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John78

Cheap guide camera? ICX673

20 posts in this topic

I've been looking a bit at this...

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/SONY-800TVL-1-3-960H-Exview-HAD-CCD-II-HD-Camera-FPV-250-Quad-/252490301622?hash=item3ac99840b6:g:1bAAAOSwFV9XzyPP

Its analog, which is a bit of a faff but has an ICX673, 0.57MP CCD, it has a QE of 100% if the data sheet is correct and I'm interpreting it so.

http://www.sony.net/Products/SC-HP/cx_news_archives/img/pdf/vol_61/cxd4127_4816gg.pdf

Assuming it's interface able somehow to change the exposures etc... It could actually be useful as a imaging camera - especially if you slap a TEC or two on it...  The next sensor along in the range from Sony appears to be the one in an Atik 428EX.

I've ordered one to play with - I'll report how I get on.

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Well, there are few things:

- it doesn't have 100% QE - that's a relative, not absolute chart ;)

- it's a CCTV camera and those offer only short, sub-second exposures - 1/50 sec max - so way to short.

- You would need a CCTV USB frame grabber to connect such camera to a PC.

- Those boards are cheap because it's a basic, cheap and mass made sensor -> you get what you paid for.

- Sticking to the standard PAL/NTSC formats the pixel count will be low and thus small sensor with small field of view (not very handy for DS imaging).

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Totally unsuitable I'm afraid.  Not very cheap for a board camera either.  These are low quality CCTV cameras and pretty poor even for that use.

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Well, the AR0130 aptina chip that's in an ASI120MC and other well respected guide/planetary cameras is a cheap security board cam too, and my colleague has exactly that working for guiding, there's a monster thread on CN how good this chip is.

The challenge I agree is primarily it being analog and therefore adjusting its settings - calling it low quality is clearly inaccurate its larger sister sensor is the one in the Atik 428EX and the specs on sensitivity when you look at the data sheet aren't much different, yes the Atik is more sensitive and is a turnkey product, it's also 7415% more expensive.

 

http://www.astro-video-cameras.co.uk/products/LX100_Jnr/LX100_jnr.html

this is just the same boardcam in a box, so it will work as a guidecam I'm sure - worst case it can go on my non-fpv quadcopter so not a total loss.

Edited by John78
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56 minutes ago, John78 said:

Well, the AR0130 aptina chip that's in an ASI120MC and other well respected guide/planetary cameras is a cheap security board cam too,

But it's not in analogue CCTV camera boards.

 

Quote

calling it low quality is clearly inaccurate its larger sister sensor is the one in the Atik 428EX

So what that another sensor is in a non-analogue camera? Most if not all of those Sony CCDs were meant for monitoring and machine vision applications. What you bought is "low quality" as the amount of control it has is very very low. It could be even KAF 8300 - it will be bad if you can't control it as needed.
 

Quote


http://www.astro-video-cameras.co.uk/products/LX100_Jnr/LX100_jnr.html

this is just the same boardcam in a box, so it will work as a guidecam I'm sure - worst case it can go on my non-fpv quadcopter so not a total loss.

 

To use it as a guider: One - control options - the board may not have it, second - frame grabber must be "compatible" with PHD or other guide app (via WDM or other generic interface), and three - those CCTV cameras don't do long exposures but (some) do live stacking or so called integration. Samsung SCV 2000/4000 has some image boost of that type, while few Watec cameras have very strong integration (and are popular in video astronomy and alike). The difference is they cost more and more - the more control and features they give to the user.

So - be careful when assessing features of very cheap analogue cameras ;)

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Yeah fully understand the periphery around the sensor might not be up to the job, but the sensor itself is more than quality and capable of.  I bought a USB frame grabber already, and the one concern I had already would be how the driver for the grabber would appear, like you say it needs windows to see it as a wdm camera. 

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Its working nicely with sharpcap 720x576 @ 25fps

IMG_20160919_111049.jpg

But not quite with PHD, others have had this issue using an EasyCAP with PHD also and report more success with 64bit windows...  This install of encrypted 32bit windows won't even install a driver for the Canon 1000D.

phd2.png

Some more experimenting required later to iron out the bugs - that unhandled exception actually BSODs my computer. 

 

The low light performance looks incredibly good, if it works properly on 64bit windows I'll get it attached to the guide scope tomorrow.

sharpcap.jpg

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So the issue is certainly with the OpenCV dll files PHD uses - looks like a memory leak - I'll try 64bit windows later this evening.

I've tried Metaguide and it loads 100% OK not sure how to use it but it seems to be in development and offer some nice tools especially if you are OAG.

 

http://www.astrogeeks.com/Bliss/MetaGuide/

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A true workshop :D

The key question - can you get longer exposures? Or if not - how guide app will behave with a guide scope and some faint stars?

Edited by riklaunim

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I don't know yet - can only see clouds!  There is an OSD where you can change gains, exposures, WB but on the default settings it ships with this is the view out of my window down the train tracks - light polluted skies of Stevenage and a green train signal...  

dark.png

The camera can see significantly better than my eyes and that's with the 2.1mm supplied lens - I'm going to give it 50mm of aperture to gather with, I'm most of the way though designing a holder/adapter to attach it to the SW 9x50 scope which I'll 3D print and glue onto the end.

holder.png

finder2.png

It's a good hobby, always something to do when the weather isn't cooperating!!

 

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3D printed board holder built and attached to the back end of the 9x50, next need some clear skies for testing.  The board's are the same size so even if this analogue one ultimately fails as a guider an Aptina USB boardcam will replace it inside this holder :)

IMG_20160921_111637.jpg

IMG_20160921_111701.jpg

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Ok this works superbly well I can see stars with it in every direction I point it out of the window, I can't see any with the naked eye except Alp Boo, and pointing at that its too bright looks bloaty, but I can see stars as bright as this one below pretty much everywhere I point the guide-scope...

guide stars.png

Just need the clouds to stay away for an hour or so and I'll go down and test it out on the scope, although Friday looks like a good night for a proper imaging session if the forecast holds.

 

I think its fair to conclude that for £20 (£13 if you buy it direct from China) board cam and a £4 S-video-USB adapter you can get guiding working.

 

*edit* I can't guide with PHD though, even with 64bit windows OpenCV BSOD's the PC - if metaguide doesn't work out I'll need to splash out on a different framegrabber.

Edited by John78

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So I've tested it in the field now, RMS error is ~ 1 arc minute when guiding - it works fine.  

Here is a (whitebalanced) 4 minute sub of M31 - I need a CLS filter next, or go out after midnight when the street lights go off as its orange fest otherwise...

 

Single__2284_ISO800_240s__13C.JPG

 

And then a stack of 20 120sec subs processed badly...

 

andromeda 24916.png

 

 

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Well, the proof is in the pudding, John78.

That is some damn respectable images of the Andromeda Galaxy.

I think you found a diamond in the rough.

Well done!:happy6:

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Guided with metaguide, its really easy to get on with.

Here's a reprocess of the the same data...  Signed up for the pixinsight trial...

Andromeda CC.jpg

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