I’m stuck in the analysis paralysis stage and unfortunately, I don’t have the technical background to get anything more of the research I’ve done. Therefore, I’m hoping I can get some opinions and recommendations.
I’ve been using my AVS MK-IV for almost 4 years now (but only seriously for about 1.5 years in that for the past 1.5 years I have rarely placed an eyepiece into either one of my telescopes. However, it’s time to upgrade and get away from the analog to digital conversion as well as the limited resolution and narrow FOV of my existing camera.
Here’s a little about how I’ve been doing EEA. I use Sharpcap on a Minex NEO Z83 Windows 10 platform with the output to a 24” 12v computer monitor. My set up is USB 3.0 ready. My choice of targets ranges from the small, dim galaxies of the Herschel 400 to large nebula and I like to view in color, so mono is out for me. I also do a fair amount of outreach, 6 to 9 events a year. I would have done more planets, but the AVS MK-IV was never as good on the planets as the mark 1 human eyeball. I’m in North Carolina but I travel to various star parties on the East Coast, so humidity and dew are always a concern. I only do EAA, no imaging or post processing. I typically try to observe a dozen+ or so objects and spend 10 fifteen minutes on each trying out different exposures and settings on each to maximize details. Then I take a simple screen shot for my logs.
I’ve combed through various threads here on the forum but at times they go over my head from a technical perspective. In any case I’m ready to pull the trigger but I don’t want to make a mistake and not get the right the camera for my type of observing and current set of equipment. The 2 scopes I use for EAA are a CPC1100 Alt-Azm (a wedge in my future) and an Explore Scientific AR102 refractor on a CG-5 goto mount (with really good tracking).
The camera’s I’m considering are the ASI385MC, ASI1600MC or ASI294MC. I was thinking about the ASI224MC but it sounds like the ASI385 is the same camera with a bigger chip and more resolution. In comparing the various cameras, I took into account the various FOVs I could get with my focal reducers and telescopes (I have a variable focus reducer that can give me x6.3 to x3.8 depending on the spacers):
- CPC1100: 9.0' x 4.8' with no reduction to 23.5' x 13.3' at 0.38x
- AR102: 37.8' x 21' with no reduction to 1° 39' x 56' at 0.38x
- CPC1100: 21.7' x 16.4' with no reduction to 43.4' x 32.8' at 0.5x
- AR102: 45.9' x 34.7' with no reduction to 3° 4' x 2° 19' at 0.5x
- The FOV would be slight wider than the ASI1600MC
So here are my questions:
- Should I go the route of a cooled version of the camera or just build my own cooler/fan? I’ve seen several DIY options, the like RC car motor fan for the RT224, etc. I can also use dark subtraction via Sharpcap.
- I assume my existing variable focal reduction in 1.25” format be too narrow for the 4/3” chip? I do have a standard Celestron SCT 0.63x focal reducer or would a 2” 0.5x reducer work on the 4/3” chips? I’m more concerned with FOV than I am with faster acquisition.
- For just EAA, is the ASI1600MC a better option than ASI294MC? It sounds like if I wanted an EAA & an imaging camera the ASI294MC is a better option, but I really have no desire to get into gathering darks, flats, bias frames, etc. and then post process.
- I am missing any other serious contenders in the $1,000 and under range? What would you buy if you had my set up and a budget of $1,000?
Thanks in advance for your responses.
Edited by iam1ru12, 25 February 2018 - 03:46 PM.