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Thalestris24

Favourite eea camera?

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Hi

Does anyone have a favourite camera for eea/video astro? I've been looking at a cooled 178mc (possibly also for some dso) but can't quite make up my mind. Is there anything better? Apart from several dslrs I have a qhy8l osc which is quite good for dso but not fast enough for eea. I'm thinking in terms of using a colour cam with a 200-300mm lens or short focal length scope (240mm - max 400mm). The ASI178mc-cool seems to have a decent qe (75-80% they say...) so is comparable to a typical guide cam but with less noise (hopefully!).

Any thoughts?

Cheers

Louise

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I love my Atik Horizon, but that's in a higher price band than the ZWO asi178mc.  Others in the Atik range might be suitable. What is particularly good is Atik's "Infinity" EAA software. Truly easy to use because it is dedicated to the Atik range. Atik cameras are manufactured in the EU and it's HQ in Norfolk. I had a minor USB port issue and It was quickly replaced under warranty, no quibble. Sadly, I have not had that quality of service from USA/Chinese equipment manufacturers.

There is an excellent guide to ZWO cameras at...

https://agenaastro.com/zwo-astronomy-cameras-buyers-guide.html

What I would do here is use this to determine which ZWO is perhaps right for you and then search for ZWO "xxx" versus <other brand> reviews for cameras that use the same sensor. For example, the ZWO Asi1600 has an identical sensor to the Atik Horizon, so you would expect parallel performance. It was that which convinced me to buy the Atik equivalent as I was aware of its software advantages and didn't want to invest any more in Chinese kit that has little or no UK representation other than a few retailers. 

My other advice is a caution. If opting for a higher resolution camera do check you have enough computing, connectivity and battery power. I have a feeling that the ZWO 178mc cooled is designed for use with USB3. Note too that the uncooled version has only three stars for Deep Sky and the advertisements suggest it is more a planetary/lunar camera rather than deep sky. 

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7 minutes ago, noah4x4 said:

I love my Atik Horizon, but that's in a higher price band than the ZWO asi178mc.  Others in the Atik range might be suitable. What is particularly good is Atik's "Infinity" EAA software. Truly easy to use because it is dedicated to the Atik range. Atik cameras are manufactured in the EU and it's HQ in Norfolk. I had a minor USB port issue and It was quickly replaced under warranty, no quibble. Sadly, I have not had that quality of service from USA/Chinese equipment manufacturers.

There is an excellent guide to ZWO cameras at...

https://agenaastro.com/zwo-astronomy-cameras-buyers-guide.html

What I would do here is use this to determine which ZWO is perhaps right for you and then search for ZWO "xxx" versus <other brand> reviews for cameras that use the same sensor. For example, the ZWO Asi1600 has an identical sensor to the Atik Horizon, so you would expect parallel performance. It was that which convinced me to buy the Atik equivalent as I was aware of its software advantages and didn't want to invest any more in Chinese kit that has little or no UK representation other than a few retailers. 

My other advice is a caution. If opting for a higher resolution camera do check you have enough computing, connectivity and battery power. I have a feeling that the ZWO 178mc cooled is designed for use with USB3. Note too that the uncooled version has only three stars for Deep Sky and the advertisements suggest it is more a planetary/lunar camera rather than deep sky. 

Yeah, I was only looking at the cooled version of the 178mc. The 1600/Horizon seems too big a sensor, really, as does the 294. I have an Atik 383l+ mono but it's too slow for eaa. In any case it's fitted to a 115mm apo and I was thinking of a small sensor with a short and fast fl. I'm all mains power :) anyway. The 178mc appears to be useable without cooling which might be ok for short exposure eaa. Just wondered what other people are using and what sort of eaa results they were getting

Thanks for your reply

Louise

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12 minutes ago, R26 oldtimer said:

Well, small and sensitive sensor = imx224 or imx290...

Thanks - both are possibles for eaa but maybe not so good for longer exposures. Have you used both of them?

Louise

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No, tried the asi 224 as an upgrade from analogue icx810, which was even more sensitive but with lower resolution, and the asi224 worked great but with a rather small fov for my intended targets.

So I reverted back to analogue for eaa, and sold the Asi 224 to fund an AP camera for bigger targets.

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1 minute ago, R26 oldtimer said:

No, tried the asi 224 as an upgrade from analogue icx810, which was even more sensitive but with lower resolution, and the asi224 worked great but with a rather small fov for my intended targets.

So I reverted back to analogue for eaa, and sold the Asi 224 to fund an AP camera for bigger targets.

Yeah, I was looking at the cooled 178mc cos it's small but still high res, high qe (I think!), and apparently has low amp glow for longer exposures. But I'm open to suggestions!

Louise

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I came across this Aussie video doing eaa with an uncooled imx178 colour camera. Unguided too. He gets better images than I do with lots of stacked long exposures!! Mind you, can't really tell what his captures might actually be like close up and he likes to clip his black points! Still, encouraging to see. Oh, his exposures were still in the minutes range - I wonder how the results would have compared to live stacking lots more shorter exposures?

Anyway, here's the video:

Louise

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Louise,

interesting....do you know what software he was using?

 

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9 hours ago, Merlin66 said:

Louise,

interesting....do you know what software he was using?

 

I think it was software he got with the camera which he says is the same as Touptek Sky (free to download). I imagine not much difference to Sharpcap.

Louise

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Yes, it looks like the Touptek Sky application to me, which means sense given that the legend on-screen suggests that he's using a Touptek camera.  It's near identical to the Altair and Mallincam applications I believe.

James

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Oh, and in case it's not obvious, the Touptek, Altair and Mallincam applications only support their own cameras, with a couple of exceptions where they support each other's cameras because some are just rebadged Touptek models.

James

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3 minutes ago, JamesF said:

Oh, and in case it's not obvious, the Touptek, Altair and Mallincam applications only support their own cameras, with a couple of exceptions where they support each other's cameras because some are just rebadged Touptek models.

James

Hi James

You're probably right but I've used ToupView with the cheap 5Mp camera that I use with my microscope. However, I found Sharpcap was better for that :). I could download ToupSky and see if it works with that same camera.

Louise

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Could be that your microscope camera is also actually a rebadged Touptek model.  I believe there are quite a few "vendors" who are just rebadging Touptek kit and selling it as their own.

James

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19 minutes ago, JamesF said:

Could be that your microscope camera is also actually a rebadged Touptek model.  I believe there are quite a few "vendors" who are just rebadging Touptek kit and selling it as their own.

James

I downloaded the ToupSky but not the separate Ascom driver. Well it doesn't recognize my microscope camera (not surprising, really) but does see my Altair Astro v1 GPcam guide camera. So I suppose the Jury's out as to whether it would recognize an asi178. If I ever get one, I'll try it!

Louise

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I'm fairly certain it won't support the ASI cameras (unless it can be done using ASCOM, but I wasn't aware that it had any kind of ASCOM support).  My understanding is that ToupSky has a built-in list of USB vendor and product IDs that it supports and ignores anything else.  It recognises that particular Altair camera because it uses the same vendor and product ID as a Touptek camera that it does support.

James

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58 minutes ago, JamesF said:

I'm fairly certain it won't support the ASI cameras (unless it can be done using ASCOM, but I wasn't aware that it had any kind of ASCOM support).  My understanding is that ToupSky has a built-in list of USB vendor and product IDs that it supports and ignores anything else.  It recognises that particular Altair camera because it uses the same vendor and product ID as a Touptek camera that it does support.

James

Yeah, you're probably right. Still, maybe there's someone here who has an uncooled asi178mc who might like to try the ToupSky?? Or perhaps the Altair Astro equivalent?
I'm still trying to decide whether to get a cheaper uncooled 178mc or maybe an air-cooled hypercam or the zwo cooled one... Perhaps for short-ish exposures the uncooled one would do. Otoh, the cooled one is worth it for the extra... I'll have to have a long sleep over it!

Louise

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1 hour ago, Thalestris24 said:

Yeah, you're probably right. Still, maybe there's someone here who has an uncooled asi178mc who might like to try the ToupSky?? Or perhaps the Altair Astro equivalent?
I'm still trying to decide whether to get a cheaper uncooled 178mc or maybe an air-cooled hypercam or the zwo cooled one... Perhaps for short-ish exposures the uncooled one would do. Otoh, the cooled one is worth it for the extra... I'll have to have a long sleep over it!

Louise

I've been trying to order stuff from Altair Astro for over a week...😐.

They seem to have gone AWOL. No answer to various emails or their website contact form...

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11 minutes ago, ginandtonic said:

I've been trying to order stuff from Altair Astro for over a week...😐.

They seem to have gone AWOL. No answer to various emails or their website contact form...

Sorry, I can't help there. I've heard before that they are difficult to get hold of. Maybe try Tring Astro - I bought my AA Gpcam from them (over 3 years ago).

Louise

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Had a quick play with the ToupSky earlier but I'm not sure about it. Just running it with the mono gpcam-1 so only greyscale. However, it seems to hog the cpu a bit - like 24-25% on an i5-2500k. I figure it must be written in Basic! It also seemed to keep stopping when running the live stack. Maybe I was doing something wrong - I'll have to read the documentation... The align frame option didn't appear to work as expected - seemed to do the opposite! Yet the Aussie guy in the video seemed to do things quite smoothly with his 178mc - not an eggy star in sight! I'll have another go when I get more time - rather busy with non-astro stuff at the moment (class test coming up on Thursday! 😟😧👧).

Louise

Edit: I'll have to get a Sharpcap Pro licence and try that. I certainly found Sharpcap better than ToupView with my microscope cam :) 

Edited by Thalestris24

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I love my ASI290 for eea. I have a couple of other colour cameras but the ASI290 is easily the most sensitive which makes it easiest and quickest to use for observing. It’s also not too expensive. It is mono - that’s the only thing. If you need colour you’ll have to look elsewhere  

Often I’ll just grab the 290 intending to just do a quick look on a smaller object and end up using it all night. The main reason is the sensitivity. I still don’t think there’s any other cameras that compete at the moment if you’re looking for short exposure eea on dso. It makes it far easier to find objects binning at high gain since you can see objects at video speed (maybe 2-24 fps live update), then lower the gain and drop the binning and do live stacking for detail.

I really have been surprised how much I keep coming back to that camera for a quick look that turns into the whole night. 

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44 minutes ago, London_David said:

I love my ASI290 for eea. I have a couple of other colour cameras but the ASI290 is easily the most sensitive which makes it easiest and quickest to use for observing. It’s also not too expensive. It is mono - that’s the only thing. If you need colour you’ll have to look elsewhere  

Often I’ll just grab the 290 intending to just do a quick look on a smaller object and end up using it all night. The main reason is the sensitivity. I still don’t think there’s any other cameras that compete at the moment if you’re looking for short exposure eea on dso. It makes it far easier to find objects binning at high gain since you can see objects at video speed (maybe 2-24 fps live update), then lower the gain and drop the binning and do live stacking for detail.

I really have been surprised how much I keep coming back to that camera for a quick look that turns into the whole night. 

Hi

Is yours the cooled version? I see there is a uncooled colour version.  The mono is not many more pixels than my gpcam mono that I had a play with last night. It's just a guide cam on a SW 50mm finder guider ie at f3.6, so quite sensitive too. But still needed to live stack 4s exposures to get a decent image. Exposures longer than about 8s with a sensitive camera seem to be out of the question here because of light pollution/skyglow though a lp filter would help.

Cheers

Louise

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I have the 178mc uncooled,,

Will try the software a try and post back

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1 minute ago, shirva said:

I have the 178mc uncooled,,

Will try the software a try and post back

Hi

Do you have Sharpcap Pro? It's probably better...

Louise

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On 30/11/2018 at 07:17, Thalestris24 said:

Hi

Does anyone have a favourite camera for eea/video astro? I've been looking at a cooled 178mc (possibly also for some dso) but can't quite make up my mind. Is there anything better? Apart from several dslrs I have a qhy8l osc which is quite good for dso but not fast enough for eea. I'm thinking in terms of using a colour cam with a 200-300mm lens or short focal length scope (240mm - max 400mm). The ASI178mc-cool seems to have a decent qe (75-80% they say...) so is comparable to a typical guide cam but with less noise (hopefully!).

Any thoughts?

Cheers

Louise

Hi Louise,

I’m probably going against the grain a bit, but my favorite EAA cams are still the SX Lodestar X2m and the Ultrastar C.  The Starlight Live Software is the best in my book, and once you try it, others will pale in comparison.  The SLL s/w is a free download and available for both Mac and Windows.  Both Lodestar and Ultrastar cams are becoming more affordable on used camera market, as many are jumping to the CMOS cams with Sharpcap.  I find Sharpcap a bit clumsy to use and others have been frustrated with it too.  

If you have any questions, I’ll be happy to answer them.  Here’s a few captures I got recently with the Ultrastar C.

28A01236-71EF-45B2-BBFA-27E390C953B2.thumb.jpeg.e9c45cc58244a8f018ad546700335800.jpeg

5EB2B36D-4FD6-4B7C-B9C4-90BD9B98BB34.thumb.jpeg.4183d9442b9017e6a431376ca3a32b56.jpeg

723C26B6-A0EE-4570-9B6B-F7B8439E310C.thumb.jpeg.56d68e29b12f894f46909229036a7a98.jpeg

F9A62EB2-F1DF-4F66-847E-71BD98CDA840.thumb.jpeg.c5dc95aeb283fca9f1ef271f5e0b0079.jpeg

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