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To go OSC or Mono? Help a noob out

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#1 Voska

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Posted 17 October 2020 - 09:48 PM

So I have taken the hard route on things with starting to do AP with a Celestron Evo 9.25 and a DSLR. I feel I have greatly improved once I got my EQ6-R Pro and a guide scope (yes I know some time I might get a OAG) and guide camera. With this setup I have gotten a few good images and am slowly (very slowly) getting to understand editing in photoshop.

However I have tried to image a few targets and the results even after 6-8 hours of imaging (5 min subs and 640 ISO) have been less then stellar or in some cases useless. Since I don’t want to modify my DSLR I am thinking about getting a dedicated astro camera (when they come back in stock).

The big question is to go Mono or go one shot color (OSC).  I am looking at either the ASI294MM Pro (+ 1.25” Filters and wheel) OR the ASI2600MC Pro. 

I was hoping to get some opinions on if going mono while being very green and in hard mode for AP will pay off in the end or if I would be happy going with the OSC. If it helps any one of the main targets I want to get is the Horse Head nebula and so far ALL shots I have taken with my current equipment I get nothing but stars. And most of the targets I seem to want to image have some amount of red in them that my DSLR just simply doesn’t get.

I should mention that my supposed Bortle class is 6 

Any thoughts?


Edited by Voska, 17 October 2020 - 10:13 PM.


#2 idclimber

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Posted 17 October 2020 - 10:07 PM

Mono if you can afford the camera, filter wheel and filters. But honestly either will be wasted until you switch over to an OAG.

 

Otherwise, mono definitely has a larger advantage over OSC for narrowband and light polluted skies. 



#3 sonofzen1

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Posted 17 October 2020 - 10:18 PM

Mono, mono, MONO!!!!. Here's what to do, and I wish I did this way back then: get a monochrome camera. Here's why: Monochrome cameras capture more detail than the traditional OSC because they have more pixels. What you need to is get color filters and get used to rethreading R, G, and B filters on your camera to take multiple frames per channel. It's more work, but well worth it. There are plenty of tutorials online showing you how to use LRGB combination in photoshop. Oh also get an HA (hydrogen alpha), SII (sulphur 2), and OII (oxygen 3), other wise known as SHO or the Hubble palate. Those narrowband filters will cancel out most light pollution and produce the most stunning photos you could ever hope for. I recommend getting the Astronomik or optolong brand filters since they seem to be the most popular.

 

Another thing, if you want to do planetary imaging as well get a high speed CMOS camera in monochrome with RGB and a luminance filter as well.



#4 TelescopeGreg

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Posted 17 October 2020 - 10:31 PM

I just upgraded from an unmodified DSLR to the OSC ASI2600MC Pro.  I debated the mono route, and, for me, the added complexity in mono processing isn't worth it.  I know mono is not harder (as in, needing an advanced degree), but it is more tedious, and is only practical if one has a lot of automation already present, upon which more is added, and the processing software and skills to make use of all the data.  I guess I just like simple.  And, yes, the cost. 

 

I image at "only" 910mm focal length, and have been using the 2600's on-camera 2x2 binning to improve on the already great camera sensor.  I do not feel that it's undersampled.  For your longer focal length, the 2600 at 1x1 should be just fine.  If your DSLR's sensor had a fine enough sensor, then the OSC sensors will be the same.  By far, seeing and guiding will determine your image quality, not the sensor.

 

Especially with the advances in the OSC cameras themselves, and the new generation of multi-spectral filters, I expect it will be many years before I reach a point where the lack of mono's color plane independence will be the limiting factor, forcing an upgrade.  By then, a whole new generation of imaging technology and tools will be available, and I can investigate this again.

 

My recommendation:  take the money you'd spend on 4x filters and the wheel, and get the better camera.  Save the rest for that OAG you're missing.

 

Pre-posting edit:  Noticed the comment about planetary imaging.  With Jupiter specifically, not a good idea to attempt in mono.  The planet spins too fast, making it harder to get all the separate color planes to line up.


Edited by TelescopeGreg, 17 October 2020 - 10:32 PM.


#5 idclimber

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Posted 17 October 2020 - 11:18 PM

I would be curious to see one of those 5 minute subs. I would bet they show an issue with tracking not your camera. 

 

Also, I know that area of Illinois. I grew up there. Tons of light pollution. OSC is going to struggle. 


Edited by idclimber, 17 October 2020 - 11:20 PM.


#6 APshooter

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Posted 18 October 2020 - 12:44 AM

I love my 2600MC, but I also combine the color data with good narrowband data via my 1600MM.  idclimber has a point about light pollution in your area.  In heavy LP, color takes a hit in the processing department.  Narrowband will definitely be the way to go if your skies look at all hazy with light pollution.  If the skies where you live are dark overhead, then there's a chance you can shoot OSC and remove the light pollution via software.  Targets closer to the horizon or trying to image through the fog of LP, and you'll really struggle to remove gradients.  I'm south of a major city and shooting targets north of me results in magenta/green images that I can't color correct.  Imaging in the South, though, and I have no issues.



#7 Voska

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Posted 18 October 2020 - 10:40 AM

I would be curious to see one of those 5 minute subs. I would bet they show an issue with tracking not your camera. 

 

Also, I know that area of Illinois. I grew up there. Tons of light pollution. OSC is going to struggle. 

Yes there is plenty of light pollution in the area especially to my south.
Here is a single un-edited, no calibration images from my last session of NGC 7129. I will point out that i am aware of the vignetting and the starts on the edges i know are stretched. I believe this to be due to improper back space. I just received my Badder varilock 29-46mm which should allow me to get that dialed in. The thing is I have been happy with how the targets stars come out, its the fact that i don't appear to be getting much detail of the object that i am imaging even after 6-10 hours. Most of the subs i trash usually are either due to planes/satellites or yes the occasional wind gust/bump/tracking. So i dont think my current complaint about my images is a tracking problem BUT i also have never posted a single sub so here is one that i just picked at random.

 

Single Sub


And here is the finished product 99x 300s @ ISO 640

NGC 7129

 


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#8 sn2006gy

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Posted 18 October 2020 - 11:03 AM

Mono suffers in light pollution just as much as color. You won't shoot LRGB in high bortle/bright moon without using an LP filter for Luminance and you won't shoot OSC in bright moon without an LP filter either during those conditions.

 

Gradient removal is a fact of life with high light pollution and if you want to shoot narrowband, you can certainly do so with Mono or OSC.  Mono SHO is easier if you want to follow a pattern that works, but if you don't mind learning and experimenting with OSC it's very capable.

 

The 2600mc pro is an amazing camera. It will blow away a DSLR and it offers a nice big APS-C field of view that isn't too hard to get flat.  It's fast, its got low noise, it has no dark current. It will make imaging a breeze.  I do flats, darkflats and lights with mine and I'm in a bortle 8 sky.

 

Backyard images from my osc:

 

abell 85
 
crescent 2600
 
M31

 

There is no 2600mm variant yet, sometime next year.  Maybe when it's out i'll give it a try but so far, i'm loving my color.


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#9 SeymoreStars

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Posted 18 October 2020 - 11:11 AM

Byron I was worried about you when you weren't the first to respond lol. 



#10 sn2006gy

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Posted 18 October 2020 - 11:16 AM

Byron I was worried about you when you weren't the first to respond lol. 

I've learned to let things simmer first ;)

 

Plus, my allergies are OFF THE CHARTS.   I'm ready to rub my eyeballs off heh.  I'm usually fine in fall/winter but something is enjoying this long summer/dry spell we've been having down here


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#11 fewayne

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Posted 18 October 2020 - 01:14 PM

If I can learn to do LRGB and narrowband, it can't be THAT hard!

 

I can't speak to the new generation of cameras. But monochrome imaging's vastly greater flexibility has made it a big win for me. I can do narrowband under parking-lot lights bright enough to leave shadows and get pretty decent results. Or I can drive to lower Bortle numbers and do LRGB. Or leave off the blue for another time when the moon or the light pollution aren't so bad. Or do a monochrome Ha image. Etc., etc..

 

Processing, for me, is not that bad. I mean, I just open the four integrations in Astro Pixel Processor's combine-RGB tool under their "LRGB 1" profile, or "HOO 1" for narrowband and pretty much call it a day.

 

The 2600 and 294 are from entirely different generations, so they're hard to compare directly. (Also ZWO's site appears to be broken at the moment.) 



#12 Voska

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Posted 18 October 2020 - 01:35 PM

Mono suffers in light pollution just as much as color. You won't shoot LRGB in high bortle/bright moon without using an LP filter for Luminance and you won't shoot OSC in bright moon without an LP filter either during those conditions.

 

Gradient removal is a fact of life with high light pollution and if you want to shoot narrowband, you can certainly do so with Mono or OSC.  Mono SHO is easier if you want to follow a pattern that works, but if you don't mind learning and experimenting with OSC it's very capable.

 

The 2600mc pro is an amazing camera. It will blow away a DSLR and it offers a nice big APS-C field of view that isn't too hard to get flat.  It's fast, its got low noise, it has no dark current. It will make imaging a breeze.  I do flats, darkflats and lights with mine and I'm in a bortle 8 sky.

 

Backyard images from my osc:

 

 
 
 
 
 

 

There is no 2600mm variant yet, sometime next year.  Maybe when it's out i'll give it a try but so far, i'm loving my color.

Doing narrowband is one of the reasons i was move thinking about the mono over the OSC. Being able to image while the moon is out and to do the Hubble pallet would be nice. I was not aware you could do this with a OSC cam.

I am aware that i will need to have a light pollution filter. I had bought one (Astronomik CLS SC) this apparently is too limiting on the red for it to work well with my DSLR.

 

 

If I can learn to do LRGB and narrowband, it can't be THAT hard!

 

I can't speak to the new generation of cameras. But monochrome imaging's vastly greater flexibility has made it a big win for me. I can do narrowband under parking-lot lights bright enough to leave shadows and get pretty decent results. Or I can drive to lower Bortle numbers and do LRGB. Or leave off the blue for another time when the moon or the light pollution aren't so bad. Or do a monochrome Ha image. Etc., etc..

 

Processing, for me, is not that bad. I mean, I just open the four integrations in Astro Pixel Processor's combine-RGB tool under their "LRGB 1" profile, or "HOO 1" for narrowband and pretty much call it a day.

 

The 2600 and 294 are from entirely different generations, so they're hard to compare directly. (Also ZWO's site appears to be broken at the moment.) 

 

I know the 2600 and the 294 are two really different cameras. The reason i chose those was to keep it in the range of $2000. the 2600 is just about 2K and the 294 + Filters and filter wheel are roughly 2K



#13 Stelios

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Posted 18 October 2020 - 01:56 PM

There *is* an issue whether to buy mono or OSC, and it became so with the release of the ASI2600MC-Pro, a big improvement on the previous APS-C format ASI071MC-Pro. There's no mono equivalent to the ASI2600MC-Pro, and when there is, it likely will be priced $1,000 more. 

 

Also most people quote mono prices with FW and *cheap* filters that you will want to upgrade. IMO, a minimum cost for filters alone is at least $1,000 (Baader or Astronomik) and the ones you really want are $2,000+ (Chroma or Astrodon). So make no mistake, mono is significantly more expensive, and mono choices are fewer. 

 

However, that said, mono (assuming you can afford it and can live with the available formats) offers much greater flexibility. I went from DSLR straight to mono more than three years ago, and not the greatest OSC camera could ever persuade me in switching. I would feel... shackled. The "processing complexities" are real--for the first few images you process. After that, it all becomes second nature and takes basically just a few extra clicks. So--are you there for a few images, or for the long haul?

 

Be careful also of the OSC trap of buying an OSC camera and then ending up buying also a filter wheel and/or filters so you can shoot narrowband with your OSC... using 1/4th of the pixels.



#14 Madratter

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Posted 18 October 2020 - 03:30 PM

Mono suffers in light pollution just as much as color. You won't shoot LRGB in high bortle/bright moon without using an LP filter for Luminance and you won't shoot OSC in bright moon without an LP filter either during those conditions.

Frankly, utter nonsense. I can reach 18th magnitude galaxies easily with a full moon with my Mono gear. No light pollution filter in sight. I have demonstrated that here on multiple occasions.

 

https://www.cloudyni...ason/?p=9970453


Edited by Madratter, 18 October 2020 - 03:32 PM.


#15 Voska

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Posted 18 October 2020 - 03:43 PM

There *is* an issue whether to buy mono or OSC, and it became so with the release of the ASI2600MC-Pro, a big improvement on the previous APS-C format ASI071MC-Pro. There's no mono equivalent to the ASI2600MC-Pro, and when there is, it likely will be priced $1,000 more. 

 

Also most people quote mono prices with FW and *cheap* filters that you will want to upgrade. IMO, a minimum cost for filters alone is at least $1,000 (Baader or Astronomik) and the ones you really want are $2,000+ (Chroma or Astrodon). So make no mistake, mono is significantly more expensive, and mono choices are fewer. 

 

However, that said, mono (assuming you can afford it and can live with the available formats) offers much greater flexibility. I went from DSLR straight to mono more than three years ago, and not the greatest OSC camera could ever persuade me in switching. I would feel... shackled. The "processing complexities" are real--for the first few images you process. After that, it all becomes second nature and takes basically just a few extra clicks. So--are you there for a few images, or for the long haul?

 

Be careful also of the OSC trap of buying an OSC camera and then ending up buying also a filter wheel and/or filters so you can shoot narrowband with your OSC... using 1/4th of the pixels.

I will admit that the filters i currently are looking at are the 1.25" ZWO LRGB Premium set and the ZWO Narrowband set. So I understand that there are reasons why some stuff is cheap and others are expensive. The question i would ask is how much of a difference truly is there given the scope and expected camera i am looking at. I would figure if i wanted the more expensive ASI6200 then it would be a no brainer to get the more expensive filters as those slight differences would show up in a more capable camera. 
of course the longer these camera's are not in stock the more money i could possibly divert to filters either the Optolong, Astronomik, or the Baader LRGB sets

As for the whole few pictures or the long haul. I would prefer the long haul as imaging has given me a hobby to occupy myself in these um... strange times... plus I have enjoyed astronomy since i was a kid so this is a bonus... who knows... maybe i will discover my own asteroid, comet, or star.



#16 Stelios

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Posted 18 October 2020 - 05:25 PM

I will admit that the filters i currently are looking at are the 1.25" ZWO LRGB Premium set and the ZWO Narrowband set. So I understand that there are reasons why some stuff is cheap and others are expensive. The question i would ask is how much of a difference truly is there given the scope and expected camera i am looking at.<snip>

 

The ZWO filters are not that bad. But this doesn't mean that differences are not noticeable. The differences between filters mainly fall in two areas:

 

1) Bandwidth when it comes to narrowband (ZWO maxes at 7nm, Astronomik at 6nm, Antlia at 3.5nm, Astrodon and Chroma at 3nm). Narrow bandwidths mean ability to shoot narrowband cleanly regardless of light pollution (including the moon). 

 

2) Reflections and halos on bright stars. Transmission curve definitions need to be precise, and halo effects are minimized with high-quality filters like Astrodon and Chroma, which makes a big difference between a nice image and a great image. 

 

In addition, quality filters are usually parfocal, which saves time when autofocusing. And quality filters have better color fidelity, and better selection of covered wavelengths.

 

Overall, more expensive filters *are* worth the money to an experienced imager. It's not a question of camera. However, you need to have your processing game down pat to take full advantage. There's nothing wrong with starting with ZWO filters and saving money--you will produce nice images. But if you get addicted to the hobby, do expect that at some point you will want to get better filters--and when you do, take my advice and go straight to Chroma (or Astrodon). Don't do what I did which was to get an intermediate step, and so end up with three sets :(



#17 ssa2294

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Posted 18 October 2020 - 05:37 PM

I will admit that the filters i currently are looking at are the 1.25" ZWO LRGB Premium set and the ZWO Narrowband set. So I understand that there are reasons why some stuff is cheap and others are expensive. The question i would ask is how much of a difference truly is there given the scope and expected camera i am looking at. I would figure if i wanted the more expensive ASI6200 then it would be a no brainer to get the more expensive filters as those slight differences would show up in a more capable camera. 
of course the longer these camera's are not in stock the more money i could possibly divert to filters either the Optolong, Astronomik, or the Baader LRGB sets

As for the whole few pictures or the long haul. I would prefer the long haul as imaging has given me a hobby to occupy myself in these um... strange times... plus I have enjoyed astronomy since i was a kid so this is a bonus... who knows... maybe i will discover my own asteroid, comet, or star.

 

I would be interested to see if anyone has actually done comparison tests of the different filters.

 

Anyways, depending on which camera you decide on, it may also determine which filter wheel and filter sets to get. I.e. larger sensor cameras will require larger filters and EFW that can hold them. I know a couple last winter were eagerly awaiting ZWO's 2" wheel as that would have future proofed their filter purchases. 



#18 kel123

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Posted 18 October 2020 - 05:50 PM

The most difficult part of this hobby is not worrying or debating the option of camera or other equipment to buy but the biggest problem is getting the money to buy them 😃.

If you have loads of money, then you have no problem. Just get both mono and color, they will surely come in handy at different occasions.

I have an ASI533MC and I still dream of adding the ASI1600MM or the new ASI294MM whenever the budget permits. In fact, I have future-proofed by already purchasing a ZWO filter wheel and premium LRGB filters. The filters is helping me to perfect mono imaging of planets with a nifty QHY5L-IIM camera.

The point is, whichever one you get, make sure to make the best use of it because you will always get wonderful images.
But also know that there may always be room for more options . Don't kid yourself and think that the latest equipment you are buying is the last, unless of course you plan to quit the hobby. It is a money pit, stupid.

#19 Voska

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Posted 18 October 2020 - 05:58 PM

I would be interested to see if anyone has actually done comparison tests of the different filters.

 

Anyways, depending on which camera you decide on, it may also determine which filter wheel and filter sets to get. I.e. larger sensor cameras will require larger filters and EFW that can hold them. I know a couple last winter were eagerly awaiting ZWO's 2" wheel as that would have future proofed their filter purchases. 

I was considering the 2" filters but for budget sake I will pass for now. Of course should i want to get better filters and spend the cash on them I will get then get the 2" and the higher tier filters.



#20 idclimber

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Posted 18 October 2020 - 06:04 PM

36mm is supposed to be better for APS sized sensors. They are also not nearly as spendy as the 2" 



#21 Voska

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Posted 18 October 2020 - 07:12 PM

36mm is supposed to be better for APS sized sensors. They are also not nearly as spendy as the 2" 

Thanks for the tip. Looking at the prices I could get a 7 position wheel and the Baader LRGB set for $776.99 and i could just get the Narrow band filters at a later time.

for those of you with Mono cameras... are you constantly taking out and putting the filters in the wheel or once they are in you leave it? if you take them out all the time how often are you accidentally getting finger prints on them... or do you invest in white gloves?



#22 idclimber

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Posted 18 October 2020 - 07:36 PM

You can order directly from Chroma and I definitely suggest doing so. Their 36mm LRGB set is $595. They are arguably a step up from Baader.

 

Once you mount the filters to a ZWO wheel, you will not want to change them unless you are upgrading. 7 Filter spots gives you room for them all. 


Edited by idclimber, 18 October 2020 - 07:37 PM.


#23 SeymoreStars

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Posted 18 October 2020 - 07:38 PM

I have a seven filter wheel and never take them out.

 

I use these gloves if handling the filters or camera - https://www.amazon.c...duct/B01LOU3CSG



#24 Night shift

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Posted 18 October 2020 - 09:14 PM

Chroma has an HaLRBG set for $775.00 and that is the 31mm. It is a good start. It's ok to buy a cheaper starter set until you have the funds the upscale ones. It will get you out and going.




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