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Mammut L429 DSO Camera/Guider


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#1 Astrobodger

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 03:24 PM

First Impressions.

The box arrived within 24 hours of being ordered from Modern Astronomy. (Nice one Bern)

The kit includes the camera in foam lined box, software CD rom and cables for guiding, usb connection and 12v car adaptor cable.

Seems well made and solid. The usb connection is a snug fit (won't keep falling out as it does on a QHY5).

 

2013-04-02 14.38.57.jpg

Software Intallation

Installed the software provided on both my laptops.

1. Win7 32 bit laptop - a dodle

All software & drivers installed fine. ASCOM prequisites already existed. The readme.txt after installing Lyuba ASCOM Driver is blank.

The GlobalSetup.exe allows you to setup everything by running one app.


2. XP laptop - It all worked but took longer than on Win7.

GlobalSetup.exe correctly identified that ASCOM 5.0b platform was required (needed to deinustall existing 5.0.a before 5.0b could go on). An error came up about helper.dll when installing ascom 5.0b. I got away pressing the 'ignore' option.

Ascom 5.5 installed ok

Lyuba ASCOM Driver installed ok (but the readme.txt that poped up was blank)

Night Watch studio installed fine.

Prompted to reboot.

Prompted to reinstall the drivers again. Then worked.

Tested camera works using Night Watch Studio and PHD.

Tested QHY5 to check it still worked ok with PHD (just in case ASCOM upgrade affected it).



First light - Proof is in the pudding!

Although I bought this mainly for spectroscopic use, I started easy with some quick astro images on my 8" F5 Newtonian to test the sensitivity

M13 Great Cluster in Hercules. An easy target to start with. M13 was actually easily visible in live view (1 second exposures).

m13_1s.png


M101 Pinwheel Galaxy. Slightly harder due to lower surface brightness. The core was visible witha 2 second exposure to be able to centre the image.


Night Watch Studio software
This package is bundled with the kit. It allows you to capture and process a series of images. Only tried the basics. Mostly ok except the odd "invalid image". The 'fix' needed the camera connection to be closed, the app shutdown and the usb cable replugged. Bit irritating but no showstopper.

I haven't dabled with the cooling yet as it was below 0 degrees. The chunky fins & fan look as if they will do a decent job cooling. I did notice several hot pixels, which could be processed out using darks etc later.

The next evening I tried some spectroscopy. I took some spectra of the 3c273 quasar (to hopefully measure its red shift), and some stella spectra with my DIY spectrigraph. Results look very promising, will post up later.


Conclusion:

Vesatile camera. The majority of common objects (e.g. M13 and M101) actually fit very nicely within the 752 & 538 pixel sensor (with my 1000mm focal length).

Resolution will be limited by the relatively large (8.6 x 8.3 micron) so its not best suited to short FL refractors.

For the money, this seems like a very good camera!

 

Thanks for looking

John


Celestron 8" F5 Newt on EQ5

Spectrographs 300 l/mm & 1200 l/mm, SA100

Mammut L429, Canon 1000d, Canon 450d

 

http://uk.groups.yah...up/astrobodger/


#2 astrodoc71

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 04:52 PM

Thanks John. Nice write up! That's impressive for 1 sec! Can you give us a little background on the camera. What sensor? What is the size and weight. What is the price and what is it about this camera that drew your interest for spectroscopy. Esp for those of us in the US who may not be familiar with this brand

Regards
Dave

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#3 gasman

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 05:52 PM

Nice camera John, not seen that one before, looking forward to seeing your spectra with it. Any nearer posting the plans for your spectroscope at all?

Cheers

Steve



#4 DENEB

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 06:26 PM

At least it's built better eh John ! Maybe you need to put a video shot showing the usb ports are built solid  :lol:


Edited by DENEB, 02 April 2013 - 06:29 PM.


#5 Astrobodger

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 08:26 PM

The camera is based on the Sony ICX429 CCD (8mm diagonal) chip used on a Lodestar and few other cameras, but also has the advantage of setpoint cooling thrown in.

 

Details here http://www.brightsta...cification.html

 

Why this camera?

I have hesitated on a CCD for ages, considered the ATik 314 and a few others, but didnt fancy £1100 at this stage. I took a bit of a punt on the advice of Bern at MA, but at £399 there is not much competition at the price. Even if I get a bigger chip CCD later, this camera has plenty of uses.

 

cheers

John


Celestron 8" F5 Newt on EQ5

Spectrographs 300 l/mm & 1200 l/mm, SA100

Mammut L429, Canon 1000d, Canon 450d

 

http://uk.groups.yah...up/astrobodger/


#6 astrodoc71

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 09:31 PM

Excellent! Thanks John.

Regards

Dave


daveandtelescope.wordpress.com


#7 Neil

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Posted 03 April 2013 - 01:43 PM

Nice camera John, not seen that one before, looking forward to seeing your spectra with it. Any nearer posting the plans for your spectroscope at all?

Cheers

Steve

I believe this is it here: http://www.insideast...meter-test-bed/



#8 Starlock

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Posted 04 April 2013 - 05:45 PM

This review is right up my street, great write up including your software experience, I know this is a very important consideration. The sensativity of the thing is fantastic. I would like one of these multi purpose small sensor mono CCD's myself to both guide my DSLR and to dip my toe with Mono CCD imaging. I think this one looks about the best out of the usual suspects but alas the pixels are quite large so it might not be the best with my particular focal length range 480mm to 600mm. 

 

Thanks for posting:)

 

Chris