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ASI294MC Pro vs SkyRaider DS10C-TEC comparison

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#51 DrewR

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Posted 04 December 2018 - 12:46 PM

I'd bet pretty strongly that Mallincam doesn't design the electronics.  That would be a horrible waste of their time and money.  The IMX294 is a SoC sensor and ToupTek already makes most of the support electronics.  And then manufacturing the same stuff that ToupTek manufactures would be a way of simply inflating the price without added value.

 

Again we don't know. Mallincam must add something to the equation to make the agreement work for both sides. I can tell you one thing, and Rock would agree, his company doesn't add anything on the software side except suggestions for fixes and changes.  He is a salesman only by necessity and sometimes not a very good one so that can't be the reason for the agreement - to sell cameras for ToupTek.  Astronomer and electronics designer is his background so that is the obvious area for input. His passion is the hardware inside the camera so I really find it hard to believe he would not have some major influence (design) on this front. Remember, Rock has the Astronomical background. I doubt TourTek had that background at first. They probably were just making cameras for microscopes and had no idea what astronomers needed in a camera for both sensitivity and image control but this is conjecture on my part. And if what I say is true and we buy a camera directly from TourTek or a clone, I may be **** off a few people but I think we have Rock to thank for steering these Chinese companies in the right direction. Sorry, I am ducking my head.

 

I will stop now and absorb the great work and input Jim has provided to this thread.

 

Drew


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#52 will w

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Posted 04 December 2018 - 02:01 PM

Drew, OleCuss,  Rock does indeed design some if not all of the hardware for his cameras.Any of you can go to the mallincam group io and ask  him. I am sure he will give anyone a answer.  I have read that posted here and in the mallincam group..When one totaly understands the design and the mechanics of a camera there wont be as much talk going on here.Jim T is the only one that i have seen put a in depth report on any of the cameras that we buy and use for astronomy. I think FACTS are the best way of proving your point. Not idle talk and speculation.As for the REBRAND word goes. There a lots of things that are rebranded.Your stove.deep freeze, fridg. among other things you have in every day life. To me reading on this fourm REBRAND is a word that has out lived its usefullness here.  will w


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#53 OleCuss

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Posted 04 December 2018 - 03:16 PM

Will:

 

You may believe as you wish but some of us have both watched and appreciated Rock's contributions over a fair number of years.  We've also some idea of what it takes to do certain things and we've seen exactly where some of the cameras Rock claimed to manufacture came from and why certain things happened.

 

Rock would have to be stupid to try to largely re-design the DS10cTEC when ToupTek has already done it - and the timing of his camera and other ToupTek cameras of a similar nature is rather telling.  He's making a very significant modification to the DS10cTEC and that should be appreciated as a potential improvement and I'm pretty hopeful about that.

 

I fear this is turning into a threadjack, though.  What I most want to see is what Jim comes up with.  I may have a pretty strong opinion, but I frankly don't much care who makes the camera, I want to see the performance.  Whoever made or is selling, the system which is most suited to a person's use is the one they should get.


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#54 will w

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Posted 04 December 2018 - 06:48 PM

Don, Thanks for the link. It tells me some thing i did not know. It does clear up a few things as the word rebranded means. will w



#55 A. Viegas

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Posted 04 December 2018 - 09:50 PM

Can someone point to the difference in "design" between the Mallincam branded Touptek clones and those sold by Altair, Rising Cam and Orion? Has anyone looked inside to confirm there are actually any changes? Again if you look at the rising sky software that is the same software for all the cameras it does not have difference among the different brands so what exactly is inside the Mallincam that is different and "made in Canada".

Marketing claims are one thing but actual performance is something else. So let's see what Jim is able to come up with. Too bad he doesn't have a Rising Cam. $500 cheaper and not the same thing... that would be the more interesting comparison.

Al

#56 ccs_hello

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Posted 04 December 2018 - 10:46 PM

Jim and others,

 

Regarding your part II test, several observations and suggestions:

 

1. ZWO's ASI294' chart is here  https://astronomy-im...FW-vs-gain2.jpg

   (main ASI294 camera site is here https://astronomy-im...294mc-pro-color )

 

2. its LCG to HCG switch-over occurs at setting 120, which is equivalent to 12 dB in LCG, and switched over to 0 dB (NO ANALOG GAIN) in HCG 

   (note that IMX294's HCG is 4x gain over the LCG)

    A bit explanation here:    https://www.cloudyni...-3#entry8106919

 

Why this way as opposed to MC's two separate settings?  The background is to have a normal camera like type of experience and getting the best possible part of both world: when low (or no) gain, get the max possible FWC and when a higher gain is needed and no more benefit of taking advantage of FWC, then start to apply HCG.  (Think, first-gear, 2nd gear, like driving a stick shift.)

Think, in low setting, you get precision which is beyond a high-gain setting can offer.

 

3. Obviously to character astroimager, full potential need to be used, e.g., full 14 bit, no black-clip (get the full bell-shaped curve for better recovery, etc.

 

4. All credible vendors in this space should publish full spec., e.g., the meaning of these menu setting values, at what point analog gain stops and USELESS digital gain kicks in (your PC can do much better in multiplication and won't overflow...)

 

5. Not just SNR in a gloss-over full-image view, but for known issues on IMX294, PRNU especially on fixed pattern noise need to be investigated.

 

Clear Skies!

 

ccs_hello 



#57 ccs_hello

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Posted 04 December 2018 - 11:06 PM

My 2 cents

 

re: OEM vs ODM (the topic is overly superficial), a cool topic for sidewalk viewer but really a waste of time

 

re: what's inside

No idea, no my cup of tea, no money to buy these expensive toys to do the tear down video or study.

This is a small amateur hobby so why not just take care each other.

   <-- on the other side of token, please play fair marketing.  I've seen few vendors making mistakes (not just one.)

 

re: can you say more

Not really.  I've "seen" one implementation (please do not guess) less ideal (actually cheaper to make easier to maintain but one notch below best of the best for a professional shop.)

 

re: quote: I saw they all look alike so there must be a common design"...  Is it true?

Please understand there are some degrees of manufacturing optimization.  It's the ABC of supply chain optimization.

Best example is the chassis.  There are specialized factory doing the design, customization, and manufacturing so hwy not taking advantage of that (or just a minor customization...)

 

re: who got this (plug in your favorite topic here) design idea first...

Do not forget it's the China Co.   There are true innovators. 

Also, do not believe someone claiming it's must have came from (plug in a country name here.)    <-- purely urban legend



#58 wenjha

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Posted 05 December 2018 - 01:27 AM

to those people who would like to know the back of 294 PCB

here is the image shows the back and the temperature sensor

 

if there is space of sensor and we will try to cool the sensor directly

Attached Thumbnails

  • 294.jpg

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#59 OleCuss

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Posted 05 December 2018 - 05:13 AM

Thank you.  That is useful information.

 

And I agree that the key is the quality of the image rather than the measured temperature.



#60 star drop

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Posted 05 December 2018 - 08:19 AM

The topic is ASI294MC Pro vs SkyRaider DS10C-TEC comparison. That means how they perform and any difference that one can see in their construction. It does not entail discussion about intellectual property and rebranding, etc. Such off topic posts are subject to removal.


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#61 jimthompson

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Posted 05 December 2018 - 09:58 AM

to those people who would like to know the back of 294 PCB

here is the image shows the back and the temperature sensor

 

if there is space of sensor and we will try to cool the sensor directly

Very cool and informative image, thanks Sam!

 

Cheers,

 

Jim T.



#62 mikefulb

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Posted 12 December 2018 - 04:02 PM

So I take it we now know the temperature sensor is not on the image sensor and so all cameras based on this sensor will have a compromised ability to match darks to lights?  Surprised this thread just died.



#63 jimthompson

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Posted 12 December 2018 - 04:37 PM

So I take it we now know the temperature sensor is not on the image sensor and so all cameras based on this sensor will have a compromised ability to match darks to lights?  Surprised this thread just died.

Based on the image Sam provided, it looks like the temperature sensor is sandwiched between the CMOS package and the cold side of the TEC. It may be a reasonable assumption that the temperature difference between the image plane and the back of the sensor package is a constant and repeatable offset value.  That would make matching darks to lights possible.  The only way to be sure would be to try it...not something though that I have any interest in testing since my application is not AP.

 

BTW, this thread is not dead.  I think everyone is just waiting for my next batch of test results.  FYI, I have finished my data collection for SNR and have it all reduced.  I just have to put it into a summary report, so it shouldn't be long.

 

Cheers,

 

Jim T.


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#64 mikefulb

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Posted 13 December 2018 - 10:40 PM

Thanks Jim looking forwards to your results.



#65 jimthompson

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Posted 16 December 2018 - 12:04 AM

Greetings all,

 

Below please find a link to the summary report for Part 3 of my ASI294MC-Pro vs DS10C-TEC testing.  In this report I present my measurements of SNR for the two cameras using a representative indoor target.  I also use the measurements to calculate a new parameter called Time To Observable Image (TTOI), a parameter that I think is relevant to our application of these cameras for EAA.

 

http://karmalimbo.co...0C - Part 3.pdf

 

I found some interesting things during my testing.  For example my data suggests that the cooling system on the ASI294 does very little to improve SNR, at least not for exposure times below 100 seconds.  My testing also suggests that the two cameras are optimized for different applications.  The ASI294MC-Pro had higher performance at long exposure times (>100sec), and the DS10C-TEC had higher performance for short exposure times (<100sec).

 

Cheers,

 

Jim T.


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#66 A. Viegas

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Posted 16 December 2018 - 11:33 AM

Thanks Jim.  Very interesting and thorough analysis.  Just a nitpick, but I had a hard time telling your lines apart as the colors+little squares all look very similar, my recommendation would be to vary the markers, maybe circles+squares+open squares - as the color gradients are so similar I had to squint to tell them apart.  Also I am curious why you picked such high gain settings for the ZWO 294?  I have never used my 294 over 300 gain as it saturates so quickly with my LP skies.   I would have liked to have seen lower gain comparisons, around Unity gain (120) for the ZWO and the equivalent "unity" for the DS10.   But apart from those observations, I wanted to thank you for the hard work you put into this test.  I think you have made a very good case for the DS10 as a good all-around performer for EAA.   Too bad you can't test a RIsing Cam 294 cooled vs. the DS10, as that would be the conclusive test if Mallincam actually does anything to their cameras or not.

 

My biggest surprise with your data was how the cooling does not effect SNR on the ZWO below 100s, that seems to be very strange, certainly I see significant benefit with cooling, especially in the summer months...  the DS10tec shows the benefit of cooling, I wonder why you did not see this in the ZWO.   Did you use sharpcap for the ZWO capture?   I wonder if you used ASCOM if it would have been any different...

 

Al


Edited by A. Viegas, 16 December 2018 - 11:44 AM.

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#67 OleCuss

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Posted 16 December 2018 - 05:07 PM

The analyses were much appreciated.

 

While I, too, would be very interested in seeing a comparison between the IMX294 RisingCam and the Mallincam IMX294 cameras - my reason would be because I'd really like to see how the Mallincam micro-refrigeration system compares to the conventional cooling.  I'm not sure that it matters all that much but I'm wondering if the RisingCam might prove to be more comparable to the ASI294 which might suggest that it is the micro-refrigeration which might give the edge in Observational AP to the DS10cTEC and the Conventional AP edge to the ASI294?

 

The biggest take-away for me is that both cameras performed well.  That is very useful information.

 

I've sort of drooled over the IMX294 cameras for a while but haven't had enough reason to lay out the money for a cooled IMX294 camera.  Your information increases the probability that I'll eventually get an IMX294 camera.  This is because my IMX294 use would be only for OAP and short exposure work and the lower price of an un-cooled camera combined with the smaller form factor, and simpler use without significant SNR penalty makes those cameras even more attractive.

 

Much appreciated!



#68 jimthompson

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Posted 17 December 2018 - 02:11 PM

Thanks Jim.  Very interesting and thorough analysis.  Just a nitpick, but I had a hard time telling your lines apart as the colors+little squares all look very similar, my recommendation would be to vary the markers, maybe circles+squares+open squares - as the color gradients are so similar I had to squint to tell them apart.  Also I am curious why you picked such high gain settings for the ZWO 294?  I have never used my 294 over 300 gain as it saturates so quickly with my LP skies.   I would have liked to have seen lower gain comparisons, around Unity gain (120) for the ZWO and the equivalent "unity" for the DS10.   But apart from those observations, I wanted to thank you for the hard work you put into this test.  I think you have made a very good case for the DS10 as a good all-around performer for EAA.   Too bad you can't test a RIsing Cam 294 cooled vs. the DS10, as that would be the conclusive test if Mallincam actually does anything to their cameras or not.

 

My biggest surprise with your data was how the cooling does not effect SNR on the ZWO below 100s, that seems to be very strange, certainly I see significant benefit with cooling, especially in the summer months...  the DS10tec shows the benefit of cooling, I wonder why you did not see this in the ZWO.   Did you use sharpcap for the ZWO capture?   I wonder if you used ASCOM if it would have been any different...

 

Al

Hi Al,

 

Your suggestion on graph markers is noted for next time.  I chose a range of gains from 0 to max on both cameras to understand what their range of capabilities are.  Depending on my circumstances I normally use my ASI294 either at 3/4 gain (pier mounted equatorial setup), or at max gain (portable alt-az setup), so I thought my choices for gain during the testing were relevant.

 

With regards to TEC versus no-TEC, there is one more component of my testing yet to report on that has to do with fixed pattern noise which in this case is mostly hot/warm pixels.  Hot/warm pixels will reduce the SNR that is ultimately achieved through stacking below what theory would suggest.  Applying cooling reduces the appearance of hot/warm pixels, moving your stacked image result closer to what you should be able to achieve theoretically.  I will provide more details on this in a later report.

 

Cheers,

 

Jim T.



#69 jimthompson

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Posted 17 December 2018 - 02:15 PM

The analyses were much appreciated.

 

While I, too, would be very interested in seeing a comparison between the IMX294 RisingCam and the Mallincam IMX294 cameras - my reason would be because I'd really like to see how the Mallincam micro-refrigeration system compares to the conventional cooling.  I'm not sure that it matters all that much but I'm wondering if the RisingCam might prove to be more comparable to the ASI294 which might suggest that it is the micro-refrigeration which might give the edge in Observational AP to the DS10cTEC and the Conventional AP edge to the ASI294?

 

The biggest take-away for me is that both cameras performed well.  That is very useful information.

 

I've sort of drooled over the IMX294 cameras for a while but haven't had enough reason to lay out the money for a cooled IMX294 camera.  Your information increases the probability that I'll eventually get an IMX294 camera.  This is because my IMX294 use would be only for OAP and short exposure work and the lower price of an un-cooled camera combined with the smaller form factor, and simpler use without significant SNR penalty makes those cameras even more attractive.

 

Much appreciated!

I would also like to know how the RisingCam (and Orion for that matter) cameras compare!  If anyone has one and is willing to loan it to me for a couple weeks, I would be more than happy to submit it to the same tests as I did for the ASI294 and DS10C-TEC.

 

Cheers,

 

Jim T.



#70 jimthompson

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Posted 02 January 2019 - 02:46 PM

Had a rare clear night this past Saturday, giving me a chance to try each camera under a real night sky.  Clouds rolled in sooner than forecast, so I wasn't able to do a thorough comparison.  Captures I did get are posted to Flickr:

 

https://flic.kr/s/aHsmyrk9Yx

 

Cheers,

 

Jim T.


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#71 will w

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Posted 02 January 2019 - 03:33 PM

Jim T, You have some very nice shots. Very clear. will w



#72 jimthompson

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Posted 02 January 2019 - 04:00 PM

Jim T, You have some very nice shots. Very clear. will w

Thanks Will.  Not noted in my Flickr album is that my light pollution level is very high.  My limiting magnitude was around +3.0.

 

Cheers,

 

Jim T.



#73 DSO_Viewer

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Posted 02 January 2019 - 04:28 PM

Had a rare clear night this past Saturday, giving me a chance to try each camera under a real night sky.  Clouds rolled in sooner than forecast, so I wasn't able to do a thorough comparison.  Captures I did get are posted to Flickr:

 

https://flic.kr/s/aHsmyrk9Yx

 

Cheers,

 

Jim T.

Thank you Jim for posting your results. It seems to my eyes that the DS10C-TEC camera is displaying more random noise showing up as horizontal streaking The ASI294MC has a cleaner background, however, has some artifacts caused by warm pixels. What software were you using for the stacking process for the ASI294MC? I guess you were using the Mallincam software for the DS10C-TEC?

 

Steve  



#74 jimthompson

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Posted 02 January 2019 - 04:37 PM

Thank you Jim for posting your results. It seems to my eyes that the DS10C-TEC camera is displaying more random noise showing up as horizontal streaking The ASI294MC has a cleaner background, however, has some artifacts caused by warm pixels. What software were you using for the stacking process for the ASI294MC? I guess you were using the Mallincam software for the DS10C-TEC?

 

Steve  

Hi Steve,

 

I was using Sharpcap 3.2 for both cameras.  Note that the DS10C-TEC images are bin 1x1 and the ASI294 are bin 2x2.  Binning I find tends to smooth out noise...SNR is increased allowing me to use less histogram stretching and thus a "cleaner" looking image.

 

Cheers,

 

Jim T.



#75 Astrojedi

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Posted 02 January 2019 - 10:39 PM

Jim,

Excellent report as usual. Just one thing. Struggling to understand why the DS10C produces better SNR than the ASI294 for shorter exposures assuming both are cooled to the same set point - given that uncooled the ASI produces better SNR. 

 

Best,

Hiten




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