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Anyone know of an economical monochrome-sensor camera?
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Lou Jost



Joined: 04 Sep 2015
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2017 6:51 am    Post subject: Anyone know of an economical monochrome-sensor camera? Reply with quote

I want to experiment with monochrome shorter wavelength light, perhaps even UV light, to increase resolution of photos of my typically white orchid specimens in alcohol. I'd like to not lose resolution due to a Bayer filter. Does anyone know of a reasonably priced largish-sensor (MFT size or larger) monochrome CCD camera for this kind of photography? I had originally imagined that such cameras would be much cheaper than the much more complex normal cameras, but this appears not to be true.

Alternatively, has anyone tried monochrome conversions of regular cameras? There are internet sites that offer this conversion.
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Lou Jost



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PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2017 7:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I should mention that there are gigantic high-NA telecentric "objectives" optimized for monochromatic light, often with huge image circles, including the Ultra-Micor-Nikkors and similar lenses by other manufacturers; for example, I now have bought a 5x NA=0.30 lens with >100mm image circle, optimized for 436nm. It weighs 4 pounds!! I also have bought a twenty-pound 5x lens optimized for 248nm UV which should give double the resolution of the 4 pound lens. These are both waiting for me in Wisconsin, I hope to pick them up next month and begin playing with them. These could be amazing optics on a monochromatic sensor. The UV lens in particular is useless on a camera with a Bayer filter or any kind of UV filter.
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Chris S.
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 06, 2017 12:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Astronomers often use monochrome cameras. I know essentially nothing about them, but wonder if they would work for you, Lou?

--Chris S.
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Lou Jost



Joined: 04 Sep 2015
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 06, 2017 1:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, that's what I was thinking of. I also know nothing about them, but I know some forum members are also astrophotographers, so I am hoping they have some advice. The astrophotography cameras I have looked at on the internet seem to be surprisingly expensive. I suppose that is because they have to be so sensitive to low light, and therefore need to control sensor noise more completely than normal cameras. In my application there will be abundant light so that is not so important.
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zzffnn



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PostPosted: Wed Sep 06, 2017 6:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The astronomer I talked to recommended the following monochrome camera for a beginner astronomer like me:

"You can pick up an old used model like the ATIK 314L for about 600GBP (a little more in dollars) which are popular and capable cams."

I will email him for you, Lou. He uses "a large sensor mono CCD" camera himself for astronomy, though I am not sure if his is the ATIK 314L.
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Lou Jost



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PostPosted: Wed Sep 06, 2017 6:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks very much, Fan, that would be very kind of you. Meanwhile I will check out that camera on the internet.
Best,
Lou
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Lou Jost



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PostPosted: Wed Sep 06, 2017 6:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hmm, looks like it is only 2/3", and has large pixel size, not suitable for my application. I also probably don't need a camera that cools since I will have abundant light. I'm looking for a camera with a sensor more like an ordinary camera sensor in size and pixel pitch.
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Aenima



Joined: 28 Jun 2017
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 06, 2017 7:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The ZWO and QHY CMOS cameras are very close to meeting your requirements. The new mono CMOS are extremely sensitive and even without cooling they can perform better than the average DSLR. (however cooling is one of the main advantages of using these over a DSLR, and uncooled the difference in noise will be much less)

Have a look at the ASI1600MM from ZWO optical, its a 4/3rd (nearly APS-C) sized sensor with 3.8.um pixels. Cooled or uncooled.

There are several other examples from ZWO as well as a range by QHYCCD that are all suitable - very popular with astro folk.


Last edited by Aenima on Wed Sep 06, 2017 8:07 am; edited 2 times in total
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mawyatt



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PostPosted: Wed Sep 06, 2017 7:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lou,

Kodak had CMOS sensors that were popular with astro imaging. Many of the older SBIG cameras used them, I have one that used a physically large 6MP Kodak sensor ( I believe that's correct MP, long ago and my memory isn't very good). I wasn't known at the time but IBM actually manufactured many of Kodak's sensors, but also other fabs later on. I think Kodak invented the now popular micro-lens technology to improve the sensor efficiency, which was especially important for astro work. They were also cooled with Thermoelectric Peltier multistage coolers and some used additional water cooled heat exchangers with the TE coolers. Typically you could get a 30~50C drop in sensor temperature which really helped with noise. Sony also had sensors that were popular, I believe these were called Interline Sensors.

We used separate Red, Blue and Green filters to create a color image from these monochrome sensors. Usually 4 separate images were captures, R,B, G and luminance and combined in software.

You might be able to find some of the older SBIG cameras on eBay. Recall these SBIG cameras used the "T" mount for lens attachment.

Best,

Mike


Last edited by mawyatt on Wed Sep 06, 2017 7:52 am; edited 1 time in total
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Lou Jost



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PostPosted: Wed Sep 06, 2017 7:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Aenima, thank you, those look pretty good. I could not figure out what their mount and flange distance was though. Is 12.5 mm a standard flange-to-sensor distance in astrophotography?

Mike, thanks, I'll check those out too.
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Aenima



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PostPosted: Wed Sep 06, 2017 8:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lou Jost wrote:
Aenima, thank you, those look pretty good. I could not figure out what their mount and flange distance was though. Is 12.5 mm a standard flange-to-sensor distance in astrophotography?

Mike, thanks, I'll check those out too.


Yeah, the smaller amount of flange distance is handy in astronomy to allow room for accessories and give leeway when using reducer/correctors to adjust spacing and reach focus etc.

There are dedicated adapters to use things like DSLR lenses and filterwheels available.
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JohnyM



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PostPosted: Wed Sep 06, 2017 8:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Have you considered DSLR with bayer filter removed?
https://petapixel.com/2013/08/04/scratching-the-color-filter-array-layer-off-a-dslr-sensor-for-sharper-bw-photos/
Idk how this affect resolution as i assume camera processor still thinks filter is there?
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zzffnn



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PostPosted: Wed Sep 06, 2017 9:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lou,

Aenima was the person I was referring to Very Happy
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Aenima



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PostPosted: Wed Sep 06, 2017 11:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Atik 314L is a good camera it's just the smaller chip and (possibly unnecessary) cooling, and being relatively old - might mean it's not your first choice for the job. Smile
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Lou Jost



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PostPosted: Wed Sep 06, 2017 11:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Have you considered DSLR with bayer filter removed?


Yes, that's what I was referring to when I asked this:

Quote:
Alternatively, has anyone tried monochrome conversions of regular cameras? There are internet sites that offer this conversion.


I think that is clearly the best solution for this kind of photography, since the sensor will be much bigger than a CCD sensor and the individual pixels will be quite small. I am not brave enough to try doing the conversion myself though.
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