Sony IMX253 mono cameras

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Sony IMX253 mono cameras

Post by Bob Yoesle » Wed Dec 23, 2020 5:01 am

I'm pretty behind the times when it comes to the newer sensors and the latest laptops. Has anyone used one of these for solar? It's the CMOS Pregius IMX253 1.i inch 12 MP with 3.45 um pixels?

https://www.phase1vision.com/userfiles/ ... _flyer.pdf

Thinking of going to this sensor as an upgrade to my Chameleon ICX445 USB 2.0 CCD - slightly smaller pixels, larger sensor, faster frame rate. I'd need to get an express card to use USB 3.0 with my legacy (2011) Dell Latitude E6420:

https://www.cnet.com/products/dell-lati ... -us/specs/

I've heard some concerns in the past with the quality of CMOS vs. CCD, but supposedly things have gotten better...

Will this work at all, or will I absolutely have to upgrade to a new laptop as well if I go with that sensor?

Thanks for your advice and help.


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Re: Sony IMX253 mono cameras

Post by Valery » Wed Dec 23, 2020 8:09 am

Hi Bob,

Unfortunately, CMOS. Still far behind CCD. in terms of S/N. Since 2017 I was not able to find camera which was close to. PGR ICX445 mono CCD. 200 - 400 frames give much better S/N. Than 4000 frames Basler 1920-155. Use Basler. Due to high fps and more optimal sampling only.
Look at Christian Viladrich results in Ca K and G-band. That camera seems best for now, but may be can,t keep high gain.
As for the computer - the speedy in all aspects - the better, especially storage speed.

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Re: Sony IMX253 mono cameras

Post by robert » Wed Dec 23, 2020 8:21 am

I have wondered about all this and tried an express card to get usb3 on an old laptop. It definitely worked but the internal bus limited the fps below the maximum possible rate a little. Another limitation, as Valery says, was the storage speed. Eventually I got a second hand out of date (ebay) lenovo yoga win10 with solid state disk (SSD). Very limited storage space but small and fast. I use it attached to the camera and run autostakkert on it then copy files and use the old laptop for post processing etc.
Works very well for me. (Usb3 still runs below advertised camera fps but ok)

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Re: Sony IMX253 mono cameras

Post by marktownley » Wed Dec 23, 2020 1:56 pm

Hi Bob,

It makes for an interesting option. Large chips like this are ideal for sampling solar full disks at larger apertures which can give quite pleasing resolution than the norm. This was my rationale for going this route with my FLIR GH3 91S6M. Slow frame rate of a large chip camera with an older laptop won't be a issue, it's only when the frame rate starts getting high.

If you've an old laptop you will find any camera throughput choked back a bit, and a SSD is a must as is RAM which is easy to upgrade. Consider a portable SSD drive that you can save direct to will make it easier for the PC.

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Re: Sony IMX253 mono cameras

Post by Rusted » Thu Dec 24, 2020 12:34 pm

I use an ASUS laptop which had only a small, 250GB, internal SSD. No HDD!
So I went with Samsung T5 external SSDS on USB3 for a while.

Bigger is better. 1TB holds an awful lot more videos than my [foolish] 250GB first purchase.
Life is too short to be deleting anything and I might have captured a unique event.

Finally, I fitted two internal Samsung SSDs. Quite easy and quicker now than the external SSDs.
Unfortunately this needs a more modern laptop with the correct internal ports.
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Re: Sony IMX253 mono cameras

Post by Bob Yoesle » Thu Dec 24, 2020 3:47 pm

Thank you all for your input - and Merry Christmas! :D

I'm still finding it a difficult decision. Some of these 2 year old cameras are showing up used for very reasonable prices - $200 - $300 USD versus their new cost of $2000 to $3000 USD. I'm mostly interested in this particular sensor because the 1.1 size chip could do a full disc in one exposure versus my similar resolution Chameleon 6 pane mosaics, which can be a pain in itself. And I could also keep the Chameleon with binning for those times I need larger image scales.

So for the cost of the camera and a $50 USB express card I could have a potentially pretty good full disc camera, and with the money saved get those external SSD and perhaps even a new(er) laptop... But if the sensor sucks and produces crummy images, it would be a waste of money that could otherwise be put to a better camera.

Doesn't sound like there's much actual experience with this particular sensor. But I did find these TSE images and they don't look too shabby:

http://www.astrophoto.sk/2017/09/zatmen ... 21-8-2017/


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Re: Sony IMX253 mono cameras

Post by DeepSolar64 » Fri Dec 25, 2020 12:45 am

If you've an old laptop you will find any camera throughput choked back a bit, and a SSD is a must as is RAM which is easy to upgrade. Consider a portable SSD drive that you can save direct to will make it easier for the PC.

Mark

That's what is holding me up on my ZWO ASI 178MM camera. My old laptop just does not run it well. I will have to get a newer machine to run it. SSD, more ram and USB3.


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Re: Sony IMX253 mono cameras

Post by GreatAttractor » Fri Dec 25, 2020 4:43 pm

As for USB 3.0, I began using my current Chameleon 3/ICX445 in 2015 with a 2011 HP ProBook, for which I got the i-tec EX1USB3 adapter. It has one of the chipsets recommended by PGR (NEC/Renesas μPD720202) and worked w/out problems under Windows and Linux.


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Re: Sony IMX253 mono cameras

Post by Bob Yoesle » Sat Dec 26, 2020 4:22 pm

Thanks for the input gentlemen!

In the meantime I've decided to pull the trigger.

https://www.flir.com/products/grasshopp ... 3-123S6M-C

For $275.00 USD "as new barely used" (versus new OEM $3250.00) with a 30 day return option, it's seems a pretty good a deal, and if doesn't work out I'm not out that much for postage.

I will likely upgrade to a new laptop in the not too distant future, but until then Mark's advice that "a SSD is a must as is RAM which is easy to upgrade. Consider a portable SSD drive that you can save direct to will make it easier for the PC." Any recommendations for this SSD, and a reasonably priced GPIO cable to power the camera independently from the USB 3.0 port? Also looking for a USB 3.0 express 54 card; found this:

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/ ... b_3_0.html - hopefully it works with Windows 7 Enterprise (drivers may have to be downloaded ;-)

Again thanks to all for the thoughtful input.
Last edited by Bob Yoesle on Sat Dec 26, 2020 6:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.


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Re: Sony IMX253 mono cameras

Post by GreatAttractor » Sat Dec 26, 2020 4:44 pm

Bob Yoesle wrote:
Sat Dec 26, 2020 4:22 pm
Mark's advice that "a SSD is a must as is RAM which is easy to upgrade. Consider a portable SSD drive that you can save direct to will make it easier for the PC."
A word of caution: I've observed that connecting a USB camera together with an external USB drive (both USB 2.0) and recording directly to it causes damage and/or loss of frames if both devices are connected to the same USB controller. How many controllers there are will depend on the laptop (my old HP had 3 USB ports connected to one controller and 1 port connected to another, so recording like that worked for me), and I can imagine there might be just one. Though I guess there may be no problem at all, depending on particular hardware.


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Re: Sony IMX253 mono cameras

Post by Bob Yoesle » Sat Dec 26, 2020 8:59 pm

Thanks for that caution advisory Great Attractor :-)

Well it looks like I have a pretty well regarded and very well-built laptop - the Dell Latitude E6420 circa 2011.

I did a little internet searching and it appears it can be relatively easily upgraded with up to 8 GB of RAM, a (internal) 500 GB SSD, core i7 CPU and a better GPU, and relatively inexpensively:

https://www.userbenchmark.com/System/De ... E6420/1876

Any comments on whether those upgrades would be adequate for the camera and the USB 3.0 express 54 card?


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Re: Sony IMX253 mono cameras

Post by rsfoto » Sat Dec 26, 2020 10:13 pm

Bob Yoesle wrote:
Sat Dec 26, 2020 8:59 pm
Thanks for that caution advisory Great Attractor :-)

Well it looks like I have a pretty well regarded and very well-built laptop - the Dell Latitude E6420 circa 2011.

I did a little internet searching and it appears it can be relatively easily upgraded with up to 8 GB of RAM, a (internal) 500 GB SSD, core i7 CPU and a better GPU, and relatively inexpensively:

https://www.userbenchmark.com/System/De ... E6420/1876

Any comments on whether those upgrades would be adequate for the camera and the USB 3.0 express 54 card?
Hi Bob,

New PC's or Laptop's have become really dirty cheap and before upgrading anything I would make a cost comparison. Specially think about upgrading woth cards to USB 3.0. Never have done that but the internal old components can be problematic and what is better then ahving native USB 3.0 ports.

BTW I have made in the last years bad experiences with Kingston SSD drives. Now I am using SAMSUNG (pricey) as well as ADATA and CRUCIAL (cheaper but not worse)

IMHO


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Re: Sony IMX253 mono cameras

Post by Bob Yoesle » Sun Dec 27, 2020 9:03 pm

Thanks Rainer for the SSD recommendations.

So here's what I have for the computer mods:

Upgrade from 6 to the maximum of 8 GB of 1066/1333 Crucial RAM.

Replace 300 GB HDD with 1 TB MX500 Crucial SSD.

Install StarTech 2-port USB 3.0 ExpressCard 54.

Total expense: $175 USD.

Nix on the GPU and processor upgrades - more costly with little if any gain. In particular, there appears to be no significant difference between the Intel Dual Core i5 and Quad Core i7: the installed Dual Core i5 apparently has superior base and "turbo" frequencies (2.50/3.20 versus 2.20/3.10 GHz respectively), equal bus speeds of 5GT/s, and the Core i5 runs cooler (35 watts vs. 45 watts). There is however half the cache with the i5 processor (3 versus 6 MB respectively).

Now looking to put together an inexpensive GPIO cable to power the camera independent of the USB port.

Just wish I were more of a computer geek... The hardware is easy, but I also need to update the BIOS and ghost the hard drive, none of which ever goes smoothly for me. May have it done professionally ;-)


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Re: Sony IMX253 mono cameras

Post by rsfoto » Sun Dec 27, 2020 9:32 pm

Bob Yoesle wrote:
Sun Dec 27, 2020 9:03 pm
Thanks Rainer for the SSD recommendations.

So here's what I have for the computer mods:

Upgrade from 6 to the maximum of 8 GB of 1066/1333 Crucial RAM.

Replace 300 GB HDD with 1 TB MX500 Crucial SSD.

Install StarTech 2-port USB 3.0 ExpressCard 54.

Total expense: $175 USD.

Nix on the GPU and processor upgrades - more costly with little if any gain. In particular, there appears to be no significant difference between the Intel Dual Core i5 and Quad Core i7: the installed Dual Core i5 apparently has superior base and "turbo" frequencies (2.50/3.20 versus 2.20/3.10 GHz respectively), equal bus speeds of 5GT/s, and the Core i5 runs cooler (35 watts vs. 45 watts). There is however half the cache with the i5 processor (3 versus 6 MB respectively).

Now looking to put together an inexpensive GPIO cable to power the camera independent of the USB port.

Just wish I were more of a computer geek... The hardware is easy, but I also need to update the BIOS and ghost the hard drive, none of which ever goes smoothly for me. May have it done professionally ;-)
Hi Bob,

Sounds good.

I am running an external SSD with a Crucial M500 1TB capacity and saving in real time with no buffering from my ASI 290MM Cool at 82.1 frames per second continuos in *.ser file format 1200x1096 pixels at 16 bit mode which is more or less about 1.725 Gigabit per second ... or 1725 megabit ...

Incredible speed. I save 1000 frames in 12 seconds.


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Re: Sony IMX253 mono cameras

Post by Bob Yoesle » Sun Jan 17, 2021 2:29 am

Well, I finally had some sunshine through thin enough clouds to do some full disc imaging with the IMX253 1.1 inch CMOS FLIR Grasshopper 3 camera and my old laptop with improved RAM, SSD, and USB 3.0 expansion card. Seeing was about average even though the Sun was low in altitude:

Grasshopper 3 FD test SM.jpg
Grasshopper 3 FD test SM.jpg (322.61 KiB) Viewed 492 times

At 15 FPS throughput was limited to 50% of the advertised 30 FSP at full resolution (USB 2.0 was 2 FPS!), exposure time was reasonable, and camera temperature - while warmer than my cooled Chameleon - was not unreasonable and there is little evidence of any significant noise in the original exposure:

FireCapture 16012021 screen.jpg
FireCapture 16012021 screen.jpg (378.88 KiB) Viewed 492 times


All in all I'm pleased (especially once I get rid of some out-of-focus dust bunnies) to be able to capture a generously sized full disc image in one exposure versus 6 Chameleon exposure panes for a mosaic:


16-01-2021 AS3! RS6 wavelet PSP compressed.jpg
16-01-2021 AS3! RS6 wavelet PSP compressed.jpg (771.35 KiB) Viewed 492 times


So I consider the $450.00 USD a pretty not bad investment! Next, I will again concoct a TEC cooler device, as today's ambient temps of 7 C were no where near the typical summertime good weather temps I encounter, which typically average 35 C.

I'm anticipating getting two additional identical cameras to cover Continuum and CaK, and will thereby have limited solar patrol capability. So I have one additional question which I hope those on the forum can answer. I'm considering a powered USB 3.0 hub for operating the three cameras simultaneously.

https://www.amazon.com/Sabrent-Charging ... 2939473809

Is there much of an advantage, if any, to using the 12 volt GPIO for a camera power supply versus the powered USB 3.0 connector?
Last edited by Bob Yoesle on Sun Jan 17, 2021 5:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.


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Re: Sony IMX253 mono cameras

Post by Carbon60 » Sun Jan 17, 2021 8:05 am

An excellent result, Bob. It certainly takes away the hassle of making mosaics.

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Re: Sony IMX253 mono cameras

Post by marktownley » Sun Jan 17, 2021 8:57 am

Looks good Bob!

Did you try running it with the gamma disabled? (neutral value is 1024) - that might up the FPS. Using 'cut out' will reduce the data going through the USB which might help too. I run at 9fps for full disk - max throughput of that chip. The USB might well not be giving enough power or poor quality power and is worth exploring.

I power my Grasshoppers GPIO with 12v ( from the battery I use from my mount), what find I can do is run with a shorter exposure and higher gain to help freeze the seeing. At full disk scale I don't think is an issue not to be able to do this, with higher res (using my GH3 IMX174) it makes a lot of difference. In another 'hobby' i'm into my audio, and my system is powered by a balanced mains supply on it's own ring main, with various other power cleaning sitting on it. What I find with this is those 'wall wart' power supplies (like the one that powers that hub) are awful, anything associated with my hifi that needs one has been replaced with a proper regulated power supply - the difference is night and day and as such I don't go anywhere near them - including FLIRs own (they're nothing special just a rebadged OEM device). That's why I use a battery - clean power.

If you were to compare stacked images of powered and unpowered there will be no difference. Similarly the live view on the screen isn't going to give a clean view vs 'snowy' view (think old black and white CRT TV with a snowy picture). If you think what the 'gain' is with a camera its the amount of amplification the system is given - the same as a amplifier in a hifi system. With my hifi and quality AC power it doesn't make the amplifier louder (the maximum gain wont change), but what I can do is play it louder before distortion starts creeping in, it also makes transients more dynamic, and rise and decay is more snappy. Soundstaging is more holographic. One of the main differences with high end audio (Krell, McIntosh, Mark Levenson etc) compared to more mid price (affordable? :lol:) brands like Denon / Marantz is in their use of power supplies. You see it with the cameras - ZWO is a budget brand with something like the IMX174 chip, FLIR / Basler and others are more expensive but the same chip is just powered by a different architecture. Some are noisier than others!

With our cameras soundstage and dynamics are irrelevant, however gain is not. Powered I can run with the gain slider 3/4 way up no problem which can really keep exposure time short. If it is unpowered (or poorly powered) the value for gain is lower and so exposure time gets longer.

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Re: Sony IMX253 mono cameras

Post by ffellah » Sun Jan 17, 2021 5:07 pm

Bob: that is such a great disc. Full of detail, well done. @Mark: I saw in some of your postings that you are an audiophile and you mentioned Mark Levinson. I worked with Mark as VP of sales and marketing in his second company, Cello. That was from June 1991 to roughly the end of 1993. Most of our top equipment had a separate "very clean" power supply. He started that with is first company in the 80's with his flat preamplifier the ML-1. How do you power the FLIR GS3 separately ? Thank you both.

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Re: Sony IMX253 mono cameras

Post by Bob Yoesle » Sun Jan 17, 2021 5:15 pm

Thanks Stu, Franco, & Mark!

So it looks like we have something else in common Mark:

Virgo's & rack.jpg
Virgo's & rack.jpg (435.26 KiB) Viewed 457 times

Analog playback is a legacy Well Tempered Classic Turntable (bought new in the 80's.) Still have a ton of vinyl in my collection going back over 5 decades!
Analog phono/preamp is the Audible Illusions Modulus 3A.
Digital playback consists of a legacy CAL Delta CD transport and a Benchmark DAC3. I use a Sony DVD Blu-ray player as the source for USB and MP3 playback. Haven't (yet) gotten into the more recent formats (FLAC, etc.) and downloading / streaming methodologies.
The power amp is a custom built 100 W Michael Yee Audio PA-2 upgraded to PA-3 circuit topology.
Speakers are Audio Physic Virgo III's, with the last octave supported by a pair of legacy Velodyne F1200 servo subwoofers.
I use a powerline conditioner and surge protector (bottom of rack) as well. ;)

But back to the post subject... So if I dispense with the power cube; this is what I currently use for my 12 volt supply at the telescope (motor drives, camera cooler, etc.):

https://www.adorama.com/pdps9kx.html?rfkref=productPage

Would this provide a sufficient level of clean DC?

I am assuming that for a powered USB hub like the one shown in the previous post I could forego the factory wall wart power cube, and use a battery-supplied 12 volt cable to the USB hub and achieve the same level of DC purity and power via the USB 3.0 cable as a battery-supplied GPIO cable? This would offer a less cluttered cable environment - especially if powering 3 cameras at the same time..?
Last edited by Bob Yoesle on Sun Jan 17, 2021 5:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.


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Re: Sony IMX253 mono cameras

Post by ffellah » Sun Jan 17, 2021 5:24 pm

It looks like you are pretty well set with your system, Bob !

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Re: Sony IMX253 mono cameras

Post by marktownley » Sun Jan 17, 2021 5:45 pm

The USB hub you posted Bob and the power supply later would definitely be an improvement on the WallWart power supply. I'm guessing your mount has 12V going to it Bob? Whats the source here? Liking the system! :)

That's cool Franco you worked with Cello with ML, I know them. My 2 channel upstairs runs Krell and B&W, it's a good synergy. Downstairs is multichannel audio, both are different and fun in their own respects. Interestingly my Krell is not much improved with my 'mains treatments' compared to the lounge system. The Krell is a bit like a D10 and weighs considerably more than it looks like it should, mainly due to the power transformer the size of a car tyre. ML and Cello (Ruark here in the UK) use a similar approach to Krell. Same rules apply with hifi as cameras.


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Re: Sony IMX253 mono cameras

Post by Bob Yoesle » Sun Jan 17, 2021 6:11 pm

Hi Mark,

My pier(s) have 120 v AC at the pier, and the 12 v DC power supply is connected to this (lower arrow). This power supply (referenced in the above post) then feeds a 3 receptacle 12 v outlet near the mount (upper arrow), to which I can feed a 12 volt load, such as the telescope mount and camera cooler, or potentially a camera power supply:

MADO pier 2 w arrows.jpg
MADO pier 2 w arrows.jpg (287.71 KiB) Viewed 436 times


I could also use the 120 AC for trickle charging a deep-cycle 12 volt battery and power the USB hub and/or camera from the battery directly. Just don't know if that would be redundant to what I already have as shown above - or would be a needed/beneficial improvement for the camera system power supply...


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marktownley
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Re: Sony IMX253 mono cameras

Post by marktownley » Mon Jan 18, 2021 5:54 pm

Looks good to me Bob, if a power supply feels heavy that is normally a good sign.


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Re: Sony IMX253 mono cameras

Post by ffellah » Mon Jan 18, 2021 5:56 pm

Hi Mark: what type of power supply and cable do you use to separately power the GH3 ?

Thanks,

Franco



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Re: Sony IMX253 mono cameras

Post by marktownley » Mon Jan 18, 2021 5:59 pm

ffellah wrote:
Mon Jan 18, 2021 5:56 pm
what type of power supply and cable do you use to separately power the GH3 ?
Hi Franco,

I use one of these GPIO cables and just connect to a 12v lead acid battery I power the mount with.

http://astrograph.net/epages/www_astrog ... ur_Cameras

Mark


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