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Thread: Best CCD camera under US$ 500?

  1. #1
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    Best CCD camera under US$ 500?

    Hi,

    I'm planing to buy my first CCD camera. I intend to spend about US$ 500.

    My first idea was to buy an Imaging Source 640x480. I suppose it's enough to register the best planetary images I can get with my SC8".

    Then I heard about the Orion Starshooter G3 Deep Space Camera, which is cooled, has a larger sensor and seems useful for planetary images too.

    I'm confused. Do you have any coments on these cameras, or perhaps better options?

    I really don't have a preference for planetary nor deep space. I will choose the area which can be better explored with that budget, and if some camera can be aplied to both, even better.

    Thanks.
    English is not my first language.

  2. #2
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    Planetary cameras are best with a high frame rate to capture as many frames in a short time before Jupiter rotates too much. You only have a couple minutes before it gets motion blur. A camera that can do 30 frames a second is great, 15 the bare minimum in my opinion at f/30.

    Camera's that try to do both just make too many compromises in my opinion. You will quickly outgrow them. Same with those that are guiders and planetary cameras though those guide well just are too slow for good consistent planetary work.

    Also the skills needed for DSO and planetary work are very different. It takes a lot of time to learn either well. Best to pick one and get a camera for that and learn those skills before trying the other.

    Imaging Source makes good planetary cameras as does Point Grey. To save money look to the used market. You give up little buying back a model say a Flea 2 used vs a Flea 3 new and save bucks as well.

    Same with Deep Sky cameras. I bought all mine used and have been very happy with the results and many thousands of dollars saved as well.''

    Rick

    Rick

  3. #3
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    Used ones? Unexpected, but I'll consider this.

    I have more experience with planetary images. I've used webcam, snapshot camera and Registax6 for some months. The smallest Imaging Source sensor makes 60 fps, so I think it's nice. I don't know Point Gray and I'll check it now.

    Thanks!
    English is not my first language.

  4. #4
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    Even the Imaging Source 640x480 Monochrome w/o IR filter has two types to choose. If you know these models, do you have any advice of which to buy? Thanks.
    English is not my first language.

  5. #5
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    I'm not sure which models you mean without numbers but they have firewire and USB lines so most cameras are duplicated with one for each interface.

    Rick

  6. #6
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    I'm not sure whether my laptop is compatible with Firewire, so I've already considered the USB version. My doubt is already between two USB cameras, specifically, DMK 21AU04.AS and DMK 21AU618.AS, wich are in this link:
    http://www.astronomycameras.com/products/usb/

    Their pages have PDFs of their different sensors (Sony ICX098BL and Sony ICX618ALA). They have eletronic information, but I still haven't found things like light sensibility or other information more meaningful to me.
    English is not my first language.

  7. #7
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    The Imaging Source answered that the Sony ICX618ALA has doubled sensibility in IR range. I suppose this is usefull only for deep space. Is that correct?
    English is not my first language.

  8. #8
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    IR in a video camera is best suited for low light surveillance use at night. Trail cams could use such sensors for instance. Some near IR work can be done with cooled CCD camera for deep sky work penetrating galactic dust but that's not useful in a video camera. Note most refractive optics (lens) would not focus IR and visible light at the same time. This is why DSLR cameras have IR cut filters to block IR light from defocusing the image and screwing up color balance. Unless you have a special use for IR avoid IR cameras.

    Rick

  9. #9
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    Now I've noticed those cameras have a C/CS mount. Are they incompatible with my telescope which uses 1.25" oculars?

    I made a search for 'c mount' and '1.25"' adaptors with little succes. If I need such a thing, how are they called so I can get one?

    Thanks.
    English is not my first language.

  10. #10
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    Many companies make adapters for these cameras. I put < c mount to 1.25 adapter > no brackets, into Google and turned up many. I thought at one time they came with one in fact.

    Any dealer carrying that or any video camera would sell them as well. Not an issue.

    Rick

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