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Need ASI1600 Filter Advice

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#1 mikeyL

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Posted 27 September 2016 - 04:45 PM

Hi,

 

 

Background:

I am looking to step up to a mono camera, and have followed almost all the info out there on the ASI1600. I really like the results I am seeing from the mono cooled version, and find the flexibility of variable gain and the option to shoot shorter exposures to be interesting extra capabilities.I will be moving up from a DSLR and a short stint with the STF-8300C. I am basically waiting for the 7+ position ZWO wheel to come available. I will be shooting using a Stellarvue SVQ100 100mm f/5.8 OTA on a Paramount MyT.

 

Questions

1) It seems like the consensus is that 1.25" filters can work with this camera provided the distance between the filters and sensor is minimized. I am assuming the ZWO branded wheel does that. What are the feelings from users of the ASI1600MM EFW mini ZWO wheel combo - are 1.25" filters OK?

 

 

2) I am feeling like I REALLY want to stretch the budget and go with Astrodon NB filters, in a 5nm-3nm-3nm bandwidth setup for Ha, OIII, and SII. That would mean I would have to stay with 1.25" filters in order to not blow my budget. I could go with wider filters or with non-Astrodon filters, but it seems like the best results are from top quality narrow filters. Since I have no mono camera experience to date though I am looking for input on what makes sense. Given what I have already spent on the hobby I am in it for the long haul, I just want to spend my funds wisely.

 

3) I could also afford Astrodon LRGB filters, but again only if I stay with the 1.25" filter size. The ZWO LRGB filters are only $88 - good grief, can an $88 LRGB filter set compare with a $475 LRGB filter set? What are the tradeoffs? I assume possible focus issues when swapping between ZWO LRGBs and Astrodon NBs. Anything else? There must be a quality difference... Anyone with feedback on the ZWO LRGB filters please chime in. 

 

4) If money becomes critical, I am thinking I can hold off on the SII narrowband filter to begin with, thus saving me $490 if I go with Astrodon. Does that seem like a good compromise?

 

 

Thanks bunches for any info.

 

ML


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#2 tolgagumus

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Posted 28 September 2016 - 08:39 PM

I was one of the original beta testers for the ASI1600. I used it with the Vixen VSD f/3.8. I did not see a significant vignetting caused by the filters. I tested it with the Orion Nautilus FW. At the time ZWO FWs were not available. 



#3 mikeyL

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Posted 28 September 2016 - 08:52 PM

Tolga,

 

Thanks so much for the reply. Yes, I have followed all of your ASI1600 testing and seen all of the superb ASI1600 images you have posted which have been part of all the excellent images shown online that have made me zero in on this camera. Thanks for taking the time to help all of us out there who have been needing info on how this camera performs.

 

It is very good info to know then that you have been running with a f/3.8 OTA and not seen serious issues, I guess I would not expect anything to be a problem at f/5.8 then assuming the ZWO wheel gets the filters appropriately close to the sensor.. 

 

If I could presume to ask you another question then, what brand and bandwidth filters have you been using with the camera? 

 

Thanks so much for your time,

 

ML


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#4 Dan Finnerty

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Posted 28 September 2016 - 10:37 PM

I don't have any images to show for it yet, so this is all theoretical... I went with the 31mm unmounted filters, which will (so they say) reduce vignetting with faster lenses. I intend to use the camera with a canon 200mm f/2.8L lens in addition to an f/6 80mm APO and an f/7 6 inch APO, so I need to be able to handle a wider light cone.

 

An (expensive :shocked: ) reason to go with the astrodon filters, is the LRGB and narrow-band filters allegedly have the same equivalent optical path length, so minimize refocusing between filters. I got a set of Optolong LRGB filters and they are much thinner than the Astrodon NBs. I have not checked, but I think Optolong has a matched set of filters like Astrodon. Much cheaper. Others will have to testify as to performance. And I think I heard something about ZWO coming out with a set of narrow band filters that optically match their LRGB set? Has anyone else heard this?

 

As for filter wheels, go to the the ZWO facebook page. They have some new info on a 8-filter mini wheel (1.25 mounted/31mm unmounted) and a 36mm unmounted 7-position wheel. I did not see any info on thickness of these wheels but I am guessing they be within a mm or two of the 20mm thick mini wheel. If anyone thinks they will want to standardize on the 36mm filters for future possibly larger chip cameras, I think patience is the word. For now, the 5-filter mini + ASI1600 is a really nice compact package.

 

https://www.facebook...tronomyCameras/


Edited by Dan Finnerty, 28 September 2016 - 10:38 PM.


#5 rockstarbill

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Posted 29 September 2016 - 12:04 AM

The ZWO 1600 filters are good. I was able to produce decent images with them. They are a far cry from parfocal in my experience. Lum and Red are fine, Green close, Blue no way.

I have a set of Astrodons I am imaging on tonight for the first time. Verdict to come later but after cool down they looked perfect through my TOA130.
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#6 Dan Finnerty

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Posted 29 September 2016 - 01:37 AM

I am very interested to hear what you think about the Astrodons. I went with the Optolong LRGB set just to get going without paying an arm and a leg. A step up from what I've heard from the Orion filters. Sounds like they may be the equivalent of the ZWO set. They do advertise they are parfocal, but I've not gotten that far with my setup yet to be able to check that out. Hopefully this weekend. Work really interferes with life! :(



#7 AstroCatinfo

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Posted 29 September 2016 - 02:35 AM

Also waiting for ZWO OAG...



#8 ChrisWhite

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Posted 29 September 2016 - 07:40 AM

Hi,

 

 

Background:

I am looking to step up to a mono camera, and have followed almost all the info out there on the ASI1600. I really like the results I am seeing from the mono cooled version, and find the flexibility of variable gain and the option to shoot shorter exposures to be interesting extra capabilities.I will be moving up from a DSLR and a short stint with the STF-8300C. I am basically waiting for the 7+ position ZWO wheel to come available. I will be shooting using a Stellarvue SVQ100 100mm f/5.8 OTA on a Paramount MyT.

 

Questions

1) It seems like the consensus is that 1.25" filters can work with this camera provided the distance between the filters and sensor is minimized. I am assuming the ZWO branded wheel does that. What are the feelings from users of the ASI1600MM EFW mini ZWO wheel combo - are 1.25" filters OK?

 

 

2) I am feeling like I REALLY want to stretch the budget and go with Astrodon NB filters, in a 5nm-3nm-3nm bandwidth setup for Ha, OIII, and SII. That would mean I would have to stay with 1.25" filters in order to not blow my budget. I could go with wider filters or with non-Astrodon filters, but it seems like the best results are from top quality narrow filters. Since I have no mono camera experience to date though I am looking for input on what makes sense. Given what I have already spent on the hobby I am in it for the long haul, I just want to spend my funds wisely.

 

3) I could also afford Astrodon LRGB filters, but again only if I stay with the 1.25" filter size. The ZWO LRGB filters are only $88 - good grief, can an $88 LRGB filter set compare with a $475 LRGB filter set? What are the tradeoffs? I assume possible focus issues when swapping between ZWO LRGBs and Astrodon NBs. Anything else? There must be a quality difference... Anyone with feedback on the ZWO LRGB filters please chime in. 

 

4) If money becomes critical, I am thinking I can hold off on the SII narrowband filter to begin with, thus saving me $490 if I go with Astrodon. Does that seem like a good compromise?

 

 

Thanks bunches for any info.

 

ML

ML,

 

I've had a half dozen nights out with this camera and here are my thoughts with your questions:

 

1) The EFW (and I presume the soon out 7 position FW) threads directly to the camera body, so distance from filters to sensor is minimal.  There is vignetting, but it is not a deal breaker.  I have processed images with and without flat frames, and honestly unless you are dealing with dust motes, DBE/ABE in PI does almost as good a job removing the vignetting as calibration with flats.  I think I'll continue to take flats, as it is so easy and does yield a better result.  The really nice thing about the ZWO FW is that it is thin and light.  1.25" filters is fine for this camera IMO. 

 

2) I think it is a wise choice to go with Astrodon NB filters.  I have done the same after hearing a unanimous cheer here on the forum for Astrodon.  I have yet to use them, so cannot tell you how well they work, but expect them to be top shelf.  Waiting for next moon cycle to get out with them.  (Or clear skies for that matter)  One note on the filters:  It was suggested to me by an experienced NB shooter here on the forum that I save money on the HA and SII filter and get 5nm, but that for OIII the 3nm is worth the extra $$.  You could save a little and change your SII choice.

 

3) If you go with the ZWO filters you dont want the $88 set.  You want the $150 set that is optimized for the 1600MM camera.  https://astronomy-im...imised-asi1600/  I purchased the Camera+FW+filters kit and have been happy with them so far. I suspect that the Astrodons would be very nice, but an advantage of the ZWO optimized filters is that they are tuned to best represent 1:1:1 (RGB) for this camera.  Meaning for natural color you can match integration time with each filter.  The Astrodons are probably pretty close but not "perfect" but may have better optical quality.  They are 3X the price.  Here is a "natural" LRGB image I made using the zwo filters.  http://www.astrobin....605/B/?nc=userĀ  As Bill mentioned, the ZWO filters are not perfectly parfocal, while most users suggest that the Astrodons are.  I just focus between filters, and I will be setting up autofocus soon anyway so this does not bother me.  My take:  The ZWO filters are fine.  Unless there is something REALLY compelling to upgrade to the Astrodon LRGB, I will not be doing so.  One note:  I did replace the L filter with an IDAS LPS D1 Light pollution filter.  This lets me get longer subs and helps remove the LP from my "resolution" filter.

 

4) I think you are on the right track.  I was told that one can live without SII.  It's a faint signal and not necessary for all objects to get nice images.  I ordered it with the other NB filters, as I figure I would always be wondering if a little SII could help my NB balance.  LOL...


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#9 Ladyhawke

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Posted 29 September 2016 - 08:40 AM

I have the Astrodon LRGB and a set of Narrowband. Also have the Optolong LRGB and the Baader fast narroband for Hyperstar. The Baader ones I didn't test yet but the Astrodon and the Optolong all work fine. Astrodons much better. I get a little bit of vignetting with the ASI 1600 and WO Star71 at f/4.9 but that can be corrected with calibration frames. Check my Astrobin, there are pictures taken with both sets of filters.



#10 mikeyL

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Posted 29 September 2016 - 09:46 AM

many thanks for all the replies! 

 

Chris - thanks for the extremely detailed reply. I will have to look at possibly changing the SII to the 5nm to save a few more dollars, although I suspect to begin with I will simply not buy that one initially. Sounds like 1.25 filters should work, as I do plan to wait until the ZWO larger wheel is available. Thanks for the clarification on the ZWO LRGB filters, I see the set that is made especially for the 1600 now thanks to your link. I will consider that against the Astrodons some more, but I suppose if I can afford the Astrodon LRGB at the same time time I buy the 2 Astrodon NB filters I plan to start out with, I may lean that way if it manages to minimize focus issues between filters. Love your natural color Elephant Trunk image though - that clearly shows the ZWO LRGB filters can make excellent images.

 

Ladyhawke (great forum handle!) - I have been following your excellent results already, thanks for chiming in. I might consider the Optolong, but as far as I know they do not have any 3nm wide NB filters, is that right?

 

rockstarbill - Thanks for posting - please update the thread whenever you are able to use the LRGB Astrodons and compare them to your results with the LRGB ZWO filters. Interested also in the post processing aspect to see just how significant it is to not have color filters exactly matched to the color response of the filters. I think I saw some early posts from Jon R. and others about some issues they noticed along those lines, but sounded like it was a simple 'recipe' to the mixing to fix that issue.

 

Dan F. - I agree - I would maybe spring for 31mm unmounted filters but I think that pushes me away from affording the 3nm Astrodons, which I really want to try. I'll have to check prices again to see just how much more that is...

 

Much appreciated everyone!

 

ML



#11 Ladyhawke

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Posted 29 September 2016 - 09:54 AM

many thanks for all the replies! 

 

Chris - thanks for the extremely detailed reply. I will have to look at possibly changing the SII to the 5nm to save a few more dollars, although I suspect to begin with I will simply not buy that one initially. Sounds like 1.25 filters should work, as I do plan to wait until the ZWO larger wheel is available. Thanks for the clarification on the ZWO LRGB filters, I see the set that is made especially for the 1600 now thanks to your link. I will consider that against the Astrodons some more, but I suppose if I can afford the Astrodon LRGB at the same time time I buy the 2 Astrodon NB filters I plan to start out with, I may lean that way if it manages to minimize focus issues between filters. Love your natural color Elephant Trunk image though - that clearly shows the ZWO LRGB filters can make excellent images.

 

Ladyhawke (great forum handle!) - I have been following your excellent results already, thanks for chiming in. I might consider the Optolong, but as far as I know they do not have any 3nm wide NB filters, is that right?

 

rockstarbill - Thanks for posting - please update the thread whenever you are able to use the LRGB Astrodons and compare them to your results with the LRGB ZWO filters. Interested also in the post processing aspect to see just how significant it is to not have color filters exactly matched to the color response of the filters. I think I saw some early posts from Jon R. and others about some issues they noticed along those lines, but sounded like it was a simple 'recipe' to the mixing to fix that issue.

 

Dan F. - I agree - I would maybe spring for 31mm unmounted filters but I think that pushes me away from affording the 3nm Astrodons, which I really want to try. I'll have to check prices again to see just how much more that is...

 

Much appreciated everyone!

 

ML

I think you are correct about the Optolong NB but I can't say for sure because I only own their LRGB set. I see that you really want the 3nm Ha, I think they are great but so is the 5nm, you will get the same contrast and still be able to let some Nitrogen in. With the 3nm you will block the Nitrogen completely. That's why so many people opt for the Astrodon 3nm H-alpha. If you do a little research you will see no difference between 3nm and 5nm, I know I didn't when I was researching. Just wanted to throw that here for you in case you didn't know already :)



#12 mikeyL

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Posted 30 September 2016 - 09:42 AM

sam,

 

yes, I DID find that info about the 3nm Ha blocking NII. Since I don't plan on getting an NII filter, it does make more sense to me to get the 5nm Ha. So My plan now is to go with Astrodon NB filters starting with 5nm Ha and 3nm OIII. I will hold off on the SII filter at initial purchase time, only to save a little money needed to buy everything else. Once I have some narrowband imaging/processing under my belt, I should be able to decide if I think the 3nm OIII filter was too narrow or not. But it seems like it might help block the moon better. If I like the 3nm filter, then I may go with a 3nm NII a whatever point I am able to afford to add that filter.

 

My question now is whether the LRGB filters need to also be Astrodon, or whether I can go with something less expensive. The ZWO set that is spectrum matched to the camera seem like worth considering, but their low price and lack of 'heritage' has me a little cautious. The Optolong LRGB set seems like they are getting good feedback, and of course Baader and Astronomik are also in the mix. I can afford to go Astrodon LRGB if I need to, but wondering again if that is money well spent over the others or not. Of course, I don't want to turn my own post into a flame war about filter brands either :)

 

Thanks for the info on the NII issue - much appreciated.

 

ML



#13 dkeller_nc

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Posted 30 September 2016 - 11:14 AM

What this comes down to is budget.  I think just about everyone would tell you that the all of the Astrodons are better than anything else, from both bandpass and optical quality.  However, a complete set of LRGB, Ha (5nm), OIII (3nm), and SII (3nm) is $1800.  That buys an awful lot of astro gear.

 

In my case, I went with the Optolong LRGB set and the 12nm Ha, 6nm OIII, and 6.5nm SII.  The total came to $675.  

 

Part of my reasoning is that the rest of my gear is not of sufficiently high quality to justify the extra $1100 for the Astrodons, and that money would be better spent on a new mount and higher quality large refractor.  It may well be that after a year or so, and after I've gone through the software cycle from free to less-than-free but better, and have a better mount & scope, I'll take another look at the Astrodons.  

 

BTW - I chose the 9-position Atik EFW2 filter wheel.  It has a very low back-focus distance.  But even so, I did experience a small amount of vignetting with the 1.25" filters with the all-thread M42 adapter that comes with the ZWO camera installed between the FW and camera.  After I removed it and threaded the ZWO camera directly into the FW body (and used the M42 adapter between the Field Flattener and the FW), that vignetting disappeared.  So that is at least one combination that will work well - Atik EFW2 + ASI1600MM-Cool with 1.25" Optolong filters if you don't want to wait on the ZWO filter wheel.  The Atik EFW2 is nice because you can swap out the carousel with several other options that will take 31mm, 2" mounted, and unmounted filters.  Each carousel costs about $90.



#14 Ladyhawke

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Posted 30 September 2016 - 11:18 AM

sam,

 

yes, I DID find that info about the 3nm Ha blocking NII. Since I don't plan on getting an NII filter, it does make more sense to me to get the 5nm Ha. So My plan now is to go with Astrodon NB filters starting with 5nm Ha and 3nm OIII. I will hold off on the SII filter at initial purchase time, only to save a little money needed to buy everything else. Once I have some narrowband imaging/processing under my belt, I should be able to decide if I think the 3nm OIII filter was too narrow or not. But it seems like it might help block the moon better. If I like the 3nm filter, then I may go with a 3nm NII a whatever point I am able to afford to add that filter.

 

My question now is whether the LRGB filters need to also be Astrodon, or whether I can go with something less expensive. The ZWO set that is spectrum matched to the camera seem like worth considering, but their low price and lack of 'heritage' has me a little cautious. The Optolong LRGB set seems like they are getting good feedback, and of course Baader and Astronomik are also in the mix. I can afford to go Astrodon LRGB if I need to, but wondering again if that is money well spent over the others or not. Of course, I don't want to turn my own post into a flame war about filter brands either :)

 

Thanks for the info on the NII issue - much appreciated.

 

ML

If you can afford the Astrodon broadband set, I wouldn't think twice! I've made a few mistakes in this hobby trying to go the cheaper or easier way and I regretted all of them, the filters, thankfully was not one of those times. Filters make all the difference in your pictures and you can see that from the moment you are calibrating your subs!


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#15 rockstarbill

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Posted 30 September 2016 - 11:22 AM

If you don't mind the previous gen astrodons, you can get used filters for a good price.

http://www.sbscienti...s/used/filters/

Edited by rockstarbill, 30 September 2016 - 11:24 AM.


#16 mikeyL

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Posted 30 September 2016 - 11:35 AM

rockstarbill,

 

Thanks, that is not a bad idea. I cannot seem to view site here at work for some reason, but I'll definitely give it a look at home though. Were you able to get any data yet to allow you to compare the ZWO filters with the Astrodons?

 

ML



#17 rockstarbill

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Posted 30 September 2016 - 01:44 PM

Oddly enough, I cannot view it here at work either, but the site works fine on my phone. 

 

I have some more M31 data that I will be processing this weekend that I took with the LRGB Astrodon filters (got some Ha too). It will actually be a good comparison, as I set the focus at the beginning of capture and left it rolling, like I was doing with the ZWO's. Thankfully my auto-focuser should arrive soon and I can scratch focusing off my list of woes. 



#18 mikeyL

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Posted 30 September 2016 - 02:24 PM

rockstarbill- Excellent! Hmmm, good idea, I'll see if it comes up on my phone...

 

I just found your post about 5nm versus 3nm - sounds like we are thinking alike on this one. Thanks for your posts, and I look forward to your results.

 

ML



#19 AdamJ

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Posted 07 September 2018 - 08:54 AM

Here is a "natural" LRGB image I made using the zwo filters.  http://www.astrobin....605/B/?nc=userĀ  As Bill mentioned, the ZWO filters are not perfectly parfocal, while most users suggest that the Astrodons are.  I just focus between filters, and I will be setting up autofocus soon anyway so this does not bother me.  My take:  The ZWO filters are fine.  Unless there is something REALLY compelling to upgrade to the Astrodon LRGB, I will not be doing so. 

Sorry just amused as I was reading this wanting to research ZWO LRGB filters and then noted that your signature indicates that you now do own a Astrodon LRGB set lol. 



#20 Der_Pit

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Posted 08 September 2018 - 07:49 AM

The ZWO 1600 filters are good. I was able to produce decent images with them. They are a far cry from parfocal in my experience. Lum and Red are fine, Green close, Blue no way.

My experience with the new LRGB set for the ASI1600:  Red and green are absolutely parfocal.  Blue needs some small refocus, so does L (somewhat less).  All determined with a Bahtinov mask.

But I do not think this is a problem of the filters optical path.  The blue filter (and also L) go down to below 400nm. Even a good APO like my Astro-Physics isn't perfect anymore that far in the blue.  I'd strongly suspect if the blue cutoff was increased to, say, 420nm all filters would be perfectly parfocal.....

 

As for sizes: in my experience the quality of any optical element is worst close to the edges, and you gain by not using that part.  This is why I went for the 31mm unmounted version (plus the EFWmini).  The 1.25 would have been fine for my F/5 when only looking at vignetting.....




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