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HELP! I need EAA for Dummies - Please don't drown me in technobabble

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#51 aeajr

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Posted 25 August 2016 - 08:36 AM

Dragon Man, thanks so much for joining the conversation and sharing your experience and insight.   Most valuable and helpful.

 

 

I am overwhelmed with the excellent help and advice I, and all the newbies, are getting.    And I appreciate how hard many of you are working to keep this simple and to keep the technobabble to a minimum.   This thread and all of your input has been great.    And I am getting so many private messages from people sharing advice or their experience in this area.

 

 

So, last question and then I think I am set and plan to buy this kit, maybe sooner than Christmas.

 

 

As I understand from the web site, the use of the video capture adapter device allows me to capture the output from the camera to a computer.   I presume it is captured to some kind of a file.  I presume I don't need registax or other software on the computer just to capture the file.  Is that correct?

http://www.revolutio...capture-adapter

 

I am looking to avoid buying a laptop dedicated to this purpose as I have no other use for another laptop.  The company provides me with one that I could use for the capture.  Then, later I can copy the file to my desktop and do any processing I might want to do on the desktop.   Right?

 

I understand that if I have a computer at the telescope I can do more extensive live stacking but that is not the question.  The question is, can I capture the file on the laptop and put it on another computer for processing later?   I presume I can.

 

 

My main interest is still near real time visual at the scope and it sounds like the monitor that I get with the kit is at least adequate for this task.   Any other post capture processing will be something to be addressed later and is not part of how I will use the system at first.

 

Again, thanks for putting up with my infinite stream of dumb questions and staunch resistance to getting down into the technical weeds.    And know that at some point  I will get down into the technical weeds, but not today.  Today I am an end user.   Turn it on, it works as I expect, I'm happy!


Edited by aeajr, 25 August 2016 - 08:39 AM.

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#52 Thrifty1

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Posted 25 August 2016 - 08:43 AM

The capture device that plugs into your computer allows the camera to be accessed as a video input device for software on the computer.  I don't think it will dump image / video files into a folder without the use of software.  


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#53 Dragon Man

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Posted 25 August 2016 - 08:58 AM

The capture device that plugs into your computer allows the camera to be accessed as a video input device for software on the computer.  I don't think it will dump image / video files into a folder without the use of software.  

Correct.

 

All the Video Grabber does is convert the Analogue signal into a digital signal.

 

Computers can't read analogue signals, only digital. 

 

Once the Video Grabber is plugged in (and driver loaded) you can use almost any capture program, eg: Amcap (free), Gstar-ex (free), SharpCap (free), Astro Video capture (free), StarlightLive (free), and many other assorted free programs.

 

If you want the ability to make the view look even better with a range of 'Live' tweaking and other 'on-the-fly' Live features there are the programs you can purchase, like AstroLive, Miloslick, etc.

 

Once you have saved your Videos or single frame images to your computer you can copy them to any other computer the same as you can with any other file.  :)


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#54 aeajr

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Posted 25 August 2016 - 11:21 AM

Thanks guys.   So, if I decide to capture video I will need a computer and software.   Thanks.



#55 Censustaker

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Posted 25 August 2016 - 11:32 AM

All you need is a simple capture program to save images. I recommend using sharpcap because it is easy to use and can also "live stack" images from the camera
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#56 Dragon Man

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Posted 25 August 2016 - 11:50 AM

Thanks guys.   So, if I decide to capture video I will need a computer and software.   Thanks.

You don't have to have a computer to save.

You can also record on a DVR.

 

I know a few people that do it that way.

Davy and some others in the Video Astronomy Forum do it that way.

 

The analogue cameras simply plug directly into DVR's 

 

Then you can play it back and watch again as often as you want. No computer.



#57 tony_spina

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Posted 25 August 2016 - 12:07 PM

 

I'm also interested in getting into EAA. I like the idea if a complete kit or a solid simple list of known components that have been tested to work right out of the box.

 

Just like Ed mentioned for his needs, I also don't have the time to tweak and geek out on this stuff. So as a newbie in EAA what are the recommended kits we should consider. Looking for price points, key features that make one better than another.  

 

I know that Mallincam for example has a similar kit for $249. Is it better/same/worse than the Revolution 2?

 

Are there kits or recommend list at $600 I should consider that are better? What do I get for 2x the price?

 

I'm loosing the battle for dark skies, and getting to a dark site is becoming more of a challenge due to home life and work. But I need my astronomy fix to relax and unwind 

 

Looking forward to all your suggestions 

 

Your NP101 should have a native focal ratio of 5.4?  Put the 0.8 reducer and you'll be at 4.3!

 

So if you already have the reducer you are already good to go so far as the optics are concerned.

 

Then it's budget.  If you want the simplest and you plan to do stacking on the computer then the Atik Infinity is still probably the choice if you can handle the price.

 

If you can't stomach that price then your next best is probably to get the ZWO ASI224.  You will be able to use SharpCap or AstroLive USB as your software and that is pretty good.  Just get an adapter to fit your focuser and run a USB cable between your computer and the camera - and you are good to go.  A little better to get the cooled version but in that case you need to run another power cable.

 

I've got the Nano-Tec mono which fits what I need to do but I've not done first light with it so I cannot yet tell you how good it is - but it is also very simple and works fine with Sharpcap and also works with ToupSky.  Before ordering from AVS make sure you read and understand how the business model works - you could have frustrating delays ( they don't bother me too much but I'm a bit of an exception).

 

The Mallincam kit uses the same ToupTek camera which the Nano-Tec is based on.  But the Nano-Tec has active cooling while the Mallincam version seems to use passive cooling.  I've not seen enough from that camera but I'm actually guessing it works OK.  The Mallincam kit doesn't include a focal reducer but with the NP101 you may not need one.  If you already have a computer you don't need the kit, however, and can just get the camera.  Again, a very simple system which you are likely to find easy to use.

 

All the above will give you HD results.

 

You can go to analog cameras but you'll generally find you have low-resolution results and you have to run the output through a video capture device so that your computer understands what you the camera saw and then run something like SharpCap.

 

Most people nowadays want high-resolution and to do stacking on the computer for better results.  This means that the simplest and easiest stuff is one of the HD cameras running a USB cable from the camera to the computer.  If the camera has cooling and you decide to use it then you run power to the cooler.  Dead simple.

 

A suggestion of a different nature, however?

 

If you already have something like a good Canon DSLR you might want to try using that with your focally-reduced NP101.  With those fast optics you might be able to use BackyardEOS to capture sub-images and then stack and display with AstroToaster.  You might be happy doing near-real-time viewing using your DSLR if you've got one!  Then again, you may not like it but the investment would be relatively minimal if you've already got the gear.

 

OleCuss,

Thanks for the very informative post.  To answer your question, I do have a DSLR (Canon 6D), and I have used it in the past for basic astrophotography when I had a EQ mount. I sold the EQ mount in May and until I can save up for a real solid mount in the $3K range I will do it the old fashion way with Alt-Az push to.  

 

Hence my interest in this thread that Ed started.  I want something for now to do live video and then I will get back to getting more serious with AP. What is killing me is that all posts I read in mounts in the $2000-$3500  have some sort of quality control issue.  I and don't want to spend the $5K plus to get an AP or Paramount.  So part of it is I'm stuck on analysis paralysis.  Maybe the new ES Losmandy mount will be the ticket.  I got to see it in action at RTMC in May. and it looks promising

 

 

Thus my dilemma is do I go with something relatively inexpensive like the R2 to address my need to see more visually in a Red/White zone, or to I get something a level 1or 2 above a kit like the R2? If I go with something like the ZWO ASI224 will that provide better real time images?

 

You mentioned that I night be able to do near real time with my DSLR. Would I do that with Backyard EOS?  I heard about this program a while back but never got around to doing an research on it.

 

as for other HW that I have : Macbook (with VMWare running Win10), iPad, Android tablet

 

 

Thanks again to all that have posted replies to all my questions



#58 tony_spina

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Posted 25 August 2016 - 12:09 PM

 

I'm also interested in getting into EAA. I like the idea if a complete kit or a solid simple list of known components that have been tested to work right out of the box.

 

Just like Ed mentioned for his needs, I also don't have the time to tweak and geek out on this stuff. So as a newbie in EAA what are the recommended kits we should consider. Looking for price points, key features that make one better than another.  

 

I know that Mallincam for example has a similar kit for $249. Is it better/same/worse than the Revolution 2?

 

Are there kits or recommend list at $600 I should consider that are better? What do I get for 2x the price?

 

I'm loosing the battle for dark skies, and getting to a dark site is becoming more of a challenge due to home life and work. But I need my astronomy fix to relax and unwind 

 

Looking forward to all your suggestions 

 

Hi Tony,

 

One option that I recommend you take a look at in that price range is the Starlight Xpress Lodestar.  It is standard definition like some of the video cams, but is a USB digital cam that delivers cleaner images yet retains the speed of a near real time sensor.  It really doesn't need a kit because it operates off one USB cable that comes with it.  It's available in mono or color and has free third party dedicated software called Starlight Live that makes the camera work in a near live or real time view.  Images can be enhanced on the fly and captured onto your hard drive.  The software comes in both Mac and Windows versions.  I have attached a link to my gallery that includes images from both a color and mono Lodestar using various scopes, some similar to yours.  I have had good results using my SW100ed at F9.  The body is a 1.25" cylinder that slips into an eyepiece holder.  You don't really need a focal reducer, but if you want to add one, a c mount to 1.25" adapter can be added to mount the reducer or filters.

 

If you want better resolution the SX Ultrastar is the next step, but the cost is a grand, as is the Atik Infinity.  Both have the same Sony 825 sensor and both deliver good results.  The Ultrastar gives better resolution at the cost of speed compared to the Lodestar and needs faster optics and prefers darker skies.  For LP areas, the Lodestar will give deeper faster results.

 

Let me know if you have any questions.

 

Don

 

https://stargazerslo...gallery_gallery

 

Don,

Thanks for the suggestion for the Starlight Xpress.  I know they have been in the business a long time, but have not look at them in several years.  Will need to see how their offerings compare



#59 Organic Astrochemist

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Posted 25 August 2016 - 12:50 PM




I also found this one. About 24 minute into it he starts to show the moitor. Looks pretty good but he is using what looks like a $2000 EQ mount with 120 mm acromat. I can't tell but I presume he has it tracking since the image is stable on the monitor.
https://www.youtube....h?v=p134KP4GMGY
He has some follow-up captures here
https://www.youtube....Y&v=GSUBnEk4kBE

G'day Ed.

Those are my videos :)

Often the whole process of Video Astronomy (or EAA as it gets called in here) is explained in a very complicated way.

It really is simple.

Wack a little camera into the scope, plug the other end into a TV or monitor, and BINGO! Live Solar system objects and Near-Live DSO's.

Yes, I use a $1700 EQ mount. But you don't need to. A basic Alt/Az will do. All it needs to do is track, and not even accurately.
That 120mm Achromat you mention that I am using in the video, is a pretty cheap scope. You can even use a simple little 60mm Achromat if you want. Aperture doesn't matter with Video Astronomy. Your ETX will be ok to use. :waytogo:

You don't have to worry about accurate tracking, or field rotation, or bumps and knocks to the mount, or thin cloud, or wind, or light pollution.
Because these cameras are very sensitive they catch views in a very short exposure time (often called sens-up).
For Solar System objects you would be using settings like 1/500th of a second, so it would be instant video like with a webcam. So any movement in the mount doesn't matter. In fact, little movements add to the 'Live' experience.

As for DSO's you will need to lengthen the exposure times (sensup) anywhere from 1 second to 5 seconds. You don't need to internally stack. You don't need a computer. You don't need to do anything except go to the object and see it on screen :)

In one post I notice that you (or someone else) explained Alt/Az tracking as up a bit, to the right a bit, up a bit, to the right a bit, like a staircase. No, not exactly. Alt/Az tracking is diagonal. Both Alt movements and Azimuth Movements happen simultaneously so it is a smooth graceful diagonal tracking.
The only time you would notice any field rotation is if you were to stack several longer exposure frames. And even then it wouldn't be much. Not like long exposure Astrophotography.

I made some graphics for my website to show how easy this is to set up:

With a Monitor or TV
Basic-Video-Astronomy1.jpg

With a Computer
Basic-Video-Astronomy2.jpg
( I think Mike at Revolution Imager supplies a Video Grabber so no need to buy one)

With a USB camera
Basic-Video-Astronomy3.jpg

If it all still sounds too complicated, there are a lot of Video Astronomy beginners getting help with really helpful tips and answers at a Forum devoted totally to Video Astronomy HERE

The camera settings for the Revolution Imager, and other Analogue style cameras are pretty easy and even though they have a lot of options to fiddle with, you'll probably never us many of them. You only need to choose a few settings.
It all looks and sounds complicated at first, but relax. It is really quite simple.

I hope this helps :waytogo:

Cheers,
Ken
Ken those are great videos and show what is possible with 80 mm and video. Very impressive.
I especially liked the globular clusters. The dynamic range is a little limited for faint nebulae with bright stars. Can you use narrowband filters?
Do you find that you prefer certain types of objects more than others? Do you use focal reducers and extenders depending on the size of the object?
I can see why people like this approach to EAA.
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#60 xxTRIPODxx

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Posted 25 August 2016 - 06:37 PM

Some great info from Ken/dragonman.

 

Don't forget to try with and without the focal reducer, and screwing the lens off the bottom of a barlow makes a good extender if needed. And if any CA is bothersome, a #8 or #12 yellow filter can help. I don't seem to notice it enough with my frac unless looking at Jupiter, which you'll probably need no reducer, the complete barlow and shorter exposures, same for moon.

 

Great to see so much interest and info, Video Astronomy rocks. I only last ten minutes at the eyepiece before my ankle/heel sit me down, but with a screen and remote, i can get a decent amount of time in observing. 

 

Clear skies all, xTripodx



#61 Rich_B

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Posted 25 August 2016 - 07:24 PM

Ken's info is great and I only need to add one thing. Everything works much simpler , quicker and with much better image quality under very dark skies like Ken has. Unfortunately that's not the situation for most of us . The more light pollution, the harder it gets real fast. About the same difference as naked eye at a dark site and downtown a big city. Don't expect to have Ken's results using Ken's type gear unless you also have Ken's skies. If you don't , then the techniques and settings that need to be used are very different.



#62 aeajr

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Posted 25 August 2016 - 09:04 PM

Rich_B,

 

This post is quite different from the private messages you have been sending me that suggest that all I have read here are lies.  That the camera does not stack images and that most of the reports I am reading are from shills for the company making the kit and that the results being shown here are not true.

 

May I ask why?    If you are so down on the product and have evidence to support that why not post it here?  Why only in PMs to me?   I don't understand.


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#63 David B in NM

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Posted 25 August 2016 - 09:45 PM

Rich_B,

 

This post is quite different from the private messages you have been sending me that suggest that all I have read here are lies.  That the camera does not stack images and that most of the reports I am reading are from shills for the company making the kit and that the results being shown here are not true.

 

May I ask why?    If you are so down on the product and have evidence to support that why not post it here?  Why only in PMs to me?   I don't understand.

 

Rich B has ALWAYS been anti-RI cams.  He started bashing them non-stop publically since he joined CN.  I believe he was warned. 

 

IMHO you did right to post about the PMs you received from Rich.  You may also think about reporting him and his actions to the mods.  It appears as though he has contacted BFaucett too.

 

Rich has always suggested he has a source for a $35 R2 clone.  However, he has yet to tell anyone where they can purchase a complete R2 for that price when someone asks about it.  When people ask him questions about it he ignores it or hides until the threads die.

 

It seems that Rich has now resorted to bashing the R2 "privately".  Perhaps the CN crew will take some appropriate action.

 

Your post I quoted is appreciated.  I suggest you and anyone else who is interested in the R2 disregard what Rich B has told you.  We are not shills.  He is a vendor basher (plain and simple).

 

David B in NM


Edited by David B in NM, 25 August 2016 - 09:49 PM.

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#64 Thrifty1

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Posted 25 August 2016 - 09:55 PM

Wow, if that is true I have no respect for this Rich guy. I am new to using the R2 (2 weeks) and am posting the very satisfying results I have had. I can see things I have never seen before, it will make it easier to share what I see with friends and family, and it has re-energized my astronomy hobby.

I have no connection to the company selling the camera - just happy someone put together a package that made it easy to get started with this.
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#65 Vondragonnoggin

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Posted 25 August 2016 - 10:03 PM

Shills. Haha. Hardly. If I recall correctly, the Revolution Imager was originally met with some skepticism and slowly has gained a following for an easy, effective package that is well supported.

 

It's great to see people get into EAA viewing for a reasonable introductory price.


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#66 Censustaker

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Posted 25 August 2016 - 11:11 PM

:gotpopcorn:


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#67 xxTRIPODxx

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Posted 25 August 2016 - 11:31 PM

RichB and oldcuss are known for their anti-revolution views. I dont know what their problem is but have seen them both constantly talk it down. 

 

We talk about the product because we like it and think it is a great all-in-one starter kit and we want to bring others into the exciting, jawdropping field of EAA.

 

If i found the kit good value, easy to use and am pleased with the views it brings me, of course i am going to recommend it as a great way for others to enter the field. The only other complete kit i saw when researching what to buy for myself was THREE times the price! It didn't come with a screen and certainly wasnt a HD camera.

 

And NO, i am not an employee of mikes, nor sponsered or paid in anyway to promote the product.

 

I AM A HAPPY CUSTOMER, and thanks to the kit, a passionate astronomer. Everyone that asks 'what scope should i buy', should be told to go to the sketches threads to set their expectations, too many complain their new scope is malfunctioning cause all they see is a faint fuzzy smudge to which they are told GLEEFULLY by the dob pusher 'thats why they're called faint fuzzies!'

 

Thanks to a product like the R2, we dont have to settle for faint fuzzy smudges from a $2000 dob. A couple hundred bucks worth of refractor will smoke that dob for what it can show you. 

 

Who doesn't want that? Better views for less money.

 

clear skies, xTripodx


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#68 CA Curtis 17

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Posted 25 August 2016 - 11:38 PM

To be precise, the R2 and other analog cameras with the DNR feature do not stack images.   Stacking implies successive frames are added to give an image which is the sum of the stack.  In fact, DNR is an averaging technique.  This means successive frames are averaged to minimize the noise which smooths the background granularity and brings out more detail.  The total exposure is equal to that of a single frame, although the image will improved with each successive frame finally reaching its best after a time equal to the number of frame averaged times the individual frame exposure time.

 

Contrast this with what is done in software like Sharpcap which does stack frames, also minimizing noise, but bringing out much more detail because the net exposure is equal to the total exposure time of the frames summed.

 

I like the DNR feature in analog cameras and use it all the time when I am not using a computer to stack images.  It is a great feature, which is why the camera manufacturer's have added it.  But, if I am using a computer with software like Sharpcap, I turn off DNR and stack images for as long as I can to get a much prettier image.

 

Best Regards,

Curtis


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#69 David B in NM

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Posted 26 August 2016 - 07:26 AM

RichB and oldcuss are known for their anti-revolution views. I dont know what their problem is but have seen them both constantly talk it down. 

 

clear skies, xTripodx

 

It's nice to see I'm not the only one who feels this way about them.  Maybe the day will come when they "ADMIT" the R2 does well.  But, I doubt they'll ever accept it. It certainly would be nice to know their motive for downplaying the R2 and the contribution the kit has made to those beginning their journey in to EAA.

 

If the price is too high...maybe they should market a cheaper version.  I bet it would sell well.

 

David B in NM


Edited by David B in NM, 26 August 2016 - 07:26 AM.

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#70 Dragon Man

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Posted 26 August 2016 - 07:49 AM

 

 


I also found this one. About 24 minute into it he starts to show the moitor. Looks pretty good but he is using what looks like a $2000 EQ mount with 120 mm acromat. I can't tell but I presume he has it tracking since the image is stable on the monitor.
https://www.youtube....h?v=p134KP4GMGY
He has some follow-up captures here
https://www.youtube....Y&v=GSUBnEk4kBE

G'day Ed.

Those are my videos :)

Often the whole process of Video Astronomy (or EAA as it gets called in here) is explained in a very complicated way.

It really is simple.

Wack a little camera into the scope, plug the other end into a TV or monitor, and BINGO! Live Solar system objects and Near-Live DSO's.

Yes, I use a $1700 EQ mount. But you don't need to. A basic Alt/Az will do. All it needs to do is track, and not even accurately.
That 120mm Achromat you mention that I am using in the video, is a pretty cheap scope. You can even use a simple little 60mm Achromat if you want. Aperture doesn't matter with Video Astronomy. Your ETX will be ok to use. :waytogo:

You don't have to worry about accurate tracking, or field rotation, or bumps and knocks to the mount, or thin cloud, or wind, or light pollution.
Because these cameras are very sensitive they catch views in a very short exposure time (often called sens-up).
For Solar System objects you would be using settings like 1/500th of a second, so it would be instant video like with a webcam. So any movement in the mount doesn't matter. In fact, little movements add to the 'Live' experience.

As for DSO's you will need to lengthen the exposure times (sensup) anywhere from 1 second to 5 seconds. You don't need to internally stack. You don't need a computer. You don't need to do anything except go to the object and see it on screen :)

In one post I notice that you (or someone else) explained Alt/Az tracking as up a bit, to the right a bit, up a bit, to the right a bit, like a staircase. No, not exactly. Alt/Az tracking is diagonal. Both Alt movements and Azimuth Movements happen simultaneously so it is a smooth graceful diagonal tracking.
The only time you would notice any field rotation is if you were to stack several longer exposure frames. And even then it wouldn't be much. Not like long exposure Astrophotography.

I made some graphics for my website to show how easy this is to set up:

With a Monitor or TV
Basic-Video-Astronomy1.jpg

With a Computer
Basic-Video-Astronomy2.jpg
( I think Mike at Revolution Imager supplies a Video Grabber so no need to buy one)

With a USB camera
Basic-Video-Astronomy3.jpg

If it all still sounds too complicated, there are a lot of Video Astronomy beginners getting help with really helpful tips and answers at a Forum devoted totally to Video Astronomy HERE

The camera settings for the Revolution Imager, and other Analogue style cameras are pretty easy and even though they have a lot of options to fiddle with, you'll probably never us many of them. You only need to choose a few settings.
It all looks and sounds complicated at first, but relax. It is really quite simple.

I hope this helps :waytogo:

Cheers,
Ken
Ken those are great videos and show what is possible with 80 mm and video. Very impressive.
I especially liked the globular clusters. The dynamic range is a little limited for faint nebulae with bright stars. Can you use narrowband filters?
Do you find that you prefer certain types of objects more than others? Do you use focal reducers and extenders depending on the size of the object?
I can see why people like this approach to EAA.

 

Thanks.

I can't answer your question about narrowband filters because I don't use any. I don't own any.

The only filters I use are IR and UV/IR filters for sharp stars and sharper focus, and #8 and #12 yellow filters for use with my Achromats.

 

Yes, I do have a preference of objects. Very faint, very distant Galaxy Clusters (Abell's are good examples) are my favourites.

 

I tend to use focal reducers at all times these days. It is now becoming rare for me to go without. I have several to choose from and swap them around.

I use Focal reducers because I like the results from a wider FOV: Sharper stars, better contrast, brighter appearing nebula and galaxies, colour shows up better, shorter integrations, less visible tracking errors etc etc. And many of the objects I like to show in my broadcasts are very large objects that need a wide FOV.

I rarely look at very small objects so I don't need to remove the FR.

If I was to show the planets I would use a Barlow, but I'm not a fan of Planets. I prefer to look at them visually  :grin:

 

:waytogo:

 

For everyone:

I can assure people I am not a shill for any company.

I really do own the cameras I post about, I did capture all the images I post, and they are all without post-processing (as can be seen in my Live broadcasts), and I don't always say only positive comments about the cameras I review (as seen in my You Tube videos).

 

I do have the advantage of living in dark skies which helps with my results. I never hide that fact. I often mention it. But my results show what a particular camera is capable of in dark sky.

I will never travel to a light polluted area to test a camera so everyone else will know how it works in light polluted skies. Plenty of others do that. I can show what a camera/scope combination can do if they are able to travel to a dark sky site.


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#71 aeajr

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Posted 26 August 2016 - 08:52 AM

To be precise, the R2 and other analog cameras with the DNR feature do not stack images.   Stacking implies successive frames are added to give an image which is the sum of the stack.  In fact, DNR is an averaging technique.  This means successive frames are averaged to minimize the noise which smooths the background granularity and brings out more detail.  The total exposure is equal to that of a single frame, although the image will improved with each successive frame finally reaching its best after a time equal to the number of frame averaged times the individual frame exposure time.

 

Contrast this with what is done in software like Sharpcap which does stack frames, also minimizing noise, but bringing out much more detail because the net exposure is equal to the total exposure time of the frames summed.

 

I like the DNR feature in analog cameras and use it all the time when I am not using a computer to stack images.  It is a great feature, which is why the camera manufacturer's have added it.  But, if I am using a computer with software like Sharpcap, I turn off DNR and stack images for as long as I can to get a much prettier image.

 

Best Regards,

Curtis

 

 

Thanks for the technical clarification of averaging verses stacking.   I did not understand the difference.  Now I do.   So the effect is to improve the image but it is a different process.  Averaging sounds more limited but has benefits.   That's fine.  As long as it produces a better image I am good with it.    If I want better still I can always get a computer and do true stacking with an interface device and some software.



#72 aeajr

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Posted 26 August 2016 - 09:08 AM

For my own part I do understand that what is seen under light polluted skies will be different from what is seen under dark skies.   That applies to all approaches whether eyepiece, EAA or AP.   

 

The benchmark for for success for me will be, can I see more with the R2 system than I can see with the eyepiece alone.    My general impression is that I will.   

 

I am in sales myself so I understand that customer satisfaction is more about meeting expectations than about what the product actually does.  So here are my expectations:

 

  • The system is complete, tested and will work when I get it.
  • If there is a problem the seller will provide support and work with me to resolution
  • When I hook this up to my telescope I will be able to bring it to focus.  If not I will receive advice on how to get it to focus
  • There will be a learning curve that will require some effort on my part
  • If I have questions, I can get answers on a timely basis
  • What I will see on the screen will be more detailed than what I can see in the eyepiece
  • This will allow me to share the telescopes view with other people more easily than looking through an eyepiece

 

 

Those are my expectations. If it meets those goals I will be a satisfied customer.

 

By adding an interface device I can:

  • Capture the images to a computer
  • Using software that is not included with the R2 I can enhance the images through stacking and other processing

That is a bonus that is not part of the R2 initial kit unless I include an interface device which is available from the kit supplier.

 

 

Are my exceptions reasonable?   

Do I have a high probability of success?

Will the kit do what I expect it to do?

 

Please let me know.


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#73 mclewis1

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Posted 26 August 2016 - 09:18 AM

Ed, to your last post all I can say is - Yes, Yes, and Yes.


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#74 Spacefreak1974

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Posted 26 August 2016 - 09:54 AM

What i'm curious about is...

 

Between the two options below what are the advantages and disadvantages?

For scope: Nexstar Evolution 8 (Alt/Az)

Assume: I have a Laptop (only has USB 2.0 though)

 

Options:

ZWO ASI224 MC Color Camera ~$350

Samsung Laptop *Already have..its somewhat rickety but I believe it would do the job

Could download the free stacking software and use for both saving images as well as EAA "Liveview"

PROS: One cable from camera to laptop, Can liveview, stack and process images with same program, no additional battery needed for camera, but need power source for laptop (i've seen this firsthand wwith my friend using his...he livestacked and processed an image of Jupiter we were just looking at liveview and sent it to me!

CONS: If you don't already have laptop could be more expensive

*Seems as though if my intent is to both view objects live and process/save images this is the easier/better route to go

 

Revolution Imager ~ $300

If I get from OC Telescope/Revolutuion Imager and get the free frame grabber included or if its not included I believe its $20 at Frys Electronics

Still need laptop if I want to save the images and process

As I understand I would need to save frames from the grabber and process later for this case. Still need the laptop onsite to save frames

PROS: All in one package, don't need external power source if you only plan to liveview on the monitor, good for DSO's liveview, not as good on actual planetary like Saturn or Jupiter. For the moon it may be equal.

CONS: More cables involved, still need laptop if you want to save frames and process/save images

*Seems like the less expensive route to go if most of the intention is to liveview objects on the provided screen. Seems less intuitive than the ASI224 if you want to keep images

 

Jon Thomas



#75 mclewis1

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Posted 26 August 2016 - 09:54 AM

Ed, It appears that you've absorbed much of the info presented in this thread and are doing a good job separating the important stuff from the noise. A few comments on the comparison between your choices.

 

The Revolution Kit.

Easy no computer required use, but requires handling a few extra cables (video, power) and you need to learn some strange on camera menus. Capturing images is indeed a separate add on type of capability using a USB frame grabber, PC, and some software. The benefit here is that you don't initially have to go down this road, you can grow into it.

 

The R2 being an analogue video camera doesn't offer the resolution of most of the USB connected cameras available today but as you've seen it's very effective and meets the needs of many users. As you gain experience and interest in EAA you may find an interest in higher resolution cameras. The R2 can also be easily re purposed as live finder scope camera or perhaps an all sky camera (with a suitable wide angle lens). It's ability to stand on it's own (no PC) will give you a lot of flexibility in how you use the camera in the future.

 

The entry level USB cameras.

The cheapest options (if you have the laptop available). These cameras have the simplest setup with only one cable going to your PC/laptop. You have to learn to use the capture and control software to get the most out of these cameras. You are also essentially on your own in this learning curve. You'll get plenty of support here on CN but this isn't something provided by a single vendor.

 

You will get more resolution from these cameras so if you learn the software you'll be able to get better looking images (tighter or smaller stars and less noise). With the need to learn the software and manipulate the images you will end up spending more time with the computer. For some folks this is a bonus for others this can take away from observing time.

 

These entry level cameras can also be easily re purposed but once you start to manage multiple cameras you are into a more complex environment with a PC (or multiple PCs) being integral to the whole thing. More cameras gives you more options (or more specialization) but increases the complexity and this may be contrary to how you want to use your telescope.

 

Common functionality.

EAA is always more complex than simply using an eyepiece. It forces you to learn some new skills and capabilities but it gives you more capabilities (seeing fainter objects, in color, and the ability to save those memories). It also allows you to share your experiences which can be very beneficial for other family members (kids spending time with dad) and generally just fun with other friends, family, or strangers.

 

Understanding more about the options for doing EAA gives you the ability to make decisions about what's important to you. You do have to learn about some technology (about your telescope, the cameras, and PCs) and take on some extra complexity (extra setup time, fiddling with menus when viewing, etc.)  - that's unavoidable, but understanding and exploring the options available will help you with those decisions. It's also been mentioned a few times in this thread but I think it should be reiterated ... start spending time on the group viewing sites like www.nightskiesnetwork.com. Building viewing experience (either live on your own or via the group viewing sites) is always helpful.


Edited by mclewis1, 26 August 2016 - 09:56 AM.

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