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curtisca17

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About curtisca17

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    Vacuum

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    California, USA
  1. Shriva and Pete - thank you very much for the compliments. Rob - I thought it was clear from the text that all images were from the ASI224MC, but apparently not. I will edit the image labels to make it glaringly obvious. The blog is not meant as a comparison of the different camera performances since I could not afford to buy so many cameras, especially all with the same sensor. The purpose is to give newcomers an idea of what they can see with this sensor and let them know about all of the different versions available and key differences and similarities in features. Another good point about the ASI224 diameter. Thanks for your inputs. Best Regards Curtis
  2. I would like to share a blog summarizing the features of the many USB cameras using the Sony IMX224 Color CMOS sensor on my web site. These include the ASI224MC, both Rising Tech cameras, the Mallincam Skyraider AG1.2C, the Altair Astro GPCAM3, the QHY224C and the Revolution Imager224. I did not test all of these cameras, but wanted to capture all of the common and different features in one place. I do, however, provide images from the original 224 camera, the ASI224. If anyone has any corrections, please let me know. The blog can be found here: https://www.californiaskys.com/blog Best Regards Curtis
  3. Todd I'm sure you can do much better than what i share. Check this guide for some helpful insights on live stacking which does use USB cameras, although the process is not fundamentally different. https://www.cloudynights.com/topic/596760-unofficial-sharpcap-quick-start-guide/page-2?hl=%2Bsharpcap+%2Bunofficial+%2Bguide#entry8399976 Regards Curtis
  4. Todd, The ASI224 is a good camera to get started with as others have confirmed. Works quite well when paired with Sharpcap SW which will allow you to stack images on the fly and extend the overall exposure to many minutes without star trailing. I am glad to see that you also bought a 0.5X FR as that will help speed up your system and allow much shorter exposures which is critical with an Alt-Az mount. As for the 6SE, I think given your desire to test the waters, it is a fine choice. I wrote about it here: https://www.cloudynights.com/topic/540494-light-weight-portable-low-cost-eaa-setup/ And you can find more images taken with the ASI224MC and 6SE on my web site here: https://www.californiaskys.com/ Obviously one can put together a much better, and more expensive, EAA rig than the 224 + 6SE, but I can heartily recommend it for anyone looking for a relatively low cost, light weight, portable and easy to set up system. You do not have to polar align since it is an Alt-Az mount, but Sharpcap will counter field rotation very well for, in my case, at least 5 minutes. If you like EAA you can always move up in class. If you want to stay with Alt-Az you can get a Nexstar Evolution which will track better than the SE or you can get an EQ mount if you really want to go to long single frame exposures. I like my Hyperstar immensely but I think I would use it on a larger optical tube like an 8" or larger. I can second the suggestion of the MC MFR5 II which is more versatile and I think gives better results than the much cheaper 0.5X reducers. However, it is quite expensive and I am only able to get down to ~ f/4.5 without serious vignetting. Good luck with your entry into EAA. Best Regards, Curtis
  5. Like most security cameras it has DNR (Dynamic Noise Reduction) which allows it to average up to 6 frames inside the camera. This is not the same as stacking since it is not summing the data, but averaging it. Still, this process cleans up the background noise very nicely and as a result gives an image which shows more detail. Maximum exposure is 5 sec so with DNR=6 it will average over 30sec. DNR can be turned off or set to any number of frames up to 6. No computer require. Now, i you want to use a computer, just like any other analog video camera the composite video output is feed through a video capture device (like a Pinnacle Dazzle or equivalent) to the computer. The image can be viewed, frames can be stacked and stretched and dark frames can be subtracted using software like the free Sharpcap. Instead of repeating everything I wrote on CN, you can read more and see pictures of the camera kit here: http://www.cloudynights.com/topic/537372-revolution-imager-r2/ Best Regards, Curtis
  6. The R2 is a very nice analog video camera which does quite well on DSOs. While limited to 5sec exposures it can average 6 frames internally to reduce noise and bring out more detail. It comes with a 0.5x focal reducer, UV-IR filter, LiIon battery, UTC hand control, 7" LCD monitor, cables and a carrying case for $300. A very nice setup for a beginner, someone on a budget or for outreach. Here are a couple of images I took with it at a dark site with a Celestron SE6 (6" SCT on an Alt-Az mount) using Sharpcap to stack frames. M51 and M20 are 90sec stacks, M27 is a 60sec stack and M63 is a 5min stack. Note, because Sharpcap can translate and rotate frames I could do this on an Alt-Az mount without star trailing. Best Regards, Curtis
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