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).
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).
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.
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