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QHY268C beta has landed

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#1 jtrezzo

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Posted 20 December 2019 - 03:28 PM

Last night I received from QHYCCD the QHY268C, the new APS-C camera featuring the IMX571 color-only sensor. Naturally, clouds prevent any kind of real testing on the scope for the time being, but I figured I'd share some images and info about the camera itself. Later tonight I will link to some dark and bias frames, and if I'm lucky some actual first light if the conditions allow it (though it appears very unlikely at the moment).

This is the early version of the camera that people who pre-ordered will receive, and like the early version of the QHY600, it features the long body and scientific features. While it contains the infrastructure to use 10 gigabit fiber transfer, it is lacking the capture card, which of course is pricey, an addon that QHY will make available later. Otherwise, it functions as normal. 

 

(note that I have switched out the standard longer silver screws on the center adapter for shorter black ones to not protrude out since I use a RASA)

 

IMG_20191219_214339_resize.jpg

 

IMG_20191219_214512~2_resize.jpg

 

 IMG_20191219_214436_resize.jpg


Edited by jtrezzo, 20 December 2019 - 03:34 PM.

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#2 jtrezzo

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Posted 20 December 2019 - 03:29 PM

The box contains the following items. 2"-M54 adapter, dessicant tube, 6-hole 0.5-13mm spacer kit for adjusting fine backfocus, cigarette lighter power adapter, 12V power brick, locking power cable, 5 ft USB 3.0 cable, in addition to the (not pictured here) M54 screw on metal camera cap and centering/tilt adjustment ring. I was happy to see that they are now including a spacer kit with their cameras as I know that has frustrated a lot of people.

 

IMG_20191219_213950~2_resize.jpg

 

 

Many wanting an OSC will be debating between this camera and ZWO's ASI2600MC counterpart so I figure it is worth pointing out the differences I've noticed.

 

1.) The QHY has a 2GB DDR3 memory buffer - the ZWO has 256MB DDR3 memory buffer. This may matter for those who want to do EAA (I'd think, but can't confirm since I know nothing about it).

 

2) The QHY has 3 different readout modes which offer varying performance/tradeoffs. The charts for the fullwell, system gain, and read noise are here. The modes are: a) #0 - Standard DSO Photo Mode, b) #1 - HCG/LCG Mode (there is a switch point at gain 55-56),  c) #2 - Ultra-High/Extended Fullwell Mode. From the information I have available on ZWO's site, it has just one standard readout mode.

 

3) The QHY has an M54 interface, the ZWO has M42 interface. This may have ramifications for those who use fast setups such as Hyperstar or RASA, where the steep light cone can cause extra vignetting with narrower adapters.


Edited by jtrezzo, 20 December 2019 - 03:38 PM.

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#3 jtrezzo

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Posted 20 December 2019 - 03:30 PM

As I mentioned the early version has the long body. The length is about 7 inches (18cm). The standard version which is coming later will be somewhere in between the long body and the other medium camera bodies that QHY currently has out such as the 168C, 247C, and 367C. I am currently a 367C user so here are a couple comparison shots of the difference for reference. I put both on my scale and the weight of the 268C with the center/tilt adjuster is 1065g. The 367C is 770g. Most of the weight is up near the sensor half however and I don't think it should present any tilt problems on good focusers.

 

IMG_20191219_214535~2_resize.jpg

 

IMG_20191219_214631_resize.jpg

 

More to come later...


Edited by jtrezzo, 20 December 2019 - 03:39 PM.

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#4 Kaydubbed

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Posted 20 December 2019 - 04:12 PM

Those 10gb NICs are so much more efficient than USB3. Not to mention the mechanics of the RJ45 connectors are more subjective to longevity than USB female ports. Does the ZWO-equivalent have them?



#5 jtrezzo

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Posted 20 December 2019 - 04:16 PM

Those 10gb NICs are so much more efficient than USB3. Not to mention the mechanics of the RJ45 connectors are more subjective to longevity than USB female ports. Does the ZWO-equivalent have them?

No, but they are not functional as it is on the QHY without the later add-on, and the standard version QHY releases later will not have them at all so I didn't mention them as differences.


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#6 Kaydubbed

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Posted 20 December 2019 - 04:21 PM

Ah what a shame. PoE for camera and cooling power and 10GB connections would be such a welcome addition to my network/setup, as well as many others' observatories. I hope that tech comes soon!



#7 buckeyestargazer

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Posted 20 December 2019 - 04:22 PM

Congrats Jarrett!  Looking forward to calibration frames and first light.  I had the opportunity to get the early bird version but decided against it because I didn't want the extra long body, and I knew I wouldn't want the RJ45 connector.  I also want to note that QHY told me they would not be making the RJ45 version as a standard option on this camera.  It will only be for special request.  This is different than the QHY600 which they will make both a professional and standard photographic version.  



#8 calypsob

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Posted 20 December 2019 - 06:31 PM

How do those 10 gigabit ports work?

#9 jtrezzo

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Posted 21 December 2019 - 02:05 AM

Of course it's still cloudy, but here are some bias and dark frames. Please see the reference charts for camera specs at the chosen gains.

 

Link contains the following: 1 bias and 1 dark of each 60s, 120s, 180s, and 300s of each:  

 

Photo Mode - Gain 0 (max DR, max FW, highest read noise)

Photo Mode - Gain 26 (read noise drop, DR recover point)

 

High Gain Mode - Gain 0 (LCG (low conversion gain) mode)

High Gain Mode - Gain 56 (HCG (high conversion gain) mode)

Extended Fullwell - Gain 0

 

All at offset 30 for a median bias ~400-500 ADU.



#10 Paul Garais

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Posted 21 December 2019 - 02:23 AM

Is the backfocus of 17.5 mm accurate? How do you attach it to your RASA and get a IR/UV filter in between? And: Please share if you have issues to get good stars throughout the field (assuming you use RASA 8).

Thank you for sharing!


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#11 RichieS

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Posted 21 December 2019 - 06:31 AM

Looking forward to your first light Jarrettsmile.gif



#12 buckeyestargazer

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Posted 21 December 2019 - 10:00 AM

Those bias and darks look very clean.  I did notice there are two horizontal lines in the Extended full well bias/darks.  I wonder what that's about?



#13 ScottyP5947

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Posted 21 December 2019 - 11:23 AM

Right on Jarrett! Great write up! Looks good to me, glad to see that it comes with spacers and all that - it's something I wondered about. I'll take a look at the bias and dark frames later today. I heard that mine may ship as early as next week. Cyclops optics said they would do a simple system check before they ship to me so that might delay things. Either way, now I'm even more excited! As for the 10gig ports, looks like they take a standard SFP - I have a few laying (both fiber and rj45) around I'll pop into mine to see if I can get any connectivity. I assume I won't get far but at least I can try :)
Scott
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#14 Paul Garais

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Posted 21 December 2019 - 01:04 PM

Right on Jarrett! Great write up! Looks good to me, glad to see that it comes with spacers and all that - it's something I wondered about. I'll take a look at the bias and dark frames later today. I heard that mine may ship as early as next week. Cyclops optics said they would do a simple system check before they ship to me so that might delay things. Either way, now I'm even more excited! As for the 10gig ports, looks like they take a standard SFP - I have a few laying (both fiber and rj45) around I'll pop into mine to see if I can get any connectivity. I assume I won't get far but at least I can try :)
Scott

Wait in line Scott! I also ordered through Cyclops Optics. Robin is expecting to get the cams early next week (there was hope for this week). And he also told me, they will test the cams prior to shipping. Which is totally fine with me. It would be a shame to get a broken piece just to send it back all the way to Hong Kong.

But I have to say, it is awesome how Robin handles customer communication and takes care of getting everything right for us. Even the spacing ;). Definitely high-quality customer support and better than many vendors in Germany.

BUT: The main point is, I hope you were not nice this year, so Santa brings me my first ^^. Just to have something to put on my table to look at while waiting weeks for a clear night....

A question regarding the clean BIAS and DARK frames:
Does it even make sense to use those frames, if there is almost no pattern? If one dithers, it should be fine. What do you think? What those frames still be an improvement?


—Paul

#15 jtrezzo

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Posted 21 December 2019 - 01:34 PM

How do those 10 gigabit ports work?

Unfortunately I can't comment much on that, I'm not familiar with it but from what I gather you need a PCIe card for your PC to use them. I don't have much info on that but I know QHY will be releasing one later, but to add the feature they are saying something like almost the cost of this camera itself (presumably around $2K?). 

 

 

Is the backfocus of 17.5 mm accurate? How do you attach it to your RASA and get a IR/UV filter in between? And: Please share if you have issues to get good stars throughout the field (assuming you use RASA 8).
 

Yes it is 17.5mm on here, so I actually need to figure something out for my RASA since that puts me 1mm short with my current setup (the 367C is 18.5mm). I have a Baader UFC for filters, and I use a RASA 11. Baader has one coming soon for the 8 though - I think it's called the FCCT.

 

 

Those bias and darks look very clean.  I did notice there are two horizontal lines in the Extended full well bias/darks.  I wonder what that's about?

Yes they are indeed. I noticed those too. I doubt I will use that mode anyway - but I'm curious. I'm going to have to ask about that.

 

 

A question regarding the clean BIAS and DARK frames:
Does it even make sense to use those frames, if there is almost no pattern? If one dithers, it should be fine. What do you think? What those frames still be an improvement?

Since it's so clean I'm thinking it would be a lot easier to get by without them for those that want to go that route, but I am of the logic that calibration frames can always offer at least some improvement, no matter how small, so it is worth doing. With a cooled camera where it is so easy to just spend a day or two creating a library of masters at set temperature and gains, I don't see any reason not to. That said, it should be interesting to compare an integration with and without calibration frames to put it to the test. I am definitely happy for zero amp glow and no longer having to use flat darks too!


Edited by jtrezzo, 21 December 2019 - 01:35 PM.

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#16 Paul Garais

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Posted 21 December 2019 - 01:38 PM

I will definitly test it out with and without calibration frames. But as you said: With a cooled camera there is no reason. Even the calibration itself is one of the fastest post-processing steps.

Will be my first astrocam. Only worked with an unmodded DSLR so far. Those clean calibration frames make me even more impatient!

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#17 ScottyP5947

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Posted 22 December 2019 - 12:06 PM

Wait in line Scott! I also ordered through Cyclops Optics. Robin is expecting to get the cams early next week (there was hope for this week). And he also told me, they will test the cams prior to shipping. Which is totally fine with me. It would be a shame to get a broken piece just to send it back all the way to Hong Kong.

But I have to say, it is awesome how Robin handles customer communication and takes care of getting everything right for us. Even the spacing ;). Definitely high-quality customer support and better than many vendors in Germany.

BUT: The main point is, I hope you were not nice this year, so Santa brings me my first ^^. Just to have something to put on my table to look at while waiting weeks for a clear night....

A question regarding the clean BIAS and DARK frames:
Does it even make sense to use those frames, if there is almost no pattern? If one dithers, it should be fine. What do you think? What those frames still be an improvement?


—Paul


Ha ha! You might be in luck!! 😂 I haven't been very good this year lol!
But I couldn't agree more, Robin has been terrific and it's really a pleasure doing business with Cyclops optics!
This is your first dedicated astro camera?? I'm sure you'll be delighted!! I have an Atik 460 and was amazed at how clean images are. I don't even bother with dark frames, only bias (pure laziness!!) But creating a dark library is something I've considered with all this awful weather we have had.
Looking forward to Jarrett's first light, I'm sure it'll be impressive!!

Scott
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#18 buckeyestargazer

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Posted 23 December 2019 - 04:47 PM

Hey Jarrett, have you had the opportunity to put the camera on a scope yet?  I'd like to see some flats from the camera, especially on your RASA.  



#19 jtrezzo

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Posted 26 December 2019 - 11:41 PM

Finally got a clear window tonight, and looks like the only one for a few days so some images finally! Poor seeing, breezy, and below average transparency, but who cares. Being cliche and going with M42 for first light, but it's actually pretty perfect because I want to see how the dynamic range on this 16-bit native CMOS does. So I will be going gain 0 photo mode first to test the DR and fullwell. 

First sub in (60s on RASA 11) - not a single pixel saturated! Max value is between 62,600-63,300. 

 

I'm not sure why there are dark bars on each side like that. The image attached is just for a quick view, it's greatly resized. Uncalibrated sub can be downloaded here for your viewing pleasure.

 

I'll get whatever I can before the clouds come back, and may try and get 30 subs each, one set with the HG mode also at gain 0 to see what the difference is.

Attached Thumbnails

  • M42_60sec_1x1__frame5-lpc-cbg.jpg

Edited by jtrezzo, 26 December 2019 - 11:51 PM.

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#20 jtrezzo

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Posted 27 December 2019 - 03:28 AM

Hate to leave anyone hanging so here is a super quick process of the 54 minutes data I ended up getting. 

 

The processing was quick stretch, pushed pretty hard, and saturation. No noise reduction, sharpening, etc. I'll probably do a more in depth try tomorrow night.

 

Rest of gear was Celestron RASA 11, Atlas Pro AZ/EQ, Astronomik L2 U/V/IR Cut

54 x 60" 

Bortle 5 - 19.65 sqm

Click here for large version
 

Needless to say I'm very impressed with this camera.I can't wait to get a full long integration on something, but alas the weather does not look to be cooperating the next few days.

Attached Thumbnails

  • Image50.jpg

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#21 jtrezzo

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Posted 27 December 2019 - 03:57 AM

Also a quick shot on the Horsehead - just 12 minutes here (60" x 12), clouds came in for good after this.

 

Same as above, just a stretch and saturation.

Click here for larger size 

Attached Thumbnails

  • Horshead.jpg

Edited by jtrezzo, 27 December 2019 - 03:59 AM.

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#22 Paul Garais

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Posted 27 December 2019 - 04:26 AM

Thank you very much for sharing! Those Images look great. The noise is nice and should be not hard to deal with. But what is really shining is the dynamic range


—Paul
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#23 JeffreyHorne

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Posted 27 December 2019 - 04:47 AM

Also a quick shot on the Horsehead - just 12 minutes here (60" x 12), clouds came in for good after this.

 

Same as above, just a stretch and saturation.

Click here for larger size 

Beautiful images! What temp are you cooling to?

 

Really looking forward to seeing the difference with HCG mode, and seeing your final images!

 

How do you feel bout the noise level of these first stacks? I don’t have a lot of experience with dedicated astro cams, but I have the ZWO version of the 286C preordered. 



#24 buckeyestargazer

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Posted 27 December 2019 - 08:32 AM

Great example images Jarrett. I'm glad you chose m42 for the dynamic range test. This is exactly what I was hoping to see.

What are your skies like?

Perhaps for another test it would be good to image something less bright to test the sensitivity of the camera.

#25 jtrezzo

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Posted 27 December 2019 - 11:16 AM

Beautiful images! What temp are you cooling to?

 

Really looking forward to seeing the difference with HCG mode, and seeing your final images!

 

How do you feel bout the noise level of these first stacks? I don’t have a lot of experience with dedicated astro cams, but I have the ZWO version of the 286C preordered. 

I set cooling to -15C, about the lowest I can get with the ambient temp here. The cooling doesn't seem quite as good as my other QHY cameras. I'm wondering if the dew heater is putting out too much heat or something, maybe something they can fix in firmware perhaps. It's close, but was topping out at about 33-34C delta (spec is 35C) and the other ones usually overperform at 38-40C.

 

I think the noise is the cleanest I've ever worked with. It looks like it will need only a light touch with noise reduction, especially given the short time of these tests.

 

Great example images Jarrett. I'm glad you chose m42 for the dynamic range test. This is exactly what I was hoping to see.

What are your skies like?

Perhaps for another test it would be good to image something less bright to test the sensitivity of the camera.

The skies are Bortle 5 here, it varies between 19.60-19.90 on my SQM-L depending on the night and time of night. Definitely going to try something dimmer when I have more than an hour and a half clear sky wink.gif Probably something I've imaged with the 367C for the sake of comparison. I'm thinking vdB 38 as I have 3.6 hours on it and should be easy to equal with one clear night, and it could use more data anyway (this is the 367C image).


Edited by jtrezzo, 27 December 2019 - 11:22 AM.



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