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memoryman

Decisions, decisions!

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Just you think you've decided on which cameras is best for your needs along comes a bad review or another choice that you'd not heard of before?!:homework:

Has anyone heard of or had experience of Moravian Instruments cameras? Their G1 cameras look interesting, but are they the real deal and suitable for VA?

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Moravian make excellent quality cameras, I have the G4-1600 which I use for DSO imaging. I'm not sure about which particular camera you refer to nor whether it's suitable for VA (video astronomy?) but if Moravian sell it for that purpose then I'm confident it will be suitable.

ChrisH

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My only remark is that all of the camera models listed under G0 and G1 type use older generation Sony CCD sensors.  For the same price or less you can find cameras on the market with the latest in commercial sensor technology, bringing you superior noise and sensitivity.

Regards,

Jim T.

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10 hours ago, jimthompson said:

My only remark is that all of the camera models listed under G0 and G1 type use older generation Sony CCD sensors.  For the same price or less you can find cameras on the market with the latest in commercial sensor technology, bringing you superior noise and sensitivity.

Regards,

Jim T.

Good point Jim I hadn't thought of that. Not being an expert myself, would you consider it a big drawback for VA or a minor niggle?

Edited by memoryman

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Hi Memoryman

You will need to consider what software you will use for EAA/VA - a big part of the EAA experience is the ability to see the images on screen with minimal user manipulation and in particular, the ability to repeat the process automatically with each new capture. Starlight Live, Sharpcap and Atik Infinity software provide these features but I'm not sure what is available for the Moravian cameras.

Nytecam produces great results using the standard Starlight Live capture software which shows you do not need dedicated EAA software but I think it can make a real difference to the viewing experience.

I'm a big fan of the Starlight Express cameras and in particular the Lodestar range and Pauls Starlight Live software is constantly being developed adding new features all the time.

HTH

Paul

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On 10/24/2016 at 17:22, memoryman said:

Good point Jim I hadn't thought of that. Not being an expert myself, would you consider it a big drawback for VA or a minor niggle?

Well, considering that the latest sensors are on the order of 2x to 4x the sensitivity, I'd say it is a fairly significant difference.  That is just comparing older gen CCD's with newer gen CCD's.  If you now add in the latest CMOS sensors then you have a whole line of new cameras with read noise that is much lower than these older CCD based cameras (1 or 2 e- versus 10 to 20 e-).  I have been keeping a list that compiles all the sensor data I come across.  I have updated it to include the sensors in the Moravian Instruments cameras.  Hopefully it helps to give you an idea of the performance differences between the different sensors.

Best Regards,

Jim T.

camera sensor summary_27Oct2016.png

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On 27 October 2016 at 22:22, jimthompson said:

Well, considering that the latest sensors are on the order of 2x to 4x the sensitivity, I'd say it is a fairly significant difference.  That is just comparing older gen CCD's with newer gen CCD's.  If you now add in the latest CMOS sensors then you have a whole line of new cameras with read noise that is much lower than these older CCD based cameras (1 or 2 e- versus 10 to 20 e-).  I have been keeping a list that compiles all the sensor data I come across.  I have updated it to include the sensors in the Moravian Instruments cameras.  Hopefully it helps to give you an idea of the performance differences between the different sensors.

Best Regards,

Jim T.

camera sensor summary_27Oct2016.png

Thanks for that. Being new to all this, it'll probably take me a while to understand it all properly! ?

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On 25 October 2016 at 12:29, DoctorD said:

Hi Memoryman

You will need to consider what software you will use for EAA/VA - a big part of the EAA experience is the ability to see the images on screen with minimal user manipulation and in particular, the ability to repeat the process automatically with each new capture. Starlight Live, Sharpcap and Atik Infinity software provide these features but I'm not sure what is available for the Moravian cameras.

Nytecam produces great results using the standard Starlight Live capture software which shows you do not need dedicated EAA software but I think it can make a real difference to the viewing experience.

I'm a big fan of the Starlight Express cameras and in particular the Lodestar range and Pauls Starlight Live software is constantly being developed adding new features all the time.

HTH

Paul

I've used Sharpcap and Registrax with a modified webcam, but not as an EAA session specifically. So in your opinion the Lodestar C or X2C along with Starlight Live capture software would be suitable cameras for VA/EAA in a back garden scenario? Is the learning curve steep or intuitive and relatively easy?

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Hi Memoryman

I'm biased - I spent my money on the lodestar and am very happy with it, however I've not experienced any of the other CCDs (only the SDC435 video camera).

If I was spending my money again I'd get the latest Lodestar X2 mono (I have the colour lodestar) and go galaxy hunting and a little narrow band. Starlight live also allows you to do multi spectral captures live - adding each colour as you go.

Just make sure you image at F4 or below and you won't be dissapointed!

HTH

Paul

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I have used a variety of cameras including the Lodestar C, Lodestar X2C, Ultrastar C, Infinity C, ASI185MC, ASI290MM, and a whole raft of Mallincam models.  I very much like the Lodestar X2 as it has probably the best sensitivity out of the bunch.  The software is also quite straight forward to use.

Regards,

Jim T.

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On 1 November 2016 at 21:45, jimthompson said:

I have used a variety of cameras including the Lodestar C, Lodestar X2C, Ultrastar C, Infinity C, ASI185MC, ASI290MM, and a whole raft of Mallincam models.  I very much like the Lodestar X2 as it has probably the best sensitivity out of the bunch.  The software is also quite straight forward to use.

Regards,

Jim T.

So your recommendation would be to but the Lodestar x2 mono? I would prefer the colour version. Do you feel that the lack of sensitivity would outweigh the gain due to seeing objects in colour? Have too seen or had experience of the cameras that Alrair Astro produce? The Hypercam IMX series with a heatsink cooled by a passive low vibration fan look interesting and the company recommends that they are useful for VA & EAA, especially the IMX178.

https://www.altairastro.com/Altair-Hypercam-IMX224-USB3-Colour-Camera.html

It has a smaller sensor, but slightly larger pixel size.

https://www.altairastro.com/Hypercam-IMX178-USB3.0-Colour-EAA-Imaging-Guide-Camera.html

Has a larger sensor, but smaller pixel size.

 

Edited by memoryman

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Hi Mman,

Jim T and Doc give some good advice.  The Lodestar is a VA/EAA winner coupled with Starlight Live s/w.  You'll lose a bit of sensitivity with the color, but it's still very good.  Higher res like the Infinity and Ultrastar are good, too, but are more difficult to use, especially in light polluted skies.  Everyone keeps trying to find something better, but the standard for VA/EAA in my opinion are the Lodestars.

Don

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I have the colour version of the Lodestar X2 and it is plenty sensitive.  If you look at the last column on the right of my table above, you can compare the relative sensitivities of the different sensors.  The colour ICX829 sensor that is in the Lodestar X2 is at 3200mV sensitivity, compared to 881mV for the IMX224 or 319mV for the IMX178.  You can use the CMOS sensored cameras for EAA okay, but in my opinion only on reasonably bright objects (eg. Messier Objects).  If you don't want to be limited at all and be able to easily observe the dimmest of objects, a camera with the ICX828/829 sensor is the way to go.

cheers,

Jim T.

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14 hours ago, jimthompson said:

I have the colour version of the Lodestar X2 and it is plenty sensitive.  If you look at the last column on the right of my table above, you can compare the relative sensitivities of the different sensors.  The colour ICX829 sensor that is in the Lodestar X2 is at 3200mV sensitivity, compared to 881mV for the IMX224 or 319mV for the IMX178.  You can use the CMOS sensored cameras for EAA okay, but in my opinion only on reasonably bright objects (eg. Messier Objects).  If you don't want to be limited at all and be able to easily observe the dimmest of objects, a camera with the ICX828/829 sensor is the way to go.

cheers,

Jim T.

Looks like that with the large pixel size could be a clincher, thanks.

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I ended up buying a second hand Ultrastar off UK Astronomy Buy & Sell for less than £490. It looks almost brand new (is about 1 yr old, but has hardly been used) and should be a good match for my f4 SN10".

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