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CCD / CMOS versus DSLR

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#1 TXDigiSLR

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Posted 09 April 2020 - 02:26 AM

I'm curious for all those that have a dedicated AP camera, if you started your imaging with a DSLR then upgraded to a CCD / CMOS camera, are the results of your photos that much better to be worth the expense of a new camera, possibly new filters, filter wheel, etc?

 

If I was going to be getting a payroll bonus in the future and decided to take the next step up from a DSLR, what would I be looking into for Deep Space photos, keeping my current scope?  ES ED102 FCD100

 

 



#2 Gucky

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Posted 09 April 2020 - 03:17 AM

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#3 skycamper

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Posted 09 April 2020 - 03:26 AM

Not yet, my best photos came from a Nikon D5300 ha modification.   Then I started dual imaging and transitioned to two CMOS cameras with LRGB and narrowband filters.  Its more complication for certain but the cameras are cooled.  The large nikon sensor spoiled me and now these CMOS cameras really need perfect calibration frames as well.  I almost want to go back to my Nikons but I keep pushing ahead I guess.

 

Best M31 with my DSLR Nikon D5300 ha moddified.

 

https://flic.kr/p/2gWPGda


Edited by skycamper, 09 April 2020 - 03:28 AM.

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#4 Gucky

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Posted 09 April 2020 - 03:59 AM

When I started with AP about 5 years ago I bought a 6D and had it modified to catch all the Ha regions. I couldn't afford a CCD with comparable sensor size at this time...

Some months later the ASI1600MMC was available. A dedicated AP camera has better QE and usually less noise. With a monochrome one you can take stunning narrowband images - nearly impossible with a DSLR. So I bought it. And I had to buy filters as well and of course these filters needed a filter wheel. Now I had a cooled mono AP camera - waaay better than a simple DSLR!

 

After some time I found out about the microlens issue. All bright stars had ugly artefacts around them and my enthusiasm about AP faded noticably. - Not what I actually hoped for...

 

Now I own a EOS Ra and I am happy again :- )

 

If your payroll bonus is big enough (mine wasn't) then a ASI6200MM-PRO with 50mm filters etc. may be something for you.

If you think there is just too much thermal noise with your 6D then the OSC ASI 6200MC-PRO would be cheaper than the mono.

If full-frame isn't a must have as well then there's the ASI 2600MC-PRO.


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#5 WadeH237

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Posted 09 April 2020 - 08:46 AM

I'm curious for all those that have a dedicated AP camera, if you started your imaging with a DSLR then upgraded to a CCD / CMOS camera, are the results of your photos that much better to be worth the expense of a new camera, possibly new filters, filter wheel, etc?

I have had a number of different astro cameras and have found them all to be better than my DSLR.

 

Whether that's true in your case or not depends on your current setup and limiting factors.  For example, I would not invest in a new camera if my mount were limiting my results.



#6 2ghouls

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Posted 09 April 2020 - 08:48 AM

Do you image from a very light-polluted place? The biggest reason I got immediately better results with my ASI1600 vs. a DSLR is the ability to do high-quality narrowband imaging from Bortle 9. If I take a trip to a very dark site (Bortle 4 or under) then I will typically shoot with a DSLR.

Cheers, Nico


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#7 AKHalea

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Posted 09 April 2020 - 04:02 PM

I have taken a lot of Astro-images with my Ha-modded Nikon D5300 and I am happy with them. I have evaluated the dedicated Astro-cameras many times, but have not pulled the trigger because of several reasons : 

  • My DSLR (Nikon D5300) already has a relatively high QE, low noise CMOS sensor,
  • The high $$ needed for a dedicated mono camera with all the filters and a filter wheel, 
  • The added complexity of storing added mono images vs the simplicity of the OSC DSLR images (storage, calibration frames, processing etc), 
  • With the multi-narrowband filters now available for OSCs & DSLRs (like Triad Ultra), the advantage of mono+single NB filter vs OSC has narrowed considerably. While mono+single NB filters still provide better quality images, DSLR can provide much better quality images now with multi-narrowband filters, 
  • With much better processing options now available, it is a lot easier to get better processing done on noisy DSLR data, again narrowing the gap between images from DSLR vs mono+sinlgle NB filters,
  • I prefer more widefield images that my APS-C sensor provides. Such "large" sensors in dedicated Astro-cams will cost a lot more than available from the smaller (and much less expensive) AP cameras.
  • To me, the wider FOVs give a better overall view of the field that the nebula is in. They sort of let the DSO more "breathing room", 
  • I am NOT a perfectionist and find my DSLR images very satisfactory for my purposes (sharing with friends and family),
  • I know I will NEVER achieve perfection even if I buy a dedicated AP camera - Not my nature, as I am not shooting to get any APODs or IOTDs or any new "discoveries",

 

For what it is worth, here is a link to my Flickr album that shows some of the brighter DSOs in our Southern skies in Texas captured with my Ha modded DSLR. As an example, here is my image taken last fall of the Helix nebula : 

 

10-22 & 10-23 Helix Combo 383Min NoLPR STCrEnhJSharpTilt.jpg

 

Of course, the decision is very dependent on what your objectives are and how much of a perfectionist you want to be AND at what added cost. Hope that helps ...... Anil


Edited by AKHalea, 09 April 2020 - 05:48 PM.


#8 jgraham

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Posted 09 April 2020 - 04:18 PM

I used modified DSLRs for many years before buying my first cooled CMOS camera and now I'm back to testing my 'new' modified Nikon D5300. It is truly amazing how far cameras of all types have improved over the years. The most significant difference that I previously noted between my modified 600D and my ASI071MC Pro was a cleaner background with lower noise using the 071. My testing of the D5300 has just started and I am far from finished, but so far I am _very_ impressed with the Nikon. There's little doubt that a modern modified DSLR is a very capable camera and a great value and at the moment I'm still willing to give the edge to my cooled CMOS, but that may change in the coming weeks as I push the edge with my D5300. It certainly won't be 'better' than my 071, but it may end up being very close and is certainly easier to use.

 

What a wonderful time to be an amateur astronomer!



#9 bobzeq25

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Posted 09 April 2020 - 05:04 PM

Nothing wrong with DSLRs, they can be the most cost effective option.  A Nikon D5300/5500/5600 can be had for under $500.  Many people already own a suitable one.

 

Getting a cooled astrospecific one shot color camera gives significantly better results AND simplifies your life.  For one thing taking good darks is a breeze.  Figure $900, minimum.

 

In light polluted skies, you'll need a lot of total imaging time to combat noise.  A mono camera plus LRGB filters, unintuitively, shortens the time needed.  The added complexity is no big deal, the main drawback is cost.  Figure $2000 for camera, filters, filter wheel.  It opens the possibility of doing narrowband imaging well.  Very useful for emission nebulae in light polluted skies.

 

All can make nice images, the more expensive choices are significantly better.  I've used all 3 reasonably extensively, mono plus filters is my favorite, because of the increased image quality, the efficiency in gathering data, and narrowband.  I still own all 3, use each in suitable circumstances.


Edited by bobzeq25, 09 April 2020 - 05:09 PM.

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#10 Alex McConahay

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Posted 09 April 2020 - 05:33 PM

It is not just a CCD/CMOS v DSLR thing. 

 

First off, let's redefine terms to DSLR v. "Dedicated Astro Camera."  I make this distinction because a DSLR is generally a CMOS camera anyway. CMOS and CCD are different architectures for the sensors----how they count the photons and transfer the information to storage. (Actually, the real difference is the material in the sensors. But, a long time ago, the CMOS and CCD materials took different paths in their architectures.) 

 

And then, break it down between a standard DSLR and a modified one. 

 

And then, mono or OSC version of either. 

 

And then, cooled or non cooled.And Even REGULATED cooling. 

 

So, you see, there is not just "The DSLR I used at the wedding last Saturday" versus the "Full Blown Astro Camera."  The fancier you get that DSLR, the more it approaches the dedicated astro camera. In my mind, the biggest jump is in the regulated cooling. 

 

As you move from one level of this stuff to another, yes, you see differences. One of the biggest is the dynamic range. With more dynamic range one can get more shades of gray (and therefore more shades of color, or tones and intensities. ) And nicer pictures. 

 

And when you move to cooling, you can get substantially less noise, and as important, more control over the calibration and processing. 

 

 

>>>>>>>the results of your photos that much better

 

Yes. In general. You can get great images from an off the shelf DSLR. But it is harder to get the very best images out of such. The top end of a dedicated astro camera is higher than that of a DSLR. Used poorly, however, you will get no better pictures out of a $15,000 dedicated astro camera than a well handled $700 DSLR. 

 

>>>>>>to be worth the expense of a new camera, possibly new filters, filter wheel, etc?

 

What is money worth to you?

 

Alex


Edited by Alex McConahay, 10 April 2020 - 08:51 AM.

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