ZWO - ASI174MM 'VS' Pt Grey Blackfly GigE (IMX249)

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ZWO - ASI174MM 'VS' Pt Grey Blackfly GigE (IMX249)

Post by marktownley » Wed Apr 22, 2015 6:17 am

The pennies are being saved and so a purchase is fairly imminent, however I am looking for a larger chipped camera to compliment my (now rather aged) DMK31. Both these cameras fit my budget of ~£500 - this is how much I want to spend so please no grasshopper 3 suggestions as this not in budget! A few other things in context, at the moment my laptop is a coal powered special without USB3, until it dies there wont be a USB3 version on the scene, and when a new one does appear the chances are it will only be a mid range version as will be a lappy that work provide, so SSD hard drives are unlikely.

Both cameras have exactly the same pixel size 5.86um, and both pretty much identical size chip 1920x1200.

Link to ZWO here http://www.zwoptical.com/Eng/Cameras/ASI174/index.asp

Blackfly here http://astrograph.net/epages/www_astrog ... RBFG-23S6M

An interesting paper on the chips here https://www.ptgrey.com/support/downloads/10501

I'm no camera expert by any stretch of the imagination, but I do value others thoughts on the merits of each camera.

What you all think?

Mark
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Re: ZWO - ASI174MM 'VS' Pt Grey Blackfly GigE (IMX249)

Post by Valery » Wed Apr 22, 2015 5:39 pm

No questions at all! ZWO IMX174 is the right choice.

In a poor to medium seeing the faster and the more sensitive - the better!

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Re: ZWO - ASI174MM 'VS' Pt Grey Blackfly GigE (IMX249)

Post by grimble_cornet » Wed Apr 22, 2015 5:53 pm

Can't really help Mark as I have no experience with either camera.
However, based on my experience with the Grasshopper which has a lower frame rate but the same sensor size........
USB3 is vital unless you are willing to put up with a serious reduction in frame rate.
My laptop has a fairly good spec but I am saving to a standard hard disc rather than an SSD (it has a 100GB SSD but most of that is taken up by Windows and other programmes).
With the Grasshopper running at 1280x960 (my usual preferred size) I can capture 300 frames to an ser file at about 30fps before the hard drive starts to fall behind. At 1920x1440 (max res) 200 frames is more realistic!
By using asi files (I use these for white light and CaK where the increased dynamic range of the 16 bit ser files are less important) I can get 500 frames or more before the save rate starts to fall seriously behind capture speed).
You might think that 300 frames is rather low if, like I used to do, you capture 1000 or so with the DMK but the noise levels are much lower and most of my images use the best 15-20 frames from 300.
The ASI has a much higher potential frame rate than the Grasshopper so it would be helpful to know how much it is limited by 'ordinary' computing power?
I use FireCapture and the Ram Buffer function makes the above capture rates possible - current version can only allocate up to 1GB of memory I believe although Torsten has talked about making it use more in the future?
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Re: ZWO - ASI174MM 'VS' Pt Grey Blackfly GigE (IMX249)

Post by GuillermoBarrancos » Wed Apr 22, 2015 5:57 pm

Valery wrote:No questions at all! ZWO IMX174 is the right choice.

In a poor to medium seeing the faster and the more sensitive - the better!

Valery
But that is only when you run it on USB 3.0, wich he can't.
At USB 2.0 speed there is virtually no difference in framerates between the two cameras.

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Re: ZWO - ASI174MM 'VS' Pt Grey Blackfly GigE (IMX249)

Post by marktownley » Wed Apr 22, 2015 8:21 pm

Which makes me wonder if I will actually get a better frame rate with the GiGE camera?
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Re: ZWO - ASI174MM 'VS' Pt Grey Blackfly GigE (IMX249)

Post by GuillermoBarrancos » Wed Apr 22, 2015 9:15 pm

marktownley wrote:Which makes me wonder if I will actually get a better frame rate with the GiGE camera?
I just checked and it seems the GiGE camera has a max of 41 fps at full resolution compared to 18 fps with the ZWO in USB 2.0 mode.

But! What are the ethernet network requirement of the GiGE camera to achieve the 41 fps. My guess will be Gigabit ethernet.
If you have an old laptop that does not have a Gigabit ethernet connection and still has 100 Mbit, then max transfer rate is 10 MB/s, which is a lot slower than USB 2.0 and will limit framerates significantly.

If this is the case, then the choice is simple. ZWO ASI174.

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Re: ZWO - ASI174MM 'VS' Pt Grey Blackfly GigE (IMX249)

Post by marktownley » Wed Apr 22, 2015 9:29 pm

Very good point!
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Re: ZWO - ASI174MM 'VS' Pt Grey Blackfly GigE (IMX249)

Post by Bob Yoesle » Thu Apr 23, 2015 1:19 am

Hi Mark,

I have no experience with ZWO cameras. They look to be very good. I have experience with PGR, and they too are very good.

One issue that might also be of interest is service and longevity. I recently fried my PGR Chameleon when a strong gust of wind momentarily dislodged my old Baader ND3.8 photo filter while imaging in WL. I called PGR and inquired as to a repair, and was told the most any PRG repair would cost -- for any camera -- is a flat $50 USD. I could not believe that -- and it was reiterated any repair, including a complete out-of-warranty replacement -- at the most would be $50, and includes return shipping.

Today I received my return confirmation, tracking number, and invoice, which included the following:
Chameleon Repair Invoice.jpg
Chameleon Repair Invoice.jpg (44.13 KiB) Viewed 2491 times
So as you can see it's true, I'm getting essentially a new camera for $50, which is quite incredible.

Just something to consider...
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Re: ZWO - ASI174MM 'VS' Pt Grey Blackfly GigE (IMX249)

Post by swisswalter » Thu Apr 23, 2015 4:21 am

Hi Mark

difficult decission, I would go with the faster since the camera will survive the older laptop. BTW, I have only good experience with the basler gige cameras
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Re: ZWO - ASI174MM 'VS' Pt Grey Blackfly GigE (IMX249)

Post by marktownley » Thu Apr 23, 2015 5:36 am

Thanks guys for the input, interesting about the $50 warranty Bob, that's useful info...
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Re: ZWO - ASI174MM 'VS' Pt Grey Blackfly GigE (IMX249)

Post by marktownley » Tue May 26, 2015 10:37 am

Well I ended up getting the Point Grey Blackfly GigE (IMX249), weather so far has been rubbish since getting it, and only managed a few images, but so far impressed with it. Setting up the GigE camera is not as straight forward as the USB options, but with a bit of IT confidence it shouldn't cause people problems. On my ASUS laptop it's delivering the frame rate promised and also no issues with buffering saving the files to disk.

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Re: ZWO - ASI174MM 'VS' Pt Grey Blackfly GigE (IMX249)

Post by grimble_cornet » Tue May 26, 2015 1:52 pm

Looking good - plenty of detail in there.
It would be interesting (for me anyway) to see DMK31 v Blackfly side by side captures. I know of at least two people who are trying to decide which camera to get for solar in the sub £500 range without having to have a super-fast laptop as well. The DMKs are still well regarded but could be seen as rather expensive for 'older technology'?
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Re: ZWO - ASI174MM 'VS' Pt Grey Blackfly GigE (IMX249)

Post by Ewan » Tue May 26, 2015 5:29 pm

Very nice Mark, filament city.

I have often wondered about the speed of captures V's so called 'seeing'.
When you watch the image live on the laptop screen yes you can see it pop into focus now & then but actually how many of those frames are 'spot on' as it were.

I guess you end up with a wider selection of frames for the stacking software to choose from but there must be a limit, I assume that if you used to say do 30 second captures with the old camera you will stick to the same times even though the frames grabbed will be considerably bigger.

What I am trying to say is that maybe the ccd's will grab so quickly that hardly any change in seeing or detail would be noticeable in what is captured.
I think sensitivity is more important than speed but that's just me, I am no expert but the Point Grey has done a grand job with the above image Mark.

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Re: ZWO - ASI174MM 'VS' Pt Grey Blackfly GigE (IMX249)

Post by swisswalter » Wed May 27, 2015 4:04 am

Hi Mark

congratulations. Fine details in CaK mode with filaments and proms
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: ZWO - ASI174MM 'VS' Pt Grey Blackfly GigE (IMX249)

Post by GreatAttractor » Tue Jun 16, 2015 9:22 am

I've just checked, PGR Blackfly IMX249 on USB 3 is finally available; same max FPS (41.5) and price as the GigE version – €379 w/out VAT.
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