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Which OSC Camera


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Hi everyone.

I am soon looking to upgrade my Canon 600D (I will still be using it at times on a widefield rig).

I have decided to go OSC.

I know all the arguments that mono is better and maybe one day, but for now the fact that I wont have to invest in lots of filters and wheels and the rareity of clear skies means I have decided to go for OSC. I have decided that TEC cooled is a sensible thing to include

I have the following options on my list at the moment. My budget is going to be £800-£900

Altair Hypercam 269C (£899). https://www.altairastro.com/altair-hypercam-269c-colour-camera---tec-cooled-1097-p.asp

Altair Hypercam 294C (£899). https://www.altairastro.com/altair-hypercam-294c-pro-tec-cooled-116mp-colour-cmos-camera-52-p.asp

ZWO ASI533MC Pro (£899). https://www.firstlightoptics.com/zwo-cameras/zwo-asi-533mc-pro-usb-30-cooled-colour-camera.html

Altair Hypercam 533C (£799). https://www.altairastro.com/altair-hypercam-533c-colour-camera-9239-p.asp

I understand that the Hypercam 269C and both 533's have no amp glow (and the Hypercam 294c has little amp glow).

Anyone used any of these cameras and have any comment?

Cheers in advance.

Wayne

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If you aren't bothered by the square format and size of the IMX533, it's a very fine sensor.

The IMX294 is a less modern sensor (has some amp glow), and it's  a little larger.

The ideal would be the IMX571, but besides RisingCam (via Aliexpress) the cost is quite high...

N.F.

 

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4 minutes ago, nfotis said:

You may want to check the possibilities with various targets (select "Imagine mode", your scope and the sensors, then check the various targets you have in your mind):

https://astronomy.tools/calculators/field_of_view/

N.F.

 

Hi N.F.

Thanks for your comments/advice.

I have checked the FOV with my gear in stellarium and happy with what all these cameras offer. I don't have an issue with the square sensor on the 533 chip (it offers a novel alternative to the APS-C on my Canon).

The RisingCam looks like an interesting option but not sure I want to deal with Ali Express in case there are any problems and it has to go back. I think I am leaning towards one of the 533's at the moment, I have seen some good things about the ASI533MC Pro, or with the Hypercam version I could put the £100 saved towards an L-eXtreme.

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By the way, as far as I know, the Altair models are exactly the same as the Touptek/RisingCam/Omegon cooled (or not) cameras.

Note that RisingCam offers also a one-stage cooled version of some cameras (not the TEC two-stage cooler, which is substantially cheaper)

N.F.

 

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11 hours ago, nfotis said:

By the way, as far as I know, the Altair models are exactly the same as the Touptek/RisingCam/Omegon cooled (or not) cameras.

Note that RisingCam offers also a one-stage cooled version of some cameras (not the TEC two-stage cooler, which is substantially cheaper)

N.F.

 

Yeah, Altair Astro offer the same. I have decided that it probably makes sense to spend a few 100 quid more and get access to fixed point cooling, I'd probably just want it anyway in a couple of months so would probably end up selling on a fan only cooled camera.

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40 minutes ago, Allinthehead said:

If you can stretch the budget this would be a great purchase. 

Open to offers too.

I saw that in the classifieds.

Bit steep for me at the moment, if I was going to spend that I would probably find a mono option and get filters and a wheel.

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12 hours ago, nfotis said:

By the way, as far as I know, the Altair models are exactly the same as the Touptek/RisingCam/Omegon cooled (or not) cameras.

Note that RisingCam offers also a one-stage cooled version of some cameras (not the TEC two-stage cooler, which is substantially cheaper)

N.F.

 

Anyone got any experience with the Toupek/RisingCam/Omegon camaras?

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At least in CN there are users of their IMX571 camera:

https://www.cloudynights.com/topic/739387-risingcam-imx571-camera/

https://www.cloudynights.com/topic/747251-risingcam-touptekaltair-imx571-sharpcap-sensor-analysis/

I am tempted by this, because the price difference with the ZWO/QHY offerings is quite large. Maybe during the Chinese Black Friday...

 

N.F.

 

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On 05/06/2021 at 17:31, wsteel33 said:

Hi everyone.

I am soon looking to upgrade my Canon 600D (I will still be using it at times on a widefield rig).

I have decided to go OSC.

I know all the arguments that mono is better and maybe one day, but for now the fact that I wont have to invest in lots of filters and wheels and the rareity of clear skies means I have decided to go for OSC. I have decided that TEC cooled is a sensible thing to include

I have the following options on my list at the moment. My budget is going to be £800-£900

Altair Hypercam 269C (£899). https://www.altairastro.com/altair-hypercam-269c-colour-camera---tec-cooled-1097-p.asp

Altair Hypercam 294C (£899). https://www.altairastro.com/altair-hypercam-294c-pro-tec-cooled-116mp-colour-cmos-camera-52-p.asp

ZWO ASI533MC Pro (£899). https://www.firstlightoptics.com/zwo-cameras/zwo-asi-533mc-pro-usb-30-cooled-colour-camera.html

Altair Hypercam 533C (£799). https://www.altairastro.com/altair-hypercam-533c-colour-camera-9239-p.asp

I understand that the Hypercam 269C and both 533's have no amp glow (and the Hypercam 294c has little amp glow).

Anyone used any of these cameras and have any comment?

Cheers in advance.

Wayne

ASI183 or 294 MC Pros?

Not amp glow free, but a set of darks should compensate for that.

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On 05/06/2021 at 17:31, wsteel33 said:

Hi everyone.

I am soon looking to upgrade my Canon 600D (I will still be using it at times on a widefield rig).

I have decided to go OSC.

I know all the arguments that mono is better and maybe one day, but for now the fact that I wont have to invest in lots of filters and wheels and the rareity of clear skies means I have decided to go for OSC. I have decided that TEC cooled is a sensible thing to include

I have the following options on my list at the moment. My budget is going to be £800-£900

Altair Hypercam 269C (£899). https://www.altairastro.com/altair-hypercam-269c-colour-camera---tec-cooled-1097-p.asp

Altair Hypercam 294C (£899). https://www.altairastro.com/altair-hypercam-294c-pro-tec-cooled-116mp-colour-cmos-camera-52-p.asp

ZWO ASI533MC Pro (£899). https://www.firstlightoptics.com/zwo-cameras/zwo-asi-533mc-pro-usb-30-cooled-colour-camera.html

Altair Hypercam 533C (£799). https://www.altairastro.com/altair-hypercam-533c-colour-camera-9239-p.asp

I understand that the Hypercam 269C and both 533's have no amp glow (and the Hypercam 294c has little amp glow).

Anyone used any of these cameras and have any comment?

Cheers in advance.

Wayne

A thought.

How many images has the 600D taken?

Consider that count vs resale value of it

Any dedicated imaging camera will take thousands of images with minimal resale deprecation. There is mechanical wear on the DSLR limiting its lifetime. 

I’d consider your budget to be around cost of replacing the 600D at new cost and start with that.

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Also looking at the orion Starshoot G21 now.

It looks like it uses the IMX269 chip.

Has anyone used this camera and does anyone know if it is supported in EKOS/INDI?

 

Cheers

Wayne

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On 11/06/2021 at 01:56, iapa said:

A thought.

How many images has the 600D taken?

Consider that count vs resale value of it

Any dedicated imaging camera will take thousands of images with minimal resale deprecation. There is mechanical wear on the DSLR limiting its lifetime. 

I’d consider your budget to be around cost of replacing the 600D at new cost and start with that.

I'm keeping the 600D and using it on a widefield rig. Its been a solid camera and still is, so its resale value is of no concern to me, the only question is my budget (£800-900) and whats the best TEC cooled OSC I can get for the money.

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On 11/06/2021 at 01:50, iapa said:

ASI183 or 294 MC Pros?

Not amp glow free, but a set of darks should compensate for that.

I want to go a bit better spec than the 183 and I believe the Hypercam 294C uses the same chip as the ASI294MC-Pro for at least £100 cheaper, although I think I could order it direct from ZWO and save that on the exchange rate.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 05/06/2021 at 21:33, nfotis said:

The ideal would be the IMX571, but besides RisingCam (via Aliexpress) the cost is quite high...

N.F.

This comment put a thought in my head that I just couldn't shake.

I was leaning towards the Altair Hypercam 269C but I did a bit of research and saw some good things about the RisingCam IMX571. Didn't really see many/any people bad mouthing this company and when this camera came on sale for just over £900 I thought... "the same sensor as the ASI2600mc Pro for less than a grand, gotta be worth a punt" and it arrived today (picture below)

I apologise to everyone in the UK in advance for the month (at least) of clouds ahead of us due to this purchase.

I will post on here how it goes when I get chance of first light but the early signs are good. It attached to EKOS without a hitch (using the Touptek drivers) the adaptors included in the box gave me 55mm of backfocus straight up (bang on for my reducer/flattener), and communication with the seller (Eddie) was good throughout the whole purchase (he responded to my questions within 24 hr everytime).

Watch this space for updates and assuming all goes well... thanks for the comment nfotis

20210701_162318.jpg

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Posted (edited)

Best of luck.

I am eyeing this camera (or their mono version) as well, but I haven't done the jump yet (I would like to do first some planetary stuff with the IMX462C and learn guiding before embarking on this).

Enjoy your new tool,

N.F.

PS. One major reason I didn't take the plunge yet is that both models have 17.5mm backfocus from the M42 to the sensor, and that makes problematic attaching both the camera and a filter wheel to the Canon EF lens adapter from Astromechanics (one possibility would be to use a screw-one 36mm filter adapter, but I would like a better way)

Edited by nfotis
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2 hours ago, nfotis said:

PS. One major reason I didn't take the plunge yet is that both models have 17.5mm backfocus from the M42 to the sensor, and that makes problematic attaching both the camera and a filter wheel to the Canon EF lens adapter from Astromechanics (one possibility would be to use a screw-one 36mm filter adapter, but I would like a better way)

Would this work for you?

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/zwo-accessories/zwo-filter-drawer-for-canon-eos-lenses.html

I know its a drawer and not a wheel but alegedly this would give perfect back focus to an EOS lens and with a T-ring will connect straight to a scope too.

I saw it used here.

Considering one myself as it looks like it makes switching cameras/scopes/lenses a breeze

Cheers

Wayne

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13 hours ago, wsteel33 said:

Would this work for you?

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/zwo-accessories/zwo-filter-drawer-for-canon-eos-lenses.html

I know its a drawer and not a wheel but alegedly this would give perfect back focus to an EOS lens and with a T-ring will connect straight to a scope too.

I saw it used here.

Considering one myself as it looks like it makes switching cameras/scopes/lenses a breeze

Cheers

Wayne

 

The Astromechanics adapter gives also accurate focusing and iris control with EF lenses.

The standard model has a screw-on adapter for 36mm filters if you use it with an OSC camera (see bottom of page 5 here: https://astromechanics.org/downloads/ascom_ef/en/manual/controller_m42.pdf ) . If the camera had a backfocus of 6.5mm like the ZWO monochrome cameras (see page 4 of the PDF), I could fit in a filter wheel.

Maybe Astromechanics could make a 9mm spacer/filter drawer, I don't know...

N.F.

 

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  • 4 weeks later...

Hi all.

Got first light on this camera, so here are my initial thoughts.

Being new to dedicated OSC I had a few teething problems (and the gremlins decided to have a play with my mount which didn't help)

It defaults to RBG in the image settings which sets the bit depth to 8 bit. Spent 2 nights shooting the western veil on this setting and being underwhelmed with the image definition when processed (that could be my still developing processing skills and I will go back and have a go at the data again). When I noticed I had a look at the image settings and changed RGB to RAW, this changed the bit depth to 16 as expected.

My main rig is an Orion 80ED on an EQ6 controlled by EKOS on a RPi and I powered the Pi and camera from the same power distributor and the Pi shut down several times, I did read this on a forum after the fact that RPi can shut down in these cases, although I have had this issue previously before I ever got this camera. Still, I gave the camera its own power supply to be sure.

The interface is fairly straightforward (in EKOS) when I took the time to take a proper look around. The fan is quiet, the cooler works as expected and I took these images at -5 degC (this is my first TEC camera and I'm loving it (especially considering how warm its been)).

I decided to switch to the Eastern Veil once I'd dealt with the above issues. The image was taken with the Orion 80ED using an Altair Astro Triband filter. I pushed it to 10 min subs (could never have done that with the DSLR, especially in summer). There are 4hr 30min in the image. Flats/Bias/Darks included. I have attached a 10 min master dark (No amp glow).

The FOV of this chip is the same as the Canon 600D so already familar with what targets fit.

Overall very happy with the experience so far, communication with seller was good and got a great camera at a great price (thanks for the original comment nfotis).

Images attached. (Tried to attach the .tif but it wouldn't so uploaded a jpeg instead)

Clear Skies

Wayne

EVeilTriBandV2.tif

 

MasterDark_Gain100_600s.thumb.jpg.c840c804e059a6cbf0bce473fd1eee3b.jpg

Eastern Veil.jpg

Edited by wsteel33
typo
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Looks good.

Please keep detailed notes of your configuration in each session, because there are many ways to go wrong.

I would expect that it'll take some nights of experimentation before you optimise the image capture well enough.

Wishing you best luck,

N.F.

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Interesting thread.

@wsteel33 does your camera have an AR coated window or the IR block window? RisingCam specifies the IR block window to have transmission up to 650 nm, which is just below the Ha line.

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16 minutes ago, wimvb said:

Interesting thread.

@wsteel33 does your camera have an AR coated window or the IR block window? RisingCam specifies the IR block window to have transmission up to 650 nm, which is just below the Ha line.

That is a bit worrying - why would they sell an astro camera with an option that blocks out Ha? The ASI2600MC has a built in IR/UV cut filter on the sensor but it clearly lets a lot of Ha through.

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Most IR blocking windows have their cut off at 700 nm, past the Ha line. The worrying bit is that Ha sensitivity of the RisingCam cameras may depend on the (lack of) quality control at the camera manufacturer. If they have variation in their coating process, some buyers end up with good Ha sensitivity, while others get lousy Ha sensitivity. It will be the toss of a coin. I would like to see the spectral transmission curve of the IR block window before commiting to that version of the camera. One could of course go for the camera with the AR coated window. But that camera can possibly get problems with IR light making its way to all pixels, which would interfere with colour balance. (Colour pixels have a similar response to long IR wavelengths.)

Here's a typical example of the spectral response of an OSC camera.

QE-ASI224.thumb.jpg.5881031add04328f678f4a80b4627b67.jpg

This may not always be a problem, but personally I would prefer an IR blocking filter blocking everything above 700-750 nm, unless doing IR photography.

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44 minutes ago, gorann said:

why would they sell an astro camera with an option that blocks out Ha?

These cameras are also used for microscopy, where Ha response is not an issue. Maybe RisingCam first developed cameras for microscopy, but has now found a market in astrophotography. Their technology simply hasn't caught up with different demands in each sector. Maybe.

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