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Moon and planets : first tests with miniCAM5F

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#1 easybob95

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Posted 20 July 2015 - 07:58 AM

Hello,

Ii have the chance to test brand new QHYCCD miniCAM5F, which is a planetary camera which have DSO imaging capabilities.

The camera has an Aptina MT9M034 monosensor, with a motorizd filter wheel 9 positions and 2 cooling stages (-45°C below ambient temperature). The camera have USB2, moisture avoid chamber and can be used with EZPlanetary for high speed acquisition and EZCapture (5 different gain selection) for long exposure mode. miniCAM5F will also be supported by Firecapture and probably SharpCap.

 

The filters provided with the miniCAM5F are LRGB. More filters are coming (from what i know, Ha, Hb, OIII, SII at least). The filters are 12mm diameter.

 

I made some Moon and planetary imaging tests and my setup is :

SCT 6" on Orion Sirius EQ-G mount.

 

I also made tests on DSO. You can see them here : http://www.cloudynig...with-minicam5f/

 

Just remember my scope is only SCT 6" so, some results won't be "terrific". I only post reduced images for the Moon. If you want full size pictures, just ask me.

 

Jupiter :

I only made one test and unfortunately, the weather conditions were not good at all. It is an RGB acquisition.

 

07df2becad0786fa52face11d2568cce.620x0_q

 

Saturn :

Saturn is not easy to shoot this year. I only made 2 tests. Here is the best RGB acquisition.

 

777c712d029aa35369bd262eecce50cf.620x0_q

 

Alain



#2 ToxMan

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Posted 20 July 2015 - 11:36 AM

Thank you for a very informative presentation, Alain. It will be on my current "short list" of replacement cameras.



#3 Tbob32

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Posted 20 July 2015 - 02:08 PM

miniCAM5F look much sharper and colors more balanced. Thanks for the info.



#4 easybob95

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Posted 21 July 2015 - 12:55 AM

Thanks for your comments.

 

From what i have tested, mono sensor is still better then color sensor. We have more details and better resolution and the colors are much better. I think real filters are much better then bayer matrix filters.

 

Alain



#5 easybob95

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Posted 23 July 2015 - 06:14 AM

Hi,

 

here is an other example of a comparison between miniCAM5F (mono sensor Aptina MT9M034) + filters) and QHY5L-IIc (color sensor Aptina MT9M034) : Copernic region close up.

 

c46b92ca7d16b24ee91cb8bd07d41616.1824x0_

 

Mono sensor delivers better accuracy and better colors.

 

Alain



#6 AlanL

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Posted 26 July 2015 - 10:52 PM

Thanks for the great info Alain. I am in the market for a new planetary cam, and also have interest in doing DSO imaging, so this camera has been on my "watch list" for a while. Those moon pics are stunning. Thank you for sharing. I would be very interested in seeing any additional planetary images you are able to acquire.

 

My past experience with multi-purpose devices such as this is that they sometimes they are "OK" at multiple tasks but not excellent. I want an excellent planetary cam. DSO capability would be a nice extra. I've been looking at the ASI120 which has similar pixel size. Do you have any thoughts on how this camera might compare to the ASI120 for planetary work?

 

Is this camera actually available now or is it still in beta testing?

 

Alan



#7 easybob95

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Posted 27 July 2015 - 05:16 AM

Hello Alan,

 

it is hard to have an very good camera for planetary and DSO.

 

For planetary use, the camera is very ggod, because of its mono sensor and the filter wheel which have "real filters " (much better then Bayer matrix). You have LRGB filters provided with the camera and you can purchase an extra CH4 filter. A bad thing is that camera has USB2 only. The camera has also cooling (2 stages cooling) and this can be interesting for Uranus, Neptune (Pluto ?) or asteroid captures.

 

In the other hand, new cameras have brand new Sony sensor but they are color sensor. Those cameras are great for planets. They have DSO capabilities but you will have to uses the camera the same way you do for planetary images. I don't consider those cameras are DSO cameras (only Bayer matrix filters, no Ha, OIII, SII, etc., no real long exposure mode and software).

 

Hard to choose !

 

For me, miniCAM5F is very very good and interesting camera. It is the first camera able to make real planetary pictures and real DSO pictures. The big points are mono sensor, filter wheel, filters (12mm diameter so the filters are not expensives), cooling and real long exposure management.

 

New Sony sensor based cameras are also very good but for me, the main use is planetary.

 

Alain



#8 PiotrM

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Posted 27 July 2015 - 11:12 AM

A disadvantage of this all-in-one camera is that for real long exposures you need guiding so you would end up with two cameras with small sensors. One capable of guiding and planetary work, second - miniCAM capable of planetary, guiding and DSO. If it had a much bigger sensor then it could be a better DSO camera, if it would come with additional guide camera in the price/set then there would be less of a problem with functionality duplication :)

#9 easybob95

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Posted 27 July 2015 - 12:54 PM

Hello Piotr,

 

we must consider the camera we talk about. Of course, SBIG 11000 is better but, the price is not the same.

 

Maybe QHYCCD will make a bundle one day. Honestly, i don't know and i did not talk about that with QHYCCD.

 

Having a dedicated camera for autoguiding is something very common today. So, i think there is no real problem about that.

 

Alain



#10 easybob95

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Posted 28 July 2015 - 10:33 AM

Hello,

 

a quick comparison between miniCAM5F RGB picture vs LROC satellite - color test.

 

25014de307d9f9a9bbd8eeda319def2e.1824x0_

 

We can see that planetary camera like miniCAM5F can be used for "scientific" work on Moon geology and solis compositions. It is interesting because the results i get with the miniCAM5F go further then the simple "cosmetic" aspect of the picture. Real job can be done.

 

I think that for pictures who need very accurate colors, dedicated filters are much much better then the bayer matrix. This should be taken in consideration when choosing a camera. Color sensor is more simple to use but it is still out for resolution and color management.

 

Alain



#11 PiotrM

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Posted 28 July 2015 - 11:47 AM

If it was 2/3" or alike it would be already better. Very big sensors aren't expected from such camera. But still small sensor with small pixels is ok for DS imaging with lenses and alike at very short focal lengths without guiding.

#12 ToxMan

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Posted 28 July 2015 - 04:06 PM

For sure this camera has good possibilities for planetary imaging. And perhaps sensor is small for deep sky imaging. But, for someone who hasn't learned deep sky imaging techniques, it could be a satisfactory "starter" or introductory camera to deep sky imaging before plunging into another significant investment. Maybe?

 

Thanks for all your test images. They are great.



#13 easybob95

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Posted 29 July 2015 - 12:59 AM

Thank you ToxMan,

 

Sensor is small but i had not so bad results with my SCT 6" at F/D 10 so, i think it can be use without problem (i am a very beginner in DSO imaging). I confirm this camera can be a great starter for DSO and honestly, i think i have month and month of work to do with it.

 

Alain



#14 easybob95

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Posted 30 July 2015 - 02:12 PM

A mosaic of Copernic region in enhanced colors (reduced version) :

 

5b012c84428c78016d2568a9d90ac23b.620x0_q

 

Clear skies.

 

Alain



#15 gustavo_sanchez

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Posted 30 July 2015 - 04:02 PM

It would be nice to see how this camera with RGB filters compares with the new ASI224 in both DSO and planets.

#16 easybob95

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Posted 31 July 2015 - 01:00 AM

Hello Gustavo,

 

Well, the big advantage of IMX224 sensor is sensivity, especially in IR wavelenght and frames per second. But as it is a color sensor, i think ASI224MC won't be as good as miniCAM5F for resolution and colors.

 

For DSO, miniCAM5F will be ahead i think, because of the filters and the cooling.

 

But in fact, it is very difficult to compare the 2 cameras because they are very different. I think they are both good cameras.

 

Alain



#17 PiotrM

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Posted 01 August 2015 - 06:27 AM

ASI224 is:
- cheaper
- looks like vastly better than any other color camera
- can work with some filters, like CH4

miniCAM5s:
- cooled
- mono, and can work/requires filters
- bit more expensive
- can do mono luminance DS and planetary imaging
- more suited for DS lucky-imaging (lenses, f/3.3 SCT, big resolution planetary nebulae, clusters), rather than typical long exposure guided imaging of big field of views (small sensor, small pixels)

miniCAM5f:
- what miniCAM5s can do plus
- if you don't have a filter wheel and LRGB/Narrowband/CH4 filters then you have them now
- much more expensive, but see note above
- note that the wheel and filters are a vendor lock-in - only for that model.

#18 AlanL

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Posted 01 August 2015 - 11:50 AM

Sorry I've been absent for a bit.Thanks for the great discussion on these cameras. My main focus remains planetary imaging and it sounds like this camera may be a reasonable, if bit more costly, option for that. I currently use a Basler and its artifacts are driving me crazy, so I'm looking for something new. I don't think I want to go the color/bayer route. I prefer to use  my own filters for the 5s appears the better choice for me.

 

I have been experimenting with lucky imaging on DSO's for a while with the Basler, with some success on brighter objects and was hoping to impove my results with that. I have generally limited exposure times for DSO's to 30 seconds due to lack of guiding capability and camera noise/artifacts. One thought was to use the Basler as a guider, in combination with a new miniCAM, but I have not been able to get the ASCOM drivers to work with the Basler thus far.



#19 easybob95

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Posted 01 August 2015 - 01:14 PM

Hello Alan,

 

i think miniCAM5S is a good choice. I don't like color sensor anymore since i have tested mono sensor + real filters.

 

Alain



#20 easybob95

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Posted 03 August 2015 - 08:02 AM

Hello,

 

my first miniCAM5F test session is coming to his end and now, i will start my own work and continue DSO imaging learning.

 

I made a quick poster of my most significant results with the miniCAM5F in order to show you the potential of the camera. I hope you will enjoy it.

 

736f226b73a392c18061fec34453a4e1.1824x0_

 

Clear skies.

 

Alain


Edited by easybob95, 03 August 2015 - 08:23 AM.


#21 PiotrM

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Posted 03 August 2015 - 04:38 PM

Looks good :)

#22 AlanL

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Posted 03 August 2015 - 11:24 PM

Those are some nice pics there Alain. .Thanks for sharing.



#23 easybob95

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Posted 04 August 2015 - 01:08 AM

Many thanks Piotr and Alan !

 

Testing a camera is a hard work, really.

 

Alain



#24 easybob95

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Posted 05 August 2015 - 03:22 AM

Hello,

 

here are the different ways i can see the Moon with the miniCAM5F. I think it is quite interesting. For that kind of work, i think color sensor can't bring such results. Mono sensor + filters are still a must have.

 

b60d9adb7f48d5a8933e46d3c10b01a9.1824x0_

 

Clear skies.

 

Alain



#25 easybob95

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Posted 10 August 2015 - 10:23 AM

No question about that new camera ? Well, i know that it does not have brand new exciting Sony sensor but you know, IMX224, 178, 185 sensor are not magical. Of course, they bring interesting things but tey have weak points too (especially bayer matrix sensor for me).

 

miniCAM5F is a very different camera which have very interesting new features so if you have questions, i can try to give answers.

 

Clear skies.

 

Alain




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