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#51 Chris A

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Posted 08 May 2012 - 01:36 PM

Eric, I did not make the camera only beta tested the very first MC Xtreme for Rock. I own my first MCHP (max 56 sec int) several years ago. From my CCD imaging background, I started to incorporate the use of different filters (Astronomik UHC, Lumicon Deep Sky LP and an Orion Ha 7nm)and showed this live from my very light polluted location. The filters allowed me to go much deeper, however, I ran out of maximum exposure time of 56 secs. After Rock saw my results and with all the discussions between us the VSS+ was brought out allowing for double the exposure times. I was achieving stunning results up to 112 secs and for the first time showed NSN viewers just by adding guiding could tremendously improve their results. After talking to Rock regarding the convenience of full computer control and wanting a bit more exposure for Ha viewing during those nights when dealing with a full moon, Rock came out the MC Xtreme and asked me to beta test it. I have since tested four other cameras for Rock (older dual TEC X2-EX, MCX-EX, X2-EX and X2-STD Class 0). I am currently testing the X2-STD Class 0 and will compare it to my MCX-STD Class 0 camera.

I have done CCD/DSLR imaging for 12 years and have owned with enjoyment the Sbig ST 10XME, Starlighxpress MX716, SXV-H9 and a modded Canon 40D which I still currently have. I have had my fun and time with imaging and after doing near live video observation I will never go back to ccd imaging. With my experience and years involved this is why I say (unless shown on NSN) no one camera can do all.

I think if you really want to know the 14 sec to 5 min then you should only be fair and email Rock privately or state your question on the MC Yahoo group and ask him to explain or show you the proof. He is always willing to take his time out with everyone and help out.

Chris A
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#52 Chris A

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Posted 08 May 2012 - 01:40 PM

Thank you Mark this is what I want to read someone who has both and can honestly provided their opinion. Not show images using different setups.

Clear skies,

Chris A

#53 Chris A

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Posted 08 May 2012 - 01:43 PM

I agree Mark 100%. It is just too difficult to obtain an accurate comparison. I say enjoy what camera you own life is too short!

Cheers,

Chris A

#54 Chris A

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Posted 08 May 2012 - 01:57 PM

Hi Marc

As you can see this is why I do not post too often here. I do not know how you can take this you must have lots of patience :grin:

The other two members here just keep going on and sorry this is just getting silly and motnotonous. If they are really serious then they should join also the MC Yahoo group and get some answers direct from Rock over there plus also join NSN to witness it for themselves.

I do not like to here poor excuses that one cannot carry out their laptop in order to show a broadcast and prove their point.

I thank you, Glen and others here for some good discussions but this is just too much and is going no where.

Clear skies,

Chris A

#55 mclewis1

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Posted 08 May 2012 - 01:59 PM

Simply put it is a pain to drag the laptop out to the telescope in order to do the live transmission. There have already been arguments that one of the benefits of the Mallincam is that it doesn’t require a computer to view with it.

I can try to do this though. I just bought a laptop with USB 3.0 so I can do HD capture from my camera. Let me try to get one of the black magic devices and then I can do a broadcast.

I hope you did your homework on the laptop (and what type of chipset is used for the USB3 support). There have been a few Mallincam Signature owners who've been using the Black Magic HD USB capture devices and finding that they are very picky about USB3 support. This may however be related to the amount of data the SDI interface pumps out ... HDMI streams may not be quite as difficult to handle.

Since the software used to capture the HD USB stream doesn't create a webcam/microsoft video compatible stream you'll need (as Chris mentioned) to use ManyCam or WebCamMax to lasso or capture a video window on your laptop and stream it as a webcam compatible video stream (so the Flash based NSN service can see it). Yeah there's lots of steps and they will all be taking a bite out of the resolution so like I mentioned many posts back NSN is not the best platform to show off your imager's capabilities ... but it is popular and easy to use and best of all free.

Can you define what you consider faint objects to be? It seems like everyone's opinion varies on that. It would be best if you can point us to someone's broadcast of objects that are viewable now so we can try to replicate it.

Boy is this a subjective issue ... :lol:

To me "bright" would be objects in the mag3-7 range (the show pieces objects M42, M13, M17, M57, core of M31, etc.) ... and yes before anyone mentions it I know M57 is a 9th mag object, but because it's very condensed and colorful it shows off well in just about any video/imaging setup. This is actually an important point. The type of object has almost as much importance as it's rated magnitude. Planetaries and globular clusters tend to show off better than their magnitudes would lead you to believe but extended nebulae and galaxies are often tougher than their magnitudes would indicate. Light pollution also has a similar effect (less so on the planetaries and clusters and more so on the nebulae and galaxies).
"medium" would be those in the mag 7-10 range (most of the other M objects and the brighter NGCs)
and "faint would be objects in the mag 11+
and "challenge" objects would be mag 15+

#56 Chris A

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Posted 08 May 2012 - 02:08 PM

Thank you Mark for providing this - very good!

Chris A

#57 mpgxsvcd

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Posted 08 May 2012 - 02:25 PM

Hi Marc

As you can see this is why I do not post too often here. I do not know how you can take this you must have lots of patience :grin:

The other two members here just keep going on and sorry this is just getting silly and motnotonous. If they are really serious then they should join also the MC Yahoo group and get some answers direct from Rock over there plus also join NSN to witness it for themselves.

I do not like to here poor excuses that one cannot carry out their laptop in order to show a broadcast and prove their point.

I thank you, Glen and others here for some good discussions but this is just too much and is going no where.

Clear skies,

Chris A


I said I would try to do it. However, it is going to cost me money to get a capture device. You have to have a capture device with the Mallincam as well.

#58 mpgxsvcd

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Posted 08 May 2012 - 02:35 PM

Why does this discussion feel a lot like walking into church and asking the Pastor to show you why he thinks God exists. Then the Pastor asks you to go to a waiting room where he and the congregation can discuss it with you in greater detail.

Once isolated from the other people who have questions about the existence of God. The congregation recites lines from the bible and tells you all about their experiences with God. The Pastor on the other hand just simply hands you a bible and says “To understand you must simply believe”.

#59 Vondragonnoggin

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Posted 08 May 2012 - 02:38 PM

So, none of the examples of 30 second or 60 second exposures from a ccd with no processing are valid? I am suppose to join a Mallincam Group to find out about a fair comparison? I read the entire mallincam group post with Rock stating this number. How is that going to change by joining the group?

Once again - none of the examples of 30-60 second single shot exposures are valid?

Can you please explain why none are valid?

#60 mpgxsvcd

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Posted 08 May 2012 - 03:07 PM

I don’t think anyone here is trying to say that the Mallincam can’t be used for live viewing. However, it does appear that a few very vocal people are saying that CCD imagers and DSLRs cannot be used for live viewing in the same manner as the Mallincam. That is entirely false.

However, I fully understand that without any evidence to back this up those people are not going to believe it. If the weather holds out this weekend I think I can show that a lowly sub $200 3 year old pocket camera can hold its own.

Thanks for the 12 second samples. That is what I was looking for. I will try to capture some of those.

#61 Chris A

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Posted 08 May 2012 - 04:20 PM

The only reason a capture device is requireD is to convert the analog signal to digital so your computer can read the data. Since you are going to be using I imagine your USB 2.0 in order to capture an image to download to PC then you will need Manycam or WebcamMax to lasso the image and display on NSN. Your NSN camera connection would be Manycam or WebcamMax. You would only need a frame grabber if you were using the AV output for live view but that would be only real time and would only be good for the moon, planets or solar.

#62 Chris A

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Posted 08 May 2012 - 04:25 PM

No, I do not believe that a ccd/dslr camera could be used the *exact* same way a mallincam can be used for near live viewing. I will believe once I see it and I am very much looking forward to your weekend broadcast on NSN. Could you please share a name so we at least know who is going to be on?

Thank you!

Chris A

#63 mclewis1

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Posted 08 May 2012 - 04:30 PM

:lol: yeah sometimes owning a Mallincam does feel a bit like you've joined a religion.

We've talked about stereotypes before and it cuts both ways, I wouldn't be overly critical and try to suppose that those vocal folks are being that black and white.

It's never been about what does and doesn't work. It's more about how well something works or how appropriate the technology is. Heck I could make my old Canon 350D appear like a live view camera on NSN with a little scripting.

Many of us are well aware of the newer non SLR digital cameras and how nice they've become. Getting them with removable lenses has been a big step as has the low noise higher sensitivity circuitry that's showing up. Can you get nice live views with them? Sure. Is one of these cameras someone's first choice for live viewing? Not usually.

A few things that frustrate Mallincam users are the stereotype of it's just a cheap security camera with a few mods and that other types of imagers are just as good at the live view stuff. The issues have been debated over and over in a variety of forums and many folks are tired of those debates. Each individual owner usually articulates what works for them about the Mallincam but in a general debate those features and functions may not be what works for someone else (yeah, there are a lot of common things too), so it can be difficult to get a complete picture of a product like the Mallincam from just a few points of view. This is why it's common to suggest joining the Yahoo group run by the manufacturer himself when the discussion gets very complex. There you can get a more complete picture.

And I should add that it's not about having to join the Mallincam group and ask questions (although that's never a problem), rather it's more about being able to read some of the extensive exchanges and view the photos.

#64 Dwight J

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Posted 08 May 2012 - 04:33 PM

:gotpopcorn::Me too

#65 Chris A

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Posted 08 May 2012 - 04:41 PM

For vandrogonnoggin - Eric? and mpgxsvcd - no name

This is what I am talking about that surely shows you an extremely hard object to see not only from a light polluted site but a dark site. This was a single capture on my NSN broadcast one night using a C9.25 @ F5.8 from a very light polluted city of magnitude 3.5. It is a single 130 sec capture using my MCX and no filters. No processing done except I sampled the image 2 x and labelled the main galaxies. Please before you make any comments do your research first regarding the Hickson 50.* Click on the image to display it larger

http://www.flickr.co.../in/photostream

Chris A

#66 Vondragonnoggin

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Posted 08 May 2012 - 04:48 PM

You are still avoiding my direct questions and that was a 130 second capture you had to wait 130 seconds for - not a 14 second capture compared to a 5 minute capture

#67 Vondragonnoggin

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Posted 08 May 2012 - 04:54 PM

2 minutes and 10 seconds is still live then? So if I was to get three shots at 40 seconds each stacked using DSS Live, I would still get my stacked image 10 seconds faster than your 130 second capture, correct? Still, it wouldn't be live enough though according to everyone?

#68 Stew57

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Posted 08 May 2012 - 05:32 PM

I for one while a real supporter of the mallincam would love to see this. I have yet to see someone post something like this. I would like to step up a little in resolution even if it means longer exposures, I just don't want any exta work or processing. Someone show me how I would give it a go. So far I have not found anything that compares to the mallincam but I am looking. I have done comparisons between my dsi and mallincam and the dsi needed much longer exposures and darks and still the mallincam images are better.

#69 ccs_hello

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Posted 08 May 2012 - 05:40 PM

First post in this thread :) :) for a good reason...

Short answer: why pick that astroCCD to compare in the first place :) :)? I'm not going to say anything about it.

Another short answer: the debate happened "there", why let it spill over to here?

Long answer and for the benefit of our friendly CNers:
If you are a long time CNer and have checked in on other subforums, especially in Astrophotography & Sketching section, you'll notice from time to time people brought up the comparison or praising (a specific product) topics such as:
astroCCD imager vs. DSLR, solar system imager (mostly fast frame rate) vs. astroCCD vs. webcam (and recently vs. Liveview DSLR), and even long-exposure capable NTSC videocam vs. astroCCD,
most people just jumped in say something then bail out, and other simply do not respond (i.e., zero follow-up).

The reason, IMHO, is one (eventually) found out debating/comparing a multi-dimensional subject is fruitless. There is no consumer report type of 1-5 scoring system. At least, people appreciate that there is no one-size-fits-all clear winner on all fronts. So you take what's the best fit for your need.

I certainly can appreciate in this forum, the emphasis has always been how fast one can "see" the faint stellar objects, thus (in layman's term) "sensitive" trump everything else.

Few posts awhile back I stated that if you want to see "deep" and quick, then get a recent generation CCD sensor with large pixel size. Do an extremely high gain over the post-sensor analog signal (i.e., immediately after the CCD output), then do a strong dose of signal processing (modern videocams are all doing digital image processing using DSP inside the cam). At the same time, perform some tricks to keep the noise low (one popular one is active cooling), and incoming signal high (fast f-ratio under the same focal length.) Add some special sauce (e.g., do not look too closely), do not put an award-winning astro photo side by side, gather people at the same virtual porch to chat (no popcorn supplied, that s*@ks), do not count trial-and-error wasted time as image acquisition time, and if do not know the reasons behind a tough question, just point to that blackbox and say "it's automagic".

Then you have a winning formula:
good enough pixel-level minimally required S/N, a slightly better picture-level S/N, (never compare that with the normal astro imager's expected/achievable S/N), and be happy that the best "sensitivity" is in front of your eyes (thru a CRT display.)
For the rest of other desirable attributes, just throw them out of window. Can't win them all.

I said these not because out of disrespect. Actually I 100% appreciate this style of observing the beautiful sky.
I just feel there is no need to use a single attribute to compare a complex topic.
BTW, I should also mention that (thru my obscured crystal ball) there are other solutions to make some selected imaging devices "fast". Most of them have not been exploited in commercial sense (due to market segmentation decisions). We'll just have to wait until the climate changes.

P.S. For most of the urban-legends I'd suggest take them as a grain of salt. You know better than that.

If I offend any of you in some ways, I apologize.

My 0.02

Clear Skies!

ccs_hello

#70 David B in NM

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Posted 08 May 2012 - 06:33 PM

Ken (Dragon Man) should remember me (I helped him "read" some of his words in a manner he didn't intend).

I tend not too post much on CN, but, spend many hours reading posts on various CN Forums. This forum is one I frequent.

I find this thread odd. The MC Xtreme has clearly crossed the line because it is no longer a "true" video camera. It is computer controlled like any other CCD camera now.

Others who try to post live views taken in CCD cameras that use a computer are scolded in this forum and told to post their images elsewhere. Yet, the MC Xtreme snapshots are "welcomed". Can you take those snapshots in the MC Xtreme without a computer controlling the time or adjusting the image?

The MC Xtreme is clearly a computer controlled camera due to the software interface. The camera itself is also a mini-computer.

Why is it that the MC Xtreme owners have the right to be "welcome" here in this forum and the CCD users are not?

What is the reason nytecam is banned from posting the images in the link below, yet, the MC Xtreme owners are allowed to?

Brief Exposure CCD Snapshots

nytecam does not process his images. They are snapshots. The MC Xtreme is using a computer to control the camera. Right?

I find it odd this forum only allows the MC Xtreme owners to post their images here and not others.

If a computer is used to control the camera in any way other than the "snapshot capture", it should not be allowed here. That's the reason you gave nytecam and other CCD "users" who tried to post here in the past. If MC Xtreme snapshots are allowed in this forum, all CCD live view (unprocessed images) snapshots should be allowed here.

Honestly, I feel if the Xtreme owners are allowed to post their images in this forum, it should open up. Samsung owners who use DSS Live should be allowed to post their live shots. That too, is a "live view". DSS live is enhancing (stacking) the image they see outside at the mount. Isn't that why this forum was established? A CCD (video or other camera) can see more that one's eye through the eyepiece.

Why not open the door wider in this forum and allow others to participate. If an MC Xtreme owner posts a 2-minute or more capture, why can't screen shot of a DSS Live stack (2 minute) taken with a Sammy be allowed here?

Perhaps I'm wrong. However, I see this forum is really turning in to a Mallincam "Group" forum. The rules here seem to bend to allow Xtreme owners the right over other "snapshots".

It is apparent that if someone "questions" a Mallincam here that an offensive begins. Maybe I'm seeing things wrong. :question:

David B in NM

#71 GlennLeDrew

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Posted 08 May 2012 - 06:40 PM

Chris,
Your Hickson 50 image, taken with a C9.25 w/ focal reducer for ~2 minutes under a 3.5m sky, is not much inferior to a friend's image taken with a Meade 14" at prime focus on a ST10-XME for 10 minutes (30 sec. subs, stacked) under his 5.3m sky.

One time I hooked up my VSS+ to his 14" scope for some live viewing, with the MFR-5 reducer working at about f/5. This allowed the smaller-chip MC to have near the same field as his CCD camera at prime focus. And so it must be borne in mind that to start with the image surface brightness was 2 f-stops, or 4X brighter with my setup installed. But of course the pixel count is a heck of a lot smaller, with ~330,000 vs ~6,000,000.

He was astonished to see that the several objects we looked at appeared in some respects almost as good as his images. (Note: He is something of a beginner at imaging, and so he does virtually no processing aside from a linear stretch. Most of his images are around 10 minutes, built up from 30 sec. subs. But this does allow for a somewhat fairer comparison, given that he hasn't tweaked and massaged for ultimate prettiness.) I had the MC updating every 20-50 seconds, depending on sky brightness.

He has seen how potent a good video camera is, and is seriously contemplating adding an MC Xtreme to his arsenal.

#72 GlennLeDrew

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Posted 08 May 2012 - 06:51 PM

David,
While the Xtreme can be computer controlled, I believe it can operate with just the optional wireless remote. More importantly, it's still an analog video camera which can send its signal directly to a monitor. Hence it's a 'live'-view device--by virtue of the simplicity, I suppose--just like other non computer-controlled video cameras.

#73 Chris A

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Posted 08 May 2012 - 06:54 PM

Eric I am sorry but you are not making any sense to me. What do you mean did I have to wait for a 130 sec image to appear?? Of course I had to wait!! The Mallincam uses an electronic shutter and the shutter remains open for a given exposure time provided by the user via software or wireless remote and then the image appears on the screen. You then tweak the video settings in real-time to your liking. The camera will keep refreshing a new image until you stop the exposure or it reaches the specified number of exposures you requested.

I am not avoiding your 14 sec to 5 min question since it is really not relavant for me and I have nothing to prove. I suggest you go on NSN and you would be better off to sign in and participate by asking questions. There are many of us on always willing to help out!

Chris A

#74 Chris A

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Posted 08 May 2012 - 06:58 PM

Please define Live?? No one can see any deep sky objects Live it is just impossible. The only objects that I am aware of that you can see Live is the moon, planets and solar.

Chris A

#75 Vondragonnoggin

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Posted 08 May 2012 - 07:06 PM

Ok, I'll bite here. Why is that a class 2 large array sensor like the ST-10XME takes 10 minutes of 30 second subs in a 14" to equal the 9.25" with a 130 second screen grab, but the 60 second lodestar-C unprocessed screen grab looks as good as the 112 second MC screen grab of the same object?

Obviously these cannot fall under a blanket statement of descriptions or none of the examples would be that close.

There must obviously be some difference in size or class of sensor in the SBIG camera to have to image for 10 minutes to equal the quicker MC, but not get close to the lodestar or 314e Atik used in examples I posted.

The examples I posted are definitely not the first I've seen of single OSC pictures or screengrabs of small 1/3 to 1/2 size sensors on ccd's achieving good detail on objects like many of the galaxies or globulars. I've seen pics of Leo trio like this, horsehead and flame, crab nebula (tendrils included), M16 pillars, etc, etc. may photos less than 60 second shots done without using a $5000 SBIG camera and stacking, but actually with sub $1000 small ccd's.

Are these guys posting these shots all making it up, or is it actually very individual on the setup and gear you use?

:question:


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