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New Sony 1.4MP CCD sensor (useful?)

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#26 ccs_hello

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Posted 29 May 2014 - 05:46 AM

Nytecam,

Understood.
My main intention was to state that there are many parameters to optimize and the ultimate decision criteria might end up to be the the price tag (or price-value ratio.)


For all:
please do view I am not starting any new argument about which one (sensor or camera system) is the best. That's not the sport I am in. Even for the current winners, I'd like to hint: if you've ever read Consumer Report's pie chart, would you buy an appliance (say a washing machine) just by one sector's number? You might also notice one year later, the pie-chart result will change, if they re-test.

For now, I am sold on Oly E-PM2 and N's D5100. See DSLR forum "plane's" posting on his great work defeating N's special "tinting" on IMX071 sensor output treatment. Now with patched firmware, it's going to be sensor raw.
D5100/D7000 are very capable: video mode is mirrorless-like, 14-bit output in still capture, extremely low noise (almost ISO-less), has tethered continuous data readout (call that as "video", if you like), raw data for best "processing by powerful software <-- I am not saying it must be slow procesing nor not automated) benefit, and less heat generated (CMOS based, not CCD.)
If some day Oly firmware is reverse-engineered, the same trick could be applied to baby-IMX071 (which is type-4/3" IMX109), since the required sensor registers setting twist is now known.

Clear Skies!

ccs_hello
 

#27 jimthompson

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Posted 29 May 2014 - 09:11 AM

Hi Chris. I think we need to go a step further and say that for deepsky we need "noise free sensitivity" or perhaps we can call it "useful sensitivity". You and I have both seen with our own eyes what another new CCD from Sony, the ICX828, is able to deliver. More sensitive? Sure it is. Image quality conducive to viewing deepsky objects? No way Jose.

All I have seen coming from Sony are new CCD's that are more sensitive in fast refresh rate applications. From the few test cases I have seen, trying to apply these new CCD's to longer refresh rates simply does not work well...too much noise, too many hot/warm pixels, too much non-uniformity, too much amp glow. This should be no surprise since the CCD wasn't designed for long refresh rates. It is a real challenge to those who are working to develop cameras for video astronomy to adapt these commercial sensors to our application. I totally understand why developers like Matt and Rock are warey of jumping to a different sensor; they have already invested a lot of their time into getting the sensors they are currently using to work. Why do all that again for a measly 20 or 30% increase in sensitivity but a noisier image? Applying cooling will IN THEORY help, but even there it is a bit of a crapshoot. Imagine the work that goes into getting cooling to work well (uniform temperature distribution, controlled cooldown rate, good overall cooling efficiency). Aye Carumba!

Some day an affordable commercially available CCD may come out that is more sensitive at a higher resolution AND gives a smooth clean image at long refresh rates. I'm sure it would be meerly a coincidence, but hopefully one day such a sensor will appear.

Cheers,

Jim T.
 

#28 BigDob Al

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Posted 29 May 2014 - 10:52 AM

Hi Chris. I think we need to go a step further and say that for deepsky we need "noise free sensitivity" or perhaps we can call it "useful sensitivity". You and I have both seen with our own eyes what another new CCD from Sony, the ICX828, is able to deliver. More sensitive? Sure it is. Image quality conducive to viewing deepsky objects? No way Jose.

All I have seen coming from Sony are new CCD's that are more sensitive in fast refresh rate applications. From the few test cases I have seen, trying to apply these new CCD's to longer refresh rates simply does not work well...too much noise, too many hot/warm pixels, too much non-uniformity, too much amp glow. This should be no surprise since the CCD wasn't designed for long refresh rates. It is a real challenge to those who are working to develop cameras for video astronomy to adapt these commercial sensors to our application.
Cheers,

Jim T.


I'm totally lost , just when I thought I was starting to understand something.
I thought that the original Lodestar shares the exact same sensor as the Maillincam Extreme . The new Lodestar whatever its designator, shares the new Sony sensor that Jim , Chris and others seem to believe is totally unsuitable for video astronomy . Quoted reasons include too much amp glow , too many hot pixels, too much noise.
I for one would like to see some results that show this amp glow and hot pixels. We all saw here Nytecam's results and there is no amp glow or hot pixels. Yes, I know Chris would quickly say the Lodestar is not a real video camera, but even if it weren't a camera at all, my point is how come there's no amp glow ? Why is everyone in the M. camp dismissing this new sensor and claiming it has amp glow, when the only images that were posted here show no amp glow? I am not arguing here and definitely don't want to inflame any camera vendor supporters. I just want to understand what's going on and why this claim of amp glow but images show no amp glow . It would be great if someone could answer with images and data and I hope there would be no personal attacks that I'm a dob guy yadda yadda.

Clear Skies,
Al
 

#29 Relativist

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Posted 29 May 2014 - 11:58 AM

I would say to be technically correct that the lodestar uses a chip in the same model series. There is some extra cherry picking in the dedicated video applications.

Also I don't think that what's been pointed out here so far has any relevance to the differences between the purpose built video cameras vs guide cameras. What I think people are saying is that it's hopeless for use to get anything better than we have now, which may be the case - especially since for the market to actually increase for this type of viewing people need to feel welcomed.

Do they?
 

#30 jimthompson

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Posted 29 May 2014 - 12:02 PM

Hi Al,

You are correct that the Lodestar-C has the same detector as the Mallincam Xtreme with EXview HAD option. (The Lodestar actually uses the PAL version of the same chip, ICX429 versus ICX428 in the Xtreme). The new Lodestar X2 has the ICX829, the PAL version of the ICX828. This new chip was designed by Sony to be a drop in replacement for cameras that currently use the ICX428/429. It has the same ceramic package and everything...plug and play. There is no doubt that the new sensor is more sensitive, especially in the red and near-infrared range. This is good when you are building a guider camera; you can see dimmer stars. I can't really say how the new Lodestar X2 performs on deepsky objects compared with the Lodestar-C. Maybe NYTECAM can help us there. I do know what the comparison looks like when you drop the ICX829 into a PAL version Xtreme though. See the attached image which is a dark frame, 14 sec exposure with manual gain at full. Noise and hot/warm pixels are not bad, but the amp glow and non-uniformity is very noticeable. I'm sure that when you are not pushing this sensor very hard (low gain, shorter exposures) it works great, but for long exposure deepsky I'm not so sure about it.

Perhaps with some effort the 828/829 or other new sensors can be made to work well, but it will be a gamble whether or not the end result will be any better than what is already in service. What do you want to see happen more: Rock and Matt continue to crank out good performing cameras for us to buy and use, or for them to spend all their time fiddling with the latest CCD to come out in order to make a camera that is MAYBE incrementally better. Don't forget these are just two individual guys doing all this development AND production...unless anyone else would like to add their hat to the ring?

A closing remark on amp glow...personally I couldn't give two sh&%$ about it. I look at the deepsky object I'm observing, the object that without a camera I would not have a hope in heck of seeing from my urban backyard. People who complain about amp glow are totally missing the point in my opinion.

Best Regards,

Jim T.

Attached Thumbnails

  • 6552010-icx829_darkframe.jpg

 

#31 BigDob Al

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Posted 29 May 2014 - 01:07 PM

Hi Al,

You are correct that the Lodestar-C has the same detector as the Mallincam Xtreme with EXview HAD option. (The Lodestar actually uses the PAL version of the same chip, ICX429 versus ICX428 in the Xtreme). The new Lodestar X2 has the ICX829, the PAL version of the ICX828. This new chip was designed by Sony to be a drop in replacement for cameras that currently use the ICX428/429. It has the same ceramic package and everything...plug and play. There is no doubt that the new sensor is more sensitive, especially in the red and near-infrared range. This is good when you are building a guider camera; you can see dimmer stars. I can't really say how the new Lodestar X2 performs on deepsky objects compared with the Lodestar-C. Maybe NYTECAM can help us there. I do know what the comparison looks like when you drop the ICX829 into a PAL version Xtreme though. See the attached image which is a dark frame, 14 sec exposure with manual gain at full. Noise and hot/warm pixels are not bad, but the amp glow and non-uniformity is very noticeable. I'm sure that when you are not pushing this sensor very hard (low gain, shorter exposures) it works great, but for long exposure deepsky I'm not so sure about it.

Perhaps with some effort the 828/829 or other new sensors can be made to work well, but it will be a gamble whether or not the end result will be any better than what is already in service. What do you want to see happen more: Rock and Matt continue to crank out good performing cameras for us to buy and use, or for them to spend all their time fiddling with the latest CCD to come out in order to make a camera that is MAYBE incrementally better. Don't forget these are just two individual guys doing all this development AND production...unless anyone else would like to add their hat to the ring?

A closing remark on amp glow...personally I couldn't give two sh&%$ about it. I look at the deepsky object I'm observing, the object that without a camera I would not have a hope in heck of seeing from my urban backyard. People who complain about amp glow are totally missing the point in my opinion.

Best Regards,

Jim T.

Jim, thanks for posting this test capture, I hadn't seen it before. What camera was it taken with ? I didn't know there was any other camera with the new Sony sensor.
The mystery is deepening for me after seeing it.
I'm looking at Nytecam's Lodestar images he's been posting , taken with his old and new Lodestars, and there's nothing like the test image you posted now.
I mean the noise and amp glow in your test capture is not at all like the noise and amp glow levels in Nytecam's images .
I'm looking at this active CN thread :
got it - new SN in M106

This thread starts with a 15sec integration that shows very smooth and uniform noise and no amp glow at all.
None of the whitish streaking from your test frame is present in this image. Down the thread there's a 45 sec exposure and that doesn't show any hint of these bandings or amp glow .
If it's the sensor's fault, then I'm wondering why same sensor isn't showing all this mess in the Lodestar 2 .
I don't know if these M106 SN images are pushing the new sensor enough but they're definitely not fast frame low gain.
I know Nytecam's workflow was questioned by some , but I'm wondering if ANY workflow could totally remove amp glow without a trace, and leave in place nice smooth uniform noise that looks the same as the rest of the picture and still has stars in it in the right places. This would mean a very elaborate fraud attempt and I'm sure would be exposed by the group gurus if that were the case, so most likely the images are genuine and the mystery remains.
There could be another explanation, which is simply that the cameras electronics differences are causing the image differences.
It just makes logical sense, same sensors, different electronics, different images, differences in images come from different electronics not from same sensors, correct?
It would be just absurd to say same sensor, different electronics, different images, different images are caused by using the same sensors.
I'm not a camera expert , far from that and all I can say is that this is baffling me .
If I only had your test image to draw a conclusion then this new sensor would deserve to be called utter cr*p .
If I only had Lodestar and Lodestar 2 images, then the same sensors show no amp glow at all regardless of exposure duration .
I haven't seen any amp glow in the old Lodestar either .
I read that video cams like Malincams use a lot higher gain and that might increase noise and amp glow but it's needed for real time viewing.
I agree with you and don't care about some noise and amp glow , I want my instant gratification .
The problem is that I see Lodestar images that are 15 sec , 45sec and reach faint stars and galaxies that take Mallincams the same if not longer to capture.
That sorta infirms the theory that lower gain is used . If it had lower gain, we'd see 15 min Lodestar images not 15 sec. M106 SN is mag 15 and getting it in 15 sec is not a low gain proposition.
Without knowing anything about camera design, just comparing images, it looks like we're having an unexplained phenomenon . Good images with no amp glow or banding fromone camera, bad tests from another camera. I'm pretty sure though that Starlight didn't release a junky camera with a bad sensor and they did their homework. The old Lodestar worked well and there were no marketing deceptions throughout the years it was made (don't know if they still make it). It's not cooled AFAIK . One explanation may be the new sensor isn't as plug and play as Sony explained in their marketing flyer and it actually takes some serious camera tweaks to make the old cameras work with it . Or it could all be a Photoshop fraud and the good images aren't coming from light polluted London in 15 sec exposures, they're doctored Hubble images .
I tend to not want to draw definitive conclusions in subjects I don't know enough about. The less I know the more pragmatic I want to be . Right now, that means a deepened confusion, because I see very different results from very different cameras with same sensor. I hope time will tell and there will be eventually other attempts to use the new sensors in other cameras . Hopefully there will also be more people posting their results with the existing cameras . A high correlation degree would tip the balance one way or another. I'm still eager to learn what camera is using the new Sony sensor and had that bad test image. Maybe the explanation is much more prosaic and there's some user error with this test , wrong camera settings, wrong software?

Clear Skies,
Al
 

#32 Chris A

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Posted 29 May 2014 - 01:59 PM

Hi Jim

I read everything you wrote and I am on the same page as you. Perhaps one day in the not too distant future there will be a more sensitive, higher resolution and very low noise free CCD/CMOS sensor but until then, I am going to continue to have fun with my cameras and use them whenever I can.

Clear skies,

Chris A
 

#33 nytecam

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Posted 29 May 2014 - 02:12 PM

Al - as you quote - I haven't detected any amp glow from the Lodestar-Mx2 either - what am I doing wrong :roflmao: In fact I never had amp-glow from SX cameras - perhaps because it's not a video camera but a CCD camera [used in EAA] where the amplifier is off during the exposure!

Jim - I can't compare the Lodestar-C with the Lodestar-Cx2 'cos there's none of latter - yet :lol:

You don't say how or in-what camera your 'dark' above was taken but we can fairly assume it was via a Mallincam - if so it's dire and I understand your reserve on this product ;)
 

#34 jimthompson

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Posted 29 May 2014 - 02:40 PM

A quick note, I did mention the camera in my post...near the top. It was an Xtreme. When I get home from work I'll dig up the similar exposure shot using the ICX418 and post it. I don't have a similar shot using the ICX428. Comparison of this dark frame to Lodestar images is probably not fair as other aspects of camera design and usage are at play. My point will be the comparison of two sensors from the same camera...once I get the second image posted that is.


cheers,

Jim T.
 

#35 Chris A

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Posted 29 May 2014 - 02:46 PM

Jim also maybe if you can explain to Al and Maurice the reason why the MCX has amp glow (I know Rock has discussed this so many times)that would be good just to clear up things.

Chris A
 

#36 mclewis1

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Posted 29 May 2014 - 03:32 PM

Al,

You are really making me smile ... you're asking all the right questions (and this is why I used your earlier post to start the conversation about the meaning of video). I certainly don't have all the answers to them but I will offer a few observations and comments ...

I really agree with Jim's "useful sensitivity" comment. That's probably the simplest description of the most important camera characteristic. Unfortunately while it's a simple statement to achieve it requires an incredible variety of technologies to achieve. Implementing those various technologies into a viable product is a very complex task and it's why any conversation about any new sensor (828, 829, 825, etc. etc.) is very difficult. Unfortunately the complexity is also an opportunity for folks to cherry pick comparisons and offer statements that can appear very confusing or miss leading.

Rock claims the 828 sensor is not suitable as a direct drop in his existing cameras for video observing. There is clearly something to the concept of continuously reading a sensor being different and possibly more more difficult to implement for low light/low noise situations than read and download only once during an set exposure. When discussing this concept we also need to be really careful about the context, fast sub second exposures vs. multi second exposures for example.

Starlight Xpress has produced a monochrome camera (the X2) that uses the 829 sensor which is clearly capable of near live viewing when used with the Live software. This isn't an assumption, just a fact based on examples presented here and on other forums. Capable of but not necessarily better or worse than other cameras used for near live viewing. Any evaluation vs. other cameras about whether the X2 is appropriate for an individual's specific needs still remains to be done.

The most numerous and best images I've seen from the X2 come from Nytecam who has started using a beta version of the Live software for near live viewing and image capturing. Nytecam observes under very difficult conditions and therefore also uses some additional software (the regular SX software) to improve his images.

I don't believe that as capable as Nytecam is in creating images that his image processing is removing extensive amp glow, hot pixels or other effects from excessive camera induced noise (or to put that another way I don't believe that an excessive mount of that type of camera noise is present to begin with). I believe his software work is knocking down his light pollution by removing the background color, moving the black level, and a bit of stretching of the histogram.

There are many who continue to believe that video is the only way to do effective near live viewing. Some of that belief is IMHO turf protection, some of it is based on legacy knowledge, and some may be due to the ostrich effect. When you are evaluating definitive statements you really need to consider the source and the background of those making them.

I believe that a camera that exhibits "useful sensitivity" in conjunction with PC software that can automatically and continuously download and display images can indeed make an effective near live viewing platform. Perhaps not as flexible as a true video camera which does not have to have a PC involved but for the vast majority of folks today the requirement of a PC is not considered a problem.

It would be very useful to see a variety of images captured with the X2 camera (and hopefully any future camera using the 825 sensor) using only the Live software from a variety of folks under different sky conditions. This way a better evaluation could be made by everyone ... and even by those folks who are dismissing the current images as simply processed CCD images. Then perhaps we can move on from "is it possible?" to "how do we make all of our observing experiences even better".
 

#37 Dom543

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Posted 29 May 2014 - 04:02 PM

Plug compatibility means pin and voltage compatibility. You can replace the old sensor with the new one and it will function. But it will not necessarily give its best in a camera designed for the old sensor. Things are not as simple as replacing a 50 watt bulb with a 100 watt one.

A case in point may be the Mallincam extreme. It is much more popular with its original sensor, for which all the circuitry was originally optimized, than with the newer first generation HAD sensor, which is also available as an option.

I believe that Jim's test image was taken with a Mallincam extreme, into which someone soldered in an IXC829 sensor. If so, then the image tells me that the circuitry of the old camera is not a very good match the new HAD II sensor. To fully benefit from the potential of the new generation of sensors, the camera will have to be redesigned.

--Dom
 

#38 mclewis1

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Posted 29 May 2014 - 04:27 PM

Dom,

Good points.

It's certainly true that the test image Jim posted is from a far from optimized setup and we should all keep that in mind.

When it comes to the choice of sensors that Rock currently offers with the Xtreme or other Mallincam video cameras remember that he talks about the difference being just the sensor but he may well have different boards for the different sensors (418 vs. 428), he just doesn't talk about that level of detail when discussing the upgrades. That would be a good question for him on Yahoo.

This is also likely true of any camera out there, there's a lot more detail under the covers than we often realize.
 

#39 RandyC

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Posted 29 May 2014 - 05:04 PM

Hi Curtis, I haven't been a part of the Lodestar versus video discussions. But I believe video has an immense amount of additional circuitry based on decades of analog technology. NTSC and PAL circuitry is more than a simple protocol. There is video technology embedded therein designed to improve imagery. Additionally, I use inline video equipment such as an amplifier, detailer and color corrector based on NTSC. These devices further enhance the image in real time. The additional video circuitry and functionality puts it ahead of a guider. imo
 

#40 ccs_hello

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Posted 29 May 2014 - 07:22 PM

I've hinted the new SuperHAD II and ExviewHAD II families AFAIK are using low-voltage (3.3V-drive) operations. This means classic videocam design (5V drive) system although could work (in the compatible mode), is not optimized. The camera, at least the CCD drive and AFE need a new design, as seen in the recent cameras built around the new gen CCD image sensors.

On the subject of why SX (an astroCCD imager) would have a different result than a videocam, please bear this in mind:
the astroCCD guys over the years of experiences know a bag of tricks (AFAIK, at least 3 key tricks) how to custom-drive the CCD to gain the most optimal data out with minimum noise. This is, however, a niche market product with very low production volume thus the total price can be high.
On the other hand, the guys who adapt the run-in-the-mill videocams are mostly bound by the "factory videocams" capability they started with. Bear in mind, the videocam base is mainly done for high frame-rate readout and definitely not mainly for long exposure. Thus the available tricks they can play is limited. I know some mods are digging deeper trying to bring some of the astroCCD guys' tricks back in. Kudos to them.

One might ask then why the astroCCD imagers are not as "sensitive" (<-- sorry a term I am very reluctant to use) as its counter part, if they use the same CCD sensor? The answer is the culture. Most of them are unwilling to put an extremely high-gain LNA to ruin the S/N the astroCCD is commonly associated with. Some of them are tuned to be factory preset to the best S/N and not even user adjustable. That's where they decided to focus on.
I do understand at least one mod did just the opposite for this: willing to sacrifice S/N for "fast" community.

I hope this helps.

Clear Skies!

ccs_hello
 

#41 Chris A

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Posted 29 May 2014 - 07:44 PM

Yes Dom why don't you post exactly way you said to Rock on the MC Yahoo group and see exactly what he has to say about this. This way we can a direct answer to your statement rather then posting it here only when we all know that Rock cannot respond here? This is only to be fair and get a straight answer from Rock himself!

Chris A
 

#42 A. Viegas

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Posted 29 May 2014 - 08:46 PM

I've hinted the new SuperHAD II and ExviewHAD II families AFAIK are using low-voltage (3.3V-drive) operations. This means classic videocam design (5V drive) system although could work (in the compatible mode), is not optimized. The camera, at least the CCD drive and AFE need a new design, as seen in the recent cameras built around the new gen CCD image sensors.

On the subject of why SX (an astroCCD imager) would have a different result than a videocam, please bear this in mind:
the astroCCD guys over the years of experiences know a bag of tricks (AFAIK, at least 3 key tricks) how to custom-drive the CCD to gain the most optimal data out with minimum noise. This is, however, a niche market product with very low production volume thus the total price can be high.
On the other hand, the guys who adapt the run-in-the-mill videocams are mostly bound by the "factory videocams" capability they started with. Bear in mind, the videocam base is mainly done for high frame-rate readout and definitely not mainly for long exposure. Thus the available tricks they can play is limited. I know some mods are digging deeper trying to bring some of the astroCCD guys' tricks back in. Kudos to them.

One might ask then why the astroCCD imagers are not as "sensitive" (<-- sorry a term I am very reluctant to use) as its counter part, if they use the same CCD sensor? The answer is the culture. Most of them are unwilling to put an extremely high-gain LNA to ruin the S/N the astroCCD is commonly associated with. Some of them are tuned to be factory preset to the best S/N and not even user adjustable. That's where they decided to focus on.
I do understand at least one mod did just the opposite for this: willing to sacrifice S/N for "fast" community.

I hope this helps.

Clear Skies!

ccs_hello



ccs - when i first started watching this forum i thought you were among the most knowledgeable posters around. Yet, after this post I must confess I have lost faith. Your comment above about some 'tricks' the astroCCD guys know and their reluctance to improve "sensitivity" because of what you term as 'culture'. Are you serious? Where is the scientific evidence? The examples?

On this forum, we see many examples of video camera snapshots. The only 'astroCCD' that gets routine 'airtime' here is the lodestar and 90% of the posts are from Maurice. The astro video cam posts are from a very wide ranging and broad group of people from raw beginners to super experts on the same level as Maurice. I think I may have seen maybe one other lodestar poster. I have never seen you post a single DSO image. Hence, all I can say is from the examples posted here and from my own experience using Mallincam products that astro video is extremely rewarding and very easy to learn. Are the images as spectacular as what we see in the CCD or DSLR forums? not really i suppose. But I think they are much easier and faster to obtain.

All this discussion on new sensors is becoming superfluous and irrelevant. You can't buy a camera optimized for astronomy with the new Sony sensor discussed by the OP, and we have not heard from any of the people who actually produce and make astro video cameras. Instead we are going around in circles debating a hypothetical future product. I am sure the vendors know our wish list. Its very simple really. We want to produce comparable images to what our friends in the CCD/DSLR forum produce but we dont want all the post processing and long integration headaches. Video is not there yet... but its moving in that direction. The vendors know alot more than we do and to survive they will need to bring products to the marketplace which will move in this direction. The small dedicated astro CCD companies like SBIG or Apogee are also aware of the appeal of live view and in reducing the workflow to produce a great image with the least amount of user effort. I bet they are moving in that direction also. SX seems to be aware of this aspect as they are designing their software to push traditional astroCCD to be more 'live view' or at least minimize the effort and time in producing an acceptable image. Net, net I am very optimistic that in 2-3 years we will have a whole new generation of sensitive near live view astronomy cameras. Will they be supercharged astro video or will they be software driven improved astroCCD cameras with live view features? I don't know. But I am confident we will be much closer to high resolution and easy great imaging at the same price point of $1-2k.

Al
 

#43 ccs_hello

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Posted 29 May 2014 - 09:05 PM

Al,

Sorry you think this way. I am fine with it. I sincerely hope people picking up some useful info and ignore me personally.

The reason I don't want to drill down to the tricks in details is it can indirectly lead people to think one vendor couldn't do that and the other can. In this field, it's full of tradeoffs.
I spoke up because I see people starts to inject guessing which is far from the right direction and hope to add a little bit of clarity. Over here, take it as a grain of salt.

P.S. I've posted a pic or not, I don't care so make your own judgement. There are many talented people here and many of them have the willingness to invest money. So I feel this is sufficient. This is just a hobby and not a sport here, not on how "beautiful", how deep, or how "fast".
Does "post a picture" have anything to do with a person's technical insight?

Clear Skies!

ccs_hello
 

#44 David B in NM

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Posted 29 May 2014 - 09:19 PM

I think I may have seen maybe one other lodestar poster.

Al


In the fall (2013), there were 4 members posting images with Lodestars here on the forum. Now, only one of them is still posting (NYTECAM).

I believe Puck Ja is now focused more on imaging now (testing other cameras).

CN Thread 1

Puck Ja posted some very nice images. He used a script. I've quoted how he processed his images below and provided the thread I quoted from. process quoted:

"3. With some scripting, you can make SX software to perform on-the-fly necessary processing and display clear color picture on the screen without touching your computer. This part of processing is a must, which include color conversion, auto darken background(set the minimum histogram threshold), and to stretch the histogram so your image can be shown clearly (like to adjust brightness and contrast).

Since the code is doing image acquisition and processing in parallel, you only need to wait for about extra 10 sec."

end of quote:

Thread Quoted From

Moromete was another: Moromete's Thread (scroll up to beginning)

There was one more user. I can't recall his name.

So, there were at least 4 that I can recall who used the Lodestar (counting NYTECAM).

Perhaps all but NYTECAM were chased off by those who felt video cameras were the only acceptable cameras allowed in this forum.

David B in NM

Added:

ccs: I appreciate your posts.

Al: Here are two more Lodestar users. That brings it up to 6 that were posting images taken with a Lodestar in the Fall of 2013.

Images posted by Gavin Bray

and

highfnum 1

highfnum 2

highfnum 3

Another sample of Puck Ja's Images

My belief is that CN member bhuvfe also has a Lodestar. Although he has not posted images on CN it is apparent he does have a knowledge of Lodestar software (the last link above illustrates this point where he's made comments).

David B in NM


 

#45 JayinUT

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Posted 29 May 2014 - 09:21 PM

The thread is unlocked, please keep the discussion civil.
 

#46 ccs_hello

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Posted 30 May 2014 - 06:59 AM

Coincidentally, Point Grey just (May 29, 2014) published a Technical Application Note about Low Noise Imaging using its 14-bit USB3 Imager with ICX285 image sensor:
http://www.ptgrey.co...Low_Noise_Im...

One thing to take away is it documents that different modes (means the methods of reading out CCD data) affect the noise characteristics.
This is what I had talked about previously on "tricks (of getting CCD data out)". This topic goes beyond video or non-video, image sensor packaging, industry vs. scientific, or "how good the support is" type of superficial discussions.

Note it's a new cam thus is shown as out of stock. I think eventually it will use the new ICX825 (with a different electronics design.)


Bonus info:
in this SONY ICX285 based CCD cam, the read noise is 7.07e-
In CNer "Plane" recent work :bow: on a sensor raw data out (about a Nikon D7000), at ISO 100, SONY CMOS Exmor sensor IMX071 has the read plus pattern noise of 3.03e- :jump: :jump: !


Clear Skies!

ccs_hello
 

#47 ccs_hello

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Posted 30 May 2014 - 07:30 AM

BTW, I found the above Tech Note associated Youtube video interesting and very user friendly to watch:
https://www.youtube....h?v=zvDmF0_F3pw

Clear Skies!

ccs_hello
 

#48 A. Viegas

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Posted 30 May 2014 - 10:14 AM

Coincidentally, Point Grey just (May 29, 2014) published a Technical Application Note about Low Noise Imaging using its 14-bit USB3 Imager with ICX285 image sensor:
http://www.ptgrey.co...Low_Noise_Im...

One thing to take away is it documents that different modes (means the methods of reading out CCD data) affect the noise characteristics.
This is what I had talked about previously on "tricks (of getting CCD data out)". This topic goes beyond video or non-video, image sensor packaging, industry vs. scientific, or "how good the support is" type of superficial discussions.

Note it's a new cam thus is shown as out of stock. I think eventually it will use the new ICX825 (with a different electronics design.)


C'mon CCS!! You are providing misleading information! First let me point out that the only two active astro video manufactures definitely fiddle with the innards of their respective cameras!! Rock has the hyper circuitry and matt from AVS has custom firmware in his modified LN300 based cameras. In fact if you visited his yahoo group you would be impressed by how creative he has been in providing a total re-work of that camera. So it's just not Pt grey or other high price point manufacturers that have custom electronics and firmware to differentiate their product while using the same imaging chips. Next, your comparison using pt. grey grasshopper3 is bogus. This is a planetary camera. It cannot do DSO. So whatever nifty do-dahs they wired in, it does not pertain to comparison with the dedicated astro video cameras that are primarily longer exposure DSO imaging focused. Lastly, I think support is very very important. It is a critical element that differentiates otherwise same products. You can buy a $20k car or a $100k car. Which one you think will have better customer support? Meanwhile ask the people who own and use astro video cameras from mallincam. Why do you think there is such universal appreciation? Sure the product is good, but the service is extremely good. Likewise matt from AVs is just getting started but so far he has demonstrated extraordinary customer service. So I 110% disagree with your premise and technobabble inferences! I don't care what the QE is on one Sony chip vs some other theoretical new chip. If I can't buy it now and hear from
Other users not just how well it performs but also that I can trust the manufactuer then it's a waste of time to look through spec sheets. Please post some images of the grasshopper 3 doin some faint DSO. Let's see how great their innards are or how well this older ICX285 does... That's the scientific way. Prove it by example. Otherwise it's all opinion. And I can't show opinions to friends at my next astro party

Al
 

#49 David B in NM

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Posted 30 May 2014 - 10:39 AM

Al,

I see these words in the link ccs provided (Page 2, para 1.4 Enabling Low Noise Imaging):

quote

Point Grey GS3-U3-14S5 cameras provide a special imaging mode optimized for low noise performance and long exposure time. In this mode, the CCD pixel gain amplifier is disabled, and the vertical pixel clock shift register is slowed. These features result in reduced temporal dark noise and dark current. Longer extended shutter times—up to 1.5 hours—are also supported. To enable this mode, configure the camera to video mode 7 via FlyCapture2 or third party USB3 Vision software.

To achieve long exposure time, frame rate control must be disabled.


end quote

IMO a planet would blow up with an exposure time of 1.5 hours. Wouldn't it?

Perhaps I'm wrong though.

David B in NM
 

#50 Chris A

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Posted 30 May 2014 - 10:50 AM

Like Al said LETS SEE SOME IMAGES that will be the proof for me also.

Chris
 


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