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Firstlight on New Svbony SV305C Camera - Planetary and DSO Imaging!

Firstlight on New Svbony SV305C Camera - Planetary and DSO Imaging!

Firstlight on New Svbony SV305C Camera - Planetary and DSO Imaging!

Grant Sorensen is the reviewer we invited this time. He used the SV305C to shoot planets and nebulae in just a few days of precious sunny nights and shared his real feelings with us, and made serious comments and comparisons. This blog is definitely precious to us and hope this is helpful to you. The following content comes from his sharing, welcome your comments and forwarding!

Greetings fellow astronomers.  I recently purchased the new Svbony SV305C planetary camera as a upgrade to my old T7C astro camera (ZWO ASI120 clone) which is now many generations old in terms of sensor technology.  This new camera is also a upgrade from the old Svbony SV305 camera which is based on the original Sony IMX290 sensor a best seller for sure.  The new  SV305C uses the relatively new Sony IMX662 sensor released in mid 2022.  The new Svbony SV305C camera has several new technologies built into the sensor such as backlight sensor technology which gets rid of amp glow so the image brightness is completely uniform (Sony STARVIS 2).  The new IMX662 sensor also has a much lower noise floor compared to older sensors such as my old camera and the ZWO ASI120MC-S camera which both have the old ARC0130CS sensor (see figures 1 and 2 below actual dark frame images).  The new IMX662 sensor in the SV305C camera has a much higher fullwell capacity and built in at the hardware level HCG noise reduction which allows it to do deepsky imaging of clusters, nebulas, galaxies etc as the noise level is much lower and uniform and the images are much easier to process.  Because of the high fullwell capacity (38K) in the new camera it can take long exposures and not oversaturate easily much like the higher end cameras can.  I am on a pretty tight budget and this camera definately fits the bill for me costing around $160 bucks US and allows me to do planetary and deepsky nicely it seems. The cost of this new camera is about the same low cost of the older Svbony SV305 when it was first released so it seems like a good upgrade and deal actually.  So with all this technology hype and talk how does this camera really perform?  How well does it work for imaging planets?  Can this new Svbony camera really actually do a decent job of deep sky imaging?  Well lets test it and find out....please read on. 

Sony IMX662 comparison to my older ARC0130CS sensor-noise level comparison

Figure 1: Dark frame at 24 sec at 80 percent gain - ARC0130CS

Figure 2: Dark frame at 24 sec at 80 percent gain - Sony IMX662

Planetary Imaging with the Svbony new SV305C camera

So all these images shown below were all captured the same night in bad seeing conditions here in western Canada due to forest fire smoke in the air. We have a record year for forest fires here in Canada.  Yes everything also had a red color tinge due to this as well and I had to use Registax (for the planets) and Siril (for deep sky) to fix the color balance.  Capture frames for planetary and the moon are around 300 frames each using RAW 8 at a signifcantly slower framerate than under normal conditions due to having to up the exposure levels because of bad seeing conditions here creating dim images through the haze.  Basically testing this new Svbony SV305C camera through a haze of smoke in the upper atmosphere did not really allow me to test the frame rate properly.  Anyways just want to note this lets take a look at some examples.  Note I have included some interesting processing technique examples as well.

Scope Setup used

Figure 3: Celestron 102mm Mak (FL 1250mm) on Celestron Astrofi Goto Mount

Saturn and its wonderful Rings:

Figure 4a: Processing a stack image of Saturn using Registax

Figure 4b: Saturn and its Rings captured (altitude from horizon 15 degrees)

Beautiful Venus

Figure 5a: Enlarging Venus captured using Wavesharp

Figure 5b: Venus in crescent phase captured (altitude from horizon 12 degrees)

Lunar closeup of the Moon

Figure 6: The Moon captured (altitude from horizon 25 degrees)

What do you think? You be the judge of some of the samples shown?  Looks pretty decent to me considering the conditions they were taken in and I am sure this new camera will even produce much better images with better color and detail under better seeing conditions.

Deep Sky Imaging with the Svbony new SV305C camera

Most cameras even older planetary cameras due a decent job at planetary imaging so the real question is and the subject of today's review how does this new planetary camera fare with deep sky imaging?  I performed this deep sky imaging testing the same night as the planetary imaging above and I used the shortest focal length telescope I have in my arsenal - my Orion goscope (350mm FL) to get the widest field of view possible from this new camera.  Using this little scope also works very well on my Celestron goto mount and provides pretty acccurate goto and tracking on small DSO targets.  This scope due to its focal ratio also captures a decent amount of light in short exposures as I am not using a equatorial mount for much longer exposures.  This is to avoid star rotation due to using a Alt-z mount setup I use keeping exposures below 30 seconds or less.  Keep in mind the SV305C has a pretty small field of view due to it's small sensor size (1/3 size) so it not capable of full DSLR like widefield images of large wide galaxies and nebulas such as Andromeda, North American Nebula and the Pleides.  
However there are lots of targets that will fit nicely in this camera's small sensor field of view. This camera is suitable for lots of star and globular clusters such as M3, M13 Hercules, M35, M36, M44, M53, etc. This camera is also suitable for imaging smaller planetary nebula such as M1 Crab Nebula, M27 Dumbbell Nebula, M42 Orion Nebula, M57 Ring Nebula etc.  Galaxys such as Bodes Galaxy, Cigar galaxy, Black eye galaxy, M51 and M101 etc fit also fit nicely in its field of view.  So here are a couple of deep sky image examples tested and taken with the new SV305C camera: 

Scope Setup used

Figure 7: Orion 80mm goscope (FL 350mm) on Celestron astrofi goto mount

M27 - The Dumbell Nebula

Figure 8a: Stacking M27 Dumbell Nebula using Astrosurface

Figure 8b: Processing M27 Dumbell Nebula using Siril color calibration


Figure 8c: Processing M27 Dumbell Nebula using Siril Background extraction

Figure 8d-M27-The Dumbell Nebula  processed image.png

Figure 8d: M27 The Dumbell Nebula captured full image

M57 -The Ring Nebula
Figure 9-M57-Ring nebula processed image.png
Figure 9: M57 The Ring Nebula captured full image

Of course dark frames were taken after the brief deep sky session above (based on average of 10 images).  For both planetary and DSO imaging Astrosurface was used to stack the captured raw 16 bit images (DSO with rotation) and 8 bit planetary video.  Siril was used to do the DSO color calibration, background extraction (getting rid of light pollution and gradients caused by it etc) and process the final images as seen above.  Registax was used for planetary sharpening and color balancing as viewed above.  The deep sky images of both M27 and M57 were based on 12 second exposures at 80 percent gain to avoid star rotation.

Final Results

So how well did the new Svbony SV305C camera work on capturing both planetary and deep sky images?  Well you decide for yourself!  Keep in mind this is a low cost camera that does both planetary and deep sky but is not dedicated camera for either.  This camera is sort of a new hybrid camera as such.  The images I took above were in Western Canada in smokey bortle 8 skies due to many fires burning here so I am sure under better sky conditions a lot of you will even get better results than I did and this camera may very well exceed your own expectations.  You decide.

Conclusion

In my opinion, I think this camera really is of excellent value and I am sure many astronomers with better equipment than mine and under much better sky conditions can get much better results out of this new little gem of a camera from Svbony.  Keep in mind this camera costs around $160 US only!  The competitors with similar IMX682 based cameras to this one cost twice the price as Svbony! But to be fair those cameras use USB3 where the Svbony one uses USB2 to save cost.  This splits the frame rate in almost in half but even at the slower frame rate is still quite usable and works quite well.  This camera seems like a steal of a deal to me.  I think it is great entry level astrophotography camera for astronomers starting out who do not want to spend a lot of money and want to get some bang for their buck.  I hope you enjoyed this brief article on the new SV305C and its planetary and deep sky imaging capabilties.  Clear skies to you all!  
For more info you can view it here:

https://astrogrants-astronomy.blogspot.com/2023/07/firstlight-on-new-svbony-sv305c-camera.html

Grant Sorensen also has his own website: https://astrogrant.weebly.com/
Great shots, and is always active! 

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