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Andy274

Difference between cameras with the same sensor

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Hi guys,  been looking to replace my ASI 533 with another camera,  was looking at the ASI 2600, then I've noticed that QHY use the same chip at the same cost, now Altair Astro have released the 26C. All the same sensor yet the Altair is significantly cheaper.

Can anyone tell me what the difference is between them & if they're the same, why is the Altair camera less expensive than the ZWO or QHY versions?

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I doubt that anyone can tell the difference since AA version is not yet available.

They are now accepting pre orders for October and November of this year. Maybe this is introductory price, or maybe it's marketing / competition thing - to get to larger piece of market. Maybe it has to do with import fees. Who knows.

We await brave souls to test these and if they perform on par with others - well then prices will go down.

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That's my point really Vlaiv, are they all the same though? Hasn't there been a side by side comparison between the zwo & qhy cameras? They're both out currently aren't they? I can't see the Altair version being any different from the other 2 brands. 

If that's the case then it shows how much mark up there is on the others without any justification & that it comes down to brand loyalty in choosing. 

I'm confused by it all

Reading the Altair spec it looks like you can run it at 100 gain - which is CCD killer territory isn't it? Lower read noise, 16bit etc?

https://www.altairastro.com/altair-hypercam-26c-aps-c-colour-camera-16bit-6451-p.asp

Edited by Andy274

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Different brands may share the same sensor, but by no means are the same camera ..

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On 23/09/2020 at 10:32, Andy274 said:

Hi guys,  been looking to replace my ASI 533 with another camera,  was looking at the ASI 2600, then I've noticed that QHY use the same chip at the same cost, now Altair Astro have released the 26C. All the same sensor yet the Altair is significantly cheaper.

Can anyone tell me what the difference is between them & if they're the same, why is the Altair camera less expensive than the ZWO or QHY versions?

Wow that did not last long it's nearly been out 9months. 

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On 26/09/2020 at 08:59, newbie alert said:

Different brands may share the same sensor, but by no means are the same camera ..

So what's the difference between the 3 then? Nobody can explain it to me to justify the extra costs for either the zwo or qhy units. Either because they can't or they want to ignore the question

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21 minutes ago, Andy274 said:

So what's the difference between the 3 then? Nobody can explain it to me to justify the extra costs for either the zwo or qhy units. Either because they can't or they want to ignore the question

In a similar situation, I have two cameras with identical sensors, but made by different companies - QHY and ATIK.  Having used both for 2-3 years I am in a position to accurately understand the differences.  I can see why the Atik is more expensive to buy, its operation and design is better, BUT both deliver the same end result in my experience.  Perhaps you can try the cheaper one yourself?

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19 hours ago, Andy274 said:

So what's the difference between the 3 then? Nobody can explain it to me to justify the extra costs for either the zwo or qhy units. Either because they can't or they want to ignore the question

Not ignoring the question,  just do your own research to come to your own conclusions.. but ask yourself why the altair is far cheaper, altair will sell far less than zwo , and zwo will outsell qhy.. surely if it's the same camera from all different suppliers then everyone would buy altair right? But they don't...

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I know of one comparison of 3 camera by C Buil of the Atik Horizon/ ASI1600 MM and Pro. It gives an idea of the differences you might expect from different cameras with the same sensor.

Just Google his and the camera names to get it.

Regards Andrew 

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I would imagine it isn't just to do with the same sensor. Do any/all have a dew heater built in? USB hub built in? USB3 support? Firm/software levels. Build quality. IR/UV filter built in. Cooling ability etc. There's more to a camera than just a sensor.

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There are also different grades of sensor.

There's the Grade 1 and Grade 2 CCD sensors, which can add a fair old hike in cost, see also This page on the Astrograph site.

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On 30/09/2020 at 06:52, newbie alert said:

Not ignoring the question,  just do your own research to come to your own conclusions.. but ask yourself why the altair is far cheaper, altair will sell far less than zwo , and zwo will outsell qhy.. surely if it's the same camera from all different suppliers then everyone would buy altair right? But they don't...

Yeah I personally believe its 90% brand loyalty & nothing to do with differences in the cameras themselves. I do know that zwo support were shocking - like properly poor. So I've gone for the Altair version. My friend is getting the qhy so we'll do a proper comparison & I'll post it on here - that's if anyone is left here from the exodus onto the new forum

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2 hours ago, Andy274 said:

Yeah I personally believe its 90% brand loyalty & nothing to do with differences in the cameras themselves. I do know that zwo support were shocking - like properly poor. So I've gone for the Altair version. My friend is getting the qhy so we'll do a proper comparison & I'll post it on here - that's if anyone is left here from the exodus onto the new forum

So you think theyre the same camera in different colours? 

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Posted (edited)

Same sensors on the equivelant models but the rest of the camera isn’t the same.. Altair cameras are made by ToupTek and ZWO make their own cameras.

ZWO is supported by just about everything but you should check if the image capture software you want to use supports the particular Altair camera before buying. 

Edited by johninderby

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One thing that may explain different prices is the stuff included. For example, dew heater, accessories, multiple sensor reading modes (for example, QHY is promoting dual gain modes and unbinned resolution on their monochrome IMX294 model - instead of 11.7 Mpixels, you get 46.8 Mpixels).

And there are possible differences like parts quality, memory used, firmware quality, third-party software and adapter support, etc. to consider.

Quite a headache, if you ask me.

N.F.

 

 

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To get the maximum out of the latest Sony sensors manufacturers have to pay for the rights to use the Sony proprietary interface, don't know if any / all do as they don't mention it.

The QHY268C has a full well depth of 75ke the ZWO2600mc has 50ke full well depth.

Dave

Edited by Davey-T

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And a higher full well depth means better bright stars for one thing doesn't it ? 

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ZWO ASI 2600 MC Pro has almost the same specs as Hypercam 26 C . While I always had problems with ZWO and QHY cameras, I never  had problems with Altair Astro.  I have QHY 367C that I can no longer use and it costs $4,399.00. ZWO cameras cooling would not go less than -10 most of the time. To make it short, it is better to spend $1,700 on a camera that has the same sensor of a camera that costs $3,000.00. How many of us would use fiber optics with our cameras to justify the extra cost with QHY 268 C Pro. They always used 128 mb DDR and suddenly they are using 2 gig to justify the extra mark up. QHY drivers don’t  work always with all the software.  Honestly, I am afraid to spend anymore  money on QHY or ZWO. Both are excellent when you work but there is no telling for how long. In addition, good luck with getting your warranty service back from China in less than a few months. Just some thoughts to consider. Best of luck in your purchase. The sensor is excellent though and it matches many telescopes with its 3.76 pixel size and sensitivity as I read from reviews and examples from images taken by it.

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On 07/11/2020 at 07:17, Samuel Khodari said:

Honestly, I am afraid to spend anymore  money on QHY or ZWO. Both are excellent when you work but there is no telling for how long. In addition, good luck with getting your warranty service back from China in less than a few months. 

Welcome to SGL @Samuel Khodari

I am guessing you are posting from outside the UK.

In the UK most ZWO cameras are purchased at FLO. We have a workshop with two full-time staff and on the rare occasion a camera requires returning to ZWO, if it is a current model and in good condition, we simply replace it. (Warranty claims are rare so we can afford to be generous). 

We chose ZWO because their cameras are part of a mature, well designed, modular system and are supplied with all the adapters you are likely to need to achieve correct spacing. Their drivers, firmware, memory buffer and USB-3 are very stable so new cameras can be added with little or no drama. Also the ZWO ASIair, which is also regularly updated, has some nice features and is compatible with everything in the ZWO family. 

We cannot speak for QHY or ToupTek (aka Altair Astro, Orion, etc) cameras because we don't sell them. 

HTH, 

Steve 

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On 07/11/2020 at 08:17, Samuel Khodari said:

ZWO ASI 2600 MC Pro has almost the same specs as Hypercam 26 C . While I always had problems with ZWO and QHY cameras, I never  had problems with Altair Astro.  I have QHY 367C that I can no longer use and it costs $4,399.00. ZWO cameras cooling would not go less than -10 most of the time. To make it short, it is better to spend $1,700 on a camera that has the same sensor of a camera that costs $3,000.00. How many of us would use fiber optics with our cameras to justify the extra cost with QHY 268 C Pro. They always used 128 mb DDR and suddenly they are using 2 gig to justify the extra mark up. QHY drivers don’t  work always with all the software.  Honestly, I am afraid to spend anymore  money on QHY or ZWO. Both are excellent when you work but there is no telling for how long. In addition, good luck with getting your warranty service back from China in less than a few months. Just some thoughts to consider. Best of luck in your purchase. The sensor is excellent though and it matches many telescopes with its 3.76 pixel size and sensitivity as I read from reviews and examples from images taken by it.

I have been using ZWO cameras for years now (only non-cooled versions), and have had no issues with them whatsoever. I also have two filter wheels, and like the cameras work fine with all the capture software I have used. Never used QHY or Altair cameras so cannot comment on them

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Andy, you have posed a very interesting question!  I think you could do all the imagers on SGL a big favour by buying the Altair camera, get a few images in the bag and give us a report!  I have had a look at the specs given on the link you posted which all look pretty standard.  I see it states that there is zero amp glow.  If you are using USB 2 you might want to check about an in built data buffer which you will need if you want to avoid amp glow.  You might also want to check that your capture software will work with the drivers, I presume there will be a ascom driver available.  I presume altair make a compatible OAG, worth checking if you plan to guide this way.  This sort of camera should be great with DSLR lenses e.g. 135/200mm.  Does Altair provide the required adaptors and other peripherals to support this?

I have had a couple of poor quality CCD cameras in the past - unreliable cooling, icing up of the sensor / cover slip, unreliable drivers.   For the past 11 years I have been using a QSI camera, silly expensive, still going strong with never a glitch.  I have also been very impressed with my ZWO ASI 1600 pro which works flawlessly.  In fact I have now bought a ZWO MM294 to use in my observatory and my QSI has been put into semi retirement.

If this Altair can match the ZWO it will be very good news for cash strapped imagers.  I suspect there are a lot of people hanging onto their cash whilst the early adaptors test it out!

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21 hours ago, MartinB said:

Andy, you have posed a very interesting question!  I think you could do all the imagers on SGL a big favour by buying the Altair camera, get a few images in the bag and give us a report!  I have had a look at the specs given on the link you posted which all look pretty standard.  I see it states that there is zero amp glow.  If you are using USB 2 you might want to check about an in built data buffer which you will need if you want to avoid amp glow.  You might also want to check that your capture software will work with the drivers, I presume there will be a ascom driver available.  I presume altair make a compatible OAG, worth checking if you plan to guide this way.  This sort of camera should be great with DSLR lenses e.g. 135/200mm.  Does Altair provide the required adaptors and other peripherals to support this?

I have had a couple of poor quality CCD cameras in the past - unreliable cooling, icing up of the sensor / cover slip, unreliable drivers.   For the past 11 years I have been using a QSI camera, silly expensive, still going strong with never a glitch.  I have also been very impressed with my ZWO ASI 1600 pro which works flawlessly.  In fact I have now bought a ZWO MM294 to use in my observatory and my QSI has been put into semi retirement.

If this Altair can match the ZWO it will be very good news for cash strapped imagers.  I suspect there are a lot of people hanging onto their cash whilst the early adaptors test it out!

I have bought one Martin so will definitely be posting my images.  I have only had 1 ZWO camera - a 533 bought from FLO.  I had a cooling issue with it & when i emailed to discuss it - Ian King was dealing with it & the stock response from FLO was for me to call ZWO support - which was the most futile and mind numbing experience i can remember for a long time - their only interest was if it was powered properly.  Over a number of weeks this became intolerable until after more correspondence with FLO it went in for testing.  Not a great experience overall. 
I doubt i'll ever buy another ZWO camera again if im honest after my experience.

Ive no allegiance to any brand or company, i want to buy whats best for me.  Ultimately theyre painted components that are stickered up.  So if the 26C stacks up, then win win all round & Ive saved £500 over the equivalent ZWO camera & i'll let the partisan branding debates keep going on & i'll continue to purchase based on experience 

 

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1 hour ago, Andy274 said:

I had a cooling issue with it & when i emailed to discuss it - Ian King was dealing with it & the stock response from FLO was for me to call ZWO support - which was the most futile and mind numbing experience i can remember for a long time - their only interest was if it was powered properly.  Over a number of weeks this became intolerable until after more correspondence with FLO it went in for testing.  Not a great experience overall. 

That is NOT FLO's stock response. It never has been.

Ian first thought it could be firmware related so suggested ZWO support might provide some input.

It is normal for us to ask how the camera is powered because most apparent faults are related to power supply. Your camera was then collected and tested in our workshop. We concluded it was performing to spec. 

1 hour ago, Andy274 said:

Ultimately theyre painted components that are stickered up.  

No. They are not! 🙂 

ZWO, QHY and ToupTek are not all the same. They are three entirely different and unrelated manufacturers. 

It is okay to choose the cheaper product. It is not necessary to bash other brands in an attempt to justify your choice. 

Steve 

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Bought an Altair Gpcam once. Tested it and then returned it to the dealer and bought a ZWO which had no issues and worked as advertised. The implementation was just better even though they had the same sensor.

Anyway that was my experiece for what it’s worth.

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42 minutes ago, FLO said:

That is NOT FLO's stock response. It never has been.

Ian first thought it could be firmware related so suggested ZWO support might provide some input.

It is normal for us to ask how the camera is powered because most apparent faults are related to power supply. Your camera was then collected and tested in our workshop. We concluded it was performing to spec. 

No. They are not! 🙂 

ZWO, QHY and ToupTek are not all the same. They are three entirely different and unrelated manufacturers. 

It is okay to choose the cheaper product. It is not necessary to bash other brands in an attempt to justify your choice. 

Steve 

That's my experience im afraid Steve, I did feel thoroughly fobbed off by Ian - asked 1 or 2 questions which I answered then bounced me to ZWO support. I understand that I may be an outlier with that experience.

The end of my post stated that I'll buy what's right for me & not because its any particular brand but because its what I believe will work. 

The whole point of this post was to ask for details in the difference between the 3 brands of camera so I could make an informed choice & so far nobody had been able to give me one.

Instead my post had been filled with partisan affiliation which frankly isn't helpful. 

Not the intention to rubbish any brand, but quite within my rights to share my experience on here - whether people agree or not. 

Cheers

Andy

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