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Which monochrome cooled camera ?

Maqce
09 May, 2019 19:27
Hi,

I live near a big city and I don't want light pollution anymore. I'm searching a mono cooled camera but there are so many…
My budget is about 1100€ (I have to buy the filter wheel and OIII + Ha filters).
I think the QHY163M is a very good camera but is there a difference between the ASI 1600MM Pro (a little bit more expensive) ?
Is there an other camera in the same category ?
Thanks !
Max
2ghouls
09 May, 2019 19:46
Hi Max,

I have had the ASI1600MM-Cool for a couple years, and I love it! I think it's closest competitor in terms of sensor size, etc. are the KAF-8300 CCD cameras, but you would have to buy those used to get to the same price point. I went with ZWO over the QHY because of the 2-port USB hub built in to the camera body which is helpful for cable management, but otherwise I think they are very similar. So if you have a better price on the QHY, I'd say go for it.

You can look at my astrobin profile for some example photos. There is also a wealth of knowledge on the Cloudy Nights forum about this sensor. It's only big drawback is microlensing when shooting bright stars. If you google it, you can see examples, and determine for yourself if it is a dealbreaker.

Cheers, Nico
Maqce
09 May, 2019 21:06
Nico Carver
It's only big drawback is microlensing when shooting bright stars.
Thanks for the answer. Yes I saw this and it bothers me a little bit… Do you know a solution to cancel this effect or a similar camera without this ?
Max
2ghouls
09 May, 2019 21:25
Max Gillet
Do you know a solution to cancel this effect or a similar camera without this ?

There is no great solution. I minimize the effect a bit with Photoshop as a last step, and in most cases that works well enough for me.

The KAF-8300 CCD chip in many cameras (Atik, SBIG, QSI, etc.) is also 4/3", similar resolution, similar QE curve, higher read noise, but doesn't have the microlensing problem (at least not as bad). The only issue with it is they typically go for 2 to 3x more (new) for older tech.

ASI183MM Pro is another cooled mono camera at about the same price point. It is only a 1" sensor and also has smaller pixels (2.4 micron). It doesn't appeal to me as much because of the smaller FOV, but I know quite a few people use it. It also doesn't seem to have the microlensing issue. Depending on your imaging goals it may be a good option.
Maqce
09 May, 2019 22:05
Nico Carver
Max Gillet
Do you know a solution to cancel this effect or a similar camera without this ?
There is no great solution. I minimize the effect a bit with Photoshop as a last step, and in most cases that works well enough for me.

The KAF-8300 CCD chip in many cameras (Atik, SBIG, QSI, etc.) is also 4/3", similar resolution, similar QE curve, higher read noise, but doesn't have the microlensing problem (at least not as bad). The only issue with it is they typically go for 2 to 3x more (new) for older tech.

ASI183MM Pro is another cooled mono camera at about the same price point. It is only a 1" sensor and also has smaller pixels (2.4 micron). It doesn't appeal to me as much because of the smaller FOV, but I know quite a few people use it. It also doesn't seem to have the microlensing issue. Depending on your imaging goals it may be a good option.
Ok, I think I will choose the qhy163m. It needs more reflection…
Thanks,
Max
TareqPhoto
26 Jun, 2019 13:41
Max Gillet
Ok, I think I will choose the qhy163m. It needs more reflection…Thanks,
Max
I have QHY163M and i love it, i also bought it for 2 reasons or 3, one it was cheaper than ASI1600 that time [in 2017], it has dual temp system [cooling and heating], and main reason is i found it from a store with free shipping and some accessories with it, so it was like the best decision and i never regret it.

Good luck with QHY163M as well.
VuurEnVlam
27 Jun, 2019 10:56
Hi,

I passed throught the same question the last few months.

My main camera is out for maintenance.
Since will be a long wait for the camera to return back I decided to take one of these Panasonic CMOS in the meantime.

So I made my considerations (DDR buffer, heat windows, usb-hub etc.) and took a QHY163, and the story began:
[Assumption: I already had both the ZWO and QHY filter wheels. And 31mm filters].
My first issue was the size of my filters, 31mm unmounted. The QHY filter wheel by default works with 1.25 mounted filters.
QHY and the italian dealer make a great job provided a very good solution by drilling 3 mini-holes for each filter hole and provided me the screws to mount the filters.
Let the guide camera (QHY) come in focus with the OAG (QHY) was tricky task. This was related with the model of the QHYCFW I had that was the US model (Ultra Slim).
I had to remove the very last part of the guide camera, the one with a protecting window. No a big deal but not so nice though..
At the first light, despite I used 31mm filters, I had vignetting at F7.
I knew about this possibility, but I also knew that QHY provides adapters to reduce the backfocus of the camera, changing the way it connects to the filter wheel.

So I looked for their small and big screw adapter solutions.
Then, thinking about that I realized that the OAG will never come in focus if I would reduce the distance between filters and sensors further more (my backfocus has to be 55mm total, so what I remove between camera and filters I have to put back at the beginning of the train).
Looking for a solution I saw QHY sells a set of spacers to put between the OAG and the filter wheel..
Problem is that QHY uses connections with screws. This provides a stiff connection but is out of standard.
I order the set of those spacers but they come without screws (which has to be of a precise length and, of course, thread size)..
I think I could have use also standard M54 thread extender between OAG and FW but then I would have to left the screw holes of the FW empty, that would led problems of light leaking..

At that point I gave up, I had the feel that I was falling in a money-drain loop and also my setup, with all those screws, was becaming less confortable to store and travel with.
So I tried with the counterpart and ordered an ASI1600MM.
In 5 minutes I had the camera, filterwheel and OAG mounted together with 55mm of backfocus out of the box and maybe 7/8mm (camera itself have 6.5mm bf) distance between sensors and filters, with no extra adapters/extensions in addition the ones provided with the camera.
Until now I tried it only with a 135mm DSRL lens (but without the OAG) and I had a bit of vignetting, at F2.
I sold the QHY things.
[ Here is the link to thread I opened to QHY forum, there's some drawings I made that explain my issue better than my sloppy English: https://www.qhyccd.com/bbs/index.php?topic=6878.0 ]

I don't know what will be your setup, and I know mine maybe is a 'borderline case' but consider the above if your plan is to use and OAG and save some money for the filters getting 1.25/31mm instead of 36mm.

Regards,
Stefano.

PS: I don't want to blame/advice-against QHY company in general.
They are a good company and sell quality items.
I think the problem I had was only due to the QHY163 and aftermarket solution they provide to solve particular issues with particular setups (they advice 36mm filters in fact, but I didn't wanted to replace my 31mm ones) and the integration of those solution with their stiff but not very flexible standard.
So probably if you stay with the standard you will be fine with them.
Edited 27 Jun, 2019 11:04
koten90
30 Jun, 2019 07:21
it all depends on the amount of LP in your backyard: I live near Milan and have so much LP that I can use my DSLR with 30-60 secs at ISO100. The IDAS LPS-P2 filter allowed me to double that time but, as you can imagine, I wouldn't even bought it if I knew it. It don't worth the money I spent, at least under this shi….sky.
I'm now using an Astrel Instruments AST8300X (KAF8300 mono) and my only good friend for backyard shooting is Halpha filter and, only for new moon-low humidity-windy-clearest nights, OIII filter. So it was with DSLR. I've noticed no difference between mono or color sensor in managing LP. The only way is narrowband and the narrowest you can afford. (I wrote about it  here https://www.astrobin.com/forum/c/astrophotography/equipment/ha-clip-filter-6nm-or-12nm/)
Be careful: OIII is not so efficient in fighting LP. It suffers even more the moonlight.
gnomus
01 Jul, 2019 11:57
It's very difficult to keep costs under control when you start getting into this business.  And, I guess most of us have ended up making the 'buy cheap, buy twice' mistake  smile.

I'd look at what you want to be imaging - and which telescope, etcetera, you will be using.  You need to think about the FOV you will get from the chip size.  Mosaics can be  … fun … but they can very quickly get complicated.  (Often they turn out to be no fun at all.)  You also need to think very carefully (and realistically) about pixel size - pixel size and focal length will determine your imaging resolution.  You don't want to find yourself with an imaging resolution that requires the sort of guiding only available (and even then only occasionally) from a $10K+ mount  smile

Nico makes a solid case for the trusty old KAF-8300 chip.  Even though this is 'old' technology, I still think that the 8300 chip is very difficult to beat.

Good luck

Steve
Edited 01 Jul, 2019 11:58
TareqPhoto
01 Jul, 2019 12:01
Talking about that 8300 chip i really feel like i should get one then, OSC cooled one, because sometimes i feel CCD is still cleaner and stronger regardless how good those CMOS nowadays, but i have to first see if i really have to go with CCD or i will be just find with OSC CMOS instead.
gnomus
01 Jul, 2019 13:02
Tareq Abdulla
Talking about that 8300 chip i really feel like i should get one then, OSC cooled one, because sometimes i feel CCD is still cleaner and stronger regardless how good those CMOS nowadays, but i have to first see if i really have to go with CCD or i will be just find with OSC CMOS instead.

Hi Tareq

There is also something about pixel size and 'well depth' - simply put, the amount of photons an individual pixel can handle before the photons spill out onto an adjacent pixel.  I feel that I get better star colour from my 8300 cameras than from my Sony chipped camera.

I would urge you to consider the relative benefits of mono and OSC cameras.  With mono you have the additional costs of filter wheel plus filters.  But, you get more flexibility - NB filters, and so forth.  And some folks will argue that OSC is no 'quicker' than mono.  With OSC you are always shooting through an R, G or B filter - obviously these allow through less light than a 'Lum' filter.  So to get the same amount of photons overall you're going to have to have a lot more OSC data than Lum data.   The great Olly Penrice argues this much more persuasively than I can.

Also, I find that focussing different wavelenght of light requires slightly different focus positions.  Certainly my filters are not parfocal.  This may be telescope dependent to some extent.  As such, I wonder if using an OSC requires some compromise as regards focus, whereas focussing through R, G & B seperately might be more precise.  All these liitle things are tiny margins, of course, but with AP we are often dealing with tiny margins.

As I say, these are just my opinions.  I know people are getting great results from DSLRs and from OSC CCDs, and CMOSs.  As with most things, it's 'different strokes for different folks' - or YMMV (in the parlance of our times).

Steve
Edited 01 Jul, 2019 13:38
TareqPhoto
01 Jul, 2019 20:14
Steve Milne
Hi TareqThere is also something about pixel size and 'well depth' - simply put, the amount of photons an individual pixel can handle before the photons spill out onto an adjacent pixel. I feel that I get better star colour from my 8300 cameras than from my Sony chipped camera.

I would urge you to consider the relative benefits of mono and OSC cameras. With mono you have the additional costs of filter wheel plus filters. But, you get more flexibility - NB filters, and so forth. And some folks will argue that OSC is no 'quicker' than mono. With OSC you are always shooting through an R, G or B filter - obviously these allow through less light than a 'Lum' filter. So to get the same amount of photons overall you're going to have to have a lot more OSC data than Lum data. The great Olly Penrice argues this much more persuasively than I can.

Also, I find that focussing different wavelenght of light requires slightly different focus positions. Certainly my filters are not parfocal. This may be telescope dependent to some extent. As such, I wonder if using an OSC requires some compromise as regards focus, whereas focussing through R, G & B seperately might be more precise. All these liitle things are tiny margins, of course, but with AP we are often dealing with tiny margins.

As I say, these are just my opinions. I know people are getting great results from DSLRs and from OSC CCDs, and CMOSs. As with most things, it's 'different strokes for different folks' - or YMMV (in the parlance of our times).

Steve
Hi Steve,

Thank you very much for your reply.

Looking at your gallery i can see you use Takahashi/TEC scopes, and Astrodon filters, so if those giving you non parfocal and some issues then what doesn't, high end and still something? i think i have to practice more with mono then but i definitely want to get more Astrodon then, my 3rd party LRGB filters are parfocal, so Astrodon should be.

Tareq
koten90
02 Jul, 2019 11:31
I confirm Astrodon are parfocal. I sometimes use to focus with red filter to shoot with Halpha 3nm (if I haven’t a big star to focus) and the FWHM is always optimal. I have problems only when the scope has not perfectly done acclimatation (with focus getting worse over time) but no other issue to report
koten90
02 Jul, 2019 11:31
I confirm Astrodon are parfocal. I sometimes use to focus with red filter to shoot with Halpha 3nm (if I haven’t a big star to focus) and the FWHM is always optimal. I have problems only when the scope has not perfectly done acclimatation (with focus getting worse over time) but no other issue to report
Vittorio
02 Jul, 2019 11:42
Hi Max,
I don't know your setup but keep in mind about the backfocus of camera. The ASI 1600 has 6.5 mm of backfocus and, in many cases, it can help if you need to add something as OAG and etc. :-)
gnomus
02 Jul, 2019 11:50
Tareq Abdulla
Steve Milne
Hi TareqThere is also something about pixel size and 'well depth' - simply put, the amount of photons an individual pixel can handle before the photons spill out onto an adjacent pixel. I feel that I get better star colour from my 8300 cameras than from my Sony chipped camera.I would urge you to consider the relative benefits of mono and OSC cameras. With mono you have the additional costs of filter wheel plus filters. But, you get more flexibility - NB filters, and so forth. And some folks will argue that OSC is no 'quicker' than mono. With OSC you are always shooting through an R, G or B filter - obviously these allow through less light than a 'Lum' filter. So to get the same amount of photons overall you're going to have to have a lot more OSC data than Lum data. The great Olly Penrice argues this much more persuasively than I can.

Also, I find that focussing different wavelenght of light requires slightly different focus positions. Certainly my filters are not parfocal. This may be telescope dependent to some extent. As such, I wonder if using an OSC requires some compromise as regards focus, whereas focussing through R, G & B seperately might be more precise. All these liitle things are tiny margins, of course, but with AP we are often dealing with tiny margins.

As I say, these are just my opinions. I know people are getting great results from DSLRs and from OSC CCDs, and CMOSs. As with most things, it's 'different strokes for different folks' - or YMMV (in the parlance of our times).

Steve
Hi Steve,

Thank you very much for your reply.

Looking at your gallery i can see you use Takahashi/TEC scopes, and Astrodon filters, so if those giving you non parfocal and some issues then what doesn't, high end and still something? i think i have to practice more with mono then but i definitely want to get more Astrodon then, my 3rd party LRGB filters are parfocal, so Astrodon should be.

Tareq

Hi Tareq

Filter manufacturers may claim that their filter sets are parfocal, but I have found that not to be the case when I have run tests.  But how relevant is that?  You should be checking focus regularly during an imaging run - probably hourly and maybe more frequently at the start of the evening when temperatures are falling rapidly.  I use SGP and ask it to refocus when I experience a temperature change (of 0.5 degrees on the TEC).  I also refocus on LRGB filter changes.  For NB I have calculated filter-offsets and so I focus with Lum.  If you prefer to ‘cycle’ through RGB, you could calculate RGB filter offsets - then you’d only have to focus by temperature change, or time (whatever works best for you).
Edited 02 Jul, 2019 11:50
VuurEnVlam
02 Jul, 2019 12:02
Usually filters from the same brand are parfocal between them. If you notice they're not probably the cause is in the telescope. This could be true even with premium APOs telescopes, only full-mirrors telescope should be immune in theory. But for astrophotography you usually want to add flatteners, reducers, coma correctors etc etc which contain lenses. Therefore in most of cases parfocality does not exists in pratice.
gnomus
02 Jul, 2019 12:05
VuurEnVlam
Usually filters from the same brand are parfocal between them. If you notice they're not probably the cause is in the telescope. This could be true even with premium APOs telescopes, only full-mirrors telescope should be immune in theory. But for astrophotography you usually want to add flatteners, reducers, coma correctors etc etc which contain lenses. Therefore in most of cases parfocality does not exists in pratice.

Quite.
TareqPhoto
02 Jul, 2019 14:48
Steve Milne
Hi TareqFilter manufacturers may claim that their filter sets are parfocal, but I have found that not to be the case when I have run tests. But how relevant is that? You should be checking focus regularly during an imaging run - probably hourly and maybe more frequently at the start of the evening when temperatures are falling rapidly. I use SGP and ask it to refocus when I experience a temperature change (of 0.5 degrees on the TEC). I also refocus on LRGB filter changes. For NB I have calculated filter-offsets and so I focus with Lum. If you prefer to ‘cycle’ through RGB, you could calculate RGB filter offsets - then you’d only have to focus by temperature change, or time (whatever works best for you).
Time for an autofocus then
gnomus
02 Jul, 2019 15:26
Indeed.
PeterFeltóti
04 Jul, 2019 09:10
Max Gillet
Nico Carver
Max Gillet
Do you know a solution to cancel this effect or a similar camera without this ?
There is no great solution. I minimize the effect a bit with Photoshop as a last step, and in most cases that works well enough for me.The KAF-8300 CCD chip in many cameras (Atik, SBIG, QSI, etc.) is also 4/3", similar resolution, similar QE curve, higher read noise, but doesn't have the microlensing problem (at least not as bad). The only issue with it is they typically go for 2 to 3x more (new) for older tech.

ASI183MM Pro is another cooled mono camera at about the same price point. It is only a 1" sensor and also has smaller pixels (2.4 micron). It doesn't appeal to me as much because of the smaller FOV, but I know quite a few people use it. It also doesn't seem to have the microlensing issue. Depending on your imaging goals it may be a good option.
Ok, I think I will choose the qhy163m. It needs more reflection…
Thanks,
Max

QHY163 has the same sensor as ASI1600 so the microlensing effect is also the same in QHY163 smile
 
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