Is the Revolution Imager ever the best choice for someone new to EAA? Should we ever suggest it without also pointing out that the image is similar to that of a 1954 TV and inferior to every CMOS astronomy camera we might know about.?
I suggest that we are not doing the newcomer a good turn if we fail to direct them to a better camera. More than that we are either going to discourage them with when they see how truly bad the images are, or we are going to consign them to replace everything in order to get the image that they could have had in the first place.
The Revolution Imager is almost the sole example of that golden age when security cameras from Samsung amazed us with color images displayed on CRTs. Although you can still buy the Mallincam Micro, the era has passed for most of us. So why does the RI survive and why do we ever recommend it to someone who wants to try EAA?
The usual reasons are simplicity in setup and use. No computer or software needed. And that was and is partly true. It glosses over the many questions that follow about menus and settings and noise in the analog signal. I also recall that many owners of analog cameras sooner or later started posting about frame grabbers and software when they realized that improvement was possible.
People, even old farts, use smart phones, tablets, and yes even PCs and they view images and video in HD and UHD resolution. If they are new to EAA they are more likely than not to have a go to mount and may run it via a smart phone or computer.
So why then wouldn't steer people to a modern CMOS camera or at least point out the performance inferiority of the RI? Why don't we always suggest a low cost CMOS camera with an HD quality digital image that can run on fairly simple and free software on a cheap tablet or pc. We never seem to recommend any other analog security camera even though there is nothing unique about the RI, the Mallincam Micro is still for sale and it might be the better camera.
I am not bashing the Revolution line, except maybe the Fun Star which comes close to being a total waste of money. The RI is arguably a good example of an analog security camera repurposed for astronomy. But I think it is an inferior product when compared with cameras from ZWO, Rising Tech, Altair and many other vendors. To recommend the RI is akin to telling someone that Walmart is the place to get these "20x60 Extremely High Quality Perrini Binoculars With Pouch Ruby Lense" for astronomy. They will work but will they encourage further interest in astronomy?