Imaging set up

Use this section to discuss "standard" Baader/Coronado/ Lunt SolarView/ Daystar, etc… filters, cameras and scopes. No mods, just questions/ answers and reviews.
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jetstream
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Imaging set up

Post by jetstream » Tue Mar 03, 2015 2:49 am

I hope to try imaging in the future and would like to hear what would be a good set up to start off with would be as far as mounts, scope,filters etc go. Easy to use would be a good for me to start out with. The first light with my Quark today was very inspiring to say the least!

It does take me a while to decide on things though lol! :roll: :)
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Re: Imaging set up

Post by grimble_cornet » Tue Mar 03, 2015 9:25 pm

What scope are you using with the Quark?
What mount do you have / are you using?
Are you interested in just Ha or white light / CaK as well?
Are you interested in full discs, high resolution detail or both?
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Re: Imaging set up

Post by jetstream » Tue Mar 03, 2015 9:43 pm

Hi Mike, I'm using my 90mm f7 Stellarvue triplet and a SW120ED with the Quark on alt/az. I need a tracking mount of some sort. The 90mm carbon fiber tube would be the most stable I think but the 120mm might work well too.

I would like to do high resolution detail and full disk and I was thinking of a front mount 60mm or 90mm Coronado to compliment the Quark - thoughts? Or a 60mm Lunt, open to suggestions for sure.

I love white light viewing but I would love to image Ha. Not sure what processing programs are used either. Any help much appreciated, gerry
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Re: Imaging set up

Post by jetstream » Tue Mar 03, 2015 9:52 pm

Also which camera would give good high resolution images, ( reasonably priced if there is such a thing lol!)
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Re: Imaging set up

Post by grimble_cornet » Tue Mar 03, 2015 11:29 pm

Hi Gerry.
I'm not an expert by any definition but I will make a few suggestions based on my experience.

I have a Skywatcher Equinox 120 f7.5 scope which works VERY well with the Quark. I think the SW120ED is f8.3 so should also work well.
The 90mm f7 Stellarvue should also suit the Quark pretty well although you will probably want to use a x0.5 reducer on the camera with both scopes for imaging.
I use a cheap 0.25" one from Ascension - not sure where in the world you are (would help to know for people giving advice) but this link to a UK dealer will give you an idea : http://www.telescopehouse.com/acatalog/ ... 1.25-.html

I produce 6-pane full disc mosaics with the Quark, Equinox 80 and x0.5 reducer - not as easy as using a small scope (like my SM40) but not that hard. I'm not sure that an additional small scope just for full discs makes sense - will probably be of limited use in a year or two as the sun quietens down whereas there will still be lots to see in high res.

Re your mount, it depends on what you want to do. It is certainly easier to image if you have a permanently mounted equatorial mount (as I do) but it is perfectly possible to get good results with an alt az. I have an iOptron Mini Tower goto alt/az which I use as a grab and go or travelling mount with my Equinox 80 or SM40 solar scope and it is great for 'casual' imaging sessions. The main problem with an alt/az is that you get image rotation as the object is tracked which makes capturing/processing time-lapse sequences very difficult. I use a Skywatcher HEQ5Pro mount on a pier and controlled via EQMod which does make life pretty easy as I can be set up and imaging within 5 minutes :P

Loads of people on here will give you advice on cameras and all have their favourites :lol: :roll: :lol:
I think that there are 3 main manufacturers (and several minor ones - depends on where you are).
1. Imaging Source DMK: good planetary/lunar cameras also widely used for solar work. Some love them, some like them, very few hate them :lol:
DMK21 is 640x480 pixels - ideal for planets but a bit limiting for the sun in my opinion but some use it to good effect.
DMK41 is 1280x960 - I find this a very good size and used it for solar imaging for several years.
DMK31 is roughly half way between the above - Mark Townley gets great results from his with his Quark and ED80.
DMK51 is bigger but has a slower frame rate (always a trade off - see below).

2.ZWO cameras have been around for a couple of years and have a pretty good reputation. I had the original ZWOASI120MM which was excellent for planets, lunar and white light sun but drove me mad with Newton's rings when used for Ha. They have just released a new camera - ZWOASI174 - several people on here have just got one and most seem very happy. It is probably what I would get if I was looking for a new camera.

3. Point Grey cameras are very expensive but, until very recently, were probably the best available. I use the Grasshopper 3 along with several other people on here but the expense and their reputation for being demanding and fussy about computers (they are NOT designed for amateur astronomy use) put lots of people off.

Things to consider with cameras include:
Sensor size: bigger is nice but more expensive and more demanding on computer power. More pixels 'tend' to mean slower frame rate - eg DMK21 = 640x480 at 60fps, DMK41 = 1280x960 at 15fps (same amount of data per second)
Sensor type: ccd has long been better (no Newton's rings - more sensitive) than cmos or cmosis BUT this is changing - see the ZWOASI174 :o
Frame rate: more frames in a shorter time is useful if (like me) your seeing is usually poor but is much less important if you have good seeing most days.
Computer interface: USB3 is faster than USB2 and some/most people prefer it to firewire or gige connections which need extra gear and can be tricky.

Processing software once again comes in 3 main packages - good news is that they are all free :P
I use AutoStakkert for most of my processing (followed by tweaking in Photoshop) but also use Registax and AviStack from time to time. Different people will tell you that their choice is best but.................. they all work well and its mainly just which appeals to your work-flow.

OK, I think that's enough to get you thinking and researching :roll:

Just bear in mind that these are just my views - others will agree/disagree/laugh at etc.

Good luck and look forward to hearing how you get on.
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Re: Imaging set up

Post by jetstream » Wed Mar 04, 2015 2:40 am

Thanks Mike, great info and yes I will be researching for a while now... :)
Gerry
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Re: Imaging set up

Post by swisswalter » Wed Mar 04, 2015 5:52 am

Hi Gerry

Mike wrote a good sum up. I just underline: for serious HIRES work you do need a decent tracking mount and a good focuser
Only stardust in the wind, some fine and some less fine scopes, filters and adapters as well. Switzerland 47 N, 9 E, in the heart of EUROPE :)

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Re: Imaging set up

Post by jetstream » Wed Mar 04, 2015 7:51 am

Thanks Walter, what mount do you use? The SV has a 2.5" rack focuser, good but not the best. I would love to do his res proms.
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Re: Imaging set up

Post by GuillermoBarrancos » Wed Mar 04, 2015 8:55 am

Don´t rule out the QHY5L-II cameras. They are very good too! Same sensor as ZWO ASI120, lower price and come in nice 1,25" barel design (which means lot lighter and compact).

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Re: Imaging set up

Post by swisswalter » Thu Mar 05, 2015 5:16 am

jetstream wrote:Thanks Walter, what mount do you use? The SV has a 2.5" rack focuser, good but not the best. I would love to do his res proms.

Hi Garry

a losmandy G11, very happy with it
Only stardust in the wind, some fine and some less fine scopes, filters and adapters as well. Switzerland 47 N, 9 E, in the heart of EUROPE :)

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Re: Imaging set up

Post by marktownley » Thu Mar 05, 2015 7:00 am

GuillermoBarrancos wrote:Don´t rule out the QHY5L-II cameras. They are very good too! Same sensor as ZWO ASI120, lower price and come in nice 1,25" barel design (which means lot lighter and compact).
But rather prone to newtons rings in ha...
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Re: Imaging set up

Post by GuillermoBarrancos » Thu Mar 05, 2015 7:26 am

marktownley wrote:
GuillermoBarrancos wrote:Don´t rule out the QHY5L-II cameras. They are very good too! Same sensor as ZWO ASI120, lower price and come in nice 1,25" barel design (which means lot lighter and compact).
But rather prone to newtons rings in ha...
But that would be the same with the ZWO ASI120 isn´t. Exact same CMOS sensor.

I guess I am going to find out. Hope I can figure it out, as I don´t exactly have the funds right now to spend 500-800 euro on another camera.
Tho, would love to buy a IMX174 camera one day. Results seem very impressive so far.

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Re: Imaging set up

Post by grimble_cornet » Thu Mar 05, 2015 12:01 pm

Don´t rule out the QHY5L-II cameras. They are very good too! Same sensor as ZWO ASI120, lower price and come in nice 1,25" barel design (which means lot lighter and compact).
Given sufficient funds, I wouldn't touch either of those cameras for Ha.
I have the ZWOASI120 and the Newton't rings are horrendous.

This is an unprocessed image from yesterday (I was using the ZWO plus SM40 to test some capture software) which shows the problem:
DSSR_20150304101543 P1 X1 101543_g3_ap770_conv.jpg
This is the same view taken a few minutes earlier with the Grasshopper:
SunHa_040315_Grasshopper3 GS3-U3-28S5M_100057_g3_ap713_conv.jpg
I have tried flats plus a tilt adaptor (with longer screws to generate a ridiculous angle) but still had Newton's rings.
This image from Dave Cortner's Blog http://www.davidcortner.com/slowblog.phpshows the tilt:
Tilt adapter.jpg
Tilt adapter.jpg (145.15 KiB) Viewed 2077 times
I borrowed a QHY5L from a friend and had the same problems :cry:
I eventually found a way of controlling the problem using Fourier analysis but it was a total pain - not a realistic option if, like me, you produce dozens of images in a session.

The latest ZWO camera - ZWOASI174 - seems to have reduced or possibly even removed the problem.
.

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Re: Imaging set up

Post by Luke Stacy » Thu Mar 05, 2015 1:05 pm

Oooh, setup can be a bit complex picking, I had a hard enough time just picking the cam :D Some great stuff above.

Mount, I would suggest have a think, will it be purely for solar? If yes, then you can avoid the really big beasties if your biggest frac will be the 120. I use the HEQ5 with my Equinox 120 and unusually for me have performed some kind of mod, replacing the tripod with a Vixen Hal130 tripod (can't remember if I needed an adapter or not). The original legs are fine, but Hal130 legs are a bit nicer, light yet sturdy, have a smaller footprint and its party trick is you can fold its legs together or closer while you carry it without having to unscrew anything, handy for sneaking through doors etc. If you will be setting up frequently I would suggest avoid overkill on the mount, I appreciate the lighter weight of my HEQ5 over the NEQ6. BUT if you might want to at some point get a big SCT and image the moon or planets, or do some DSO with a big scope, then you might want to compromise and get an all round mount with higher load capacity. I am happy with the HEQ5, it doubles up for lunar imaging with my 8 inch SCT and being an Equatorial mount it keeps my options open if I fancy doing a little DSO imaging.

Focuser, I have used Baader Steeltrack, Moonlite (though on a dob) and Feathertouch - all are fab, smooth and precise. In the UK, the Steeltrack tends to be a bit cheaper so that is usually what I pick unless you fancy paying extra for something swish.

Camera-wise, it's still early days but top of my list to look at if value is important would be the ZWO ASI174. A fairly big chip, I would suggest get a large-ish chip as you have a 120 scope that should rock with the Quark. You'll be in fairly close so you are not going to fit much sun on a small sensor. If money is less of an issue then quite a few folks here are using a Point Grey Grasshopper 3 CCD.

A shorter focal length scope will be handy if conditions are not the best. I tend to try with my 120 first and step down to 85mm if conditions are bad. Down to 60 again if needs be, though I don't usually need to, there is always 2x binning if things are that bad (which combines four pixels into one - smaller resolution but less demanding on the seeing - I could switch to the 60 to get more pixels but it saves me swapping over and I can always tile).

Hope the thoughts help. Can't wait to see your first pics, it's a magic moment :)

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Re: Imaging set up

Post by GuillermoBarrancos » Thu Mar 05, 2015 1:57 pm

grimble_cornet wrote: Given sufficient funds, I wouldn't touch either of those cameras for Ha.
I have the ZWOASI120 and the Newton't rings are horrendous.


The latest ZWO camera - ZWOASI174 - seems to have reduced or possibly even removed the problem.
I know, but I already have the QHY5L-IIc.

The grasshopper cameras are difficult to find and very expensive. The ZWO ASI174 isn´t cheap either, tho compared to the Imaging Source cameras and their prices, it´s a good price. But it´s still 6000 NOK for me to get it here into Norway.

So if I am getting Newton rings and cannot solve them, I will stick to visual for Ha until I can afford a new camera, as I just spend over 15.000 NOK on Astro equipment past month (incl. Quark), so spend my budget for a while.

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Re: Imaging set up

Post by grimble_cornet » Thu Mar 05, 2015 2:16 pm

I do understand - my recent astro-spending is also rather embarrassing :oops:

Most of the Newton's ring problems occur when using a Barlow lens and can certainly be reduced by using a flat frame so you will be able to do some decent imaging with your camera.
The point I was making is that when/if you do decide to go for a new camera................... be aware of the problems with these models.
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Re: Imaging set up

Post by marktownley » Thu Mar 05, 2015 5:35 pm

grimble_cornet wrote:I have tried flats plus a tilt adaptor (with longer screws to generate a ridiculous angle) but still had Newton's rings.
This image from Dave Cortner's Blog http://www.davidcortner.com/slowblog.phpshows the tilt:
Tilt adapter.jpg
You can't tilt (in my experience) with the quark effectively as is very sensitive to focus and it shifts the focus across the fov...
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Re: Imaging set up

Post by jetstream » Thu Mar 05, 2015 6:38 pm

Budget is a concern and so is early success! I'm viewing the sun with the Quark in good skies and am shocked at the detail, razor sharp with a nice line of fuzz and little spikes all around the disk. Sensitive to mag this thing- sensitive when imaging?

The HEQ5 sounds like a mount that would be good for me, not sure if I'll image DSO/planetary (yet lol!). Seeing SC's images have "lit the fire" for imaging where DSO hasn't really.

The ZWOASI174 sounds great if it proven and it sounds like its working, so I will most likely opt for this when ready, not too bad of price either. Those Newton's rings puzzle me and my natural inclination is to find out all about them- but I won't! :D I'll rely on members experience to help me avoid them before I start :bow

Great information from everyone, thank you, Gerry

I forgot, Ken told me the fuzz were spicules, I better start using the right terms :)
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