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What Camera will be best for my needs?

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#1 PFJs Customs

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Posted 23 June 2022 - 10:35 AM

Hello All,

 

Back Story:

In the beginning of the year I was able to purchase a used Celestron Evolution 8" and have been figuring some things out on my scope. I recently purchased a Celestron StarSence from another user here and that took care of the "No Response" errors I was seeing when trying to align my scope. Now that I am ready to view the stars I have started to look into what camera would work best for me to see these celestial objects better.

 

Main Objective:

I am looking for a camera that allows me to see what I am capturing live so that I can share the images with my family. The idea being that we can all gather around a laptop and look at the Orion Nebula in full display and color and enjoy the views! This is my main objective in choosing a camera, being able to also capture good pictures of different objects is an added plus. 

 

Options I have been looking into:

In doing some digging around I started by looking into the Revolution Imager 2 kit, I liked the idea that everything I needed to share the view was included with this kit. But the number of wires, interesting menu selections, and smaller monitor display have me looking in a different direction.

 

The other option that I am considering is the Atik Infinity camera, I started looking into this item as the ability to connect to a laptop and run their software to see great views seems like it has what I have been looking for. The only con I guess is that this is an older camera, so not sure if the technology here is outdated? Also not sure of it's full capability to capture pictures of the views and how they might compare to other newer cameras.

 

Another option that I have just recently started to look into is the ZWO ASI294MC Pro camera. I have seen nothing but positive reviews of this camera, in terms of taking pictures of sky objects. But I have not seen much of any live views of the object that you are imaging, not sure if this means that this is not a feature of this camera? Would love to hear from other users of this camera.

 

Thank you for the great information shared in this forum, and I look forward to any input on this subject! waytogo.gif

 



#2 Ljubo

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Posted 23 June 2022 - 11:20 AM

Hi,

 

You didn't mentioned how much are your skies light polluted?

I suggest you use an ASI2600MC camera and ASIAIR Plus, as it is very simple and so effective that you'd like it a lot.

There you should go with an 0.63 focal reducer for better sampling, and maybe some dual band filter if your skies suffer from sky pollution.


Edited by Ljubo, 23 June 2022 - 11:21 AM.


#3 PFJs Customs

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Posted 23 June 2022 - 11:32 AM

Hi,

 

You didn't mentioned how much are your skies light polluted?

I suggest you use an ASI2600MC camera and ASIAIR Plus, as it is very simple and so effective that you'd like it a lot.

There you should go with an 0.63 focal reducer for better sampling, and maybe some dual band filter if your skies suffer from sky pollution.

Thanks for your input Ljubo. I reside in Whittier, CA and so I am definitely under bortle 8-9 skies. I have already purchased the Celestron focal reducer to use with my scope. Finally I will look into this new suggestion, looking at it now it seems that this camera is pretty expensive so not sure how feasable of an option this might be for me at the moment. 



#4 Tfer

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Posted 23 June 2022 - 11:35 AM

0.63 reducer for your scope, 294 camera (cooled or uncooled), and SharpCap pro on your laptop.

Two wires - one for the camera and one to control your mount.

You’ll be good to go for years.
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#5 steveincolo

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Posted 23 June 2022 - 11:45 AM

It might help to know what you mean by or expect from a “live” view.  Here, we understand that to include setups that take exposures that are typically 5-20 seconds long, and gradually reveal details by combining (“stacking”) the exposures (“subs”).  With this approach, you will not get instant gratification when you point the scope at a new target, it’ll typically take a few minutes for the details to emerge, and you won’t see anything at all until the first exposure is complete.  That is the kind of setup Tfer is describing.  
 

If that’s what you’re wanting, then in addition to the fine 294 based cameras Tfer mentions, a 533 based camera (cooled or uncooled) would also be a fine choice. 


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#6 steveincolo

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Posted 23 June 2022 - 11:57 AM

Hi,

 

You didn't mentioned how much are your skies light polluted?

I suggest you use an ASI2600MC camera and ASIAIR Plus, as it is very simple and so effective that you'd like it a lot.

There you should go with an 0.63 focal reducer for better sampling, and maybe some dual band filter if your skies suffer from sky pollution.

ASIAir is a good choice for a beginner, but the supply is limited.  If the OP goes with a ZWO camera, then it might be good to start with ASILive instead of SharpCap, to keep things simple. 


Edited by steveincolo, 23 June 2022 - 12:07 PM.


#7 alphatripleplus

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Posted 23 June 2022 - 12:05 PM

It might help to know what you mean by or expect from a “live” view.  Here, we understand that to include setups that take exposures that are typically 5-20 seconds long, and gradually reveal details by combining (“stacking”) the exposures (“subs”).  With this approach, you will not get instant gratification when you point the scope at a new target, it’ll typically take a few minutes for the details to emerge, and you won’t see anything at all until the first exposure is complete.  That is the kind of setup Tfer is describing.  
 

 

Steve makes some good points, particularly about expectations. Take a look in this forum at the Image Gallery topic for posts in the last few years to get an idea of what can be seen with typical EAA exposures. We try to encourage people to post details so that newer members can get an idea of what to expect.


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#8 Ljubo

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Posted 23 June 2022 - 12:08 PM

 

Thanks for your input Ljubo. I reside in Whittier, CA and so I am definitely under bortle 8-9 skies. I have already purchased the Celestron focal reducer to use with my scope. Finally I will look into this new suggestion, looking at it now it seems that this camera is pretty expensive so not sure how feasable of an option this might be for me at the moment.

Well, considering this, you should go with the cooled camera for sure, especially if you want to expand number of your potential targets. In ASIAIR Plus you could use "Live Stacking" mode, that works flawlessly comparing to any PC based solutions with always problematic cabling (and you still may use your laptop with ASIAIR app wirelessly!).

The not so pricey camera then should be ASI533MC Pro, as you may find some issues with ASI 294 that many had, most of all is that with "live stacking" you will add amp glow too - not a really nice side effect.

 

And for battling with sky pollution you'll benefit from some dual (or even trial band) filters. Here I suggest you Optolong L-Pro or L-Enhance (good side is that those are not to expensive)



#9 steveincolo

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Posted 23 June 2022 - 12:16 PM

Steve makes some good points, particularly about expectations. Take a look in this forum at the Image Gallery topic for posts in the last few years to get an idea of what can be seen with typical EAA exposures. We try to encourage people to post details so that newer members can get an idea of what to expect.

Especially when they’re wanting to involve family members.  My wife has no interest in staying up late and watching images stack, but she does enjoy seeing the final views the next morning!


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#10 BrentKnight

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Posted 23 June 2022 - 01:03 PM

Tried the ASIair, not a fan.  A mini-PC at the mount (running SharpCap or ASILive) controlled from any PC in the house (or displayed on the big TV) may be a little more complicated to setup, but it offers so much more capability.  Mastering the ASI533MC-Pro (Cooled camera) is probably one of the easier tasks in EAA - much easier than the ASI294.

 

Definitely check out this months EAA Challenge and the other galleries to see what is possible.



#11 PFJs Customs

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Posted 23 June 2022 - 01:11 PM

It might help to know what you mean by or expect from a “live” view. Here, we understand that to include setups that take exposures that are typically 5-20 seconds long, and gradually reveal details by combining (“stacking”) the exposures (“subs”). With this approach, you will not get instant gratification when you point the scope at a new target, it’ll typically take a few minutes for the details to emerge, and you won’t see anything at all until the first exposure is complete. That is the kind of setup Tfer is describing.

If that’s what you’re wanting, then in addition to the fine 294 based cameras Tfer mentions, a 533 based camera (cooled or uncooled) would also be a fine choice.


Hello steveincolo,

Thanks for your input! So I believe that all the cameras I mentioned have software that works pretty much the same in that they stack the images to give me a better live image while viewing. I was not aware of ASI studio software suite and in looking at a quick YouTube video it seems that it works similarly as the Atik Infinity software, by stacking images to show a better image of what is being pointed to.

#12 PFJs Customs

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Posted 23 June 2022 - 01:14 PM

Well, considering this, you should go with the cooled camera for sure, especially if you want to expand number of your potential targets. In ASIAIR Plus you could use "Live Stacking" mode, that works flawlessly comparing to any PC based solutions with always problematic cabling (and you still may use your laptop with ASIAIR app wirelessly!).
The not so pricey camera then should be ASI533MC Pro, as you may find some issues with ASI 294 that many had, most of all is that with "live stacking" you will add amp glow too - not a really nice side effect.

And for battling with sky pollution you'll benefit from some dual (or even trial band) filters. Here I suggest you Optolong L-Pro or L-Enhance (good side is that those are not to expensive)


Thanks for your suggestions Ljubo. I will look into this ASI533 MC Pro, to see some specs.

I'm regards to the filters, how are these used? Better yet where are they used in the train leading to the attachment of the camera to the scope?

#13 PFJs Customs

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Posted 23 June 2022 - 01:16 PM

Tried the ASIair, not a fan. A mini-PC at the mount (running SharpCap or ASILive) controlled from any PC in the house (or displayed on the big TV) may be a little more complicated to setup, but it offers so much more capability. Mastering the ASI533MC-Pro (Cooled camera) is probably one of the easier tasks in EAA - much easier than the ASI294.

Definitely check out this months EAA Challenge and the other galleries to see what is possible.


Thanks for sharing your experience BrentKnight! I will definitely take a look at the galleries for more input.

#14 steveincolo

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Posted 23 June 2022 - 01:20 PM

Hello steveincolo,

Thanks for your input! So I believe that all the cameras I mentioned have software that works pretty much the same in that they stack the images to give me a better live image while viewing. I was not aware of ASI studio software suite and in looking at a quick YouTube video it seems that it works similarly as the Atik Infinity software, by stacking images to show a better image of what is being pointed to.

You mentioned the Revolution Imager, which uses a video camera and might have more of a "live" feel in the general sense.  



#15 KnightLite

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Posted 23 June 2022 - 01:36 PM

I too am looking for a camera. The thing is, my 12" reflector has a 1500mm focal length. Most cameras have tiny pixels which is great for most scopes but they might be zoomed in so much that they will not include the edges of deep sky subjects. You know, over sampling. Am I correct to be concerned?



#16 PFJs Customs

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Posted 23 June 2022 - 01:36 PM

You mentioned the Revolution Imager, which uses a video camera and might have more of a "live" feel in the general sense.


You're right, I did mentioned that as my initial option. But these other cameras can also stack of images as short as 1 second to longer to produce a better image. Plus they are also better to take pictures of the objects as well! To me that makes these other choices more enticing as it allows me to use it to live view the object and enhance the views with my viewers. While also letting me take great pictures for me to work on and process to come up with some great photos!
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#17 steveincolo

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Posted 23 June 2022 - 01:45 PM

You're right, I did mentioned that as my initial option. But these other cameras can also stack of images as short as 1 second to longer to produce a better image. Plus they are also better to take pictures of the objects as well! To me that makes these other choices more enticing as it allows me to use it to live view the object and enhance the views with my viewers. While also letting me take great pictures for me to work on and process to come up with some great photos!

OK, I think I can clear you now to buy an astro-camera.  lol.gif  



#18 PFJs Customs

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Posted 23 June 2022 - 02:01 PM

OK, I think I can clear you now to buy an astro-camera.  lol.gif  

I guess in talking about this more and more and seeing the other software options with the ZWO cameras I seem to be gaining a better understanding of what works for me. I see that in the information section under your EAA stuff you list the ZWO ASI533 MC Pro camera that was suggested to me earlier. Any feedback on this camera in terms of being able to capture bigger DSO's?



#19 steveincolo

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Posted 23 June 2022 - 02:20 PM

I guess in talking about this more and more and seeing the other software options with the ZWO cameras I seem to be gaining a better understanding of what works for me. I see that in the information section under your EAA stuff you list the ZWO ASI533 MC Pro camera that was suggested to me earlier. Any feedback on this camera in terms of being able to capture bigger DSO's?

Yes, I mentioned 533 based cameras earlier.  For larger DSOs, though, you're a bit more restricted by your scope.  With a 0.63x reducer, your C8 and a 533 will give about a 0.5 degree view.  Here's what that looks like, using the FOV calculator at astronomy.tools, with M33.  You can get larger sensors, such as a 294 based camera, but at some point what most people do is switch to a wide-field scope, such as a refractor.  There's a discussion of those here.  You may be able to piggy back a smaller, lighter refractor on your C8 and Evo mount, though I don't have any experience of that.  [Aside: you might also want to look through the forum for stuff about back spacing with a reducer and clearance for your mount.].  In the long run, though, there are more small DSOs than large DSOs! 

 

ZWO only makes a cooled 533 based camera, Player One for example makes a much more inexpensive uncooled 533 based camera.  So you may want to consider whether you want to lock in to ZWO at this point.  I have the ASIAir, which I think is great for starting out (sorry Brent) and is pretty easy to sell if you don't like it.  But it did lock me into ZWO cameras.  


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#20 BrentKnight

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Posted 23 June 2022 - 02:35 PM

I really wish the AIR had worked out for me - many, many people like them so it's probably just me.

 

For PFJs question about size of targets, I dug back through some of my captures using my C8 @ f/6.3 and the ASI533MC-Pro.

 

NGC 253 130frames 1950s WithDisplayStretch

NGC253 (Silver Dollar) in Sculptor.  Size of the field is 27.2 x 27.7 arcmin, which is just shy of the size of the full moon.

 

This camera/telescope combination is almost ideal for capturing most galaxies, globular and open clusters and many of the smaller nebulae.  And the 533 or 294 can start to bring out details with fairly short total exposures (this one was 130 15s subs for a total of 32 minutes).


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#21 PFJs Customs

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Posted 23 June 2022 - 02:39 PM

Yes, I mentioned 533 based cameras earlier.  For larger DSOs, though, you're a bit more restricted by your scope.  With a 0.63x reducer, your C8 and a 533 will give about a 0.5 degree view.  Here's what that looks like, using the FOV calculator at astronomy.tools, with M33.  You can get larger sensors, such as a 294 based camera, but at some point what most people do is switch to a wide-field scope, such as a refractor.  There's a discussion of those here.  You may be able to piggy back a smaller, lighter refractor on your C8 and Evo mount, though I don't have any experience of that.  [Aside: you might also want to look through the forum for stuff about back spacing with a reducer and clearance for your mount.].  In the long run, though, there are more small DSOs than large DSOs! 

 

ZWO only makes a cooled 533 based camera, Player One for example makes a much more inexpensive uncooled 533 based camera.  So you may want to consider whether you want to lock in to ZWO at this point.  I have the ASIAir, which I think is great for starting out (sorry Brent) and is pretty easy to sell if you don't like it.  But it did lock me into ZWO cameras.  

Thanks for all of this great information steveincolo! The link you posted to the astronomy tools website is very helpful! How can I add the ASI294 camera to see the difference in the view?



#22 PFJs Customs

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Posted 23 June 2022 - 02:40 PM

I really wish the AIR had worked out for me - many, many people like them so it's probably just me.

 

For PFJs question about size of targets, I dug back through some of my captures using my C8 @ f/6.3 and the ASI533MC-Pro.

 

 

NGC253 (Silver Dollar) in Sculptor.  Size of the field is 27.2 x 27.7 arcmin, which is just shy of the size of the full moon.

 

This camera/telescope combination is almost ideal for capturing most galaxies, globular and open clusters and many of the smaller nebulae.  And the 533 or 294 can start to bring out details with fairly short total exposures (this one was 130 15s subs for a total of 32 minutes).

Thanks for sharing this picture! it helps me see what is possible with this equipment combination.


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#23 steveincolo

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Posted 23 June 2022 - 02:57 PM

Thanks for all of this great information steveincolo! The link you posted to the astronomy tools website is very helpful! How can I add the ASI294 camera to see the difference in the view?

Select "Imaging Mode" at the top, then on the lower left select your scope, camera, and reducer, then click "Add to View."  You can also change the DSO.  


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#24 PFJs Customs

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Posted 23 June 2022 - 03:19 PM

Select "Imaging Mode" at the top, then on the lower left select your scope, camera, and reducer, then click "Add to View."  You can also change the DSO.  

Thanks for sharing this!


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#25 PFJs Customs

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Posted 23 June 2022 - 03:21 PM

In looking at the FOV calculator it seems that the ZWO ASI294 gives me a wider FOV than the ZWO ASI533 

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

 

So what are the advantages of choosing to go with the ASI533 over the ASI294?


Edited by PFJs Customs, 23 June 2022 - 03:22 PM.



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