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PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2012 1:07 am 
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With the Moon rather getting in the way of deep sky astrophotography I put MaximDL to good use this evening as it can be set up to capture long sequences of images. I've already captured 2GB of data and there'll be a further 1GB waiting for me when I wake up. Having decided on the exposure sequences I'll use in future I've started capturing a library of calibration frames. It gets complicated when RBI is considered as images can be taken either with or without an infra-red LED flooding the sensor before the main exposure. I've discovered that whether I enable the IR flood or not it also helps if I take a 100 second "dark" before the required exposure - the idea is to let some of the RBI signal dissipate.

So, 25 Bias frames for each of RBI flood and no RBI flood were quick and easy to do. Equally 5 non-RBI 200 second "darks" (more to follow) were quick. 20 x 200 second RBI flood "darks" only took a couple of hours and the software is currently working through a sequence of 15 x 1,000 second RBI flood "darks". More tomorrow. By the time I'm done I'll probably have captured 50 or 60 GB of data but fortunately once the master frames have been generated I can delete all of it. :twisted:

Bob.

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Olympus OM-D E-M1 + M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8, Lumix 7-14mm f/4, Leica DG Summilux 15mm f/1.7 ASPH, M.Zuiko Digital 45mm 1:1.8, M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm 1:1.8.
Leica D Vario-Elmar 14mm-150mm f/3.5 - f/5.6 ASPH.
OM-D E-M5, H-PS14042E, Gitzo GT1541T, Arca-Swiss Z1 DP ball-head.
Astrophotography: TEC 140 'scope, FLI ML16803 camera, ASA DDM60 Pro mount.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2012 7:35 am 
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Sounds like fun... never even heard of RBI before now!

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2012 12:34 pm 
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Hi popo,

Not sure about the fun bit but it's definitely necessary. Because I have the luxury of being able to set the temperature of the sensor to -25°C (my chosen working figure) at least I can do the calibration frame exposures with the camera indoors.

RBI definitely exists. As an illustration here are three dark frames straight out of the camera with no processing other than exactly the same stretch applied to all three:
    Image
The three dark frames were all 200 second exposures and the first one was taken without the camera's built-in infra-red LED having been used for a long while. The one on the right shows the effect of using the LED to saturate the sensor for 45 seconds followed by a discarded very brief "dark" exposure and then the 200 second dark exposure you can see. The middle image was taken after the 45 second flood, a brief dark exposure, a 10 second dark exposure and a 100 second dark exposure, all three of which were discarded before the 200 second dark exposure you can see. Hope that makes sense! :?

The 100 second dark pre-exposure helps bleed a little of the RBI signal but not a huge amount. That said every little helps (see the average signal deviations mentioned in the next paragraph) so I intend to stick with it for all my exposures whether or not I use the LED to flood the sensor. At first glance the immediate conclusion to draw is not to use the RBI flood LED at all but the point is that if the previous exposure contained bright areas then the next exposure will, if long enough, also include an echo from the previous exposure. With perfect tracking on the same subject that might actually be considered a win but tracking is rarely perfect and in any event I prefer to dither the exposures by moving the pointing a few pixels between frames as that helps the stacking algorithm reject bad pixels that haven't already been mapped out by the calibration frames. The bottom line is that with a cooled CCD RBI is something that has to be recognised. Uncooled sensors don't really see this effect but then they see a lot more noise from other sources.

It's easy to look at the illustration above and believe that the IR LED is causing a lot of background signal but that's because of the way I've applied the stretch. The median signal from the images, working from left to right, is 1994, 2037 and 2045 (16 bit readout) with corresponding average deviations of 7.3, 8.9 and 9.9. Median signals can always be subtracted so the difference isn't huge - it just looks huge in the illustration because the stretch is so close to the noise floor. As an aside, both of my recent Hα images were taken with the RBI flood enabled and I was able to extract plenty of the faint stuff before the banding you can see became an issue. As I understand it that banding is a result of the way the chip is made rather than uneven IR flood illumination. There is a rather more obvious chip defect if you look very closely as one half of one column is completely dead. Not unusual, I believe, for such large sensors unless you pay considerably more and it's another reason why dithering the pointing between exposures is a good idea.

The rain has stopped so it's time to leave the forum and get on with my life... :lol: In summary, if I'm after the last few percent of the faintest of signals then I'll leave the RBI flood off (and work more slowly) but not otherwise. The only drawback is that I need a full set of dark frames for the two scenarios and as I'm building a library for exposure lengths of 1500, 1000, 200, 40 and 8 seconds that's a lot of extra work as I'm aiming for 25 darks per setting. That's 250 darks and nearly twice that many discarded pre-exposures but fortunately MaximDL automates a lot of the image capture for me. At least with the Moon or clouds in the way I can feel I'm doing something useful! :twisted:

Bob.

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Olympus OM-D E-M1 + M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8, Lumix 7-14mm f/4, Leica DG Summilux 15mm f/1.7 ASPH, M.Zuiko Digital 45mm 1:1.8, M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm 1:1.8.
Leica D Vario-Elmar 14mm-150mm f/3.5 - f/5.6 ASPH.
OM-D E-M5, H-PS14042E, Gitzo GT1541T, Arca-Swiss Z1 DP ball-head.
Astrophotography: TEC 140 'scope, FLI ML16803 camera, ASA DDM60 Pro mount.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2012 12:38 pm 
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I haven't had enough caffeine to make full sense of that, but thanks for making a dedicated sensor go down a little on my shopping list :)

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Lenses: EF 35/2, 50/1.8, 85/1.8, 135/2+SF, 28-80 V, 70-300L, 100-400L, TS-E 24/3.5L, MP-E 65, EF-S 15-85 IS
3rd party: Zeiss 2/50 makro, Samyang 8mm fisheye, Sigma 150 macro, 120-300 f/2.8 OS, Celestron 1325/13
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2012 12:51 pm 
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:lol:

But you spend more on lenses than it would cost to get yourself a cooled (ambient minus 30°C) Orion StarShoot Mono Imaging Camera III and 5 Filter Wheel. :P

Bob.

P.S. Not a recommendation as I haven't seen any reviews yet.

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Olympus OM-D E-M1 + M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8, Lumix 7-14mm f/4, Leica DG Summilux 15mm f/1.7 ASPH, M.Zuiko Digital 45mm 1:1.8, M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm 1:1.8.
Leica D Vario-Elmar 14mm-150mm f/3.5 - f/5.6 ASPH.
OM-D E-M5, H-PS14042E, Gitzo GT1541T, Arca-Swiss Z1 DP ball-head.
Astrophotography: TEC 140 'scope, FLI ML16803 camera, ASA DDM60 Pro mount.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2012 6:59 pm 
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I'd fancy something with a little bigger sensor I think... and higher resolution.

But you have just made me wonder how hard could it be to retro-fit active cooling into a DSLR...

Out of interest, is your sensor peltier cooled, and if so, do you know what power it is?

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Canon DSLRs: 7D, 5D2, 1D, 600D, 450D full spectrum, 300D IR mod
Lenses: EF 35/2, 50/1.8, 85/1.8, 135/2+SF, 28-80 V, 70-300L, 100-400L, TS-E 24/3.5L, MP-E 65, EF-S 15-85 IS
3rd party: Zeiss 2/50 makro, Samyang 8mm fisheye, Sigma 150 macro, 120-300 f/2.8 OS, Celestron 1325/13
Tinies: Sony HX9V.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2012 7:54 pm 
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Hi popo,

Yes, it is Peltier cooled down to 50 below ambient. The bad news is that the cooler can draw 60W. :shock:

Memory tells me that there is at least one company out there which adds Peltier cooling to DSLRs but I have no idea how cost effective such a mod would be and I don't have any links to hand. Maybe the fact that not many people seem to use them means something...

Bob.

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Olympus OM-D E-M1 + M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8, Lumix 7-14mm f/4, Leica DG Summilux 15mm f/1.7 ASPH, M.Zuiko Digital 45mm 1:1.8, M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm 1:1.8.
Leica D Vario-Elmar 14mm-150mm f/3.5 - f/5.6 ASPH.
OM-D E-M5, H-PS14042E, Gitzo GT1541T, Arca-Swiss Z1 DP ball-head.
Astrophotography: TEC 140 'scope, FLI ML16803 camera, ASA DDM60 Pro mount.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2012 8:15 pm 
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From the last times I've opened one up, there isn't really any space inside. So to add cooling, you'd end up needing to remodel the body of the camera which is not a small job.

And I've used peltiers before... during old school overclocking days. Too energy inefficient there!

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Canon DSLRs: 7D, 5D2, 1D, 600D, 450D full spectrum, 300D IR mod
Lenses: EF 35/2, 50/1.8, 85/1.8, 135/2+SF, 28-80 V, 70-300L, 100-400L, TS-E 24/3.5L, MP-E 65, EF-S 15-85 IS
3rd party: Zeiss 2/50 makro, Samyang 8mm fisheye, Sigma 150 macro, 120-300 f/2.8 OS, Celestron 1325/13
Tinies: Sony HX9V.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2012 9:40 pm 
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My Google-fu powers are on a roll, today...

http://www.centralds.net/en/index.htm

(sorry, to much 9gag...)

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