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How much money SHOULD I spend on an astrocam?


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I have been on the fence about diving into a proper astrocam for months now. I am at the limits of what is possible with my Nikon D3200. The prospect of the ASI 1600mm PRO and Atik Horizon's ability to do video and long exposure (i.e. multi-purpose planet and DSO imagers??) and their relatively good price point for the resolution and sensor size, is attractive, but I hear about micro-lensing and amp glow from these CMOS sensors, and possibly reports of unusual colour balance compared to the CCDs, and I start to wonder if I can justify spending £1500 on a camera which still has many flaws.

My biggest struggle is that my telescope (130-PDS) has an image circle big enough for an APS-C sensor, even these CMOS cameras are a big shrink compared to my nikon and cameras cheaper than these seem to become nano sized! Besides making all my images much narrower it seems a waste of good light to not have either a larger sensor (£££) or to use a reducer (if available?) So between the more expensive CMOS sensors which are out of my budget, and the micro-sized sensors which are at a good price point but abysmally small in resolution and FOV, are these imperfect but flexible machines: The 1600mm and Horizon.

Am I missing a product which would be more sensible here? I feel like if I buy a camera it should be a good one because they are all big money, but I also don't want to overspend since ideally I am saving money (we all know what astro gear does to savings...)

Thanks for any input!

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1 hour ago, pipnina said:

I have been on the fence about diving into a proper astrocam for months now. I am at the limits of what is possible with my Nikon D3200. The prospect of the ASI 1600mm PRO and Atik Horizon's ability to do video and long exposure (i.e. multi-purpose planet and DSO imagers??) and their relatively good price point for the resolution and sensor size, is attractive, but I hear about micro-lensing and amp glow from these CMOS sensors, and possibly reports of unusual colour balance compared to the CCDs, and I start to wonder if I can justify spending £1500 on a camera which still has many flaws.

My biggest struggle is that my telescope (130-PDS) has an image circle big enough for an APS-C sensor, even these CMOS cameras are a big shrink compared to my nikon and cameras cheaper than these seem to become nano sized! Besides making all my images much narrower it seems a waste of good light to not have either a larger sensor (£££) or to use a reducer (if available?) So between the more expensive CMOS sensors which are out of my budget, and the micro-sized sensors which are at a good price point but abysmally small in resolution and FOV, are these imperfect but flexible machines: The 1600mm and Horizon.

Am I missing a product which would be more sensible here? I feel like if I buy a camera it should be a good one because they are all big money, but I also don't want to overspend since ideally I am saving money (we all know what astro gear does to savings...)

Thanks for any input!

Honestly the 130PDS does not have a APS-C imaging circle once you go mono, much is hidden by the bayer matrix in terms of corner star quality. To be honest with you I only got good corners on my ASI1600 by spending a large amount of time tweeking the scope.

Adam

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19 hours ago, Adam J said:

Honestly the 130PDS does not have a APS-C imaging circle once you go mono, much is hidden by the bayer matrix in terms of corner star quality. To be honest with you I only got good corners on my ASI1600 by spending a large amount of time tweeking the scope.

Adam

Hmm. I did notice a little bit of softening at the furthest edges of my Nikon, but I presumed my coma corrector was not quite perfectly positioned.

How have you gotten on with your ASI1600? I would be interested in imaging places like the flame nebula so I am very concerned by the reports of microlensing effects, have you noticed them prolifically in the images you've taken?

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48 minutes ago, pipnina said:

Hmm. I did notice a little bit of softening at the furthest edges of my Nikon, but I presumed my coma corrector was not quite perfectly positioned.

How have you gotten on with your ASI1600? I would be interested in imaging places like the flame nebula so I am very concerned by the reports of microlensing effects, have you noticed them prolifically in the images you've taken?

Prolific no, but you will get them on some targets for sure. Horse and Flame being one. SADR being another, the jellyfish, Gamma Cas, some of the brighter stars around M42, M45 for sure. You get the idea. If you really cant stand the effect then the ASI1600mm pro is not a camera for you.

Adam

Edited by Adam J
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