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ASI294MC Pro for planetary? (Looking for DSLR upgrade)

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#1 Tom Gwilym

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Posted 21 January 2019 - 02:04 PM

I've been using DSLR cameras for years and currently using a Canon 60Da.  I've been thinking of upgrading over to a dedicated cooled camera now (never used the 60Da for anything other than astronomy).  I'm also thinking of going from a Starshoot autoguider to possibly a ASI120MM camera for the guider.   

I do DSO imaging and also planetary imaging when things are stable.  I'd like to go with a monochrome guide camera for extra guiding accuracy, but then this camera is also great for planetary imaging - therefore, color would be nice, but don't want to hinder the guiding. So I'm back and forth between color/mono for the guider.

 

On the ZWO site, they do give the ASI294MC-Pro good ratings for planetary imaging, and if that's the case, I'd use the for all imaging.  Then on the other side, if I had the color version of the ASI120MM, I'd use that for planets.  I'm trying to figure out if I get the ASI294MC and the mono or color guide/planetary camera?  

 

Looking for opinions on color/mono for a guider and if anyone has used the other one for planetary work with good results? 

 

My setup is a LX200 Classic 12" with a Orion 80ED piggybacked for wide imaging or for guiding the LX200.   I know the LX200 on a fork isn't the greatest for autoguiding, but I have my good and bad nights with this and looking for some improvement with a smaller pixel camera.  I'll upgrade mount/scope one of these days!

 

Tom


Edited by Tom Gwilym, 21 January 2019 - 02:06 PM.


#2 jgraham

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Posted 21 January 2019 - 02:26 PM

That's an interesting question. I have used quite a few different cameras for lunar and planetary imaging including the using small-chip cameras like the ASI20MM, 120MC, 224MC and cameras from the Imaging Source before that, all with good results. However, I recently began testing a series of large chip cameras including the ASI1600MM-c, 294MC (uncooled), 294MC Pro, and 071MC Pro. All have performed very well for high resolution lunar work, but much to my surprise the best images have come from the two 294 cameras. I haven't had a chance to try them with the planets yet, but the lunar images have been excellent. I hope to get my first test data on Jupiter this spring, but I am very encouraged that the ASI294MC Pro will serve as an excellent high resolution camera.

 

A recent example...

 

Sinus Iridum (12-18-2018)-1j.jpg

 

Sinus Iridum – 12/19/2018 0h UT
Telescope: Meade LX50 Mak 7 at f/30, Orion Atlas EQ-G
Camera: ZWO ASI294MC, uncooled, Orion Imaging Skyglow Filter
Exposure: 64x0.060sec, saved as FITS
Seeing: Fair
Software: Nebulosity, Registax, Photoshop

 

P.S.

 

I have also done a fair amount of imaging using stock and modified DLSRs including Canon's 5x movie mode and I can't imagine the 294 not doing better than these. However, I don't yet have any real on planets to test that at this point, but the lunar images are clearly better.

 

So much to try, so few clear nights...


Edited by jgraham, 21 January 2019 - 02:49 PM.

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#3 Tom Gwilym

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Posted 21 January 2019 - 04:13 PM

Thanks for the comments.  Sounds like you have been all over the place with cameras! 

I've done images of Jupiter with my Canon (I'll put it on the digital zoom mode, I think it's 5x) and use the video mode on it.  Results are pretty good, but it was rare that I would get a really nice stable night.  I've done a lot with old webcams in the past, so I've played around with old small sensors before.

 

Really nice moon image, and glad to hear the larger camera is working well for that.  I can't imagine it not working well compared with my DLSR video mode stacking.  

I'm starting to lean heavier toward the monochrome guider and the ASI294MC Pro for my main camera.  Also, since the used value of my current cameras will pretty much make this a straight across upgrade if I sell them. 

 

Tom



#4 jgraham

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Posted 21 January 2019 - 05:00 PM

Heh, heh, my old workhorse cameras live on as guide cameras. Almost any camera with reasonable sensitivity will work, but so far all of my guide cameras have been monochrome. I have used monochrome cameras from Imaging Source (DMK21), my trusty old DSI Pros (I, II, and III), and the ASI120MM. I am spoiled right now using my old DSI Pro IIIs; nice big very sensitive chips.


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#5 Tom Gwilym

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Posted 22 January 2019 - 11:43 AM

Heh, heh, my old workhorse cameras live on as guide cameras. Almost any camera with reasonable sensitivity will work, but so far all of my guide cameras have been monochrome. I have used monochrome cameras from Imaging Source (DMK21), my trusty old DSI Pros (I, II, and III), and the ASI120MM. I am spoiled right now using my old DSI Pro IIIs; nice big very sensitive chips.

I was back and forth a lot, but went ahead and ordered a ASI120MM-Mini last night.  Monochrome and USB 2.0. Seems that the other "normal" sized one has all the same features, but has USB 3.0 which the speed isn't really needed for guiding.  I'll put my Starshoot up for sale and it should be a nice $$ swap since the value seems about the same as the new one.  I'll try that out when it arrives then think about maybe selling the DSLR and going with a cooled astro camera.  Lots of changes going on - and probably release a huge cloud curse with all the new stuff!  



#6 GraySkies

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Posted 18 February 2019 - 12:00 PM

I was back and forth a lot, but went ahead and ordered a ASI120MM-Mini last night.  Monochrome and USB 2.0. Seems that the other "normal" sized one has all the same features, but has USB 3.0 which the speed isn't really needed for guiding.  I'll put my Starshoot up for sale and it should be a nice $$ swap since the value seems about the same as the new one.  I'll try that out when it arrives then think about maybe selling the DSLR and going with a cooled astro camera.  Lots of changes going on - and probably release a huge cloud curse with all the new stuff!  

I'm basically looking at the same pairing with an ASIAir to control everything. I'd be interested to get your first light feedback as you are likely 1-2 months ahead of me in upgrading from DSLR.



#7 Tom Gwilym

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Posted 18 February 2019 - 01:16 PM

I got my new guider and have it set up on the computer, but we've had the "polar vortex", clouds and some clearing now and then.  When it's into at least the teens of temperature, I'll hopefully get things hooked up and test out the ASI120 as a guider with my DSLR.   I still haven't done the DSLR upgrade yet, but I'll do that one step at a time.  Probably buy the replacement, then sell the Canon 60Da.  I'm sure I'll have questions once I start playing with this stuff!

The ASIAir looks great, I'd be tempted to head that direction eventually too.

 

 

I'm basically looking at the same pairing with an ASIAir to control everything. I'd be interested to get your first light feedback as you are likely 1-2 months ahead of me in upgrading from DSLR.



#8 Maxnorge

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Posted 22 February 2019 - 10:33 AM

That's an interesting question. I have used quite a few different cameras for lunar and planetary imaging including the using small-chip cameras like the ASI20MM, 120MC, 224MC and cameras from the Imaging Source before that, all with good results. However, I recently began testing a series of large chip cameras including the ASI1600MM-c, 294MC (uncooled), 294MC Pro, and 071MC Pro. All have performed very well for high resolution lunar work, but much to my surprise the best images have come from the two 294 cameras. I haven't had a chance to try them with the planets yet, but the lunar images have been excellent. I hope to get my first test data on Jupiter this spring, but I am very encouraged that the ASI294MC Pro will serve as an excellent high resolution camera.

I am also looking at a high end ASI cameras for William Optics refractors (51 and 81) and consider 071, 1600, 183 and 294. Leaning towards 071. What was wrong in your tests with 071 and 1600?



#9 jgraham

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Posted 22 February 2019 - 10:12 PM

"What was wrong in your tests with 071 and 1600?"

 

Actually nothing! They all did a very good job, I was just surprised that the sharpest image came from the 294. I have since removed the filter wheel from my 1600MM to simplify the light path intending to use it for solar imaging. Once I get a chance I will test it once again against the 294's. I am really looking forward to testing my 294's for planetary imaging. This time of year it is just soooo dreary waiting for clear weather. I have a growing list of things that I want to try.

 

Ugh.

 

So much to do, so few clear nights. :)




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