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ASI New Camera -- 294 Pro ! - beta testing

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#276 akulapanam

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Posted 19 October 2017 - 11:55 PM

I am a novice at reading camera specs, would someone help me quantify if I have the essentials correct?

  • The ASI 294 Pro has larger pixel size 4.63 vs. 3.8 of the 1600 which benefits EAA since larger pixels = more sensitivity?
  • The ASI 294 Pro has potentially higher read noise (1.2-7.3 electrons) vs. the 1600's (1.2-3.6 electrons), this appears to be a detraction if I am reading this correctly..
  • The ASI 294 Pro has a higher well depth of 63.7ke vs. the 1600's 20ke, which translates to better dynamic range or SNR.
  • The ASI 294 Pro has a higher ADC of 14 bit vs. the 1600's 12 bit, which translates to better accuracy of analogue to digital conversion?
So with the exception of higher read noise, it would seem the ASI 294 Pro has significant improvements vs. the 1600. Is my summary reasonably accurate as a layman? If not what did I miss?

Thanks All!

-K

Dynamic range is well depth divided by read noise so well depth alone doesn't mean much.

#277 wargrafix

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Posted 20 October 2017 - 12:59 AM

Wow, this is a challenge to fully understand. Are the specs and results a good direction?

#278 mega256

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Posted 20 October 2017 - 02:46 AM

This is from CAV thursday night,
ASI294,AT10intt@F4,,HDX110,
stack of 90sec frames..alot.downsized to a small jpg
done in shapcap...no Photoshop''just windows photos viewer.
from 25mb to 76kb...lol
(Ill learn to frame it right next time)

Attached Thumbnails

  • V-M31_Stack_45frames_4070s (Large).jpg

Edited by mega256, 20 October 2017 - 03:00 AM.

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#279 mega256

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Posted 20 October 2017 - 03:13 AM

Data screencapture

Attached Thumbnails

  • M31 66MIN.JPG


#280 OleCuss

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Posted 20 October 2017 - 05:07 AM

Wow, this is a challenge to fully understand. Are the specs and results a good direction?

I think it depends just a little on your perspective, but if your question is whether this IMX294 sensor appears to be a great one for astronomical imaging the answer appears to be a resounding "yes"!

 

You still need to consider how the rest of your equipment will interact with the sensor/camera but otherwise there is very little I see about this sensor/camera which I don't like a lot!

 

Hiten is using a sensor which has more bad pixels than one would hope to find but his sensor may not be a production-quality sensor and I think ZWO will likely be changing out his camera for another without that issue.  I think his images (and those of the others) are still amazingly good considering the acquisition times.

 

If I had money for a camera sitting around right now and I had an optical train which yielded an image circle I considered suitable for the 4/3" IMX294 camera and I had a computer with the horsepower to handle the data - I'd have to consider an IMX294 camera.

 

I'd have just a little concern about under-sampling with an extremely short focal length scope/reducer but I think I've only two optics where that might be a real issue (and they are extreme).  It is conceivable that you might have some issues if you were trying to crop down an image for framing purposes but practically speaking I don't see that ever being an issue for me.

 

Overall it is an amazingly good sensor.  I have some optics which I do think are pretty suitable for use with it and I will likely try to accumulate the funds to get an IMX294 camera at some point.  I have an Orion XX12g which I think would be awesome for use with this sensor - fast optics, my relatively aberration-free image circle may be big enough even without a coma corrector and I could keep subs short enough to where I could get some great views and images of some really faint fuzzies!

 

I think I'll be waiting, however, to see what QHY does as well.  I think this sensor is good enough that I just don't think there will be one coming on the market which I will generally like better for quite a number of years so I don't intend to be an early adopter - I'll wait and get the camera which appears to be the better implementation of that camera (QHY, ZWO, Atik, I don't know which that will be).

 

If you want to do monochrome work this is not the sensor for you, however.

 

Since most of my optics give an image circle more appropriate for an APS-C sized sensor I think the ASI071 is not going away any time soon.  I like the wide FOVs and I am not going to give up that larger sensor unless and until they have an APS-C sized sensor with substantially better characteristics.

 

Since the IMX294 looks to me like an attempt to test/expand the idea of surveillance equipment using larger sensors and it is not clear to me that Sony will find the sensor to be successful, it may be that they will not choose to implement this kind of tech in an APS-C sized sensor in the near future.  But that is the doubting version.  There is some reason for doubt about the use of this kind of sensor for surveillance.

 

Admittedly I know more about a somewhat higher-end segment of the surveillance market than I do about the low-end (and effectively nothing about what I assume to be the highest-end).  (Note that I'm not claiming great/immense knowledge, just more than about other segments.)  In the segment I know something about one the biggest issue is often handling the data more than it is collecting it.  So that bigger sensor means I am going to be using more storage and more bandwidth in order to make that surveillance data actually useful.  Data compression is a very big deal for improving this issue and the rumbling is that there is at least one very significant improvement on the way for some applications but it is not available in volume at this time so who knows how that will sort out?

 

I also have some fear that if the compression solution is broadly adopted that sensor manufacturers might be able to license the tech and might be able to implement it in SoC and that would be irritating.  I suspect, however, that the compression will be sufficiently power-intensive that the sensor manufacturers won't want to try that any time soon.

 

Well, that was a long-winded way of saying that from what I've seen so far the IMX294 sensor is amazing for NRTV and/or more conventional astrophotographic applications if the sensor size is suited to the optics.  I would also not hold my breath for the APS-C sized sensor with similar characteristics although there is tech coming on the market which just might make an APS-C sized sensor sufficiently attractive to a large enough sector of the surveillance market to where they might develop and sell that sensor in sufficient quantity to make it affordable to us.


Edited by OleCuss, 20 October 2017 - 05:13 AM.

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#281 wargrafix

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Posted 20 October 2017 - 05:28 AM

That was quite insightful. My optical train is a c9.25 and a 6.3 focal reducer

#282 OleCuss

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Posted 20 October 2017 - 09:12 AM

That was quite insightful. My optical train is a c9.25 and a 6.3 focal reducer

I've not used that system but I'd bet that the IMX294 camera would work very nicely indeed.

 

I suspect, however, that your image circle size is aimed more at the APS-C sensors so you may be losing some of your collected light and FOV by using the IMX294 camera.

 

If this is the case, the loss would be felt more if you are trying to image the larger targets - and I don't think most people are trying to image large targets with that system anyway.  So my guess is that you would be simply delighted with the high QE and great SNR of a cooled IMX294 camera.

 

But again, I've not used that system so while I believe that if I had the funds for an IMX294 camera on hand and I wanted to image modestly small targets using a C9.25 with a reducer - I'd get the camera and plan on observing while I was imaging!  I'd be surprised if I ended up being disappointed.



#283 akulapanam

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Posted 20 October 2017 - 09:22 AM

My concern is the quad Bauer matrix. Effective 9.3um pixels is ok at long focal length but because it's OSC which means your effective resolution is that of 18.6um pixels . Qhy thinks a mono version might show up next year and I would definitely buy that.

Edited by akulapanam, 20 October 2017 - 09:23 AM.


#284 Astrojedi

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Posted 20 October 2017 - 09:43 AM

My concern is the quad Bauer matrix. Effective 9.3um pixels is ok at long focal length but because it's OSC which means your effective resolution is that of 18.6um pixels . Qhy thinks a mono version might show up next year and I would definitely buy that.

What are your concerns around the quad Bayer matrix?



#285 Ain Soph Aur

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Posted 20 October 2017 - 10:14 AM

Qhy thinks a mono version might show up next year and I would definitely buy that.

Fingers crossed!



#286 OleCuss

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Posted 20 October 2017 - 10:50 AM

My concern is the quad Bauer matrix. Effective 9.3um pixels is ok at long focal length but because it's OSC which means your effective resolution is that of 18.6um pixels . Qhy thinks a mono version might show up next year and I would definitely buy that.

IIRC Hiten has been using the sensor/camera with a focal length of about 400mm and I'm not seeing any significant issues with pixellation at that (IMHO) short focal length?  Maybe it is because I'm usually looking at things as presented on the forum?

 

Anyway, I'm not seeing the big problem at what I consider to be a relatively short focal length.



#287 dwkdnvr

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Posted 20 October 2017 - 11:52 AM

 

Overall it is an amazingly good sensor.  I have some optics which I do think are pretty suitable for use with it and I will likely try to accumulate the funds to get an IMX294 camera at some point.  I have an Orion XX12g which I think would be awesome for use with this sensor - fast optics, my relatively aberration-free image circle may be big enough even without a coma corrector and I could keep subs short enough to where I could get some great views and images of some really faint fuzzies!


 

 

This sensor also got me thinking about whether a go-to Dob might be a viable idea. The sensor is large enough that the 'typical' EAA approach of SCT+reducers probably isn't going to work due to the limited image circle. I have doubts that the commercial go-to dobs are precise enough to provide good results, but if they did they would be a nice easy way to go about it. Not exactly cheap, but less expensive than an equivalent imaging newt on an EQ mount capable of carrying the weight (Atlas or better)



#288 Astrojedi

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Posted 20 October 2017 - 12:20 PM

 

 

Overall it is an amazingly good sensor.  I have some optics which I do think are pretty suitable for use with it and I will likely try to accumulate the funds to get an IMX294 camera at some point.  I have an Orion XX12g which I think would be awesome for use with this sensor - fast optics, my relatively aberration-free image circle may be big enough even without a coma corrector and I could keep subs short enough to where I could get some great views and images of some really faint fuzzies!


 

 

This sensor also got me thinking about whether a go-to Dob might be a viable idea. The sensor is large enough that the 'typical' EAA approach of SCT+reducers probably isn't going to work due to the limited image circle. I have doubts that the commercial go-to dobs are precise enough to provide good results, but if they did they would be a nice easy way to go about it. Not exactly cheap, but less expensive than an equivalent imaging newt on an EQ mount capable of carrying the weight (Atlas or better)

 

In my view the problem with goto dobs is the weight and bulk of individual components which makes it incredibly difficult to move around.

 

It is unclear to me why everyone keeps saying that this sensor is not usable with a SCT. If performs pretty well with a 6.3 reducer. You can also get a Starizona SCT reducer with provides a APS-C size corrected image circle.

 

Some vignetting is inevitable with a sensor of this size not just on SCTs but on almost all other telescope designs. even my ED refractors vignette a little bit. Corrected field and vignetting are two different things.

 

You can also use ROI to crop the sensor... and before folks start attacking me for mentioning cropping... I would rather buy the best 4/3 color sensor available with 2 stage TEC cooling for $1000 and have the flexibility to use it full sized or in crop mode than buy a much smaller sensor with antiquated technology and no cooling for a $1000.


Edited by Astrojedi, 20 October 2017 - 12:21 PM.

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#289 Jeff Smith

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Posted 20 October 2017 - 12:31 PM

Well, I just ordered one. Let's see how hard/easy it is to get up and running by a newbie with big dreams lol.gif . I was going to wait until more people got them in their hands to pull the plug but Highpoint Scientific sent me a 3% off coupon today...so...



#290 Astrojedi

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Posted 20 October 2017 - 12:38 PM

Jeff,

If you have never done imaging before then there will be a learning curve but don't hesitate to ask for help here.


Edited by Astrojedi, 20 October 2017 - 12:38 PM.


#291 Ain Soph Aur

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Posted 20 October 2017 - 12:38 PM

The ASI294MC Pro arrived today. Amazing shipping from Shanghai, wow.

 

My first task was taking darks to compare amp glow and hot pixels to the sample 300 second HDR (0 gain) dark file at -10° that ZWO has posted on their site. I took 3 different 300s darks at -10°, FITS files linked here:

 

HDR [0 gain]

UNITY [117 gain]

LRN [390 gain]

 

The ZWO HDR sample and my HDR sample, auto-streched in Pixinsight, resample to 800 width and saved as PNG but real data is in the FITS:

 

ZWO

ASI294MC%20PRO-dark%20frame-300s_-10degr

 

My sample

HDR_DARK_1x1_300.000secs_-10.00C00000024


Edited by Ain Soph Aur, 20 October 2017 - 12:47 PM.


#292 Robert York

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Posted 20 October 2017 - 12:57 PM

Would be interesting to see other people’s dark images to see if this is just standard variation in sensors and manufacturing, or if something else is up

#293 Astrojedi

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Posted 20 October 2017 - 12:59 PM

Brandon,

 

Something seems off. My results are closer to ZWOs except the hot pixels (which Sam tells is likely because they may have not done a hot pixel table for the camera they sent me - I will report back if that is the case).

 

Also have you tried shorter exposures? I don't think you will need longer than 60s for EAA or even for imaging. I found virtually no amp glow at 60s or less. 

 

Keep in mind this is a very low read noise camera. To build SNR you don't need to increase sub exposure duration, just stack more subs. Very different to CCDs. In my opinion 300" exposures are not required in any scenario. 300" exposures were common for CCD imaging as you were targeting a certain SNR and given the high read noise you really did not have a choice. I am not a fan of longer exposures as they create more issues than they solve. 

 

Hiten


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#294 Ain Soph Aur

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Posted 20 October 2017 - 01:08 PM

Hi Hiten. I only started with 300s HDR exposures to compare to the same sample dark ZWO has posted on their site in order to compare apples to apples. I took their sample FITS and the one that I just generated, and auto-stretched both in Pixinsight. Are you comparing the FITS or the PNG?

 

Also, I generated my FITS with TheSkyX using the latest ZWO ascom driver.


Edited by Ain Soph Aur, 20 October 2017 - 01:11 PM.

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#295 Astrojedi

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Posted 20 October 2017 - 01:18 PM

FITs. I will check my driver version. Also what do you mean by a "HDR exposure"? Is that a setting? Were the stretch settings the same for both files (I don't usually trust auto stretch).

 

Either ways you will not need 300" exposures and neither should you use 300" exposures. To flip it, its like me trying to use 5s exposures with CCDs for H Alpha. Did not turn out well. You need to use a camera and technology to its strengths and not try to force it into a CCD paradigm. 


Edited by Astrojedi, 20 October 2017 - 01:23 PM.

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#296 Ain Soph Aur

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Posted 20 October 2017 - 01:23 PM

I totally understand on the 300s exposure, but the ZWO 300s HDR dark sample is what I have to compare with my sample.


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#297 hbrunet181

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Posted 20 October 2017 - 01:38 PM

Hi guys,

 

I got exited and ordered an Un-Cooled version of the ASI 294 Camera since I only intend to do EAA.

 

Can't wait to receive it. I loved my ASI224 and it has been my first jump in EAA, seeing all the super exitement everyone has for the 294 I Couldn't resist.

 

I'm planning on using it with my LX200 10 inch on Alt-Az only with a 0.5 Anteres 2 inch reducer. This will let me frame most of the bigger DSO's easily ( I think)

 

I will put my ASI224MC on the Stacked Orion ST-80 with Antares 0.5 1.25 reducer over it to get wider vistas.

 

So far would you say that the ASI294 is more sensitive when binned?

 

It looks like it.

 

Also anyone of you tried the new Astrolive program instead of Sharpcap? Thought and coments? it is free with ZWO cameras!



#298 Astrojedi

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Posted 20 October 2017 - 01:41 PM

I totally understand on the 300s exposure, but the ZWO 300s HDR dark sample is what I have to compare with my sample.

 

Ok. Makes sense. In that case I would not use auto stretch. I would manually stretch both the same amount.

 

And I would also keep in mind that testing this camera at 300" does not really tell you anything about how it performs. I am just tired of fighting the CCD mindset on these forums and I am guessing ZWO is as well. I am sure Sam just posts 300" exposures as that is what the imagers are used to.

 

Slightly off topic but related...  (and not directed at Brandon)

 

This transition from CCDs to CMOS will take time as "conventional wisdom" always takes time to change. I have experienced that when bringing new technologies to market in other non astro markets.

 

But make no mistake, this transition will happen whether the community wants it or not (and in my view for the better). But will take time as incumbent vendors will see it as threat and downplay the benefits till they can adapt to it and users like the familiar and resist change as long as they can. But ultimately these new technologies will make EAA and Imaging a lot less painful and expensive. At least that is my hope.


Edited by Astrojedi, 20 October 2017 - 01:42 PM.


#299 Astrojedi

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Posted 20 October 2017 - 01:45 PM

Hi guys,

 

I got exited and ordered an Un-Cooled version of the ASI 294 Camera since I only intend to do EAA.

 

Can't wait to receive it. I loved my ASI224 and it has been my first jump in EAA, seeing all the super exitement everyone has for the 294 I Couldn't resist.

 

I'm planning on using it with my LX200 10 inch on Alt-Az only with a 0.5 Anteres 2 inch reducer. This will let me frame most of the bigger DSO's easily ( I think)

 

I will put my ASI224MC on the Stacked Orion ST-80 with Antares 0.5 1.25 reducer over it to get wider vistas.

 

So far would you say that the ASI294 is more sensitive when binned?

 

It looks like it.

 

Also anyone of you tried the new Astrolive program instead of Sharpcap? Thought and coments? it is free with ZWO cameras!

Yes, it is more "sensitive" when binned as are all cameras. You will enjoy it. I have not tried the uncooled version but maybe that is a good point. I will try to test this camera with the cooling off to see how the performance is.

 

Astrolive is actually dead. The author stopped working on it as he could not make enough income to support his efforts. You should try SharpCap.



#300 Relativist

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Posted 20 October 2017 - 01:55 PM

I agree with Hiten, cropping is a valid work around especially for EAA. There is no physics that says you must use the entire sensor. EAA practice is full of compromise since almost none of the equipment we use is meant for what we are doing with it. Cropping or not is an individual choice. Note that typically the biggest restriction in our views isn't the resolution of the sensor any longer but that of our displays.

The reason why one would want to go with a fast scope for this sensor is if the user wants to take advantage of the 2x binning mode for the fastest speed. In which case it might be advantageous to acquire that f/2.6 25" with SIPS if the user can afford it. that said there is nothing wrong with using the camera unbinned at a less than optimal arc sec sky resolution for EAA. We're doing observing not Astrophotography.


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