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385MC vs 533MC - Which to Choose?

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#1 mikenoname

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Posted 13 October 2020 - 02:04 PM

Wanting to go up to a more sensitive OSC for use on my 6" f/4 imaging newt (600mm focal length) and am trying to choose between these two. Would love to hear from folks that have used both.

 

Here is what my research has turned up (but often facts don't necessarily equate to the actual experience):

 

The 533 pros:

 

As sensitive but generates must less noise than 385
Higher full well (less bloated stars and better star/object colors because cam isn't as saturated)
No amp glow
Much bigger FOV

 

385 pros:

 

No extra power requirements
No coma corrector required on my setup
FOV fits my landscape screen much better
~1/3 price

 

What else should I consider?



#2 dmanuel

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Posted 13 October 2020 - 02:31 PM

I just ordered a 533MC.  Seems to be popular with EAA right now.  If you decide on the 385MC, it's hard to find them in stock at the moment.


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#3 descott12

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Posted 13 October 2020 - 02:44 PM

 

385 pros:

 

No extra power requirements
No coma corrector required on my setup

 

Hey Mike,

These aren't really pros.

1) You can always run the cooled cameras without power to the cooler

2) The coma corrector is only needed because the sensor is so much bigger and you are getting a much larger FOV. So, yes, a corrector would be nice but you will also get a great benefit from using it with a large sensor. And, you can always use a smaller ROI but that kind of defeats the purpose of getting a larger sensor.


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#4 mikenoname

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Posted 13 October 2020 - 11:18 PM

Hey Mike,

These aren't really pros.

1) You can always run the cooled cameras without power to the cooler

2) The coma corrector is only needed because the sensor is so much bigger and you are getting a much larger FOV. So, yes, a corrector would be nice but you will also get a great benefit from using it with a large sensor. And, you can always use a smaller ROI but that kind of defeats the purpose of getting a larger sensor.

1) Not using the cooling system just seems to me to be a big waste, but I suppose it is an option.

2) A coma corrector is quite a lot of refracting elements in your optical path, each of which causes transmission loss and abberations, even if slight. I guess I am a purist with this, but I prefer to keep things as simple and clean as possible, so I'd rather have a smaller FOV and have as many unadulterated photons hit my sensor as possible.



#5 alphatripleplus

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Posted 14 October 2020 - 07:49 AM

There are indeed a few people in this Forum that have gone from either the 224 or 385 ( a larger version of the 224) to a 533, and I would also be interested to hear from them in terms of a comparison with the 533. 



#6 DSO_Viewer

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Posted 14 October 2020 - 11:58 AM

1) Not using the cooling system just seems to me to be a big waste, but I suppose it is an option.

2) A coma corrector is quite a lot of refracting elements in your optical path, each of which causes transmission loss and abberations, even if slight. I guess I am a purist with this, but I prefer to keep things as simple and clean as possible, so I'd rather have a smaller FOV and have as many unadulterated photons hit my sensor as possible.

I agree, why pay for a cooler and not use it when it will provide you with the best EAA results.

 

Steve


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#7 descott12

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Posted 14 October 2020 - 02:15 PM

I agree, why pay for a cooler and not use it when it will provide you with the best EAA results.

 

Steve

Well I certainly agree but I was simply trying to say that extra power supply was not actually required. Also, there are several threads that concluded that the cooler really doesn't help much with the short exposures that we use in EAA. I am not sure if that is true, but it could very well be. I do like being able to temperature match darks so the cooler is a big help there but I think cooled cameras may be overkill for what we do in this sub-forum. And we are heading into winter so one could argue that they are even less helpful.  If I were in the market now, I might go for the uncooled 294.



#8 Tony Bonanno

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Posted 14 October 2020 - 05:44 PM

I went from an uncooled 183 (a good high resolution camera) to the cooled 533.  Wow, quite a difference in noise and hot pixels, etc. IMO.  And no amp glow either.  Attached is a shot of M8 that I took last night with the 533, only 5 minutes total exposure (ten 30 sec subs), gain 200, camera temp -17 C, darks and bias files from ASIAIR PRO used.  NO post processing (other than downsizing to less than 500kb for forum).  The 533's pixel size, 14 bit files, etc. seems to be a sweet spot for EAA use IMO.  Powering the cooler is a no-brainer.  Zillions of battery options, cable splitters, etc. to handle the power to your mount, camera cooler, an ASIAIR PRO if you have one, etc.  I think the 533 is really a terrific value for the price.  Don't be put off by the fact that you have to power the camera cooler.  A $30 cigarette pack size battery will handle that requirement all night.  

Clear skies !

Tony

Attached Thumbnails

  • Lagoon_Neb.jpg

Edited by Tony Bonanno, 14 October 2020 - 07:13 PM.

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#9 chilldaddy

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Posted 14 October 2020 - 11:07 PM

Mike,
 
I own both cameras and like both of them.  I started with a 385 and upgraded to the 533 for a larger FOV and newer technology.  According to the ZWO site:
 
"Sony has newly developed a unique photo-diode structure and on-chip lens optimized for back-illuminated structures, that achieves a higher sensitivity and a lower random noise without light by reducing noise, dark current and defect pixels compared to the conventional front-illuminated structure."
 
Another advantage is the 533 is 14 bit ADC vs. 12bit on the 385.
 
Here are a couple images using both cameras.  The gear was different so it's not a totally fair comparison but it gives an idea of how they both produce good images with the 533 being cleaner.  The OTA for the first was an AT60ED and the second was with a C8 since the larger sensor allowed it all to fit.
 
 
 M20
AT60ED F/6, Skywatcher AZ-GTi alt/az mount
ASI385MC, 96x 15.0s 1440s
IDAS D1 filter, Bortle 8
Saved as viewed in Sharpcap 
M20
 
 
C8 @F/6.3, EVO mount on wedge
ASI533MC, 61x 15.0s 915s
IDAS D1 filter, Bortle 8
Saved as viewed in Sharpcap 
 
M20

 

 

I have been very impressed with the smoothness of the 533 and it seems like there are fewer hot pixels.  I still take darks but it's not necessary like it is with the 385.  As far as the cooler is concerned, I wanted the option of having it when needed whether in hot Summer months, keeping the camera at a consistent temp so my darks stay effective despite ambient temperature changes, making a dark library, and being able to do AP in the future.  As previously mentioned, I usually have power at the scope for something else so it's not a big deal.  Initially I was not interested in a square sensor but now I actually like it as it seems more natural like an eyepiece, sort of.  I also spend less time rotating the camera for framing which also kills flats.  Regarding fitting the screen, I was concerned about that initially but found that I can set the zoom to 40% and when the live stacking bar at the bottom is minimized, most of the image fits with only a little scrolling up and down.

 

Therefore, I would highly recommend going for the 533 over the 385.  The pixels are the same so you can always zoom in or use ROI to replicate the smaller sensor.

 

However, since you have stated,

 

"A coma corrector is quite a lot of refracting elements in your optical path, each of which causes transmission loss and abberations, even if slight. I guess I am a purist with this, but I prefer to keep things as simple and clean as possible, so I'd rather have a smaller FOV and have as many unadulterated photons hit my sensor as possible."

 

then your decision may already be made.  If that is a priority then by all means, save some money on a 385 and enjoy it!  You will not be disappointed.  But if you are interested in the best image, then the 533 and a coma corrector is the way to go knowing that it will cost more for both of those.  One last thought is that the 385 is a planetary camera with 120fps vs 20fps for the 533.  If that is important to you, then the 385 can do double duty albeit, with a smaller FOV for DSOs.

 

Good luck!

 

Greg

 

 


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#10 mikenoname

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Posted 15 October 2020 - 01:03 AM

Thanks Tony and Greg for the responses! Very helpful.


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#11 selfo

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Posted 15 October 2020 - 11:53 AM

We are trying to compare Apples and Oranges here.  The question of which camera, the 385 vs 533 is better from a performance standpoint is obvious.

 

The question that should be asked is “Which camera is better for my particular situation?”

 

I have both cameras.  I absolutely love my 533.  Rather than repeat the virtues of the 533 which others have said, which  I am in full agreement with, I am going to have a little fun and take a contrarian view of why someone might want a 385.

 

 

385 virtues...

Cost
An uncooled 385 is about 1/3 the price of the 533.  IMO you don’t need cooling for EAA on a 385.

 

Image scale

What are you interested in looking at?  If its small to midsized objects the 385 covers that niche nicely.
Have a look at the telescope simulator in Telescopius where you can view some of your favorite objects with both cameras and your particular telescope.

 

 

Form Factor
The uncooled 385 is smaller and lighter than the 533.  With an Alt Az mount after you add a FR the 533 will hit the base when you approach zenith.  For the 533 you will need to add a diagonal to overcome this.  The 385 will clear the base with room to spare.  A GEM mount with a 533 may have a similar issue as you approach the meridian especially with long refractors.

 

 

 

Here are some of the ways to overcome the shortcomings of a 385 vs 533.

 

 

Well depth and Bloated stars
The 533 has a much greater well depth giving nice pinpoint stars.  The 385 doesn’t have the well depth the 533 has.  It’s not terrible but not as pleasing as the 533.  What I have to do to mitigate the bloated stars in the 385 is to always have a UVIR cut filter in place which helps considerably.

 

 

 

Amp noise

The uncooled 385 has more amp noise so you just need to do a Master dark before you start observing.  Not a big deal.

 

 

Lack of wide field.

The Wide field views of my 533 are a delight but just because you have a 385 and a C8 doesn’t mean you have to miss out on them.   You can get a decent APO refractor for around 700 bucks.  Even less used.  Couple that with your 385 and you get nice pinpoint stars and a wide view to boot.  In my case before I got my 533 I piggybacked a 80 mm APO on my C8.  The cost of 385 and the APO are about what you would pay for the 533.

 

 

Is the 533 a better camera?  Of course it is but with a little effort and a lot less money I think you will be still be pleased with the views from a 385.

 

 

BTW.. Guess which camera I have been using during Mars opposition?  Its not the 533.  I have been getting some excellent pics of Mars with the 385 using stacking software.   No dust storms this time around.  Yay....


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#12 alphatripleplus

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Posted 15 October 2020 - 12:47 PM

 

 

Amp noise

The uncooled 385 has more amp noise so you just need to do a Master dark before you start observing.  Not a big deal.

 

 

 

I had assumed that the 385 has the same anti-amp glow circuitry as the (vsn1.3) 224MC has, but I guess what you are saying is that even with that anti-amp glow circuitry it is still more amp glow than the 533 at the same temp?



#13 selfo

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Posted 15 October 2020 - 05:00 PM

I had assumed that the 385 has the same anti-amp glow circuitry as the (vsn1.3) 224MC has, but I guess what you are saying is that even with that anti-amp glow circuitry it is still more amp glow than the 533 at the same temp?

Yes but I meant Amp Glow not Amp noise.  There seemed to be less Amp Glow on the 533 vs the 385 if no dark was applied under the same settings and temperature. That said the read noise is actually lower 0.7e on the 385 vs 1.0e on the 533. Not sure how or if that affects the anti amp glow circuitry so I may have to go back and try that experiment again.  



#14 dmanuel

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Posted 16 October 2020 - 09:56 AM

I just received my 533MC yesterday.  I was on the fence about spending the $$ on that camera when I'm using an AZ-GTi mount - but my wife blessed it, so I ordered it.  We had clouds rolling in last night so I had about a 1 hour window to see if I could grab some photons.  Without cooling, darks, or flats, I can already tell the camera is steps above my ASI120MC-S - the reality is that just about any camera is going to do a better job at gathering light.  Here is a quick picture of M16 - Eagle Nebula 29 x 15s :

Stack_29frames_435s_WithDisplayStretch.jpg

 

The larger FOV obviously helped with mount alignment and any needed platesolving. 

 

I'm not yet educated on the sensitivity of the different chips, but the question I would have is not so much 385 vs 533, but maybe 178 (your current camera) vs 385.  Ultimately, I think it's going to come down to whether you want that bigger FOV and are willing to correct aberrations to get it.  I don't think you'd go wrong with a 533 though (except in your wallet grin.gif ).

 

 

David


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#15 Sebriviere

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Posted 29 October 2020 - 04:32 AM

ASI385MC and ASI533MC-P are totally different cams.
One is more planetary oriented while the other is more DSO...

The 385 is more in competition with the 462MC.

I hesitated a lot between these two, the IR capabilities pushed me on the ASI462MC.
I think the best in planetary and guiding for now, as IR allows for through clouds guiding to some extend.
And allows capture of planet in wider band waves (CH4...).

And I got the ASI533MC-P for DSO.

If you target mostly DSO, it is a no brainer... If you need an extra sensor for guiding, then get the 462MC and forget the 385MC...

Edited by Sebriviere, 29 October 2020 - 04:34 AM.



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