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Should I get an uncolled mono camera or a cooled color camera?

CMOS imaging filters dso
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#1 lemonade

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Posted 01 July 2020 - 07:27 PM

I'm on a tight budget, but I really want to upgrade to a dedicated astro camera. More concerned about DSOs, but the chip I'm looking at seems to be quite capable for SSOs as well based on astrobin searches. The problem is, cameras are expensive. I have determined the best fit for my budget and scope would either be to go with a non-cooled ZWO ASI183 Mono and a basic set of LRGB filters and more narrowband filters if I ever strike it rich, OR a cooled ZWO ASI183 pro. Getting a cooled mono camera at $200 more than the color version + the cost of the filters I'd need is not really a financially wise option at the moment. Question is, would the benefits of a mono camera outweigh the lack of cooling? Or would the benefits of cooling in the color version outweigh the ability to shoot narrowband/LRGB style?

Thanks!



#2 Aaron_tragle

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Posted 01 July 2020 - 07:37 PM

Cooled colour for sure, you still have regulated cooling with the colour cam which is one of the biggest advantages of dedicated cams.


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#3 Stelios

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Posted 01 July 2020 - 07:45 PM

Please, for your own sake, do NOT buy an uncooled mono camera. You will curse your savings for as long as you have the camera. 

 

Personally, I would beg, borrow or steal (said for effect--not really) the $300 which is the price difference. Or if I couldn't, I would wait to amass the funds. Putting $2 away every day you'll have it before Christmas.

 

But I would not buy the uncooled mono (if I had to keep it) for even $100. Summer imaging would be awful, and matching darks a nightmare. 

 

The cooled color version will be OK if you are imaging from dark(ish) skies. Say Bortle 6 or better (preferably better). If you're Bortle 7 and up, I would go mono. 


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#4 dron2015

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Posted 01 July 2020 - 08:05 PM

I second to Stelios.

 

If you are doing DSO - go cooled. I personally went cooled mono - I image (actually not really imaging - learning  already for almost 2 years)  from the large city, so my skies are terrible and I need to do narrow band imaging.

 

Best,

Andrey


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#5 bobzeq25

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Posted 01 July 2020 - 08:32 PM

Cooled color.

 

(Cooled) mono is slightly better and way more expensive (you need filters and a wheel also).  For someone on a low budget cooled color is the only way to go.  This is not a close call.  <smile>

 

This is unfortunately an expensive hobby, you need to best allocate your limited funds.


Edited by bobzeq25, 01 July 2020 - 08:35 PM.

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#6 lemonade

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Posted 01 July 2020 - 09:19 PM

Looks like people are unanimously in support of the cooled color model. That's what I would have done if I had to guess on my own, but I wanted to make sure.

I am curious as to whether it's worth trying narrowband filters with the OSC camera at some point as well. Of course this is horribly inefficient, but the money wouldn't really be wasted given that I'd eventually have a mono camera anyways. Now that school and work are both all at home, I can consistently use all my clear nights now, so the increased exposure time is not a huge problem for me. The worst case scenario is that it's too difficult to work with narrowband on a bayer'd sensor and I just put the filters away until I get a mono camera some day. I see the narrowband filters (especially Ha) as an inevitable purchase for me anyways.


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#7 georgian82

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Posted 01 July 2020 - 10:02 PM

One option you could consider (which is what I did because I was on a tight budget like you), is to use OPT’s payment plan to purchase the equipment that you want and make monthly payments.

Yes, there is interest rate and you will end up paying a bit more in the long run, but it definitely makes it approachable. By doing this, I was able to purchase the scope and filters for my mono camera that I wanted and I am still happy with that decision despite the fact that I know I am paying more.

I honestly got tired of hacking my equipment to make it work properly just to save money. At some point you will have to bite the bullet in order to get the equipment you feel is the best (reasonably speaking) for you...you may as well do it now.

A cooled mono camera with just a HA filter will is all you need to get started.

Just my two cents...

Cheers

Edited by georgian82, 01 July 2020 - 10:09 PM.

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#8 bobzeq25

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Posted 01 July 2020 - 10:37 PM

Looks like people are unanimously in support of the cooled color model. That's what I would have done if I had to guess on my own, but I wanted to make sure.

I am curious as to whether it's worth trying narrowband filters with the OSC camera at some point as well. Of course this is horribly inefficient, but the money wouldn't really be wasted given that I'd eventually have a mono camera anyways. Now that school and work are both all at home, I can consistently use all my clear nights now, so the increased exposure time is not a huge problem for me. The worst case scenario is that it's too difficult to work with narrowband on a bayer'd sensor and I just put the filters away until I get a mono camera some day. I see the narrowband filters (especially Ha) as an inevitable purchase for me anyways.

What people use with one shot color (more) successfully is one of the new duo or triband filters. They're especially made for OSC.  People seem to be very happy with them.

 

Of course, like narrowband, they're for emission nebulae, only.

 

Here's a review of one, with sample images, bandpass graph, etc.

 

https://astrobackyar...enhance-filter/

 

About $200.


Edited by bobzeq25, 01 July 2020 - 10:39 PM.

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#9 SilverLitz

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Posted 02 July 2020 - 06:53 AM

COOLED!  Unless you are using the cam for guiding or for very short exposure, bright targets, such as planets and the moon, I expect you will come to feel that buying a uncooled camera was a waste of money, and much more expensive in the long run, as you would then buy the cooled camera anyway.



#10 Madratter

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Posted 02 July 2020 - 07:39 AM

I'm a huge fan of Mono cameras and cooled color is the answer here without needing to even think about it very hard. Personally, I would strongly consider another alternative, buying the cooled mono camera and holding off on getting the RGB filters and filter wheel for now. But most people are going to want the color from the get-go and then the answer is clear.



#11 dron2015

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Posted 02 July 2020 - 02:15 PM

Well,  I would suggest to dive into the hobby slowly it is quite difficult. Also it should be all about the fun!

 

 if your skies are NOT that terrible - go and buy used COOLED color camera (but avoid the moon). Learn more about guiding, capturing, balancing, alignment, sorting, processing,  etc. You  will also need to have some tools like SGP, which is also expensive but here is also NINA.

 

The advantage of mono - better resolution, but the price of that - much more difficult data acquisition (more time to shoot) more difficult and time consuming image processing. Mono is FUN but it does take time.

 

Walk before you run. do not get overwhelmed and upset by processing flow for mono.  when you are ready - sell used color (you will not lose a lot of value re-selling it) and turn to the mono and filters.

 

I am a beginner - I did some astrophotography w/ DSLR - for perhaps a month. then bought used color - but my skies are really terrible, in a month I switched to mono and narrow band  and I like it! but the processing... and in the parallel quite steep curve for learning all the other things.. That was really difficult. if your skies are good - simplify  and go color as the first step.

 

the worst what you could possible do - buying uncooled mono! do not do that.

 

Best,

Andrey



#12 georgian82

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Posted 02 July 2020 - 02:50 PM

Well,  I would suggest to dive into the hobby slowly it is quite difficult. Also it should be all about the fun!

 

 if your skies are NOT that terrible - go and buy used COOLED color camera (but avoid the moon). Learn more about guiding, capturing, balancing, alignment, sorting, processing,  etc. You  will also need to have some tools like SGP, which is also expensive but here is also NINA.

 

The advantage of mono - better resolution, but the price of that - much more difficult data acquisition (more time to shoot) more difficult and time consuming image processing. Mono is FUN but it does take time.

 

Walk before you run. do not get overwhelmed and upset by processing flow for mono.  when you are ready - sell used color (you will not lose a lot of value re-selling it) and turn to the mono and filters.

 

I am a beginner - I did some astrophotography w/ DSLR - for perhaps a month. then bought used color - but my skies are really terrible, in a month I switched to mono and narrow band  and I like it! but the processing... and in the parallel quite steep curve for learning all the other things.. That was really difficult. if your skies are good - simplify  and go color as the first step.

 

the worst what you could possible do - buying uncooled mono! do not do that.

 

Best,

Andrey

My experience has been very different from yours. I find the data coming out of the cooled-mono camera so clean that has made post processing a breeze in comparison to my not cooled/color dslr. 

 

For a beginner, I find that only shooting in hydrogen alpha can be a very simple way to get into mono and it can be very rewarding. 


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#13 lemonade

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Posted 02 July 2020 - 04:02 PM

One option you could consider (which is what I did because I was on a tight budget like you), is to use OPT’s payment plan to purchase the equipment that you want and make monthly payments.

Yes, there is interest rate and you will end up paying a bit more in the long run, but it definitely makes it approachable. By doing this, I was able to purchase the scope and filters for my mono camera that I wanted and I am still happy with that decision despite the fact that I know I am paying more.

I honestly got tired of hacking my equipment to make it work properly just to save money. At some point you will have to bite the bullet in order to get the equipment you feel is the best (reasonably speaking) for you...you may as well do it now.

A cooled mono camera with just a HA filter will is all you need to get started.

Just my two cents...

Cheers

Turns out I'd be elligible for a 0% APR financing plan on OPT for the whole setup... The monthly payments are very manageable and this way I won't miss out on the summer. Unfortunately, everything is out of stock...everywhere... Even if I wanted to be impatient about it, my only option would be the uncooled mono which is obviously not a good option. So I might not have a choice but to wait a few weeks anyways. OPT salesperson is also offering a package discount for the camera, filter wheel, and filter set. Thanks for the tip.



#14 georgian82

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Posted 02 July 2020 - 04:27 PM

Turns out I'd be elligible for a 0% APR financing plan on OPT for the whole setup... The monthly payments are very manageable and this way I won't miss out on the summer. Unfortunately, everything is out of stock...everywhere... Even if I wanted to be impatient about it, my only option would be the uncooled mono which is obviously not a good option. So I might not have a choice but to wait a few weeks anyways. OPT salesperson is also offering a package discount for the camera, filter wheel, and filter set. Thanks for the tip.

I am glad you checked it out. It seems you have no option but to wait so be patient and enjoy the summer in the meantime.

 

Good luck to you

 

Cheers,


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#15 lemonade

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Posted 02 July 2020 - 06:58 PM

I am glad you checked it out. It seems you have no option but to wait so be patient and enjoy the summer in the meantime.

 

Good luck to you

 

Cheers,

They estimate 3-4 weeks from OPT. Until then, I've still got stuff to shoot with what I have. Saturn and Jupiter oppositions coming up in a couple weeks.


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