QHY-22 mini review – First impressions and (well, short of) first light (with later updates - last update 2015-06-13).

 

                I’m in astrophotography a rather short period, only 7-8 years. I have used a few cameras and since Feb of 2011 I’m using a QHY-IMG2Pro (IMHO one of the best implementation of the well known Sony ExView HAD ICX285AL ccd). The last years I resisted jumping on the KAF-8300 wagon. Yes, 8300 has a huge FOV. It has smaller pixel size fitting better with the short FL used on scopes like mine. And yes, it produces very nice photos. BUT, I never liked the noise levels, the reduced QE or the need for a mechanical shutter. ICX285Al was the right for me. Then the news hit the road about the two new CCDs from Sony: ICX674 and ICX694. Apparently they offer the highest QE in this category (77%, higher even than 285AL), progressive scan with electronic shutter, extremely low noise, good full-well capacity, 3 or 6MPixel and all of these with 4.5um pixel size!!! The FOV is not as big as with 8300, but nevertheless, it is far better to what I have so far. Soon I realized that my next camera most probably will be based on ICX694. But I decided to wait QHY to implement it, for a few good reasons: better cooling than the competition, prompt after-sales customer’s support and (usually) nice price. When QHY asked at the forum for beta testers, I offered to assist and now I’m happy to test QHY22, QHY’s implementation of ICX694 6MPixel CCD. This mini-review contains my first impressions and my first attempts to use the camera at the field - although this is still a work in progress.

                I have to clarify: my relation to QHYCCD is that of a happy customer, nothing more.  These are just my personal opinions, hopefully unbiased. Use them in a as-is base, I’m nothing more than an enthusiastic amateur.

QHY sent me the camera middle of December, but due to Christmas period, big delays at the customs office and a business trip, I only managed to get it at 31st of January. Inside the box I found:

·         The camera implemented as a short cylinder, shorter than QHY-IMG2P (83mm in length and 77mm in diameter).

·         Three interchangeable nosepieces: a C-mount that was installed, a T2 (which immediately replaced the C-mount) and a normal 1.25” nosepiece.

·         A QHY DC201 power supply

·         A power cable for DC201

·         A USB cable with a ferrite core filter

·         A rechargeable desiccant tube with a dummy plug

·         A checklist with the tests the vendor performed and the results of them