Best camera?

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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AstroED
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Best camera?

Post by AstroED » Wed May 13, 2015 6:19 pm

I finally pulled the trigger on a 80mm LUNT Ha scope single stack for now 1800 blocking filter with feather touch. at the same time I bought a 2" Lunt White Light Solar Wedge (I heard these can get VERY hot to the touch any suggestions on keeping them cooler or will that hurt them) and 2" Polarized filter to use on my 80mm Explore Scientific for White Light imaging. I do not have a lot of disposable income so am trying to decide if I want a truly Solar dedicated camera or the best I can get that would be good for Solar, Lunar, and Planetary. what specs should I look for and what suggestions do you more experienced users have for a dedicated solar camera and one that would be good for Solar, Lunar, and Planetary

Do I need any extra, Special Filters? Still CCD/CMOS imager vs a Video imager? (wondering because I seen some awesome animations and was not sure if it was done on video cam or sequenced still images)

It is my limited understanding that I should look for smallest pixels with fastest FPS but that seems to fall into CMOS instead of CCD and I read there are issues with these chips. I want to image all aspects, surface details, Sun Spots, prominence, flares and anything else I can learn.

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Re: Best camera?

Post by marktownley » Wed May 13, 2015 6:29 pm

AstroED wrote: at the same time I bought a 2" Lunt White Light Solar Wedge (I heard these can get VERY hot to the touch any suggestions on keeping them cooler or will that hurt them)
You heard wrong, this is a complete myth.
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http://brierleyhillsolar.blogspot.co.uk/
Solar images, a collection of all the most up to date live solar data on the web, imaging & processing tutorials - please take a look!

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Re: Best camera?

Post by marktownley » Wed May 13, 2015 6:30 pm

What budget are you looking at with the camera?
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http://brierleyhillsolar.blogspot.co.uk/
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Re: Best camera?

Post by AstroED » Wed May 13, 2015 7:22 pm

$500 - $1,500 or so only issue is more the cost longer to save to afford it, willing to wait to save for a more expensive one IF it is significantly better than the cheaper.

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Re: Best camera?

Post by swisswalter » Wed May 13, 2015 7:47 pm

Hi Edward

there is no best camera, it all depends of what you want do do with it. With your budget at that time, I would go with a 174m, of course you can have my basler 1300 for 2300 € (new 3200 € ;) )
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Re: Best camera?

Post by astro_n_ok » Sat May 16, 2015 1:54 pm

I'll use this opportunity to thank the group for sharing their expertise, which was instrumental in my selection of the same LS80THa/B1800/FT (SS as well, and happy with it...) I am at the same point in camera selection, and also want the camera to do triple duty (solar/lunar/planetary.) This is my conclusion, and if I'm off-base I hope the experts will correct me:

IMX174: The price/frame rate allure is offset by reports of NRs when used with Powermates, which I use. Also, the 5.86um is not as desirable for planetary (frame rate is a plus, though.) I am not a gambler and will gladly pay 4x the price for something closer to a "sure bet" although we know there are few of those in this endeavor...so I nixed CMOS early on.

...having said that, I have seen one or two reports of NRs with the PM/Grasshopper combo.

Having decided on CCD I gravitated to PG over IS/DMK because consensus is that PG is a lower-noise camera. Support also appears to be superior, and widely reported software issues "appear" to have been overcome. PG comes at a price, though.

Two choices to meet the aforementioned objectives:

ICX674 at 4.54um, ICX687 at 3.69um. I lean to the latter with smaller pixels but will pay for the former if there is a compelling reason. ICX674 will do full disc at FL=560; ICX687: proms and disc might be tight (comments?) Full-disc doesn't figure into my decision, but it is important to others.

Again, my thanks to all of you who support the mission and this outstanding forum.

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Re: Best camera?

Post by AstroED » Sat May 16, 2015 9:38 pm

Can the Newtons Rings be removed with Flats?

Also has anyone used the Mallincam SSI or SkyRaider-SLP cameras with this scope?
Last edited by AstroED on Sun May 17, 2015 7:18 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Best camera?

Post by swisswalter » Sun May 17, 2015 4:33 am

Hi Astro_n_ok

welcome to that wonderful site. Have fun in the sun. 3,69 µm pixel are better for the planets and HIRES work on the sun

NRs can be removed with flats, sometimes it works, sometimes it does not
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: Best camera?

Post by marktownley » Sun May 17, 2015 7:11 am

Best way to remove the newtons rings is by tilting IMHO
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Re: Best camera?

Post by AstroED » Sun May 17, 2015 5:12 pm

Ok, I have a windows 8.1 Dell XPS 2720 all in one with newer core i7 to replace my old first gen core i7 laptop that CLAIMS all the USB ports are 3.0 how do I test the speed? Should I just build a small form computer with lots of the fastest CPU and SSD drives I can find? How much RAM? What is the best computer setup to build dedicated to Astronomy (Solar, Lunar, a Planetary, Deep Space, all aspects) from imaging to post processing? PC or MAC?

What is the fastest SSD drive since that seems very important for FPS all I find are writes from 500 - 530 MBps internal drives not sure if I can add another drive inside yet. And the external USB 3.0 drop to the 450 MBps I also assume I want as large a capacity as I can afford for the large data files so I just been looking at the 1TB+ sizes do the speeds drop the larger the storage?

I am willing to go a little overkill for future proofing.

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Re: Best camera?

Post by thesmiths » Sat May 23, 2015 10:34 pm

I personally think the search for an all-in-one camera will lead to disappointment. Planetary imaging and solar imaging have quite different limiting factors. I would recommend having a different camera for each.

Typically for planets, you need only a very small chip and actually not that many pixels. But a high level of light efficiency and good colour balance is important. By colour balance I mean that the chip really should have good sensitivity in the blue, which tends to be the limiting factor in terms of data acquisition (all chips have good IR sensitivity but many do poorly with blue). A very high frame rate is desirable but each frame is of only of modest size so data transfer speed is actually not that demanding.

On the other hand, for solar imaging, everyone typically would like the capability of full disk imaging and to do so without a mosaic if possible. So a large chip is desirable. Since the Sun has details on all scales, that chip also should have a lot of pixels. Having a reasonably fast frame rate is good but since each frame is typically quite large, the problem is going to be data transfer speed. The chip does not have to be particularly efficient since there is plenty of light. The exception to this being for CaK; most chips do not perform well near 400nm and it is also exactly in this spectral region that seeing is worse so a fast exposure time is helpful.

Lunar imaging is actually fairly similar to solar. There is typically a lot of light, like with solar. There is image detail on all scales so a large chip with many pixels is desirable. But small features on the Moon don't really change (except near the Terminator where shadows can be moving quite fast) so high frame rate and data transfer speed are not so important. Also, the Moon is fairly monochrome and in fact the best imaging is done in IR (for which any chip will perform well). I would say that for large scale lunar imaging, using a "solar camera" is a good choice. For small scale imaging, using a "planetary camera" is probably the right choice.

These days, for planetary imaging, I would probably recommend an RGB camera (that would not have been the case a few years ago). For solar and lunar, monochrome is essential.

I won't even tell you how many cameras I've bought over the years. I've sold only a few of them and kept most of them since I find there is always a special situation where a particular model is ideal. This is especially true if one gets into more exotic areas like spectroscopy.

So for planetary I would get the ZWO ASI120MC (Colour 1/3" CMOS USB 2.0). It's incredibly good value, especially when you consider you can do without buying RGB filters and a filter wheel. For solar and lunar I would go with the ZWO ASI174MM (Monochrome 1/1.2" USB 3.0 CMOS with global shutter).

P.S.: I'd run everything on a large Samsung SSD. It even helps for USB 2.0 in my opinion.

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Re: Best camera?

Post by swisswalter » Mon May 25, 2015 9:23 am

Hi Doug

thanks for the information.


BTW, I can't answer your question, because you have disabled private messaging ;) 500$ give or take a few bucks
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: Best camera?

Post by AstroED » Thu May 28, 2015 12:56 am

thesmiths: TY good information.

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