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User experience with RisingTech/RisingCam IMX294 (no-cooled) camera?

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#1 fromEarth

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Posted 28 October 2019 - 08:24 AM

Hi,

 

I am thinking of upgrading my CMOS camera from RT224 to RT294 (non-cooled). However, I found only a few comments on this specific camera and pictures taked by this camera in the EAA forum.

 

https://www.aliexpre...ducts_5977166.1

 

I know that ASI294MC is (much) more popular among imaging people, but what is your opinion on RT294? Is this upgrading reasonable for EAA (1-20sec max)? What is the biggest drawback of RT294 compared to ASI294MC?

 

Let me know. Thanks!

 

 

fromEarth


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#2 cmooney91

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Posted 28 October 2019 - 08:52 AM

I'm in the same boat.

 

The SharpCap driver support concerns me.

I have an RT224 and a RT290 Mono and SharpCap can't differentiate between the two when they are connected at the same time, it is very annoying since I always use the second camera as a digital finder scope. I would plan to use all three cameras at the same time if it get the 294.

 

The ZWO is currently cheaper (700 vs 725) and it has SIGNIFICANTLY better drivers, software compatibility, and support.

 

There is not a large price difference between the two, I am going to wait to see if ZWO discounts the price even more during black Friday. 


Edited by cmooney91, 28 October 2019 - 08:54 AM.


#3 OleCuss

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Posted 28 October 2019 - 09:48 AM

Good thing to wait for Black Friday!!!

 

One other thing?  Both ZWO and QHY use some sort of trick to make some of the inactive pixels into active pixels.  So the ZWO and QHY IMX294 cameras effectively have larger sensors.  That increased size may not be at all helpful to some, but to others it may be a significant benefit.

 

Do note that in a side-by-side review of MallinCam and ZWO IMX294 cameras, the reviewer didn't seem to be all that constrained when using the Mallincam (a significantly modified ToupTek camera) with SharpCap.  Thus ToupTek cameras' non-native SharpCap support may not actually be a big deal for many of us - and getting a ToupTek camera means you can use their Rising Sky software and there do seem to be some people who like that software better.

 

I'm pretty much a ZWO guy and am happy that way, but I'm guessing I'd also be happy if I were using a ToupTek-derived camera.



#4 nic35

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Posted 28 October 2019 - 11:13 AM

I've owned an rt224, and at roughly half the price of the comparable ZWO, i considered it good value.  But I never liked the lack of "native" sharpcap support.  I think that alone is worth some $$.

 

If the ZWO is cheaper, it is a no-brainer decision !

 

j



#5 elpajare

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Posted 30 October 2019 - 03:21 AM

I have been a Risingcam user for years. I have a good collection of cameras of this brand. All work perfectly.

 

Risingcam is a very complete, free and easy to use software. It has what it takes to practice EAA, stacking, subtraction of darks and flats, automatic white balance, histogram control, etc ...

 

I opted for this brand because it was cheaper in the market and I was not willing to spend more than necessary and I have not regretted it.

 

IMX 294 uncooled is a very good option for EAA today. The best, in my opinion

 

In my signature you can see links to their results


Edited by elpajare, 30 October 2019 - 03:24 AM.

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#6 mclewis1

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Posted 30 October 2019 - 10:18 AM

The RT294 is showing $688 for the Nov 11 sale, so it's currently cheaper than the basic ZWO camera. The RT camera is cooled, just not actively (there's no TEC). The RT camera has a fan and a large heat sink internally, and yes it does make some difference to read noise. It's just not as effective as an active TEC based setup, but it also doesn't require external 12v power to run the camera. Based on experience with smaller sensor models the fan cooled RT camera will be in between the basic ZWO and the Pro cooled model in terms of noise.



#7 fromEarth

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Posted 31 October 2019 - 09:28 AM

I have been a Risingcam user for years. I have a good collection of cameras of this brand. All work perfectly.

 

Risingcam is a very complete, free and easy to use software. It has what it takes to practice EAA, stacking, subtraction of darks and flats, automatic white balance, histogram control, etc ...

 

I opted for this brand because it was cheaper in the market and I was not willing to spend more than necessary and I have not regretted it.

 

IMX 294 uncooled is a very good option for EAA today. The best, in my opinion

 

In my signature you can see links to their results

 

According to cmooney91's complaint above, SharpCap has an issue to recognize multiple ToupCam cameras. How about RisingSky? Does it recognize multiple cameras? I use both RisingSky and SharpCap for my RT224, but this is my only camera, so cannot test this problem by myself.

 

fromEarth


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#8 elpajare

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Posted 31 October 2019 - 01:58 PM

I use RisinngSky software only with Risingcam cameras. All my cameras are of this brand.

 

I have absolutely NO problem in recognizing each and every one.

 

In my opinion, the RisingSky software has everything necessary to have the best results in EAA.



#9 cmooney91

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Posted 31 October 2019 - 02:04 PM

RisingSky is fine, both cameras show up and you can gracefully switch between them. 

 

Sharpcap has a preference to my IMX290. If both cameras are plugged-in and I start the directshow driver in sharpcap, it picks the mono IMX290.

 

If I want to use my color IMX224 in sharpcap I have to make sure the IMX290 is unpluged, or disabled in device manager. Then sharpcap DirectShow will pick the Color IMX224. 

 

If I crash or accidentally close I have to repeat the process to get the IMX224 to connect, which can be very annoying while operating remotely.

 

Usually I have sharpcap running the main scope camera, and RisingSky runing the finder. 

 

If I accidently make risingsky run the same camera as sharpcap it all hangs up and I need to redo it. 

 

 

Many times I would like to live stack the e-finder FOV to see big nebula or multiple DSO, but risingsky stacking is too buggy/clunky(for me), and it is too much trouble to get the cameras switched in sharpcap, so I just don't do it, even though I would like to be able to.

 

It'd be nice if the ToupTek/RishingCam  drivers were natively supported in SharpCap, and I could gracefully switch cameras or have two separate sharpcap instances running. 


Edited by cmooney91, 31 October 2019 - 02:09 PM.


#10 mclewis1

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Posted 31 October 2019 - 07:12 PM

The SharpCap RT290m issue does sound like a DirectShow driver issue. The older ToupTek ASCOM camera driver wasn't very good but it appears to be substantially more functional now (in the late summer/fall software releases). I find that latest ASCOM camera driver works well enough that I don't seem to need the native camera driver in SharpCap for my RT290m camera.

 

I only use the DirectShow camera driver now when I run MetaGuide for doing collimation.

 

IMHO there is a much bigger problem with all the software products (ToupSky and it's derivatives, SharpCap and a few others) in that you can't run multiple cameras at the same time. I, like a lot of other folks would like to have both a wide field and long focal length camera setups active at the same time, and ideally with the same software. We used to have a lot of analog video cameras around that made good wide field/finder type of setups that worked well in conjunction with other cameras but now most folks just want multiple USB connected cameras, and so we have conflicts.

 

We need either the apps to be able to support multiple active windows/cameras or support running multiple instances of the app without stepping on the device drivers and DLLs.


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#11 fromEarth

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Posted 01 November 2019 - 09:29 AM

Hi OleCus, 

 

Sounds good, but how much bigger? Noticeably bigger? 

 

Good thing to wait for Black Friday!!!

 

One other thing?  Both ZWO and QHY use some sort of trick to make some of the inactive pixels into active pixels.  So the ZWO and QHY IMX294 cameras effectively have larger sensors.  That increased size may not be at all helpful to some, but to others it may be a significant benefit.

 

Do note that in a side-by-side review of MallinCam and ZWO IMX294 cameras, the reviewer didn't seem to be all that constrained when using the Mallincam (a significantly modified ToupTek camera) with SharpCap.  Thus ToupTek cameras' non-native SharpCap support may not actually be a big deal for many of us - and getting a ToupTek camera means you can use their Rising Sky software and there do seem to be some people who like that software better.

 

I'm pretty much a ZWO guy and am happy that way, but I'm guessing I'd also be happy if I were using a ToupTek-derived camera.



#12 OleCuss

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Posted 01 November 2019 - 10:28 AM

Hi OleCus, 

 

Sounds good, but how much bigger? Noticeably bigger? 

Noticeably bigger is a standard I find difficult to define.  I suspect the only way to truly notice would be to image the same object with framing exactly the same except for sensor size at exactly the same time using an expanded and a non-expanded sensor.  I doubt we'll ever have that.

 

Also, the image circle is a big deal.  If your image circle is smaller enough that it doesn't fully illuminate the no-expanded sensor then there will be no noticeable difference at all.  If your image circle is bigger than is the expanded sensor, then the expanded sensor image will be bigger and that means that the increased FOV will be bigger and you can take at least technical notice of that.

 

But in terms of will it make a significant difference in your images?  That depends on your other equipment, the targets you are choosing, whether you like a wide FOV, and (to a certain degree) the mount that you are using.

 

I suspect some would never miss the expanded sensor and others might.  I don't think it is (or will be) a big deal for most.



#13 mclewis1

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Posted 02 November 2019 - 08:54 AM

Every sensor has a few extra rows and columns set aside from the advertised active area of the sensor. They are normally used to replace a failed area on the sensor (shifting everything over a row or two). Adding these extra rows and columns to the active area of the sensor to increase the fov is IMHO a complete red herring, as that it adds virtually nothing useful to the field of view ("nothing" in this case just being an exceedingly small amount).

 

The marketing guys like it though ... "my sensor is bigger than your sensor".



#14 OleCuss

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Posted 02 November 2019 - 07:10 PM

As best I can tell, the QHY/ZWO modification means an effective 13% increase in size.  That's statistically significant but yes, depending on the other gear and ones goals one might never miss that 13% greater area.

 

But let's consider a case where someone is using a rig where the IMX294 camera almost frames the entirety of the Andromeda Galaxy - but not quite because while the image circle provides the photons the sensor is just a little too small?  A 13% increase could mean success instead of failure.  The same can be true for other rigs with different framing preferences and targets.

 

I will contend that the difference could be very significant or inconsequential depending on multiple factors.  I think that most of the time it will matter very little to most.  I'd still prefer more capability although I may not be willing to pay a whole lot for it.



#15 mclewis1

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Posted 08 November 2019 - 10:01 AM

Arrrrrgggggh ... I completely forgot to respond to the last post.

 

I have to offer Olecuss a mea culpa ... 13% is indeed a substantial difference. I had to take a closer look at this and the 294 chip is a little bizzare. The horizontal pixel count is varied within just a small range (using those "spare" rows and columns) just as it does on virtually every other chip (thus my "nothing useful" comment above) but Sony has also done something really strange in trying to offer a variety of different aspect ratios with the 294 chip and Sam at ZWO has taken advantage of this. He's using the additional pixels available in the height aspect of the chip. This area seems to normally only be used in combination with different (lower) width settings. So the ASI294 camera is offering a unique aspect ratio in the max resolution setting for this chip. The native ASI camera driver in SharpCap is where this unique setting is made available ... I'd be curious if the ASCOM driver also offers this capability. 

 

Most of us couldn't imagine not using the whole chip for imaging (caring a lot less about the actual aspect ratio) but in commercial camera uses the different aspect ratio has a big effect on different lens choices and I guess Sony was trying to adapt the chip to a variety of different uses.


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#16 Jeff Lee

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Posted 08 November 2019 - 10:26 AM

While only having used my non-cooled ZWO294 MC for a couple of nights, the absolute difference between the 224 chip and the 294 chip is pretty amazing. I only do EAA but the size difference is worth the $$$ in my limited experience.



#17 cmooney91

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Posted 08 November 2019 - 01:49 PM

I have a RT224 and really like it but I am looking to upgrade to a bigger FOV.

 

I am on the fence between cooled and uncooled ASI294.

 

Do you have any issues with the the dark frame calibration on nights with big temperature drop?

 

I've seen pictures of the 294's starburst amp glow patterns and I am concerned that it would start to show up in the final stack with aggressive stretching as the ambient temp drops below the the dark frame temp.

 

If you have experienced this, how much dark frame temperature mismatch can you tolerate before there are noticeable issues with the uncooled camera?

 

I shoot at <f4 unfiltered under Bortle 5 skies, so the reduced dark current due to cooling won't benefit me much, I'm mostly interested in the stability of the dark frame calibration throughout the night.

 

I run into this issue with my uncooled RT224, but the amp glow is a smooth gradient so I can live with it, I'm afraid the 294's starburst pattern might be a lot more noticeable.

 

I run remotely, so it would be a hassle to go outside to the scope, remove and cap the camera, retake darks, replace the camera,  refocus, and  then retake flats every time the temperature drops 5C.

 

Any advice or related experiences  would be appreciated.

 

I'm hoping to get one if they do a black Friday sale.



#18 barbarosa

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Posted 09 November 2019 - 07:45 PM

 

IMHO there is a much bigger problem with all the software products (ToupSky and it's derivatives, SharpCap and a few others) in that you can't run multiple cameras at the same time.

I just now noticed your post. You can run multiple instances of SharpCap at the same time, two cameras two instances, three cameras, three instances and so on until you run out of cameras, USB ports or computer resources. I ran one cam as an all sky and one for the main scope. The guide cam of course was connected via PHd2. 

 

I suspect that if you wanted to run two cameras and stack and adjust each one separately but will some simple select control on the main screen, it would actually be two instances of SC running anyway, 

 

But wait it is windows so we can split the screen or tile the screen or alt tab from app to app etc.and have a simultaneous or sequential view of the cameras.


Edited by barbarosa, 09 November 2019 - 07:47 PM.


#19 mclewis1

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Posted 10 November 2019 - 08:34 AM

David,

 

I've never been able to get multiple instances of SC to run stably (but I haven't tried this since early v3). It has always looked to me as if there was a problem with a shared DLL ... and I haven't tried it with multiple different kinds of cameras.

 

Specifically what kind of setups have you used?




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