Imaging Cameras

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rray6
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Imaging Cameras

Post by rray6 » Thu Dec 20, 2012 5:19 pm

While I like my DMK41, I have been wondering about the relative merits (for solar imaging) of the DMK 41 (or 51) vs. the Flea3 3.2 MP Mono. One of the features I am looking for is resolution - Flea3 seems to be the better for that but I'm not sure if it is that much better. I can read the specs but I wanted to get some first hand experience and user preferences. I have an LS80THa PT DSII scope. Also, what other mono cameras out there (in the same general price range) do well with solar? What about firewire vs USB 3.0?

Robert


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www.redshift48.com
Lunt LS80 DSII B1800
WO 132mm f/7
Stellarvue 80mm Raptor SVR80ST2
Lunt CaK B1800 Filter
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PGR Grasshopper 3.0 (ICX687 - mono)
Imaging Source DMK 41 (mono) and DBK 21 AU618 (color)
ZWO ASI174MM (monochrome) with filter wheel
SBIG STT8300M
Canon 5D Mark IV
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Re: Imaging Cameras

Post by swisswalter » Thu Dec 20, 2012 6:13 pm

Hi Robert

What are the pixel sizes of the CCD's, the fps they record and the price as well as the size of the chip?

We should make a sort of simple chart and we then see in very short time in which direction you should move


[table]
[tr]
[td][/td]
[td][/td]
[/tr]
[tr]
[td][/td]
[td][/td]
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[/table]


above is a table created with the table button, but I do not know how to fill it with informations :blush:


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Re: Imaging Cameras

Post by earl » Fri Dec 21, 2012 12:23 am

I asked a similar question here last month with very little reply so I did some searching and came across this thread.

http://www.cloudynights.com/ubbthreads/ ... in/5249178


might help you.



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Re: Imaging Cameras

Post by rray6 » Fri Dec 21, 2012 1:23 am

Thanks, Earl. I read through the CN thread and then found an April 2012 thread on this forum. I guess I am boiling it down to the slight upgrade in pixels with the DMK 51 ($1000 USD) vs. the GrassHopper Express 2.8mp 26fps firewire camera (Sony 674 chip) which sounds good although expensive ($1995 USD). My next question concerns the drawbacks or advantages of firewire vs USB.

Robert


Robert Ray
Last night as I lay in bed looking up at the stars in the sky, I thought to myself -- "Where the heck is the ceiling???"

www.redshift48.com
Lunt LS80 DSII B1800
WO 132mm f/7
Stellarvue 80mm Raptor SVR80ST2
Lunt CaK B1800 Filter
Baader Herschel - Photo
PGR Grasshopper 3.0 (ICX687 - mono)
Imaging Source DMK 41 (mono) and DBK 21 AU618 (color)
ZWO ASI174MM (monochrome) with filter wheel
SBIG STT8300M
Canon 5D Mark IV
AP 1200GTO and iOptron CEM60(he) Mounts

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Re: Imaging Cameras

Post by earl » Fri Dec 21, 2012 1:49 am

If you referring to USB3 vs Firewire than USB3, IMHO, is a better choice due to higher transfer speed. Just make sure your computer is USB3 compatible. Firewire on the other hand is built into more devices right now than USB3 making it more likely you have it on your existing laptop or desktop computer.



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Re: Imaging Cameras

Post by rray6 » Fri Dec 21, 2012 3:19 am

How is firewire vs USB 2.0? I am considering the Grasshopper which is CCD (as opposed to CMOS) but is firewire. I am familiar with USB 2.0 so can relate to a comparison with firewire.

Robert


Robert Ray
Last night as I lay in bed looking up at the stars in the sky, I thought to myself -- "Where the heck is the ceiling???"

www.redshift48.com
Lunt LS80 DSII B1800
WO 132mm f/7
Stellarvue 80mm Raptor SVR80ST2
Lunt CaK B1800 Filter
Baader Herschel - Photo
PGR Grasshopper 3.0 (ICX687 - mono)
Imaging Source DMK 41 (mono) and DBK 21 AU618 (color)
ZWO ASI174MM (monochrome) with filter wheel
SBIG STT8300M
Canon 5D Mark IV
AP 1200GTO and iOptron CEM60(he) Mounts

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Re: Imaging Cameras

Post by swisswalter » Fri Dec 21, 2012 5:06 am

Hi Robert

it is of advantage to look also into GIGE CCD's like the Basler Ace and Scout


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Re: Imaging Cameras

Post by JimLafferty » Fri Dec 21, 2012 5:43 am

Make sure you arent confusing "resolution" with chip size/number of pixels. If two cameras have the same size pixels ie the dmk 41 and dmk 51, their power to resolve detail with the same scope is going to be the same. The difference is in the chip size which will allow you to image more "real estate", and in the example above, at the expense of fps. There are a lot of variables to consider when choosing a camera, and, as in nighttime imaging, there is no "one size fits all" solution for all the kinds of solar imaging you can do. You also have to consider what kind of image capture software you are looking to use with your camera. IC Capture that comes with the DMK's is very solid and is made for solar/planetary imaging--some of the other cameras may not have such a good capture option because their primary reason for being may or may not be for capturing an image with a telescope. Lots of good cameras out there, but everytime I went out looking for a better option than my dmk 41 I just havent been able to find it yet. I know one is coming, the technologies are getting better all the time--just gotta wait. lol.


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Re: Imaging Cameras

Post by rray6 » Fri Dec 21, 2012 2:11 pm

Thanks Jim. I think you hit the nail on the head. What I am looking for is the ideal upgrade from my DMK 41 - if there currently is one. So far (and I have not looked in great detail), the closest thing I found was the GrassHopper Express 2.8mp firewire camera (Sony 674 CCD) which boasts 1932 x 1452 at 26 FPS. Sounds good but I haven't heard from anyone who has experience with it - especially in the solar realm. Plus, I am not sure what (if any) the firewire limitations are (vs USB) - at my observatory, my computer is about 20 wire feet from my scope and camera. For that, I use powered USB extenders and they work fine.

Robert


Robert Ray
Last night as I lay in bed looking up at the stars in the sky, I thought to myself -- "Where the heck is the ceiling???"

www.redshift48.com
Lunt LS80 DSII B1800
WO 132mm f/7
Stellarvue 80mm Raptor SVR80ST2
Lunt CaK B1800 Filter
Baader Herschel - Photo
PGR Grasshopper 3.0 (ICX687 - mono)
Imaging Source DMK 41 (mono) and DBK 21 AU618 (color)
ZWO ASI174MM (monochrome) with filter wheel
SBIG STT8300M
Canon 5D Mark IV
AP 1200GTO and iOptron CEM60(he) Mounts

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Re: Imaging Cameras

Post by donatpointgrey » Fri Dec 21, 2012 6:04 pm

Hi Robert,

Of course you can't trust anything I say because I'm a vendor ;)
(and I also don't have first hand experience with astrophotography, although I do with Point Grey cameras).

Here are a few comments
- 1394B (9-pin firewire - the fast one) is 2x faster than USB2. USB3 obviously rocks, it is 10x faser than USB2
- Firewire and USB (2 and 3) are probably going to have similar problems with cable length
- GigE is another option and runs at similar speeds to 1394B
- an advantage of GigE is that it can have long cable runs, but the disadvantage is you need to provide power separately and it can be a bit more finicky to set up
- I have heard through Cloudy Nights that at least one astrophotographer has successfully used GigE to USB3 converter to connect his GigE camera to a USB3 port (as most PCs don't have multiple network ports, this is handy)

If you can wait until next year there are some interesting options from Point Grey:
http://grasshopper3.ptgrey.com/USB3/Grasshopper3
http://www.ptgrey.com/products/flea3_gi ... camera.asp

The Grasshopper3 is a new line of USB3 models and will include some high end CCDs. You'll have to contact sales@ptgrey.com for pricing and availability, but the ICX674 should be similarly priced to the Grasshopper Express, but you get USB3 rather than Firewire. Also, the ICX687 model maybe a good option because it will definitely be cheaper, and it is an excellent chip with great sensitivity, even though the pixels are small than the ICX674. However, the optical format is 1/1.8" rather than 2/3", which will affect your field of view with the same scope.

The Flea3 GigE line will be adding an ICX687 model. Flea3's are cheaper than Grasshoppers, and for your situation GigE might be a good solution, as the advantage with GigE is long cable runs. We sell Firewire cables up to 30' long, although the standard says you should only use a 15' cable. (You can also use repeaters like your USB2 system). We currently only sell 10' USB3 cables and are still working on qualifying longer cables or repeater systems. (USB3 is still pretty new.)

Anyway, I hope this helps and gives you some food for thought.

Don (at Point Grey)


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Re: Imaging Cameras

Post by rray6 » Sat Dec 22, 2012 2:06 am

Thanks! Great information, Don. I am beginning to think Point Grey is the way to go. Since I am in no big rush, I can wait for the newer models. Also, I will probably want to talk to you and others more about the merits of the Flea vs. the Grasshopper and GigE vs. USB3. Also, the ICX687 vs. the ICX674. I also don't want to sacrifice frame rate. The longer cables (whether it be powered extension USB or GigE) are essential for my situation.

Robert


Robert Ray
Last night as I lay in bed looking up at the stars in the sky, I thought to myself -- "Where the heck is the ceiling???"

www.redshift48.com
Lunt LS80 DSII B1800
WO 132mm f/7
Stellarvue 80mm Raptor SVR80ST2
Lunt CaK B1800 Filter
Baader Herschel - Photo
PGR Grasshopper 3.0 (ICX687 - mono)
Imaging Source DMK 41 (mono) and DBK 21 AU618 (color)
ZWO ASI174MM (monochrome) with filter wheel
SBIG STT8300M
Canon 5D Mark IV
AP 1200GTO and iOptron CEM60(he) Mounts

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Re: Imaging Cameras

Post by Paul Haese » Sat Dec 22, 2012 9:37 pm

Hi there,

I am using the PGR 2.8 camera for solar imaging and only for that.

Some things to know about it.

Great real estate capture with low noise.

However you will need an 800mb 34 adapter card and an SSD for capture. Only then will you be able to capture at 26fps. Otherwise you will need to capture at 15fps and this is not great.

Take a look around my solar mosaic gallery for images taken with the new camera.

http://paulhaese.net/Solar%20Mosaics.html



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Re: Imaging Cameras

Post by rray6 » Sun Dec 23, 2012 12:01 am

Paul,
I am not real familiar with ethernet, firewire, etc - never really have had to use it. Both of my laptops (Windows 7 - one 32-bit, one 64-bit) have an ethernet plug port. So you are saying that in order to use a camera like the PGR 2.8 (Grasshopper Express, for instance), I will need additional adapters (800mb 34 and SSD) with my laptop? I am not familiar with those adapters. Will they work with my laptops? Also, what about GigE? How does that fit it and would I need a different adapter for that or can it work with my standard ethernet port?

Robert


Robert Ray
Last night as I lay in bed looking up at the stars in the sky, I thought to myself -- "Where the heck is the ceiling???"

www.redshift48.com
Lunt LS80 DSII B1800
WO 132mm f/7
Stellarvue 80mm Raptor SVR80ST2
Lunt CaK B1800 Filter
Baader Herschel - Photo
PGR Grasshopper 3.0 (ICX687 - mono)
Imaging Source DMK 41 (mono) and DBK 21 AU618 (color)
ZWO ASI174MM (monochrome) with filter wheel
SBIG STT8300M
Canon 5D Mark IV
AP 1200GTO and iOptron CEM60(he) Mounts

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Re: Imaging Cameras

Post by MapleRidge » Sun Dec 23, 2012 12:04 am

Hi Robert...

I have used the PGR Grasshopper Express with the ICX674 chip since for the past 4 or 5 months for solar work...white light, Ha, and CaK and it has easily met all my expectations. I met Don at NEAF and he was very helpfull with my questions...good to see him here ;)

I also have the ICX445 chipped Flea2 witch is pretty good too...just a smaller chip so a reduced FOV, but the small pixles provide a nice high res image. I have recently started to use this camera for planetary as it has a good IR respsonse which is a bonus for my IR pass and methane bandpass filters.

Had USB3.0 been available I would have likely opted for it as it would be a more portable interface between computers, but I have a desktop in each of the observatories so adding a Firewire card was an easy way to go. I still have the Lumenera USB2.0 camera to use if I need to have portabel cam with the laptop. The Ethernet connection looks good too...this would be very portable as more computers have GigE capability.

The camera runs at 26FPS on about 3m of cable (2m from computer to hub, then 1m to camera, so long as the exposures are very short, but most exposures still run >20fps. I have a 5m cable in the other observatory and it does not suffer a slow down. There is an option to add power to the Firewire card form the power supply, but I have not done this...seems to get by with the power it pulls off the bus. I was advised to consider adding the power conenction if I were going to connect more than one camera at a time through the hub. I just pulled up a log file and had full frame at 26fps using a 9ms exposure.

If you check my posts, everything form Late July on has been wit the PGR camera, and most with the ICX674. You can also e-mail me if you have any specific questions.

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Re: Imaging Cameras

Post by rray6 » Sun Dec 23, 2012 12:14 am

Don,
Would the Grasshopper Express (GX-FW-28S5M-C) be an option for me with a Windows 7 32-bit laptop for capture? Or will I need additional hardware to achieve up to 26fps?

Robert


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Last night as I lay in bed looking up at the stars in the sky, I thought to myself -- "Where the heck is the ceiling???"

www.redshift48.com
Lunt LS80 DSII B1800
WO 132mm f/7
Stellarvue 80mm Raptor SVR80ST2
Lunt CaK B1800 Filter
Baader Herschel - Photo
PGR Grasshopper 3.0 (ICX687 - mono)
Imaging Source DMK 41 (mono) and DBK 21 AU618 (color)
ZWO ASI174MM (monochrome) with filter wheel
SBIG STT8300M
Canon 5D Mark IV
AP 1200GTO and iOptron CEM60(he) Mounts

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Re: Imaging Cameras

Post by MapleRidge » Sun Dec 23, 2012 12:33 am

Robert...

I have that camera on the desktop computer running Win 7 with no probelms. Can you get a laptop to give you Firewire 800 though? They are a rare option in Canada, but maybe more available elsewhere.

Brian


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Re: Imaging Cameras

Post by Paul Haese » Sun Dec 23, 2012 2:13 am

Robert,

to run the camera on a laptop you will need a 34 adapter slot in your laptop so you can use 800mbits a second.

Next you will need a solid state drive either in the ESATA port if you have one or in a spare drive slot.

Without both the camera will not acheive full speed on a laptop. You can order machines with the slot via HP and Dell in their business class machines.

It does not matter if you have a recent machine or not. You cannot run fire wire at 800mbits without the adapter.



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Re: Imaging Cameras

Post by solarchat » Sun Dec 23, 2012 12:03 pm

or, you could just use a MacBook or iMac like I do with all my FW800 PGR cameras. :)


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Re: Imaging Cameras

Post by solarchat » Sun Dec 23, 2012 12:48 pm

I have nothing other than MASSIVE experience using these cameras to go by. I cant tell you why but I firmly believe that if you are using a PC then there is no better option available than the DMK51/DMK21 combo for full disks/closeups.

If you are using a Mac then there is no better option than the PGR Grasshopper Exp 5 or 6 MP or the Grasshopper 5 or 6MP cameras. These are what I use at every outreach event.

I am however very impressed with the Opticstar entries for the PC. They are cheaper than the DMKs and have a cooling fan and pretty much deliver the same image as the DMKs. I just dont have any experience with the newer models offered right now. The PL-131M is a great 1280 x 960 camera and I believe it compares identically to the DMK41. I still believe that CCD is way better than CMOS in any application.

The Mac/ ASTRO IIDC combination with a PGR camera cannot be beat in my opinion but unfortunately if you havent already bought ASTRO IIDC's golden key, you cannot get a working copy of it. That was the best software out there for this hobby but the guy went out of business as he was losing his shirt trying to cater to the notoriously cheap amateur astronomy market.


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Re: Imaging Cameras

Post by marktownley » Sun Dec 23, 2012 1:06 pm

I am however very impressed with the Opticstar entries for the PC. They are cheaper than the DMKs and have a cooling fan and pretty much deliver the same image as the DMKs. I just dont have any experience with the newer models offered right now. The PL-131M is a great 1280 x 960 camera and I believe it compares identically to the DMK41. I still believe that CCD is way better than CMOS in any application.

I'm really struggling with my Opticstar PL130M in Ha - it's almost as if it captures in less than 8 bits, loads of brightness related banding effects. The bundled software is just poop with it IMHO - i've have been nattering to opticstar via FB and now the holidays are here have a bit more time to play around with things to find a solution. I have a sneaking suspicion its something i'm doing as you've got excellent results with the sister camera Stephen, and Gary Palmer has been getting excellent results too. It's frustrating! :dry:


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Re: Imaging Cameras

Post by Suncityan » Sun Dec 23, 2012 1:20 pm

"...the notoriously cheap amateur astronomy market." - I resemble that....grinnn....

Just joking here.

Thanks for the great thread!



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Re: Imaging Cameras

Post by rray6 » Sun Dec 23, 2012 3:41 pm

All of this is great information - thanks. For the time being, I will stick with my trusty DMK41 and keep my options open for when something new shows up on the market (or when I buy a new laptop/computer- MAC?). This thread has opened my eyes about some new things for me. Thanks again.

[bad-word], it's cloudy again....

Robert


Robert Ray
Last night as I lay in bed looking up at the stars in the sky, I thought to myself -- "Where the heck is the ceiling???"

www.redshift48.com
Lunt LS80 DSII B1800
WO 132mm f/7
Stellarvue 80mm Raptor SVR80ST2
Lunt CaK B1800 Filter
Baader Herschel - Photo
PGR Grasshopper 3.0 (ICX687 - mono)
Imaging Source DMK 41 (mono) and DBK 21 AU618 (color)
ZWO ASI174MM (monochrome) with filter wheel
SBIG STT8300M
Canon 5D Mark IV
AP 1200GTO and iOptron CEM60(he) Mounts

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Re: Imaging Cameras

Post by etatsolarchat » Thu Jan 03, 2013 6:15 am

I agree the DMK21 and DMK51 is great combo for close up/discs.



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Re: Imaging Cameras

Post by donboysail » Wed Jan 23, 2013 11:10 pm

Could someone explain the performance difference between the ICX687 vs. ICX674. Especially in light of the new Grasshopper3 cameras that will be released shortly.

Don



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Re: Imaging Cameras

Post by Merlin66 » Thu Jan 24, 2013 12:21 am

I went for firewire on the DMK41 for the faster rates etc.
One issue for me was getting/ finding suitable powered firewire adaptors.
I use a powered PCMCIA card in the ol' ACER and a similar Xpress firewire card in the DELL.
The 12V power plug/socket needs to be watched, but other than that no issues so far.
(The ol' DMK21 is still on USB so they can be run together....)
Just my 2c


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