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Player One for solar imaging - new owner

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#1 BinoGuy

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Posted 14 April 2021 - 04:54 PM

Hullo one and all,

 

I don't see a lot of discussion on this new camera brand (one post in Solar, a few over in nighttime-land) but I pulled the trigger on the Player One Neptune-M.  It is a 6.4 MP USB3.0 CMOS monochrome camera with the IMX178 sensor.  I know the sensor has something of a mixed reputation for solar but we'll see. 

 

The camera looks to have decent QE response, ~80% at 656nm.  The 2.4um pixel size will pair well with the Lunt and acceptably with the Quark; 2.4um critically samples at F9 and the Lunt is F7.  I do try and learn from the masters like MalVeauX and I know I'll be undersampling but my seeing conditions in the middle of the Great Lakes aren't great to begin with.  It will be better than the old guide cameras and oneshot I'm currently using*. 

 

However, what really caught my attention is the sensor tilt plate.  From the photos and description it appears to utillize a standard 3-point pivot via external screws.  The vendor claims you can remove Newtons Rings proactively!  Paired with good resolution (3096*2078) and up to 60 FPS in RAW8 we might have a contender here.  Plus, since I just received the Lunt a week ago this camera was within the hobby budget and I can flip it to a narrowband nighttime camera in a year or two if necessary.  Fingers crossed that this works out as planned.

 

I hope to post a more detailed review and pictures in the coming weeks.

 

 

 

* the ASI120MM Mini and the Altair GPCAM both have 3.75 µm pixels (656 nm critically samples at F14) and while the NextImage 5 has 2.2 µm pixels (656 nm critically samples at around F7) but all of them are just so slow and only have USB 2.0.  I was getting 14-15 fps yesterday with the ASI.

 

 

Clear skies BG °¿°


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#2 MalVeauX

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Posted 14 April 2021 - 05:09 PM

Hi,

 

Either way its still an IMX178 sensor, just like the IMX183 sensor, which both have exhibits issues with residual bayer matrix pattern from the mono sensor. Weirdly, it doesn't seem to come up with the color sensors, likely because they debayer. However, even if forced the mono data to be debayered, it doesn't resolve. A gentleman on this board wrote software that corrects the pattern and it indeed is bayer matrix related despite being mono. Doesn't matter who the manufacturer is on the camera, the sensor itself is the issue. Some don't have the effect. Some do. I hope your copy doesn't have the issue. Without the issue, the IMX178 is a great sensor for many things and will critically sample at F9 with 656nm and has a good FOV for a shorter scope with a full disc making for great resolution full discs.

 

USB2 is too slow for imaging any solar system object. I see this recommended sometimes by people and it's confusing, it's like giving yourself a handicap because lucky imaging is literally all about fast FPS at short exposure to capture good frames during moments of good seeing. And the cameras are so inexpensive now that there's just no reason to get USB2. I get it if someone already has one and are just experimenting. But if buying for solar imaging, it should be top effort to get USB3.

 

I look forward to seeing if your IMX178 works out. And I think it's great that they incorporated the sensor plane manipulation, that's fantastic if it works!

 

Very best,


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#3 rigel123

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Posted 15 April 2021 - 06:10 AM

Will be interested to see how this works out for you!



#4 Great Attractor

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Posted 15 April 2021 - 07:47 AM

* the ASI120MM Mini and the Altair GPCAM both have 3.75 µm pixels (656 nm critically samples at F14) and while the NextImage 5 has 2.2 µm pixels (656 nm critically samples at around F7) but all of them are just so slow and only have USB 2.0.  I was getting 14-15 fps yesterday with the ASI.

The issue here must have been something else than USB 2.0 alone. My PGR (also 1.3 MPix) captures without problems at 30 fps/8 bpp via USB 2.0, that's within the bandwidth limit. (Of course, if I want 30 fps at 16 bits, I need to connect via USB3).
 

USB2 is too slow for imaging any solar system object. I see this recommended sometimes by people and it's confusing, it's like giving yourself a handicap because lucky imaging is literally all about fast FPS at short exposure to capture good frames during moments of good seeing. And the cameras are so inexpensive now that there's just no reason to get USB2.

I wouldn't go that far, I mean - I do almost all of my imaging at USB 2 speeds (as mentioned above), and 400-600 full-res. frames for Sun/Moon stacking works fine; plus, with a small ROI (for planets) I can reach 60-90 fps and easily get thousands of frames for Mars/Venus if needed.

 

But I certainly agree that it makes little sense to get a new USB2 camera today, especially if it has a large sensor and can't reach a reasonable framerate.


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