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ASI294MC Pro vs ASI183MC-Pro?

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#1 rckjiang

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Posted 16 January 2021 - 07:00 PM

Hi All!

Looking for wisdom on what I should get as my first dedicated Astro camera. I know this question has been asked to the nth degree but it seems the decision making is also unique to one’s set up.

Currently I’m shooting with a Nikon DSLR d850
Current main scope is WO Redcat 51. (I also use a Reflex Nikkor 500mm f8 but I suppose won’t be compatible w a ASI cam)
Guided with ASI120mini and a 30f4 guidescope
Tracking with just a Star Adventurer but thinking of upgrading to a AVX or EQ6R-P if I can convince the wifey.

What would people suggest I get? The 294MC-P or 183MC-P?

Many thanks!

Edited by rckjiang, 16 January 2021 - 07:01 PM.


#2 MikiSJ

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Posted 16 January 2021 - 07:08 PM

The ASI294MC-Pro (I have this camera) has a larger sensor, larger pixel size, much greater full well depth and lower read noise. If the $200 difference is not the decider, then it is the ASI294MC-Pro hands down.


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#3 Cometeer

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Posted 16 January 2021 - 07:12 PM

My vote is for the 294mc or a 533mc if you don’t mind a square sensor. 



#4 chuckyou

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Posted 16 January 2021 - 07:39 PM

get the EQ6r pro...it's a life time mount



#5 jerahian

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Posted 16 January 2021 - 08:16 PM

Do NOT get an AVX. The EQ6-R Pro is the definite choice here. I’ve had both and they’re like night and day regarding performance and quality.

As for the camera, I’ve never used the 183, but I love my 294! So, I highly recommend it from that partial experience.

CS, Ara

#6 Professor2112

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Posted 16 January 2021 - 10:23 PM

I don’t have experience with the eq6r-pro, but it was the first choice I had for a mount after a lot of research and recommendations. I ended up getting a bigger budget so I stepped it up to a cem70.  I do know it would very much be worth the price increase over the avx though!  As far as the camera I also support the others with the 294mc pro. I purchased one lightly used from a member here on CN as an upgrade from a canon dslr(unmodded). I’m waiting for the astromechanics ASCOM adapter for my canon lenses that should be here Monday, my new ota should be here by the end of the month, so I haven’t been able to get first light on it yet, all I’ve done is a sensor analysis in Sharpcap and a darks library.  But hopefully soon that is about to be over as long as I don’t get cursed by weeks of clouds!  Good luck in your decision process!


Edited by Professor2112, 16 January 2021 - 10:24 PM.


#7 dswtan

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Posted 17 January 2021 - 05:19 PM

If you're sticking with the WO Redcat, you might find the 294 a little wide. As a photographer, I think about framing a lot. The 183 (or more recent 533) seems more usefully tighter, unless you really like wide angles of or large astro objects. But you can already go wide with your D850 -- so for me, I would get the 533 in this case, especially since we're talking OSC here and not complementing your D850 with mono, so it's really an FOV question.

 

The 294 is already much tighter than your D850 though, so it's up to you ultimately. I'm just highlighting that I look at such selections as a FOV question more than anything. 

 

https://astronomy.to...|1|0&messier=42

(Nearest equivalent cameras shown where not in the tool.)

 

astronomy tools Fov (2)

 

 



#8 rckjiang

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Posted 17 January 2021 - 06:14 PM

If you're sticking with the WO Redcat, you might find the 294 a little wide. As a photographer, I think about framing a lot. The 183 (or more recent 533) seems more usefully tighter, unless you really like wide angles of or large astro objects. But you can already go wide with your D850 -- so for me, I would get the 533 in this case, especially since we're talking OSC here and not complementing your D850 with mono, so it's really an FOV question.

The 294 is already much tighter than your D850 though, so it's up to you ultimately. I'm just highlighting that I look at such selections as a FOV question more than anything.

https://astronomy.to...|1|0&messier=42
(Nearest equivalent cameras shown where not in the tool.)


That is actually a really good point. I was finding the framing too wide even with the 500mm lens I was using before.

Edited by rckjiang, 17 January 2021 - 06:16 PM.

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#9 joeytroy

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Posted 17 January 2021 - 08:40 PM

I have redcat and just rolled with the ASI533. The 183 is the perfect fit if you are splitting hairs as it doesn't undersample like the 533 however the 533 is the better camera due to the larger full well, no amp glow and noise.

 

https://compare.astr...ing-camera.com/

 

Even with it undersampled it's still less undersampled than my D5500 I currently shoot with so it will be an upgrade. If you don't plan on upgrading your scope to much I would recommend checking out the Sky-Watcher EQM-35 Pro. I only mention it as SWMBO was easier to talk into a $725 mount compared to $1500 mount lol.gif . You can check out my setup here if your interested. Still waiting for my ASI533 as it's 2-4 weeks out when though I bought it last month...

 

https://www.youtube....EOTQwggW_xf052m



#10 philinbris

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Posted 18 January 2021 - 12:08 AM

A couple of mentions of "undersampled", can someone please explain what exactly that means?

I have done a lot of research on the 294 vs the 533 and for now I have settled on the 533 for the reasons mentioned - better fullwell, no amp glow and it seams to have good quantum efficiency as well.

Here in Aussie, the 533 is $200 cheaper than the 294 so i also makes sense financially.

I looked at the 183 briefly but I thought it was a bit "long in the tooth".

Cheers



#11 jonnybravo0311

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Posted 18 January 2021 - 12:30 AM

A couple of mentions of "undersampled", can someone please explain what exactly that means?

I have done a lot of research on the 294 vs the 533 and for now I have settled on the 533 for the reasons mentioned - better fullwell, no amp glow and it seams to have good quantum efficiency as well.

Here in Aussie, the 533 is $200 cheaper than the 294 so i also makes sense financially.

I looked at the 183 briefly but I thought it was a bit "long in the tooth".

Cheers

Check out this link: http://astronomy.too...ccd_suitability

 

Basically, your resolution is dependent upon the focal length of the scope and the pixel size of the camera sensor. If you have pixels that are very small, and a long focal length, that leads to over-sampling. Hope you've got a really good mount, really fantastic balance, great polar alignment and spot on guiding. At the other end of the spectrum, if you've got big pixels and a wide focal length, you can get away with things.

 

Whether you're under- or over-sampled is also dependent on the seeing conditions. A combination of sensor and scope may be over-sampled in very poor seeing conditions, yet under-sampled in exceptional seeing conditions. Using my own gear, the G9 has a pixel size of 3.3 microns and my GT81 has a focal length of 478mm. I also use a 0.8x reducer. Plugging those values in and with exceptional seeing, I'm significantly under-sampled. With very poor seeing, I'm in the green.


Edited by jonnybravo0311, 18 January 2021 - 12:31 AM.

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#12 bobzeq25

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Posted 18 January 2021 - 01:26 AM

Sampling is something that's fussed with too much by beginners.  Smaller pixels can theoretically get you more resolution, but seeing (atmospheric stability) and tracking often get in the way of that.  It costs you signal to noise ratio, that's an inevitable tradeoff.  

 

Small pixels are for experienced imagers with great mounts and good (stable) skies.

 

Larger pixels get you better signal to noise ratio no matter what.  As stated above, they're more forgiving of beginner errors.

 

There is no such thing as "too wide a field of view".  If it's an aesthetic problem with some specific target, you can just crop the image.

 

I recommend the 294, the 533 is a good option.  If you can live with the smaller field of view.  <smile>


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#13 joeytroy

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Posted 18 January 2021 - 02:04 AM

rck,

 

Here is some more information based on a discussion I had on the forums, it's a little technical in nature

 

https://www.cloudyni...n-can-you-help/

 

Know that undersample is easier to resolve issues as long as you are dithering with PixInsight with a process called Drizzle

 

https://pixinsight.c...-released.6911/



#14 philinbris

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Posted 18 January 2021 - 04:33 AM

Never easy is it.

Thanks for all that great advice on undersampling.

Looks like the 533 is still a good option - I might need to get a focal reducer closer to the 0.8x end than the 0.5 I have to suit my 200mm Newt.

I still like the reduced / zero amp glow for the DSO side of things.

Cheers


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#15 joeytroy

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Posted 18 January 2021 - 11:33 AM

Once you think you know stuff you don't lol. I didn't even know I was undersampled for the longest time. Now that I do I see a difference when using Drizzle to correct my images.



#16 AstroVagabond

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Posted 30 January 2021 - 05:08 PM

Hi All!

Looking for wisdom on what I should get as my first dedicated Astro camera. I know this question has been asked to the nth degree but it seems the decision making is also unique to one’s set up.

 

Thank you for posting this question. I'm a beginner having started about 40 days ago. I'm about to order the QHY 183m to pair with my Zenithstar 61. Not satisfied with the pairing of my 6D pixel size with the Zenithstar. The responses to your post have been helpful to my use case as well. I'm in a highly polluted area and I knew before I started monochrome and NB would be on my roadmap at some point. That point has come.

 

As I said I'm a beginner in deep-sky object imaging. But I'm highly experienced in the process of being a beginner at my age of 66. I can't count the number of times I started new areas of skill development including many very complex subject areas. I was successful much more often than not. Through the process of beginning over and over again you learn a methodology that sets you up for success when you want to begin something new. If you apply the process of beginning that has delivered success before, it will deliver success again. One thing you learn as an experienced beginner is not to waste time and effort. If there is a pathway to success, don't fuss, execute that pathway. Also at 66 I don't know how much time I have to fumble around. lol.gif

 

When you are an experienced beginner you learn how to do the research and you learn not to ignore the experiences of others. No glory in finding out the hard way like was often the case 40 years ago when the number of refence books were few and heavy to carry around. Now the world's information is at our finger tips. Like the valuable information found right here on CN.

 

The other thing you develop as an experienced beginner at beginning is to assess risks. You learn to assess the downside in trying to leap frog where you can leveraging the knowledge and experience of others.

 

If my choice is wrong on the QHY 183m I'm out about $1k. That is within my risk tolerance.

 

I love these forums because of the vast experience and coaching that can be found here. It is a gold mine.

 

So thanks again for posting the question! And thanks to everyone who to took the time to share their guidance and experience. Much appreciated. 

 

~ Beginner Bill


Edited by AstroVagabond, 30 January 2021 - 05:12 PM.

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#17 MikiSJ

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Posted 30 January 2021 - 06:04 PM

If my choice is wrong on the QHY 183m I'm out about $1k. That is within my risk tolerance.

Not necessarily, and not even employing the greater fool theory regarding choice. There is a vibrant market for used astronomical gear and specifically CMOS cameras of every stripe.


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#18 AstroVagabond

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Posted 30 January 2021 - 06:09 PM

Not necessarily, and not even employing the greater fool theory regarding choice. There is a vibrant market for used astronomical gear and specifically CMOS cameras of every stripe.

A valid point! 



#19 AstroVagabond

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Posted 01 February 2021 - 11:46 PM

 

If my choice is wrong on the QHY 183m I'm out about $1k. That is within my risk tolerance.

 

~ Beginner Bill

I've decided to take a step back and consider the QHY 268m as a potential better option over the QHY 183m. I achieve the reduction in pixel size I wanted to address versus my Canon 6D 6.5 microns size. It therefore addresses under-sampling which concerns me given the 6D, yet gives me a bit more tolerance when it comes to guiding. And the FoV when matched against the targets I'll initially image is a better fit in my opinion. The QHY 268m will scale with longer focal length scopes if they are in my future.

 

Yes it is more money. It means I'll just image for a while with a luminance filter in my Z61 adjustable field flattener until I can build the funds for a filter wheel and additional filters.

 

I'm funding my expenditures by selling off items I no longer use. I'm in no hurry as long as I'm making continuous improvement. I'm applying Agile to my version of an astrophotography journey.

 

Thanks again to everyone who offered food for thought!



#20 jonnybravo0311

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Posted 02 February 2021 - 12:10 AM

Are you planning to sell that 6D to help fund the 268M? If not, then instead of the L filter, consider perhaps Ha. That way you'd be able to do HaRGB combinations. Use the 268M and the Ha filter, and the 6D to capture the nice RGB star fields. You can get good stars with short subs, and then you can get those nice long Ha exposures. Doing that will give you some good practice editing so when you do build up your NB filter set with wheel and auto-focuser (yes, you'll want one so you don't have to babysit and re-focus every time you change filters), you'll already be well-versed in NB image combination :). That's actually the route I'm considering taking myself, excepting my camera of choice so far is the 294M.



#21 AstroVagabond

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Posted 02 February 2021 - 12:38 AM

Are you planning to sell that 6D to help fund the 268M? If not, then instead of the L filter, consider perhaps Ha. That way you'd be able to do HaRGB combinations. Use the 268M and the Ha filter, and the 6D to capture the nice RGB star fields. You can get good stars with short subs, and then you can get those nice long Ha exposures. Doing that will give you some good practice editing so when you do build up your NB filter set with wheel and auto-focuser (yes, you'll want one so you don't have to babysit and re-focus every time you change filters), you'll already be well-versed in NB image combination smile.gif. That's actually the route I'm considering taking myself, excepting my camera of choice so far is the 294M.

No I'm going to keep my 6D because I do portrait photography and it's great for that purpose. If I had gone the QHY 183M route I would have had enough for the camera, filter wheel and NB filters. I sold my drone Last Friday night which provided the funds. smile.gif

 

But I continued to gather information and use the Astronomy.tools FoV Calculator as well as CCD Suitability calculator to help my research. I also know my traits and sometimes I forget to go slow to go fast. So I've decided to slow down and give some consideration to the QHY 268M. I knew going into this journey I would need to address light pollution given where I'm located. And I knew that would cost me to get a solution.

 

Anyway thank you for giving me something to think about with regard to the HaRGB + 6D approach. Much appreciated.

 

If push comes to shove I can always go to my wife for a loan until I sell my sea kayak! smile.gif Not my preferred route.

 

Clearly there is no shortage of ways to spend money in the hobby. Thanks again!


Edited by AstroVagabond, 02 February 2021 - 12:39 AM.

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#22 jonnybravo0311

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Posted 02 February 2021 - 09:51 AM

One thing to make sure you get correct is the filter size. The 2" filters are _probably_ overkill, but on the other hand, you're safe with them :). The downside is the 2" filters are considerably more costly than the 1.25" versions. If you do decide to do a single filter in the flattener, regardless of L or Ha, you're getting a 2" filter, since that's what fits the Z61 flattener (same with my GT81 flattener/reducer). However, as someone wisely pointed out earlier in the thread - there's a vibrant market for used astrophotography kit.


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