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Possible alternatives for NexImage/Webcams


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There are two price categories for planetary imaging:

1. webcam range, ended by NexImage

2. dedicated cameras like DMK21

I've noticed that simple OEM camera boards like those made by Unibrain are priced very close to NexImage

* MATRIX VISION - industrial image processing | mvBlueFOX-M - USB 2.0 camera modules

* Unibrain Fire-i firewire digital OEM board camera

They use the mono or color CCD like in webcams (ICX098) and they work without compression by Firewire or USB. So at least 1,25" nosepiece needed and it should work +/- housing made by yourselfe or by some workshop. The software part would have to be tested and if it could be easily usable astronomy shops could start selling them (mass orders could get better prices). What do you think?


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Would seem to depend on which of the boards is priced the same as the neximager. The lowest spec one seems to offer similar specs to the neximager, which would appear to have the advantage of coming in a self-contained package. Of course, if the boards with the better resolution are the same price, that would be a different story. Haven't been able to find the prices for the various products on the link.

I'm probably missing something incredibly obvious (I'm relatively new to imaging).

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Unibrain prices are:

Fire-i Board Camera Color Price: $99.00 (€79)

Fire-i Board Camera B/W Price: $149.00 (€119)

Fire-i board camera color RAW Price: $99.00 (€79)

Fire-i board color camera, remote CCD Price: $129.00 (€99)

Fire-i board b/w camera, remote CCD Price: $179.00 (€129)

Fire-i board color RAW camera, remote CCD Price: $129.00 (€99)

European makers should have it a bit cheaper as there would be no taxes/duties (USA-UE)

NexImage Planetary Imager - £134

Edited by riklaunim
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Thats why tests would be required to chec current models if they do work correctly. The Fire-i bord was used few years ago (cloudynights archive) and it had some problems, but current model may be different than those from the past, plus there are other manufacturers that offer OEM boards.

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As long as someone else pays to do the testing this time.:D

I should get Basler Ace for tests soon, and after testing this one I'll try to find something in the entry level price range :(

Edited by riklaunim
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Which one? I'll have the Basler with Sony ICX618 for planetary/lunary/other imaging. Other Ace cameras use Sony ICX445 and Sony ICX274 which have very small pixels and interlaced Sony ICX409 with slightly bigger.

* ICX274 is in Atik 320E and other cameras. Green-sensitive.

* ICX445 is used only in industry cams. According to Point Grey it's slightly more sensitive at blue/green than ICX285 found in many astro-cams (but I don't know if they calculated the pixel size difference).

* ICX409 is something new. Looking at the specs it's similar to ICX618 (red-ir QE max) but interlaced 1/3".

DS imaging with ACE may have one problem - 8 bit A/D, while other industry cams often use 12/14 bits for better sensors - look at this Unibrain 702 image of NGC 7662. When I'll have the ICX618 version I'll check if it's better at S/N ratio than DMK21 on nebulae.

Edited by riklaunim
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