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DeepSkyMan

Best CMOS Camera for 8” EdgeHD

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Hi there folks, my EAA/AP ambitions got severely curtailed last year due to unforeseen domestic expenditure.  Moving into the new year, resolution renewed, I’m looking at investing in an EAA setup.  Had been thinking about the new Altair Hypercam 183c TEC cooled offering.  However on reading up it appears that the pixel size would not be a great match for the 8” Edge.  So, looking for some advice from you guys as to what the ideal camera would be to pair with the 8” EdgeHD.  Initial concentration will be on EAA however I would like to have the flexibility to move into a more traditional AP setup down the line.  Camera budget is £1000.

 

Kind Regards

Paul.

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Go with the biggest pixels you can afford for EAA on such focal length.

Consider also binning if software of choice allows for that. With 2000mm focal length and for example this camera:

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/zwo-cameras/zwo-asi-294mc-pro-usb-30-cooled-colour-camera.html

(a bit over budget)

you will be at around 0.48"/pixel - too low for EAA, or even imaging for that matter. Since you are interested in color sensor - super pixel mode would bring that up to ~0.98"/pixel - but still low. Such resolutions are ok for best seeing conditions. Depending on sub exposure length you should not worry too much about mount performance - it just needs to be "smooth" over small periods (5-10s or for how long you plan to do single exposure).

It would be better to include focal reducer (x0.7 is matching one for Edge, I believe) - this will give you 1400mm FL and baseline resolution of 0.68"/pixel, or 1.36"/pixel - super pixel mode. Much better resolution. This will also increase FOV for larger selection of targets.

Another option would be to stick with 183c, but make sure your software supports the additional binning needed. In this case with focal reducer (again recommended) you will have:

- baseline resolution: ~0.35"/pixel (way too oversampled and hurting SNR).

- super pixel debayering: ~0.71"/pixel (again way to oversampled)

- then bin above: ~1.41"/pixel - this is good resolution for EAA

This is of course in case you can actually do the combination of super pixel debayering and binning in your EAA software. In the end you will be presented with image of your target that is 1360x912 pixels (minus crop for subs alignment of course).

 

 

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Hi Paul

A fellow Glaswegian! I hope you are on the outskirts away from the worst of the lp? But doubt you can escape the clouds! Anyway, I'm afraid I've no personal experience of sct's though I imagine you'd need a reducer or hyperstar to do eaa. Eaa is something I've only recently started getting into and I've been mainly using an 80mm F6 frac to which I've very recently added a 0.8x reducer. I'm using a qhy Minicam5s mono which is essentially a cooled qhy5l-iim guide cam. Anyway, that gives me a fov of about 0.71 x 0.53 deg and about 2"/pixel which is ok. (I use this calculator). I've also used a SW finder guider with a gpcam v1 mono. That obviously gives a wider fov but the camera is uncooled. I'm using SharpCap Pro for image capture and there is a v3.2 beta out now. The software lets me do live stacking with master dark and flat subtraction so I generally get quite a clean image. I'd like to get a better camera myself and have been looking at the 183mm-pro or qhy equivalent. However, they are quite expensive for me and hard to justify. I guess you'd want something with big pixels. I've just noticed Vlaiv has posted a reply - he always knows what he's talking about! However, unless where you are you have access to dark skies then I'm not sure colour is the best idea since lp plays havoc and generally colour cameras aren't as sensitive as mono ones. The manufacturers seem a little coy about publishing colour sensor qe values - perhaps because they are less than the high qe's they like to use as a selling point. In any case you need to think about pixel scale - probably no less than 1"/pixel in the uk and - nearer 2"/pixel where I am! You could always try using just a lens instead of your Edge for eaa. Easier to match up a camera.

Louise

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On 12/01/2019 at 02:06, Thalestris24 said:

Hi Paul

A fellow Glaswegian! I hope you are on the outskirts away from the worst of the lp? But doubt you can escape the clouds! Anyway, I'm afraid I've no personal experience of sct's though I imagine you'd need a reducer or hyperstar to do eaa. Eaa is something I've only recently started getting into and I've been mainly using an 80mm F6 frac to which I've very recently added a 0.8x reducer. I'm using a qhy Minicam5s mono which is essentially a cooled qhy5l-iim guide cam. Anyway, that gives me a fov of about 0.71 x 0.53 deg and about 2"/pixel which is ok. (I use this calculator). I've also used a SW finder guider with a gpcam v1 mono. That obviously gives a wider fov but the camera is uncooled. I'm using SharpCap Pro for image capture and there is a v3.2 beta out now. The software lets me do live stacking with master dark and flat subtraction so I generally get quite a clean image. I'd like to get a better camera myself and have been looking at the 183mm-pro or qhy equivalent. However, they are quite expensive for me and hard to justify. I guess you'd want something with big pixels. I've just noticed Vlaiv has posted a reply - he always knows what he's talking about! However, unless where you are you have access to dark skies then I'm not sure colour is the best idea since lp plays havoc and generally colour cameras aren't as sensitive as mono ones. The manufacturers seem a little coy about publishing colour sensor qe values - perhaps because they are less than the high qe's they like to use as a selling point. In any case you need to think about pixel scale - probably no less than 1"/pixel in the uk and - nearer 2"/pixel where I am! You could always try using just a lens instead of your Edge for eaa. Easier to match up a camera.

Louise

Hi there Louise, unfortunately even though I live in what is probably the only border line green/yellow zone left in central Scotland (Slamannan), it still doesn’t make up for the surrounding central Scotland light-dome...?. Thanks for your feedback regarding my imaging/eaa requirements.  As you’ve no doubt already picked up, from my later post, my imaging strategy has firmed up in the past week, I will shortly be the proud owner of a Hyperstar.  So I’m now looking for the best sub1k camera to pair with my 8” EdgeHD in this format.  

 

Clear Skies

Paul.

Edited by DeepSkyMan
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I have the 294pro (it’s cooled) and really like it. I bought it direct from zwo and it only cost about £760. Currently its $999 though you’ll need to pay shipping and you may be unlucky at customs for another 150 or so. 

In short, from zwo I’d look at the 294pro the 1600 the 183 the 385 the 224 and the 290 mono. I’m sure there are other cameras as good but these are the ones I know about... It doesn’t seem like there’s been a lot of change recently. Other manufacturers have similar cameras with the same chips but I like zwo and the build quality and support.

Which camera generally depends what you want to do ultimately - eaa, ap, colour or mono. They all have their advantages and disadvantages for each.

The short version... If it was me on your budget I’d get the 294pro if I was into eaa with some ap, the 385 for just eaa, or the 290 if I was into eaa mono or mono ap on a budget, and the 1600 mono for ap.

In terms of oversampling and undersamping, for me I don’t mind oversampling since you can software bin cmos with basically no issues when the read noise is low (as they are for all these cameras), and of your seeing turns out t be amazing one night you have the ability to make the most of it. Always worth checking out your fov from the camera it’s combo on the astronomy tools website.

Also from Scotland originally, I got into eaa to beat LP in London. I do like colour and it’s good on the 294 but I like searching for faint galaxies and the 290 sensitivity is great for that even if it is just mono.

I don’t want to bore everyone with me writing the same posts, so here are links...

 

 

 

Edited by London_David

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There is a whole website dedicated to video astronomy / EEA, they would probably be able to give you the benefit of actual hands-on experience.
In particular, there is an outfit in the USA called Mallincan. While they don't seem particularly interested in selling outside the continental USA (they didn't even reply to my emails), the cameras they use are made by a chinese firm called Touptek (AKA Risingcam). While Mallincam assert that they add some "magic" to the firmware, there is a debate about whether this has any noticable effect. It must be said that among their followers, Mallincams are a bit like Apple in generating devotion!
Anyway, here's an example of a newer model. You will find they have uncooled cameras and cooled ones available - and within your price range.

P.S. you'd probably want to add a focal reducer to your Edge before a video camera.

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