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Proposed Atik APX60


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I just can't stop drooling looking at that camera. Then the thought of a 50mm filter wheel full of filters to go with it, well I can dream ūüôā¬†.

I hope you get your hands on one soon Olly ūüôā¬†

And the travel restrictions end soon so we can all come and have a go ūüôā¬†

Steve

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17 hours ago, gorann said:

Actually Olly, your statement here indicate that you had issues with your cameras from ATIK, otherwise you would not need the care of the company. As I said I never had any issues with the working of my ASIs. Maybe it could be that there is less problems with CMOS than the old CCDs?

I've had very few indeed and you have to bear in mind that, in our heyday (pre-Covid and my advancing years!) the hours racked up by our cameras were prodigious. The care to which I refer also includes basic help on the IT side because, when I began, I was an IT retard. Now I'm just a dimwit. The boss of the company, Steve Chambers, spent time on the phone with me sorting me out. I'm the kind of person who regards a debt of gratitude as just that. I will stress again that my desire, if possible, to stay with Atik is a personal thing and I repeat that I've nothing against other manufacturers. There are astro companies with whom I wouldn't deal but that would be for face to face conversation or, maybe, PM.

Oly

 

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48 minutes ago, ollypenrice said:

I've had very few indeed and you have to bear in mind that, in our heyday (pre-Covid and my advancing years!) the hours racked up by our cameras were prodigious. The care to which I refer also includes basic help on the IT side because, when I began, I was an IT retard. Now I'm just a dimwit. The boss of the company, Steve Chambers, spent time on the phone with me sorting me out. I'm the kind of person who regards a debt of gratitude as just that. I will stress again that my desire, if possible, to stay with Atik is a personal thing and I repeat that I've nothing against other manufacturers. There are astro companies with whom I wouldn't deal but that would be for face to face conversation or, maybe, PM.

Oly

 

Given the amount of time you are likely to image you may want to check what grade of sensor you get in the Atik.  I've seen QHY have provided two versions before but also note Moravian now offer this sensor (plus the 2600MM equivalent) and note this on their website (C3 Series CMOS Cameras (gxccd.com)):-

Quote

 

Both IMX571 (used in C3-26000) and IMX455 (used in C3-61000) sensors are supplied in two variants:

  • Consumer grade sensors. The sensor manufacturer (Sony Semiconductor Solutions Corporation) limits their usage to consumer still cameras only with operation time max. 300 hours per year.

  • Industrial grade sensors, intended for devices operating 24/7.

All sensor characteristics (resolution, dynamic range, ‚Ķ) are equal, sensors differ only in target applications and usage time. C3 is technically digital still camera, only specialized for astronomy. If it is also ‚Äúconsumer‚ÄĚ camera strongly depends on users. Cameras used for causal imaging (when weather permits) only rarely exceeds 300¬†hours of observing time per year. Cameras permanently installed on observatories, utilizing every clear night and possibly located on mountain sites with lots of clear nights exceed the 300¬†hours/year within a couple of months. This is why C3 cameras are offered in two variants:

  • C3-26000¬†and¬†C3-61000¬†with consumer grade sensors, intended for max. 300¬†hours a year operation.

  • C3-26000¬†PRO¬†and¬†C3-61000¬†PRO¬†with industrial grade sensors.

 

Assuming there is nothing untoward in the advertising here - any long term imaging at a remote observatory may well be worth considering the industrial grade as I assume that any operation above 300 hours may void the warranty if it goes bad (in effect more than 30 nights assuming 10 hours per night but excluding darks and flats).  That Sony have to limit it in this way does make me slightly wary on the longevity where people get lots of clear nights (hardly ever likely in the UK mind!)

Edited by Whirlwind
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21 minutes ago, Whirlwind said:

 

Given the amount of time you are likely to image you may want to check what grade of sensor you get in the Atik.  I've seen QHY have provided two versions before but also note Moravian now offer this sensor (plus the 2600MM equivalent) and note this on their website (C3 Series CMOS Cameras (gxccd.com)):-

Assuming there is nothing untoward in the advertising here - any long term imaging at a remote observatory may well be worth considering the industrial grade as I assume that any operation above 300 hours may void the warranty if it goes bad (in effect more than 30 nights assuming 10 hours per night but excluding darks and flats).  That Sony have to limit it in this way does make me slightly wary on the longevity where people get lots of clear nights (hardly ever likely in the UK mind!)

I think grades of sensors are a thing from the CCD era when you had grade 1 and 2 sensors. I have not heard of it regarding the new CMOS cameras and I assume that Sony do not send out bad sensors. I have one ASI6200MM, two ASI2600MC and one QHY268M, and there is nothing like bad pixels or columns in these. The darks are just completely dark so I do not even use them.

Edited by gorann
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17 minutes ago, Whirlwind said:

 

Given the amount of time you are likely to image you may want to check what grade of sensor you get in the Atik.  I've seen QHY have provided two versions before but also note Moravian now offer this sensor (plus the 2600MM equivalent) and note this on their website (C3 Series CMOS Cameras (gxccd.com)):-

Assuming there is nothing untoward in the advertising here - any long term imaging at a remote observatory may well be worth considering the industrial grade as I assume that any operation above 300 hours may void the warranty if it goes bad (in effect more than 30 nights assuming 10 hours per night but excluding darks and flats).  That Sony have to limit it in this way does make me slightly wary on the longevity where people get lots of clear nights (hardly ever likely in the UK mind!)

I think it has little importance. Darks correct most chip defects and chips collect gamma ray hits and other defects as they age. My Atik 11 meg chip was exceptionally clean when new and still is, though it now has a couple of half-column defects. The effect on the final image of the accumulated defects is, however, precisely zero to my eye. I've also used another example of the camera quite extensively, a much older one, and that does have defects which no longer calibrate out.

For our purposes in astrophotography I don't think there is any advantage to a Grade 1 chip. It won't remain Grade 1 for long. The problem that is much more difficult to fix is the multiple column defect but I can tell you that an Atik 11 meg (not mine) with four adjacent dead columns has picked up very major accolades in international astrophotography competitions, including two second places to Adam Block. It can't be that big a problem!

Olly

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61 Mpixel, 122 MB per raw image. With 5 hours of data per night and 5 minute subs (12 / hour), you better prepare for this, Olly:

ollysplace_intel.jpg.798fa7172877892364639639a0548768.jpg

  • Haha 3
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19 hours ago, gorann said:

Actually Olly, your statement here indicate that you had issues with your cameras from ATIK, otherwise you would not need the care of the company. As I said I never had any issues with the working of my ASIs. Maybe it could be that there is less problems with CMOS than the old CCDs?

Sorry, another thing came back to me on this matter just now. One day I had a 'Device not recognized' message when I tried to run my Atik cameras. Nightmare: I had guests. We ran through all the usual 'Device Manager' stuff but to no avail. I got onto Atik and they had their IT guy back to me in no time. He asked lots of questions and said he'd get back to me, which he did, very quickly. 'You haven't by any chance changed your PC to run two screens?' Bingo. I had. He told me how to find and delete one small file and I was back in business. Now this was in no way a fault of Atik products and yet they sorted it out for me in the shortest possible time. I like Atik.

Olly

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1 hour ago, gorann said:

I think grades of sensors are a thing from the CCD era when you had grade 1 and 2 sensors. I have not heard of it regarding the new CMOS cameras and I assume that Sony do not send out bad sensors. I have one ASI6200MM, two ASI2600MC and one QHY268M, and there is nothing like bad pixels or columns in these. The darks are just completely dark so I do not even use them.

I don't think the issue is between grade 1 and grade 2 in the way CCD sensors operated (which I'd be quite happy to say isn't a problem for astroimaging).  There is generally little consumer information about the differences but I do note this on Astrographs site:-

"Similar to area scan sensors, images produced by consumer grade sensors, provide a fast, high-resolution capture of the entire field of view.  The main difference between them and industrial grade ones is that consumer sensors have a shorter life span, a shorter mean time before failure (MTBF) and, as a result, may cost much less than an equivalent industrial grade sensor.

If you have a product that needs to be guaranteed for a long time, have a consistent image between each vision product, or if you need it to last for several years versus just one year you will want to consider an industrial area sensor instead. If you are purchasing hundreds of thousands of sensors per year and you have satisfied the other requirements, then consumer sensors may be the right choice for your application"

(QHY600M - Why? (astrograph.net))

This principle would align with Sony placing an hours per use limit on consumer grade sensors (basically if it fails and you've exceeded this usage then there is no warranty on the chip etc).  For the majority where you get few decent nights per year in the UK this limitation is unlikely to occur (barring some spectacular weather) before any natural/extended warranty expires.  However at a remote site where you are imaging night after night it is definitely a consideration as you wouldn't want a chip of this cost to completely fail in a (relatively) short period of time (which Sony to an extent are artificially extending by limiting the usage per year) when the old CCD is rolling along nicely (despite some cosmetic defects).  

 

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38 minutes ago, mihaighita said:

Good thing I have this @home 60 meters from the telescopes :D. I knew the server will be useful one day...

9B550FFE-597A-405D-9AC1-FF0214DAA3A1_1_105_c.jpeg.1b8ac19b4c126ce3c1af11c7f0e8d500.jpeg

Try attaching THAT to your mount. Otoh, according to Moore's law, that processing power will be the size of a Raspberry Pi in a few years.

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1 hour ago, ollypenrice said:

Sorry, another thing came back to me on this matter just now. One day I had a 'Device not recognized' message when I tried to run my Atik cameras. Nightmare: I had guests. We ran through all the usual 'Device Manager' stuff but to no avail. I got onto Atik and they had their IT guy back to me in no time. He asked lots of questions and said he'd get back to me, which he did, very quickly. 'You haven't by any chance changed your PC to run two screens?' Bingo. I had. He told me how to find and delete one small file and I was back in business. Now this was in no way a fault of Atik products and yet they sorted it out for me in the shortest possible time. I like Atik.

Olly

With customer service like that, I would be willing to pay a few punds/euro/dollars more. But the price difference between Atik and the leading chinese brands isn't that much to start with.

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Maybe this is swearing in the church, but my worry would be that Atik, like other western astro-camera manufacturers, has not really kept updating their camera line for a while and are now 1-2 years behind QHY and ZWO. So will the companly still be alive in a few years when you need them? I guess their sales is just a tiny fraction of what QHY and ZWO are selling in this rather small market.

Edited by gorann
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2 hours ago, gorann said:

Maybe this is swearing in the church, but my worry would be that Atik, like other western astro-camera manufacturers, has not really kept updating their camera line for a while and are now 1-2 years behind QHY and ZWO. So will the companly still be alive in a few years when you need them? I guess their sales is just a tiny fraction of what QHY and ZWO are selling in this rather small market.

if it was just the amateur astro market, then Atik would probably have been long gone. The truth is that these companies also work with professional astronomers. Either as consultants or to make one off cameras for a particular purpose/customer. Even QHY is involved in professional astro cameras.

https://www.qhyccd.com/index.php?m=content&c=index&a=show&catid=138&id=53

This is a camera with the same size sensor as the film frame of a vintage Hasselblad.

But you're right about Atik and other traditional CCD-companies being late in the CMOS game, and desparately trying to catch up. But what these companies do have is a solid foundation in making cameras. 

Edited by wimvb
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10 hours ago, Whirlwind said:

I don't think the issue is between grade 1 and grade 2 in the way CCD sensors operated (which I'd be quite happy to say isn't a problem for astroimaging).  There is generally little consumer information about the differences but I do note this on Astrographs site:-

"Similar to area scan sensors, images produced by consumer grade sensors, provide a fast, high-resolution capture of the entire field of view.  The main difference between them and industrial grade ones is that consumer sensors have a shorter life span, a shorter mean time before failure (MTBF) and, as a result, may cost much less than an equivalent industrial grade sensor.

If you have a product that needs to be guaranteed for a long time, have a consistent image between each vision product, or if you need it to last for several years versus just one year you will want to consider an industrial area sensor instead. If you are purchasing hundreds of thousands of sensors per year and you have satisfied the other requirements, then consumer sensors may be the right choice for your application"

(QHY600M - Why? (astrograph.net))

This principle would align with Sony placing an hours per use limit on consumer grade sensors (basically if it fails and you've exceeded this usage then there is no warranty on the chip etc).  For the majority where you get few decent nights per year in the UK this limitation is unlikely to occur (barring some spectacular weather) before any natural/extended warranty expires.  However at a remote site where you are imaging night after night it is definitely a consideration as you wouldn't want a chip of this cost to completely fail in a (relatively) short period of time (which Sony to an extent are artificially extending by limiting the usage per year) when the old CCD is rolling along nicely (despite some cosmetic defects).  

 

The implications of this are alarming. Does anyone want their camera to last just a year?  If it did, I would need five or six weeks per year fully booked just to pay for one camera.

Olly

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27 minutes ago, ollypenrice said:

The implications of this are alarming. Does anyone want their camera to last just a year?  If it did, I would need five or six weeks per year fully booked just to pay for one camera.

Olly

I wouldn't be too concerned Olly, consumer-grade sensors in DSLRs typically last many years.

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Ok guys, let's put things in perspective. The astrograph site quotes Framos, a company working in the field of machine vision, embedded vision and surveilance. Clearly these applications are for sensors that operate almost 24/7. A year of use means a continuous year of operation. Consumer cameras are used mich less, and actually spent most of their lives in a camera bag. This is basically shelf life. Before these cameras reach an accumulated year of use, they will be antiques. If sensors in consumer cameras only had a life of one year, no camera manufacturer in their right mind would offer two year warranty, or even put such a sensor in their product.

Also, there are different types of grades. Astrograph/Framos refer to grades of expected lifetimes for sensors. Astro camera manufacturers can refer to grades of sensor quality. They will then refer to the number of bad pixels on the sensor. Only very few (large) sensor leave the factory with no bad pixels. Companies will sort all sensors açording to the number of bad pixels, and offer these as different grades. I believe that at least Starlight Xpress wrote about this on their web site, a few years ago.

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It is also odd that I cannot find anything about the use of an industrial grade sensor in the QHY600M on the QHY site (or maybe I missed it). Someone on CN suggested that QHY had now started using consumer sensors as it was not worth the extra 500 USD for an industrial sensor. If QHY are indeed using "better" sensors than their main competitor then I would expect them make a big thing out of it. Does anyone know what grade of sensor ATIK will use?

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10 hours ago, Knight of Clear Skies said:

I wouldn't be too concerned Olly, consumer-grade sensors in DSLRs typically last many years.

This is true but, they tend not to be used aggressively by consumers who likely only take a relatively short number of shots a year.  In addition they are usually in high light conditions so exposures are in thousandths of seconds with less stress (no active cooling etc).  As such 300 hours of photos is a lot....  On the other hand for astro imaging at a remote site wouldn't take that long in a year to get to 300 hours.  

Now 300 hours is only what Sony guarantee.  They won't necessarily fail at this point but the company will have made a judgement as to the probability of any one failing before this point and whether it is replaced under warranty.   We also don't know the distribution of the failures.  It may well be that if you take 600 hours per year of images then 50% will fail or it might be 1600 hours per year, this will be internal knowledge only available to Sony.  However, it is worth recognising a potential risk especially when you are looking at a £4000+ camera.  I can't say I don't worry that in a couple of years we will start to see increased numbers of cameras 'failing' - but we may not be there yet as CMOS is still relatively young as a product in astroimaging.

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37 minutes ago, Whirlwind said:

 

This is true but, they tend not to be used aggressively by consumers who likely only take a relatively short number of shots a year.  In addition they are usually in high light conditions so exposures are in thousandths of seconds with less stress (no active cooling etc).  As such 300 hours of photos is a lot....  On the other hand for astro imaging at a remote site wouldn't take that long in a year to get to 300 hours.  

Now 300 hours is only what Sony guarantee.  They won't necessarily fail at this point but the company will have made a judgement as to the probability of any one failing before this point and whether it is replaced under warranty.   We also don't know the distribution of the failures.  It may well be that if you take 600 hours per year of images then 50% will fail or it might be 1600 hours per year, this will be internal knowledge only available to Sony.  However, it is worth recognising a potential risk especially when you are looking at a £4000+ camera.  I can't say I don't worry that in a couple of years we will start to see increased numbers of cameras 'failing' - but we may not be there yet as CMOS is still relatively young as a product in astroimaging.

CMOS is not that young and I have still not heard of any ASI1600 chip falling apart, and it has been with us for quite a while. I think we worry too much, or in the worst case it is the CCD owners here that do not like the new generation taking overūü§™

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1 hour ago, Whirlwind said:

 

This is true but, they tend not to be used aggressively by consumers who likely only take a relatively short number of shots a year.  In addition they are usually in high light conditions so exposures are in thousandths of seconds with less stress (no active cooling etc).  As such 300 hours of photos is a lot....  On the other hand for astro imaging at a remote site wouldn't take that long in a year to get to 300 hours.  

Now 300 hours is only what Sony guarantee.  They won't necessarily fail at this point but the company will have made a judgement as to the probability of any one failing before this point and whether it is replaced under warranty.   We also don't know the distribution of the failures.  It may well be that if you take 600 hours per year of images then 50% will fail or it might be 1600 hours per year, this will be internal knowledge only available to Sony.  However, it is worth recognising a potential risk especially when you are looking at a £4000+ camera.  I can't say I don't worry that in a couple of years we will start to see increased numbers of cameras 'failing' - but we may not be there yet as CMOS is still relatively young as a product in astroimaging.

Its worth pointing out that SONY dont grantee any of there sensors (CMOS or CCD) against the amateur astronomy use case, its quite specific that they only grantee sensors for use within their intended application, in this case a consumer camera. Its the astro camera maker that takes the risk on a sensor failing even within the standard 2 year warranty period not SONY, they wash their hands of any sensor that gets put into a dedicated astronomy camera from day 1. 

I would be highly surprised if we see lots of failures in CMOS in comparison to CCD. That boat has already sailed and we have not been seeing any issues in the last 4 years. 

Adam

Edited by Adam J
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2 hours ago, gorann said:

CMOS is not that young and I have still not heard of any ASI1600 chip falling apart, and it has been with us for quite a while. I think we worry too much, or in the worst case it is the CCD owners here that do not like the new generation taking overūü§™

I think this is a bit of a disingenuous comment - no one is stating "just stay with CCD", it hasn't even been mentioned - this is about whether to consider that for the purpose of the usage (ie. high usage at a remote site) that obtaining a version of the same CMOS sensor in its industrial form is a better option than a consumer version because the manufacturer stands by it having a longer lifespan before it fails.

Whether CCD or CMOS it is better to have all the evidence so individuals can make a judgement as to whether the risk is acceptable.  That some of the chips have a restricted usage is a valid concern where the camera may be used over a longer period and beyond the recommendations of the manufacturer.  By being aware of the risk you can both ask further questions and interrogate whether the level of risk is acceptable for the activity you are intending to use it for.  The alternative is that we don't say anything, not mention it and if the worse did happen shrug your shoulders and think "well I knew that, but I couldn't be bothered to mention it" (or worse "I'll just be shot down for saying it")?  How does that foster a positive astronomy community if the immediate reaction is to attack any person that might be highlighting a potential risk for consideration?  

Edited by Whirlwind
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