I have decided to get into EAA,but I need help deciding which zwo camera to purchace because I am overwhelmed by how many models that are available.I will be using it mainly for galaxies and small planetary nebula and for only EAA not astrophotography.Would cooling be any benefit?The mount I will be using will be a skywatcher EQ-5 mount with a single axis telescope drive(not sure if this will be good enough or should I purchace a dual axis drive) and one of the telescopes in my signature(not sure which ones would be best to use).Any advice would be appreciated.
Which zwo camera for EAA?
Posted 12 February 2019 - 11:04 AM
The better your mount the easier things are.
You have a variety of OTAs available for your use and this rather complicates things. Optimally you'd match your camera to your OTA but we can't really do that in this case.
In general the ASI294 camera is a very good choice for Observational AP. You'll have a lot of under-sampling with your 66mm OTA but in OAP under-sampling often is not too bothersome.
For the short exposures we use for OAP cooling seems to be of little benefit with the IMX294 cameras (at least at moderate temperatures). The story may be different with other cameras and with other sensors but we haven't had the same level of testing for that.
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Posted 12 February 2019 - 11:13 AM
i have a 385c and would recommend it. Sensitivity is high and has a slightly bigger fov to the 224. imo it is a perfect size for planetary nebula and galaxies ( with your scopes ), you won't be breaking the bank either. The 294mc is a great camera for eaa but is expensive and has a large fov, but you can always just use roi ( region of interest )
Cooling really doesn't benefit eaa much as you will be taking short exposures, i usually go around 4-8 seconds on my evo mount which is fine for eaa. If using something like sharpcap pro just be sure to make a dark and apply it before stacking to get rid of hot pixels. Check the link below to test different cameras and scopes fov on various objects.
i would also suggest looking at the astro image video gallery in this forum section so you can get an idea of what is capable with different scopes and cameras.
Edited by Barkingsteve, 12 February 2019 - 11:28 AM.
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Posted 12 February 2019 - 06:02 PM
I sure like my ASI294MC Pro with my 90mm refractor for EAA. Scott
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Posted 14 February 2019 - 07:45 PM
* Both your altaz and eq mounts are push-to. How accurately can you push to and find small planetary nebula?
* There's only 4 planetary nebs in the messier catalogue (which are generally the brightest easy-to-find ones) and the biggest one is only 8 minutes in size. That's 0.13 degree! IE very, very narrow field of view. Are you sure you don't mean to say your aim is simply to get nebula? IE also get the big supernova remnant nebula too ... some of which are twice the size of a full Moon like M42?
* Galaxies ... huge range there too ... M31 is 3 degree's in size which is 6 times the diameter of a full Moon! IE Very, very widefield. M105 is just 2 minutes (1/30th degree) in size! Many so faint that using a manual push-to mount it is going to be very hard to find them.
It is still possible using push-to ... but its like oldcuss said ... "the better your mount the easier things are."
And as oldcuss and barking steve said ... you dont need cooling for EAA, especially as your own requirement is not NASA photo of the day but simple EAA.
So ... taking those last two comments into account, and considering the stuff you'd like to 'see' I'd suggest ....
Buy an uncooled camera.
Use that FOV tool (or one which I will provide a link for) to work out which scope of yours works best with what ZWO camera to get you the most targets you want to 'see'
Once you have worked out which scope and camera then sell one or two of those other scopes .... to fund buying a GoTo mount.
If you want to fund buying an AltAz goto mount, then post up on the forum which camera you found earlier will work with one of your scopes and ask folk if it has (MOST IMPORTANTLY) enough sensitivity to get the objects on an altaz (very short exposures), and secondly ask folk to simply verify it will work nicely with that scope - Ie reach focus and not too bad vignetting.
If you want to fund buying an Eq goto mount then ditto ... post up on forum which camera you found earlier and ask folk to simply verify it will work nicely with that scope. Ie reach focus and not too bad vignetting.
FOV Calculator http://www.12dstring.me.uk/fovcalc.php
Edited by Howie1, 14 February 2019 - 07:46 PM.
Posted 14 February 2019 - 08:33 PM
Your mount is fine for EAA. As far as cooling goes, I don't think you'll need it at the exposure times you'll be able to track for unguided anyway, for sure a cooled camera will give you a lot less noise but I don't think it'll be something you should compromise other aspects of the camera (FOV and resolution) for - if you can get the same chip you want cooled or uncooled, then get it cooled, but if you can afford either a cooled camera or one with the FOV and resolution you want but no cooling, get the second one IMO.
Posted 14 February 2019 - 09:29 PM
When I got into EAA, I started out with the 224MC. I then progressed up to the 385MC with a slightly wider FOV. The 385MC is a big brother/sister to the 224MC, same sensitivity, etc. I now have the 294MC un-cooled, which I absolutely love. With my AT60ED APO and a Meade F/.63 Reducer/Corrector, I can get F/4 and a 4.84 x 3.3 degree FOV and get fantastic wide field shots of many large nebula, including getting all of the Andromeda galaxy.
For planetary nebula, I mostly use my Nexstar C8 on my ZEQ25 mount. Basically with your scopes, you might want to invest in a good GoTo EQ mount. The CEM25 mount is a great mount to use with your current scopes, except for the 10", that would require a huge mount.
If you can afford it, buy the 385MC camera and get the iOptron CEM25 mount. I think you would be happy with that combo. Perhaps you should sell your smaller scopes and purchase a C8. With that scope and a reducer, you would be in planetary nebula heaven.
I have EAA imaged many dozens of planetary nebula, some very obscure and not well know in the major catalogs. I like a challenge, and will EAA image a lot of the not so well known planetary nebula. I have also imaged quite a few Wolf-Rayet stars with planetary nebula like surroundings. I also like super nova remnants and proto-planetary nebula.
So your job, should you accept it, is to buy a new GoTo mount (iOptron CEM25), the 385MC camera and try to get your hands on the C8 optical tube. USing the C8 with a reducer, either the Meade F/.63 reducer or a standard GSO or High Point Scientific 0.5 reducer and it will open up a whole new world of planetary nebula imaging for you!
Posted 15 February 2019 - 04:51 PM
The standard advice for AP is ½ to ⅔ the max payload but those guys are doing 2,3,10 and 15 minute exposures. Will the EQ5 with a clock drive not do a decent job for EAA? Even with only one driven axis? I think suck it and see.
I'd also vote for the IMX294 based cameras. They are very sensitive, OSC cameras. There are Altair Astro, QHY, ZWO and other variants now which should mean the price will start coming down soon I think.
Importantly, it's a 4/3rds sensor. This makes it much cheaper than a APS-C or full frame camera but still covers alot of the image circle. Half the battle is getting the target in the field of view in the first place.
Posted 15 February 2019 - 05:01 PM
Almost forgot! With a large camera and Sharpcap, you can Polar Align the EQ5 without crawling on the ground!