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Imager Suggestions for Photometry

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#1 John Downing

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Posted 18 June 2021 - 01:12 PM

My current camera, an aging ST-8XE, is in the shop for repair so I am looking at replacing it with a new imager for my photometric imaging. Would appreciate the benefit of your experience in making this decision. 

 

Interests: Photometry of short period and eclipsing binary variables. Possible additional targets: Exoplanet transits, asteroid light curves or other photometric targets.   

 

Equipment: C925 OTA currently working at 1645mm. Imager, which is out for repair, ST-8XE. TCF-S focuser. Using guide scope and camera, would prefer OAG. This camera has been great for photometry and while the chip is a bit small the FOV for photometry has been adequate. But being 20 years old now I think it is time for me to prepare for the inevitable need for replacement.,

 

I have been looking at cameras that use the IMX694 sensor, either:
Starlight Xpress Trius Pro-694 CCD Camera Combi with Midi Filter Wheel and Lodestar Pro – Blue
SBIG Aluma CCD694 with filter wheel. Approximately an additional $1,800 cost.

 

Is anyone out there using the IMX694 sensor for photometry, or have considered and rejected this sensor?

 

What about experience with these two cameras and their manufacturers? Other manufacturers?

 

Recommendations for other sensors and/or cameras?

 

Thanks in advance for assisting me with this decision.
John



#2 alphatripleplus

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Posted 18 June 2021 - 01:15 PM

Moving from EAA to Scientific Amateur Astronomy for a potentially better fit.



#3 vsteblina

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Posted 18 June 2021 - 04:59 PM

I went through the same process with my ST-7XE.

 

I ended up buying a used ST-8XE.

 

Not much help on my part.



#4 John Downing

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Posted 18 June 2021 - 08:31 PM

Vladimir: I did the same a long time ago. Still have a parallel port ST-7 sitting around somewhere. It came with a 12VDC powered power supply which came in handy, I have it mounted on my OTA so that all my cables are through the mount. I still have it, a CFW-8 and an AO sitting on the shelf. 

 

The ST-8XE is very good for photometry. 

Cheers,

John



#5 GaryShaw

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Posted 19 June 2021 - 07:24 AM

Hi

Have you considered a cmos camera. The new folks entering the photometry world seems to be shifting to these for their significant cost advantage and far lower, near zero, read noise. You could a OSC version and submit your data to AAVSO in ‘TG’ or, if you can, by some rare stroke of luck, find the astrodon or Johnson/cousins photometric filters, you could go with a mono camera. I’ve been searching for filters for over a year and they are just plain not available due to manufacturing shut down or some other issue. The ASI294mc has been working fine for AAVSO uploads and magnitude determinations in TG. I’ll be using the same camera for confirming exoplanet transit ‘center points’. I don’t have enough FL to adequately ‘time’ the transit. 
Gary

 

ps: let me know if you find a filter source..



#6 John Downing

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Posted 19 June 2021 - 08:18 AM

Thanks Gary, I do have some photometric filters (V, B, wait listied for Rc, if I purchase a camera with the ICX694 I will 'have' to order a U filter as well.)  and have been working in mono with filter wheels.. I have been looking for mono CCD's because I am familiar with them and working photometry with CMOS introduces an additional learning curve for me. 

 

That is not to say I am rejecting CMOS as an alternative, but it would need to be mono with filter wheel. The great number of different CMOS cameras available to me is a bit confusing. I would appreciate suggestions of specific monochrome CMOS cameras that would be appropriate for my photometric work. Will be posting this request on the AAVSO forum this morning. 

 

Photometric Filters: My suggestion at this time is to get on the waiting list at Farpoint(Astrodon). I was on that list for about 6 months before I got my B filter. I will post if I find a new source and hope others will do the same. I am not at all knowledgeable about this industry but it seems there is a significant pent up demand for these filters, hopefully someone will step up and fill the void. 


Edited by John Downing, 19 June 2021 - 08:24 AM.

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#7 GaryShaw

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Posted 19 June 2021 - 09:07 AM

I did just find, what appears to be, ‘in stock’ astrodon photometric filters at DavidAstro ( Quebec) but when I went to order, it appears they only sell them in Canada. 
Gary




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