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daveangie0110

Altair Hypercam V2 Color Any good ?

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Hi All,

What are peoples thoughts of the Altair Hypercam Colour V2, i am looking to replace my Canon 600D with one, i have read some good reviews of the Hypercam, can anyone with one give me some Pros and Cons on this Camera.

Thanks.

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On 17/06/2018 at 11:57, daveangie0110 said:

Hi All,

What are peoples thoughts of the Altair Hypercam Colour V2, i am looking to replace my Canon 600D with one, i have read some good reviews of the Hypercam, can anyone with one give me some Pros and Cons on this Camera.

Thanks.

The question is what do you want to use it for?

Deep Sky wide field at a guess looking at your scopes. 

Assuming that it is this camera: https://www.altairastro.com/Altair-Hypercam-IMX183C-Colour-Astronomy-CMOS-Camera.html

Then yes the IMX183c sensor itself is very well suited to the ZS61 and the Samyang 135mm lens due to its small pixels. I would be getting an IMX183 based camera if I had those scopes / lenses. 

HOWEVER, and its a big however, I would not myself purchase the Altair-Hypercam IMX183C myself because for me, for DSO imaging, it fails on two counts. 

1) Its not cooled. 

Yes it is passively cooled but it has no set point cooling. That means that you will struggle with noise in the spring / summer and more importantly you will struggle to calibrate the amp glow out of your images using darks (a problem with this sensor specifically). 

2) Its a OSC not a mono camera. If you live close to Portsmouth than you will experience light pollution and you are better off with a mono camera and although you can do Narrow band imaging using OSC (I have) it will work better with a mono. 

The two points above represent the pillars of dedicated camera imaging and if you don't have one you had better have the other. Personally I would rank it something like this:

1) Setpoint cooled mono camera

2) Setpoint cooled OSC camera

3) Passive cooled mono 

4) Passive cooled OSC (The one you suggest) / DLSR.

In essence what I am saying is that I would not consider that camera to be an upgrade from your DSLR assuming that your DSLR is modified then it may actually be better by virtue of having a larger sensor. If you got it I feel you would regret it. Its getting good reviews mainly because its great for Solar and imaging the moon, with the ability to do some DSO. What reviews have you seen?

Save your money up and get a set point cooled version of the IMX183c like this: https://www.firstlightoptics.com/zwo-cameras/zwo-asi-183mc-pro-usb-3-cooled-colour-camera.html 

or even better a mono version like this: https://www.firstlightoptics.com/zwo-cameras/zwo-asi-183mm-pro-usb-3-cooled-mono-camera.html

or the QHY version from modern astronomy: https://www.modernastronomy.com/shop/cameras/cooled-ccd/qhy-cooled-ccd-cameras/qhy183c/

If you really dont want to spend more than about 600 then I would even recommend the smaller mono ASI178mm-c over the Hypercam OSC or something second hand. 

Hope that helps,

Adam 

 

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23 hours ago, Adam J said:

The question is what do you want to use it for?

Deep Sky wide field at a guess looking at your scopes. 

Assuming that it is this camera: https://www.altairastro.com/Altair-Hypercam-IMX183C-Colour-Astronomy-CMOS-Camera.html

Then yes the IMX183c sensor itself is very well suited to the ZS61 and the Samyang 135mm lens due to its small pixels. I would be getting an IMX183 based camera if I had those scopes / lenses. 

HOWEVER, and its a big however, I would not myself purchase the Altair-Hypercam IMX183C myself because for me, for DSO imaging, it fails on two counts. 

1) Its not cooled. 

Yes it is passively cooled but it has no set point cooling. That means that you will struggle with noise in the spring / summer and more importantly you will struggle to calibrate the amp glow out of your images using darks (a problem with this sensor specifically). 

2) Its a OSC not a mono camera. If you live close to Portsmouth than you will experience light pollution and you are better off with a mono camera and although you can do Narrow band imaging using OSC (I have) it will work better with a mono. 

The two points above represent the pillars of dedicated camera imaging and if you don't have one you had better have the other. Personally I would rank it something like this:

1) Setpoint cooled mono camera

2) Setpoint cooled OSC camera

3) Passive cooled mono 

4) Passive cooled OSC (The one you suggest) / DLSR.

In essence what I am saying is that I would not consider that camera to be an upgrade from your DSLR assuming that your DSLR is modified then it may actually be better by virtue of having a larger sensor. If you got it I feel you would regret it. Its getting good reviews mainly because its great for Solar and imaging the moon, with the ability to do some DSO. What reviews have you seen?

Save your money up and get a set point cooled version of the IMX183c like this: https://www.firstlightoptics.com/zwo-cameras/zwo-asi-183mc-pro-usb-3-cooled-colour-camera.html 

or even better a mono version like this: https://www.firstlightoptics.com/zwo-cameras/zwo-asi-183mm-pro-usb-3-cooled-mono-camera.html

or the QHY version from modern astronomy: https://www.modernastronomy.com/shop/cameras/cooled-ccd/qhy-cooled-ccd-cameras/qhy183c/

If you really dont want to spend more than about 600 then I would even recommend the smaller mono ASI178mm-c over the Hypercam OSC or something second hand. 

Hope that helps,

Adam 

 

Thankyou very much for the detailed reply, I understand Altair are releasing a cooled version of the 183C hypercam, I was looking at the ZWO ASI1600 is this any good, I would prefer a colour cam.

Thanks.

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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, daveangie0110 said:

Thankyou very much for the detailed reply, I understand Altair are releasing a cooled version of the 183C hypercam, I was looking at the ZWO ASI1600 is this any good, I would prefer a colour cam.

Thanks.

Why colour if you dont mind me asking? Mono cameras are vastly higher performance for a similar cost, I use a cheap 60 pound LRGB set with mine so filters dont have to cost the earth.

In any case if I was to get a color camera it would be between the QHY168c and the ASI294mc pro especially if you are going to get a scope with a slightly longer focal length later on. While the ASI1600 is great in mono, I have not been blown away by the shots people are taking with the color version. If you are sticking with the lenses and the ZS61 for a while then I think that the ASI183mc pro is probably the way to go due to the smaller pixels being better suited to the short focal length. I would not be tempted to get Altairs first cooled camera hot of the shelf, ZWO had issues with their first cooled attempts with the 1600 and so I would let it mature first.

 

Edited by Adam J

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21 hours ago, Adam J said:

Why colour if you dont mind me asking? Mono cameras are vastly higher performance for a similar cost, I use a cheap 60 pound LRGB set with mine so filters dont have to cost the earth.

In any case if I was to get a color camera it would be between the QHY168c and the ASI294mc pro especially if you are going to get a scope with a slightly longer focal length later on. While the ASI1600 is great in mono, I have not been blown away by the shots people are taking with the color version. If you are sticking with the lenses and the ZS61 for a while then I think that the ASI183mc pro is probably the way to go due to the smaller pixels being better suited to the short focal length. I would not be tempted to get Altairs first cooled camera hot of the shelf, ZWO had issues with their first cooled attempts with the 1600 and so I would let it mature first.

 

Hi Adam, 

I have made my mind up and going for the ZWO183C, like you Saud the smaller pixels will be better suited for my ZS61.

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3 hours ago, daveangie0110 said:

Hi Adam, 

I have made my mind up and going for the ZWO183C, like you Saud the smaller pixels will be better suited for my ZS61.

Great but I will have one last go at trying to persuade you to get a mono lol. I would love to know the reasoning for wanting a color sensor?

Being able to use Luminance in LRGB is a massive huge advantage.

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I'm looking at the ZWO ASI183MC Pro, the QHY183C and the Altair Hypercam 183C V2. I'll be curious how you get on with the ZWO as I've seen what Trevor from Astro Backyard can do with the Hypercam. I'm going OSC because the time I have to image is extremely limited. I need to be able to capture as much data as I can in a few hours when I do have the opportunity. Going back out and doing the same object repeatedly just with another color filter on a mono cam is not an option for me. I'd never get a complete data set or very few complete data sets. I understand this is how the best images are achieved, but the images I'll be taking are just for me and to share on my club Facebook and Instagram pages. I'm not a professional by any stretch of the imagination. Still, I would like a better camera than the DSLR I already have.

The only telescope I currently have is a dob and I use my DSLR and a barlow for doing planetary and lunar imaging. I have plans to get an equatorial mount and a refractor in the near future once I save up some funds. I thought that maybe I could buy the camera now, use it for planetary and lunar in my dob, and maybe borrow a mount and small refractor from my club, just to get used to the camera before I get my own setup. I intend to move from planetary and lunar into DSO's when I get my setup.

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You could always get the mono Hypercam 183? and use some rgb filters + filter wheel with it?

Its 4 times as sensitive and you'll be able to use narrowband filters with it also.

PLUS they've recently knocked £100 off the price......annoyingly after I've bought it, but I'm not bitter honest lol 😛

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Posted (edited)
On 22/06/2018 at 19:28, Buzzard75 said:

I'm looking at the ZWO ASI183MC Pro, the QHY183C and the Altair Hypercam 183C V2. I'll be curious how you get on with the ZWO as I've seen what Trevor from Astro Backyard can do with the Hypercam. I'm going OSC because the time I have to image is extremely limited. I need to be able to capture as much data as I can in a few hours when I do have the opportunity. Going back out and doing the same object repeatedly just with another color filter on a mono cam is not an option for me. I'd never get a complete data set or very few complete data sets. I understand this is how the best images are achieved, but the images I'll be taking are just for me and to share on my club Facebook and Instagram pages. I'm not a professional by any stretch of the imagination. Still, I would like a better camera than the DSLR I already have.

The only telescope I currently have is a dob and I use my DSLR and a barlow for doing planetary and lunar imaging. I have plans to get an equatorial mount and a refractor in the near future once I save up some funds. I thought that maybe I could buy the camera now, use it for planetary and lunar in my dob, and maybe borrow a mount and small refractor from my club, just to get used to the camera before I get my own setup. I intend to move from planetary and lunar into DSO's when I get my setup.

Astro backyard can be entertaining but at the same time he is a good case of all the gear no idea. Take his most recent video he is still not measuring the back focus on his flattener correctly. Also things like using a duo narrowband filter on a mono camera, when it's specifically designed for osc. In respect to the hypercam I did notice that he returned to using his DSLR before he got the asi294c pro, when was the last time he used his hypercam 183c..? 

Also look at his Hypercam 183c pictures and you will see uncorrected amp glow to the right hand side. The dumbbell is a good example. In others he crops it out. It's all a great example in why regulated cooling matters. If you want an OSC then the ASI294c is the way to go...unless you are working very short focal lengths in which case the 183 is better. Just be sure to get one with regulated cooling or that amp glow will bite you. 

Edited by Adam J
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On 22/06/2018 at 20:28, Buzzard75 said:

I'm going OSC because the time I have to image is extremely limited.

Assuming that you have a filter wheel the general consensus is that a mono camera with filters is just as fast (if not faster) than an OSC camera in collecting the same amount of data (although it's a bit more complex). 

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20 minutes ago, AngryDonkey said:

Assuming that you have a filter wheel the general consensus is that a mono camera with filters is just as fast (if not faster) than an OSC camera in collecting the same amount of data (although it's a bit more complex). 

I don't have a wheel and I don't have filters. Once a month we go out to our dark sky site with the club. Even if we're lucky and the skies are clear on that one particular night, I still may only have a couple of hours that I can actually capture anything. So I'm extremely limited on time. I understand that shooting with a mono and filters is obviously going to provide better results than OSC. What I'm trying to wrap my head around is how it can be faster. Can you shoot shorter exposures with mono than you need to with OSC (say 60 second exposures of R, G, and B each instead of 180 second OSC) or can you get away with 1/3 of the frames (20 or less frames each of R, G and B vs. 60 OSC)? That's the only way it could be faster.

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8 hours ago, Adam J said:

Astro backyard can be entertaining but at the same time he is a good case of all the gear no idea. Take his most recent video he is still not measuring the back focus on his flattener correctly. Also things like using a duo narrowband filter on a mono camera, when it's specifically designed for osc. In respect to the hypercam I did notice that he returned to using his DSLR before he got the asi294c pro, when was the last time he used his hypercam 183c..? 

Also look at his Hypercam 183c pictures and you will see uncorrected amp glow to the right hand side. The dumbbell is a good example. In others he crops it out. It's all a great example in why regulated cooling matters. If you want an OSC then the ASI294c is the way to go...unless you are working very short focal lengths in which case the 183 is better. Just be sure to get one with regulated cooling or that amp glow will bite you. 

Would definitely get a cooled version. I'm comparing the ASI294MC Pro and the ASI183MC Pro now. I've looked at the specs and the 294 has a larger sensor and more well capacity, but it also has much larger pixels and lower resolution. It would appear however, that the 294 gives you a wider field of view. So pros and cons. Define very short focal length. Other than putting it in my dob for planetary and lunar, I would probably be looking at something with a focal length of 600mm or less.

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1 hour ago, Buzzard75 said:

Would definitely get a cooled version. I'm comparing the ASI294MC Pro and the ASI183MC Pro now. I've looked at the specs and the 294 has a larger sensor and more well capacity, but it also has much larger pixels and lower resolution. It would appear however, that the 294 gives you a wider field of view. So pros and cons. Define very short focal length. Other than putting it in my dob for planetary and lunar, I would probably be looking at something with a focal length of 600mm or less.

Depends on what you want to image, for emission nebula I would say 400mm and less would be best with this camera without the pixel scale getting crazy so think 70mm scope at F6. I guess whats what I call short. The WO ZS61 is 360mm so that would be great. The Samyang 135mm is very short and the 183 should be great with it too. 

For galaxies and planets and planetary nebula i would think this camera would work well at 1000mm or so, assuming you can guide well enough for the image scale and have good seeing.

Its all relative though, for instance with my 130PDS at 650mm I would go with the ASI294mc pro every single time its just such an impressive OSC chip. To be honest even with a 430mm scope I would go with the 294 if a OSC...now if mono was on the cards I would take the mono IMX183m over the ASI294, even with my 130PDS.

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4 hours ago, Buzzard75 said:

What I'm trying to wrap my head around is how it can be faster. 

There is a good explanation in this thread:

 

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On 20/06/2018 at 23:39, Adam J said:

Great but I will have one last go at trying to persuade you to get a mono lol. I would love to know the reasoning for wanting a color sensor?

Being able to use Luminance in LRGB is a massive huge advantage.

Hi Adam,

The reason I want a colour camera is purely the time it takes to shoot a image also the extra  money needed to buy the filters.

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7 hours ago, AngryDonkey said:

There is a good explanation in this thread:

 

I've read A LOT of Olly's posts. He certainly knows what he's talking about. My understanding from that is there's less total exposure time required for LRGB than OSC to achieve a similar end result because of the amount of data captured with each filter color with a mono is significantly more. Which is what I suspected the reasoning to be. However, I also gather there is more workflow involved with LRGB than OSC. You have to switch out filters, refocus if necessary, ensure your spacing is correct for each filter, etc. and then you also have a lot more frames that you have to work with and get processed and stacked properly, etc. So, I can take that 25% (arbitrary number) and put it toward capturing more OSC frames or I can put it towards the workflow of LRGB. I don't disagree that the LRGB image will come out significantly better, but I think OSC is easier and more "set it and forget it" which is what I'm after. Again, I'm not looking to be a professional. Everything I do is for me and mine and besides that, I'm still learning.

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1 hour ago, Buzzard75 said:

I've read A LOT of Olly's posts. He certainly knows what he's talking about. My understanding from that is there's less total exposure time required for LRGB than OSC to achieve a similar end result because of the amount of data captured with each filter color with a mono is significantly more. Which is what I suspected the reasoning to be. However, I also gather there is more workflow involved with LRGB than OSC. You have to switch out filters, refocus if necessary, ensure your spacing is correct for each filter, etc. and then you also have a lot more frames that you have to work with and get processed and stacked properly, etc. So, I can take that 25% (arbitrary number) and put it toward capturing more OSC frames or I can put it towards the workflow of LRGB. I don't disagree that the LRGB image will come out significantly better, but I think OSC is easier and more "set it and forget it" which is what I'm after. Again, I'm not looking to be a professional. Everything I do is for me and mine and besides that, I'm still learning.

It's harder to colour balance a osc image also if you would need to refocus between filters on a mono then with the same scope you will end up with chromatic aberration using an OSC by virtue of the face that you can't refocus between colours. The only arguments are cost and omitting a single stage in processing. In all other ways including speed of capture mono is superior. 

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