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SBIG vs. Starlight Express


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Hi! I can't decide between these two autoguiders:

SBIG ST-I Single shot color Autoguider (495 $)

Starlight Express Lodestar (595 $)

Is there a big difference between these two?

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Well, I can't see what the point of colour in an autoguider would be - just reduce the sensitivity. I can say that the Lodestar is excellent :)

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I agree with Gina, you really want the mono version for guiding.

Both as mono cameras will do well as a guider. They are physically similar in size and I woild guess weight.

DIfferences between the two:

The SBIG has a Kodak chip, the SX a Sony. The Sony chip is bigger, generally they are lower noise and better specification.

The other difference in the connections.

Other users have complained about the guider connection the SX being too close to the USB.

The SBIG uses something more like a US phone type connector, so arguably this will be more user friendly.

I have an SX Superstar for guiding and I think the connections are physically the same as the Lodestar and I have no problems with it.

I should say it is likely you would be happy with either.



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The major advantage to SBIG for me was that you got a very good integrated setup between SBIG CCDs, filter wheels etc. and the various bits of Bisque software (CCDSoft, TheSky, etc.) that work with it. So if you lived completely in the SBIG/Bisque world then the whole setup of guider, CCD, mount, 'scope (+autofocuser), mount control software and CCD control software functioned really well and felt as if someone had thought about it as a system rather than a collection of odds'n'ends.

However, if you're not completely in that world then a lot of the attraction of SBIG disappeared for me, you get all the expense - SBIG stuff isn't cheap - but you're not getting the benefits of the system-wide integration. So if you're already a SBIG user then their guider likely makes sense, if you're not then i'd go for the Lodestar.

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The ST-i has a shutter problem that I am unsure of wether they have a solved. You have to have a very short USB cable and a powered hub for the shutter movements to be definite enough.


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