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Need advice choosing a mono camera

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#1 FrozenSky


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Posted 11 September 2019 - 08:46 PM

Hello all,

I just upgraded from a Skywatcher SkyGuider to a CEM 60 and a 104/650 APO + FF/FR 0.79. To complement this setup and to cut through that light pollution I want to get a mono camera. There are loads of threads regarding choices, but I think the choice of camera is what most people struggle with. The new full frame sensor sounds amazing but 5k is just so far out of my budget.

Would greatly appreciate any help to avoid mistakes

Thank You

#2 fetoma



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Posted 11 September 2019 - 08:58 PM

Search for the ASI183mm or the ASI1600MM. You'll most likely pick one of those.

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#3 Suavi



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Posted 11 September 2019 - 09:00 PM

At 510mm focal length, even smaller sensors will easily cover most DSOs, and smaller sensors require smaller filters = saving $$.


If you are limited in terms of clear nights, then larger pixels will help to maximise SNR (but at the cost of resolution, which can be to a degree recovered with drizzle integration). Perhaps a camera with ICX694 or a similiar CMOS offering would nicely fit.


If you don't mind longer integrations to reach a high SNR and also would like to sample diffraction limited data, then smaller pixels will be more appropriate, like ICX814 or ICX834, or the popular Panasonic CMOS used in ASI 1600.

#4 boan-zhu


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Posted 12 September 2019 - 03:33 AM


#5 dhaval



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Posted 12 September 2019 - 07:53 AM

It really boils down to if you are looking for a CCD or CMOS. In either case, you probably want smaller pixels to ensure you are well sampled. Larger pixels and you will be under sampled and way smaller pixels and you will be over sampled. Under sampled images are typically soft, but you can drizzle them. Over sampled images require accurate guiding, but the results are very vibrant with really good details. 


Between CCD and CMOS - CMOS has quirks in terms of calibrating data. Nothing major, but you need to ensure that you are taking your calibration data at the same temperature/gain/offset as with lights. However, CMOS cameras have really low read noise allowing you to take shorter subs. The 1600 that people are recommending will require tons of subs to ensure you get proper dynamic range (which in turn will require a really decent computer to process that much data). CCD cameras on the other hand have significant read noise (compared to CMOS cameras these days, although, just a few years ago, some of them were considered the gold standard for imaging, even with that high read noise, so it is all relative) - what that means is that you will need longer subs, but fewer of them. That puts onus on you to ensure proper guiding of the mount. But the resulting data is really easy to calibrate and process. 


Another aspect is, these days, you can buy a KAF8300 chip for around $800 (not including FW and filters). A new 1600 runs around $1250 (again not including FW/Filters). Almost all 8300 chip cameras allow you to use 1.25in filters. Only the ZWO version of 1600 allows you to use 1.25in filters. So, consider that from a cost standpoint. Typically, the 8300 chipped cameras that you find on the used market these days are very well made cameras that will last a long time. The ZWO is a relatively new camera (been around for a few years now), so longevity is not thoroughly tested. But, that may or may not be something that you consider. 


The other significant difference will be the FOV of CCD compared to CMOS. Almost all CCD cameras with small pixels are limited in FOV whereas the 1600 is a 4/3 size camera, much larger FOV (same as the 8300, however, remember that the 8300 chip has pixels that are 5.4um, will most likely result in under sampled images with your set up - again, like I said, that is not a bad thing, just that you need to know how to process that data via drizzling). 


Finally - if I was in the market with that type of set up - I would personally select one of the Sony ICX814 chip cameras. The pixel size is the same as the ZWO1600, the FOV is small, but the ease of using that camera from data collection to image processing is truly phenomenal. The read noise is exceptionally low (compared to other CCD cameras) and the data is very clean coming out of the sensor. You sacrifice FOV, but get a close up of the target without having the need to crop. 



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#6 FrozenSky


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Posted 12 September 2019 - 05:26 PM

Thanks for all the great replys,


I really like the IMX183 CMOS and ICX814 CCD sensors.

Still need to wrap head around wich of the technologies fits better to my setup.

I like to print my pictures big so the IMX183 pixel count is nice but I suppose I could just use the ICX814 and do some mosaics and take advantage with the bigger pixels.


The Atik 490EX is about 2.5k EUR with 1.46"/px and the ASi183 is about 1.2k EUR with 0.95"/px.


Difficult decision...

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