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Re: [ccd-newastro] Re: looking for camera (or workflow) recommendation

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  • Orlando Andico
    Hi Stan, These microscopy cameras use a PCI interface, and they come with their own capture software BUT can also be driven by MaximDL Pro. A desktop or laptop
    Message 1 of 29 , Mar 14, 2013
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      Hi Stan,

      These microscopy cameras use a PCI interface, and they come with their own
      capture software BUT can also be driven by MaximDL Pro. A desktop or laptop
      with big dock are needed, and you're right I believe they are 32-bit only.

      I actually got an Apogee KX camera which was being sold as a KX32ME
      (KAF-3200ME chip) and I got it working with MaximDL -- but it turned out to
      be a KX85 (Sony ICX085 chip - much less desirable) and I had to send it
      back.

      But that aside, given the cost constraints and my previous calculations,
      which of the cameras would be recommended? or are they all more-or-less
      equivalent?


      On Fri, Mar 15, 2013 at 3:45 AM, Stan <stan_ccd@...> wrote:

      > **
      >
      >
      > --- Orlando Andico <orly.andico@...> wrote:
      > > There is another option ...
      > > An equipment liquidator on ebay is selling these old
      > > Quantix microscopy cameras for really low prices...
      >
      > This can be a great deal (I obtained a used microscopy EMCCD from a
      > similar liquadator for 10% of retail).
      >
      > I didn;t look at that one, but most of lab CCDs use exotic interfaces such
      > as "Camera Link" (expensive and awful interface) or a dedicated PCI board
      > that requires a computer that is hardware compatible. And often the driver
      > is 32 bit only. This eliminates most laptops and many modern desktops. So
      > in addition to one of those cameas you may also need a comptible desktop
      > computer (also can be bought used).
      >
      > Additionally, many of these cameras require expensive software that is
      > ill-suited for astro. I had to write my own camera control software, which
      > took ahwile but was worth it.
      >
      > Stan
      >
      >
      >



      --
      Orlando Andico
      +65.6436.1577 | +65.8139.0251


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Orly
      I just measured my NELM with Samir Kharusi s formula Mag/sq arc-sec = 13.93+2.5*log10(seconds to mid histogram at ISO 800 and f4) and came up with 15 seconds,
      Message 2 of 29 , Mar 15, 2013
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        I just measured my NELM with Samir Kharusi's formula

        Mag/sq arc-sec = 13.93+2.5*log10(seconds to mid histogram at ISO 800 and f4)


        and came up with 15 seconds, which is 16.87 mag / sq arc-sec.

        from this formula
        nelm = 7.93 - 5 log(10^(4.316-(bmpsas/5)) + 1)

        i figured my NELM is... 3.

        given such a (terrible) amount of sky fog, is my goal still practical? with a mono camera and 3- or 5-nm Ha filter, what sort of exposure lengths should i expect?



        --- In ccd-newastro@yahoogroups.com, "Stan" <stan_ccd@...> wrote:
        >
        > > a more realistic compare, that he neglected, would be to take
        > > a 4x longer exp with the OSC to see if it is any better...
        >
        > Actually I meant 4x more sub-exps to produce 4x longer total exp.
        >
        > Taking longer sub-exps for only one camera would unbalance the affects of read noise and favor the cam with the longer exps.
        >
        > Stan
        >
      • Stan
        ... Essentially all cameras based on any particular CCD are equivalent in terms of QE, read noise and dark current (per temperature) as there is little that a
        Message 3 of 29 , Mar 15, 2013
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          --- Orlando Andico <orly.andico@...> wrote:
          > ... or are they all more-or-less equivalent?

          Essentially all cameras based on any particular CCD are equivalent in terms of QE, read noise and dark current (per temperature) as there is little that a camera manufacturer can do about those attributes other than screw them up. The things that differentiates such cameras are form factors (e.g. lab cameras are usually large and heavy), built-in features (many lab cameras lack an internal shutter, which can be very problematic for flat fields), cooling, lens mount (usually c-mount or proprietary for lab cameras), data transmission interface (and speed of download), software drivers and compatibilities. There are also tangential but potentially important issues such as repair costs (most lab cameras cost more to repair than a new amateur camera) and obsolescence (e.g. 32 or 32/64 PCI slots have become very rare in motherboards and that card will not work in a 64 PCI bit slot).

          If you are OK using an old desktop machine for the camera and can figure out some sort of robust shutter for flat fields then it might be worth pursuing. The included (or more likely downloadable) software should be sufficient for manual exposures (MaxIm could be used for semi-automation, though if you don't already have it, it is a significant added expense). But it is not for the weak... <g>

          Comparing different CCDs is more complicated because pixel size and noise characteristics have differing effects for particular scopes, filters, applications and techniques.

          Stan
        • Orly
          well... there is an active group of users on CN who have successfully added shutters to these Quantix cameras and are using them for AP. The cost of the
          Message 4 of 29 , Mar 15, 2013
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            well... there is an active group of users on CN who have successfully added shutters to these Quantix cameras and are using them for AP.

            The cost of the Quantix 6303 + MaximDL Pro is only sufficient to buy an Atik 314L+ (ICX285 chip). So......



            --- In ccd-newastro@yahoogroups.com, "Stan" <stan_ccd@...> wrote:
            >
            > --- Orlando Andico <orly.andico@> wrote:
            > > ... or are they all more-or-less equivalent?
            >
            > Essentially all cameras based on any particular CCD are equivalent in terms of QE, read noise and dark current (per temperature) as there is little that a camera manufacturer can do about those attributes other than screw them up. The things that differentiates such cameras are form factors (e.g. lab cameras are usually large and heavy), built-in features (many lab cameras lack an internal shutter, which can be very problematic for flat fields), cooling, lens mount (usually c-mount or proprietary for lab cameras), data transmission interface (and speed of download), software drivers and compatibilities. There are also tangential but potentially important issues such as repair costs (most lab cameras cost more to repair than a new amateur camera) and obsolescence (e.g. 32 or 32/64 PCI slots have become very rare in motherboards and that card will not work in a 64 PCI bit slot).
            >
            > If you are OK using an old desktop machine for the camera and can figure out some sort of robust shutter for flat fields then it might be worth pursuing. The included (or more likely downloadable) software should be sufficient for manual exposures (MaxIm could be used for semi-automation, though if you don't already have it, it is a significant added expense). But it is not for the weak... <g>
            >
            > Comparing different CCDs is more complicated because pixel size and noise characteristics have differing effects for particular scopes, filters, applications and techniques.
            >
            > Stan
            >
          • Stan
            ... Do you have a link to that group? Stan
            Message 5 of 29 , Mar 15, 2013
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              --- "Orly" <orly.andico@...> wrote:
              > there is an active group of users on CN...

              Do you have a link to that group?

              Stan
            • Orlando Andico
              VERY long thread.. http://www.cloudynights.com/ubbthreads/showflat.php/Cat/0/Number/4619543/page/1/view/collapsed/sb/5/o/all/fpart/1 Most people end up using
              Message 6 of 29 , Mar 15, 2013
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                VERY long thread..

                http://www.cloudynights.com/ubbthreads/showflat.php/Cat/0/Number/4619543/page/1/view/collapsed/sb/5/o/all/fpart/1

                Most people end up using VS35 (Uniblitz) or Melles-Griot shutters. The
                camera already has the wires to trigger a shutter.



                On Sat, Mar 16, 2013 at 12:48 AM, Stan <stan_ccd@...> wrote:

                > **
                >
                >
                > --- "Orly" <orly.andico@...> wrote:
                > > there is an active group of users on CN...
                >
                > Do you have a link to that group?
                >
                > Stan
                >
                >
                >



                --
                Orlando Andico
                +65.6436.1577 | +65.8139.0251


                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • Ron Wodaski
                You can roll your own shutter with parts from Uniblitz (you need a shutter, and a driver to trigger it). Not exactly cheap, but workable. This assumes the
                Message 7 of 29 , Mar 15, 2013
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                  You can roll your own shutter with parts from Uniblitz (you need a shutter, and a driver to trigger it). Not exactly cheap, but workable. This assumes the camera has a relay connection to trigger an external shutter; many do.

                  Ron Wodaski



                  On Mar 15, 2013, at 9:09 AM, Stan <stan_ccd@...> wrote:

                  > --- Orlando Andico <orly.andico@...> wrote:
                  >> ... or are they all more-or-less equivalent?
                  >
                  > Essentially all cameras based on any particular CCD are equivalent in terms of QE, read noise and dark current (per temperature) as there is little that a camera manufacturer can do about those attributes other than screw them up. The things that differentiates such cameras are form factors (e.g. lab cameras are usually large and heavy), built-in features (many lab cameras lack an internal shutter, which can be very problematic for flat fields), cooling, lens mount (usually c-mount or proprietary for lab cameras), data transmission interface (and speed of download), software drivers and compatibilities. There are also tangential but potentially important issues such as repair costs (most lab cameras cost more to repair than a new amateur camera) and obsolescence (e.g. 32 or 32/64 PCI slots have become very rare in motherboards and that card will not work in a 64 PCI bit slot).
                  >
                  > If you are OK using an old desktop machine for the camera and can figure out some sort of robust shutter for flat fields then it might be worth pursuing. The included (or more likely downloadable) software should be sufficient for manual exposures (MaxIm could be used for semi-automation, though if you don't already have it, it is a significant added expense). But it is not for the weak... <g>
                  >
                  > Comparing different CCDs is more complicated because pixel size and noise characteristics have differing effects for particular scopes, filters, applications and techniques.
                  >
                  > Stan
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > ------------------------------------
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                • Orlando Andico
                  Ron, this specific camera already has a shutter driver. 24V trigger, 4V hold. So given that a new 6303 camera starts at about $7K, what the liquidator is
                  Message 8 of 29 , Mar 15, 2013
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                    Ron, this specific camera already has a shutter driver. 24V trigger, 4V
                    hold.

                    So given that a new 6303 camera starts at about $7K, what the liquidator is
                    asking ($1K) is reasonable? even when factoring in the machining work to
                    attach a shutter and the cost of MaximDL (although MaximDL is not
                    required.. it comes with software that can capture, then just use PHD to
                    guide).



                    On Sat, Mar 16, 2013 at 1:00 AM, Ron Wodaski <yahoo@...> wrote:

                    > **
                    >
                    >
                    > You can roll your own shutter with parts from Uniblitz (you need a
                    > shutter, and a driver to trigger it). Not exactly cheap, but workable. This
                    > assumes the camera has a relay connection to trigger an external shutter;
                    > many do.
                    >
                    > Ron Wodaski
                    >


                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  • Neil Fleming
                    IIRC, my NELM from Boston was 16.95.  I ve since moved my gear, but this shot was taken from the white light polluted area in Boston:
                    Message 9 of 29 , Mar 15, 2013
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                      IIRC, my NELM from Boston was 16.95.  I've since moved my gear, but this shot was taken from the "white" light polluted area in Boston:
                      http://www.flemingastrophotography.com/ic1396.html


                         ...Neil
                       
                      www.flemingastrophotography.com 
                      Direct from Boston - brilliant diamonds in pea soup
                      Also check out the astro_narrowbandYahoo group!



                      >________________________________
                      > From: Orly <orly.andico@...>
                      >To: ccd-newastro@yahoogroups.com
                      >Sent: Friday, March 15, 2013 12:04 PM
                      >Subject: [ccd-newastro] Re: looking for camera (or workflow) recommendation
                      >
                      >I just measured my NELM with Samir Kharusi's formula
                      >
                      >Mag/sq arc-sec = 13.93+2.5*log10(seconds to mid histogram at ISO 800 and f4)
                      >
                      >
                      >and came up with 15 seconds, which is 16.87 mag / sq arc-sec.
                      >
                      >from this formula
                      >nelm = 7.93 - 5 log(10^(4.316-(bmpsas/5)) + 1)
                      >
                      >i figured my NELM is... 3.
                      >
                      >given such a (terrible) amount of sky fog, is my goal still practical? with a mono camera and 3- or 5-nm Ha filter, what sort of exposure lengths should i expect?
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >--- In ccd-newastro@yahoogroups.com, "Stan" <stan_ccd@...> wrote:
                      >>
                      >> > a more realistic compare, that he neglected, would be to take
                      >> > a 4x longer exp with the OSC to see if it is any better...
                      >>
                      >> Actually I meant 4x more sub-exps to produce 4x longer total exp.
                      >>
                      >> Taking longer sub-exps for only one camera would unbalance the affects of read noise and favor the cam with the longer exps.
                      >>
                      >> Stan
                      >>
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >------------------------------------
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >

                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                    • Ron Wodaski
                      Well, it s really up to you to determine both the value and whether you want to do the work. I can t help with that. As to value, I have not examined this
                      Message 10 of 29 , Mar 15, 2013
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                        Well, it's really up to you to determine both the value and whether you want to do the work. I can't help with that. <g>

                        As to value, I have not examined this like you have, so I can't help with that very much, either. When looking for bargains, you should factor in that they are bargains for a reason, and there will always be risks and costs. There is no way to entirely remove either.

                        Ron Wodaski



                        On Mar 15, 2013, at 10:03 AM, Orlando Andico <orly.andico@...> wrote:

                        > Ron, this specific camera already has a shutter driver. 24V trigger, 4V
                        > hold.
                        >
                        > So given that a new 6303 camera starts at about $7K, what the liquidator is
                        > asking ($1K) is reasonable? even when factoring in the machining work to
                        > attach a shutter and the cost of MaximDL (although MaximDL is not
                        > required.. it comes with software that can capture, then just use PHD to
                        > guide).
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        > On Sat, Mar 16, 2013 at 1:00 AM, Ron Wodaski <yahoo@...> wrote:
                        >
                        >> **
                        >>
                        >>
                        >> You can roll your own shutter with parts from Uniblitz (you need a
                        >> shutter, and a driver to trigger it). Not exactly cheap, but workable. This
                        >> assumes the camera has a relay connection to trigger an external shutter;
                        >> many do.
                        >>
                        >> Ron Wodaski
                        >>
                        >
                        >
                        > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        > ------------------------------------
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                      • Stan
                        ... That s pretty bright. BTW, you can also use my method/calculator for sky brightness (can be used for selected spectro, i.e. calculate sky brightness for
                        Message 11 of 29 , Mar 15, 2013
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                          --- "Orly" <orly.andico@...> wrote:
                          > I just measured my NELM...
                          > is 16.87 mag / sq arc-sec.

                          That's pretty bright. BTW, you can also use my method/calculator for sky brightness (can be used for selected spectro, i.e. calculate sky brightness for filter pass-band):

                          http://www.stanmooreastro.com/CCD_topics.html
                          (second link down)

                          > given such a (terrible) amount of sky fog, is my goal still
                          > practical?

                          what exactly is your goal?

                          If it is emission nebula then use narrow band filters to remove nearly all sky glow. The limiting noise becomes readout and dark current (not sky).

                          If you want galaxies then go astro-camping! (great fun)

                          Stan
                        • jtorelli76063
                          I missed the beginning of this thread. So excuse me if it is out of context. I have a StarShoot Pro v2 and it does not have a shutter. I use my flip mirror as
                          Message 12 of 29 , Mar 17, 2013
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                            I missed the beginning of this thread. So excuse me if it is out of context.
                            I have a StarShoot Pro v2 and it does not have a shutter. I use my flip mirror as my shutter. I connected a servo motor with a belt and gears to the knob of the flip mirror. I found a serial ascom filter wheel driver on the web. I programmed a small micro controller to talk the ascom driver.
                            Now in Maxim I check "use filter as shutter". And maxim will operate the flip mirror when it needs to close the shutter. I also added a switch on the micro so I can still use the Flip Mirror as a flip mirror. I had to make a small aluminum bracket to mount the motor. I used existing holes. I can post photo's and code if anybody is interested.

                            JoeT
                            BlindEye Obs

                            --- In ccd-newastro@yahoogroups.com, Ron Wodaski <yahoo@...> wrote:
                            >
                            > You can roll your own shutter with parts from Uniblitz (you need a shutter, and a driver to trigger it). Not exactly cheap, but workable. This assumes the camera has a relay connection to trigger an external shutter; many do.
                            >
                            > Ron Wodaski
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            > On Mar 15, 2013, at 9:09 AM, Stan <stan_ccd@...> wrote:
                            >
                            > > --- Orlando Andico <orly.andico@> wrote:
                            > >> ... or are they all more-or-less equivalent?
                            > >
                            > > Essentially all cameras based on any particular CCD are equivalent in terms of QE, read noise and dark current (per temperature) as there is little that a camera manufacturer can do about those attributes other than screw them up. The things that differentiates such cameras are form factors (e.g. lab cameras are usually large and heavy), built-in features (many lab cameras lack an internal shutter, which can be very problematic for flat fields), cooling, lens mount (usually c-mount or proprietary for lab cameras), data transmission interface (and speed of download), software drivers and compatibilities. There are also tangential but potentially important issues such as repair costs (most lab cameras cost more to repair than a new amateur camera) and obsolescence (e.g. 32 or 32/64 PCI slots have become very rare in motherboards and that card will not work in a 64 PCI bit slot).
                            > >
                            > > If you are OK using an old desktop machine for the camera and can figure out some sort of robust shutter for flat fields then it might be worth pursuing. The included (or more likely downloadable) software should be sufficient for manual exposures (MaxIm could be used for semi-automation, though if you don't already have it, it is a significant added expense). But it is not for the weak... <g>
                            > >
                            > > Comparing different CCDs is more complicated because pixel size and noise characteristics have differing effects for particular scopes, filters, applications and techniques.
                            > >
                            > > Stan
                            > >
                            > >
                            > >
                            > >
                            > > ------------------------------------
                            > >
                            > >
                            > >
                            > >
                            >
                          • Stan
                            ... Do you take/use flats? A flip mirror probably produces bad flats because it exposes one side longer than the other, which would produce a gradient. I
                            Message 13 of 29 , Mar 18, 2013
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                              --- "jtorelli76063" <josephtorelli@...> wrote:
                              > I use my flip mirror as my shutter...

                              Do you take/use flats?

                              A flip mirror probably produces bad flats because it exposes one side longer than the other, which would produce a gradient. I suppose it might be a small gradient if the flip was fast and the flat exps were long (dim target). And if it is highly stable and repeatable then you could calculate the gradient and remove it mathematically.

                              Stan
                            • Stan
                              ... I just realized that is probably an interline CCD and does not need a physical shutter other than as a convenience for darks (a lens cap would do). But for
                              Message 14 of 29 , Mar 18, 2013
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                                --- "jtorelli76063" <josephtorelli@...> wrote:
                                > I have a StarShoot Pro v2 and it does not have a shutter.

                                I just realized that is probably an interline CCD and does not need a physical shutter other than as a convenience for darks (a lens cap would do).

                                But for non-interline (or Frame Transfer) CCDs a fast and even physical shutter is important.

                                Stan
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