Prelude: much ado about nothing
Ah California and the Bay area.. Nice winters without snow allowing you to image, but in summer time, Karl the Fog is as active as any child wanting to enjoy the sun.. Except Karl is egoist and steal all the sun from the common folks of the Bay Area (yep, LOTS music and I am indeed thinking of the Shire and Gandalf.. but that's a long story for another day).
Anyhow, I have been intrigued, as a number of people, about the ZWO 533 / 2600 and its 6200 as expensive as amazing on paper. 533MC was really too small in terms of field of view for my scope and targets. 2600 on the other hand.. APS-C format is starting to be great and you have a few advantages (smaller files, quick processing, less demanding on optics, etc). So one morning, I put my Financial Adviser Moral in the closet and order the 2600MC from OptCorp. Why the MC ? Great question and I hesitated. Maybe it wasn't in stock or maybe I wanted to keep my workflow simple for now. Obviously, one can expect much better results from the monochrome camera, as you would with any camera.
Of course, Murphy's (law) and Karl are good friends, so I just got my first clear night after 10 days. Not a lot of data, but already something that intrigued me enough to decide to start this post.
The question: just how good is it ?
I have been imaging since 2015 and doing observations since I was a child (parent scientist & all). Passionate about photography, I admit I have or have tested just too many cameras. D800e, D850, Z6, Z7, a few canon too, and even more recently the A7RIV. I was actually curious to see how the A7RIV would perform vs the ZWO 2600MC since.. aside from the APS-C vs FF, they do share a number (if not most) characteristics. Hold your horses.. I haven't had time yet to do that comparison, but provided Karl gets a girlfriend or just decide to sleep.. I will be able to post that comparison as well. Now, what I have been able to do, is to compare 4h of exposure of the Sadr region with the IDAS NB1 on both my D850 (4h exposure, 5mn subs, ISO 400) and yesterday the new 2600MC Pro (1h51mn exposure, 5mn subs, gain 300 - yes it's not 100 but that's what was needed to have sufficient separation from the left side of the histogram). First impression, the result looks clean. Second impression.. boy, I really had to raise that gain to get a good exposure, I really was hoping to stay at unity gain. I tried longer exposures 7, 8mn but it wasn't enough, and decided for now just to use a gain of 300.
The image from the D850 was done on May 7 and on the ZWO 2600MC yesterday on May 18. Approximately at the same time interval to have similar air masses. And... without too much talk, here is the red channel I captured with both (only calibrated with flats, no bias, no darks).
Without commenting myself, I would first be curious to hear what you think about the performance of both camera.
For all 3 images:
- Left: ZWO 2600MC (1h51 exposure, gain 300) - 100%
- Right: D850 (4h exposure, ISO 400) - 115% (to roughly match different pixel size)
That's it.. What's your first impressions ?
PS: they were processed on two different days so it's not 100% the same processing, but I use a very similar workflow. The 2600MC is slightly more exposed in the highlight compared to the D850 for instance
Edited by lpalbou, 18 May 2021 - 05:14 PM.