DSLR data, vs CCD data, vs other CMOS cameras

Tue, 12/26/2023 - 17:13

Hi all !


I was wondering if there was any available data on the global proportion/percentage, in the AAVSO observations database, of DSLR TriG/B/R data, versus true CCD data, versus other CMOS true astro cameras.

And, if negative, if there was as well any practical way to get those data from the database, sorted by types of camera.


I suppose I could pick up randomly a few dozen of variable stars, of various types, and have a look at the returned data, after having send the requests, but maybe will it be a painfull way to get what is already existing somewhere.


Thank you so much for any help, any advices.



American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO)
Hi Christophe,

I too have…

Hi Christophe,

I too have been a bit curious about related statistics, so I ran a few queries against the database today. I'll probably include something like this in my future Annual Reports, so there will be an official update next year.

What fraction of data submitted to the AID is visual, CCD/CMOS, PEP, or DSLR?

As of this moment, we have 61,115,101 observations in the AID. Of those, data 30% are visual, 68% are CCD/CMOS, 0.3% are PEP, and 0.6% are DSLR. Unfortunately, I don't have a practical method of splitting CCD and CMOS observations apart, but I would say they are becoming an increasingly common device type as CCD sensors are virtually impossible to buy new nowdays. There are other observation types, but they are very small in number.

In the last year, what fraction of data submitted to the AID is visual, CCD/CMOS, PEP, or DSLR?

In 2023 (with three days remaining), we received 4,073,863 observations. Of those, 3% are visual, 96% are CCD/CMOS observations, 0.08% are PEP, and 0.65% are DSLR.


Brian Kloppenborg
Executive Director, AAVSO



Thanks for this precise answer.

Indeed, I didn't think that the hegemony of CCD/CMOS cameras was so large. Very instructive.

I understand that visual observations are useful, but this is cleary an another century method - at least, according to my sensitivity.

Yet, the DSLR data represents a very small amount of the total observations for 2023. I don't really understand why.

The measurements can be very precise, there's a good DSLR observing manual, the FOV is larger than in many other astro camera, because of a larger chip, and the DSLR observations are encouraged in the alerts ...


Well well. That's it.

Thank you again Brian,

Clear skies,


Bundesdeutsche Arbeitsgemeinschaft fur Veranderliche Sterne e.V.(Germany) (BAV)
DSLR, the entry point of newcomers

Hi All!

In my opinion, a DSLR is a good entry point for newcomers, who want to become a photometrist. The camera is already there, and there is a good DSLR-AAVSO-Manual. And many of my pretty picture friends are using a DSLR. I think Barbara Harris, has stated in one of her nice videos, that the BAYER-FILTER TG, differs only at the second dezimal point from Johnson V. So 10,0x

Thanks Brian, I am really surprised that the DSLR-Data is only that few! It's almost like the Linux / Windows operating system percentage-usage (-;

Hmm since I am a bit a nerd I have to say, DSLR is also a CMOS sensor, but in another body and uncooled. The Canon EOS 200 D, which I use has e.g. about 49% QE (quantum fficinecy)., The EOS 1100 D has about 36% QE  (If its true (-;) So for bright stars, where the comparison stars may get saturated, old DSLR's are a good choice. (According to the common saying: "Every telescope has it's sky / heaven.") Also the 6000x4000 pixels-array are giving a big FOV.

E.g. see:



I still don't have solved my QHY 600 driver problem under Win 8.1. I think I need a new Laptop.. Than I can move from DSLR (2019 - 2023) to CMOS (2024 - ....).


@ Brian: Maybe one can add in the AAVSO-File-Format more specifiers: curently it's only:  CCD, DSLR, and no CMOS specifier? Maybe even the camera model can be inserted in a new specifier, like: QHY600, CanonEOS200D, CanonEOS1100D, Nikon...., Sony...  and so on?

It would be also Interesting, to have a SQL-Query and a ranking about the different types of CCD and CMOS cameras?


PS: If every one fills in the login-users menue at 


my accout / Equipment profile here,.. this would provide an easy SQL-Query. (also there new CMOS specifiers needs to be added)

clear skies!

..and a happy new clear sky!