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Best economy Mono Planetary/Guidecam for ~<£150


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The title says it all. I'm looking at moving to basic Autoguiding and there are several small cameras with an ST4 port out there. I don't want to spend a fortune but the idea of being able to use it for mono planetary as well appeals.

The idea of one I can bolt a peltier cooler on the back off is appealing, but not essential.

 

What do the panel recommend and why?

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I had a qhy5L-iic for a year, couldn't get on with it, drivers were unstable, would crash sharpcap, was fussy over the usb cable and port used and lost many nights of imaging - managed to only ever get 2 successful nights out of it in a year of about 20 attempts. Several times I wanted to boot it clean over the fence. Maybe it was just my setup but I never had any issues when using cheapo self built cameras. Plenty of people have used them with no major issues but I think I'll stick with ZWO.

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Got a QHY 5 11M. Lovely for both guiding and planetary. Had a bit of a problem with PHD2 some months ago when I got it but it was fine with older PHD. Strangely, PHD2 works fine now so it wasn't a problem with the camera. This one of Saturn was my first planetary, also got a pretty good one of Jupiter but can't find it. Also, it came from AliExpress, quite a bit cheaper, BUT.....it was before brexit and the exchange rate isn't as good, not only that, AliExpress has a bit of a bad reputation. I personally had no problem but weigh it all up first.

Best of luck.

P.

saturn23_43_02jpeg.jpg

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36 minutes ago, jimbo747 said:

I had a qhy5L-iic for a year, couldn't get on with it, drivers were unstable, would crash sharpcap, was fussy over the usb cable and port used and lost many nights of imaging - managed to only ever get 2 successful nights out of it in a year of about 20 attempts. Several times I wanted to boot it clean over the fence. Maybe it was just my setup but I never had any issues when using cheapo self built cameras. Plenty of people have used them with no major issues but I think I'll stick with ZWO.

Which ZWO camera?

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My previous camera to the Altair GPCam2 was a QHY5, I wouldn't touch another QHY product, drivers were a nightmare to get working on each new laptop I used, would randomly need to reinstall drivers if I used a different USB port, and it finally died.

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Old QHY5 cameras (not QHY5-II series) aren't that good for planetary imaging  - some don't even have short enough exposures. And the software + sensor is old.

In this price only color ASI034 and QHY5R-II fit. Mono ASI120/QHY5L-II barely on a sale or used and Altair GPCam can be cheaper.

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I've got both the QHY5L-II-M and the QHY5L-II-C and have had no problems with either using Windows XP, Windows 7-64bit and Windows 8.1.

I have even used the SDK to write some test software of my own to drive the camera directly.

The other thing I like about the QHY5L-II-M is that it can double as a PoleMaster when coupled with a cheap 25mm CCTV lens.

Not as good for planetary as the QHY5R-II but not too bad...

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5 hours ago, jimbo747 said:

I had a qhy5L-iic for a year, couldn't get on with it, drivers were unstable, would crash sharpcap, was fussy over the usb cable and port used and lost many nights of imaging - managed to only ever get 2 successful nights out of it in a year of about 20 attempts. Several times I wanted to boot it clean over the fence. Maybe it was just my setup but I never had any issues when using cheapo self built cameras. Plenty of people have used them with no major issues but I think I'll stick with ZWO.

My experience does not align with yours. Maybe it was defective?

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the old qhy 5 works fine with xp but does not like win 7

the zwo 120 mono (bought for solar and had trouble with newtons rings good for planetary ) and eqmod on my win7 lappy's do not like each other as soon as i connect the zwo eqmod crashes and lappy needs a reboot

i use an IS DMK31 (was my solar/planetary cam) at the moment on the q6

old SX7 on the NJP mount (don't struggle for a guidestars)

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11 hours ago, Stub Mandrel said:

My main observation so far is that the QHY is 8 bit while the others are 12 bit, which seems a big advantage to me?

The ZWO looks easiest add a cooler to as well.

12 isn't needed much for guiding or planetary, cooling for guiding or planetary imaging isn't a priority either.  8-bit only camera may hint that either is done "simple" or the noise is so high that it only can do 8-bit ;) Old QHY5 did have some noise, a lot when compared to modern cameras.

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Along with others here I cannot recommend the QHY5-II mono.  The problem really is that sometimes it works!   But intermittent problems have made it unreliable as a guide camera.  I never really know whether a guided session with be trouble free or constantly interrupted by intermittent problems.  I've lost count of the hours spent seeking information on the web, reinstalling drivers, swapping USB cables, testing etc etc etc.  The thing is with guiding  is that you just want to set it going and forget about it.  So I'm following recommendations on this thread with interest.  I might look to pick up a new guide cam at the IAS in October. 

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It does start to feel like the QHY5-II mono has had its day.

The ZWO and Altair both have 1/3 inch sensors, 12 bits and the potential to be used for other things as well.

Plenty of time to think about it and maybe get to see them both before deciding.

11 hours ago, Ibbo! said:

IS DMK31

Hmm, bit beyond my budget... even £169 is half as much again as I paid for my DSLR :-)

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The Altair GP CAM V2 at £169 Basic package is as good as any thing for the money. I believe you can get a cooling system that fits the camera which would be useful. I was tempted by the Orion G3 but if you are going to the £350 figure you may as well take a look at the ZWO range......................Dave

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