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Entry level decent cooled camera


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Hi. Was looking at buying a new cooled camera for AP. Till now I was using a DSLR  Canon1200D but wanted to get rid of that huge amount of noise that shows up in long exposure high ISO settings. Being a resident of India, the climate too is getting hot and would reach 45 degrees making the sensor ever hot.

I presume there are separate cooled cameras for planetary and DSO imaging. But obviously due to budget constraints I cannot buy both. However, my main targets will be the DSOs and Galaxies for which the FOV required will be large.  Kindly suggest an entry-intermediate level cooled camera suitable for DSOs and Galaxies. I can spare about a 1000 USD.  

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I have gone through the list of cooled cameras on FLO but unable to make up my mind due to lack of experience and hence a bit reluctant to shed out so much money without being sure.

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I myself amd considering the cooled, mono version of the ASI183MC I have, found here:

https://astronomy-imaging-camera.com/product/asi183mm-pro-mono

The colour version of that one is cheaper, so if you don't have a filter wheel it might be more suitable for you. My own, non-cooled colour version has given me a lot of joy on DSOs already. Three hours on M81 + M82 from Bortle 5 skies using a 6"F/5 Schmidt-Newton gave me this:

M81M82-10800_0s2.thumb.jpg.3741d3194591ae8b2453e515652e3b06.jpg

and it works nicely on lunar and planetary with my C8 as well

Moon_233842_lapl4_ap1419_stitchLR_2RScBboost1c2.thumb.jpg.5ce6686c9a63bb9da74143f3611833c4.jpg

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1 hour ago, Pankaj said:

Hi. Was looking at buying a new cooled camera for AP. Till now I was using a DSLR  Canon1200D but wanted to get rid of that huge amount of noise that shows up in long exposure high ISO settings. Being a resident of India, the climate too is getting hot and would reach 45 degrees making the sensor ever hot.

I presume there are separate cooled cameras for planetary and DSO imaging. But obviously due to budget constraints I cannot buy both. However, my main targets will be the DSOs and Galaxies for which the FOV required will be large.  Kindly suggest an entry-intermediate level cooled camera suitable for DSOs and Galaxies. I can spare about a 1000 USD.  

You will only need a large sensor if you want to image wide feild nebulas and the two largest galaxies m31 and m33. Some smaller cooled sensor cameras like the QHY178m and QHY290m will be very good for imaging smaller indevidual galaxies. ZWO used to make cooled cameras based on those sensors but they are no longer avaliable.

You dont really need cooling for solar system imaging so uncooled cameras are usually your planetary cameras.

With a 130PDS the QHY178m is a excerlent choice for galaxy imaging and if you want to do nabulas though a ASI1600mm pro or a ASI183mm pro or I even like the looks of the new Moravian C2-12000a.

If you are looking for a one shor color OSC then I like the looks for the ASI533mc pro at the moment.

Adam

 

Edited by Adam J
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On 14/05/2020 at 21:10, michael.h.f.wilkinson said:

I myself amd considering the cooled, mono version of the ASI183MC I have, found here:

https://astronomy-imaging-camera.com/product/asi183mm-pro-mono

The colour version of that one is cheaper, so if you don't have a filter wheel it might be more suitable for you. My own, non-cooled colour version has given me a lot of joy on DSOs already. Three hours on M81 + M82 from Bortle 5 skies using a 6"F/5 Schmidt-Newton gave me this:

 

and it works nicely on lunar and planetary with my C8 as well

 

Hi. Thanks for the feedback. Using astronomy tools i did a comparison about the FOV. Attached is the screenshot. It seems the ASI 183 MM has a narrower FOV as compared to my existing DSLR. Hope I have chosen the correct 183MM ? 

astronomy_tools_fov (1).png

Edited by Pankaj
forgot to attach the photo
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6 minutes ago, Pankaj said:

Hi. Thanks for the feedback. Using astronomy tools i did a comparison about the FOV. Attached is the screenshot. It seems the ASI 183 MM has a narrower FOV as compared to my existing DSLR. Hope I have chosen the correct 183MM ? 

astronomy_tools_fov (1).png

It is narrower, and has rather smaller pixels. 

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The 183 has a 1" sensor. The 1600 is 25% more expensive, so probably out of your budget; it has a 4/3 sensor. APS-C and full-frame sensors cost bigly.

I am quite happy with my 183MM Pro. It does have pretty noticeable amp glow and those little pixels mean you have to work harder at controlling noise, but it's really quite the nice camera. I specifically wanted a finer image scale with my 336mm imaging train. Since I already had an APS-C DSLR, I also wanted to have a different choice of FOV for smaller objects.

IIRC the 183's cooler spec says it will maintain 40 below ambient. That's probably OK for you -- 0℃ is going to knock out the lion's share of thermal noise -- but be aware that at that kind of differential, you will be sucking a lot of power into the cooler, and may very well be fighting fogging issues.

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2 hours ago, rickwayne said:

The 183 has a 1" sensor. The 1600 is 25% more expensive, so probably out of your budget; it has a 4/3 sensor. APS-C and full-frame sensors cost bigly.

I am quite happy with my 183MM Pro. It does have pretty noticeable amp glow and those little pixels mean you have to work harder at controlling noise, but it's really quite the nice camera. I specifically wanted a finer image scale with my 336mm imaging train. Since I already had an APS-C DSLR, I also wanted to have a different choice of FOV for smaller objects.

IIRC the 183's cooler spec says it will maintain 40 below ambient. That's probably OK for you -- 0℃ is going to knock out the lion's share of thermal noise -- but be aware that at that kind of differential, you will be sucking a lot of power into the cooler, and may very well be fighting fogging issues.

 

Did lot of research regarding pricing and sensor size. So here's where I land in making up my mind -

1. I need a cooled camera only for DSO and Galaxy imaging. Not for Planetary imaging.

2. Three choices - ASI 294 MC PRO  ,  ASI 1600 MM PRO  ,  ASI 071 MC PRO

Of the above 294 MC PRO is a cooled color camera so wont need to invest in a filter/wheel hence I spend approx 1200 USD.

1600 MM PRO is MONO camera so I'll have to invest in filter wheel and filters which totals up to 1879 USD.

071 MC PRO  is color. So I wont need to invest in filters and can shop this for 1870 USD

SO MY POINT IS, can't I go in for the ASI 294MC PRO. Its FOV though smaller than 071 MC PRO, is still equivalent 1600 MM PRO and fits in the entire Markarian Chain which kind of would serve my purpose. Unless of course the 294MC PRO lacks something in it which would create a problem in DSO/GALAXY imaging.

 

Please help me in deciding this. 

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I recall some complaints about hard-to-calibrate color casts with early runs of the 294 but those seem to have been sorted. Imagers I really respect seem to do quite well with it. I recommend that you figure out your imaging scale and confirm that it sits well with your scope (https://astronomy.tools/calculators/ccd_suitability). Since you've already been using a big-sensor DSLR you don't have to worry too much about vignetting or field flatness, and indeed image scale will probably be fine too.

If you have dark skies, one-shot color is pretty hard to beat for operational simplicity. If you are fighting light pollution, LRGB or narrowband offer significant advantages. It's perfectly possible to start doing RGB or narrowband pretty inexpensively by installing one filter at a time into the imaging train, or by using a manual filter wheel. (As if I should talk -- I just laid out US$300 for an 8-position electronic ZWO wheel because I was tired of dinking around with a temperamental 5-position electronic wheel.) I never thought I would like black and white astro imaging but now some shots I've done from terribly light-polluted sites using just a hydrogen-alpha filter occupy pride of place in my gallery.

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I'm going to make a foray into my first cooled camera this year as well.  OSC to start with.  And currently my thinking is the ASI294MC Pro.  I did look at the 533 too but I prefer the FOV of the 294.

Good luck - looking fwd to seeing your images!

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