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EEA/Video tempting me


Nathan_Pembs
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Hi all,

Up to now any imaging that I have done has been pursuing the "perfect" image using a modded dslr or ccd, with no noise, no hot pixels etc. I do still enjoy this, don't get me wrong.

Lately though the more immediate nature of EAA has got my interest, my eyes aren't that hot and a video camera would show more than any eyepiece I own (SW stock)

I also like the idea of being able to broadcast on something like the NSN.

I've recently dabbled with my QHY5, but it's not sensitive enough to go as deep as I want. Are the Mintrons any good? I understand the mono are a lot more sensitive than colour?

Would the scope and mount in my sig be useable?

Thanks in advance :)

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Hi Nathan

I don't see any problems with that scope and mount. The scope is reasonably fast at f5 (yet easy to collimate) and you have a tracking mount, so just add a sensitive camera and you're fine (I'm afraid I don't know about the Mintrons). 750mm focal length should produce good views of many DSOs. I operate mainly at 800mm and am very happy with details on larger galaxies such as M81 and M33 while also picking up lots of fainter objects. How deep do you want to go? The more sensitive guide cameras such as the Lodestar would get down to mag 16-17 in sub-60s exposures with that setup, I'd estimate. The great thing about EAA is being able to see a good number of objects at each session yet to be able to spend plenty of time on each. On a normal session I reckon I'm looking at 8-10 objects for 15-20 mins each, which with live stacking is more than sufficient to deliver lots of details.

cheers

Martin

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Hi Nathan, if you fancy dabbling into EAA I would start off with something cheap and cheerful something like a Samsung 2000p colour cctv camera and you can pick these up on ebay used for about £50 and just need a simple mod to remove the camera ir filter. A lot of people use these and the exposure goes up to 10 seconds and if you decide you like EAA you can then go for a more expensive camera with longer exposure and sensitivity.

 

here's a good site to look at http://ballaratman.wix.com/videoastronomy

Edited by johnno
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Hi Nathan

I agree with Johnno - the SDC2000 is a very good starting point, have a look in my gallery at what is achievable in 10s.

To be honest I've had better colour from my SDC435/SDC2000 than I've had from my Lodestar-C (might just be my processing technique or maybe the colour conversion).

With the SSNR function you also get noise reduction and can push the image further but will need an EQ mount (your HEQ5 will be fine).

The main drawback is the amp glow but this can be removed after if you choose to post process you EAA sessions during the cloudy night.

I use Camtwist on my Mac and which has a number of astro functions including reducing amp glow, there may be something similar under windows.

At 750mm focal length you might find it a challenge getting targets onto the chip - only 6mm diagonal but at F5 things should be bright enough.

HTH

Paul

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Hi Nathan,

As usual, good advice from everyone. I have the scb2000, and both mono and color Lodestars. Can't go wrong with any of them. As Johnno wrote, the Sammy will get you started cheaply, but will be limited on exposure. The Lodestars will really go deep, especially the mono, which I prefer. It also does a nice job with a NB Ha filter for viewing emission nebulae. The color LS is good, too, and the most recent Lodestar Live software from Paul81 has improved the color control significantly. One thing to keep in mind is that the LS needs a computer, but one wire runs everything. If you want to use only a TV monitor, then you'll need a video type camera like the Sammy. I use the LS almost exclusively now and just really enjoy viewing with them. Here's a link to my gallery showing some LS captures.

http://stargazerslounge.com/gallery/member/36930-hilodon/

Don

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Hi Nathan,

If you can afford it the Lodestar X2 in mono or color using Lodestar Live is about the easiest way to get started. Only one wire, no frame grabber, and simple to use software.

If you decide it's not for you than you can use the X2 for a guider or sell it. Remember with most video camera's the camera cost is only part of it. You have to buy nose pieces, grabbers, cables etc if you want to use a PC.  If you already have a laptop you are set to go with the X2. My second choice would be a ZWO 120. Half the price, less sensitivity, one wire, small pixels best for Solar/Lunar/planetary but will do DSO's though not in the same league as the X2. Software for it is more complicated, not as user friendly, will take longer to figure out.

With my 4.3" scope I  can see detail on my PC with the moon out that I can not see visually on new moon from a dark site using my 18". As a result I find myself observing a lot more often and in much more comfort. No more awkward viewing positions, ladders etc. Also no more eyepiece hogging when observing with others. It's a win win!

Richard

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Thank you for all the input guys, plenty to think about now.

Will have a look at both the Samsung and Lodestars, all depends on how my budget sits really.

Dabble with a cheaper camera first or go straight in head first with a more expensive one and not have to buy another ever.

Hmmm!

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Hi Nathan,

 Lots of good advice here. The reason I also recommended the X2 is that as you are an active imager you might be underwhelmed with anything less. Whatever you decide on good luck and let us know how it goes.

Richard

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Hello Nathan,

From reading your intro I think this video astronomy malarkey is going to suit you well.  As already advised there are plenty of good cameras to choose from it's just a case of working out which one suits you best to get you started.  For me, I started with a Mallincam Xtreme and was hooked right from the off.  The camera is IMO incredible and the back up you get from the developer Rock Mallin is second to none trust me and no I do not have any affiliation with Mallincam :)  That said, I also own an SCB-2000 and whilst it cost a heck of a lot less then the Xtreme I still have just as much fun with it, so much so I have two and I'm now looking for the SCB-4000!  For the money the Sammy is a winner hands down and I'd definitely recommend starting with that which will already give you much more than your eyepieces can and you can get started with your broadcasting from the off!  Whilst having fun with that you can then take your time to study the more expensive options which you will learn about here and by watching various broadcasts on NSN and Video Astronomy LIve.   Anyway that's enough food for thought but please check out the following videos showing the Xtreme and Sammy in action:

SCB-2000 

Xtreme and Micro (another good starter cam)

Xtreme

Xtreme and Sammy

Xtreme

Xtreme

And just for good measure, a screen grab of my last DSO with the Sammy.

post-28683-0-09340900-1423008394_thumb.j

Okay good luck and I look forward to seeing how you get on.

P.S  Where about in Pembs?  I was born in Pembroke Dock myself  :grin:

All the best

Karl

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Hiya Karl,

Thanks for the great advice, the Sammy seems to be the way to go, so many recommend it!

I've got a small bonus from work coming up (been there 10yrs), enough to buy one.

I've seen your name over on VAL, that Jupiter vid is amazing.

Been a bit of a numpty and dived onto NSN with my Qhy5, but I don't think the site liked it, I couldn't get it to connect?

Pembroke Dock hey? Small world, I'm in Haverfordwest :D

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Hi Nathan,

Yes the Sammy is a good starter but make sure you look for a bargain on Ebay as this camera is always popping up for a good price.  I bought two for £25 each but I saw one the other day go for £21 and at that price you can't go wrong!  The reason I have two is so I have one for the Moon and planets which I left untouched and the other for with the factory filter removed for DSOs.

I'm not sure what the issue was with NSN though I doubt you will have any issues with the Sammy and if your interested you're welcome to have a channel at V.A.L also just send me a pm. 

Haverfordwest eh..  Not been in a few years but spent many days there in my teens hanging out and chasing girls!  :shocked:

All the best

Karl

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Wow that is cheap, will keep my eye on eBay from now on then :)

Clear skies forecast again tonight, so will have another go on NSN

Haverfordwest has changed a lot, even since I've been here (10 years)

A lot of the smaller shops have closed down and left empty, inc Ocky Whites.

Will def pm re the VAL channel cheers

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Only just spotted this thread, I have a mono Minitron which though not cheap is great for DSOs showing people live on screen, actually shows better on old BW portable TV than laptop screen.

Used it for Solar but has annoying AGC so you can't adjust it much.

I was born at Broadhaven but left in 1945, been back for holidays and spent days in Haverford West shame it's gone to pot, nice riverside walk and shops including Ockys.

Dave

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Only just spotted this thread, I have a mono Minitron which though not cheap is great for DSOs showing people live on screen, actually shows better on old BW portable TV than laptop screen.

Used it for Solar but has annoying AGC so you can't adjust it much.

I was born at Broadhaven but left in 1945, been back for holidays and spent days in Haverford West shame it's gone to pot, nice riverside walk and shops including Ockys.

Dave

Crikey another Welshie!  

Have you got any images Dave I've not seen a Mintron in action so it would be great to see?  What you are saying about the old TV makes sense and I'd guess it was a CRT monitor which is supposed to be superior for video astronomy.  It was the same when I used my TV the quality was better but I use the PC now to broadcast.  When I used the TV I had to take a photo or video to try and capture what I was seeing but the photos never quite looked the same.  This video gives a good example though which was recorded by me with a camcorder filming the TV and laptop to demonstrate the Xtreme.

And this is a photo of the same TV

post-28683-0-25726600-1423069242_thumb.j

Regards

Karl

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Hi Karl, that looks great just shows what's possible, sorry haven't got any vid's from the Minitron, had some on an old laptop but can't find the backup from it.

One off-putting thing with the Minitron is no on screen controls so you have to change the settings on the back of the camera .

But I remember M42, Ring Nebula and the Dumbell looked good if only in B&W, used mostly on 10"SCT

Dave

Edited by Davey-T
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Hi Karl, that looks great just shows what's possible, sorry haven't got any vid's from the Minitron, had some on an old laptop but can't find the backup from it.

One off-putting thing with the Minitron is no on screen controls so you have to change the settings on the back of the camera .

But I remember M42, Ring Nebula and the Dumbell looked good if only in B&W, used mostly on 10"SCT

Dave

No worries Dave I'll bet it was good anyway.  Yes using the controls on the camera would be annoying and would not allow you to sit indoors in the warmth!

Cheers

Karl

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That's a great shot of M27 on the TV Karl! I must have missed that episode  :smiley: . What is it about TV monitors? Better "effective" bit depth?

Martin

Thanks Martin it looked better live and I don't know what is is but the images were waayyy better.  Maybe the TV has some sort of up-scaler I don't know but if could broadcast at that kind of quality I'd be very happy indeed!

Cheers

Karl

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