Astro-Video Camera Testing

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Apples to Apples

I have been involved in video astronomy since August 2010.  Since then I have seen major advances in the camera technology available for video observing.  Along with the new cameras has come a lot of posturing and rhetoric from the various user groups regarding what camera is "best".  The problem that I see is that even if a person had a number of different cameras in their possession to test and compare, due to the nature of observing outside there is no practical way to compare them all under exactly identical conditions.  For this reason I have taken it upon myself to undertake perhaps the most comprehensive test program I have yet accomplished; an apples-to-apples astro-video camera bench test program.  Stay tuned to this page as I will provide updates of my progress as they happen. 


Jim T.


Test Plan

Below are links to files relating to the planning and background research that was performed for the test.

The main document summarizing the scope of my testing as well as my proposed methodology.

Test Plan, Rev. 1 (9.12 MB)

This plan has since been superceded and much simplified...details coming soon.

Camera sensor datasheets.


Image noise analysis code that I authored specifically for this test.


Sample output from my image noise analysis code.

cooled-uncooled comparison.pdf

Test images to be observed off a laptop using the cameras:

M31 by Robert Gendler

M42 by Bob and Janice Fera

Video Test Pattern by J. Thompson

Pictures of the reference light that I built.

Some key tables and appendices from the main test plan.

Camera List

Sensor List

Test Matrix

Camera Images

These lists are quite out of date now.  My Camera list is much larger, and the test matrix shorter.  I will update them at some point.




Test Results

Below are links to files relating to the execution of the testing and the resulting findings.

Date File


File Size

Aug. 2018 CCD vs. CMOS A presentation summarizing the results of my testing numerous cameras, and comparing them to each other on the bases of their "Time To Observable Image" or TTOI.  Many classical CCD based video astronomy and more modern CMOS cameras are compared.  Presented at the 14th Annual Video Star Party. 1.5Mb

Nov. 13th, 2018

ASI294MC Pro Versus DS10C TEC - Part 1 Although I have tested a large number of cameras at this point, this is the first summary report to be published.  It is the first part of a series looking to compare the ASI294MC Pro to the SkyRaider DS10C-TEC.  This part compares the cameras based on physical parameters like size, temperature, and frame rate. 1.9Mb
Dec. 3rd, 2018

ASI294MC Pro Versus DS10C TEC - Part 2

A continuation of my comparison testing, this time looking at dark frames generated by the cameras for a range of camera settings. 2.2Mb
Dec. 13th, 2018 ASI294MC Pro Versus DS10C TEC - Part 3 Part 3 of my comparison testing, this time looking at the SNR produced by each camera for a range of gains and exposure times.  I also present a new parameter for comparing camera performance:  Time To Observable Image (TTOI). 2.8Mb
Jan. 7th, 2019 ASI294MC Pro Versus DS10C TEC - Part 4 The 4th and final part of my comparison testing.  This final report compares the cameras in terms of fixed pattern noise, and resistance to fogging. 1.7Mb


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Last updated: 23-Feb-22

Copyrights to all content from the webpages hosted here belongs to Jim Thompson. Nov. 2009.