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New Sony 1.4MP CCD sensor (useful?)

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#76 A. Viegas

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Posted 31 May 2014 - 11:32 AM

Hi Randy,

I'm not sure you have understood my point. My point was essentially that new more sensitive sensors are not necessarily better for our application because they are not designed for our application. This is true for the 428/828 AND the 285/825...or any other so-called "drop-in" replacement Sony comes out with. How the new sensor will perform in long exposure and high gain applications is simply a crapshoot. I do not understand yours or CCS_HELLO's statement about needing to redesign the readout circuitry to get a clean noise free image using the new chips. The amplifiers add noise to the image, sure, but they add random noise...static. They do not add fixed pattern noise other than indirectly through their heat being observed by the sensor as ampglow. The two patches of glow and the stringy lines in the dark frame I posted has nothing to do with the readout and amplifier circuitry, it has to do with the chip design itself. The high gain of the camera is amplifying the image defects that exist due to the chip, making them more visible. There is nothing you can do to re-optimise your read-out circuitry or gain settings and get the SAME camera sensitivity but without the fixed pattern noise. I don't make this sh$@ up, its just the way it is. If you used this chip in a camera with a mechanical shutter (ie. an imaging camera), the camera could automatically take darks and auto apply them unbeknownst to the user...but that is a whole other ball of wax.


This whole thread reminds me of a similar discussion a year ago when another 'expert' was discussing the merits of a new camera (the LN300) vs. the established mallincam. The difference is that Matt actually put his technical expertise to work and started AVS which is now producing cameras in competition with Mallincam. In turn this turned up the pressure on Rock and he released more products in competition. This has had a tremendous improvement for consumers of astro video products. I applaud Jim for actually conducting tests and publishing his findings here. There are other so called 'experts' out there so why don't they start a new product to showcase their aptitude and thereby benefit the rest of us with more advanced imaging products? Ultimately, that is what I deem the final word in these types of discussions. Put it up there and prove it by your actions not through obfuscating techno babble. Jim is proving it right now. The new chip like he says is optimized for faster exposure settings which of course makes perfect sense given the broad consumer market that Sony is trying to address given their poor business outlook for their imaging business. So many posts and the conclusion seems obvious. This new chip is dead on arrival for use in astro video cameras. Maybe point grey or someone else will utilize this chip for faster imaging purposes like planetary/solar work and for that it may indeed be a great new product. But for long exposure faint fuzzies... well seems like its a dud.

Al in NYC
 

#77 David B in NM

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Posted 31 May 2014 - 11:46 AM

Dwight,

You have an opinion and so do I.

If there wasn't a market for a product the product wouldn't sell. The same goes for software.

Perhaps you should read this post from an MC user.

Please click here

Are you saying he doesn't feel the time has come for a change?

I am total unaware of any guidelines in this forum where it states a camera has to be field tested on NSN before it is allowed to post images here. Is it possible you can show me that guideline?

As for cameras I have tried, I have been privy to see views through many different cameras. I am not biased toward any manufacturer (unlike others on this forum).

My participation in this forum, is to attempt to ensure equal treatment of any type of camera used in this forum.

Added: Using the guidelines that were enacted by the CN Admin:

Click for guidelines

David B in NM
 

#78 jimthompson

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Posted 31 May 2014 - 11:47 AM

Hi Al,

Thank you for keeping the discussion friendly and non-oppositional.

Can we agree that ampglow is due to heat given off by the read-out amplifier and other circuitry that is located on the CCD wafer? I believe that is a well established fact. A Google search will reveal much information on the topic.

So how do you reduce the heat generated by an amplifier? You can turn it down or turn it off. Turning it down reduces the amount the sensor signal is amplified, ie. reduces the gain. Matt has found a way to turn it off during the frame read-out much like in imaging cameras. Rock chooses to ignore the ampglow and keep the gain high. Different ways to skin the same animal. If you don't like Rock's cameras, buy Matt's. If you don't like either, well...go buy a Lodestar I guess.

Best Regards,

Jim T.
 

#79 jimthompson

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Posted 31 May 2014 - 11:57 AM

Hi David,

Hmmm, I'm not sure which analog users you are talking about. I have not seen any complaints about it on the Mallincam and AVS user groups. I have seen many cheers for the extra capability that software is bringing, but I have seen many many complaints about getting software working correctly. In fact the vast majority of problems reported by users are software and driver related. Both Rock and Matt seem to be selling their analog cameras...sales are growing actually from what I understand (yeah for video astronomy!) so I don't know what to tell you. It is good to have choices, agreed, and currently analog video is still one of those choices.

Best Regards,

Jim T.

:tonofbricks:
 

#80 dragonslayer1

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Posted 31 May 2014 - 11:59 AM

David,,,,,,

The point being made is that with video cam (analog) is that they HAVE THE OPTION, of not dragging a computer along, other cameras do not (loadstar).. no big deal, you prefer to drag a computer, fine... At home I use both at the same time, small DVD player and computer and will say the DVD player gives a better picture... I use the computer to capture images. With certain video cams you have the CHOICE, with others you do not.. Kasey
 

#81 Dwight J

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Posted 31 May 2014 - 12:02 PM

I did not say it was a guideline, that is putting words in my mouth. Using a camera on NSN shows it's capabilities as a live view instrument. Posting images on here does not. Seeing is believing.
 

#82 David B in NM

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Posted 31 May 2014 - 12:06 PM

Jim,

These are the words I used (quoted):

Jim,

Perhaps you (and others) may enjoy the simplicity you highlight above. Yet, at the same time it appears as though there are analog users who disagree with you and are not pleased with the images they see.

end quote

If they felt no need for an improvement to the images they were seeing in the field, would cheer for and purchase the software and tote a PC in the field?

The use of the laptop converts the analog signal to digital. The software does enhance the image.

David B in NM
 

#83 David B in NM

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Posted 31 May 2014 - 12:11 PM

I did not say it was a guideline, that is putting words in my mouth. Using a camera on NSN shows it's capabilities as a live view instrument. Posting images on here does not. Seeing is believing.


Dwight,

That is your opinion and is not a guidline for this forum.

I have faith in others and the images they post here. I accept their word and have trust in them. I've also seen results myself.

People who consistently demand NSN as the proving ground seem to have little faith in people or their word.

You said you enjoyed simple views on a CRT. I believe you. Should I now think you are not telling me the truth?

David B in NM
 

#84 David B in NM

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Posted 31 May 2014 - 12:15 PM

David,,,,,,

The point being made is that with video cam (analog) is that they HAVE THE OPTION, of not dragging a computer along, other cameras do not (loadstar).. no big deal, you prefer to drag a computer, fine... At home I use both at the same time, small DVD player and computer and will say the DVD player gives a better picture... I use the computer to capture images. With certain video cams you have the CHOICE, with others you do not.. Kasey


Kasey,

True, you do have an option.

However, isn't the image you see when you use Miloslick or AstroLive better than the unassisted image? If you aren't using a program like these you will not see any improvement and the DVD may look better. If you are using them, perhaps they aren't working correctly.

My goal is to see the best image I can in the field. If it needs a pc, I use it. Perhaps my standards are higher than others.

David B in NM
 

#85 Dwight J

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Posted 31 May 2014 - 12:41 PM

Not necessarily David. The color is richer on a CRT but the details not as defined as a LCD monitor. Using software like Miloslick lets you clean up noise, hot pixels, and amp glow. I don't find those to be bothersome. Perhaps the best argument for using a TV is for group viewing and public outreach. Our clubs venerable 32" CRT allows up to 50 people at a time to view. I am currently setting up a projector (has SVHS input) to obtain an even larger image. The computer is consigned to camera control for expisure time, AGC, and cooling. A real immersive experience is video glasses, albeit only for one person, but fantastic. You may be able to do the same things using the computer for image output like projection and even video glasses, Mallincam just provides a choice. At star parties all I bring is a 10.2" LCD battery powered TV, the wireless exposure controller, and the wired control box. I use SkySafari and iPod to control the mount. The camera runs on 12v battery as does the mount. I would use a hand box but Takahashi mounts need a computer to GOTO objects, thus the iPod. A simple setup comparatively. My wish is not for some future fantastic chip although that may come, but for wireless camera output. That is something I would buy and more likely to come along sooner than a suitable chip for near live viewing.
 

#86 David B in NM

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Posted 31 May 2014 - 01:04 PM

Dwight,

I've used a projector (for both analog and digital). Although it is enjoyable, it is not as crisp as an LCD/LED screen.

I have a 50" LCD TV I use for both analog and digital (fortunately, my laptops have HDMI outputs as does the monitor).

Video glasses. LOL, I've never thought about. It sounds worthy, but due to my cataract surgery I have great difficulty focusing on objects close-up.

The wireless camera output is hit/miss. I've tried some and was unable to get a steady transmission. The 2.4mz frequency is not fully dependable (at least by my attempts).

As I have "attempted" to say, I am impartial. Some may say I promote Lodestar. It may appear I do. But, when Ken posted links to images in another thread to Sammy and MC images I felt a need to post links to images to a Lodestar. The person (BillP) wanted to have choices/options. That's why he started the thread. In this thread I included links to Lodestar images to help refresh Al's memory (only thought one other user). Perhaps Travis will remember when he first posted his videos on this forum he was kind of brushed off. I spoke up and expressed my viewpoint that his "first" post here (a video of Jupe live with his children's overjoyed voices in the background) was indeed a live view and he should be accepted here. He was.

Hopefully, someday people who may perceive me as an opponent will view me as an ally in this forum. To me, it doesn't matter what kind of camera one uses to enhance their experience as long as they enjoy it and are pleased with the views. They can use a simple video camera and monitor or a pc and analog/digital video camera with any software needed to enhance their views and pleasure.

In the event one is wondering about me, I exploit technology and do use a computer in the field. I do use both analog and digital cameras. It's nice to have a collection of cameras, scopes several laptops/netbooks (for cameras and mounts, guiding etc) and reasonably good/transparent skies to view in. I am very thankful for VEAA and what it enables me to see.

David B in NM
 

#87 Dwight J

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Posted 31 May 2014 - 01:19 PM

It is great to have the choices we have now and each one is being enhanced incrementally, like LodestarLive, Astrolive, and Miloslick. I am on trifocals and can use the video glasses. If you get a chance try them out. No comparison to any other style of viewing. I understand wireless ones are available but pricey. I was entranced by projection when I saw a picture of the Trifid projected on an observatory dome. Nothing like a 15 foot Trifid.
 

#88 dragonslayer1

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Posted 31 May 2014 - 01:22 PM

Hey David,
I understand some wanting a computer to play with, (I have Miloslick), but the truth is, the picture I see on the small DVD player I use also is better than the laptop view. The color, resolution, and everything just "pops" more.. Thats trying 2 different laptops.. Set up at home in the driveway is no big deal stinging cable for laptop to play with settings,,, but if were not for saving images I would not use computer that much, Just another un scientific opinion LOL, Kasey
 

#89 David B in NM

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Posted 31 May 2014 - 01:29 PM

Dwight,

Yes, there are plenty of choices. Technology has advanced dramatically since the old Philips Vesta and Quickcam mods I did. It will continue to get better. Our views will be better due to these changes. Honestly, I believe this is just the beginning. If we can get a ccd chip (also video because the heart is also called the ccd) manufactuerer on board to design and make a chip with more resolution and more capability, we will be happier than pigs rolling around in the mud.

What do you plan on using for a projection screen?

David B in NM
 

#90 David B in NM

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Posted 31 May 2014 - 01:34 PM

Kasey,

To each his own. Have you tied tweaking the color on you pc monitor? Most have the capability to adjust the color. Normally the software does improve the image (stacking, etc).

David B in NM
 

#91 mclewis1

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Posted 31 May 2014 - 01:42 PM

Jim is proving it right now. The new chip like he says is optimized for faster exposure settings which of course makes perfect sense given the broad consumer market that Sony is trying to address given their poor business outlook for their imaging business. So many posts and the conclusion seems obvious. This new chip is dead on arrival for use in astro video cameras. Maybe point grey or someone else will utilize this chip for faster imaging purposes like planetary/solar work and for that it may indeed be a great new product. But for long exposure faint fuzzies... well seems like its a dud.

Al, Your post made me laugh out loud ... in recognition of some older conversations.

I clearly remember many years ago discussions on a few forums when Sony released the 418 chips that they were totally unsuitable for long exposure work. Too much sensitivity and read noise. The imaging world would never be able to use them. Etc. Etc.

To a great extent those long forgotten "experts" were proven true, most of the imaging marketplace ignored these Sony chips. Fortunately for many of us Rock and few others had different ideas. It was a big deal at the time when Mallincam video cameras started breaking out of the 64x, or 128x integration times. 6/12 seconds and later 7/14/28/56 second exposure capabilities started to prove that the Sony chip could indeed handle longer exposures. Then came the capability to turn off the AGC and exposure for almost as long as we liked and along came a few imaging knowledgeable folks using the Xtreme cameras to go after multi minute exposures to create those "pretty pictures" instead of the more immediate near live images. Rock certainly wasn't the only guy working with these chips but he does represent a good example of taking a technology in a different direction than what many thought wasn't possible. Then slowly building additional capabilities on top of well proven fundamentals.

I believe that given suitable marketplace interest the 825 chip could indeed be used in a camera suitable for near live viewing. It wouldn't be drop in easy, and it wouldn't be cheap, but I believe it would be do able by a number of existing camera manufacturers.

Using support circuitry similar to that used in the SX Lodestar cameras and with perhaps USB3 to help reduce the latency caused by having to download the larger images along with the "Live" PC software. Yes I'm being overly simplistic but a conversation about low level camera details would be well beyond my own capabilities and I suspect most others reading this. I do however understand many of the issues in developing high tech products such as the cameras we all use ... and I don't make the case about the possibility of using the 825 chip in a new camera frivolously.
And with that I guess I've :beat: this subject more than enough :roflmao:
 

#92 BigDob Al

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Posted 31 May 2014 - 02:11 PM


Now what about the Lodestar. I agree that on the surface it seems like a conundrum; two cameras using the same sensor but getting very different results. In my opinion continuing to ask that question is like asking why an orange is sweeter than a lemon (they're both citrus fruit!). The Lodestar is simply designed for a different application. Why would you expect a camera designed to be a guider to produce the same image as a camera designed to be an astrovideo camera? The Lodestar is what it is, a guider that can produce some nice still frames of DSO's even using the stock software. Unfortunately we are unable to separate the capabilities of the different softwares from the capabilities of the camera itself, making the discussion that much more indeterminate."

Best Regards,

Jim T.

I see, I understand.
Wait , what??
What conundrum?
Why not continue to ask the question?
A comparison is simple and was already made by everybody who looked for at least a split second at the images.
2 cameras using the same sensor, one getting great results the other very poor results , why not call it what it is?
One camera uses the sensor properly, the other doesn't.
What lemons and oranges?
It seems that you're somehow implying that the Lodestarlive software is removing the amp glow and noise .
From looking at the images, that is clearly not the case.
I'm thinking that maybe the Mallincam Miloslick is not removing amp glow and not filter out noise in the bad dark frame you posted ?
That's why I was mentioning possibly software or user error.

Simply calling one camera a guider and the other a video camera does not explain why one has good images and the other doesn't.
These are just words.

The fact is that one camera shows no amp glow , good images in short exposures , so let's blame the software .

The other camera shows a really bad dark frame , so let's blame the other camera???? Or the fact that they might be called different names?

I couldn't care if one camera was called a hammer and the other a cabbage.
If I had to buy, I wouldn't buy one that provides bad images.
In practical use, there's no difference between the Lodestar and the way you guys are using Mallincams.
They're both tethered to computers and both use software to display a live image.
There are some differences for example in the extreme amount of amp glow even the old sensor shows in Mallincams, which is solely removed by your Miloslick software, with masks, dark subtraction and stuff that is usually considered imaging.
Without Miloslick, the old sensor works as bad as the new one in the same Extreme camera, at least in the images I've seen posted . It's not a deal breaker for me but let's keep it real.
Conundrum?

Clear Skies,
Al
 

#93 BigDob Al

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Posted 31 May 2014 - 02:20 PM

Don, if you read Jims' statement again you will see he is not putting down Lodestar.
His comment is "Lodestar is not the camera you want if you are looking to go out into the field with just scope + camera + monitor."

Nothing more, nothing less.

In other words, to use a Lodestar you MUST have a Computer with you out in the field, whereas Video/CCTV cameras don't.
With Video/CCTV all you need is:
- Scope
- Camera
- Monitor

I regularly read Lodestar aficionados boasting that with a Lodestar you only need a single USB cable.
That's nice. But you also need that Computer.

Video/CCTV doesn't need a computer.

You may be right that a usb camera needs a computer but you are obfuscating the fact that all Extreme images , posted here or broadcast on NSN ,are captured and processed using a video capture card or dongle, computer processing software and they do not look the way they're shown here in real life, camera to monitor. They have amp glow and noise , there's no way to stretch histograms and all the other goodies . This is just a very ambivalent statement you're making which is confusing beginners, because if they were to take it at face value it would mean Extreme images are as great camera to analog monitor as they look on NSN, which is not true. You can't do a camera to monitor 2 minute exposure without seeing a quarter of the image flooded in the beautiful bright white of the famous amp glow , unless you turn AGC off . In turn, AGC off means you now need to guide and wait forever for images , because the camera is a lot less sensitive.
Other than these remarks, I fully agree with all your comments.

Clear Skies,
Al
 

#94 RandyC

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Posted 31 May 2014 - 03:12 PM

Jim, Why don't any of the CCD manufacturers have variable gain on the amplifiers? I am hearing that gain is fixed at the highest S/N ratio. You should be able to shorten CCD exposure times using more gain. There may also be some innovations on on reducing read-out noise with more gain.
 

#95 Dom543

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Posted 31 May 2014 - 03:46 PM

Randy,

It is perfectly possible to control the gain settings. In most cameras you can also set AGC (Automatic Gain Control) to LOW or to OFF from the menu. In more advanced designs, as the AVS MK-II/III you can select your preferred gain from a scale 0-64 using a dial on the hand control.

There is a post earlier on this same thread by css_hello, which explains how and why higher gain leads to worse S/N ratio.

In the old days, when sensors were less sensitive, turning up gain was the only way to make near-live viewing possible. Things have, fortunately changed dramatically in the past 10 years with the release of the latest two generations of HAD sensors. But to fully benefit from their potential, we need new cameras optimized for the new sensors. Or, at the minimum, users ready to accept progress and turn down the gain setting on their old cameras.

--Dom
 

#96 Don Rudny

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Posted 31 May 2014 - 04:01 PM

Hi Don,

Those are some very nice images you have captured, thank you for the link. I am glad to hear that you have found a camera that you like and that you are enjoying using it. That is entirely the point of all this. Why should I care what camera you use as long as you're out there exploring the sky with it.

To clarify my point, I said the Lodestar line of cameras are not what one should choose if you want to go into the field with just scope + camera + monitor, ie. no computer. Bringing your laptop into the field may not seem like a big deal to you, but there are many people who would simply rather not have to deal with all that extra overhead...learning how to keep your computer + software working in addition to all your other equipment. Until you have tried the simplicity of an analog video camera, it is hard to appreciate why many people would want to go that way. The fact that both AVS and Mallincam have analog video cameras as their front line products should be an indication of what people seem to like.

Best Regards,

Jim T.


Thanks, Jim for your response. After reading all the posts after mine, I am sorry if I gave the impression that there isn't a place for analog video cams. I have a Samsung SCB2000 that I modified myself and an AVS on order. I was merely asking why the Lodestar would be excluded from field use if someone just wants a camera, telescope and monitor. Granted the monitor has to have a computer and software is required, but the software is no more difficult to use than the camera menu on the monitor. You still have to adjust exposure, gamma and color balance. The single wire also eliminates the need for a separate remote camera control system. I realize you can use the buttons on back of the camera, but I don't find that very convenient. I found the Lodestar and Lodestar Live s/w very easy to use and I would recommend that one consider it for field use. Certainly, if someone absolutely does not want to use a computer, the Lodestar shouldn't be considered.
 

#97 BigDob Al

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Posted 31 May 2014 - 05:25 PM

Hi Al,

Thank you for keeping the discussion friendly and non-oppositional.

Can we agree that ampglow is due to heat given off by the read-out amplifier and other circuitry that is located on the CCD wafer? I believe that is a well established fact. A Google search will reveal much information on the topic.

So how do you reduce the heat generated by an amplifier? You can turn it down or turn it off. Turning it down reduces the amount the sensor signal is amplified, ie. reduces the gain. Matt has found a way to turn it off during the frame read-out much like in imaging cameras. Rock chooses to ignore the ampglow and keep the gain high. Different ways to skin the same animal. If you don't like Rock's cameras, buy Matt's. If you don't like either, well...go buy a Lodestar I guess.

Best Regards,

Jim T.

Jim, here I agree with you fully. I have no idea how either of these guys make their cameras but I'm grateful they do. We have choices and that's great, in a day and age when all manufacturing and even engineering of such stuff is being offshored . I just shudder to think what would happen if we had to call for support some Chinese company .
I'mnot at the point where I can decide which camera is better or even which one I like. I'm just starting in video astronomy and took the safer approach of not going for the most expensive camera . This may or may not change in the future but for now, I'm waiting for an AVS MK III and trying to cobble together a scope system for it.

Clear Skies,
Al
 

#98 Dwight J

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Posted 31 May 2014 - 05:42 PM


Don, if you read Jims' statement again you will see he is not putting down Lodestar.
His comment is "Lodestar is not the camera you want if you are looking to go out into the field with just scope + camera + monitor."

Nothing more, nothing less.

In other words, to use a Lodestar you MUST have a Computer with you out in the field, whereas Video/CCTV cameras don't.
With Video/CCTV all you need is:
- Scope
- Camera
- Monitor

I regularly read Lodestar aficionados boasting that with a Lodestar you only need a single USB cable.
That's nice. But you also need that Computer.

Video/CCTV doesn't need a computer.

You may be right that a usb camera needs a computer but you are obfuscating the fact that all Extreme images , posted here or broadcast on NSN ,are captured and processed using a video capture card or dongle, computer processing software and they do not look the way they're shown here in real life, camera to monitor. They have amp glow and noise , there's no way to stretch histograms and all the other goodies . This is just a very ambivalent statement you're making which is confusing beginners, because if they were to take it at face value it would mean Extreme images are as great camera to analog monitor as they look on NSN, which is not true. You can't do a camera to monitor 2 minute exposure without seeing a quarter of the image flooded in the beautiful bright white of the famous amp glow , unless you turn AGC off . In turn, AGC off means you now need to guide and wait forever for images , because the camera is a lot less sensitive.
Other than these remarks, I fully agree with all your comments.

Clear Skies,
Al


Not all Extreme images posted here are sourced from software. Here is an image I posted in a thread a couple of weeks ago that is a frame grab from a recorded DVD that took it's feed from a TV. I would post them more often, it is just more convenient to hit the capture button in Miloslick and save the image at the accepted limits for CN. There has also been a fair number of images posted where the poster took a picture of the TV monitor. Generalizations can be a shortcut but are often not an accurate description of reality. Words like always, never, all, and you people only serve to perpetuate an argument as others produce exceptions. Granted, most of the Extreme images are computer sourced, just not all, and it is through convenience, not necessity.

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#99 David Pavlich

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Posted 31 May 2014 - 06:32 PM

You guys have strayed WAY off topic. The flow of useful information stopped a long time ago. Thread is locked.

David
 


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