FLIR Grasshopper 3

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Christopher
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FLIR Grasshopper 3

Post by Christopher » Fri Nov 17, 2017 5:13 pm

I am starting to narrow down the imaging end of my solar set up. In perusing the various resources (posts, tutorials, vendor sites, etc.) I'm finding that the Point Grey Grasshopper 3 and the ZWO ASI174MM are both very well liked by the solar imaging community. In looking at the Grasshopper (now FLIR) the model GS3-U3-23S6M-C appears to be the Solar sweet spot. It clocks in at 163fps at full resolution while the ZWO is 128fps. It also appears to be the model most closely related to the ZWO 174 sharing the Sony IMX174 CMOS sensor. Besides the fps what other features justify the higher cost of the Grasshopper 3 over the ZWO? Do Grasshopper 3 users typically use external power for the camera or USB 3 power? Besides the two models are there others I should consider?

On the data processing side of the imaging train I'm running a Lenovo Y520/i7 quad core/16GB RAM/256GB SSD/NVIDIA 4GB graphics card/USB 3. Is it up to the task?

Thanks
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Re: FLIR Grasshopper 3

Post by robert » Fri Nov 17, 2017 5:31 pm

Maybe PGR Chameleon3. 3.1Mpx but slower frame rate. USB3 and works off a laptop usb. Cheaper too I think.
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Re: FLIR Grasshopper 3

Post by bart1805 » Fri Nov 17, 2017 6:32 pm

Hi Christopher,
I use the Grasshopper you describe and am really happy with it. No external power, but USB3. Your laptop has way better specs than mine so definitely no problems there. Bought the Grasshopper second hand.
Good luck choosing, Bart.

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Re: FLIR Grasshopper 3

Post by Christopher » Sun Nov 19, 2017 3:43 pm

Thanks Robert and Bart for the insights. Still leaning towards the Grasshopper 3. I remain curious about the differences compared to the ZWO. I don’t see that the ZWO has any buffer memory which I suspect may play into the slower FPS. I’ve been watching the classifieds for a nice used one but it appears to be a rare commodity :roll: All in all, the Grasshopper sounds like a sure bet. Compared to deep sky astrophotography hitting the sweet spot gear-wise (mount, camera) is a bit easier on the wallet. Until you add the optics.... :lol:
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Re: FLIR Grasshopper 3

Post by marktownley » Sun Nov 19, 2017 3:58 pm

The FLIR cameras can be powered externally which results in lower noise than powering by USB.
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Re: FLIR Grasshopper 3

Post by bart1805 » Sun Nov 19, 2017 5:16 pm

Mark, do you think it would be a big difference if you power it externally? Thanks! Bart.

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Re: FLIR Grasshopper 3

Post by marktownley » Sun Nov 19, 2017 5:18 pm

Yes, absolutely. You can use the gain function quite judiciously without introducing noise. I'm a hifi nut in a parallel life so know the benefits quality power can bring.
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Re: FLIR Grasshopper 3

Post by bart1805 » Sun Nov 19, 2017 5:21 pm

Ok, thanks!
So now on the look out for an external power cable for the Grasshopper. Gpio to cigarette jack I suppose?

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Re: FLIR Grasshopper 3

Post by Christopher » Sun Nov 19, 2017 5:32 pm

Hi Mark,
Thanks for weighing in. I suspected there would be an external power advantage. I see some power supply options on eBay that would work quite nicely.
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Re: FLIR Grasshopper 3

Post by bart1805 » Sun Nov 19, 2017 8:03 pm

Christopher,
Flir / PGR has this one in their shop:
https://www.ptgrey.com/12v-15a-18w-wall ... ng-harness
If you have found a cheaper option please let me know.
Thanks! Bart.

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Re: FLIR Grasshopper 3

Post by marktownley » Sun Nov 19, 2017 8:48 pm

Rupert has lots of power cables http://astrograph.net/epages/www_astrog ... no_Cameras

I would power from a 12v battery, much less noise than any mains power supply.
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Re: FLIR Grasshopper 3

Post by bart1805 » Sun Nov 19, 2017 9:54 pm

Thanks Mark, I have sent a mail to Rupert.
@Christopher: hope I can tell you soon what the difference in noise level is between USB powered and externally powered. (-;

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Re: FLIR Grasshopper 3

Post by Christopher » Mon Nov 20, 2017 5:17 pm

Hi Bart,
Here's the cable only from FLIR's website as well. https://www.ptgrey.com/1-meter-circular ... -connector

Seems the pin count varies widely on the circular hirose connectors. I didn't find anything better/cheaper. Unless you want to make your own. Then you can buy a bag of the connectors and supply the wire.

I'll probably end up buying the cable only from FLIR and splice it to a cigarette lighter cable for 12 volts.
Christopher

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Re: FLIR Grasshopper 3

Post by Christopher » Tue Nov 21, 2017 6:51 pm

Is anybody using the QHY5III174M? It runs at 138fps full resolution which is nearly the rating on the Grasshopper 3 for a considerably smaller investment. It does not have a separate external power jack or the built in memory buffer. I'm thinking the buffer may be overkill for my situation given the power of my laptop.
Christopher

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Re: FLIR Grasshopper 3

Post by bart1805 » Thu Nov 23, 2017 10:08 pm

Thanks to Mark I contacted Rupert and will buy a Flirt cable connected with a male RCA connector.

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Re: FLIR Grasshopper 3

Post by pedro » Mon Nov 27, 2017 3:37 pm

Hi Christopher

You should also consider slower CCD video cameras by FLIR (PGR). I use two with great results

GRASSHOPPER 3 2.8 MP MONO (GS3-U3-28S5M-C)
http://re.apaaweb.com/grasshopper3.pdf

GRASSHOPPER 3 2.8 MP MONO (GS3-U3-28S4M-C)
http://re.apaaweb.com/grasshopper3.pdf

best regards

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Re: FLIR Grasshopper 3

Post by Christopher » Thu Nov 30, 2017 5:35 pm

Hi Pedro,
Interesting. What are the advantages to the slower versions of this platform?
Thanks,
Christopher

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Re: FLIR Grasshopper 3

Post by pedro » Thu Nov 30, 2017 7:24 pm

Hi Christopher

CCD are IMHO much better than CMOS cameras (less noise, better dynamic range). I use the PGR Grasshopper 3 most of the times for solar and lunar imaging. I also have other cameras with CMOS (ZWO and FLIR). CMOS are faster but the images have a lower dynamic range (very important in solar imaging)

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Re: FLIR Grasshopper 3

Post by Bob Yoesle » Mon Dec 04, 2017 2:11 am

Hi Pedro,

Just curious about what CMOS sensors your cameras are using, as FLIR (PGR) states the newer Sony Pregius CMOS sensors have lower noise and dynamic ranges equal or better than CCD sensors:

https://www.ptgrey.com/sony-pregius-glo ... technology

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https://youtu.be/u6NQ88ub-Hc
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Re: FLIR Grasshopper 3

Post by Christopher » Mon Dec 04, 2017 7:51 pm

Hi Pedro,
I had a similar question to Bob's. As a result of your post I began looking more closely at the dynamic range (DR) specs on some capable units and comparing them. Thanks for that! I'm also seeing the Pregius sensors improve on DR rather than degrade. And just to clarify what we all mean by DR - the limits of the luminance range that a given digital camera can capture measured in decibels. Here's a view of 3 cameras (3 CCD and 1 Pregius CMOS):
Model******************Sensor*************Dynamic Range (db)
BFLY-PGE-13S2M-CS**ICX445 (CCD)****58.33
GS3-U3-28S4M-C*****ICX687 (CCD)****58.56 (Mode 0) / 60.62 (Mode 7)
GS3-U3-28S5M-C*****ICX674 (CCD)****62.87 (Mode 0) / 62.55 (Mode 7)
GS3-U3-23S6M-C*****IMX174 (CMOS)**66.29 (Mode 0) / 72.94 (Mode 7)

I know that when CMOS was initially introduced as an option there was a bias towards the better CCDs and their suitability for solar imaging. I wonder if sensors like the Sony Pregius line are a shift in terms of the solar/lunar and planetary results one can expect from CMOS based cameras.
Thanks,
Christopher

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