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Imaging Setup with Apos and ZWOs

astrophotography CMOS dso equipment imaging refractor
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#1 Marco 104

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Posted 22 August 2019 - 03:57 PM

Hi all and thanks for all the precious info this forum keeps delivering!

 

I'm back to astronomy after some years off and I'd like to build up an imaging setup

 

The list of my equipment comprises a Vixen FL-70S (560mm @ f/8 that goes down to f/5.6 with its reducer), a Takahashi FS-102 (820mm @ f/8, that can achieve f/6.8 with a Borg 0.85x reducer/flattener), an EQ6-Pro, a Robofocus and a TCF-S focuser that was originally bough for my C9 and can eventually fit the Taka as well

 

My idea is to either get cameras for these scopes in order to have a configuration capable of imaging large (400mm) to mid-fields (820mm) DSOs or, less likely, to replace them with new scopes (130mm and 80mm chinese apos) to extend the FL range a bit

 

After an initial check, for the main imaging camera I'm considering ZWO ASI 183MC, 294MC and 1600MM (all in cooled Pro versions). They have different pros and cons

 

183MC Pro

cheaper

smaller pixel size, fitting very well the complete FL range in good seeing conditions

smaller chip area

 

294

intermediate cost

no need to go immediately for filters' wheel, but possible to play with narrow band (I expect this is ok with 183 too, but only found info on 294)

pixel size ok for Taka, potential underfitting for the Vixen @ 400mm in ok-seeing conditions (astronomy.tools)

large chip

 

1600

higher cost

pixel size that likely fits the complete FL in ok-seeing conditions (astronomy.tools)

need to immediately add costs for wheel and filters

large chip

 

I'm a beginner and I'm probably better off starting with a color CMOS, although I really aim at imaging in narrowband as I live in an area with some light pollution, not extreme, but noticeable. Considering also costs and possibility to add NB later on I'm pointing the 294

 

PS. For guiding I was thinking of an ASI 224MC, that I can maybe use also for planetary with C9

 

Let me hear from your experience which one I'd go for and why

 

Thanks for your comments!

Marco


Edited by Marco 104, 22 August 2019 - 04:00 PM.


#2 santafe retiree

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Posted 22 August 2019 - 05:29 PM

You might want to start here to review your image scale with the various scopes/camera combos to see if you are going to be over/under sampled:

 

https://astronomy.to...ccd_suitability

 

Regards,

 

Tom



#3 Marco 104

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Posted 22 August 2019 - 11:27 PM

Ciao Tom, thanks, this is what I have already done, the considerations above are derived from the numbers collected on astronomy.tools

 

All considered, the 294 looks to be the good trade-off, but I'd like to hear from anyone who might have similar scope and therefore similar setup

 

Thanks

Marco



#4 terry59

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Posted 23 August 2019 - 06:16 AM

Buy a mono sensor....trying to shoot NB with OSC is doable but not terribly efficient. Don't compromise

 

smile.gif 



#5 dhaval

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Posted 23 August 2019 - 07:59 AM

I agree with Terry. You are trying to image "large" targets. Most of the larger targets are nebulae. They do well in narrowband. Narrowband does well with mono cameras and filters. Outside of that, it won't matter too much which one of the three cameras you end up buying.

 

CS! 



#6 Marco 104

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Posted 23 August 2019 - 08:26 AM

Terry and Dhaval, thanks for your clear standing!

 

For the 1600 case I'm looking at the ZWO package proposal, the one with camera, LRGB and NB filters together ($1799)

Two concerns, first, is this camera likely to be dismissed shortly and is that the reason for the offer?

Second, are the all these ZWO filters any good? I read not great reviews for both LRGB and NB, maybe related to versions of the filters sold 1-2 years ago?

 

Beside that, I checked and my sky is Bortle5 

 

Thanks again!

Marco



#7 Kaydubbed

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Posted 23 August 2019 - 09:30 AM

Buy a mono sensor....trying to shoot NB with OSC is doable but not terribly efficient. Don't compromise

 

smile.gif

Agreed. That is an interesting dragon people chase. Just because it can be done doesn't mean it will yield a good image. Depending on the size of the filter [in NM] you get something like 1/6th the signal with OSC and narrowband filters than a mono camera with the same filter.



#8 dhaval

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Posted 23 August 2019 - 10:23 AM

Terry and Dhaval, thanks for your clear standing!

 

For the 1600 case I'm looking at the ZWO package proposal, the one with camera, LRGB and NB filters together ($1799)

Two concerns, first, is this camera likely to be dismissed shortly and is that the reason for the offer?

Second, are the all these ZWO filters any good? I read not great reviews for both LRGB and NB, maybe related to versions of the filters sold 1-2 years ago?

 

Beside that, I checked and my sky is Bortle5 

 

Thanks again!

Marco

I am not sure what ZWO has planned for the 1600, but given that it is a highly popular camera, I would doubt if they will end its production without coming up with a better alternative. 

 

The ZWO filters are, well, OK. They will do the job, but you truly get what you pay for. There are alternatives - Optolong, Astronomik, Baader, etc. But eventually, you do need to think about Chroma or Astrodons. 

 

While Bortle 5 skies are better than Bortle 8 or 7, narrowband will more than benefit from the usage of mono cameras.

 

CS!



#9 Marco 104

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Posted 23 August 2019 - 10:47 AM

I can probably access an older set of 1.25” Astrodon Truebalance LRGB E-Series 1, are they remarkably better than ZWO? And are they compatible with ZWO filter wheel in case?

#10 dhaval

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Posted 23 August 2019 - 11:32 AM

I can probably access an older set of 1.25” Astrodon Truebalance LRGB E-Series 1, are they remarkably better than ZWO? And are they compatible with ZWO filter wheel in case?

The Series 1 LRGB filters from Astrodon do produce halos around brighter stars and not having personally used them, I am not sure if they are better than ZWO filters.

 

CS! 



#11 OldManSky

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Posted 23 August 2019 - 02:50 PM

The "newer" ZWO LRGB filters are improved over the older versions, and are a very good budget choice.

The "newer" NB filters are quite a bit better, except for the OIII filter -- it's much the same and is still prone to halos in some cases.

 

I'm using the LRGB and Ha, SII filters with an ASI183MM Pro (which you might consider instead of the color version, or the 1600...).  I got a Baader OIII instead of the ZWO version -- no halos.



#12 Marco 104

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Posted 24 August 2019 - 03:36 AM

The 183 in its color version was in my short list, however the chip is way smaller compared to 294 and 1600 and the pixel size would bring real benefit only in good seeing condition

For 294, which has the largest pixel size in this lot, the worst condition is 2.44”/pixel when using the Vixen FL70 @ f/5.6 (400mm),which is very slightly off range for ok-seeing according to astronomy.tools

Other than that 294 and 1600 fit well within the 1”-2”/pixel range for my apos focal length and keeping a larger pixel allows me to have a door open for some imaging with my C9 in the future too, maybe with binning in case of need?

Let me know if my considerations make any sense to you expert, my guesses come from reading, not from real experience

Thanks
Marco

#13 Pete_xl

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Posted 24 August 2019 - 06:02 AM

I use the ASI294mcp and the 1600mmp. I like both for what they deliver but if you aim at narrowband imaging I would definitevely recommend to buy the mono cam.



#14 Marco 104

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Posted 24 August 2019 - 10:17 AM

Ok pretty much everybody pointing at the mono, got it! grin.gif

 

Looking at the kits camera-wheel-filters, I notice that 1600 can come in different packages, with 31mm, 1.25" and 36mm filters, why that?

 

I mean, 31mm looks unmounted, while 1.25" are mounted, why should you prefer one to the other?

Then, 36mm. Why if the 31mm of the other kits are already ok for this sensor size? Is it intended for people that might use the same wheel with other sensors as well or do 31mm introduce sort of vignetting?

 

Thanks!



#15 dhaval

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Posted 24 August 2019 - 01:07 PM

Ok pretty much everybody pointing at the mono, got it! grin.gif

 

Looking at the kits camera-wheel-filters, I notice that 1600 can come in different packages, with 31mm, 1.25" and 36mm filters, why that?

 

I mean, 31mm looks unmounted, while 1.25" are mounted, why should you prefer one to the other?

Then, 36mm. Why if the 31mm of the other kits are already ok for this sensor size? Is it intended for people that might use the same wheel with other sensors as well or do 31mm introduce sort of vignetting?

 

Thanks!

One of the reasons why the ZWO is more popular as compared to its QHY cousin is because the ZWO camera's back focus is 6.5mm - that means the sensor is very close to the filters. This allows the usage of smaller size filters without vignetting. If and when you do upgrade to a different scope that very wide field or larger format camera, you may have to change filters. Most scopes up to F4 should work fine with the 1600 camera and 1.25in filters. This also means that you can buy much cheaper filters. 

 

CS!




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