Looking to buy a new CCD camera

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  • Member since
    September, 2007
Looking to buy a new CCD camera
Posted by lothar22 on Tuesday, September 03, 2013 12:12 PM

Hopefully someone with more knowledge then I can help me decide which camera to purchase...

I have been imaging with my trusty Meade DSI color (original) for a while now, first on my Celestron 130SLT (unguided), and now on my Celestron 8" f/5 newt (guided with piggyback refractor w/webcam).

Although the DSI has enabled me to learn and develop imaging techniques,  the images themselves are good, but not great, as the DSI chip is small, and the pixels are large.

I have been thinking about what I want out of my next camera:

Better pictures! - bigger CCD sensor, more pixels, smaller pixels

Regulated Cooling - managing Darks

OSC (One Shot Color) - I don't want to get into monochrome cameras yet for several reasons. Cost, complexity, nights are usually not cloudless all night to take all required colors, etc.) Please don't try to convince me to buy a monochrome camera. I'm not ready.

For my budget, my price range is max $2,000.

I have narrowed it down to 3 cameras, all having the same CCD sensor.

ATIK 383L+ C ($1,880)

SBIG STF-8300C ($1,795)

QHY9-C ($1,499)

In trying to figure out which manufacturer has the best features/design/engineering, I am getting confused, and a little intimidated.

There are differences in how they are cooled (single vs double stage), how fast images download (~10 seconds vs 1 second full frame), the Class/Grade of the CCD chip (ATIK is Class 2, QHY9-C is Grade 1)

So here are my questions:

Do I care about double stage cooling in the Northeastern US, where night time temperatures are pretty much always on the cool side?

Does a 10 second download vs a 1 second download really matter (especially since I plan on taking long exposures, 5, 10, 30 minute exposures)?

Why does one manufacturer list the Class as the quality, and another lists it as Grade? Are they the same thing?

Imaging: 8" f/5 Newt on a Celestron AVX mount

Meade DSI Color with ATIK .5 focal reducer / Celestron UHC/LPR filter.

Guiding: 60mm Meade Telestar refractor

Logitech Quickcam Pro 3000 / PHD Guiding


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