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Author Topic: Cooled CCD/large, full frame options and recommendations  (Read 139 times)

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Offline stars_are_cool

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Cooled CCD/large, full frame options and recommendations
« on: 23:53:48, 01 December, 2017 »
Hi all,

I’m researching into “true” ccd cameras as opposed to my (fine!) cmos camera (183C).

I’ve had some good comments on here, albeit has been pretty quiet on this forum in terms of replies to my responses/queries of recent.

I now have my Altair Astro 183C cmos, and I’ll post some images soon...I’m doing AP and EAA and it’s rather good through my WO Z61. I also have plans to buy a Lunt Solar scope in 2018, which I believe my cmos will do well with.
I like the live streaming I can do on YouTube with this camera, all in 4k.

I’ve invested in an Z73 now, and moving “up” pretty quickly.

However, for purely AP, and chiefly in narrowband, I’d like your views on “true” cooled ccd’s.

I tend to go for equipment that is somewhat future-proof and flexible.

I’m considering an Atik 16200 mono, I believe it can be used with ease with a variety of focal lengths. I don’t want to go beyond £3k, with a motorised filter wheel included.

I’ve plans to get the Z81 and possibly then the FLT132 (I really like WO, it’s just my personal preference, the FPL-53 glass is something of an attention grabber for me, some of TS-Optics scopes look good too though), so I want the flexibility with a ccd rather than having multiple cameras to suit each scope. I reckon it’s a cost-saving in the long run, but I’m happy to proven wrong.

What would you recommend?

Some of the SBIG ccd’s look good also...

Kindest Regards.

Graham.


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Graham.

William Optics ZS61 (...more refractors to follow!)
Skywatcher HEQ5-Pro
Laptop (image processing in StarTools), i7 16gb RAM, SSD

Offline chris.bailey

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Re: Cooled CCD/large, full frame options and recommendations
« Reply #1 on: 08:40:09, 02 December, 2017 »
Graham

A few 'comments'

1) I would not get fixated on W/O scopes. I have a couple and they are 'OK' but they are mass produced and quality control can be an issue. The Focuser on my FLT110 (fine optic on the older ones) was always 'iffy' and I ended up spending another £1k on a Feathertouch focuser and adapter for it. The Altair scopes are very good (you only have to walk around and see how many are in use at star parties) as are the CFT scopes (though £££). The Skywatcher Espirit scopes have very fine optics but I would buy from a dealer able to bench test them and tune them as again the quality control is a little variable.

2) There are plenty of good CCD's to choose from. I personally would always go with Starlight Express or Atik purely due to the first rate after sales. I have a SX814 (a VERY fine CCD) which developed a USB fault. Posted it to SX on Wednesday and got it back on Friday! Try that with SBIG and I suspect you would be several weeks without a camera.

3) Big chipped CCD's like the 16200 need big filters, a scope able to fully illuminate the chip (not sure the Z81 will) so need for caution on scope pairing. Field flatteners also need to be able to cope with the CCD really estate.Large format narrow band pass narrowband filters are eye wateringly expensive so worth (and will blow your 3k budget out of the water) considering in your budget. 7 position 2" filter wheels are huge but needed to do LRGBHaSIIOIII without changing filters. Another consideration is that the weight of a 16200 CCD and 7 position filter wheel is significant. You need a top rate focuser to lift the load reliably.

4) Choice of CCD really comes down to not being too under or over sampled with the scope pairing and the field of view you want for the targets you want to shoot. Thats really down to your choice rather than anyone elses recommendations. I have several CCD's and have got more use out of the SX814 than any of the others and have used it at focal lengths of 130 to 700mm.

Hope that helps

Chris
LX200|ZS70|FSQ85|FLT110|Altair DF250RC|EQ6 Pro(Rowan Belt Mod)|ParamountMX
ATIK383L+/EFW2/OAG|Lodestar|Baader 36mm LRGBHaSIIOIII
Starlight Express SXVRH16/ONAG/FW|Lodestar X2|Baader 2" Filters
Starlight Express SXVRH814/ONAG/FW|LodestarX2|Baader 2" Filters
Lunt LS60PTBF1200|DMK41|Quark Chromo

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Re: Cooled CCD/large, full frame options and recommendations
« Reply #2 on: 09:10:17, 02 December, 2017 »
Graham, I would endorse all the comments made by Chris. In particular point 3 re:16200, but would add that in addition with large chip cameras the need for precise focussing is even greater particularly towards the edge of the fov, so you would also need to budget for an electronic focuser - more weight/more expense.  Although I love my 16200 there are other cameras which have more sensitive chips (higher Quantum Efficiency) so that is also a consideration worthy of some thought before purchase.

HTH Jim
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Offline psjshep

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Re: Cooled CCD/large, full frame options and recommendations
« Reply #3 on: 10:34:04, 02 December, 2017 »
As someone who has made the journey you are looking into, the crucial stages have all been mentioned by the boys above....  the killer was having to upgrade the entire filter set with a bigger chip.... and the absolute frustration getting the EXACT spacing between the camera & field flattener.... this part is less exact for a smaller chip as there is less to worry about at the extremes of the size of that chip!

One other thing I didn't really consider was the MAHOOSIVE difference in filesize of each sub when going from the SXVR-H16, which is one of the best Starlight cameras in my opinion, to the Atik 16200... 8MB -> 30MB... and in an image run, I was initially surprised on how much was acquired....  I am fine now, as I had a reorganise.... Also, along with that, you need quite some UMPH to process a large stack of images that size...

For me, to sum up... I was very glad I went to the smaller size chip initially... I got very good experience imaging & learning to process with the SXVR-H9 & 9C in the early days.... then to move on when I wanted a larger FOV...  As mentioned already, Starlight (Terry, Gill & Michael are a pleasure to deal with) or Atik (who are a sponsor on here, with one of their crew Vince posting from time to time) are definitely my only choice of cameras. I would HIGHLY recommend the SXVR-H16 as a fantastic "middle of the road" choice.

Phil
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Offline stars_are_cool

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Re: Cooled CCD/large, full frame options and recommendations
« Reply #4 on: 12:09:46, 02 December, 2017 »
Thanks guys, for the kind responses, much appreciated indeed!
I’ll take everything onboard before making a choice, it’s some way down the line yet, I’m just researching.
My trouble is that I don’t know any imagers personally, I can’t go to a mates place to check out his cameras for example, so I might try finding a local group or get to some star parties next year.

Yes Chris, I guess I’m going from my (very) recent good experiences with the Z61, I am also looking at TS-Optics and I’ll make a point of checking out Altair scopes more thoroughly.

With the CCDs what I really would like to avoid is having to buy several, I guess that might be unavoidable if I intend on using a variety of scopes. In the end £3k is a lot for me, but I need to set a budget and try and stick to it, or go below it.
I had been looking at the Lakeside autofocusers, and during research I’ve come across an Italian company (Prima Luce Lab) that produce an interesting looking autofocuser.

I’ll checkout all the models of CCD you have each mentioned.

I’ll type you all again soon!


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Graham.

William Optics ZS61 (...more refractors to follow!)
Skywatcher HEQ5-Pro
Laptop (image processing in StarTools), i7 16gb RAM, SSD

Offline psjshep

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Re: Cooled CCD/large, full frame options and recommendations
« Reply #5 on: 12:12:43, 02 December, 2017 »
- I love my Lakeside focusers... I have a motor on each of my scopes...
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Offline stars_are_cool

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Cooled CCD/large, full frame options and recommendations
« Reply #6 on: 12:24:58, 02 December, 2017 »
- I love my Lakeside focusers... I have a motor on each of my scopes...

Ian at iankingimaging.com has been very helpful to me about the Lakeside autofocusers, it might be the case that I just need to accept the cost of having one on each scope I intend to image with - what I took from the Prima Luce solution was that it can be swapped-out with different adapters and fitted to different scopes (is my current understanding at least), I have emailed them a few questions about it, yet to hear back...

This is the solution I am referring to:

https://www.primalucelab.com/astronomy/sesto-senso-robotic-focusing-motor.html

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Graham.

William Optics ZS61 (...more refractors to follow!)
Skywatcher HEQ5-Pro
Laptop (image processing in StarTools), i7 16gb RAM, SSD

Offline chris.bailey

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Re: Cooled CCD/large, full frame options and recommendations
« Reply #7 on: 12:28:41, 02 December, 2017 »
Graham

Just be aware that a full set of 2" Baader LRGB and 7nm Ha SII OIII filters is close on £1,000 and that goes northwards fast if you start looking at Astrodon or narrower bandpass filters.

Chris
LX200|ZS70|FSQ85|FLT110|Altair DF250RC|EQ6 Pro(Rowan Belt Mod)|ParamountMX
ATIK383L+/EFW2/OAG|Lodestar|Baader 36mm LRGBHaSIIOIII
Starlight Express SXVRH16/ONAG/FW|Lodestar X2|Baader 2" Filters
Starlight Express SXVRH814/ONAG/FW|LodestarX2|Baader 2" Filters
Lunt LS60PTBF1200|DMK41|Quark Chromo

Offline psjshep

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Re: Cooled CCD/large, full frame options and recommendations
« Reply #8 on: 12:37:12, 02 December, 2017 »
Most stepper motor focuser solutions allow you to have one control unit.... and multiple motors+focuser bracket (the bracket tends to be fairly unique for each scope)

Again, typically, the larger stepper motor + bracket will set you back over £100.... the motors aren't cheap... that's the way they are..

The commercial motors attach via a larger "collar" which connects the shaft of the motor with the shaft of the focuser (you need to remove one of the focuser knobs). The motor is also attached to a bracket... this connects to the bottom of the scope, usually via a locking bolt.

Typically, one controller is used for all of the motors... one in use at a time...

Phil
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Offline stars_are_cool

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Re: Cooled CCD/large, full frame options and recommendations
« Reply #9 on: 12:40:02, 02 December, 2017 »
Graham

Just be aware that a full set of 2" Baader LRGB and 7nm Ha SII OIII filters is close on £1,000 and that goes northwards fast if you start looking at Astrodon or narrower bandpass filters.

Chris

Cheers again Chris, I do appreciate it.
Another credit card on the horizon for me then!?
I’m not jumping just yet though...I want a few more months with my colour CMOS before a go “true” CCD.

I may also check out the secondhand market at some point.

I never reckoned this would be as expensive as it is!!! I’m hooked now too...

Thanks again.


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Graham.

William Optics ZS61 (...more refractors to follow!)
Skywatcher HEQ5-Pro
Laptop (image processing in StarTools), i7 16gb RAM, SSD

Offline stars_are_cool

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Re: Cooled CCD/large, full frame options and recommendations
« Reply #10 on: 15:56:49, 02 December, 2017 »
Most stepper motor focuser solutions allow you to have one control unit.... and multiple motors+focuser bracket (the bracket tends to be fairly unique for each scope)

Again, typically, the larger stepper motor + bracket will set you back over £100.... the motors aren't cheap... that's the way they are..

The commercial motors attach via a larger "collar" which connects the shaft of the motor with the shaft of the focuser (you need to remove one of the focuser knobs). The motor is also attached to a bracket... this connects to the bottom of the scope, usually via a locking bolt.

Typically, one controller is used for all of the motors... one in use at a time...

Phil

Cheers Phil! I missed this reply earlier - that makes sense.
I was thinking I’d need multiple controllers...Lakeside are still a good option for me, and Good to know that I won’t need to shell out for a complete unit per scope. Ian didn’t mention that, perhaps I didn’t word my question well enough.
Cheers again, most helpful.


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Graham.

William Optics ZS61 (...more refractors to follow!)
Skywatcher HEQ5-Pro
Laptop (image processing in StarTools), i7 16gb RAM, SSD

 

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