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Thinking about Entry Level CCD


Al.Grant
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I currently have a non-modified Canon EOS400D (with CLS clip filter) and a Philips SPC900 modified webcam, but have found myself looking at entry level ccd imaging cameras and trying to decide which way to go.

 

Of course I could stick with the DLSR and that wouldn't be too much of an issue other than that little voice in my head that says getting one would be a good idea ;) .  I've tried to ignore it, but it keeps telling me that an entry level ccd be a better option (in cost if not performance) than getting my 400d modified or a new modified dslr with live view (something lacking on the 400d)

 

I know that if in the future I want to go deeper, darker, cooler  then I'll need a decent guide camera, so any ccd imager I get now must be able to be used as a guider in the future.

 

Any camera I get would be used with my Vixen VC200L f9, although I may get the focal reducer to take it down to f6.4.

 

I've been looking at the 'Orion StarShoot G3 Deep Space Imaging Camera' - the mono version.  Any body know how it compares to an non-modified DSLR? 
http://www.scsastro.co.uk/catalogue/orion-starshoot-g3-deep-space-color-imaging-camera-53082.htm

 

It has some in built cooling and a 1/2"  chip, res  752 x 582, pixel size 8.6 x 8.3 microns. 

 

 

I had considered a couple of the 'all-in-one' / 'multi-purpose' cameras like the ZWO ASI120MC, Atik Titan & QHY IMGOH but not sure they'd be my best option (my Vixen VC200L is better suited to deep sky), however they do look interesting and in some cases can be put to use as 'all sky' cameras as well as a guider, so i've not actually ruled them out  (the ASI120MC being of most interest)

 

Another option is to just wait and see if there are any deals at the International Astronomy Show (the last one cost me dearly!!) and look at something like the Atik 420L   http://www.firstlightoptics.com/atik-cameras/atik-420l-ccd-camera.html

 

 

Any thought, suggestion or better options welcome!

 

 

 

Thanks

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not seen that one so I cannot say but the price seems to say something about it.


 


Atik cameras are usually the first port of call for a starter, i am sure there is an Atik user on here :D.... most have the 314 I think


 


I can only speak for the larger chips.


 


 


Sheila


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You probably need to differentiate planetary cameras from deep sky cameras; the zwo is a planetary camera and would likely be too noisy (and not sensitive enough) for deep sky work.

Jd

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The camera would be an improvement over the DSLR but with your scope you would find the target list is small unless you are planning on doing mosaics.


I had an ATIK 16ic with the same size sensor, great camera, nice learning experience, but I quickly found the need to get a bigger chip.


I used the 16ic with my 200p at 1000mm focal length.


Handy calculator here -  http://www.12dstring.me.uk/fov.htm


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i have an atik titan, great little cameras but chipo could be bigger but then you have to pay more of course, i`ve used it as a guide camera more than an imaging camera, mainly because it`s fair easier to get a result with a canon dlsr than with a mono ccd with a smaller field of view, filter wheels and filters will add another couple of hundred pounds to the cost of a mono ccd camera also. atik titan makes a very good guide camera but i`m sure i could do as good giuding with something cheaper.


have you thought about a modded 1100d ? £260 of astro buy and sell, to me that`s a real bargain and better results than your unmodded 400d, a second hand atik titan will costs £300 plus.


it gives you a head ache weighing it all up.


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Guest Hairycamel

I'd also throw the QHY8L into the mix. Very reasonably priced (from about £550 secondhand), but a bigger chip than the 314 and will be better with your Vixen because of it. It's a one shot colour camera so great to cut your teeth on without the additional expense of filters and a wheel etc.


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Thanks for the replies....


 


I am very interested in the 314L+ but was looking trying to avoid spending £1000+ on a cam until I knew I'd get the use from it.  I had thought about a first step with a camera that I could use for some deep sky (even with limitations on chip size etc) and then if/when I move up I could use the first cam as a guide cam.   I now see that's probably not the best route, glad I asked and grateful for the replies.


 


 


I hadn't seriously expected to find a 'one-cam-does-it-all'  imager, but have seen some cameras advertised as primarily a planetary imager with some deep sky capabilities.    


 


I think it's probably best to hold off for now, carry on with the dslr whilst looking at more suitable imaging scope/camera combination.  But that said if a good offer comes along on a cam that could be used as a future guide cam .... I'd have to consider it! 


 


 


Cheers  (better to ask dumb questions than to spend dumb cash!).

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If you can wait till Kelling Al - there's usually one or two 314L+'s floating round for sale about £600-£700 (or less if older than 2yrs). Not long to go if you can borrow till then. :)


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webcams can be used for planetary use of course but not for deep sky imaging, but they do make a reasonably and cheap guiding camera,


i may have 2 or three for sale soon but can`t make my mind up, i get to attached to my astro gear and like using the webcams as they are so simple to use.


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Thanks,

 

I already have a Phillips SPC880NC (with SPC900NC firmware) for planetary and my first attempts at guiding, but having realised that I will probably need a better guide camera in the future I thought about getting one now if it could be used for other things.    

 

That's why the Orion StarShoot G3 initially caught my eye as I thought in the future it would make a decent guide camera (1/2" chip/cooled/ST4 port) and in the short term I could give it a try as a 'budget' entry level deep sky imager (although I fully appreciate there are cheaper guide cams!).   But that would only be worth even considering IF it gave any improvement over my 400D with my current scope.  

 

> Edit to add StarShoot G3 Spec:

Chip:  Sony interline ICX419AKL color CCD chip
Res x (pixels) = 752
Res y (pixels) = 582
Chip width (mm) = 7.40mm
Chip height (mm) = 5.95mm
Pixel width (micron) = 8.6
Pixel height (micorn) = 8.3

 

 

 

 

I think the best thing is for me to have a think about another scope, like an ED80 Pro with reducer/flattener.   The I like the Vixen VC200L but the focal reducer is around £200 and for what it gives me that would probably be better put towards something like an Evostar ED80 Pro.  I also have a Skymax 127 az goto that I plan on selling (due to lack of use) - so that will help!

 

 

I'm in no immediate rush and can wait to have a look at the IAS or try get to Kelling to see if there is anything.

Edited by Al.Grant
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This is a BEGINNER area and people are talking about CCDs. I've only just started using a second hand DSLR at prime focus and have used compact digital cameras for many years before that. I find the great thing about DSLRs is that they have a much larger field of view than webcams.


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This is a BEGINNER area and people are talking about CCDs. I've only just started using a second hand DSLR at prime focus and have used compact digital cameras for many years before that. I find the great thing about DSLRs is that they have a much larger field of view than webcams.

 

 

i suppose if its your first CCD you are a beginner with a CCD :D

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Guest Kheldar

This is a BEGINNER area and people are talking about CCDs. I've only just started using a second hand DSLR at prime focus and have used compact digital cameras for many years before that. I find the great thing about DSLRs is that they have a much larger field of view than webcams.

 

Do you want to know the difference between a refractor and a reflector? Not sure how to choose your first telescope? There's no such thing as a silly question... Ask away!
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