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Walking on the Moon

Camera thoughts, mono or colour?


heller792

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21 hours ago, Adam J said:

Get a mono, no question in my mind about that. I am going to be controversial and say that I tend to enjoy OSC images less than equivalent Mono images even with the latest CMOS OSC offerings and duel band filters. Now that's not to say I don't enjoy osc images at all or find value in them, but if I made a list of my top 10 favourite images on astrobin all would be shot with a mono sensor. 

A OSC camera is a fantastic tool in many scenarios and makes sense on some scopes like a RASA. I would consider owning one as a second camera. But for me mono is still the king of DSO imaging by a none trivial margin. 

I have to say I agree 100%. I have both and the older mono gives much better results than a newer OSC in my bortle 6 skies. I would also argue about OSC being easier to process. I find the strange colour gradients really tricky to calibrate out.

 

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I guess this debate never gets old. I've gone OSC to mono to OSC, which is probably an unusual path.

I'd agree that mono is the choice if you want to produce the very best images. But astrobin is full of OSC photos that are far better than my mono images. So there's obviously more to it.

The reason I've gone back to OSC now is that I want to make everything as easy as I can.

So I can use my 2 hours of OSC data that I collected before the clouds roll in, but I can't do much with the 1 hour of L and the 1 hour of R that I collected. Not having a filter wheel is one less thing to go wrong, so if I leave my kit out overnight, there's a better chance it completes what I asked for. Your narrowband filters may actually be parfocal, but mine didn't appear to be, so I can avoid hoping that the automated refocusing works when I'm not there.  It means a lot fewer flats, and easier workflows in DSS. Perhaps I'm the only one who finds their equipment never works perfectly?

My take is that the duo narrowband filters for OSC are a decent approximation of narrowband for some targets. But the best OSC duo narrowband images you see either have tonnes of data, or are processed with skill that is beyond mine. It's far easier to make pretty images with mono. For anything rich in S2 you have no great options (apart from the D1/D2 askar colour magic filters, but yet to see much from them).

So if I shot narrowband exclusively, I'd go mono. Right now the cost I pay for the simplicity of OSC + dual band filters is in image quality. But for broadband targets I'm not concerned I'm missing out. For example, I'm convinced that a modern CMOS OSC with high QE is well ahead of an older mono CCD with LRGB filters.

Edited by rnobleeddy
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I prefer OSC, mainly because of cost and simplicity. I'm just into day 19 of 100% cloud cover and I think I've had 4 clear evenings in two months, so the cost of a mono set up is hard to justify. I can get reasonable images with a duoband filter on suitable targets.

If I had more imaging time and a permanent set up in my bortle 7 location I'd probably reconsider that though. 

The 533MM with a 1.25" filter set would be the next step

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As you will already have determined this is a debate that is essentially about personal preference.  

I personally started astrophotography using a DSLR, then bought a 1600MM pro and later a 533MC pro for a second more portable rig.  Ultimately, I much prefer the results of the mono camera but have produced a few really nice images using the OSC.  I'm not sure that I agree that processing OSC is more simple than the mono but the processing for both is very different.  However, you do have to do more planning for data acquisition for mono where you are capturing each channel separately.  Having used the OSC on the second rig for a while I am currently contemplating swapping it for a second mono camera because I prefer the results that I get. 

That being said I find that the success of either is hugely dependent on the scope that you couple the camera with.  If you are using a Redcat then I am sure you can achieve good images whichever route that you decide to take. 

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9 hours ago, rnobleeddy said:

For anything rich in S2 you have no great options (apart from the D1/D2 askar colour magic filters, but yet to see much from them).

If you're curious, I posted an Askar D1 / D2 image here, and an Optolong L-Ultimate / Asakr D2 image here.

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2 hours ago, Lee_P said:

If you're curious, I posted an Askar D1 / D2 image here, and an Optolong L-Ultimate / Asakr D2 image here.

Thanks - curiously, after I wrote that, I found your site, which was very helpful. I didn't realise you were here too ;)

I'll check out the comparisons.

The images you produce are stunning - do you do anyting special to bring out the blue/O signal from your dual band filter data? 

EDIT - I guess the 24h of exposure is the key thing making O stand out! I was happy with collecting about 10h each on 2 targets this week - so must try harder!

Edited by rnobleeddy
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5 hours ago, rnobleeddy said:

The images you produce are stunning - do you do anyting special to bring out the blue/O signal from your dual band filter data? 

EDIT - I guess the 24h of exposure is the key thing making O stand out! I was happy with collecting about 10h each on 2 targets this week - so must try harder!

Long integration times definitely help, especially from my city centre location. I also use colour masks during processing to isolate and boost the blue. I'll write up some processing notes sometime, once I've refined the process.

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Just on the point that's been made that mono produces better quality images, I performed a quick experiment just for fun. I looked through the 2021 and 2022 SGL Competition winners, and noted which cameras were used (with DSLRs counting as OSC). I then split the data into a few different categories.

185811558_SGLwinners.JPG.7d7e26f67c3b7821fd4e01d76fb155a5.JPG

Just to stress that I know this isn't scientifically rigorous in any way and it can't be used to draw any firm conclusions, but I think it's interesting. On the flipside, I haven't done the same experiment with Astronomy Photographer of the Year images, but I think mono really dominates there.

To reiterate my opinion on OSC or mono, I think that total integration time and processing skills are far more important than what camera type you're using. In any case, I enjoyed seeing all the images in rapid succession. We've got some really cracking imagers here on SGL -- OSC and mono!

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