Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Color camera decision

For monochromatic target like H-alpha sun and the moon, I've my DMK 31AF03 which I suppose is the best thing I could own already.

For color imaging, right now I only got a small DC, not really target for astronomy; and I've a ToUCam Pro which is good only for the moon and planets.

With my DMK, I got a few C mount lenses so that I can use, so if I go for color, I could reused those lens if the camera can accept C mount lenses. So, one of the choices would be another DMK, but in color version. The DMK performs reasonably good for long exposure, it does not require much battery, but it needs a notebook and it does not have a lot of pixels. It would be excellent for moon/planets, too.

Another choice could be a astronomy dedicated cooled CCD, preferrably to find one which can accept C mount lens, and I hope the cooling can be switched off in case electricity is not as widely available and the exposure required is not too long. However, that would be slow frame rate, the need of a heavy battery and also the notebook. That would be excellent for long exposure, but it would be hard to use in any other cases.

Finally, DSLR is the third choice. It's very portable, no notebook and heavy battery issue, however, it would require a seperate collection of lenses, and inside my mind, to build up this collection, it would take:-

1. Canon EFS 10-22mm
2. Canon EF 50 f/1.8
3. Canon EF 200 f/2.8L

With the camera body, it would mean around 16K, not exactly a cheap option. And since DSLR cannot take movie clips, this camera is not going to be useful for family functions. And DSLR means that I will want to upgrade every couple of years.

Frankly, upgrading seems a common problem among all the above 3 options. Cost aside, DSLR seems the best option for me. Cooled CCD is pretty like a waste for my current equipment (especially mount) line-up. DMK is more like for planets which I didn't do much, and still expensive and upgrade-prone.

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