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Do I step up from a DSLR ?


dtrewren
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Hello guys,

I am currently imaging with a 450D ( self mod). I have been considering upgrading to a cooled camera. The camera i'm considering is the QHY9-C. This choice is based on review and budget.

I am wondering how much difference such a camera will make with respect to the 450D. The camera is cooled so less noise and the ability to use darks taken at a reference temperature. I was thinking that lower noise would mean me being able to take longer subs. However, I live with considerable light pollution and so am limited to 3-5minute subs at best.

I suppose i'm asking for a sanity check from those with knowledge and those that have experience of my dilemma.

New camera for £1000ish or money spent more productively elsewhere ?

Happy new year, any comments very welcome !

Cheers, Dave

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Put the money back in the bank and don't bother. If your subs are limited to 3-5mins because of light pollution, with a more sensitive camera you will not only pick up more detail in the sky, but more light pollution. Good efforts can be made to remove it from images and some have done a great job this way.....but personally, I wouldn't drop 1k on a camera unless I knew I could make use of it.

Are you not happy with the images from the DSLR? I've seen some awesome images using DSLR, both modded and unmodded. Maybe the money would be better spent somewhere else in the imaging chain?

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I would say save the money up towards a mono ccd, Ive found they perform a lot better in light pollution over colour chips and have the advantage of doing narrowband which cuts out all the pollution

From what I have read myself OSC performs well in dark skies but its limitations show in heavily poluted areas, mono is much more versatile and I think you will get better results - but it is more expensive.

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Hi Starblzer,

Yes, so far I am pleased with my DSLR results. I have simply been wondering whether a dedicted cooled camera would produce a significant improvement.

From your reply, based on my location, the answer is a clear NO to new camera. I am ok with this .....

My DSLR images : Dave's Photography

Cheers, Dave

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Do you use Pixinsight? Just out of curiosity as some have had amazing results working with images and pulling out more details. The images on that link, there's absolutely nothing wrong with those :(

Ultimately it's your choice, if you think it's going to get you 1k's worth of extra detail, then go for it. I'd bet you would be able to get just the same results with more time spent imaging and stacking or even using it to get more equipment to improve the image chain.

*Edit to add*

Alternatively, put that money away and use it to fund a couple of days away here n there somewhere with nice dark sky and maybe some portable power options :) Get that light pollution problem out the way and have a nice trip too :p

Edited by Starblazer
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Don't take my reply as the last word mate.

I'm not currently in the position to spend that sort of money so i'm always looking to make sure I spend money wisely. That said, as Shaunster and Olly said, Narrowband will sort the LP out.

Can Narrowband be done with Modded DSLR?

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Thanks Shaunster,

A mono camera was not something I had considered. The light pollution is my biggest issue so if going mono, and I presume filter wheel, will help suppress the evil Orange I will have to do more research.

There are so many options its a bit tricky to know which road to take. I read so many threads from guys that are constantly changing and upgrading. Wanted to TRY and get my choice right !

Cheers, Dave

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Hi Starblazer,

Sorry for the slow come back - small broadband issue !

No, I do not use Pixinsight. I have been using ImagesPlus and Photoshop.

I think on balance based on everyone's comments I will hang fire with the credit card and do alot more research especially in the area of Mono cameras.

I think I can do narrow band with the DSLR with the use of suitable filters but I think a dedicated mono camera is going to have much better sensitivity.

Cheers,

Dave

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Hi Billy,

Thanks for checking out the images and the feedback. I was quite pleased with M33 as it was my first shot with the Altair Astro 8" f/4 scope - first time in the land of Newtonians.

I second that regarding the weather - don't think I have seen anything but thick cloud in weeks now, not funny anymore !

Cheers,

Dave

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Two things I did a couple of years ago, that I am glad I did, and no regrets, were

- going from a DSLR to a QHY8

- going from PS to PixInsight

I am in an extremely light polluted part of NL and getting results like this...

http://stargazerslounge.com/imaging-deep-sky/123478-making-my-skies-dark-pixinsight-whirlpool.html

Ironically my CCD sensor is the same as I had in my old Nikon D70s (not all DSLRs are CMOS), but with the cooling and proper 16-bit depth per pixel, I am able to extract more detail out of my images; my DSLR I think only had 12-bit depth, so if your skies are swamped by LP then with the DSLR I had chunky/blocky image with less detail when you remove the light pollution gradients.

As for the argument for a mono CCD over one-shot colour, I have owned both (SHV-H9 and a QHY8). Any mono-CCD should give you better sensitivity and better for narrowband but unfortunately witht the larger format mono CCDs you are stuck with the Kodak sensors which are a bit less sensitve and a bit more noisy than the loved Sony Super-HAD CCDs. Couple that with the fact that my QHY8 OSC has nice large pixels, even using narrowband and throwing away 3/4 of the collecting area does not throw away 3/4 of the sensitivity. Might lose 20% efficiency of say HA transmission through the red parts of the bayer matrix, same for OIII throught the green, but then again the larger pixel size makes up for that. Needless to say I have kept the QHY8 and continue to use it with an IDAS filter with the powerful DBE tool in PixInsight.

Still not convinced: Try here...

http://stargazerslounge.com/imaging-tips-tricks-techniques/93728-examples-extreme-processing-extreme-light-pollution.html

If a 8300-based CCD came up for sale for under a grand, then I might be tempted, but I will miss the Sony Super HAD CCDs.

Edited by PortableAstronomer
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I think a lot will depend on what you want to do with the final image. If you want to be able to print the image to say 16x12 or larger then I would stay with the dSLR, which is why I've stay with dSLR cameras. However if you want to be able to dig out the last bit of detail then a CCD is the way to go. The output from the more expensive, higher resolution CCDs would fine for web or magazine media but you would be limited on the maximum print size to around 10 x 8 using a good dpi of 300.

Edited by Photosbykev
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I too would recommend the mono plus narrow band option. This will cut through light pollution like it isn't there and enable you to work under moonlit skies (within reason). We have precious few clear nights, I just want to be able to go out and shoot, not worry about the moon, the light pollution, seeing etc. This is why I shoot narrow band with wide lenses.

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I too would recommend the mono w/ filters, but be prepared to shell out a lot more money, but there has been a lot of remarkable work done with a dslr, check my website out in my sig, most of it was unguided. Just shelling out on a ccd just to think you'll produce better images, is just half the story.

Nadeem

Edited by Deneb
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Another vote for mono CCD from me.

I went from Canon 350D to QHY9 mono.

Initially, I saved up for a QHY8 colour but I figured I would want a mono in the long run so i waited a bit longer.

There is a fairly steep learning curve going to mono from dslr but I don't regret it. Light pollution problem is almost non-existent when doing narrowband imaging.

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Thanks for the link. It looks like it'll cost about £200 euros, is it definately worth the money or can the same results be achieved using Photoshop etc?

Cheers

Neil

Probably and getting better value as its being developed and more and more features added - especially so if you havent already bought plugins for Photoshop...

and

Pass....

Billy...

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