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Northernlight

The Future of Imaging - Is everything heading OSC

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2 hours ago, SamAndrew said:

Consumer digital camera market? that died 10 years ago. It amazes me there's any R&D going into consumer camera chips that don't fit in a smart phone.

you raise a very interesting point there - case & point being that i have a pretty decent sony Nexus 5 camera but i can't remember the last time i used it as my smartphone takes far superior images & video even in the dark despite it's tiny chip in comparison to the Nexus 5. My wife also has a compact camera and i can't remember the last time that was used either. Yet every year Sony, Nikkon, cannon etc bring out new camera with new sensors - so the demand must still be sufficient enough to make it worth their while.

Will be interesting to see in 10 years time if the convention camera market is all but gone and replaced by phones or similar devices - but is yet another can of worms altogether, but interesting to muse over.  I know one thing - it would be fantastic if we started seeing some of these AI features from smartphones creeping over into Astro cameras as the difference it has made to smart phone photography has been Phenomenal

 

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12 minutes ago, Northernlight said:

Will be interesting to see in 10 years time if the convention camera market is all but gone and replaced by phones or similar devices - but is yet another can of worms altogether, but interesting to muse over.  I know one thing - it would be fantastic if we started seeing some of these AI features from smartphones creeping over into Astro cameras as the difference it has made to smart phone photography has been Phenomenal

AI in phone cameras is 99% faking stuff well enough that you don't notice. I'm not a "just what the eye would see" purist but inventing data by asking a neural net to guess what my pixels should read based on what it thinks good stars should look like (for instance) is a bridge too far for me.

The death of the camera market has already happened insofar as the "common case" went. What's left is enthusiasts and professionals. These are both huge markets, and those markets are normally after high performance sensors - see the shift to mirrorless and large format sensors in recent times. This is especially true of professional users.

Industrial use is ramping up rapidly and undoubtedly a large part of why Sony et al still do mono sensors and will continue to. Autonomous driving, smart home devices, smart city stuff, all these things have volumes in the hundreds of thousands to millions.

But the point is that actually manufacturing these things isn't that different from manufacturing smartphone sensors. These are all semiconductor processes done in fabs and that fab line can either churn out 10,000 big sensors or 100,000 small sensors. The price difference is largely down to how much area you take up on a wafer - big sensors are more wafer so you have lower throughput through the system, since all processes are wafer-level till the wafers are broken. Making mono vs OSC will be a more complex production change and I would wager that for at least part of the process there will be a dedicated mono line which will be your capacity limit. In fabs you don't tend to make manual alterations to individual operations, you have a different part of the fab for different process variants.

You'll also start to see more fabs able to work with high-end sensor processes in the next 5-10 years. At present this is pretty limited to Sony/Samsung when it comes to volume - e.g. Sony just dumped another $1bn into a new sensor fab (which should be a clue this market's not going away - note that while this is mostly geared to smartphone sensors, those wafers can be for any size of sensor): https://www.eenewsanalog.com/news/sony-plans-multiple-wafer-fabs-address-5g

As more fabs on the fringes of the market start to bring processes onboard we will undoubtedly see capacity and capability start to crop up outside of Sony/Samsung. Take a look at the mid-end semiconductor market - there's many many more players now than there used to be because the fab tech has come down in price, fab refurbs trickle down, more demand, new markets, etc. You may not find the cutting edge here but that's the sort of area where the QHYs and the ASIs of the world might well be able to get chips made with "last decade's tech" with weirder requirements accommodated.

But in the meantime I don't think Sony in particular is going to stop making large-format mono sensors and these will probably persist for many, many years.

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Great if you can afford a large sensor based camera or have 2" filter than can accommodate a large format chip. In the meantime i'm in limbo waiting for a new APS-C format Mono camera.

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9 hours ago, Northernlight said:

Great if you can afford a large sensor based camera or have 2" filter than can accommodate a large format chip. In the meantime i'm in limbo waiting for a new APS-C format Mono camera.

You forgot to add a scope that can correct for a full frame as well :) it all gets substantially more expensive to go up in image size. Personally I wouldn't wait, I'm going to get another 1600; you can assume any replacement will be more expensive initially, and the early adopters will get all the bugs.

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Are you not concerned that the ASI1600 is end of life at not being produced anymore ?

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4 minutes ago, Northernlight said:

Are you not concerned that the ASI1600 is end of life at not being produced anymore ?

Where on earth are you getting that from?

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8 hours ago, Northernlight said:

Are you not concerned that the ASI1600 is end of life at not being produced anymore ?

This is an interesting comment and does not seem to be in line with this page which list 12 colour cameras that have been discontinued and four mono cameras and the 1600 is not amongst them - at least not yet! I guess everything gets on this page eventually.

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I was told by my Astro dealer that the ASI1600 is discontinued and that no more are being made and that ZWO are literally just selling through the stock they have of these camera. This is why i ruled out the ASI1600 as an option.

Maybe i'll email ZWO directly and see if i can get an answer direct from the horses mouth so to speak.

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Posted (edited)

All but the most popular astro cameras are produced in batches. The demand simply isn't high enough for continuous runs. If a supplier cannot get any, they could well assume that the supply has stopped. But it could also be a ploy to dissuade a buyer from looking elsewhere and to buy something that they do have in stock.

The sensor used in this camera has been discontinued, But that is probably true for many astro ccds (and cmos's) and manufacturers will have stockpiled supplies for their planned future production. Are there many cases where a spare sensor is required?

Edited by pete_l
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Well i suppose as long as they can honour the 2 year warranty then it shouldn't be a problem.

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Posted (edited)

image.thumb.png.c478662c83b5765adeaaa460e3c41e1c.png

So this is another new OCS but look at the comment for ZWO today "we plan to release a mono camera later this year".

Also the ASI1600mm pro is not discontinued.

Adam

 

Edited by Adam J

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That is good news if they do release a new mono chip as all their new stuff seems to have gotten rid of the amp glow issues.

In regards to the ASI1600MM i can only go off what i'm told by my astro retailed - but i'm inclined to believe him as the Panasonic chip the ASI1600 uses is no longer made, and they are apparently selling through existing stock. So  in my book - i agree with my astro retailed and consider the ASI1600 to be EOL.

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8 hours ago, Northernlight said:

That is good news if they do release a new mono chip as all their new stuff seems to have gotten rid of the amp glow issues.

In regards to the ASI1600MM i can only go off what i'm told by my astro retailed - but i'm inclined to believe him as the Panasonic chip the ASI1600 uses is no longer made, and they are apparently selling through existing stock. So  in my book - i agree with my astro retailed and consider the ASI1600 to be EOL.

Well that just makes me glad that I already own one then.

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I have a ZWO 294MC and in a quandary over an upgrade path. I love the ease of use with OSC under UK cloud-first skies but also know that mono will get much better results, but our UK skies are so unforgiving with the time available.. My personal time is also limited and convenience much be a factor for consideration. At the minute I could go with the ZWO 2600 OSC or for roughly same price get the 1600mm with NB filters etc. I don't like these kinds of decisions 😕

BTW, thank you all who contributed to this thread, a very interesting read.

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Yes - thanks to everyone for contributing.  I've certainly learnt a lot from this post, especially around the Special Tri & quad band filters.  I'll be keeping a close eye on astrobin and the web in general to see more examples taken using the quad band filters and these newer generation OSC cameras

 

 

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On 02/06/2020 at 11:58, Northernlight said:

Great if you can afford a large sensor based camera or have 2" filter than can accommodate a large format chip. In the meantime i'm in limbo waiting for a new APS-C format Mono camera.

Mono APS-C format QHY268M camera coming soonish, maybe first part of 2021?
( Sony IMX571 sensor with native 16-bit A/D and 3.76um pixels )

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Hi Susan, I had an email from QHY and they just told me that it will release before the end of the year, but luckily after a 16week wait, atik managed to repair my QSI 683 for around 300 euro's so i'm back in business, just waiting for clear sky to test it.

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17 hours ago, Northernlight said:

Hi Susan, I had an email from QHY and they just told me that it will release before the end of the year, but luckily after a 16week wait, atik managed to repair my QSI 683 for around 300 euro's so i'm back in business, just waiting for clear sky to test it.

Good news there, and thanks for the update.
I am looking at the QHY268M as an upgrade to my Atik Horizon without having to replace my 36mm filters for my SpaceCat setup.

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To be honest, i'm really tempted by the QHY268M - as modern day CMOS sensors have a much higher QE, so would help me reduce my sub lengths. I currently have a QSI 683 with the built in 8 slot filter wheel and OAG and they really hold their resale value very well, so I could probably sell it,s at the same price to buy the QHY268M + filter wheel - so very tempted.

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On 23/08/2020 at 17:46, Northernlight said:

To be honest, i'm really tempted by the QHY268M - as modern day CMOS sensors have a much higher QE, so would help me reduce my sub lengths. I currently have a QSI 683 with the built in 8 slot filter wheel and OAG and they really hold their resale value very well, so I could probably sell it,s at the same price to buy the QHY268M + filter wheel - so very tempted.

I am waiting for that 268M camera too.  But back to the thread title and OSC.  I must say, looking at some recent examples of images taken with the QHY268C, (https://www.amateurastrophotography.com/qhy268c-test-report) it is pretty amazing of what OSC is capable of now with the current sensors.  Of course, assuming the same resolution, nothing will ultimately beat a mono sensor and filters.  It is a question of is OSC good enough?

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30 minutes ago, kirkster501 said:

I am waiting for that 268M camera too.  But back to the thread title and OSC.  I must say, looking at some recent examples of images taken with the QHY268C, (https://www.amateurastrophotography.com/qhy268c-test-report) it is pretty amazing of what OSC is capable of now with the current sensors.  Of course, assuming the same resolution, nothing will ultimately beat a mono sensor and filters.  It is a question of is OSC good enough?

My experience with Yves' data was so positive that I can say with certainty that I'd like to use a full frame QHY OSC in our Tak (530mm FL.)  https://stargazerslounge.com/topic/360110-cepheus-cygnus-megamosaic/ Near the end there's a highly relevant comment from Yves. I hope Santa is reading this but I don't suppose he is...

What is certain: the camera has picked up the faint Ha signal very well indeed. There is no added Ha here. The stars are remarkably small. Sure, I further reduced them but they began smaller than my CCD stars, and this is an almighty bonus in widefield imaging. The data is incredibly clean. I was half expecting to be told off for excessive NR in the darkest regions like the NAN dust lanes when, in fact, no NR whatever has been applied anywhere despite the very short integration per panel. I also like the 'look' the camera has delivered. There's something about the gradual way the Ha emerges from the dust which is very natural and pleasing to my eye. And, finally, 27 meg is not way OTT. I have a fast machine but the file sizes are not preposterous.

Olly

 

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Posted (edited)
35 minutes ago, ollypenrice said:

My experience with Yves' data was so positive that I can say with certainty that I'd like to use a full frame QHY OSC in our Tak (530mm FL.)  https://stargazerslounge.com/topic/360110-cepheus-cygnus-megamosaic/ Near the end there's a highly relevant comment from Yves. I hope Santa is reading this but I don't suppose he is...

What is certain: the camera has picked up the faint Ha signal very well indeed. There is no added Ha here. The stars are remarkably small. Sure, I further reduced them but they began smaller than my CCD stars, and this is an almighty bonus in widefield imaging. The data is incredibly clean. I was half expecting to be told off for excessive NR in the darkest regions like the NAN dust lanes when, in fact, no NR whatever has been applied anywhere despite the very short integration per panel. I also like the 'look' the camera has delivered. There's something about the gradual way the Ha emerges from the dust which is very natural and pleasing to my eye. And, finally, 27 meg is not way OTT. I have a fast machine but the file sizes are not preposterous.

Olly

 

Results are what count not acronyms.  Well said @ollypenrice, although OSC is not good for spectroscopy given the light is already dispersed.

However, with OSC you can do simultaneous photometry in three colours. While not classic photometry filter bands they can be transformed into them quite easily.  

Regards Andrew 

Edited by andrew s
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For now it depends upon what you wish to image I suppose, combined with your sky quality. For me personally, the only OSC Cameras I have seen which have that real next generation quality are the 2600 and the 268C, both sharing the same Sensor. 

I was underwhelmed and continue to be so by the majority of 294MC Pro images on astrobin, I think putting them next to a DSLR astrobin page you wouldn't know which was which, which imho defeats the object of a cooled OSC. 

The 268C and the 2600 however look fantastic, the data looks so clean, the zero amp glow is brilliant - many owners even forgoing darks with great effect - and that's not to mention the sensitivity of the sensors.

I think it's important to mention that everyone is on their own journey with Astrophotography though, and we're all working at our own pace and enjoying different paths - if choosing to do narrowband imaging with the most sensitivity available then Mono is obviously still the best choice. 

For me, there are many many targets I am yet to image, and many of them can be imaged very nicely with a 2600 or 268C. By the time I have finished imaging those targets the next OSC Cameras and the next revolution in sensor technology will probably be able to pick up even fainter objects. Combine these new OSC sensors with the ultrafast light gathering buckets in the RASA / Epilson's guise et al and the results can be spectacular.

For my other hobby which is Landscape Photography, I started out with an APS-C sensor and always had in mind to jump up to and spent years window shopping full frame cameras, and then a new technology came along, Mirrorless (which began to improve and improve), and now instead of going from APS-C to FF, I'll be skipping FF DSLRs altogether and buying Mirrorless instead. 

The point is technology is constantly evolving, so in 5-10 years time OSC Cameras could be absolutely mind blowing in their performance, and all the performance we may need? 

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Posted (edited)

I just got to dark sky test my new ASI-533MCP which is one of the newer No amp glow cameras and I am really happy with how clean the data is.  

This image of NGC281 is 30 x 120 seconds (1 Hour) Gain=100, -5°C with an 8" F3.8 imaging Newt from Bortle 2 skies.   Captured and processed with Astro Art 7.

This camera produces much cleaner data than the ASI-1600MC-Cool I had before.  These CMOS cameras just keep getting better.

John Love
CCD-Freak
WD5IKX

 

NGC281-DarkCal-Sigma-Str-CB-Sat-CC-3x3-02.jpg

Edited by CCD-Freak
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I have to admit that the latest crop of CMOS OSC cameras have me in a quandary. I'm seeing brilliant RGB images but I also like doing full SHO NB imaging of emission nebulae which would be a bit of a kludge, as the HII and [SII] would both only use 1/4 of the pixels, while [OIII] might use 2/3, depending on the CFA spectral response. I'm also not 100% sure about the current tri-band filters with both H-beta and [OIII] under one band.

Perhaps the answer is a dual rig. If QHY *do* release a mono version of the 286, then two "identical" 'scopes, one with the colour version, and the other with mono and filter wheel might be interesting. That would also make it possible to add NB to RGB, eg for adding HII to a galaxy image.

Dunno, waffling a bit as I'm thinking aloud.

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