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Crazy world of CCDs...Decisions decisions


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Hi all, 

Well as some of you might remember,  I was seeking advice on CCD not too long ago and then Brexit happened and the prices changed. So here I am starting all over again. 

Backdrop,  i'm going to initially image with an EdgeHD 8" scope without a reducer and then in a few months time I will surely be adding it to the kit. 

Now the real question, what CCD to choose? In terms of the chip and make? I initially thought of going for the kodak 8300 chipset but now Sony 694 sensor might be another option. I do not want to end up with mosaics for life. I was looking at QSI683 but the price like I said just shot up and truth be told that pulled would've been a bit hard to swallow as well. So here are my choice (keeping myself on the sane side) 

1) Atik 383L+ / QHY9M

2) Atik 460 / SX 694

I've seen some amazing results with the Qhy9m...  Any insight to this ccd would be helpful

Any who,  any suggestions based on the scope that I have? Without the reducer 

I do plan on NB imaging as well as using LRGB filters. 

Thanks :)

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In a previous post on the subject of ccd, Sara suggested to have a closer look at the field of view you get with your ccd scope combination. Depending on the size of the targets you are interested in, you need a certain combination of fl and chip size. It seems to me that with your current scope's focal length, you will either need a large sensor or go for small targets (planetary nebulas or galaxies). Many dso's need a shorter fl on most ccd sensors. The alternative is doing mosaics.

In your case I would probably go for the largest ccd size I could afford and have a long term plan for adding other scopes to the setup.

But I would also consider doing it the other way around: invest in a shorter fl first, and wait with the ccd. There is so much going on in sensor technology at the moment (cmos primarily) that they soon will be serious contenders to ccd. (Some claim the newest camera from zwo already is.)

Just my 0.02 €

Wim

(Still in the stage of DSLR)

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So you're talking about imaging @ 2000mm f/l at f/10? Good luck with that then... :)

Seriously, this is going to be hard work regardless of what CCD you choose, and it would stretch the capabilities of even a premium mount if you are at all critical of your results. Yes of course it's 'possible' to use the SCT but I doubt it's the place you want to be starting out.

ChrisH

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Ok,  point noted. Imaging at F/10 is going to be crazy so will invest in a reducer so FL will be down at 1422mm at F/7... Shorter FL is on the agenda for sure but not straight away. I will want to invest in a CCD that will work best for both scopes.  I agree that some DSOs are going to be good for shorter FL but I'm happy with imaging smaller targets.  Checked the fov calculator and most of the objects fit well within the 2m FL. Not sure if I'm going abouts the right way on this. So what can one suggest here? I'm torn with the selection. 

The CMOS sensors is a good discussion but how long do I have to wait before some tangible results come forward for that type of sensor? 

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Have you looked at the offerings from Moravian? The do the Kodak KAF8300 sensor with an integrated filter wheel - But sadly this is only a 5 position. But I wouldn't have this as a deal breaker. 

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Sarah, cheers for your valuable input. Like you mentioned, the 5 pos FW won't be any good because i do want to image NB and LRGB for other targets so at least a 7 Pos FW is what i am looking for. I know i can always add an external FW but then i don't want to end up fiddling with focus every time i move from internal FW to external FW. 

QHY9m has produced really good images (for an untrained eye) but one of the guys who uses it says it's no good for taking darks because the shutter speed is bad for anything under 2 seconds. Atik 383L+ has had good reviews but then the cooling is what's bothering me about it. QSI is wayyyyy too pricey but ideally would've loved to have that. The 694 sensors from my limited understanding is going to be too small.

I just need to find out from you excellent people what sensor (size and chip) will be best for the FL i intend to use. The FL will be for now 1422mm (with a reducer) and then in future between 500-600mm.

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I see that you are thinking of an Atik, so you clearly aren't adverse to adding an external filter wheel.

You can get a Moravian G2-8300 as a camera alone and they do an external 7 position wheel http://www.gxccd.com/art?id=476&lang=409 - This is seriously where my money would be going.

No one can advise you on sensor size and fov, it is totally personal. I found that the Sony chips were just too small, I used both the one in the 460 and 490. 

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17 minutes ago, souls33k3r said:

[...]

The CMOS sensors is a good discussion but how long do I have to wait before some tangible results come forward for that type of sensor? 

That depends on your demands. The ASI1600 Cooled is very new, but has already showed very promising results even for "long" exposure DSO imaging.

I can only give you my take on things. Just having upgraded my mount, any investment this year is out of the question, but when I make the move from DSLR, it will most likely be replaced by a CMOS. Price per square inch of sensor, being an important factor. The move does not just involve the camera, but also a filter setup.

At the moment, in my opinion CMOS astro cameras still fall between DSLR and CCD. Having more or less followed ZWO's development, I think that the situation can be substantially different by the end of the year. Or not. :wink:

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Did I mention somewhere that the Atik314L+ is ideally suited to an SCT, it's all I've ever used on mine with Atik EFW2 and never run out of targets yet.

Stuff that won't fit includes M31, NGC7000 (and other big nebula) M101 nearly fits I think but there is an in-exhaustable number of Messier and NGC objects to target especially given the UK weather.

Dave

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1 hour ago, swag72 said:

I see that you are thinking of an Atik, so you clearly aren't adverse to adding an external filter wheel.

You can get a Moravian G2-8300 as a camera alone and they do an external 7 position wheel http://www.gxccd.com/art?id=476&lang=409 - This is seriously where my money would be going.

No one can advise you on sensor size and fov, it is totally personal. I found that the Sony chips were just too small, I used both the one in the 460 and 490. 

That's not a bad shout actually. Cheers Sara

 

1 hour ago, Davey-T said:

Did I mention somewhere that the Atik314L+ is ideally suited to an SCT, it's all I've ever used on mine with Atik EFW2 and never run out of targets yet.

Stuff that won't fit includes M31, NGC7000 (and other big nebula) M101 nearly fits I think but there is an in-exhaustable number of Messier and NGC objects to target especially given the UK weather.

Dave

Another something i can look at. Not a bad shout. I'm basically trying to keep the price down/sensible because i still need to factor in filters, OAG, lodestar x2 and a reducer. 

 

6 hours ago, sloz1664 said:

Have a chat with Bern at Modern Astronomy he will give you sound advice regarding the QHY9.

martin_h  a member on this forum has produced great work with his QHY9.

Steve

I'll check with Bern about this too. Cheers matey

 

1 hour ago, wimvb said:

That depends on your demands. The ASI1600 Cooled is very new, but has already showed very promising results even for "long" exposure DSO imaging.

I can only give you my take on things. Just having upgraded my mount, any investment this year is out of the question, but when I make the move from DSLR, it will most likely be replaced by a CMOS. Price per square inch of sensor, being an important factor. The move does not just involve the camera, but also a filter setup.

At the moment, in my opinion CMOS astro cameras still fall between DSLR and CCD. Having more or less followed ZWO's development, I think that the situation can be substantially different by the end of the year. Or not. :wink:

My thing is, i do not want to overspend on this (even though i have not set a limit from the financial side of thing) but do not want to under spend either. I do not want hassles and most certainly like for the kit to work for at least a couple of years. QSI seemed to be ticking all the boxes there but too expensive. Moravian is the next best thing but then people have been happy with Atik 383L+ as well. Yes they had odd shutter issues but that was early days and it has since been rectified. People are really buying the ASI1600 but i need to see the results and speak to the people who are actually using it before i can even think of considering it 

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16 minutes ago, Astroboy239 said:

Qsi 683 with 8position filter wheel and oag? 

Price has gone up since the EU referendum so now out of the question. It really should be out of the question because i do not want to end up spending my life savings on just a CCD :) I have to be sensible at how much i spend now unfortunately mate

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It's easy to get seduced by shiny expensive gear, I know :rolleyes2: but a QSI683 + filters was around £4000.00 and will probably go up once the pound hits bottom.

An Atik 314L+ EFW2 + filters would be under £2000.00, Ian King will do you a deal on a bundle, and I gaurantee you'll be pleased with the results, plus Atik stuff comes up regularly S/H, not many QSI683s though.

Dave

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It all started from $1.37 and then fell to $1.34 the day of the result and now looming around $1.29 ... lol ... ok i shouldn't laugh but this all reflects the pricing for the new QSI gear :( I really really need to keep the cost if i want to stretch it under £3k and that does include the lodestar, filters, oag, ccd and the reducer. I guess i'm asking for too much but then that is exactly what it will be if i buy it in one go ... OR whatever i end up buying, i will have to wait until the next month wages to buy the next bit and by the end when i have it all, it will be 6 months lol ... i might invest in to lodestar this month, filters the next and then reducer and keep the CCD at the very last ... that's another idea. 

Atik 314L is something i need to research on now as well. Cheers Dave

So far, from what i gather is that i should stay away from the small sensor ccds and look to aim at the 8300 chip. Am i correct? 

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3 minutes ago, souls33k3r said:

So far, from what i gather is that i should stay away from the small sensor ccds and look to aim at the 8300 chip. Am i correct? 

Not for an SCT.

Why don't you give Ian a call ? he will be quite happy to advise you.

Dave

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Another thought that occurred to me was image download time, this is pretty much instant with the Atik314L but takes an age with the QSI683, don't know about other 383 makes.

Dave

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When I was making the jump from ccd to DSLR I was torn between an atik 383l, qhy9s and moravian 8300 (I think that's what it's called). I ended up getting the atik and even though I got it 2nd hand I must say it's amazing and I'm very happy with it.

I did contemplate the smaller sensor ccd's but I knew I wouldn't be able to cope with such a big decrease in FOV

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11 hours ago, ChrisLX200 said:

So you're talking about imaging @ 2000mm f/l at f/10? Good luck with that then... :)

Seriously, this is going to be hard work regardless of what CCD you choose, and it would stretch the capabilities of even a premium mount if you are at all critical of your results. Yes of course it's 'possible' to use the SCT but I doubt it's the place you want to be starting out.

ChrisH

Hooray! Well said, Chris. 

If you are building a CCD imaging outfit for a first go (and it is an incredibly rewarding world once you are up and running) I would suggest not wedding yourself to a mistake from the outset. Marry the right woman!!!

Olly

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Adding a Hyperstar and a dedicated cylindrical CCD camera in the front will offer you more fun, than hanging a CCD on a reducer behind the SCT. Ofcourse there is no harm, but soon you are bound to get sick and want to change this set up. Taming this set up and imagiing narrowband is going to take lightyears. There will be agony everynight than fun and joy.

If your imaging is UK based  most of the cooled CCD cameras will cover up your cooling needs.

Please percept SGL HAZARD signals and you will save quiet a lot of those precious imaging time.

Hope this helps,

CS

Rush

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This all rather depends on personal preference to be honest.

If you have a mesu mount then there is no problem with a c11 and hanging a focal reducer, filter wheel and oag off of the back. A small form ccd like the atik 428 keeps the ccd within the sweet spot of the focal reducer. Where the mount is smooth and high quality it will be relatively easy to set up and by relative i mean that you won't have to worry about mount issues but will instead be concentrating on focal reducer spacings, power issues, usb issues and flexure issues (or loose screws as in my case at the weekend)

If you have an eq5 or even an eq6 then an ed80 with an atik383 would mean you have more leeyway with tracking errors.

I'd not stick a sct on an eq5 for instance and even on an eq6 although i used an eq6 with the c11 and it worked ok you have to balance everything well and continually tweek everything in order to finally get good results. 

I've found over the years that as i've got better quality gear then the set up time and problems have reduced and it's been a lot easier.

So which camera and combination for an sct would i go for? Depends on the mount. If its a lower quality mount then the hyperstar and a barrel ccd. If it's a high quality mount then i'd hang in all off the back oag, filter, camera etc and go for small targets at 1800 fl (thats what i like doing)

I wouldn't touch a qhy with a barge pole as i've had three and the drivers have always given me problems.

It then comes down to available money so i'd probably go atik383 if i started again as its a nice compromise on price and size. I wouldn't go for the atik 314l, it's a great camera but i'd prefer to jump straight in with the 383. Any of the others would be fine....damn the kids are killing each other..........

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20 hours ago, ncjunk said:

This all rather depends on personal preference to be honest.

If you have a mesu mount then there is no problem with a c11 and hanging a focal reducer, filter wheel and oag off of the back. A small form ccd like the atik 428 keeps the ccd within the sweet spot of the focal reducer. Where the mount is smooth and high quality it will be relatively easy to set up and by relative i mean that you won't have to worry about mount issues but will instead be concentrating on focal reducer spacings, power issues, usb issues and flexure issues (or loose screws as in my case at the weekend)

If you have an eq5 or even an eq6 then an ed80 with an atik383 would mean you have more leeyway with tracking errors.

I'd not stick a sct on an eq5 for instance and even on an eq6 although i used an eq6 with the c11 and it worked ok you have to balance everything well and continually tweek everything in order to finally get good results. 

I've found over the years that as i've got better quality gear then the set up time and problems have reduced and it's been a lot easier.

So which camera and combination for an sct would i go for? Depends on the mount. If its a lower quality mount then the hyperstar and a barrel ccd. If it's a high quality mount then i'd hang in all off the back oag, filter, camera etc and go for small targets at 1800 fl (thats what i like doing)

I wouldn't touch a qhy with a barge pole as i've had three and the drivers have always given me problems.

It then comes down to available money so i'd probably go atik383 if i started again as its a nice compromise on price and size. I wouldn't go for the atik 314l, it's a great camera but i'd prefer to jump straight in with the 383. Any of the others would be fine....damn the kids are killing each other..........

Cheers mate .. the mount that i currently have is NEQ6 ... i've been going back and forth with the choice of CCDs, QSI price doesn't seem to be barging (or for at least another few months) so i'm left with the other choices ... qhy9 is a real touchy point for me, some say it's great and some say stay away and i'm not the sort of a person who would drop £2k on something that i'm not too sure off which is qhy i'd much rather take a deep breath, spend more and be safe which is where QSI683 comes in but it's A LOTTTTTT of money ... so between the QHY9 and QSI sit two other CCDs, one is ATIK383L+ with SX 7 POS FW and the other is Moravian G2-8300 and external FW (remember i still need to buy the Guider and reducer) so the price sits just under £3k for me. QSI683 is (at the moment) only £600 more but i still need to buy the guider and filters and the price will be just over £4k ... 

I guess if i sum it all up and just say it what i am expecting then that should clear up a lot of things. I do not want to over spend on something, i only expect good results, will be imaging (i know i'm being very silly) with the SCT for now and then later if i am able to save from a wise purchase of ccd will buy a refractor with shorter focal length.

Thanks

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