Warren, the Editor of Amateur Astronomy calling out targets from my Night Sky Observer's Manual, allowed us to bag 197 galaxies one night. You can read about the night's adventure in Volume #56 of AA. The interesting thing is that the I3 gives you a monochrome experience and then you can see the object in full color with the MallinCam. It is amazing that mag 16-18 interacting ARP galaxies can show color with the MallinCam and my very pinpoint WATEC-35 3.5" color LCD monitor. The nice thing about the I3 is that the starpoints are not subject to as much blooming as the astrovideo camera so globular clusters take on a bit of a different view. Again, the nice thing is that both pieces of gear are quite complementary and provide interestingly different perspectives of the same object(s). Bob Schilling

#7 Maureen

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Posted 25 December 2007 - 10:01 PM

Would like to hear more about viewing with just the Collin I3. It looks like, after careful research, that that is the way I'm going to go. Plan on calling Bill Collins after the New Year with some specific questions but would love to hear from users of the 3rd generation Collins.
Thank you,
Maureen

#8 Maureen

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Posted 25 December 2007 - 10:34 PM

Just checked the Collins web site. Apparently they now have a generation 4 eyepiece. Anyone have any info.?
Maureen

#9 Bob S.

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Posted 26 December 2007 - 08:20 AM

Maureen, The "Gen 4" is really a misnomer in that it is a Generation 3 with thin-film technology. I have owned the non-thin filmed version and currently own the latest thin-film version. The latest version has less scintillation and the green of the phosphor is much lighter. Using the new thin-film version, the green turns pretty monochromatic after a few minutes of using it. When you use a hydrogen-alpha filter, it really increases the efficiency of the I3 and you see incredible detail in emission nebulae. The only area where the I3 is pretty ineffective is for objects that are in the blue part of the spectrum such as the big piece of blue nebulosity in the Trifid Nebula. The Trifid being red shows up quite distinctly but the blue region near it does not show up at all. With the MallinCam Hyper Color Camera, both the reds/pinks and blues show up magnificently. Hope that helps to answer some of your questions. The I3 is really painless in that there are no wires, you don't need tracking and it is a truly real-time viewing instrument. Bob

#10 Bowmoreman

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Posted 26 December 2007 - 11:25 AM

I thought DROOL was a perfect word to describe my GUT reaction!

:roflmao:

clear enough skies

#11 Maureen

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Posted 26 December 2007 - 09:17 PM

Thanks Bob. I've been doing my homework and it does seem to make the most sense for me. Getting closer to ordering but want to wait for clearer skies so I can take advantage of the 30 day trial period. Really appreciate all the help on CN.
Thanks,
Maureen

#12 Bob S.

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Posted 26 December 2007 - 10:50 PM

Maureen, I happened to call Bill Collins to ask a question about light hitting the top end of the I3. Bill advised that it has been darn hard to get the tubes due to the war requirements. I would suggest calling him and getting on some kind of a waiting list. It may take some time for him to get one made for you. Bob

#13 Maureen

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Posted 27 December 2007 - 07:01 PM

Thanks Bob,
Will call tomorrow. I do have a question or two for him but hopefully this eyepiece will work for me.
Maureen

#14 ScottAz

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Posted 29 December 2007 - 09:51 AM

Bill advised that it has been darn hard to get the tubes due to the war requirements. I would suggest calling him and getting on some kind of a waiting list. It may take some time for him to get one made for you. Bob


Perhaps now would be an excellent time for those folks out there -- owning an I3 but letting it gather dust -- to make some fast sales? :whistle:

#15 Bob S.

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Posted 06 January 2008 - 11:16 PM

Was out again tonight for about 3.5 hours with my 14.5" f/4.3 Zambuto/Starmaster and all of my ep's including the I3 and my MallinCam with WATEC-35 LCD color monitor. I found that for almost 1.5 hours, I only wanted to use conventional eyepieces (was doing a fair amount of viewing of Mars). Then, I put the I3 in and was viewing many of the same objects with it (except the bright planets). Finally, I put the MallinCam in the focuser and was looking at some of the same objects with the astrovideo camera. I was comparing views, ease of use and the aesthetics of the various modes. One thing I found interesting was that after having looked at M42/43 with the MalllinCam, when I went back to those same objects with the I3 image intensifier, I found that I was discerning more detail specifically with the I3 than I ever had on those objects (note: the MCHC shows more detail but it allowed me to more effectively use the I3 to its best potential). Part of it was knowing what detail was ultimately available and the other was being patient with the seeing to get the most out of the I3. With the liberty to use all three input modes, I found that I was having fun at a different level. I can't exactly put my finger on it yet, but tonight, I was preferring lower demand activities and the ep's and the I3 seemed much more friendly. I used every eyepiece in my box (7 plus a 2x barlow). As Roland opined in another thread, it sure is good to be involved with astronomy with the current crop of "reasonably priced" accessories. Bob Schilling

#16 Doug Culbertson

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 08:38 AM

Bob,

It was a great night for observing last night, wasn't it?

Interesting observation and use of the Mallincam. You know, back when I was heavily involved in doing the Arp galaxies, I used to keep an atlas around that had photos of many of the galaxies I was observing. I found that, once I located the object, I could make out more detail if I looked at a photo of the same object and then went back to the eyepiece. In fact, we used to suggest to newbies that they do the same thing in order to help tease more detail from faint objects.

That's a benefit of the MCHC that I never considered, and it kind of has me rethinking my position on this item. I still lust after the I3 too though. Hey, it's only money, right?

#17 Bob S.

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 09:23 AM

Doug, You know we HAVE to be out when the CSC has deep blues in almost every category. This time of year, early in the night, we are presented with more clusters than galaxies and I have gotten a bit tired of looking at the same objects with either the I3 or the MCHC. The use of eyepieces was great fun last night and has got me thinking about my hole in the ep lineup that would be very well attended to by a new Ethos (I just hate spending that kind of dough on one ep). I know that you have one and have enjoyed it as others have. I should mention that last night, I studied the heck out of the Horsehead Nebula with my I3 and a H-a filter with a Denk Starsweeper flattening the field. Photos have shown me that there is a lot of detail in Barnard 33 that is worthy of study and the I3 was really working well on this target last night. Bob

#18 Doug Culbertson

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 09:37 AM

You're killing me, you know that don't you? ;)

I love this time of year for observing, due to the sheer variety of objects to look at! Yeah, the Ethos is rather spendy but, as you know, I feel that it's worth every cent. Kind of like the I3 in that it can easily be justified in spite of the price.

As you know, I always have a great deal of fun just getting out there with a telescope and eyepieces, but that's kind of easy since I don't currently own any of the assistive optics that are available right now.

That may change soon, though I am also thinking more and more about an observatory, but that's a topic for another time...

#19 smokin oakum

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 09:42 AM

Doug, you might as well take the plunge. You know you want to. Just go ahead and get all the things on your list and be done with it. It's just money!!! :bigshock: :poke: :mrevil: :rockon: :rofl2:

Neil

#20 Doug Culbertson

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 09:56 AM

Doug, you might as well take the plunge. You know you want to. Just go ahead and get all the things on your list and be done with it. It's just money!!! :bigshock: :poke: :mrevil: :rockon: :rofl2:

Neil


That's what I keep trying to tell my wife! I don't think she's buying it though; something to do with planning for retirement or such. ;)

#21 smokin oakum

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 10:36 AM

Doug, you might as well take the plunge. You know you want to. Just go ahead and get all the things on your list and be done with it. It's just money!!! :bigshock: :poke: :mrevil: :rockon: :rofl2:

Neil


That's what I keep trying to tell my wife! I don't think she's buying it though; something to do with planning for retirement or such. ;)


Well, what do you think you're going to spend your money on when you retire? It's like pulling a band aid off or jumping into a cold pool. It's best to do it quickly and get it over with, so you can go ahead and enjoy life.

Neil

#22 Bowmoreman

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 11:09 AM

Tell her you can USE IT during retirement!!! :lol:

And that the stress it reduces by having and using it now, will ensure you stay alive UNTIL retirement

Not to mention making you more productive in your work efforts, thus inexorably leading to more income BEFORE retirement...

"Yes, honey, you are right. I do have to stay focused ON retirement"...

Clear enough skies

#23 Doug Culbertson

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 11:31 AM

Oh, she knows that retirement will mean many many nights out under the sky. Truth be told, I am very fortunate in that my dear wife has always been very understanding of my astronomy purchases, and she was actually the one that told me I should put in an observatory of some sort. The other stuff will just sort of follow along as "necessities". :cool:

#24 David Pavlich

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 01:37 PM

How about a well aligned flip mirror? Meade has one for about $150.

David

#25 Alicatt

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 02:03 PM

Oh, she knows that retirement will mean many many nights out under the sky. Truth be told, ...

Truth is they find lots more for you to do around the house :4
But then again the skies have not been that clear of late


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