Jump to content

Stargazers Lounge Uses Cookies

Like most websites, SGL uses cookies in order to deliver a secure, personalised service, to provide social media functions and to analyse our traffic. Continued use of SGL indicates your acceptance of our cookie policy.

sgl_imaging_challenge_banner_android_vs_ios_winners.thumb.jpg.803608cf7eedd5cfb31eedc3e3f357e9.jpg

Bukko

Astrodon vs... The rest.

Recommended Posts

So, I am planning the build my ideal imaging scope and now looking closely at filters.

My existing setup is happily working with the Baader LRGB/NB set, but I am looking at alternatives. With FLI now selling Astronomik, I was looking at the difference in price and performance and for the increased cost, wondered if they were worth it.

Then I made the mistake of checking out what Astrodon have to offer and especially for the NB options, getting down to 3nm bandpass is in a different league.

On SGL, there is a steady stream of positive words for the 3nm Ha, so I am interested if the forum thinks the same holds true for the whole range of NB filters available.

I am wondering if there is a consensus - get the Astrodon and find compromises elsewhere to pay for them or compromise on the filters for a "better" camera/mount/something else?

Any and all responses gratefully received.

Gordon.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think much is about budget, expertise and expectations, so worth noting what these are before you plan the route to go. 

There is a post here where Sara @swag72, who I think we can all agree is a somewhat accomplished imager, notes that she can see very little difference between the Astrodon and Chroma 3nm filters.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How much can you afford?

As you will have seen Astrodon's are hazardous to the wallet. Having said that, the 3nm bandpass could make the difference to being able to image or not, the H-alpha especially being pretty much moon-proof, with the [NII] almost as good. I don't know much about the [SII] as I don't use it as much despite having it in my wheel, while the [OIII] is still sensitive to moonlight, and, I'm coming to suspect, LED streetlight as well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 minutes ago, DaveS said:

 Having said that, the 3nm bandpass could make the difference to being able to image or not, the H-alpha especially being pretty much moon-proof, with the [NII] almost as good. I don't know much about the [SII] as I don't use it as much despite having it in my wheel, while the [OIII] is still sensitive to moonlight, and, I'm coming to suspect, LED streetlight as well.

What I would like to see, but have never found, is some hard, graphical, evidence that shows beyond doubt that an Astrodon (or any other make / specification) of Hα or any other NB filter does actually produce a better image than other cheaper offerings.
I would also like to see evidence that a 3nm bandwidth does produce noticeably better images than (say) a 7nm filter.

Once the comparisons are there for everyone to see, we'll all be far better informed about where the cost / quality equation leaves us.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have both Baader and Astrodon HII filters, but it would mean dismantling two imaging trains to put them into one wheel. I may do this if we ever get a run of clear nights to do a test.

One complication is that the Baader will pass both the HII and [NII] lines. If one wasn't concerned about separating them, then perhaps 5 or 6 nm pass-band filters might make more budgetary sense.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you all for responding.

It is heartening to know it is not neccessarily an easy choice and I know nothing about the range of Chroma filters - more research required, I think. If they are good enough for Sara, then I really should not ignore them...

My budget is pretty healthy. We are buying a house in the S France and so long as Mrs. Bukko is not paying too much attention, I am skimming off some of the cash to build a new observatory. I have already decided on an OO ODK16 and is on order. The mount is almost there and I am really keen on the 3m Scopedome to house it. The camera will be a 16200 from manufacturer undecided.. I like the FLI, as it includes a frame buffer, so reducing artefacts, but, like Astrodon, the cost is pretty high.

To put at least some braking on the cost, I was thinking about the 3nm Ha and save on the other NB's with 5nm versions. I would also want matching LRGB's, Astrodon are parfocal, so make living with them easier. The house in France is well away from civilisation, so apart from the moon, I do not expect to have any issues with LP.

But I am never sure where reality ends and "marketing" takes over; filters being a good example. Placebo in astro gear anyone?

 

Gordon.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The general advice I've come across for reducing the cost of the "Astrodon investment" is to get the 5nm Ha and the 3nm O3. I've also read that the  filters give fewer problems with halos from bright stars. 

Personally I went for 3nm in both as I did not want the NII line included in my Ha and had the budget for it. Certainly, the Astrodon Ha 3nm can be used to image on Moon lit nights, so it gets you extra imaging time. I did have a Baader 7nm Ha filter and I couldn't use that when the Moon was past first quarter.

Cheers, Ian

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
28 minutes ago, Bukko said:

The camera will be a 16200 from manufacturer undecided.. I like the FLI, as it includes a frame buffer, so reducing artefacts, but, like Astrodon, the cost is pretty high.

Worth a look at the Atik one also.  I've been using it since release and can't fault it.  Nice -50 cooling also, which you will probably find beneficial for S France.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Following the tip on the Chroma filters, the only place I found selling both Astrodon and Chroma was Optcorp.

There is a reasonable saving switching to Chroma, about 20% for 3nm filters. But the 5nm Chroma's are not much lower cost than the 3's, which was a surprise, as there is a good saving from Astrodon. Overall, the 20% translates to a fair amount, when the LRGB is included so unless there are other technical reasons why Astrodon wins, the better choice would be the Chroma's. The saving on filters would pay for a 3" Feathertouch upgrade, so it is worth the consideration.

But as Pete said, is there strong, hard evidence to back up the narrower bands are that much better? There seems to be a lot of anecdotal evidence in posts on SGL extolling the virtues of the 3nm filters. I do not think anyone would just say that to qualify the £1000 per filter spend they made, so there must be something in it.

Dave, I  guess your first set of filters were Baader, the second Astrodon? Was there a compelling reason for the investment, or simply "because you could?

Ian, I agree there is a good saving mixing 3 and 5nm in Astrodon's and I think if I succumb to the lure, then I would make that choice...

Ray, I am considering both the Atik and SX versions, along with the FLI. My two sons are researching the camera choice and looking at US based chatrooms, the FLI picks up the top prize. I am baulking at the cost, but personally favour the SX; I have a couple of cameras from them already, along with the filter wheel. I want the new SX 9 position 2" filter wheel so I only need to load the wheel once and have full set of LRGB and NB without having to change a carousel (Which is a PITA on my current one) But it is heavy, so the Feathertouch would probably me a must have.

So many choices...

 

Gordon.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So I guess another question:

In general, we all like the Baader filters, do a good job at a reasonable price.

When FLI advertised they will also stock Astronomik, this is what triggered me to think further on filters.

With Astronomik, there is a small improvement in NB width, but a relatively large increase in prices. The Ha will still include the NIII line. If we are struggling a little to justify the quality improvements from, say, Baader to Chroma/Astrodon, where does this leave Astronomik?

Am I missing some middle ground?

Gordon.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
25 minutes ago, Bukko said:

I want the new SX 9 position 2" filter wheel

I've had the SX Maxiwheel (with 50.4mm unmounted carousel, though only Baader LRGB filters) for 4 months and it seems to be a reliable bit of kit.

Just need to decide which NB filters to get...

Edited by fireballxl5
added filter info
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
17 minutes ago, Bukko said:

Ray, I am considering both the Atik and SX versions, along with the FLI. My two sons are researching the camera choice and looking at US based chatrooms, the FLI picks up the top prize. I am baulking at the cost, but personally favour the SX; I have a couple of cameras from them already, along with the filter wheel. I want the new SX 9 position 2" filter wheel so I only need to load the wheel once and have full set of LRGB and NB without having to change a carousel (Which is a PITA on my current one) But it is heavy, so the Feathertouch would probably me a must have

Yes all agreed.  FLI does seem to attract a premium but I've not used them and generally see very little written about them, so not sure if this is quantifiable for AP.

I too have a couple of SX cameras and indeed they do work very well.  My only gripe is the cameras inability to hand off consumption readings to the ASCOM driver so it is not able to display a percentage of cooling for SGP.  This means you don't really know if you are nearing the limit of cooling.  A small thing, but a thing anyway.  I also have a few of their wheels (1 1/2" and 2" (and a mini)) and they seem ok, but I do prefer my Atik EFW3 with 7 x 2" carousel as it just seems better made and of course is designed with the Atik 16200 in mind (direct bolted connection).  Like you I have LRGB and NB (Ha-OIII-SII) loaded.

A really nice conundrum to have and I'm sure you will have lots of fun shopping and deciding.

 

Ps  A very helpful post here where @gnomus supplied a very useful comparison on the 3nm and 5nm Astrodon's.

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I do like the SX stuff; as you find with the Maxiwheel, never had any issue with any of their hardware, so it's good to know the big one performs well also.

The big problem with the SX Trius 46 is the weight. If not used for imaging, it would make a good counterweight. But I still have a few months to work everything out as I don't get back home to the UK until June. The FLI is the lightest, but I am struggling to get enough info to support the choice. It is twice the price of the Atik for the same imaging chip, so it needs to be something special...

Ray, many thanks for the 3nm vs 5nm comparison. On the Ha, there is little to choose between them, but the stars are tighter. For Chroma filters, there is little in the price, I would go for the 3nm to separate the NIII, but if Astrodon's, they also sell a NIII filter, it would be interesting to do a two colour image of Ha and NIII... Talking myself into spending more instead of saving...

MUST hide all this from Mrs. Bukko...

Gordon.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When I was looking at 2" LRGB And NB filters my search kept prompting me to look at Optolong as they had more than just copied the Astronomik they went on apparently to improve on them, I too can only dream about owning some good quality 3nm NB Filters and would certainly research into buying the Chroma, which BTW Bernard at Modern Astronomy is an agent for. I'll check with my contact in China and see if Optolong are planning to do some 3NM NB filters.

It really amazes me that top photographers will moan if the have to pay more than £100 for a quality branded filter, but in Astronomy it would appear that you have to pay 20 times more for similar quality, what a shame that the minority are being ripped because of the selective demand :-(

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
23 hours ago, pete_l said:

What I would like to see, but have never found, is some hard, graphical, evidence that shows beyond doubt that an Astrodon (or any other make / specification) of Hα or any other NB filter does actually produce a better image than other cheaper offerings.
I would also like to see evidence that a 3nm bandwidth does produce noticeably better images than (say) a 7nm filter.

Once the comparisons are there for everyone to see, we'll all be far better informed about where the cost / quality equation leaves us.

There's threads on here showing  exactly that..3nm bandwidth shows smaller stars and higher contrast..

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I did a comparison here in June 2013..... Between 3nm Astrodon and 7nm Baader.

I can't do a fair Chroma v's Astrodon NB test as the filters are both in different camera's and scopes.... but, anecdotally of course, I am not noticing a difference between the Astrdons I used to use and the Chroma's I use now.

Edited by swag72
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There's been quite a bit of discussion about the Astrodon 3nm vs 5nm narrowband filters here, which is all very useful and interesting. Does anybody have any concrete evidence (or even just anecdotal) that the Astrodon LRGB filters are 'better' than Baader or other makes of LRGB filters? Thank you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bukko, sorry for not replying earlier, as I was otherwise engaged.

Yes, my first filter set was Baader, bought from IKI as a package with the Trius and wheel. I got fed up with the halos I was getting from the oxygen, so went for the complete set of 3nm filters. At the time they were "only" £385 each.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello John, I took a look at Optolong filters and I would personally not want to invest in a set of them... There is a lot of chatter about cloning the Astronomik and as the pricing seems to be high - maybe OK if they really did better the Astronomik, but I am not comfortable with either the risk or the whole copying aspect. Sorry, it's a personal thing. I did know Modern Astronomy are a dealer for the Chroma, found out when researching them. But for now, I am still assessing which way to go, then I will sort out a supplier.

Sara, thanks for the link; I see the difference between the 3nm and 7nm is clear but the 3 and a good 5 is less so. And I understand the difference between Astrodon and Chroma is probably so slight, so as not to worry about it.

Gav; a good question, but for me, I would want a single manufacturer for the whole set. But if I was "only" after LRGB, then we have yet another post to discuss the different merits from each manufacturer... Then don't forget there are different series from the same manufacturer, with tuned responses...  Oh boy...

And Dave, no need to apologise. I do not recall suffering from halos on OIII from Baader, I was using them on an f4 Newt, so maybe I was just lucky with the set up. And "only" £385 each !! Not many things could fetch a profit on re-sale.

 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If I summarise where I think my mind is right now...

In the future, I do not want to wonder if I should have bought a set of 3nm filters instead of.. whatever I purchased.

Not withstanding Gav's comments raising more questions on the LRGB set, I think I would like to stay with a single manufacturer, even though there would probably be good savings to be had.

I think I am ready to rule out another set of baader and Astronomik and narrow the NB.

So I think it will need to be either Astrodon or Chroma.

3nm or 5nm?

Here, there is no real technical differences between the two shortlisted filters. I get that the 3nm Ha will separate the NIII but on images comparing a 3nm and 5nm, there is no obvious difference. Maybe the target did not contain enough NIII to show the difference?

Astrodon. For Ha, the 3mn is a well liked filter. For the OIII and SII, I could save money and get the 5nm versions. With the 3nm Ha, I could also get a NIII filter and add an extra emission choice?

Chroma. There is a cost saving on every filter. The 3nm Chroma is about the same price as a 5nm Astrodon. The 5nm Chroma is not much cheaper than the 3nm, so it would make sense just to go with the 3nm Chroma's.

The Astrodon has a long standing reputation to consider, I guess like in the good old days, no-one ever got fired for buying an IBM PC...

On balance, I think the Chroma's have it on overall cost/performance.

I will need to go through this with my two son's, as they are also going to use whatever I build and it is always better to have them onside.

Please feel free to critique my thought process and point out anything you think I have missed.

And thanks to all for helping.

Gordon.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Gordon, can fully understand your comments and I agree to some extent, however competition is healthy and if someone takes a product and "Makes it better" then there can only be a gain to the consumer. As long a there was no direct theft and everything was done legally then I have no objections.

Talking to Bernard at MA yesterday, he advised that it was his belief that Astrodons were originally made by Chroma, so in this instance have Astrodon changed manufacture and developed their product further or are they both the same? Have Chroma decided to steal back their business from Astrodon because Astrodon took their business elsewhere?

At the end of the day its a piece of glass and as serious photographer/businessman I feel that the price is inviting other companies to come along and make a better version because for too long the stupidity of manufacturers to hike their prices is not good/fair for the consumer.

JMHO

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 15/02/2018 at 18:40, swag72 said:

I did a comparison here in June 2013..... Between 3nm Astrodon and 7nm Baader.

I can't do a fair Chroma v's Astrodon NB test as the filters are both in different camera's and scopes.... but, anecdotally of course, I am not noticing a difference between the Astrdons I used to use and the Chroma's I use now.

Nice comparison the Astrodon is clearly the better image, but the baader kills the Astrodon several times over in terms of price to performance while delivering a very acceptable result. At least by most people's standards lol. Oddly I suspect that if I was to ever invest in a premium filter it would be the OIII as its more effected by my local light pollution. Not sure how 3nm OIII and 7nm ha would effect processing though....mismatched star size and all. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Adam J said:

Nice comparison the Astrodon is clearly the better image, but the baader kills the Astrodon several times over in terms of price to performance while delivering a very acceptable result.

Heh, heh.

And it would be interesting to think about how much of the difference between two filters can be "processed out" during the image processing. We aren't in the business of producing science-grade images for research purposes. As amateur astronomers most of us just want a pleasing end result (and if that showcases our skill and how "serious" we are - the amount of ££££ we spent :icon_biggrin: , so much the better ).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello Adam and Pete;

Yes, you are both absolutely right about the value for money side of the filters game...

It could be argued no-one in their right mind would spend so much on a few little disks of coloured glass....

But if you had a significant budget to spend and a full set was a serious option, would you do it ? :confused2: I already image with a set of Baader's and never felt disapointed withe result, as mentioned, a lot of improvement can be made through processing. But if you start with a cleaner set of subs, surely the processing only makes it better?

I am in a very enviable place that I do have the chance and am writing this from my apartment in Singapore, where I am on a 6 month contract. Mrs. Bukko has agreed all the proceeds from this venture can be spent on whatever I want, hence the original question. But I do not want to simply throw money away so in my case, it is not just about value for money....:happy7:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.