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Ultrastar Vs ZWO ASI294MC Pro

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#1 jkfrazier

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Posted 13 February 2019 - 08:21 AM

I'm relatively new to EAA having been doing this for about a year. I'm currently using a Starlight Xpress Ultrastar with a C11 EdgeHD and Hyperstar.  Overall, I'm pleased with the performance of the Ultrastar, but wondering how much of an improvement the 294 will offer.  Most of my observing is deep sky, i.e. galaxies, nebulae etc.

 

I do all of this remotely and project from a 27" iMac to a 65" flat screen.

 

Thoughts?

 

jf



#2 saguaro

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Posted 13 February 2019 - 11:00 AM

I'm sure others will comment on the choice of cameras. One thing to be aware of is that if you go with the 294 and want to use SharpCap live stacking, SharpCap is Windows-only, unlike Starlight Live which has a Mac version. I don't think it's a showstopper; I believe there are several methods available to run SharpCap on a Mac so hopefully others will comment on that too.


Edited by saguaro, 13 February 2019 - 11:03 AM.


#3 DSO_Viewer

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Posted 13 February 2019 - 11:58 AM

I'm sure others will comment on the choice of cameras. One thing to be aware of is that if you go with the 294 and want to use SharpCap live stacking, SharpCap is Windows-only, unlike Starlight Live which has a Mac version. I don't think it's a showstopper; I believe there are several methods available to run SharpCap on a Mac so hopefully others will comment on that too.

You can run sharpcap in Mac under windows! Moving up to a 294MC will be a huge improvement in both resolution and field of view. There has been many discussions here in the past and I would suggest you do a search for this.

 

Steve



#4 jkfrazier

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Posted 13 February 2019 - 02:15 PM

Thanks Steve.  I did try searching but couldn't find a thread for this specific comparison.

 

I'll try again.

 

Thanks,

jf



#5 saguaro

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Posted 13 February 2019 - 03:26 PM

This thread has some comparisons: https://www.cloudyni...hich-is-better/

 

See #4 in that thread, for example.


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#6 jkfrazier

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Posted 13 February 2019 - 05:39 PM

You can run sharpcap in Mac under windows! Moving up to a 294MC will be a huge improvement in both resolution and field of view. There has been many discussions here in the past and I would suggest you do a search for this.

 

Steve

Yea, I run Parallels on the Mac and operate everything in Windows 10 including SkyTools, Focus Boss, Starlight Xpress and the Gemini Software for the Losmandy Mount.  I'll just need to learn SharpCap I suppose.



#7 jimthompson

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Posted 14 February 2019 - 09:52 AM

Hi JF,

 

I own both cameras mentioned.  Before I got the ASI294 I was very content with the Ultrastar, even with its issues (eg. bleeding around stars, yellow tint).  Now that I have the ASI294 I will probably sell the Ultrastar.  The images are just so much better quality, smoother, less artifacts, better colour balance.  The trade-off is that you are working with a much larger sensor which creates problems when using focal reducers and other accessories.  In the end though, definitely a net benefit moving to the ASI294.

 

Cheers,

 

Jim T.


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#8 Stargazer3236

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Posted 14 February 2019 - 09:59 PM

+1 with JimThompson

 

I have the 294MC and it is the best CMOS camera I have used to date. I used to own the 224MC and the 385MC and while they were great camera's in their own right, I like the 294MC FOV and ease of use in SharpCap 3.2 Pro!


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#9 jkfrazier

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Posted 15 February 2019 - 12:06 PM

Hi JF,

 

I own both cameras mentioned.  Before I got the ASI294 I was very content with the Ultrastar, even with its issues (eg. bleeding around stars, yellow tint).  Now that I have the ASI294 I will probably sell the Ultrastar.  The images are just so much better quality, smoother, less artifacts, better colour balance.  The trade-off is that you are working with a much larger sensor which creates problems when using focal reducers and other accessories.  In the end though, definitely a net benefit moving to the ASI294.

 

Cheers,

 

Jim T.

Thanks Jim.  You mentioned problems caused when using reducers and other accessories.  What problems should I expect?  Should I expect problems using Hyperstar?

Thanks,

Jf



#10 Stargazer3236

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Posted 15 February 2019 - 02:06 PM

I think the answer might be with vignetting. When using reducers, you have to be careful that the sensor will cover the whole FOV and if the reducer creates too big of a FOV, the sensor will not be able to cover the entire FOV. Therefore you will get areas of the field of view where there will be black or dark areas of the image where the sensor cannot cover due to the reducers FOV.



#11 jimthompson

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Posted 15 February 2019 - 02:24 PM

Thanks Jim.  You mentioned problems caused when using reducers and other accessories.  What problems should I expect?  Should I expect problems using Hyperstar?

Thanks,

Jf

Hi JF,

 

I think you should be fine using the camera with Hyperstar since that scope design provides a nice big image at the focal plane.  The problem is when you try to use focal reducers to achieve the same focal ratios you are used to with smaller sensors, like classical CCD video cameras.  The diagonal dimension of the IMX294 is 21.6mm, that's almost 3 times larger than the 8mm sensors we were all using 5-6 years ago.  Most of the telescopes and focal reducers people are using (the ones that we can afford anyway) are not able to provide a fully illuminated image plane as big as 21mm, and as a result you will get a large percentage of the sensor affected by coma and vignetting.  With my ASI294 I limit myself to around 0.7 to 0.8x focal reduction (if any) as that is about as far as I can go before the coma and vignetting is too much.  Care should also be given to your other accessories, for example you will want to use all 2" connectors, filters, nosepieces, etc.  Again this is due to the size of the sensor.

 

Cheers,

 

Jim T.


Edited by jimthompson, 15 February 2019 - 02:25 PM.

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#12 descott12

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Posted 15 February 2019 - 10:09 PM

I use the ASI294 with my Evo 8 and HyperStar. Yes, vignetting is a problem but can be easily corrected with flats and SC supports using flats really well.  I posted some examples way at the bottom of this thread

 

https://www.cloudyni...yperstar/page-2


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#13 jkfrazier

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Posted 22 February 2019 - 07:39 PM

Thanks so much everybody.  The ZWO arrived yesterday!!!  Looking forward to trying it out.  I also went all out and bought a Paramount MX+, so the G11 will be up for sale fairly soon.

 

jf


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