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iapa

Guiding - best camera

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iapa    566

I am looking for people's opinion on best imaging camera to use, if necessary budget can stretch to £1K, but, refer to be under £300.

It will primarily be used for piggy back guiding on 10" f4 newt, but occasionally with 8" SCT (piggy back using 80mm f5, or possibly with OAG TBD) 

 

 

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rl    216

The QHY5-L2M monochrome works well for me. It gets a bit of stick for its mechanical construction but it is very sensitive and physically small enough to be used with most OAG setups. A lot of other otherwise excellent cameras built with a large diameter heatsink on the back clash with the main camera (particularly DSLR) depending on the OAG dimensions and spacing. The sensor is also close to the front face which is again often a plus with an OAG.

For piggyback guiding it will work with any scope with a 1 1/4" focuser. And it's cheap...

RL

Edited by rl
clarification

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SteveA    184

I must admit I struggled with QHY5II. I found it excessively noisy and was plagued with horizontal banding. Maybe it was just the unit I had but I was never happy with it.

Pushed by my wife for an idea for a Christmas present last year, that wasn't going to break the bank, I decided on a QHY5-III 178 Mono. I was slightly apprehensive as the pixel size is small, only 2.4 um, but having over the last few weeks managed to test this out it is proving to be excellent. Its very sensitive and little in the way of noise as far as I can see so far. 

Steve

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ollypenrice    18,823
16 hours ago, newbie alert said:

As a guide camera? A lodestar x2 must be a concideration 

Or even THE consideration? I use three of the Mk1 versions and their ST4 connections are lamentable and regularly play up. For the rest the camera is effectively perfect. The ST4 socket has been fixed on the LodestarX2, making it top dog in my book. (Half an hour ago I enviously unboxed an X2 which has been sent to me by one of our robotic clients to replace his present guide cam. Since he has a webcam looking at his rig there is no way I can accidentally put the X2 on one of my rigs! :D:evil4:

Olly

  • Haha 1

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carastro    2,740

I use the older QHY5 mono guide camera and if it ever went wrong I would try my damnest to find one exactly the same, though they don't sell them any more I'd be looking for a 2nd hand one.

True the screen is a bit noisy, but what does that matter so long as it sees a guide star and guides on it.  I think the newer version QHY511 is also good but it is better to get mono for guiding which is more sensitive and will show more stars and cause less problems.  I was given that advice by the Astro Trader who sold me my QHY5 and he was spot on.  It doesn't have the ST4 socket problem that the Lodestar has either.  

Carole 

 

 

Edited by carastro

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SteveA    184
14 minutes ago, ollypenrice said:

Or even THE consideration? I use three of the Mk1 versions and their ST4 connections are lamentable and regularly play up. For the rest the camera is effectively perfect. The ST4 socket has been fixed on the LodestarX2, making it top dog in my book. (Half an hour ago I enviously unboxed an X2 which has been sent to me by one of our robotic clients to replace his present guide cam. Since he has a webcam looking at his rig there is no way I can accidentally put the X2 on one of my rigs! :D:evil4:

Olly

For what its worth on the issue of the ST4 port, the QHY5III uses a LEMO socket. As I pulse guide I've not had to use this, but it "looks" very substantial and they supply an ST4 cable with the correct connector..

Steve

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SteveA    184
3 minutes ago, carastro said:

I use the older QHY5 mono guide camera and if it ever went wrong I would try my damnest to find one exactly the same, though they don't sell them any more I'd be looking for a 2nd hand one.

True the screen is a bit noisy, but what does that matter so long as it sees a guide star and guides on it.  I think the newer version QHY511 is also good but it is better to get mono for guiding which is more sensitive and will show more stars and cause less problems.  I was given that advice by the Astro Trader who sold me my QHY5 and he was spot on.  It doesn't have the ST4 socket problem that the Lodestar has either.  

Carole 

 

 

Carole...I've got the original QHY5 as well.....if you ever need one I could do you a good deal !:icon_biggrin:

Steve

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carastro    2,740
3 minutes ago, SteveA said:

Carole...I've got the original QHY5 as well.....if you ever need one I could do you a good deal !:icon_biggrin:

Noted Steve, I dread the day when it packs up so that's useful to know. Been using it now for some 6 years.  

Carole 

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pc387    8

+1 for the original QHY5.

After the QHY5 died I tried to upgrade to the QHYLII mono (similar/same chip as the Lodestar) but it wasn't recognised  by the SKYX pro (I don't think the QHY5LII drivers play ball, with Paramounts). 

Managed to get the old camera working again by gluing the circuit board back to the rear of the casing, and it's been fine ever since.

pc387

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alan potts    4,075

I am told by people that know a whole heep more than me the Lodestar is tops, I have just bought the Lodestar superstar but not been able to use it yet, so I sort of hope they were correct

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Lars    68

I have 2 telescope setups and use both the Lodestar X2 and the QHY5LII. The Lodestar wins but, that said, the QHY5LII is a very good camera and gives more bang for the bucks.

/Lars

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iapa    566
On 22/02/2018 at 12:54, ollypenrice said:

Or even THE consideration? I use three of the Mk1 versions and their ST4 connections are lamentable and regularly play up. For the rest the camera is effectively perfect. The ST4 socket has been fixed on the LodestarX2, making it top dog in my book. (Half an hour ago I enviously unboxed an X2 which has been sent to me by one of our robotic clients to replace his present guide cam. Since he has a webcam looking at his rig there is no way I can accidentally put the X2 on one of my rigs! :D:evil4:

Olly

In comparison to the Starlight Xpress Superstar Autoguiderhow does the X2 compare in practice; its only £20 more expensive.

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ollypenrice    18,823
53 minutes ago, iapa said:

In comparison to the Starlight Xpress Superstar Autoguiderhow does the X2 compare in practice; its only £20 more expensive.

I don't know, I only know the original and the X2. The cables on the original are a horror and to be avoided. Other than that they are both good.

Olly

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RayD    2,127

Lodestar X2 as guide cameras are spot on.  I use 2 of them and can't fault them at all.  I also use an Altair GP Cam and a ZWO 120MM, both of which are absolutely fine, but the extra resolution of the Lodestars is noticeable. 

The Oculus I have uses the Ultrastar and it really is very high resolution for a guide camera, so at £20 extra it may well be worth a shot, but it would need to work hard to offer huge benefits over the X2 which is excellent.

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drjolo    194
Posted (edited)

I have been using several different guide cameras, both CMOSes (QHY5, ASI120MM, ASI290MM) and 16 bits CCD (QHY6, Atik Titan) and today I am with ASI290MM. I bought 290 for planetary imaging, but then tested its sensitivity. I had then 8" inches newtonian with OAG, and at 3s exposures 290MM reached stars down to 15.5mag at average seeing and down to 16.5mag at good seeing (about 2"). From this time I guide with 290MM - when guiding with OAG camera sensitivity was crucial for me, and with 290MM I did not need to look for guide stars anymore. At every place I pointed telescope, there were always at least 2-3 stars visible in small OAG field of view at exposure time 3s. 

And with 2.9um pixel size resolution is always good. 290MM comparing to 120MM is much more sensitive/less noisy at short exposures. This is also the case for QHY6 and Atik Titan, since these both are CCD cameras, and short exposures are not CCD cameras domain (higher read out noise that becomes more issue, when exposure time is short, plus with CMOS camera you can escape readout noise by setting higher gain). 

Edited by drjolo

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Horwig    875

Can I add another vote for the Mk1 Lodestar, of which I now have two. Yes, as mentioned above, the cable connections are a nightmare, but there are ways around this.

The mini USB is a pig on a guide camera 'cos sticking out as it does, it's just asking to be brushed against in the dark, so I use right angle connectors, and then a safety cover made from a strip of plastic cut from a yoghurt pot that is taped to the body of the Lodestar with self amalg tape, the cable is tied down with the tape as well, so nothing to get caught. The ST4 connector is even more of an abomination, so just use pulse guiding.

The first of  the cameras I bought new some years ago, the second one I picked up more recently second hand for not much money. I use PHD2, and the Lodestar suits it just perfectly. It gives sup pixel guiding, so large pixels are not a problem. Both cameras are mounted in OAGs, but the sensitivity is just fine, I've never been in the situation where I can't find a guide star.

 

Huw

 

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