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Has the $1200 large chipped ASI 1600 made existing modestly priced CCDs obsolete?

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#276 Jon Rista

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Posted 11 May 2016 - 01:25 PM

 

 

 

Also I used to have a KAF8300 based camera. I think the ASI1600 will exceed it in performance for imaging. They key reason being lower read noise. You need much (30s vs. 300s) shorter exposures (although total exposure times will be similar but more subs) to generate the same SNR which equals much easier calibration.

 

30 seconds vs 300 seconds?  I'd probably check the math on that to make sure you have reasonable expectations.  There is no chance that is going to happen.  

 

 

I don't think you read the full post. Total exposure times will likely be similar but you will be able to use shorter subs due to the lower read noise.

 

If you use a higher gain setting you can bring the read noise down to 1-2e. At a higher gain setting you will not use the stated full well of the sensor but that is irrelevant. You will use sub exposure times that fill the scaled up sensor well exactly. At that sweet spot you will maximize the extraction of every photon captured by minimizing read noise. The math on this actually works very well.

 

But the real benefit will be easier calibration and less subs (exposure time) lost to mount errors or satellite trails etc.

 

While still a high quality sensor the KAF8300 is a decade old technology. These new cameras like the ASi1600 will take some getting used to. The biggest challenge will be for imagers to get out of a 20 year old imaging paradigm driven by CCDs... which is the most challenging part.

 

I understand why some would want the ability to take relatively short exposures, but a decent mount can track well in excess of 600 seconds, and satellite trails can be removed with processing.

 

The downside to taking many subs to to get the same integration time as a single sub, is the greater storage requirement.

 

 

It depends on what SNR you are getting in each sub. If you are getting the same SNR in each 30s sub from a low noise camera as each 300s sub from a higher noise camera, then you actually do not need more subs. Not, that is, unless you want to get a deeper exposure. In which case, you still wouldn't necessarily need massive numbers of subs. 



#277 Jon Rista

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Posted 11 May 2016 - 11:31 PM

These cameras are now shipping. A number of others as well as myself have all received our tracking numbers. They are supposed to arrive soon. 

 

Now, time to....wait. Wait out...the curse....   :storm:


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#278 Phil Hosey

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Posted 12 May 2016 - 05:24 AM

These cameras are now shipping. A number of others as well as myself have all received our tracking numbers. They are supposed to arrive soon. 

 

Now, time to....wait. Wait out...the curse....   :storm:

When did you order yours?  ZWO told me shipping would be end of May but I only ordered mine a few days ago.  I suspect I waited too long.



#279 rkayakr

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Posted 12 May 2016 - 06:47 AM

I keep checking my email for my notice. I feel like Ralphie in Christmas Story constantly checking the mail box for his Little Orphan Annie Secret Decoder Ring.


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#280 Jon Rista

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Posted 12 May 2016 - 11:22 AM

 

These cameras are now shipping. A number of others as well as myself have all received our tracking numbers. They are supposed to arrive soon. 

 

Now, time to....wait. Wait out...the curse....   :storm:

When did you order yours?  ZWO told me shipping would be end of May but I only ordered mine a few days ago.  I suspect I waited too long.

 

 

April 28th, I think. 



#281 WadeH237

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Posted 13 May 2016 - 08:24 PM

I keep checking my email for my notice. I feel like Ralphie in Christmas Story constantly checking the mail box for his Little Orphan Annie Secret Decoder Ring.

 

Be sure to drink your Ovaltine!


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#282 Jon Rista

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Posted 18 May 2016 - 02:11 AM

Started doing some data analysis on the ASI1600MM-Cool tonight, for those interested:

 

http://www.cloudynig...est/?p=7223410 



#283 Dom543

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Posted 21 May 2016 - 08:24 PM

Why is the color ASI 1600 so much cheaper than its monochrome sibling? This is unusual.

--Dom



#284 keithlt

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Posted 21 May 2016 - 08:33 PM

Dom543, on 21 May 2016 - 6:24 PM, said:

Why is the color ASI 1600 so much cheaper than its monochrome sibling? This is unusual.

--Dom

might have to do with the color being a more popular chip and used in other applications.



#285 Ken Sturrock

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Posted 21 May 2016 - 10:03 PM

It seems to me that OSC versions of astronomy cameras are often cheaper, probably for the reason Keith mentioned.



#286 bobzeq25

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Posted 21 May 2016 - 11:50 PM

 

Dom543, on 21 May 2016 - 6:24 PM, said:

Why is the color ASI 1600 so much cheaper than its monochrome sibling? This is unusual.

--Dom

might have to do with the color being a more popular chip and used in other applications.

 

No "might".  The chip is from a popular Olympus DSLR, I believe the EM-1.  This looks familiar.

 

http://www.sensorgen...sOM-D-E-M1.html

 

So it's "naturally" color.  As I mentioned previously I think the story of how ZWO sourced a mono version is probably interesting.  It might have existed before, but I don't know where.  It's even possible it does not exist elsewhere.


Edited by bobzeq25, 21 May 2016 - 11:54 PM.


#287 Dom543

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Posted 22 May 2016 - 01:15 AM

That's very interesting Bobzeq25!

 

ZWO may have just followed the CN forums very closely. The potential of  the Oly and Pan Micro 4/3's have been discovered on these forums for quite some time. And they may have contracted Brent Oliver to scrape off the color filters to make their mono sensors. The price difference is in line with what Brent used to charge for the scraping job. This may also explain why Brent dropped off the radar and has no time for anything he used to do...

 

Clear Skies!

--Dom



#288 Jon Rista

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Posted 22 May 2016 - 09:24 AM

That's very interesting Bobzeq25!

 

ZWO may have just followed the CN forums very closely. The potential of  the Oly and Pan Micro 4/3's have been discovered on these forums for quite some time. And they may have contracted Brent Oliver to scrape off the color filters to make their mono sensors. The price difference is in line with what Brent used to charge for the scraping job. This may also explain why Brent dropped off the radar and has no time for anything he used to do...

 

Clear Skies!

--Dom

 

I certainly hope they are not selling cameras with a scraped off CFA. That would be terrible.

 

Looking at my ASI1600, the sensor shows no signs of such a brute force solution. It looks like a professionally manufactured sensor. My guess is they contacted Panasonic and worked out a deal to get the sensor redesigned and manufactured in a mono version.



#289 Dom543

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Posted 22 May 2016 - 11:48 AM

Jon,

I didn't mean it seriously that the ASI cameras are using sensors, whose microfilters have been scraped off in Brent's Florida basement. It's much easier for the Pan production line to skip the step of putting on those filters for one lot of sensors. It is interesting to see that this costs almost 30% of the price of the entire (uncooled color) camera. I guess, that's what they call economy of scale. And ZWO may have had to put down the money for the entire lot. There is some risk involved.

 

BTW consumer camera sensors always require a certain degree of customization. A number of pixels is designated for special roles like metering or autofocus. Different brands use different systems and the sensors need to be customized accordingly. The production lines must allow for a considerable amount of flexibility.

Clear Skies!  --Dom


Edited by Dom543, 22 May 2016 - 11:55 AM.


#290 bobzeq25

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Posted 22 May 2016 - 04:00 PM

Jon,

I didn't mean it seriously that the ASI cameras are using sensors, whose microfilters have been scraped off in Brent's Florida basement. It's much easier for the Pan production line to skip the step of putting on those filters for one lot of sensors. It is interesting to see that this costs almost 30% of the price of the entire (uncooled color) camera. I guess, that's what they call economy of scale. And ZWO may have had to put down the money for the entire lot. There is some risk involved.

 

BTW consumer camera sensors always require a certain degree of customization. A number of pixels is designated for special roles like metering or autofocus. Different brands use different systems and the sensors need to be customized accordingly. The production lines must allow for a considerable amount of flexibility.

Clear Skies!  --Dom

This probably explains why the specs on the EM-1 and the 1600 have tiny differences in pixel count.



#291 TheRock

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Posted 22 May 2016 - 07:30 PM

The downside to taking many subs to to get the same integration time as a single sub, is the greater storage requirement.

 

A 1 Terabyte hard drive costs a lot less than a mount upgrade :D


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#292 spokeshave

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Posted 22 May 2016 - 08:12 PM

Jon Rista, on 22 May 2016 - 10:24 AM, said:Jon Rista, on 22 May 2016 - 10:24 AM, said:

 

Dom543, on 22 May 2016 - 02:15 AM, said:Dom543, on 22 May 2016 - 02:15 AM, said:

That's very interesting Bobzeq25!

 

ZWO may have just followed the CN forums very closely. The potential of  the Oly and Pan Micro 4/3's have been discovered on these forums for quite some time. And they may have contracted Brent Oliver to scrape off the color filters to make their mono sensors. The price difference is in line with what Brent used to charge for the scraping job. This may also explain why Brent dropped off the radar and has no time for anything he used to do...

 

Clear Skies!

--Dom

 

I certainly hope they are not selling cameras with a scraped off CFA. That would be terrible.

 

Looking at my ASI1600, the sensor shows no signs of such a brute force solution. It looks like a professionally manufactured sensor. My guess is they contacted Panasonic and worked out a deal to get the sensor redesigned and manufactured in a mono version.

 

From the pictures of the camera that I have seen, the sensor has the characteristic gray color of microlenses. I don't think anyone need be concerned that it is a debayered color sensor. I think that the speculation that the higher cost is due to a custom production run that skips the Bayer matrix masking step is probably spot-on.

 

Tim


Edited by spokeshave, 22 May 2016 - 08:12 PM.

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#293 bobzeq25

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Posted 23 May 2016 - 10:57 AM

Well, after 10,000 posts here, I think the threads in BII on experience with this camera have answered the fundamental question I asked.

 

For me, anyway, the answer is yes.

 

Note that the following does not apply to anyone with a budget above, say, $3K.  The OPs original intent, as stated in the title, was to limit this in price.  Comparisons between the 1600 and solutions requiring budgets above that are just not very useful, in my opinion.

 

I'm not about to replace my 694 based camera with one.  But I also can't recommend someone spend more than twice the price of a 1600 for the possible improvement available with one, unless an integrated solution with filter wheel and guider is important to you.  I'm also not recommending those, the way camera technology is likely to be changing means that I would not want to be locked into a chip.  I think higher end solutions using this technology, or better technology, are closer than people may think.

 

And I really couldn't recommend an 8300 any more.  Can anyone think of anything an 8300 does better than a 1600?  I'm considering the FOV difference to be trivial.

 

But, this is good news for the people here who have been supporting CCDs for astrophotography.  The price barrier to entry has dropped, there'll be a lot more of your colleagues.


Edited by bobzeq25, 23 May 2016 - 11:01 AM.

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#294 Mark72

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Posted 23 May 2016 - 11:13 AM

May be I missed something. Is there any image of tidal streams taken with the camera. I agree the galaxies are impressive but what about fainter stuff around them?



#295 josh smith

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Posted 23 May 2016 - 11:29 AM

 

 

And I really couldn't recommend an 8300 any more.  Can anyone think of anything an 8300 does better than a 1600?  I'm considering the FOV difference to be trivial.

 

 

At this point, I'd still recommend either one (8300 or 1600).  I still think the jury is out on whether a $1000 used 8300 or this camera is a better value.  The initial user database is still having trouble getting good calibration with their data, some of those being very experienced imagers.  Bright targets that are swamping everything else seem to play nicely.  Dimmer targets seem to still be having trouble calibrating which makes sense since there isn't sufficient data to swamp the noise characteristics.  The new cameras haven't been on the market long enough to understand fully.  We also haven't seen what longer exposures look like that don't require massive amounts of storage and more expensive processing power which will offset the price savings.  If it requires smaller sub lengths to not blow out stars, then you are looking at 30 times the storage for 20 second subs vs 10 minute subs and way longer to process.  It has performed well enough to say that it is going to be a very nice value and a good performer.  However, if we are still looking at this in the guise of a beginning and intermediate imaging camera, then it needs to be known that so far regular and known methods of calibration, data storage, and processing are proving challenging.  People will need to experiment at this point and learn how to use these as well as likely spend extra money for processing power and or storage.  To me, that isn't necessarily what I would recommend to a beginner yet.  The 8300 is still a very reliable camera that produces great images and has a proven track record.  This doesn't discount the 1600 as it provides a nice alternative that will likely grow into a sure replacement down the road when the kinks are ironed out.  Not sure if it will be this camera or future iterations of it.  I think you can't go wrong either way right now and there are still benefits to going either direction.  The camera seems to be doing better in advanced imagers hands than less experienced imagers to this point.


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#296 josh smith

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Posted 23 May 2016 - 11:30 AM

May be I missed something. Is there any image of tidal streams taken with the camera. I agree the galaxies are impressive but what about fainter stuff around them?

 

http://www.cloudynig...-2#entry7233277

 

This looks encouraging for tidal streams :)



#297 bobzeq25

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Posted 23 May 2016 - 02:26 PM

"If it requires smaller sub lengths to not blow out stars"

 

Compared to an 8300, I don't think it will.  Take a look at this.   12.4 stops of dynamic range, instead of 11.6.  A significant difference.  Full well capacity isn't everything.

 

http://www.cloudynig...w/#entry7233169

 

People are playing with very short sub exposures because the low read noise makes that attractive, and they're eager to see what the camera will do.   No reason it couldn't do longer ones.  Good cooler, modern chip.  I'd be very surprised if it had more thermal noise than an 8300.  This doesn't have to be as extreme as 20 second exposures versus 5 minutes.  It could be 60" versus 300".


Edited by bobzeq25, 23 May 2016 - 02:53 PM.


#298 terry59

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Posted 23 May 2016 - 03:16 PM

 

 

 

And I really couldn't recommend an 8300 any more.  Can anyone think of anything an 8300 does better than a 1600?  I'm considering the FOV difference to be trivial.

 

 

At this point, I'd still recommend either one (8300 or 1600).  I still think the jury is out on whether a $1000 used 8300 or this camera is a better value.  The initial user database is still having trouble getting good calibration with their data, some of those being very experienced imagers.  Bright targets that are swamping everything else seem to play nicely.  Dimmer targets seem to still be having trouble calibrating which makes sense since there isn't sufficient data to swamp the noise characteristics.  The new cameras haven't been on the market long enough to understand fully.  We also haven't seen what longer exposures look like that don't require massive amounts of storage and more expensive processing power which will offset the price savings.  If it requires smaller sub lengths to not blow out stars, then you are looking at 30 times the storage for 20 second subs vs 10 minute subs and way longer to process.  It has performed well enough to say that it is going to be a very nice value and a good performer.  However, if we are still looking at this in the guise of a beginning and intermediate imaging camera, then it needs to be known that so far regular and known methods of calibration, data storage, and processing are proving challenging.  People will need to experiment at this point and learn how to use these as well as likely spend extra money for processing power and or storage.  To me, that isn't necessarily what I would recommend to a beginner yet.  The 8300 is still a very reliable camera that produces great images and has a proven track record.  This doesn't discount the 1600 as it provides a nice alternative that will likely grow into a sure replacement down the road when the kinks are ironed out.  Not sure if it will be this camera or future iterations of it.  I think you can't go wrong either way right now and there are still benefits to going either direction.  The camera seems to be doing better in advanced imagers hands than less experienced imagers to this point.

 

 

Some very good points here and a refreshing change from all of the arm waving currently going on



#299 FirstC8

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Posted 23 May 2016 - 07:14 PM

If we are speaking to the beginners, which I am still one of them, the price difference cannot be overlooked.

The ideal world would be the 1600 pulls down the cost of similar CCD so we have more choices to choose from.

#300 josh smith

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Posted 23 May 2016 - 08:39 PM

If we are speaking to the beginners, which I am still one of them, the price difference cannot be overlooked.

The ideal world would be the 1600 pulls down the cost of similar CCD so we have more choices to choose from.

 

If you are restraining yourself to buying new and then only by a little bit compared to say a QHY camera system.  However, I completely agree, the price point is important.  If you are willing to buy a used camera, it would be cheaper to go with a used 8300 based on recent trends.




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