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Gen3 NV vs CCD imagers

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#1 bigdobsonfan

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Posted 11 July 2021 - 05:25 PM

Searched for the title and didn't see an obvious hit so made a post...

 

If my goal is digital imaging (and potentially video even if primarily for lucky imaging image-stacking) I was curious if anyone who might have knowledge or experience with both systems could comment... I could fill the topic with half-thought questions like normal or just open the floor.  Curious about comparisons of raw cost, performance, and things one can do that another cant.  How comparable are the technologies and is CCD a clear winner or are there cases where Gen3 NV is better?  (and how would 'tiers' of CCD imager compare since I see prices over a wide range whereas Gen3 is pretty much a $4000-job no matter what)



#2 Jeff Morgan

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Posted 11 July 2021 - 10:19 PM

Searched for the title and didn't see an obvious hit so made a post...

 

If my goal is digital imaging (and potentially video even if primarily for lucky imaging image-stacking) I was curious if anyone who might have knowledge or experience with both systems could comment... I could fill the topic with half-thought questions like normal or just open the floor.  Curious about comparisons of raw cost, performance, and things one can do that another cant.  How comparable are the technologies and is CCD a clear winner or are there cases where Gen3 NV is better?  (and how would 'tiers' of CCD imager compare since I see prices over a wide range whereas Gen3 is pretty much a $4000-job no matter what)

 

That's a tough nut to crack - especially since the energy in the hobby is clearly with imaging. Visual astronomy is becoming a small niche,, no matter what the dinosaurs on the other forums tell you. (Denial - it is not just a river in Egypt.) Pick up the latest astronomy mags and compare the space devoted to imaging vs. visual. Not even close.

 

Basically, what that means is that there are imaging systems to cover even modest budgets.

 

But let me give you an example of my splurge into CMOS, all ZWO items unless otherwise noted. I did not go low-end on anything, but even if I did, you need so many items it still adds up fast. And of course, this presumes a suitable mount and telescope.

 

Camera: $2,2000. ASI2600 MM ASP-C format monochrome. (Could have cut that in half, albeit for a smaller sensor a generation or two out of date.)

 

Filters: $3,300 for SHO and LRGB. Could have went Chinese for about $700. For the remaining items, not a lot of corners to cut.

 

Filter wheel: $300.

 

OAG: $200

 

Guide Camera: $300

 

Electronic auto focuser: $250

 

Computer: $300

 

If you have not fainted yet, that is about $6850 for a higher (not highest) end CMOS camera outfit. 

 

Oh, I spent $300 for a nice light panel, and still need to buy some software to process all of the data. 

 

And a stronger computer. Bigger external drive. Etc., etc., etc.

 

Does high-end NV still sound expensive?


Edited by Jeff Morgan, 11 July 2021 - 10:20 PM.

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#3 bobhen

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Posted 12 July 2021 - 10:13 AM

Some top of mind thoughts, I’m sure others will add.

 

Benefits of NV
Night vision has all the “ergonomic advantages” that visual observing has and that “visual observers enjoy” over using a camera. NV is really enhanced visual observing
1. Much less complicated set up: no wire routing, guide scopes, polar alignment, etc.
2. No need for power at the telescope.
3. No need for a computer or monitor at the telescope
4. Simple alt/az push-to mounts can be used
5. It’s much simpler switching from a glass eyepiece to an intensifier – just insert he intensifier.
6. Night vision can also be used “handheld” with camera lenses for ultra-wide field observing and the “ultimate” grab-and-go system for short sessions or travel.
7. Night Vision is “true” real-time observing.
8. One can record what they see using a smart phone camera using very short exposures.
9. Costs range from around 3,000 up to $5,000

 

Benefits of the Camera
Imaging is not really a visual pursuit.
1. Colorful, pretty pictures, going deeper and with more details is the realm of imaging.
2. If that is what you want, there is no other way to get there.
3. A wide range of costs depending on what you want to accomplish and your mount and camera specs

 

Benefits of EAA (Electrically Assisted Astronomy)
EAA kind of falls in-between but more closely resembles imaging than NV.
1. Deep and more details than NV but still requires tracking and a more complicated set up than NV
2. Usually no post processing just short exposures at the telescope
3. The least expensive of the three

 

I’ve done all three but just do NV now.

 

Bob


Edited by bobhen, 13 July 2021 - 05:37 AM.

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#4 astrokeith

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Posted 12 July 2021 - 10:20 AM

I have used a Gen3 'eyepiece' - problem is the lack of control over its gain and brightness.

 

Good fun to play with but not worth 1000's of dollars/pounds.



#5 GOLGO13

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Posted 12 July 2021 - 10:40 AM

I have used a Gen3 'eyepiece' - problem is the lack of control over its gain and brightness.

 

Good fun to play with but not worth 1000's of dollars/pounds.

I don't think this is true for all devices. Maybe the one you tried was like this. Mine has gain and brightness controls. Mod3 and PVS14 have this capability. I can't speak for all of the different designs. But if that's an issue consider getting one or trying one with that feature.


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#6 turtle86

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Posted 12 July 2021 - 07:18 PM

Searched for the title and didn't see an obvious hit so made a post...

 

If my goal is digital imaging (and potentially video even if primarily for lucky imaging image-stacking) I was curious if anyone who might have knowledge or experience with both systems could comment... I could fill the topic with half-thought questions like normal or just open the floor.  Curious about comparisons of raw cost, performance, and things one can do that another cant.  How comparable are the technologies and is CCD a clear winner or are there cases where Gen3 NV is better?  (and how would 'tiers' of CCD imager compare since I see prices over a wide range whereas Gen3 is pretty much a $4000-job no matter what)

 

Largely apples and oranges IMHO.  Can't really say one is better.  Really depends on what your goals are.

 

NV is mostly an extension of visual astronomy.  Smartphone pictures are possible, though they could never compare to good CCD images. No getting around the cost if you want something good; around 4K as you say.  NV doesn't need a tracking mount and you're observing in live time just as you would with a conventional eyepiece.  To me, NV offers the immediacy and spontaneity of visual astronomy while allowing you to go considerably deeper and letting you do rewarding observing even with light pollution.  I see myself buying a NV setup in the near future.

 

On the other hand, CCD imaging is the successor to film astrophotography.  Though it can be done on a budget, it can get very expensive, depending on the mount, scope, sensor, accessories, etc.  The experience is very different from NV.   Whereas with NV you're observing an object in real time, with CCD you're not observing at all--usually you're acquiring a series of digital images on your laptop and later digitally processing them.  And of course setting up a scope for CCD imaging is a rather complex endeavor in comparison to simply popping an NV device into the focuser.  The payoff is that you can get beautiful high resolution color images with CCD.  I used to do a bit of CCD imaging and really enjoyed it, but had to stop due to lack of time. I do hope to return to it in the near future.

 

In short, both NV and CCD offer very different experiences and have very different goals, though both IMHO are very rewarding.


Edited by turtle86, 13 July 2021 - 06:35 AM.

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#7 GOLGO13

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Posted 12 July 2021 - 09:35 PM

Totally agree with Turtle86. But I'm not an imager. I thought about it once and then realized it totally isn't appealing to me.

 

For those of us that are either 1) too lazy for imaging 2) don't want to learn it 3) don't want to setup a ton of equipment 4) don't want to spend a ton of time processing images 5) etc...NV is much more easy going. It's basically visual astronomy using an intensifier. In light pollution, it provides a dark sky with glass feel. Maybe not quite as good as what it would look like in a dark sky with glass for some objects, but other objects are better.  

 

You don't even have to wait to be dark adapted. You can literally setup a telescope (even in alt/az) and be observing in just a few minutes.

 

I don't want to oversell it though. It is expensive and not everyone is going to like it. Though transparency is really important, so don't judge the system on a night or two's experience. I've had days where the Horsehead is barely visible, and then the next night it's pretty good. And yes, you can see the Horsehead with just about any reasonable fast scope.

 

Now, for what you will see compared to CCD images, quite frankly it's not near CCD images from what I've seen. I think someone in a dark sky with a very large scope, that could be a bit closer. I've not experienced that yet. It seems to be closer to EAA in black and white. Closest thing to high quality I've seen is the Orion Nebula...it looks really good with NV. 

 

I'm pretty terrible at taking pictures through it, but these are a few to give an idea of what can be seen. CN messes my photos up a bit when they convert it. So it will look better through the NV with your eye. The Orion one is a bit longer exposure one and it looks different in the scopes. But the other two are fairly representative of a good night with NV (better with your eye). The size of the objects depends on your scope. I like having many scopes of different focal lengths. 500, 1200, 2000 focal lenths works well

 

DD914720 2A61 4214 AD14 D1146593E1AD
89214A0C 967E 4BBE 8D79 502C92E8EC02
9C4C83C8 DE11 4B54 9CE5 2A9B598627C3

Edited by GOLGO13, 12 July 2021 - 09:39 PM.

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#8 Jeff Morgan

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Posted 12 July 2021 - 11:09 PM

I have used a Gen3 'eyepiece' - problem is the lack of control over its gain and brightness.

 

Good fun to play with but not worth 1000's of dollars/pounds.

 

That was specific to the unit you used. Gain control is a common feature many (most?) of us have.

 

"Worth" touches on budget and value. No right or wrong answers there, just personal answers.

 

I can't begin to place a value of great observing from the SQM 20.5 back yard and covering 300+ Sharpless nebula and resolving six or seven dozen globulars into dozens of stars in a 16" aperture.

 

But I still do a lot of conventional too.


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#9 turtle86

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Posted 13 July 2021 - 06:39 AM

Totally agree with Turtle86. But I'm not an imager. I thought about it once and then realized it totally isn't appealing to me.

 

For those of us that are either 1) too lazy for imaging 2) don't want to learn it 3) don't want to setup a ton of equipment 4) don't want to spend a ton of time processing images 5) etc...NV is much more easy going. It's basically visual astronomy using an intensifier. In light pollution, it provides a dark sky with glass feel. Maybe not quite as good as what it would look like in a dark sky with glass for some objects, but other objects are better.  

 

You don't even have to wait to be dark adapted. You can literally setup a telescope (even in alt/az) and be observing in just a few minutes.

 

I don't want to oversell it though. It is expensive and not everyone is going to like it. Though transparency is really important, so don't judge the system on a night or two's experience. I've had days where the Horsehead is barely visible, and then the next night it's pretty good. And yes, you can see the Horsehead with just about any reasonable fast scope.

 

Now, for what you will see compared to CCD images, quite frankly it's not near CCD images from what I've seen. I think someone in a dark sky with a very large scope, that could be a bit closer. I've not experienced that yet. It seems to be closer to EAA in black and white. Closest thing to high quality I've seen is the Orion Nebula...it looks really good with NV. 

 

I'm pretty terrible at taking pictures through it, but these are a few to give an idea of what can be seen. CN messes my photos up a bit when they convert it. So it will look better through the NV with your eye. The Orion one is a bit longer exposure one and it looks different in the scopes. But the other two are fairly representative of a good night with NV (better with your eye). The size of the objects depends on your scope. I like having many scopes of different focal lengths. 500, 1200, 2000 focal lenths works well

 

 

Those are still very nice images!  waytogo.gif



#10 bigdobsonfan

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Posted 14 July 2021 - 12:06 AM

That's a tough nut to crack - especially since the energy in the hobby is clearly with imaging. Visual astronomy is becoming a small niche

 

Basically, what that means is that there are imaging systems to cover even modest budgets.

 

If you have not fainted yet, that is about $6850 for a higher (not highest) end CMOS camera outfit.

Other posters said my thoughts better than me so i'll add to it later, I still definately have an interest in both.

 

No fainting, i'm also a video/film production hobbyist so spending thousands on cameras and such is just part and parcel.  I was expecting to possibly dump 4 grand on an NV setup, possibly considerably more (ultimately anyways years later) dreaming of huge dobsonians..  just like any hobby (cars, etc) we often fall head over heels and whether the money is spent on the scope or the intensifier is irrelevant..  it's more what do I want to view and i'm still figuring some of that out.

 

What would the highest of CMOS cameras be just for comparison and how does that compare to what you have?

 

 

Some top of mind thoughts, I’m sure others will add.

 

Benefits of NV
Night vision has all the “ergonomic advantages” that visual observing has and that “visual observers enjoy” over using a camera. NV is really enhanced visual observing

Thats kind of what pushes me more to NV for more routine things if i'm stuck in the Twin Cities for a few more years which I think I am.  There's too much work and setup and even driving time to get to dark skies for imaging turning into an all day event - would I like to do some of that eventually, yes, when I have a huge Dob to stick in front of it.

 

 

Largely apples and oranges IMHO.  Can't really say one is better.  Really depends on what your goals are.

 

NV is mostly an extension of visual astronomy.  Smartphone pictures are possible, though they could never compare to good CCD images.

 

On the other hand, CCD imaging is the successor to film astrophotography.  Though it can be done on a budget, it can get very expensive,

 

Whereas with NV you're observing an object in real time, with CCD you're not observing at all--

Well in part i'm just curious of a performance comparison - snapping images of the view behind a Gen3 NV compared to a CMOS or CCD type system with more time, where is the crossover point in cost performance value... even though they are different experiences.  I'm just trying to get a better idea in my head of what CAN be viewed or not.

 

I like visual astronomy because to some degree if i'm staring at a monitor right next to a camera on a telescope at a dark sky site, a part of me almost feels like I might as well just be staring at a jpeg from a professional scope at home - it loses some of the immediacy - i'm not saying it's zero, it's just looking in realtime at things like meteor trails is another thing that is cooler done with an eye through an eyepiece for me.

 

Another thing that offsets the cost to me is usability for other purposes, it's not just $4k for an astro imager, so it's easier for me to justify spending it if I can fulfill two, three or more hobby interests with the same purchase.  (just like if I understand, astro-modified CMOS DSLR's can still be used to usually shoot normal footage with less convenient ergonomics, depending on what mods were done - like a cooled sensor, not deBayering, though the latter still shoots footage just B&W high res raw)

 


For those of us that are either 1) too lazy for imaging 2) don't want to learn it 3) don't want to setup a ton of equipment 4) don't want to spend a ton of time processing images 5) etc...NV is much more easy going.


Now, for what you will see compared to CCD images, quite frankly it's not near CCD images from

That's more me to start certainly - I need something that is grab and go and doesn't need to drive 2-3 hours to dark skies to stay interested in the hobby, or it gets so difficult i'll fall out of it just like I did in the past.

 

I'm curious how 'low' one can go on the CCD scale (older used equipment of whatever generation) that's comparable to Gen3 NV images snapped through the eyepiece - i'd assume for alot less cost than Gen3 hopefully?  CCD probably gets better, perhaps even for the money, i'm just curious where the financial/performance crossover point is too compared to taking images or video from the smartphone in front of the Gen3 eyepiece.

 

Also I like your images and would be happy if I were taking the same - just something representing "what I was seeing in realtime" for people that I can't show directly.


Edited by bigdobsonfan, 14 July 2021 - 12:08 AM.


#11 GOLGO13

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Posted 14 July 2021 - 07:46 AM

 

 

Also I like your images and would be happy if I were taking the same - just something representing "what I was seeing in realtime" for people that I can't show directly.

Check out Geezer's pictures. He seems to do much better. I am doing all mine alt/az so that doesn't work out great. But some people can really take some nice ones, and it doesn't take imaging all night.

 

https://www.cloudyni...59-geezergazer/

 

Click on gallery on his page


Edited by GOLGO13, 14 July 2021 - 07:46 AM.

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#12 moshen

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Posted 22 July 2021 - 03:31 PM

 

I like visual astronomy because to some degree if i'm staring at a monitor right next to a camera on a telescope at a dark sky site, a part of me almost feels like I might as well just be staring at a jpeg from a professional scope at home - it loses some of the immediacy - i'm not saying it's zero, it's just looking in realtime at things like meteor trails is another thing that is cooler done with an eye through an eyepiece for me.

 

Another thing that offsets the cost to me is usability for other purposes, it's not just $4k for an astro imager, so it's easier for me to justify spending it if I can fulfill two, three or more hobby interests with the same purchase.  (just like if I understand, astro-modified CMOS DSLR's can still be used to usually shoot normal footage with less convenient ergonomics, depending on what mods were done - like a cooled sensor, not deBayering, though the latter still shoots footage just B&W high res raw)

 

 

I'd definitely place a NV device as a visual accessory more than an imaging device. It really depends on your expectations for the images you'd want. There have been great phone images through NV devices but they still might not scratch your imaging itch. On the other hand imaging through a CCD/CMOS camera is a completely different hobby and experience than visual astronomy.  Here are two images from my 3.5" refractor. One is an iPhone pic from the latest Gen3 night vision device. It took a few seconds to take that picture and it also represents a real time view through the small scope. The other photo I shot with the same scope with a cooled astro-CCD camera that's half the cost of a high spec NV device. But it took four hours of exposure and hours of post-processing and hundreds of hours of struggling with the process of imaging. The NV device is best suited for visual that can also be used for quick snapshots but they might not be a substitute for photos you'd want to hang on your wall.

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Edited by moshen, 22 July 2021 - 03:38 PM.

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#13 Jeff Morgan

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Posted 23 July 2021 - 11:10 AM

I'd definitely place a NV device as a visual accessory more than an imaging device. It really depends on your expectations for the images you'd want. There have been great phone images through NV devices but they still might not scratch your imaging itch. On the other hand imaging through a CCD/CMOS camera is a completely different hobby and experience than visual astronomy. 

 

NV photography whetted my appetite to jump into imaging.

 

Agree, a totally different activity. However, I am thinking not mutually exclusive. My goal (and it seems realistic) is to set up the imaging equipment such that it runs autonomously the rest of the night. This frees me to use a second telescope visually.

 

Or, capture images while I do non-astronomy activities.


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#14 moshen

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Posted 23 July 2021 - 01:12 PM

NV photography whetted my appetite to jump into imaging.

 

Agree, a totally different activity. However, I am thinking not mutually exclusive. My goal (and it seems realistic) is to set up the imaging equipment such that it runs autonomously the rest of the night. This frees me to use a second telescope visually.

 

Or, capture images while I do non-astronomy activities.

Agree, definitely not mutually exclusive. It's very realistic to combine both when the imaging is mostly automated. I generally have a visual scope set up when the imaging gear runs and that's often combined with NV, or I use NV handheld at low powers if I don't want to bother setting up a visual scope.



#15 turtle86

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Posted 23 July 2021 - 07:31 PM

I'd definitely place a NV device as a visual accessory more than an imaging device. It really depends on your expectations for the images you'd want. There have been great phone images through NV devices but they still might not scratch your imaging itch. On the other hand imaging through a CCD/CMOS camera is a completely different hobby and experience than visual astronomy.  Here are two images from my 3.5" refractor. One is an iPhone pic from the latest Gen3 night vision device. It took a few seconds to take that picture and it also represents a real time view through the small scope. The other photo I shot with the same scope with a cooled astro-CCD camera that's half the cost of a high spec NV device. But it took four hours of exposure and hours of post-processing and hundreds of hours of struggling with the process of imaging. The NV device is best suited for visual that can also be used for quick snapshots but they might not be a substitute for photos you'd want to hang on your wall.

 

Well said. There's no free lunch here.  CCD is the way to go if you want something to hang on the wall or submit to APOD, but it comes at a great cost of time: not just the hours of image acquisition, but the many hours of getting your scope, mount, sensor and laptop to play well together, and the many many hours more on top of that with processing.  Plus, you don't get the experience of observing in real time that you get with visual (with or without NV).

 

BTW, that's a beautiful CCD image of the Leo Triplet!  


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#16 bigdobsonfan

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Posted 07 September 2021 - 01:03 PM

Sorry for thread self necromancy, was temporarily without internet.

 

Well said. There's no free lunch here.  CCD is the way to go if you want something to hang on the wall or submit to APOD, but it comes at a great cost of time: not just the hours of image acquisition, but the many hours of getting your scope, mount, sensor and laptop to play well together, and the many many hours more on top of that with processing.  Plus, you don't get the experience of observing in real time that you get with visual (with or without NV).

 

This pretty much describes my feelings to a T-.  I just don't have the time, I wont have the location for awhile, and the convenience of direct NV viewing by itself or with smaller scopes is mostly about maintaining and rekindling a hobby interest that i've had for decades.  I need quick, convenient, and rewarding.

 

That said, i'd like to experiment with imaging too.  Preferably on the low scale.  That was a pretty amazing visual comparison for a CCD imager at half the cost - long exposure or not.  How much lower can it go, like how does the performance drop if instead of $2000 to spend I have $1000 or $500 or what exactly is the bottom end of CCD imaging? (maybe modified webcams??  Could a modified webcam with LOOOONG exposure match the gen3 image for instance?  I'm trying to get a sense of performance scaling here.)

 

Equipment can always be upgraded - skills are something once learned mostly stick with you.  I'd like to learn the skills of the imaging when I get to it in the future but there will always be better imagers in the future, and a technology curve to chase.  If I could learn the skills of imaging with a modified webcam or lower end modified DSLR playing with things like lucky imaging and long exposure?  Fine by me.  Yet I might need the grab'n'go convenience of NV to scratch the astronomy itch...

 

I'd definitely place a NV device as a visual accessory more than an imaging device. It really depends on your expectations for the images you'd want. There have been great phone images through NV devices but they still might not scratch your imaging itch. On the other hand imaging through a CCD/CMOS camera is a completely different hobby and experience than visual astronomy.  Here are two images from my 3.5" refractor.



#17 GOLGO13

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Posted 07 September 2021 - 01:37 PM

I'm a visual type observer and night vision allows me to stay visual like. It can even be done alt az which is very helpful.  Simple images can be taken with a cellphone and nightcap. Even without tracking.  But usually I don't even take pictures.  Some people have taken really nice pictures with NV.

 

It's more visual observing feel to me. I would keep my expectations of what it is to getting dark sky like visual eyepiece views in light pollution.  Some objects better some worse. I've not had the best luck with photos,  but you can see a few I had above.  Gavester has some really good images, not sure how he does them. Most of us NV folks are not imagers I've noticed,  so maybe more can be done. 

 

I understand in dark skies NV can have better performance,  but I have yet been able to try it in dark skies. Of course that is why I got it in the first place.  



#18 stnagy

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Posted 07 September 2021 - 02:57 PM

Sorry for thread self necromancy, was temporarily without internet.

 

This pretty much describes my feelings to a T-.  I just don't have the time, I wont have the location for awhile, and the convenience of direct NV viewing by itself or with smaller scopes is mostly about maintaining and rekindling a hobby interest that i've had for decades.  I need quick, convenient, and rewarding.

 

That said, i'd like to experiment with imaging too.  Preferably on the low scale.  That was a pretty amazing visual comparison for a CCD imager at half the cost - long exposure or not.  How much lower can it go, like how does the performance drop if instead of $2000 to spend I have $1000 or $500 or what exactly is the bottom end of CCD imaging? (maybe modified webcams??  Could a modified webcam with LOOOONG exposure match the gen3 image for instance?  I'm trying to get a sense of performance scaling here.)

 

Equipment can always be upgraded - skills are something once learned mostly stick with you.  I'd like to learn the skills of the imaging when I get to it in the future but there will always be better imagers in the future, and a technology curve to chase.  If I could learn the skills of imaging with a modified webcam or lower end modified DSLR playing with things like lucky imaging and long exposure?  Fine by me.  Yet I might need the grab'n'go convenience of NV to scratch the astronomy itch...

 

Depends on what equipment you already have. If you already have an EQ mount and laptop (and presumably you have a scope), you really just need a camera and some software to get started with long-exposure imaging. There is an online FOV calculator you can use to get as sense of what an image might look like with desired equipment. http://astronomy.too.../field_of_view/

 

You certainly can use a DSLR, but it won't perform well until you have the internal IR cutoff filter removed. Mainstream consumer DSLRs all come with this filter built-in, otherwise the images they produce would look much redder. But for astronomical purposes, we want high sensitivity for h-alpha, so the filter needs to be removed (these are the astro-modified DSLRs you see from time to time). DSLRs will also produce fairly noisy individual images. Image post-processing helps with this, you just need to acquire more images than if using a comparable cooled astronomy camera. 

 

If you don't have a camera already, the cheapest entry level options involve lower resolution and smaller FOVs. The ZWO ASI224 or ASI385 are cheap entry points focused more on EAA than imaging. These cameras are in the $200-$300 range new. They are compatible with all of the astrophotography software out there as well as the ZWO ASIAIR, which is a fun little device if you start to get serious about imaging. I am sure you can find used ones cheaper on the classified section. Like the DSLRs, they are also uncooled and will produce a grainier image than what's shown in the comparison photo above. The sensing chips are relatively small, so the field of view will be much narrower than the FOV shown in the image above, too. You might also need some spacers or so the camera achieves proper back focus (the distance between the back of your telescope and the point at which light is focused). If you decide to try your hand using them for EAA, you can manage with an alt-az mount as long as exposures are relatively short. Again, you won't get a result like what's shown in the comparison image. 

 

Of course, the comparison image above was made using an EQ mount and a much more expensive camera acquiring much longer exposures. The "entry" level for cameras like this (wider FOVs, increased sensitivity, low noise) is probably the ZWO ASI294MC Pro, which costs around $1000 new. As is common in this hobby, prices go up from there. 



#19 jprideaux

jprideaux

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Posted 07 September 2021 - 05:33 PM

I agree that imaging is a totally different hobby that requires a lot of time to acquire the necessary skills to produce those nice images.  A lot of the time is in the time invested to master the post-processing.

EAA is like imaging but without the post-processing.  There is still the time needed to get your system put-together and master the collection software.

There is a new option to buy some new offerings that automate the collection for EAA (Stellina, Vespera, evScope, Equinox) that make it easy to do EAA which might be something people who don't want to get into the complexities of using cameras.  Even these, though, you have to wait a while to see the image on your connected mobile device.  NV definitely has its place for those that like the convenience of visual and want a truly real-time viewing experience.

The only thing keeping me from taking the plunge is wanting to use two eyes, have gain control, and not spend over around $5000.  The only option for two-eye, gain-control,  and a higher-end tube is well over $5000 that I've been able to find so far....   In the big picture, like some here, it may just be the order of what I end-up buying, not whether I end-up getting somethings at all.    I'll probably end-up trying a robotic scope like the Vespera, try to do traditional imaging with a "self-put-together" rig, and get a NV device as well.  It may be a few years until I get around to each. 




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