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Bobby1970

M27 with Samsung SCB2000

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Carrying on with my ebay £5 camera I managed to grab this 15 minute live stack using the AZGTi and 72mm Altair scope. Processed in Startools.

I feel that my Altair GP Cam is nowhere near as sensitive as this tbh.

So, if I were to buy a modern camera, to use for EEVA with my 72mm scope, what should I buy? Are there any options around £300 to £500 ?

1328122948_M27SamsungSCB2000JPG.jpg.c8e4200f31ef16e62f3c71315241019c.jpg

Thanks for looking

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That’s a tough question, although I’m surprised nobody has expressed an opinion!

I see your scope is F6, but unsure of the chip size of your existing camera.  For EEVA, I like to use a Starlight Xpress Lodestar X2, and Ultrastar.  These are certainly sensitive, and a FOV calculator will help to assess your opinion. 

Whilst expensive new, it should be possible to pick up a used one of these within your budget?

Tony

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I think the Samsung has a 1/3 inch sensor. 

I was wondering about the Altair Astro 183C or maybe a QHY equivalent?

A slightly larger sensor would be good in terms of positioning of objects onto it. 

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Disclaimer .... My fav cams for use as EEVA are actually Canon DSLR's combined with AstroToaster. With 7 years of experience using them, I reckon 4 frames of 15 sec at ISO1600 with your modded Canon 450D would easily get M27 (and have better detail and with nice sharp pinpoint stars) when used with AstroToaster out in the field at night next to the scope. I've done M27 with single 15 second at a dark site using Canon 650d and AstroToaster.

BTW  Your Sony Alpha may be even better with it's higher ISO's ... but the Sony's dont lend themselves as easily to in-the-field EEVA processing and stacking. Sony's need both a remote to control the camera exposure and ISO and intervalometer and also need a wifi SanDisk card to send images wirelessly to a laptop folder where you can tell AstroToaster to auto find and stretch them etc. But it is doable using a Sony ... just a bit of faffing around. 

However, you're chasing REALLY sensitive cam! OK ......... lets get onto that!

The ZWO ASI224 has been regarded for several years as being very sensitive and so has been one of the most highly regarded cams for EEVA. The ASI183 also is sensitive and well regarded for very short EEVA. Both have small sensors and so will magnify heaps on any scope they are put onto. TIP: A 5mm sensor will produce a FOV like a 5mm Eyepiece on any particular scope. A 23mm sensor will produce a FOV like a 23mm EP. And so on. However, a small sensor is better for EEVA (IMHO) as they will work with most reducers (even heavy reduction) without vignetting, and this has a HUGE benefit ... it reduces the F ratio for the camera. This lower F ratio allows much faster exposures compared to using them unreduced. And for AltAz you need very short exposures!

It's a testiment to especially the ASI224 but also to the ASI120 and ASI183 cameras that I've owned, that when I've sold them for one reason or another, I've ended up repurchasing another one to replace them down the track! LOL. I keep rebuying (especially) the 224, as I find more and more uses. Such as .... I am using my Star Adventurer and camera lens for REALLY widefield with them. They also (due to the sensitivity) make EXCELLENT e-finderscopes! If you load ASCOM and platesolving then you actually dont need a finderscope at all ... find target in stellarium, click to slew to it, then tell Sharpcap to platesolve using the main OTA cam and to slew from there to your target object and if it wasn't centered (or even in the FOV) then it will make the correction based on the platesolve and slew to it correctly. But ... when starting out you dont need to load all this stuff! I'm just giving you reasons why despite me favouring DSLR's for very good EEVA, I still buy very sensitive ASI cams for all the reasons in this paragraph. BTW most times I dont bother with platesolving anyway ... I run an ASI224 with a 55mm Canon lens as an e-finder and centre using it ... as it will show colour and faint stuff very quickly. Once centered I setup the DSLR in the main OTA confident it is then centered. This method allows me to use the very sensitive 224 e-finder to do my Skywatcher mounts star alignment and PA. Or (back when I had one, my Nexstar mounts alignments). 

Anyhow .... here's a link to a video down below showing a bloke using the ASI224 live ... does couple of globs first then moves to M57, and M27 ... you'll see the stars slew past as he slews to the objects and even when framing the object with the movement buttons you'll see it is live. His M27 is 4 second exposure! OK at 4 second for one exposure it is missing details .... but key to using that sensitivity is the software he is using (SharpCap) allows stacking. He doesnt show it, but when you can see a half decent single exposure image (like his 4 second M27) then how you stack is you click the Stacking button visible in that video on the top menu bar of that software and sit back watching the image get better and better. All while out there in the field next to the scope. Or as many do, with wifi and long cables sit inside in the warmth controlling the scope and cam outside. Or, down-under where I'm from, sitting inside in AC and away from the insects.

Link to video is ... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O6n2z6rj_98

And this next one he is operating at F2 using hyperstar reducer so just 1 sec frames .... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iTgVT_WGThM

Edited by Howie_Oz
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1 hour ago, Howie_Oz said:

Disclaimer .... My fav cams for use as EEVA are actually Canon DSLR's combined with AstroToaster. With 7 years of experience using them, I reckon 4 frames of 15 sec at ISO1600 with your modded Canon 450D would easily get M27 (and have better detail and with nice sharp pinpoint stars) when used with AstroToaster out in the field at night next to the scope. I've done M27 with single 15 second at a dark site using Canon 650d and AstroToaster.

+1 for you comments - i do the same - but dont tell the Indilib crew as they think we are just viewers "playing" (ok a bit hard maybe) at Astronomy and dont seem to understand EAA/EVAA at all IMO 😞 EAA to them seems to be limited to visitor exhibitions use!

Plus a comment was made about why use Astrotaoster at all as "DSS live view is better" ! - would be interested in EAA / DSLR users views on DSS Live View vs Astrotoaster. 

Each to his/his own methods/views but "others" please dont put other methods down (not aimed @Howie_OZ) its all Astronomy 🙂

Han's of ASTAP fame has created a "live view" version/ add on that might be interesting! Runs on Win and Linux I believe ! 

@Howie_Oz - tomorrow hope its a great game! 🙂 

 

On next camera I go with Howie's comments too but add how about "playing" and learning more with your existing kit!

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I love my lodestar x2c + SLL for eeva. This is my M27 with a 6" F/5 newtonian.

Image_2019.7.20_23_36_13.png.b8f4e4ca4c71a073093685130ef95477.png

You can get it second hand well within your budget or you could strech it a bit and get an Atik Infinity.

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Thanks for the info guys. 

I am definitely going to try my Canon for EEVA, I also want to try platesolving to improve my goto accuracy prior to capturing an image. 

I am surprised that my GP Cam can't perform better than the old Samsung tbh. The Samsung just seems much faster at gathering the images but the GP Cam crawls along. And seems to require much higher settings in terms of gain and exposure time. I wonder if something like the ASI224 would be huge improvement over the GP Cam??

 

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The Loadstar was always regarded as a great camera and with Paul's Loadstar live software made it even better,, with Paul not being around for a while the software hasn't been upgraded,, not to say that it can't be still used,, but by looks of things it won't be getting an update anytime soon .

Since zwo came in the seen they have taken a large chunk of the astronomy camera market,, 

I have the asi178mc and with researching camera specs I found it had the starvis sensor fitted,, I to be honest found I had more control using my canon 600d , byeos and astrotoaster,, for simplicity a lot of the time I don't use astrotoaster..

I prefer the near live view, that the planetary setting has on byeos.

Would I buy another dedicated astronomy camera,, I have to admit ,, no ,, I would like to upgrade to a full frame camera instead. Think it has more to offer,, in my honest opinion

 

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The Samsung scb2000 has been a favourite analogue camera of mine for years and with some mods can be a cracking camera,,

I modded mine a fair bit and done a lot of testing to get best results and took it to extremes .

Removing the factory fitted it filter is a must to get the right spectrum of light on the sensor,,

First mod I done was to fit a 40mm X 40mm fan to the outer casing ,, it ships be fitted to suck the hot air out the camera,, I done lots of temp testing and this worked best.

I figured another 40mm fan behind the sensor board internally blowing out again and two 18mm fans in the side's,, this brings the camera internal temp to ambient..

Tried cold finger approach and was a lot of hassle and want worth the bother,, the data from sharpcap was enough to convince me fan mod was good enough,, fans off sharpcap showed a lot of dropped frames over a 15 min capture,, fans on and no dropped frames,,

I hooked mine up to a CCTV DVR and recorded to it's hard drive,, I split the signal from DVR to monitor and fed it to a usb dongle in laptop,, also added UTC controller,, great system.. probably still give a lot of camera's a run for there money

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10 hours ago, Bobby1970 said:

Thanks for the info guys. 

I am definitely going to try my Canon for EEVA, I also want to try platesolving to improve my goto accuracy prior to capturing an image. 

I am surprised that my GP Cam can't perform better than the old Samsung tbh. The Samsung just seems much faster at gathering the images but the GP Cam crawls along. And seems to require much higher settings in terms of gain and exposure time. I wonder if something like the ASI224 would be huge improvement over the GP Cam??

 

Have fun ... you already own the Canon so give it a shot. If you hate it, or struggle with it, then like I said ... the ASI224 has been for a long time the go-to starter cam for the high sensitivity needed for very short exposure Alt Az EEVA. Many forums could propose other cameras ... up to you to wade through all the suggestions and advice re those options. There are some new cams which people love. I'm biased because of personal experience and maybe how I adjust the SharpCap software .... I try other club members cams, and friends with other cams, and for me ... I keep coming back to the 224 or 183 (or even 185 but its very close to the 224 FOV and with more read noise than the 224).

BTW you've experience the learning curve with StarTools ... so you know finding info on a workflow which makes sense to you, and which when you try it with your images .... takes a bit of effort! When you try out your DSLR with, or without AT (thats AstroToaster), you are going to have that same steep learning curve with AT software. It will take effort and in the end the use may not suit the way you think. Ditto buying a true EEVA modern cam like the 224 using SC (thats SharpCap)! Learning how to use it takes time, and may or may not suit the way you think. Some hate AT and love SC saying it is soooooo easy. The way my brain works I found AT very simple to use and struggled with SC! LOL!

Bottom line .... dont underestimate the software and its learning curve and length of time before you get a good result.

Re 224 sensitivity vs GP Cam sensitivity vs SCB sensitivity? ... Are you near to any places where there's an astro club? Ask members if anyone has a 224 to attend a club meeting so you can try it out? Ditto is anyone has a 0.5x 1-1/4" reducer. Actually, you should probably get a reducer to speed up the exposure time as even with your GP Cam and also the SCB, you'd get big benefit from that ;)  You may find that a reducer is all you need! The 1-1/4" 0.5x GSO brand reducer (and all brands who sell a rebadged GSO 0.5) will let you get the same image brightness in a quarter (to at worse half) the exposure time required at your full F ratio of your ED72. Very short (but still bright) images are good to find and frame stuff, as well as plain fun to watch ala those video links. But think about it ... let's say without a reducer on your ED72 that your Camera shots on a particular target are 15 seconds before you start to see field rotation blurry stars appearing in each frame. So with a 0.5x reducer on you'd get the same image brightness with just 4 second frames .... but it doesnt mean you have to shoot at 4 seconds! As you can clearly go to 15 seconds before you get field rotation. So with the 0.5x mounted, turn down the gain and increase the exposure back up to 15 seconds .... you will get more details at 15 seconds and at less gain and hence much less noise - so your stacking will yield better results. 

Cheers and hope it goes well for you.

Edited by Howie_Oz
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Thanks again for the helpful insight and amazing amount of info. I will certainly be trying the Canon. Hopefully with platesolving too. But I might also try the 0.5 reducer I have on the Samsung and GP Cam. 

Many thanks for the shed load of info. 

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Had another crack at this last night, but using my Canon as mentioned.

This was the result of 15min of 15s exposures livestacked in sharpcap and processed in Startools.

 

Any better than the Samsung?

 

1777151294_M27CanonEOS450jpg.jpg.f5f6bd7c0aeb9809a7b6b273fcedd5ab.jpg

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