Username:

Password:

UKAI is moving to Facebook

Author Topic: Help needed moving to CCD imaging.  (Read 987 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Annie

  • Poster God
  • *****
  • Posts: 1029
Help needed moving to CCD imaging.
« on: 11:52:15, 29 September, 2017 »
I am now resolved to buying a CCD camera in time for next winter and ideally would like to go for mono.  However I really do struggle with each step forward I take therefore  to date have kept my setup as simple as possible so guess a move to a mono CCD may necessitate quite a few changes to my current permanent set up:  NEQ6, Takahashi FSQ106ED, Lacerta MGEN stand alone guider, various DSLR's and Backyard camera control, focusing by eye and controlling the mount through synscan.  In-spite of this I have been pretty pleased with the images I have taken. I don't expect to have too much difficulty identify 2/3 cameras to choose from but will come back to the forum before making a final decision.  I just wonder what other changes I should consider making to my current set up and the way I acquire images and whether I can assimilate some stage by stage rather than be faced by what for me may be a seismic leap!

My other option is to find a relatively inexpensive OSC  before moving on to mono but not sure how helpful this would be.  I assume that I could avoid the complication of filters with a mono CCD by just taking mono images?

Would be really grateful for some advice - I'm driving myself mad being so indecisive!


Annie
Pulsar Observatory; NEQ6/EQ6 wedge; HEQ5 Pro; TS Star 71 Astrograph; Takahashi FSQ 106ed; Skymax 150 Pro; Nikon D600; Canon 550D modified; Canon 5D Mk11; ZWO ASI120 MM-S; Lacerta MGEN stand alone guider.

Offline chris.bailey

  • Administrator
  • Galactic Poster
  • *****
  • Posts: 10012
  • If at last you do succeed, don't try again
    • Rosemount Observatory
Re: Help needed moving to CCD imaging.
« Reply #1 on: 12:22:35, 29 September, 2017 »
"I used to be indecisive but now I am not so sure"

First thing I would do is move away from Syscan and get EQMod working. It is a game changer in terms of productivity and paves the way for computer control that Synscan does not give you.

Second I would make a decision on acquisition software and get to know it inside out. APT and PHD2 are good, reliable and inexpensive. I suggest APT as it will work with your DSLR's now but still work well with a CCD.

I would not work now without plate solving (APT does it) to do mount syncs and improve slew to target accuracy.

Next step is probably adding Autofocus but APT's focus assistants are pretty good.

If you have DSLR's then moving to OSC colour is a big step in terms of quality (cooled CCD, no in camera processing) BUT if you ever want to go narrowband then mono is the only way to go.

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
Samyang 135mm f1.8

Offline mechanoid

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 134
Re: Help needed moving to CCD imaging.
« Reply #2 on: 13:21:16, 29 September, 2017 »
A OSC camera doesn't stop you taking narrow band images.  I use my EOS clip filters from my DSLR with my QHY10.  However, I'd agree its not optimal if you intend to do a lot of narrowband work, as changing the filters is a 10 minute job for me, and of course not all pixels contribute to the image.  But it can be done. 

My biggest problem is getting enough clear nights to get multiple imaging runs on the same target. Sometimes OSC is far less frustrating, which might be a good point to consider when choosing a camera.
Skywatcher Quattro 200mm C/F, Vixen GPDX, QHY10
Skywatcher ST80, QHY5II, PHD2
Images Plus

Offline Annie

  • Poster God
  • *****
  • Posts: 1029
Re: Help needed moving to CCD imaging.
« Reply #3 on: 14:25:05, 29 September, 2017 »
Thanks Chris  - your advice about moving away from synscan control and deciding on acquisition software is eminently sensible for me and a good place for me to start.

Thanks Mechanoid - I still haven't ruled out starting with a OSC and moving on to mono.  Fortunately my budget will allow for that though not if I buy a more expensive OSC.

Annie
Pulsar Observatory; NEQ6/EQ6 wedge; HEQ5 Pro; TS Star 71 Astrograph; Takahashi FSQ 106ed; Skymax 150 Pro; Nikon D600; Canon 550D modified; Canon 5D Mk11; ZWO ASI120 MM-S; Lacerta MGEN stand alone guider.

Offline chris.bailey

  • Administrator
  • Galactic Poster
  • *****
  • Posts: 10012
  • If at last you do succeed, don't try again
    • Rosemount Observatory
Re: Help needed moving to CCD imaging.
« Reply #4 on: 16:35:21, 29 September, 2017 »
At the end of the day you have to go with what you are happy with and what will lead to least frustration. There is nothing inherently wrong with an OSC camera but the time savings are less than you might think and they are far less flexible. The moon ruins many a clear night for RGB imaging when narrowband (Ha an particular) is still feasible. I do take the point that it is possible to do narrowband with an OSC, I have tried it and wouldn't again. You are spending a fair wage of cash on a CCD so I would get one that gives the most flexibility and for me that comes with a filter wheel loaded with LRGBHa and OIII.

A possible halfway house would be to get a modded DSLR?

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
Samyang 135mm f1.8

Offline Carole

  • Poster God
  • *****
  • Posts: 1632
    • Carole Pope Astro-Imaging
Re: Help needed moving to CCD imaging.
« Reply #5 on: 18:28:01, 29 September, 2017 »
Annie, I have been imaging with a Mono camera now for 6 years, and to be honest I still do things very simply and still use a handset.  I have EQmod and can use it, but went back to the handset because I could not stand behind the scope and control the laptop at the same time if I needed to see where the scope was pointing (i.e. GOTO was not quite accurate), I tried a wireless game pad and that worked on 30second time delay, so hopeless, then I tried a mouse on an extension cable but I was too far from the laptop to see where the mouse was, and in the end decided it was just as easy to use the handset.  I don't use electronic focus either as I have several scopes and the thought of having to have different focusser for each has put me off, so I just use a Bahtinov mask. 

I have managed well with this simple set up for all this time, though I am thinking of getting back to EQmod so I can plate solve, but all I am saying is that these things are not necessary when you are starting out.

If you're happy with your guide system then don't change it.  The only thing I would really recommend is getting an electronic filterwheel.  I used a manual one to start with and it really was a chore having to change the filters, and often the scope would be pointing in a direction where I could not see what number filter I was on, I even recall having to lay on the ground once to see underneath the filter wheel to change a filter (luckily it was in my observatory), and it was at that point I decided I really needed to do something about it.  Changing to an EFW has been a game changer. 

So I would say just start with a mono camera and EFW and you can always add the other gizmo's at a later date when you feel you are wanting to and ready to add another dimension to your imaging regime. 

I found the biggest learning curve with mono was learning to combine the different filters. 

Carole
Mount: HEQ5,  Telescopes: SW ED120 Pro and SW Evostar ED80 pro, WO ZS71 APO,  SW130PDS
Cameras: Modified Canon EOS 1100D, Atik 460EX, Atik314, DMK21, DBK21, Dual rig options. Observatory: SkyPOD & PZT
https://sites.google.com/site/caroleastroimaging/home

Offline Annie

  • Poster God
  • *****
  • Posts: 1029
Re: Help needed moving to CCD imaging.
« Reply #6 on: 20:43:25, 29 September, 2017 »
Yes Chris I'm sure it is a matter of finding what works best for me and I think I have all the options now.  I will probably go for mono and have a look at EQmod.  Two of my DSLR's are modded - full frame and crop sensor.

Thanks for your comments Carole. I am sure that when I get round to using filters I will will go for an EFW.  What do you use for your acquisition software Carole? I take the point about the practicalities of operating a laptop.

Plenty to get my head round!

Annie
Pulsar Observatory; NEQ6/EQ6 wedge; HEQ5 Pro; TS Star 71 Astrograph; Takahashi FSQ 106ed; Skymax 150 Pro; Nikon D600; Canon 550D modified; Canon 5D Mk11; ZWO ASI120 MM-S; Lacerta MGEN stand alone guider.

Offline chris.bailey

  • Administrator
  • Galactic Poster
  • *****
  • Posts: 10012
  • If at last you do succeed, don't try again
    • Rosemount Observatory
Re: Help needed moving to CCD imaging.
« Reply #7 on: 05:14:55, 30 September, 2017 »
...Two of my DSLR's are modded - full frame and crop sensor...

Two good reasons to add a mono CCD to the stable :-)
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
Samyang 135mm f1.8

Offline Einari

  • Poster God
  • *****
  • Posts: 2970
    • Einari's astro pages
Re: Help needed moving to CCD imaging.
« Reply #8 on: 09:32:07, 30 September, 2017 »
One idea : you can combine L data from mono cam and RGB data from colour cam.
Have done so for years - not lately because finally got me filter wheel and filters.
Some fiddling to do if the pixels don't match with cameras but it's doable.
What I'm saying that you can start with mono cam without filter wheel and filters.
Tapio

Celestron C8, C9.25" & Hyperstar, iOptron CEM60-EC, TS 80 triplet,  Coronado PST, SXV-694,  ASI120MM/ASI174MC Cool

Offline Annie

  • Poster God
  • *****
  • Posts: 1029
Re: Help needed moving to CCD imaging.
« Reply #9 on: 09:36:35, 30 September, 2017 »
Yes Chris as I typed that I came to the same conclusion! And yes Tapio I would probably start without filters and filter wheel.

Many thanks everyone.

Annie
Pulsar Observatory; NEQ6/EQ6 wedge; HEQ5 Pro; TS Star 71 Astrograph; Takahashi FSQ 106ed; Skymax 150 Pro; Nikon D600; Canon 550D modified; Canon 5D Mk11; ZWO ASI120 MM-S; Lacerta MGEN stand alone guider.

Offline Carole

  • Poster God
  • *****
  • Posts: 1632
    • Carole Pope Astro-Imaging
Re: Help needed moving to CCD imaging.
« Reply #10 on: 23:18:06, 30 September, 2017 »
Quote
What do you use for your acquisition software Carole?

I have Atik cameras and use the very straight forward Artemis software that comes with it.  There are no frills or extras with this, but it suits me just fine.   It has an excellent sequencer so I can do all my par focal filters in one go, and just re-focus for the non par focal ones as required.

I did use APT for a little while but was rather dubious about the reliability of temperature control but that was back in the early days of APT doing CCD imaging.  I think I will need to go back to that again for plate solving.

I did try SCPro at one time but could not get it to speak to PHD even with an IT expert's help, so didn;t bother when the trial period ran out.

Carole
Mount: HEQ5,  Telescopes: SW ED120 Pro and SW Evostar ED80 pro, WO ZS71 APO,  SW130PDS
Cameras: Modified Canon EOS 1100D, Atik 460EX, Atik314, DMK21, DBK21, Dual rig options. Observatory: SkyPOD & PZT
https://sites.google.com/site/caroleastroimaging/home

Offline Annie

  • Poster God
  • *****
  • Posts: 1029
Re: Help needed moving to CCD imaging.
« Reply #11 on: 10:40:25, 01 October, 2017 »
Thanks for the response Carole.  Some clear skies would be good - am forgetting how to use my current set-up!

Annie
Pulsar Observatory; NEQ6/EQ6 wedge; HEQ5 Pro; TS Star 71 Astrograph; Takahashi FSQ 106ed; Skymax 150 Pro; Nikon D600; Canon 550D modified; Canon 5D Mk11; ZWO ASI120 MM-S; Lacerta MGEN stand alone guider.

Offline mechanoid

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 134
Re: Help needed moving to CCD imaging.
« Reply #12 on: 10:31:48, 02 October, 2017 »
I currently use APT, which I find a pretty good program in general, particularly plate solving.  However, I have major issues with temperature control.  As long as the program is running its fine, but this program usually  locks up and requires restarting during most sessions. (Its never done this whilst actually taking images).  This might just be something to do with my set up, I don't know.  However, when the program restarts, it resets the cooler power to zero, and the camera undergoes a rapid temperature rise until the cooling aid catches up.  I've emailed the author about this problem and suggested a few fixes, but no response as yet.

At least with this program you can try before you buy the full version.  If it doesn't crash, then it should be fine.

Dave
Skywatcher Quattro 200mm C/F, Vixen GPDX, QHY10
Skywatcher ST80, QHY5II, PHD2
Images Plus

Offline Annie

  • Poster God
  • *****
  • Posts: 1029
Re: Help needed moving to CCD imaging.
« Reply #13 on: 16:30:32, 02 October, 2017 »
Ok - thanks for those words of warning Dave.

Annie
Pulsar Observatory; NEQ6/EQ6 wedge; HEQ5 Pro; TS Star 71 Astrograph; Takahashi FSQ 106ed; Skymax 150 Pro; Nikon D600; Canon 550D modified; Canon 5D Mk11; ZWO ASI120 MM-S; Lacerta MGEN stand alone guider.

Offline midnight_lightning

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 255
Re: Help needed moving to CCD imaging.
« Reply #14 on: 18:05:51, 02 October, 2017 »
Hi Annie,

I think we probably started around the same time and with similar equipment and I have just made the move to CCD, so I can tell you a bit about my experience for what it's worth.

I was imaging with unmodded DSLR (D750), Esprit 80/400, HEQ5 using PHD2 (Lodestar 2 on the finderscope), BYN for camera control.

I originally used synscan but moved to EQMOD + Stellarium and a game paddle which was a big step forward in doing star alignment. I would recommend getting PHD2 working as a first step and then bring in EQMOD if you haven't already.

I decided to use SGPro as my main software and go to CCD at the same time which was a bit of a big step, although I didn't have any issues with PHD2 or anything like that it did take a while to work out how to configure SGPro do what I wanted. I really like SGPro now I have used it a few times and I am working on further automation - it's quite simple once you get used to it, just another learning curve.

Plate Solving is amazing! Running it with SGPro and EQMOD I now don't need the game paddle for star alignment and can do the whole thing sat down at my laptop. There are various ways to use it but I generally go to astrobin, find an image that frames the target as I want it and copy the URL of the page into SGPro and just hit go. SGPro then plates solves the image, does the alignment, you can go into EQMOD and see which stars it has used if you wish, and your camera is now centered on your target within a few pixels - all done in a few seconds - pure magic. You can set all of this up whilst sat inside in the warm before hand.

I bought the Trius SX814 CCD and SX Mini Filter wheel in the end, along with a set of LRGB and HA, OIII, SII filters (Baader).

I like the SX814, I chose this over the Atik because it has 3 USB ports on it - I connect EFW/Lodestar to the SX814 which reduces the cables going back to the laptop. Also it cools to a lower temperature. When I was deciding which camera to get I also looked at the Atik equivalent which received good recommendations and appears to be a good camera. Also have a look at the new CMOS cameras - my view is that CCD is better at the moment but it's contentious and there are excellent images from both technologies. I also didn't want to have to process and store the hundreds of large subs/calibration frames that seem to be required to get the benefits of CMOS.

The filter wheel is great but probably a mistake in hindsight. I really wanted a 7 position FW so I could keep all of my filters in them but I also wanted OAG and I didn't have enough backfocus to allow both. Nothing wrong with the SX Mini EFW except swapping filters is a pain and lets dust in. The only reason I went for OAG is that the Lodestar has big pixels and when using with the finder scope the pixel scale was quite large, by using the Esprit with a longer focal length it brought this down quite a bit although I don't know that it makes much difference in practice given my relative inexperience with guiding.

The next issue I found was LP. I have been using an IDAS filter with my DSLR but took this out when I got the CCD. Our LP isn't horrendous here but we are between Leeds/Harrogate/York and I found 5 minute exposures with the Luminance filter was causing some LP issues, less so with the RGB.

I still need to experiment with LRGB to see what I can do about LP but this is on the back burner for now because I tried the NB filters and was blown away by the improvement in image quality. So far I have just experimented with HA and OIII but am very excited about what I will be able to achieve with these. I've used twenty minute exposures to date which are a pain if there are any clouds about but being able to image when there is a moon is a real bonus. I intend to go back to LRGB at some point but at the moment I will focus on NB.

The biggest difficulty I am having with going CCD is getting the correct backfocus and it is driving me absolutely mad. I ordered CCD/FW from a well known supplier and asked him to provide the correct adapters but the ones sent gave a backfocus of 72mm - should have been 66mm (even though the manual says 61mm). I haven't found the supplier particularly helpful in getting this resolved but I would certainly recommend going to one supplier for a complete package.

The next thing I looked at was focussing. I started doing this manually using the focussing tool in SGPro and it works fine but its a pain having to fiddle with the focus knob whilst trying to peer across to the laptop screen. The advantage of focussing in SGPro is that I haven't had to slew off my target to focus. With a Bahtinov mask, which I used with the DSLR, you need a bright star so may need to slew each time you focus and then reacquire your target which wastes time. The conclusion is that I have just bought a Sharpsky Pro motor focuser which I haven't used in anger yet but which I am impressed with so far - it even came with an amazing 3D printed bespoke bracket designed specially for my scope - and comes with a dew heat controller (also not used yet).

You will need to decide what is best for you but from my experience I would say:
Go Mono CCD rather than OSC (As someone mentioned OSC isn't necessarily quicker (mono is more efficient) and NB is amazing)
Get an EFW - and I wish I had got the 7 position (although you can do a lot with just RGB, HA, OIII in a 5 position wheel - which is what I may do for now)
Drive everything from a Laptop/Computer - EQMOD + Control (SGPro, ADT etc) + PHD2 (On or off axis)
Plan your road map in as much detail as you can but then take lots of small steps

I have also just bought a PoleMaster which I love - it has significantly improved my PA and it is so good not to have to look through a polar scope! (There are other perhaps cheaper solutions on the market that are perhaps worth looking at).

Lots to think about Annie, it took me ages to decide whether to go CCD but I am already seeing a big leap in my imaging and I'm still scratching the surface - also consider that you will need to adjust your post processing.

Do take lots of small steps with this, I found the move from DSLR to CCD more demanding than I expected and I am still having to work at it but the results are definitely worth it.

Hope some of this helps

Jon

HEQ5 Pro (Belt Mod), Sky Watcher Esprit Pro 80/400, SX Mini Filter Wheel with OAG - Lodestar X2, SX814, Software - SGPro, PHD2, Stellarium (Scope), EQMOD, DSS, Star Tools.

 

ukbuysellRemote Imaging from AustraliaSharpSkyblank APTUKAI on Facebook
Powered by SMF 2.0.15 | SMF © 2006, Simple Machines LLC
DarkBreak by DzinerStudio. Theme modified by The UKAI Team

Page created in 0.273 seconds with 36 queries.
TinyPortal © 2005-2012