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Next Phase of the Plan...


fatwoul
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I'm a bit apprehensive about posting this; last time I posted about my new Atik Titan being ordered, and got rather shot down...

After all the discussions lately, I've finally decided on a 314L+ as my main imaging camera. What tipped the balance for me was Andy's thread, which proved very useful both to him and to several others. (Thanks to all those who posted their really helpful comments in there, and helped me/us arrive at a difficult decision). Ultimately, the ICX285's sensitivity, lack of need for a shutter, and of course the 1.25" filters were the factors for me.

[Olly, correct me if I'm wrong, but don't the 4000s also work with 1.25"?]

The 314 itself will have to wait until next month, but in the meantime, since I can afford the filters and wheel, I decided I may as well get them, and give them a go on the Titan while I wait.

I've not gone for any fancy narrowbands yet, just the Baader set that FLO stock, but I have chosen a motorized filterwheel - the EFW2. I know this isn't the most popular wheel, most people citing the S-Xpress ones as better, but for me the depth of the wheel shouldn't be a problem, and the EFW2's 9-filter capacity was appealing, since I'd like to put all the filters in it, safe and sound, and leave them there. 9 would allow the narrowbands, and LRGBC later on, if I work out a way to destroy all the streetlights in Plymouth. :)

OK, post finished. Fire at will. :)

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I just upgraded to the EFW2 from Atik's MFW and I am enjoying it so far. I like that I have room for LRGB, all my narrowband, and still an empty slot that I have converted to a dark slot (with the help of cardboard and duct tape). Yes it is HUGE (esp compared to the MFW) and with my setup I have to keep it a bit cattywompus compared to the scope and the camera, but it is worked well and I am happy I got it.

Also, I still love my 314L+ .... I will eventually probably upgrade to the 4000 (so I can still keep the 1.25" filters) but for now I am getting great results from my 314 and we have come to a mutual understanding that as long as he continues to be wonderful I won't be hasty to replace him :)

I am sure you will enjoy both!! Congrats

Edited by antimorris
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...looks like the next phase is going to have to wait a few weeks. I've just seen my email, and it looks like FLO have the filter wheels in stock, but not the narrowbands. They've sent me the wheel, but without the filters it isn't much use to me, and I'm off to look after a friend's house for a while, so after this week parcels might get lost. The wheel will have to go back, and I'll try to order again after I get back.

The plan was that I'd take my EQ6 and one of my scopes with me, to do some imaging away from the obsy. They have darker skies, so I guess the narrowband stuff isn't as pressing while I'm away. Nevermind, it'll happen soon enough.

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Hi Fatwoul - I'm sorry your plan didn't work out... If it's any consolation, I'm also missing an SII filter in my collection at the moment (although ordered), but with the lighter / shorter nights, I think the Ha alone will keep me occupied for quite a while this summer, let alone having the OIII as well...

I too would have liked to have gone for an EFW2, but my budget has been totally sucked dry(!) but as I'm impatient (and didn't want to wait until next year!) I started looking at manual wheels and, like you, liked the idea of using the wheel as "storage", so looked at the True-Tech manual... However then I saw Anna's MFW come up for sale, which is certainly proving more than good enough for me, and it helped me achieve the required back-focus with the MN190 :).

I'm glad that thread helped you come to a decision - There's certainly some very generous and knowledgeable people on here and I just hope I can return the favour to others sometime! I would be lying though if I said I wasn't finding this move into CCD land quite challenging, and I know I could probably have made it a lot easier by taking an interim step via an OSC... However, I'm much happier with my decision now (even though sometimes I feel as though my results appear to have taken a step backwards!) but all I'll say is, on Artemis Capture, DON'T TOUCH THAT PRE OPTION! :)

PS - It's funny you should mention the 4000 as I'd like to see that in my future sometime too!

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Hi Fatwoul - I'm sorry your plan didn't work out... If it's any consolation, I'm also missing an SII filter in my collection at the moment (although ordered), but with the lighter / shorter nights, I think the Ha alone will keep me occupied for quite a while this summer, let alone having the OIII as well...

Well, it's only a temporary set-back. I'm sure it will all come right in the end.

I too would have liked to have gone for an EFW2, but my budget has been totally sucked dry(!) but as I'm impatient (and didn't want to wait until next year!) I started looking at manual wheels and, like you, liked the idea of using the wheel as "storage", so looked at the True-Tech manual... However then I saw Anna's MFW come up for sale, which is certainly proving more than good enough for me, and it helped me achieve the required back-focus with the MN190 :hello2:...

I definitely prefer the idea of touching the filters as rarely as possible, considering how expensive even the "budget" narrowbands are. Are you using Astronomik or Baader, or something else?

...I'm glad that thread helped you come to a decision - There's certainly some very generous and knowledgeable people on here and I just hope I can return the favour to others sometime! I would be lying though if I said I wasn't finding this move into CCD land quite challenging, and I know I could probably have made it a lot easier by taking an interim step via an OSC...

That was kinda my thinking behind the Titan - I wanted an all-rounder that I could learn CCD imaging with, and so far that has been working nicely. It's mono, but it's tiny sensor is letting me experiment without gobbling up all my HDD, and it has already proved itself as a fantastic guider when I am using my D3. Like...supernaturally good, although of course the credit has to be shared with PHD. Guiding really is an amazing experience, but I worry that I will depend on it too much, as I already feel much less confident when not using it. The SynGuider works fine but this...is something else.

...sometimes I feel as though my results appear to have taken a step backwards!...

I felt the same when I first imaged with the Titan, pointed at M57. But then I compared it to the same target through my D3, with a vast expanse around it, and sure enough the Titan's results were much, much better. I think on tiny objects like that, and more diffuse objects, the Titan is going to be used first, but I'll still turn to my D3 for the higher-contrast objects like globulars, at least until I get my 314.

...but all I'll say is, on Artemis Capture, DON'T TOUCH THAT PRE OPTION! :)...

Haha, that's the button for when you're focussing or planetary imaging, isn't it? At least, I use it for focussing, and haven't (yet) forgotten to switch it off!

...PS - It's funny you should mention the 4000 as I'd like to see that in my future sometime too!

Of course you would. We have very similar rigs so far, so why stop now? In fact, why haven't you got your POD yet? :)

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Filters - I picked up a second hand set of Astrodon's for LRGB, and the narrowbands are/will be Baader. I was going to go for ALL Baader's (with the "posh" LRGB's), but when I saw the 2nd hand Astrodon's at about the same price, I thought it was too good an opportunity to miss! On the basis that I'll only be doing either (L)RGB or narrowband, I compromised on getting an 8/9 slot wheel and got the 5 instead (again, budgetary considerations). It would still be nice to have them all in one wheel though, but it will probably have to wait until I no longer have to pay the school fees :p

At the moment I *only* have the Synguider, but if money allowed, I would now like to go down the PHD route... and preferably with a camera that would double for planetary work too (albeit I don't do much of that at all at the moment!). Phillips webcams are okay, but that Titan would be a great replacement to cover both tasks - Your strategy of getting it first makes a lot of sense... (wish I'd done that now :))

I did fairly recently enter a competition where first prize was a Titan... but unfortunately missed out by a couple of places - Don't get me wrong, I was VERY happy to come 3rd (and now have a nice Beenie Hat!), but I really wanted that Titan as it would have been perfect on the end of my guidescope!

For me, (aside from my adventures with Artemis and now working from a laptop as opposed to a liveview screen), the biggest challenge is processing - Not having anywhere near mastered PS, I've now introduced aligning and combining into the equation, together with the added complication that (at the moment) I can't see how to assess ADU exposure... which means that aside from darks/bias, exposures are being set by guesswork :p. At least with a DSLR there's the histogram to check (I'm sure there must be something somewhere that I'm missing), but I'm now finding that whilst a B mask is very good at getting focus, the FWHM window on the laptop really fine tunes it...

Quote: Originally Posted by AndyUK viewpost.gif

...PS - It's funny you should mention the 4000 as I'd like to see that in my future sometime too!

Of course you would. We have very similar rigs so far, so why stop now? In fact, why haven't you got your POD yet? :)

LOL :hello2:!

Sadly a POD would fill my postage stamp garden... aside from which, it would be a waste as I'd need to move the house back 40 yards (as well as next door's), totally chop down the protected hedge and the two large horse chestnuts and also offer regular bribes to the local lads to keep the streetlights knocked out (although of course such a thought as that would never cross my mind... ever!).

(Thanks for the comments on the Titan though... It's given me some ideas... ;))

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mmm, funny you should mention the Atik 4000 - the powers to be are wandering should the left mouse button be clicked over the 'BUY NOW' button on the FLO site :):D:D

Nadeem.

Go for it .. recession ? what recession !!! ... do your bit to keep the economy turning over... :)

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Filters - I picked up a second hand set of Astrodon's for LRGB, and the narrowbands are/will be Baader. I was going to go for ALL Baader's (with the "posh" LRGB's), but when I saw the 2nd hand Astrodon's at about the same price, I thought it was too good an opportunity to miss! On the basis that I'll only be doing either (L)RGB or narrowband, I compromised on getting an 8/9 slot wheel and got the 5 instead (again, budgetary considerations). It would still be nice to have them all in one wheel though, but it will probably have to wait until I no longer have to pay the school fees :(

I take it you're planning to separate your RGB and narrowband sessions because the filter sets aren't parfocal with each other? In that case, maybe you could just look out for a second manual filter wheel with 5 slots, and keep each set in each wheel. That would also mean less weight in your rig, since your scope wouldn't be lugging around filters it wasn't going to use anyway.

If I'd seen some bargain RGBs I'd have done the same as you.

...At the moment I *only* have the Synguider, but if money allowed, I would now like to go down the PHD route... and preferably with a camera that would double for planetary work too (albeit I don't do much of that at all at the moment!). Phillips webcams are okay, but that Titan would be a great replacement to cover both tasks - Your strategy of getting it first makes a lot of sense... (wish I'd done that now :))

This was precisely my thought, but I got very nearly trolled for suggesting it previously. ;) Although getting the Titan first was mostly because I was too impatient to wait for the money to come together for the 314L+, and I wanted to get into CCD imaging as soon as possible.

The SynGuider is a good bit of equipment, with a bright guide star it does a decent job, and I've got some good use out of it. But those menus do take some getting used to; the "NO" defaults where you have to consciously select "YES" or "DEFINITELY" or "JUST DO YOUR JOB!!" are a bit of a faff. I got used to it, but after PHD I think my next session with the SynGuider will be filled with a few muttered expletives. :)

...I did fairly recently enter a competition where first prize was a Titan... but unfortunately missed out by a couple of places - Don't get me wrong, I was VERY happy to come 3rd (and now have a nice Beenie Hat!), but I really wanted that Titan as it would have been perfect on the end of my guidescope!...

I was recently told that Titans are unpopular and overpriced, and that I overpaid for mine. I probably did overpay for it as a lunar or planetary camera alone, but as a guide camera that is also a competent lunar/planetary camera, I think the price is fair.

... For me, (aside from my adventures with Artemis and now working from a laptop as opposed to a liveview screen), the biggest challenge is processing - Not having anywhere near mastered PS...

I'm no master, but as a photographer I do know my way around PS enough to follow the tutorials/primers on here that relate to processing. I'm sure you've already read them, but if not they really are worth a look; very clear and helpful. I'm just in the process of learning about blending luminosity/HA with red, which is made more difficult by the fact I don't have any filters yet, but I've found some source images to work with.

I've also discovered that (through luck more than planning) a lot of my old subs can be reworked, now that I better understand DSS, etc. That's really encouraging because it makes all that time early on seem less of a waste.

...I've now introduced aligning and combining into the equation, together with the added complication that (at the moment) I can't see how to assess ADU exposure... which means that aside from darks/bias, exposures are being set by guesswork :hello2:...

You're way ahead of me, Andy. At least, I can alter RGB channel histograms individually, but I get the feeling that's not what you mean.

...At least with a DSLR there's the histogram to check (I'm sure there must be something somewhere that I'm missing), but I'm now finding that whilst a B mask is very good at getting focus, the FWHM window on the laptop really fine tunes it...

The tracking window in Artemis? Yes, the FWHM is really useful.

...Sadly a POD would fill my postage stamp garden... aside from which, it would be a waste as I'd need to move the house back 40 yards (as well as next door's), totally chop down the protected hedge and the two large horse chestnuts and also offer regular bribes to the local lads to keep the streetlights knocked out (although of course such a thought as that would never cross my mind... ever!)...

Haha my POD is in my parents garden (how do you think I afford all this stuff?), and takes up about a quarter of it. To the south we have a hill that completely obscures everything from the Sombrero down, and my EQ6 Guided Tour insists on teasing me with all these tantalising southern objects it knows I will never see. :(

Add to that a streetlight that shines right into my dome if I point it anywhere from east to south, houses all around, a secondary school football field with new spotlights that are on until 10am throughout the spring and summer terms, and the humid air of the south west, and I really have no business with an observatory at all. The only worse obsy location I can think of would be at the bottom of Plymouth Sound.

My logic at the time was that I am more likely and able to get more use out of my scopes if I am able to use them during the small pockets of good weather. Until I got my dome, I was always going out, and trying to decide whether it was going to stay clear, or cloud over. I'd sometimes wait to see what happened, and waste good nights. At least now, the moment it looks clear I open the dome, and the moment it gets cloudy I close it again.

...(Thanks for the comments on the Titan though... It's given me some ideas... :p)

Remembering that I have almost zero experience of CCD imaging (except my dad's temperamental MX5C), I am really happy with my Titan. I've not tried it in anger yet, but its looking set to be a clear night, so I might point it at M57 again and see what I can do with just a neodymium filter.

I recommend you get a Titan. In fact, I'd suggest you consider a OSC Titan. That way, we could compare the two...

...We could have a CLASH OF THE TITANS.

You have no idea how long I've been waiting for an excuse to use that. :p

Edited by fatwoul
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yes I did, but also im thinking about imaging in widefield as well, but looking at signal/noise ratios. After thinking about it, the Canon 1100D does look good but not good enough from what I want from it... :)

Nadeem.

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I recommend you get a Titan. In fact, I'd suggest you consider a OSC Titan. That way, we could compare the two...

...We could have a CLASH OF THE TITANS.

You have no idea how long I've been waiting for an excuse to use that. :)

Oh dear....! :)
I take it you're planning to separate your RGB and narrowband sessions because the filter sets aren't parfocal with each other? In that case, maybe you could just look out for a second manual filter wheel with 5 slots, and keep each set in each wheel. That would also mean less weight in your rig, since your scope wouldn't be lugging around filters it wasn't going to use anyway
Yes, I don't ever anticipate needing LRGB AND Narrowband in the same session... but I have indeed also considered a 2nd MFW as a possibility (but only when I had the money burning a hole in my pocket!)
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