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CCD Camera Advice Please


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Hi. I am back once again for some valuable advice.

I am saving heavily for a CCD camera and have some questions I would appreciate some help with.

I am almost certain that I would prefer a mono CCD as it seems to have flexibilty for narrowband imaging which I would like to try in the future and I am probably only going to have this budget once. This would mean using a filter wheel which is fine but I am not sure about a few things.

1. If I take a 10min sub of each of the LRGB, does that equate to 40mins of data or just 10? I hope that makes sense........?

2. Is there specific software I would need to stack images together or does DSS handle this?

3. I have a Equinox ED80 and a SW150p. Is it likely I'll need some kind of spacer to achieve correct focus?

4. Sony chips seem to have the best reviews, are they that much better than Kodak or any others?

If you have any tips or hints on what to look for,spec-wise, in a CCD for Deep Sky Imaging, I would be very grateful. My budget should be at least £1500+ but that is going to have to include filter wheel and filters.

Thank you in advance for any help.

Matt

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Hi Matt,

Have a look at the Atik 314L mono camera. it has the very clean Sony chip and is very well thought of in the Astro Imaging Group.

You can pick up the Atik 314L, Electronic Filter Wheel & LRGB filters as a bundle for around £1500.

cheers

Steve

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Matt, I've just gone through the same exercise and bought the Atik 314L+ bundle that Steve has suggested last week - I haven't had a chance to try it out yet as the cloud curse is in full effect (sorry to anyone in the midlands...). Yes you will need various spacers but we can help work that out :)

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I can certainly vouch for the Atik 314L+ mono CCD plus EFW2 and Baader LRGB filters as that is what I have though I bought the camera(s) second hand from members on here and just the EFW2 and Baader filters from FLO. In fact I'm so impressed by the 314L+ that I bought a second for dual imaging. Absolutlly brilliant camera :) The EFW2 is beautifully made and a real engineering beauty - excellent :) There seems to be nothing to beat the Baader CCD for LRGB filters. For NB the best are considered to be Astrodon but at a (high) price.

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.... I haven't had a chance to try it out yet as the cloud curse is in full effect (sorry to anyone in the midlands...).

Tell me about it..... Everyone else been sunbathing and its been cloudy constantly since Friday night in Nottingham. Two days last midweek were full cloud as well despite the "glorious" westher I keep hearing about.... :mad:

Back to the OP. I am going through this debate in my mind as well. 314 or 460? In my heart of hearts I know I should go for the 460. But it is significsntly more expensive and I am not sure I can justify the extra expense; I have the money OK but its a £1000 delta between the 314 and 460 on what is a cloud infested hobby in the UK when kids need to be put through uni etc... So I may need to compromise on the 314 - still a great camera I hear. But I know I should really go for the 460...! And round the circle I go again....!!!!

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I have the 460 and recently sold my 314L+ because I finally realised that the 460 was giving me a wider field when I wanted it and I can crop to the same pixel size as the 314 and not lose any resolution. In this respect the 460 is massively more versatile, compared to the 314. Of course the downside is the cost.

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Thank you all.

The 314L+ mono and filter wheel was certainly in my mind. I have seen one of those listed in many a members equipment signiture. Always nice to hear good reviews too.

What about stacking the LRGB images? I'm not sure if what I put makes sense so I'll try putting it another way.

If I wanted to get 120 minutes of data from a target in 10 minute subs, with a colour camera I would just take 12x10 but as I will be shooting in LRGB, would I take 3x10 through each of the 4 filters? This would give me the 120mins but technically only 30mins through each filter. Or, should I be taking 12x10 through each of the 4 filters which would actually be 480 minutes?

I hope that makes more sense, despite it seeming like gibberish the more I read it back!

Thanks again

Matt

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LRGB. Think about what L is. L is R,G and B all at the same time on all of the pixels. It is the fastest system possible because none of the visisble light spectrum is excluded - but it cannot distinguish between colours.

A one shot colour camera is NOT equivalent to this. A quarter of its pixels shoot only red, a quarter shoot only blue and a half shoot only green. This is roughly equivalent to shooting R and then G and then B in a mono camera. So an hour per channel RGB in a mono is roughly comparable to three hours in a one shot colour. But now we add a second three hours, OK? In the one shot colour you get more of the same but in the mono camera you get three times as much data via luminance because it getting all the colours all of the time.

There is an absurd idea lurking in peoples' minds that one shot colour must be faster then LRGB. The reverse is true. Divide up the time and when the mono is shooting L it is working three times faster than either a mono with a colour filter ot an OSC with its permanent colour filters. That is the whole point about LRGB. Add to that the fact that a mono can shoot the colour in bin 2 at about 1.5 times the speed of Bin 1 and you see that LRGB is faster. Binning colour is not without cost but if you are strapped for time it has its place.

Olly

http://ollypenrice.s...39556&k=FGgG233

Edited by ollypenrice
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I use DSS for stacking my mono images. But if you use binning for RGB then you'll need software that will take care of the different image size from the L. I use RegiStar to do this and can thoroughly recommend it. It isn't free but IMO it's well worth the money - not that much compared with all the other equipment costs. It corrects for poor image alignment and orientation too. Many consider it to be the best tool for the job. HTH.

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Registar is the best but with DSS and Photoshop you can do all the stacking, combining and post processing. Depends how deep your pockets are !!!!

Probably not very deep after I buy the camera and accessories!!

Thanks for all the advice everybody. I now have a starting point of what I need and how I need to do it. Next step, get it all and have some fun!!

Matt

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Good luck Matt with whatever you choose. Keep us informed. I am going to buy a CCD too in a few weeks. Still not 100% sure what yet but probably a 314l - depends on my sales bonus if I can get a 460, how much my double glazing costs and what moneys I can squirrel away from the eyes of Madame Kirkster501.... :)

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Good job you don't have to buy a new washing machine then !!!!

lol.... yes, that was £400 out of the CCD kitty :( Plus another £100 for other plumbing, electrical and pieces of kitchen unit I needed to effect the improvements. I also need to pay £2000 to finish off my masters degree. You can now see why the 460 at £1000 more than the 314 is a big ask. But then again, if this camera lasts, what. five years (?) then £200 per year to have *such* a nice camera? When you look at it like that is it in reality that much more in the great scheme of things?

Ney bother, they pay me well. Will buy a CCD of some description before long. The DSLR is holding me back now I think.

Sorry to thread hijack with my ramblings. However, I am sure many CCD buyers go through similar thoughts! :)

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