Solar Camera question

this is the main message area for anything solar :)
User avatar
thedoci
Oh, I get it now!
Oh, I get it now!
Posts: 39
Joined: Fri Feb 14, 2014 6:16 pm
Location: Herzogenaurach, Germany

Solar Camera question

Post by thedoci » Fri Feb 14, 2014 7:03 pm

Hello every one,

I've been wanting to post this for the past week or so, but the forum was down, and now that its up again i had to create a new user to actually post this. I was unable to access my old one even with the password sent in the email. But that's besides the point.

now to the real topic at hand, i was wondering if any of the cameras listed below would be any good for Solar Photography with Baader Solar Film, as well as a H-Alpha Telescope (my Astronomy club wants to get one of our observatory). Also using them for Planetary photography would be nice too. The reason i chose these specific cameras for this list is that i can get them for a relatively cheep price used.

Point Grey FireFly MV 0.3MP Mono (FMVU-03MTM-CS)
Point Grey Flea2 2MP Color (FL2-20S4C)
Point Grey Flea2 0.8MP Mono (FL2-08S2M)
Point Grey Scorpion 2MP Mono (SCOR-20SOM) (If i understand Point Grey's naming system) (SCOR-20SOM)

so witch of these cameras would be best suited for Solar and possibly Lunar and Planetary photography.
if you guys have any suggestions for a good camera for Solar photography pleas let me know.


Gear: GSO 150/750mm Newton, Old 68/1200mm Refractor, Baader Solar Film, Baader Continuum Filter, Baader L filter, Baader Q-turret Barlow, Sony A350, Sony HX-20, Point Grey Scorpion 13FFM, Point Grey Grasshopper GRAS-03S3M-C, Grundig FA85 I (CCTV camera that im having a play with)

Deviantart Galery: http://timelordomega.deviantart.com/

User avatar
Montana
Librarian
Librarian
Posts: 22288
Joined: Mon Oct 17, 2011 5:25 pm
Location: Cheshire, UK
Has thanked: 650 times
Been thanked: 226 times

Re: Solar Camera question

Post by Montana » Sat Feb 15, 2014 12:24 pm

Hi there,
I don't have much knowledge about the specifics but there is a large thread on the commercial filters sections http://solarchat.solarastronomy.org/vie ... =10&t=9984 that may help. May be someone will be able to help you better now I have pushed this to the top :)

Alexandra



User avatar
swisswalter
Way More Fun to Share It!!
Way More Fun to Share It!!
Posts: 17951
Joined: Thu Feb 06, 2014 4:28 am
Location: Switzerland
Contact:

Re: Solar Camera question

Post by swisswalter » Sun Feb 16, 2014 9:17 am

Hi Gerd

you don't want a color camera for solar work. Look out for hight fps and small pixels


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 :)

from 7 am - 7 pm http://www.nanosys.ch

from 7.01 pm - 6.59 am http://www.wastronomiko.com some times vice versa ;)

User avatar
thedoci
Oh, I get it now!
Oh, I get it now!
Posts: 39
Joined: Fri Feb 14, 2014 6:16 pm
Location: Herzogenaurach, Germany

Re: Solar Camera question

Post by thedoci » Tue Feb 18, 2014 4:23 pm

I Found a used Point Grey Scorpion 13FFM CMOS camera for a few bucks and jumped at the opportunity, its specs are:
Resolution: 1280 x 960
Frame Rate: 15 FPS
Sensor Model: FillFactory IBIS5 Mono
Sensor format: 2/3"
Pixel Size: 6.7µm x 6.7µm

I will Write and film (youtube) a review of the camera to show others its usefulness in Solar, Lunar and Planetary imaging. If it turns out to not be so great i will most likely use it as a cloud monitoring camera as it should work well in daytime at least.

Originally i was going to go with a used Firefly MV 0.3MP, but as the scorpion was cheaper i went with it instead, and if it turned out to be bad at everything, well at least i have a nice looking paper wait that didn't cost much.


Gear: GSO 150/750mm Newton, Old 68/1200mm Refractor, Baader Solar Film, Baader Continuum Filter, Baader L filter, Baader Q-turret Barlow, Sony A350, Sony HX-20, Point Grey Scorpion 13FFM, Point Grey Grasshopper GRAS-03S3M-C, Grundig FA85 I (CCTV camera that im having a play with)

Deviantart Galery: http://timelordomega.deviantart.com/

donatpointgrey
Oh, I get it now!
Oh, I get it now!
Posts: 44
Joined: Mon May 28, 2012 5:06 pm

Re: Solar Camera question

Post by donatpointgrey » Tue Feb 18, 2014 8:00 pm

I don't want to be a wet blanket but... scorpions' good reputation with the solar astrophotography crowd is based (I believe) on the 2MP Scorpion with the Sony ICX274 CCD sensor. The FillFactory sensor is a cmos sensor and not nearly as good as cmos sensors are today. That was a long time ago and I wasn't very involved with that camera/sensor combination but I have vague recollections of poor imaging performance and fixed pattern noise issues - it is not a camera I would recommend :(

I wanted to point that out so that (a) you don't get your hopes up too high and (b) you don't report that "Scorpions suck" because, old technology not withstanding, the ICX274 Scorpion was a pretty solid camera.

Don


Don Murray

www.ptgrey.com

User avatar
solarchat
Site Admin
Site Admin
Posts: 3990
Joined: Sat Feb 01, 2014 3:10 pm
Location: Atlanta, GA USA
Has thanked: 6 times
Been thanked: 31 times
Contact:

Re: Solar Camera question

Post by solarchat » Tue Feb 18, 2014 8:07 pm

I have owned and given away several Scorpions and agree 100% with Don on this one.


Stephen W. Ramsden
Atlanta, GA USA
Founder/Director Charlie Bates Solar Astronomy Project
http://www.solarastronomy.org

User avatar
thedoci
Oh, I get it now!
Oh, I get it now!
Posts: 39
Joined: Fri Feb 14, 2014 6:16 pm
Location: Herzogenaurach, Germany

Re: Solar Camera question

Post by thedoci » Wed Feb 19, 2014 2:16 pm

To be honest, i was expecting something like this, And i wouldn't give all the Scorpion Series camera a bad review, just the particular model.
The review is meant to educate people about this particular model, as it found it pops up on ebay from time to time. Another reason I'm going to do a review is to give the web some more info about this camera (test images, videos and so on...) so others can form an opinion about the camera.

also i got it for a few bucks so i thought well lets see how it turns out, maybe it isn't too terrible.

also is the Point Grey FireFly MV with 0.3MP as better alternative or should i go strait for the 2MP CCD version of the Scorpion?

Also thank you for the feedback!


Gear: GSO 150/750mm Newton, Old 68/1200mm Refractor, Baader Solar Film, Baader Continuum Filter, Baader L filter, Baader Q-turret Barlow, Sony A350, Sony HX-20, Point Grey Scorpion 13FFM, Point Grey Grasshopper GRAS-03S3M-C, Grundig FA85 I (CCTV camera that im having a play with)

Deviantart Galery: http://timelordomega.deviantart.com/

donatpointgrey
Oh, I get it now!
Oh, I get it now!
Posts: 44
Joined: Mon May 28, 2012 5:06 pm

Re: Solar Camera question

Post by donatpointgrey » Wed Feb 19, 2014 6:07 pm

also is the Point Grey FireFly MV with 0.3MP as better alternative or should i go strait for the 2MP CCD version of the Scorpion?
I'm not an astrophotographer, so the nuances and suitability for your application, well, I'm giving you second hand information - others on this forum can probably give you a better answer.

The 640x480 Firefly MV does not have the fixed pattern noise issues that the Fill Factory chip has. Aside from the resolution, I think it will give you better image quality. The problem I expect is the resolution and chip size means you can't see much of the solar disk at a time with a reasonable resolution.

The ICX274 Scorpion is aa significantly better choice due to the larger sensor (almost 3x more real estate) and increased resolution. Imaging performance on that Scorpion should be better than the FFMV as well.


Don Murray

www.ptgrey.com

User avatar
thedoci
Oh, I get it now!
Oh, I get it now!
Posts: 39
Joined: Fri Feb 14, 2014 6:16 pm
Location: Herzogenaurach, Germany

Re: Solar Camera question

Post by thedoci » Fri Feb 21, 2014 1:25 pm

Well the camera arrived today, all that's missing now is a 6-pin Fire-wire express card for my older laptop (the only one with an express card slot) and a 6-Pin Fire-wire cable.

as soon as they arrive, and the weather is good enough to image i will try and take images with the Scorpion 13FFM camera and post them here.


Gear: GSO 150/750mm Newton, Old 68/1200mm Refractor, Baader Solar Film, Baader Continuum Filter, Baader L filter, Baader Q-turret Barlow, Sony A350, Sony HX-20, Point Grey Scorpion 13FFM, Point Grey Grasshopper GRAS-03S3M-C, Grundig FA85 I (CCTV camera that im having a play with)

Deviantart Galery: http://timelordomega.deviantart.com/

User avatar
uranus7
Im an EXPERT!
Im an EXPERT!
Posts: 368
Joined: Sat Apr 07, 2012 2:36 pm
Location: ROMANIA - BUCHAREST

Re: Solar Camera question

Post by uranus7 » Fri Feb 21, 2014 1:59 pm

Hello Don and sorry for my next questions !

I am very interested for the PGR camera GS3-U3-23S6M which's describing link (introduction page) is here:

http://ww2.ptgrey.com/Sensors/IMX174/IM ... nPage.aspx

1. Did you, ever, saw a Planetary image taken with such very attractive mono camera ?
2. There is somewhere some comments of first users of such camera ?
3. That USB3 camera has a very high flow rate and I understood, that flow can be controlled even by decided ROI even directly . Is that ttrue?
4. Can I adapt kind of "buffer" device between camera and Notebook so I can save all captured frames (at least for about 1000-2000 frames)
or any other solution can be found for avoiding the low writing speed on the HD issues ?

Well...enough much questions but I hope you'll answer at least some of. :)

Thank you very much,

Gabriel



donatpointgrey
Oh, I get it now!
Oh, I get it now!
Posts: 44
Joined: Mon May 28, 2012 5:06 pm

Re: Solar Camera question

Post by donatpointgrey » Tue Feb 25, 2014 8:41 pm

Hi Gabriel,

Sorry for the delay in getting back to you.

I have seen a picture of Jupiter taken with the IMX174 Grasshopper3 - the customer who took it was quite happy but I can't evaluate that kind of image myself - too many intangibles that I don't understand :)

However, it is a very exciting sensor. High speed, low noise, and global shutter. The posted frame rate is 162 but if you are running the camera in 12-bit ADC mode it will be about 125 fps. As well, if you ROI down the image, the frame rate will go up. I just looked over the shoulder of one of our support guys and he demonstrated that a 300x300 ROI was running about over 400 fps. It speeds up with row reduction, but column reduction does not increase the frame rate.

I don't know of any buffer device you can use other than grabbing to main memory. Thats - if you have a lot of RAM on your PC, you should be able to buffer a lot of images in RAM during capture. But this would have to be implemented in software.

I hope this helps!

Don


Don Murray

www.ptgrey.com

User avatar
uranus7
Im an EXPERT!
Im an EXPERT!
Posts: 368
Joined: Sat Apr 07, 2012 2:36 pm
Location: ROMANIA - BUCHAREST

Re: Solar Camera question

Post by uranus7 » Wed Feb 26, 2014 8:17 am

Hi again, Don

The missed BIG QUESTIONS is:

WHAT's the maximum frame rate at resolution 1920x1200px ???
WHAT's the maximum frame rate for at least half resolution ~ 850x600px (set by ROI)
??? (PGR didn't specified, at all)

The maximum FPS posted by PGR for this camera , 162 FPS ( http://ww2.ptgrey.com/Sensors/IMX174/IM ... nPage.aspx )
is probably corresponding to 300x300 px resolution. But you probably know that all of us here need a good resolution (mainly for H-alpha solar imaging). .. to say at least at 1.2 M pix resolution, at a decent frame rate (to say at least ~ 15 fps ).

That's why I need information which PGR didn't exactly specified till now, about that type of camera.

The only vague information on Internet is here, http://www.rkblog.rk.edu.pl/w/p/taking- ... os-sensor/ , where this customer, Mr. Almir Germano used the IMX174 Grasshopper3 to made a composition, LRGB , for Jupiter (shot without filter, with R-filter, G and B and composing for true colors of the image).

Thank you very much, Don, for your previous answers and know that, if you'll exactly answer my above 2 questions, you really will save my money - my salary for 2 months. :)

Kindest regards,

Gabriel



alex
Im an EXPERT!
Im an EXPERT!
Posts: 235
Joined: Sat Nov 05, 2011 4:39 pm
Location: Poland

Re: Solar Camera question

Post by alex » Wed Feb 26, 2014 11:23 am

Regarding the Point Grey FireFly MV 0.3MP Mono

there is a review here http://www.rkblog.rk.edu.pl/w/p/testing ... v-cameras/


I have this camera too,but I've never used it because after I have installed the necessary software (Firecapture and the model's driver)
my laptop gets very warm and it is forced to shut down.
Does anyone else have such problems?



donatpointgrey
Oh, I get it now!
Oh, I get it now!
Posts: 44
Joined: Mon May 28, 2012 5:06 pm

Re: Solar Camera question

Post by donatpointgrey » Wed Feb 26, 2014 11:05 pm

Hi Gabriel,
uranus7 wrote:
The missed BIG QUESTIONS is:

WHAT's the maximum frame rate at resolution 1920x1200px ???
WHAT's the maximum frame rate for at least half resolution ~ 850x600px (set by ROI)
??? (PGR didn't specified, at all)
The advertised speed of 162 fps is at 1920x1200. However, I should point out that the sensor can run in either 10-bit / pixel mode or 12-bit / pixel mode. The 10-bit mode runs faster.

at 1920x1200 runs at 162 fps in 10-bit mode and 127fps in 12-bit mode
at 850x600 runs at 310fps in 10-bit mode and 245fps in 12-bit mode

These numbers are from me running the camera myself, so it should not be considered a "spec". If you want an official answer you should ask through support@ptgrey.com or sales@ptgrey.com :) These are transmission rates - I'm not saving anything to the disk.

The support guys also mentioned to me that some laptops have trouble powering the camera through the USB3 interface. You may want to consider using a power connector to power the camera to supplement the USB3 power.

I hope this helps!

Don


Don Murray

www.ptgrey.com

User avatar
uranus7
Im an EXPERT!
Im an EXPERT!
Posts: 368
Joined: Sat Apr 07, 2012 2:36 pm
Location: ROMANIA - BUCHAREST

Re: Solar Camera question

Post by uranus7 » Thu Feb 27, 2014 4:51 am

Hello, Don


I'm very impressed and extremely thankful to know that you specially tested that "ghost camera" :) , specially for me and I'm very happy to know that this camera can face at such resolution and such FPS even at 12 bits ( in fact my mono Chameleon is running also on 12 bits, isn't? ).
I said "ghost camera" because I desperately was trying to find out that information for last 3 months , till now, when I finally read your above mail. :)

Woww... it's REALLY A VERY COOL CAMERA THEN, Don. I'll probably assume possible troubles about powering the camera through the USB3 interface... really can't see for the moment if and how camera has this possibility to power it somehow else than by USB3, but the same time keeping connected at USB3 for data transfer (???).

At that moment I'm waiting for a very special answer (to me) from the PGR manager (as Mrs. Dorothee Milde - PGR EU - assured me).

Don, your help, here, was really priceless to me. Sure, I want to buy it then. I very much love the PGR products (except the prices, of course :lol: ).

Thank you all my hearth and have my sincere apologies for bothering you here.

Best regards,
Gabriel



User avatar
thedoci
Oh, I get it now!
Oh, I get it now!
Posts: 39
Joined: Fri Feb 14, 2014 6:16 pm
Location: Herzogenaurach, Germany

Re: Solar Camera question

Post by thedoci » Fri Apr 11, 2014 10:46 pm

Well i finally managed to get the PG Scorpion 13FFM. Sadly the sun set before i could take a image of it. So i decided to take one of the moon instead.

Moon with Point Grey Scorpion 13FFM after stacking and wavelet prepossessing:
moon_shutternorn.png
more images will come soon, well as soon as it clears up again.


Gear: GSO 150/750mm Newton, Old 68/1200mm Refractor, Baader Solar Film, Baader Continuum Filter, Baader L filter, Baader Q-turret Barlow, Sony A350, Sony HX-20, Point Grey Scorpion 13FFM, Point Grey Grasshopper GRAS-03S3M-C, Grundig FA85 I (CCTV camera that im having a play with)

Deviantart Galery: http://timelordomega.deviantart.com/

User avatar
thedoci
Oh, I get it now!
Oh, I get it now!
Posts: 39
Joined: Fri Feb 14, 2014 6:16 pm
Location: Herzogenaurach, Germany

Re: Solar Camera question

Post by thedoci » Sat Apr 12, 2014 3:38 pm

Well the sky finaly cleared up for a few minuets today, and i got a image of the sun. Sadly i only managed to get 100 frames before my capturing computer crashed.
sun1-uuj.jpg
Captured with Badder solar film, a GSO 150/750 mm Telescope and a TS universal contrast filter.
i used the filter to get more detail on the surface. I couldn't get the entire sun in the frame, as the magnification was too great and the sensor too small. Also i found out that of the 1024 pixels the camera has vertically only 960 are used.

Also i didnt have time to get the focus perfect, also there are some artifacts on the sun (rings) that camer from my telescope optics. To my knowledge its either dust, or imperfections in the mirror surface, either way, im stuck with them for now.


Gear: GSO 150/750mm Newton, Old 68/1200mm Refractor, Baader Solar Film, Baader Continuum Filter, Baader L filter, Baader Q-turret Barlow, Sony A350, Sony HX-20, Point Grey Scorpion 13FFM, Point Grey Grasshopper GRAS-03S3M-C, Grundig FA85 I (CCTV camera that im having a play with)

Deviantart Galery: http://timelordomega.deviantart.com/

User avatar
swisswalter
Way More Fun to Share It!!
Way More Fun to Share It!!
Posts: 17951
Joined: Thu Feb 06, 2014 4:28 am
Location: Switzerland
Contact:

Re: Solar Camera question

Post by swisswalter » Sun Apr 13, 2014 8:05 am

Hope your computer comes up again


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 :)

from 7 am - 7 pm http://www.nanosys.ch

from 7.01 pm - 6.59 am http://www.wastronomiko.com some times vice versa ;)

User avatar
Montana
Librarian
Librarian
Posts: 22288
Joined: Mon Oct 17, 2011 5:25 pm
Location: Cheshire, UK
Has thanked: 650 times
Been thanked: 226 times

Re: Solar Camera question

Post by Montana » Sun Apr 13, 2014 4:29 pm

A great start but yes I think you have a few dust bunnies ;)

:band2

Alexandra



User avatar
thedoci
Oh, I get it now!
Oh, I get it now!
Posts: 39
Joined: Fri Feb 14, 2014 6:16 pm
Location: Herzogenaurach, Germany

Re: Solar Camera question

Post by thedoci » Sun Apr 13, 2014 6:51 pm

Well i got the computer running again, but with a few problems, so I'm installing windows 7 instead of windows vista. Also today the sky was clear enough to do solar astronomy, i also managed to get a few images of sunspots as well as the sun (well most of it anyways).
Here is a image from the camera. Also using Flat Frames i managed to get most of the dust away, but still some remains.

For this image was taken using Eye Piece Projection using a 10mm Kelner Eyepiece. Sadly my only 10mm had a lot of dust on it, and even with flat frames i didn't get all of it away.
sun-2014-04-13-new-ucf-6-ss-e2.jpg


Gear: GSO 150/750mm Newton, Old 68/1200mm Refractor, Baader Solar Film, Baader Continuum Filter, Baader L filter, Baader Q-turret Barlow, Sony A350, Sony HX-20, Point Grey Scorpion 13FFM, Point Grey Grasshopper GRAS-03S3M-C, Grundig FA85 I (CCTV camera that im having a play with)

Deviantart Galery: http://timelordomega.deviantart.com/

User avatar
Montana
Librarian
Librarian
Posts: 22288
Joined: Mon Oct 17, 2011 5:25 pm
Location: Cheshire, UK
Has thanked: 650 times
Been thanked: 226 times

Re: Solar Camera question

Post by Montana » Mon Apr 14, 2014 9:08 am

Another great shot :band2

I would spend a little time cleaning everything, it is quite a satisfying job (when it is cloudy). It is amazing how the Sun can bring out even the smallest spec.

Alexandra



User avatar
marktownley
Librarian
Librarian
Posts: 28097
Joined: Tue Oct 18, 2011 5:27 pm
Location: Brierley Hills, UK
Has thanked: 839 times
Been thanked: 325 times
Contact:

Re: Solar Camera question

Post by marktownley » Mon Apr 14, 2014 10:43 am

Definitely needs a good clean!


Image
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!

User avatar
thedoci
Oh, I get it now!
Oh, I get it now!
Posts: 39
Joined: Fri Feb 14, 2014 6:16 pm
Location: Herzogenaurach, Germany

Re: Solar Camera question

Post by thedoci » Tue Apr 15, 2014 12:29 pm

Well here is my second atempt at editing the image, i started from the stacked image again. this time i managed to get most of the dust out, and also managed to get some more durface detail as well. Removing the dust was a rather long prosses, i used layers with a blured version of the image and layer masks. as well as the same thing just shifted a litle to get the large grains out as well.
Atempt 2 at edeting the image
Atempt 2 at edeting the image


Gear: GSO 150/750mm Newton, Old 68/1200mm Refractor, Baader Solar Film, Baader Continuum Filter, Baader L filter, Baader Q-turret Barlow, Sony A350, Sony HX-20, Point Grey Scorpion 13FFM, Point Grey Grasshopper GRAS-03S3M-C, Grundig FA85 I (CCTV camera that im having a play with)

Deviantart Galery: http://timelordomega.deviantart.com/

User avatar
Montana
Librarian
Librarian
Posts: 22288
Joined: Mon Oct 17, 2011 5:25 pm
Location: Cheshire, UK
Has thanked: 650 times
Been thanked: 226 times

Re: Solar Camera question

Post by Montana » Wed Apr 16, 2014 11:04 am

Hey! granulation detail :bow much improved :)

Alexandra



User avatar
thedoci
Oh, I get it now!
Oh, I get it now!
Posts: 39
Joined: Fri Feb 14, 2014 6:16 pm
Location: Herzogenaurach, Germany

Re: Solar Camera question

Post by thedoci » Wed Apr 16, 2014 6:37 pm

The sky finally cleared up for a while and managed to get my first full disk image using the Scorpion 13FFM camera.
Full disk Image April 16th 2014
Full disk Image April 16th 2014
Regrettably i forgot to shoot a flat frame before changing the optical train of my telescope. So there are some dust "rings" in the image that i couldn't get out by my normal methods.

I will be writing the Review soon, well as soon as i get telescope time on the C14 again for some planetary shots.

But so far i am very happy with the shots this camera is providing.


Gear: GSO 150/750mm Newton, Old 68/1200mm Refractor, Baader Solar Film, Baader Continuum Filter, Baader L filter, Baader Q-turret Barlow, Sony A350, Sony HX-20, Point Grey Scorpion 13FFM, Point Grey Grasshopper GRAS-03S3M-C, Grundig FA85 I (CCTV camera that im having a play with)

Deviantart Galery: http://timelordomega.deviantart.com/

Post Reply