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xtcdean

DSLR to CCD, making the jump!

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hello chaps and chapesses, i have been imaging with an f4 newt and dslr for about a year now and its been a serious learning curve. i have now decided that dslr imaging is sooooo much work although results are good. i am thinking of going down the route of ccd cameras but this is uncommon ground to me. i basically want a camera that will take as good d.s.o. pics as the cannon dslr and was wondering if  someone could give me some advice as what to start with. i would like a colour camera as opposed to mono (i think) and as usual money is a problem so good value is a must.

i'm all booked up for kelling star party and having issues with my dslr dropping communication, im sure this is due to the cold as seems ok indoors, but either way i need to get imaging again before the end of the month.

any help would be greatly received.

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dslr imaging is sooooo much work

read up on ccd imaging....doesn't exactly sound a breeze to me

from what i understand mono is the way to go...but too expensive for me by the time you add filters,wheels and so on

you will get advice from someone who actually uses ccd that will explain pro's con's,but i suggest you give a ballpark figure on how much

you would like to sink into this

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well could prob stretch to about £300 at a push, just want to cut down on set up time and download time, i just seem to have endless problems with my DSLR, maybe ill try to to sus out the connection probs

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Hi from a DSLR to CCD user. I choose the Atik Titan OSC for the same reasons you have outlined - cost and ease of use.

I have imaged M51 with both and I can't get over the size of the image in the Titan - about 4 times the size of the DSLR. Even using my Barlow with my Canon I couldn't get results like this.

The only problem I'm having at the moment is it seems to be shooting in mono, even though I select Colour through Artemis - the package that comes with Atik CCD's.  I have resorted to copying my stacked image with 3 different file names M51 r, b, g and bringing them into the channels file.  The colour is there as when I turn off a channel I am seeing colour, but when all 3 channels are showing I am only seeing a mono image. I am trying to work through this problem using tutorials as I'm sure I'm missing something which is causing the problem.  Other than that I can highly recommend CCD imaging, and in particular Atik.

Good luck and I hope this helps.

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using a dlsr full frame camera compaired to a ccd camera i find is alot easier, firstly i stick the canon on the back slew to bright star, focus on bright star then slew to object and shoot, too easy, easy to get target onto chip as it`s so big, now to buy a ccd chip as big as a dlsr will cost alot more than your budget i`m affraid, so you are going to have to start off with a small chip, atik titan is a good little camera, but the problems now start, very small chip, 1/3rd inch so field of view is tiny compaired to canon, mono ccd are more sensitive than the colour but you need filters and a wheel, filters and a wheel second hand will cost most of your budget, maybe around £200, you`ll need to take subs in all the colour channels i.e. LRGB and maybe a HA also so more input work from the user, so if thats the most you can stretch to then you could consider a one shot colour ccd, new atik titans are £500 and these cameras are at the low end of the entry market.

so realisticly if £300 is the most you can afford at the moment then i would go down the canon 1100d modded route, should be able to get one for your budget and get very reasonable images, my canon is a unmodified version and is so easy to use and results are not too bad either certainly good enough for a beginner into imaging.

not sure what your problem is with the downloads is the usb cable kaput ?

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Hi from a DSLR to CCD user. I choose the Atik Titan OSC for the same reasons you have outlined - cost and ease of use.

I have imaged M51 with both and I can't get over the size of the image in the Titan - about 4 times the size of the DSLR. Even using my Barlow with my Canon I couldn't get results like this.

The only problem I'm having at the moment is it seems to be shooting in mono, even though I select Colour through Artemis - the package that comes with Atik CCD's.  I have resorted to copying my stacked image with 3 different file names M51 r, b, g and bringing them into the channels file.  The colour is there as when I turn off a channel I am seeing colour, but when all 3 channels are showing I am only seeing a mono image. I am trying to work through this problem using tutorials as I'm sure I'm missing something which is causing the problem.  Other than that I can highly recommend CCD imaging, and in particular Atik.

Good luck and I hope this helps.

doesn`t Artemis only display / preview in mono if your shooting in colour with a colour ccd then your end result should be colour

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using a dlsr full frame camera compaired to a ccd camera i find is alot easier, firstly i stick the canon on the back slew to bright star, focus on bright star then slew to object and shoot, too easy, easy to get target onto chip as it`s so big, now to buy a ccd chip as big as a dlsr will cost alot more than your budget i`m affraid, so you are going to have to start off with a small chip, atik titan is a good little camera, but the problems now start, very small chip, 1/3rd inch so field of view is tiny compaired to canon, mono ccd are more sensitive than the colour but you need filters and a wheel, filters and a wheel second hand will cost most of your budget, maybe around £200, you`ll need to take subs in all the colour channels i.e. LRGB and maybe a HA also so more input work from the user, so if thats the most you can stretch to then you could consider a one shot colour ccd, new atik titans are £500 and these cameras are at the low end of the entry market.

so realisticly if £300 is the most you can afford at the moment then i would go down the canon 1100d modded route, should be able to get one for your budget and get very reasonable images, my canon is a unmodified version and is so easy to use and results are not too bad either certainly good enough for a beginner into imaging.

not sure what your problem is with the downloads is the usb cable kaput ?

hi yeah thanks for reply its a cannon 1000d unmodded, and seems to randomly disconnect from the usb during image download to apt, had the same problem on maxim dl, just got a new powered hub and same problem, it seems fine indoors under test but outside it just has issues, it must be the cold weather as nothing else disconnects from the hub, i tried wrapping a wooly hat round with no luck. im running out of ideas as fault finding has come to an end.

thanks for the recommendations of ccds im going to look in to them now.

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hi yeah thanks for reply its a cannon 1000d unmodded, and seems to randomly disconnect from the usb during image download to apt, had the same problem on maxim dl, just got a new powered hub and same problem, it seems fine indoors under test but outside it just has issues, it must be the cold weather as nothing else disconnects from the hub, i tried wrapping a wooly hat round with no luck. im running out of ideas as fault finding has come to an end.

thanks for the recommendations of ccds im going to look in to them now.

Hi

I had similar issues with my 1100d - was driving me crazy! Firstly, the camera mini-usb connection is a bit of a weak point even when the camera is brand new. The cable can easily pull out just enough to disconnect. The solution, I found, was to slightly prise open the usb connector on the cable so it became a tight fit at the camera. I also tied the cable so that there is no strain on it - common sense. A second issue I had was with the usb cable being anywhere near a power cable. I think switch mode psu's generate a lot of electrical noise which can be picked up by usb cables and disrupt communications. So now I keep my mount psu and camera psu cables well away from the usb data cable and also take both power supplies from a separate mains socket. No communication problems now :)

Louise

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interesting, i`ll have a look at my usb leads, as of yet though i`ve not had any problems

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well could prob stretch to about £300 at a push, just want to cut down on set up time and download time, i just seem to have endless problems with my DSLR, maybe ill try to to sus out the connection probs

I might sound harsh. But With only £300 Budget. Forget CCD imaging and stick it out with your Canon 1000D. You need to tripple that Budget as minimum to get any decent CCD camera that is Worth mentioning as an Upgrade to Your DSLR. Like the QHY8L.

Your Canon 1000D has live view. What kind of software are you using?  As there is some excellent software available for Canon DSLR cameras, like Backyard EOS.

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PS. If you can't sort out your connection issues and want to look for a different camera.

If you can stretch your Budget to £370, you could get a refurbished Astro Modified Canon 600D from cheapastrophotography:

http://cheapastrophotography.vpweb.co.uk/Available-Cameras.html

They are fantastic bang for buck, when it comes to DSO imaging with DSLR.

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doesn`t Artemis only display / preview in mono if your shooting in colour with a colour ccd then your end result should be colour

I have downloaded the stacked images to PS and it was coming up Grayscale even though I had taken them in colour. The only solution I thought was to convert it to colour in Maxim DL, but that still didn't work.  I havn't had a chance to look at it today, but I'm working on it now so hopefully I will find a solution.  I just hope they havn't packed a mono camera in a colour box lol. 

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Hi from a DSLR to CCD user. I choose the Atik Titan OSC for the same reasons you have outlined - cost and ease of use.

I have imaged M51 with both and I can't get over the size of the image in the Titan - about 4 times the size of the DSLR. Even using my Barlow with my Canon I couldn't get results like this.

The only problem I'm having at the moment is it seems to be shooting in mono, even though I select Colour through Artemis - the package that comes with Atik CCD's.  I have resorted to copying my stacked image with 3 different file names M51 r, b, g and bringing them into the channels file.  The colour is there as when I turn off a channel I am seeing colour, but when all 3 channels are showing I am only seeing a mono image. I am trying to work through this problem using tutorials as I'm sure I'm missing something which is causing the problem.  Other than that I can highly recommend CCD imaging, and in particular Atik.

Good luck and I hope this helps.

Hi Brenda

I can't help but this might:

http://www.atik-cameras.com/forum/index.php?topic=1020.0

Louise

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As some-one who used to use a DSLR and then moved to CCD imaging I can speak from experience.  

Personally I think DSLR imaging is MUCH easier than CCD imaging, in that you get a complete image all in one go.

ONE Shot colour

Pros: If you get a OSC then you will also get a complete image all in one go.

You will also get less noise because it is cooled.

Cons:  Live view is more tricky as you need to "loop" and stacking requires specific settings to get the colour right.  

Generally they won't come within your budget unless you get a 2nd hand one, or the Titan as suggested above.  

Doesn't show the amount of detail that a Mono camera does.

Mono CCD

Pros: On the plus side the amount of detail you will get with a mono CCD is breathtakingly better than a DSLR, and also "live view" (fast looping) is much easier to see what you are looking at and sometimes you can even see the nebulosity if you get the settings right.  

Pros: what i can say is the results with a Mono far exceed those of the DSLR.

Cons: CCD Mono imaging requires the use of filters to get colour and I can tell you it is really tedious and can take several nights to complete an image. 

Cons: With a mono CCD there is a huge learning curve when it comes to combining all those filters.  Not only combining the channels but aligning all the images which may have been done on different nights.  

In summary I think for your budget you won't be able to do any better than a small 2nd hand CCD camera, I couldn't come to terms with the smaller FOV after a DSLR and ended up buying one of the bigger cameras so there is that to consider.

Personally I think your entire problem lies with the disconnection problem, and once that is sorted out I think you will be happy with what you have.  It might well be a faulty cable, or a faulty camera socket.  

Andy Ellis at Astronomiser is very good at sorting out these sort of problems, I'd give him a ring.  

Carole 

Edited by carastro
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Hi Louise

Many thanks for the link, I think it will solve my problem.  I didn't know you had to do debayering on colour images as I havn't gotten to that part of image processing - I thought that was something to do with mono images.  :icon_scratch:

Hopefully, when I have the settings and processing right I will achieve a good OSC image.  :p

Regards

Brenda

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  I just hope they havn't packed a mono camera in a colour box lol. 

Might be an idea to check that. It has happened.

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Rik, thanks for that thought.  I did check the serial no. on the box and it matched the CCD. Phew!! Still working on it though. I have just started looking at debayering, but with the lovely clear night last night I decided to take more images using the different settings for the camera to see if that made any difference. Today, I will carry on with debayering.

If anyone else has any useful tips or links I would appreciate any help.

p.s. Sorry xtcdean for using this link I should have posted my own thread.

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As some-one who used to use a DSLR and then moved to CCD imaging I can speak from experience.  

Personally I think DSLR imaging is MUCH easier than CCD imaging, in that you get a complete image all in one go.

ONE Shot colour

Pros: If you get a OSC then you will also get a complete image all in one go.

You will also get less noise because it is cooled.

Cons:  Live view is more tricky as you need to "loop" and stacking requires specific settings to get the colour right.  

Generally they won't come within your budget unless you get a 2nd hand one, or the Titan as suggested above.  

Doesn't show the amount of detail that a Mono camera does.

Mono CCD

Pros: On the plus side the amount of detail you will get with a mono CCD is breathtakingly better than a DSLR, and also "live view" (fast looping) is much easier to see what you are looking at and sometimes you can even see the nebulosity if you get the settings right.  

Pros: what i can say is the results with a Mono far exceed those of the DSLR.

Cons: CCD Mono imaging requires the use of filters to get colour and I can tell you it is really tedious and can take several nights to complete an image. 

Cons: With a mono CCD there is a huge learning curve when it comes to combining all those filters.  Not only combining the channels but aligning all the images which may have been done on different nights.  

In summary I think for your budget you won't be able to do any better than a small 2nd hand CCD camera, I couldn't come to terms with the smaller FOV after a DSLR and ended up buying one of the bigger cameras so there is that to consider.

Personally I think your entire problem lies with the disconnection problem, and once that is sorted out I think you will be happy with what you have.  It might well be a faulty cable, or a faulty camera socket.  

Andy Ellis at Astronomiser is very good at sorting out these sort of problems, I'd give him a ring.  

Carole 

hey thanks some great advice there, i have found a second hand ccd one shot but not sure how good it will be, its a ATIK 16HRC PELTIER the price is £280, the problem is its usb 1 and dose not have set point cooling so its either on or off, would this be a great problem or do you think its good value for money, thanks in advance.

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The Atik 16HRC is a good little camera with the venerable 285 Sony chip that has little need for darks, so the lack of setpoint cooling won't be an issue.

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usb 1.1 only really relates to download speed to the pc so makes no real differance to the camera especially when you have waited 5 minutes for a sub to come in, taking 10 seconds for it to download to the pc is nothing

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usb 1.1 only really relates to download speed to the pc so makes no real differance to the camera especially when you have waited 5 minutes for a sub to come in, taking 10 seconds for it to download to the pc is nothing

yeah u guess, as apposed to my dslr which as a rule seems to take twice  as long to come through as the sub, so a 5 min sub takes about 10-15 mins to come in.

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As some-one who used to use a DSLR and then moved to CCD imaging I can speak from experience.  

Personally I think DSLR imaging is MUCH easier than CCD imaging, in that you get a complete image all in one go.

ONE Shot colour

Pros: If you get a OSC then you will also get a complete image all in one go.

You will also get less noise because it is cooled.

Cons:  Live view is more tricky as you need to "loop" and stacking requires specific settings to get the colour right.  

Generally they won't come within your budget unless you get a 2nd hand one, or the Titan as suggested above.  

Doesn't show the amount of detail that a Mono camera does.

Mono CCD

Pros: On the plus side the amount of detail you will get with a mono CCD is breathtakingly better than a DSLR, and also "live view" (fast looping) is much easier to see what you are looking at and sometimes you can even see the nebulosity if you get the settings right.  

Pros: what i can say is the results with a Mono far exceed those of the DSLR.

Cons: CCD Mono imaging requires the use of filters to get colour and I can tell you it is really tedious and can take several nights to complete an image. 

Cons: With a mono CCD there is a huge learning curve when it comes to combining all those filters.  Not only combining the channels but aligning all the images which may have been done on different nights.  

In summary I think for your budget you won't be able to do any better than a small 2nd hand CCD camera, I couldn't come to terms with the smaller FOV after a DSLR and ended up buying one of the bigger cameras so there is that to consider.

Personally I think your entire problem lies with the disconnection problem, and once that is sorted out I think you will be happy with what you have.  It might well be a faulty cable, or a faulty camera socket.  

Andy Ellis at Astronomiser is very good at sorting out these sort of problems, I'd give him a ring.  

Carole 

hi, thanks soooo much for that just spoke with andy and he is is sure its the video grabber for the guide camera taking all the bandwidth causing the dslr to crash out, such a nice guy too, thanks.

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yeah u guess, as apposed to my dslr which as a rule seems to take twice  as long to come through as the sub, so a 5 min sub takes about 10-15 mins to come in.

You must have long exposure noise compensation turned on. This will waste loads of clear sky time. It is more efficient and should give you a better result to turn that off and take a set of temperature matched darks (same exposure settings as your images but with the dustcap on).

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I have imaged M51 with both and I can't get over the size of the image in the Titan - about 4 times the size of the DSLR. Even using my Barlow with my Canon I couldn't get results like this.

The only problem I'm having at the moment is it seems to be shooting in mono, even though I select Colour through Artemis - the package that comes with Atik CCD's.  I have resorted to copying my stacked image with 3 different file names M51 r, b, g and bringing them into the channels file.  The colour is there as when I turn off a channel I am seeing colour, but when all 3 channels are showing I am only seeing a mono image. I am trying to work through this problem using tutorials as I'm sure I'm missing something which is causing the problem.  Other than that I can highly recommend CCD imaging, and in particular Atik.

Good luck and I hope this helps.

No, the object is not bigger in the Titan than the DSLR, it is exactly the same size. The size of the image on the chip is dictated exclusively by the focal length of the telescope. What changes is simply that you have more sky around the object in the DSLR because it has a bigger chip. When your computer pops the image on the screen it sizes it to fit and the object in the middle looks small. Zoom in and it will become the same size on whatever chip you use.  How much detail is contained in the image is determined by the size of the pixels, though if they are too small the sky will not allow the increase in resolution to be realized.

I think mono CCD imaging is the easiest of all. It gives you the cleanest, most coherent results and they are the easiest (or the least difficult!!) to process. Monochrome LRGB is also the fastest system. You will hear folks insist that one shot colour must be faster but this is quite untrue. When shooting luminance you are shooting red and green and blue together, which is obviously about three times as fast as shooting them separately, which is what you do on a one shot colour camera. (The pixels always have a colour filter over them. A quarter shoot red, a quarter shoot blue and half shoot green.)

Having said all that, the kind of budget you're discussing really limits you to a tiny CCD chip or to a second hand CCD like an Atik 16HR or, if you were lucky, 314L. Much as I love CCD I think that I'd rather have a larger chip than that of the Titan...

Olly

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