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Question re ASI vs. Altair 183 cameras: Heating? Overall impressions?

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#1 fewayne

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Posted 09 November 2018 - 02:19 PM

Hey all,

 

Thinking about stepping into the Mono World, and the current front-runner is the ZWO ASI183M Pro. I note that QHY and Altair also have cameras with the same sensor. Never having used a cooled camera in Wisconsin, I'm a little concerned about dew. The Altair claims a heater; I know that some of the "Pro" ASIs use waste heat from the TEC to keep the window warm. Anyone know if this is the case with their 183? (I know about the $19 ZWO heater.)

 

Has anyone any experience with the Altair on which you're willing to comment? I read the QHY-vs-ASI thread, which is why the ASI is out in front currently -- blue or purple would clash with my ASI guide camera's red finish. :-)

 

Thx!



#2 mark77

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Posted 18 November 2018 - 05:02 PM

I just discovered Altair camera's, so far I cannot find anyplace to buy them in the USA.  HighpointScientific and OptCrop do not.  Any other suggestions? 

The good news is I checked and FireCapture does support them.

 

Thanks



#3 Nicole Sharp

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Posted 18 November 2018 - 05:10 PM

I just discovered Altair camera's, so far I cannot find anyplace to buy them in the USA.  HighpointScientific and OptCrop do not.  Any other suggestions? 

The good news is I checked and FireCapture does support them.

 

Thanks

 

The only dealers of Altair products in the USA are CloudbreakOptics.com and LandSeaSkyCo.com.  But AltairAstro.com will ship to the USA.

 

I am also looking into getting an Altair camera.  The big advantage of Altair over ZWO specifically for non-cooled cameras, is that Altair provides better accessories, including an external cooling solution.  Altair also provides better lens mounts so you can use the monochrome camera for terrestrial as well as astronomical photography at ultraviolet and infrared wavelengths.



#4 fewayne

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Posted 19 November 2018 - 04:26 PM

Why is external cooling a good thing? I was thinking of the models with built-in TEC coolers. Now, ZWO does offer a $19 heater in case you're getting fogging.



#5 Nicole Sharp

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Posted 19 November 2018 - 06:55 PM

Why is external cooling a good thing? I was thinking of the models with built-in TEC coolers. Now, ZWO does offer a $19 heater in case you're getting fogging.

The cooler the camera sensor is, the less noise you get at a high ISO setting or with a longer exposure.  Even just a few kelvins can make a significant difference, so being able to mount an external fan on a non-cooled camera does improve its performance by a small amount, and at a fraction of the cost of a cooled camera.

 

I did see the heaters for ZWO, but apparently they are only available for cooled cameras.  But I am still confused as to why a cooled astrocamera needs a heater?  The colder the camera is, the better it should perform, so why would you heat a cooled camera?  Seems to be counterproductive and a waste of energy.  I would think maybe to keep moisture off of the USB connection, but the act of cooling the camera, and the electronics of the camera itself, should generate waste heat that could help with that.


Edited by Nicole Sharp, 19 November 2018 - 06:57 PM.


#6 HaleBopper

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Posted 19 November 2018 - 07:41 PM

I just discovered Altair camera's, so far I cannot find anyplace to buy them in the USA.  HighpointScientific and OptCrop do not.  Any other suggestions? 

The good news is I checked and FireCapture does support them.

 

Thanks

Ontario telescope in Canada carries Altair Astro cameras if you're looking for places to order from.



#7 Pauls72

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Posted 19 November 2018 - 08:05 PM


Has anyone any experience with the Altair on which you're willing to comment? I read the QHY-vs-ASI thread, which is why the ASI is out in front currently -- blue or purple would clash with my ASI guide camera's red finish. :-)

 

The QHY183's have an actual window heater to prevent dew and frost. 

 

In the battle of QHY vs ZWO cameras, it depends on which camera you compare. When the individual cameras came out one manufacture or the other may have had the lead, but the other manufacturer caught up. QHY183 cameras where out a year before ZWO  ASI183's.  ZWO had to play catch up. Right now both of these camera's are about equal.

 

With a TEC cooled camera, you can lower the temperature to reduce the electronic noise in your images. You can takes lights at a fixed temperature and make libraries of calibration frames at the same temperature and reuse them over and over. With CMOS cameras it is more important that all your sub's, lights, flats, bias and darks be at the same temperature.



#8 rkayakr

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Posted 20 November 2018 - 07:42 AM

The first version ASI1600 cooled cameras could have dew problems. ZWO changed the case design to reduce dew and prevent the front from unscrewing. The heaters are for their first version customers. I have one and it has prevented dew for me. in theory the new version case cameras don’t need it.



#9 fewayne

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Posted 20 November 2018 - 01:50 PM

Thanks guys. Guess I'm going with Team Red.




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