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camera control preferences

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#1 skyguy88


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Posted 28 December 2007 - 06:50 PM

We've had discussions here and there on the seversl camera control arrangements. I'm curious about what folks prefer and how much you would be willing to invest in control upgrades.
A. On camera push button control.
B. Hard wired control with hand paddle.
C. Hard wired control with computer interface.
D. Wireless control with hand paddle.
E. Wireless control with computer interface.

My Choice would be B. That is the way the Stellacam is operated. My first astrovideo camera was a Mintron (SAC) which came with a hand paddle included in the $500 camera price. It worked just fine. I gather that B is also an option on the gstar cameras. I would certainly like a wireless paddle but my chevvy instincts probably wouldn't appreciate the price.
I do a lot of outreach and I would not like to have to include a computer in my portable setup.
What's your preference?

Bill McDonald

#2 midway199


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Posted 28 December 2007 - 07:56 PM

I have "B" with my StellaCam 3, and that's perfectly acceptable for when I am outside with my scope. I am looking forward to "D" as soon as it is available, because I am putting together a setup that will allow me to sit indoors with the scope outdoors. I'm hoping it will cost no more than $350. "C" and "E" are also acceptable solutions for camera control if you have video and hand control cables running to the scope. An extra cable isn't going to make much difference. But if you are going all wireless, then no cables would be acceptable.

#3 Paul Milligan

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Posted 28 December 2007 - 08:23 PM

I would like B on my GSTAR-EX! I ordered the GSTAR before the hand paddle was available. Unfortunately the non hand paddle GSTAR is not upgradable to the hand paddle - DOAH!

I won't buy another one until there is an improved upgraded chip or feature model available.

Paul M..

#4 greg


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Posted 28 December 2007 - 08:37 PM

I would pick D, and I would like it to cost $100.00 or less Please. :praying:


#5 Jack Huerkamp

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Posted 28 December 2007 - 09:32 PM


Having played with a prototype wireless MallinCam, I would say that for the large Dob owners it will be very desireable. I spent several nights climbing the 5 steps to tweak the camera on Mike Harvey's 28" and would have prefered being able to make adjustments on the ground. However, for use with my 17.5" Dob, CPC 1100 and C-8, I don't mind the buttons on the camera. I am not one to make adjustments to the menu with every object and it rarely gets cold enough here in the Deep South to require the use of gloves. Wearing them could definitely affect ones ability to adjust the 5 menu buttons on the MallinCam


#6 Douglas


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Posted 28 December 2007 - 10:24 PM

D & E work for me :grin:

NY can get cold. I have been out in freezing cold temps with the MallinCam. I wear very thin gloves (like a liner) with small rubber grips on the finger tips so I can handle EPs and the focuser with the glove liner on but I have to take them off to make menu setting changes on the camera. My hands shake in the cold, without gloves, and getting on those small buttons can be tough.

- Doug

#7 skyguy88


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Posted 28 December 2007 - 10:39 PM

Hi Jack,
I can certainly see that a big dob really needs a remote. Wouldn't a hard wired paddle work as well? If you need a power cable and a signal cable, it's hard to see the need to go to an exotic solution to a simple problem in order to reduce the cable count from three to two. Is the link directional?
I do a lot of outreach events and I like to show a wide range of targets. That means a lot of adjustments for Neb, faint Gxys, globs. And even though I'm in Az, at a mile above sea level, it gets finger numbingly cold.
Well, everyone has their own preferences / needs.
The camera is such a wonderful addition to the science/hobby that a minor annoyance with the control setup dosen't count for much.
I'm still curious to see what the price is going to be for the wireless version. Maybe someone will decide to build control cables for a profitable hobby.



#8 rolandskythree



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Posted 28 December 2007 - 10:41 PM

I tend to agree with Jack. I have used a hand paddle SC EX and use the buttons on two MallinCAMs, but wireless (assuming the prototyping goes well) is probably the way to go for public or when a second monitor is being used away from the scope and one wants to increase/decrease some variables. My guess is that most are going to go wireless eventually but that will be along with additional cameras. While preference for method is nice, each manufacturer, since production is not in the 1000s per year yet, will probably not offer a choice. I know Rock queries his customer base about the best way to go, hence his developments have that sway. I don't know what the others do to get in touch with their customer base. In any case, the camera's characteristics are primary anyway.


#9 Scott McCluney

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Posted 28 December 2007 - 11:58 PM

I test drove a Stellacam II and then a MallinCam. My preference was for the Mallincam's oncamera buttons. There were pros and cons with each.

The Stellacam hand controller was obviously simpler, but that is to be expected when you can only control gain, gamma, and exposure time.

But even without gloves it was hard to tell what the settings were w/o shining a light on the paddle, and the way too thick cable (with its very long length) kept hanging on things and dragging the controller off my table.

Controlling the SII was difficult with gloves...the MallinCam's controls can't be accessed at all with gloves.

In the long run, I'd say that neither's is 'best'. It is a personal preference based in large on your setup and what you want to do with the camera.


#10 Jack Huerkamp

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Posted 29 December 2007 - 07:55 AM


Rock did make a wired keypad option for a while that duplicated the 5 buttons on the back of the camera. And he could make the cable as long as the customer wanted. However, with the introduction of the ULTRA with Peltier cooling and then the HYPER, adding the switches to the wired keypad became problematic and the wire was not very flexible due to the number of conductors needed. Also some people who bought the wired keypads complained about them dangling in the dark.


#11 rshassell


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Posted 29 December 2007 - 09:47 AM

I use the MallinCam with my N11GPS. I thought at first that that the on-camera buttons would be a problem, but I've gotten proficient navigating the menu by feel. It's easy, after initially locating the center button. I also thought that handling the buttons would cause excessive vibrations. It's true that it does introduce a little blur to the current integration, but it's less than I expected, and just takes a new integration to settle out. In cold weather, I use 'glomitts' and pull the cover off my index finger to manipulate the controls. It works well enough for me.

I'm ok with the current MC design (A), but I'll be interested in others' reviews when Rock offers the wireless upgrade.

#12 Bob S.

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Posted 29 December 2007 - 10:02 AM

If you mount a small monitor next to the focuser as I have done, the issue of wireless remotes becomes moot. With my little 3.5" WATEC, I can change settings on the fly because the camera and monitor are about 4 inches apart. In the early going, I found it MUCH less than convenient to be fiddling with the buttons and looking at a monitor 10-15 feet away. Focus was a hassle as well as seeing and manipulating the menus. The wireless will be great for folks with tall scopes that would have to climb a ladder to get up to the camera. Now that I have downsized to a 14.5" flat-footed scope, the value of the wireless for my use will be additionally less. Bob

#13 GrassyPond



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Posted 29 December 2007 - 10:20 AM

C and E. I plan to use the MallinCam in my house while the telescope is in the Obs 2000 feet away. I would also like to be able to use the system on the road which would require a computer interface including all of the switches.

#14 rolandskythree



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Posted 29 December 2007 - 12:09 PM

that is my experience also, Bob. i can manipulate the MCHC in the dark and never see the switches. the tactile touch is firm and a definite click/touch feel so learning to operate them -- even on my sensitive-to-move Dob -- was a cinch after a few times. if it was not for sketching or public gatherings where I was removed from being next to the scope, the buttons would be just fine. Roland

#15 Bowmoreman


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Posted 31 December 2007 - 11:56 AM

My votes (in preference order):

D, then E

I'm still going for a 100% remote operable setup; using less HW is always best (if/when possible)...

My :penny: :penny:

clear enough skies

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