SBIG STT 8300 CCD Camera for Astrophotography
The latest in a long line of ground-breaking products with SBIG's new STT Camera System
- Fast, low noise digitization and a full frame image buffer. At 10MHz the STT downloads a full frame, low-noise 8300 frame in less than a second
- Superior two-stage cooling to better than -50C below ambient with air only. It’s also water-cooling-ready out of the box for additional cooling without having to buy a replacement back plate or other additional accessory
- Built-in frost detection
- User Selectable Internal Image Processing
- USB 2.0 and Ethernet connectivity for remote observatories
- A multitude of other advanced features such as RBI pre-flash, power management system, high accuracy temperature control, sapphire window, and others
STT Camera Series
No compromises. The new mid-sized STT Series cameras offer features and specifications found in no other asto camera of any size. Drawing on all of SBIG's previous experience and the best of each of our previous designs over the years, the STT represents the culmination of everything that the amateur has asked for in an imaging system, packed into a 4.9x4.9x2.9 inch body. Standard features in this new CCD camera include: Two-stage cooling with a temperature delta greater than -50c with air only; water cooling ready; USB 2.0 and Ethernet on every camera; full frame buffer; fast low-noise readout of an 8.3Mp CCD in less than one second; MAR coated sapphire chamber window; internal user selectable automatic image processing; self-guiding in front of filters; remote guide head support; optional adaptive optics; and more. Compare these STT features with any other camera from SBIG:
- Ethernet and USB 2.0
- Built-in Web Server
- Full Frame Image Buffer
- 2-Stage TE Cooling > -50C delta T with air
- Liquid Cooling Capability Standard for greater cooling
- Twin Variable Speed Fans
- High Accuracy Temperature Control
- Built-in Frost Detection
- Built in RBI Pre-Flash
- External Triggers In/Out
- Power Management System
- 12VDC Operation
- Lowest noise 0MHz Readout
- High Precision 8-position Filter Wheel Option
- Accepts 1.25", 31mm and 36mm filters
- Even-illumination (photometric) shutter
- Multi-coated Sapphire Chamber Window
- Optional Self-Guiding in Front of filters
- Optional Remote Guide Head
- Optional Adaptive Optics (AO-8)
- User Rechargeable Desiccant Plug
- User Selectable Internal Image Processing
- Status, Power and Relay Indicators
- Windows and Mac Control Software, 32 and 64 bit versions
High Precision Wheel/Guider
SBIG has built in a new filter wheel design for the STT 8300 series sets it aside from other designs. The carousel hold eight 36mm filters and inserts are available for 1.25" and 31mm filters. Two new unique features make this an imager's delight: First, SBIG's design incorporates a self-guiding CCD in the filter wheel cover so that light from the guide star is captured before passing through the filters. If the observer wishes for an optional filter wheel cover, that is available for wide angle imaging with Nikon or Canon 35mm camera lenses. Full set sof 36mm LRGB and Narrowband filters by Astrodon, Baader Planetarium and Astronomik are available for unvigntted imaging at any focal ratio. The second unique feature of the STT filter wheel is a positive centering mechanism that precisely re-positions and firmly holds filters in the exactly the same position over the CCD every time, regardless of a loss of power or intervening movment of the filter wheel.
In SBIG's tests of the new design, using an STT-8300, the re-positioning of filters was accurate to better than 5.4 microns after several complete rotations of the filter carousel. This degree of precision means that flat fields taken after the filter has moved and returned are accurate virtually to the level of a single pixel. An example of the improvment in flat fields with this kind of precision is demonstrated in the comparison images below.
The image left, above, is a large opaque spot on a filter in STT filter wheel. The filter carousel was rotated several times before the filter was moved back into the optical path and a flat field was taken. The image at right shows the result after applying the flat field image.
A mechanical shutter is included to facilitate darkframes. This is a necessity for anyone operating remotely; even if remotely means a few feet away from the telescope. Since the early days of the original ST-7 camera, SBIG has been providing even-illumination in CCDs, something quite rare in other astrophotography cameras. "Even-illumination" indicates the shutter mechanism is designed to open and close so that is doesn't change the proportion of light falling on the sensor due to the shape or motion of the shutter itself. This is what one finds for instance with an iris type of shutter that opens-up starting at the center and closes over the center last. In the STT-8300, SBIG uses a simple and very robust shutter wheel with a fan-shaped aperture of the same design that we have employed in the ST series cameras for the past 15 years. The STT-8300 shutter sweeps over he CCD without leaving any area of the sensor exposed for a difference period of time than any other area. Another benefit of the rotating disk type of shutter is that it has only one moving part -the motor. These motors are extremely reliable and can operate for millions of exposures without failure. In 15 years with thousands of cameras in the field taking millions of exposures, this shutter design has proven itself better than we can describe. SBIG's design is accurate, proven and reliable, no question.
Even-illumination shutters, also known as photometric shutters because of the producion of flat frames in photometric quality. When taking twilight flats or any flat field image using short exposure times, this is tremendously crucial. The effect is demonstrated in the twilight flat field images shown below.
The left image shows a twilight flat field image taken with a camera using an iris type shutter. The right is a flat field image taken under the exact same conditions using our even-illumination type shutter.
User Selectable Internal Image Processing
The STF-8300 and STT-8300 CCD cameras are the two first astro-cameras available with the ability to automatically clean up raw images with user-selectable automatic image processing! By selecting the level of hot pixel removal or even column repair, users can obtain exceptionally clean and accurate images without additional processing.
To illustrate, the 30 second dark frames, below, were taken at room temperature to accentuate the number of warm pixels. The first frame is unprocessed, the second frame has a medium filter, and the third frame is the most aggressive filter.
Each shows fewer bright pixels and each has corresponding lower noise in the image. The user can select from eight levels of filter strength to suit his needs.
Efficient TE cooling
SBIG has equipped the STT camera with two-stage TE cooling, twin varaible-speed fans and a highly efficient pin fin array heat sink that has proven itself in the older STX camera designs. Pin fin heat sinks are more expensive than typical parallel fin type heat sinks, but offer more efficient heat dissipation in a given space. In tests of prototype, cameras reached a delta >-50C (below ambient) in approximately five minutes using air cooling only. And, while it should not be necessary to use water cooling in most circumstances, if it should be desired, the STT series cameras include water cooling capability as standard equipment. It is not necessary to buy an expensive add-on or separate back. Simply supply water to the adjustable fixtures on the side of the camera body to obtain further cooling or to run the TE cooler without the fans.
Exceptionally Low Dark Current
The KAF-8300 CCD by Kodak has very low dark current, even at room temperature. Cooling the CCD reduces the dark current by 50% for every drop of 5.8 degress C of cooling that is applied. Kodak specifies a dark current of less than 200 electrons per pixel per second at +60 degress C> Extrapolating SBIG calculates -15C the dark current is approximately 0.02e-. SBIG has tested the 8300 CCD in production cameras in order to confirm this is an extraordinarily low dark current at typical oeprating temperatures.
High Quantum Efficiency
Another desirable characteristic that SBIG and Kodak have built into the KAF-8300 CCD is its relatively high Quantum Efficiency (QE). Microlens technology is used to focus more light on the senstive of each pixel, increasing the effective QE of the 8300.
Many nebulas emit a great portion of their light in the red portion of the spectrum, particularly at 656nm, the wavelength of H-alpha light. Other objects such as stars and galaxies emit a great deal of energy in the rear IR. According to the KAF-8300 spectral characterisitcs, this CCD's sensitivity is spread well across the visible portion of the spectrum and into the near IR with a peak of nearly 60% at 500nm and still 50% at 656nm. It is as sensitive at 850nm as it is at 350nm. This is quite a broad range and explains the CCD's popularity (and sucess) in asto-imaging.
Standard (ST-4 pin compatible) Autoguider Output Port
The guider port on the STT-8300 is the same as on SBIG's other astrophotography cameras, using a modular telephone type 6-pin jack to connect the STT-8300 to the user's mount when using the camera as an autoguider. The internal relays used in the STT-8300 design are opto-isolated, so that no external relay box is required with any mount if the camera is being used as an autoguider or if is being used to control the telescope in Track & Accumalate mode.
The STT-8300 includes a universal AC power supply. This supply operates from 100-240V AC and provides 12VDC at 3.5A to the camera. The STT-8300 also has a built-ion voltage regulator and can therefore be powered directly from any unregulated 12V (10-14volts) source such as a battery for operation in the field.
The STT CCD astrophotography camera is compatible with SBIG's existing AO-8 adaptive Optics accessory. With the accessory, control of the mount during guiding can become a thing of the past. In many cases, mount control is not cessary when using the AO-8 to stabilize the image. (See below)
Remote Guide Head
A new remote guide head is available for the STT camera. This external guiding CCD looks similar to the ST-i camera with a KAI-0340 CCD, but as a remote guide head it can plug directly into the STT body with no other connection to the computer required.
The new mid-sized STT Series cameras offer features and specifications found in no other astrocamera – of any size. Drawing on all of our previous experience and the best of each of our previous designs over the years, the STT represents the culmination of everything that the astroimager has asked for in an imaging system, packed into a 4.9 x 4.9 x 2.9 inch camera body, a very convenient size for the amateur astronomer.
You may also be interested in the following product(s)
|Name||SBIG - STT-8300M CCD Camera|
|Manufacturer||Santa Barbara Instrument Group (SBIG)|
|Custom Stock Status||In Stock|
|ADC (analog to digital converter)||16 bits|
|Backfocus Distance||06.9 inches/17.5mm|
|Computer Interface||USB 2.0 and Ethernet ports (Windows 32 and 64 bit, OS X, Linux)|
|Cooling||Max delta > -50C (air only)|
|Dark Current e-/p/s at 0°C||0.02e-/pixel/sec at -15C|
|Dimensions||4.9 x 4.9 x 2.9 in|
|Exposure||0.12 to 3600 seconds, 10ms|
|Full Frame Download||<1 second|
|Full Well Capacity||25,500 e-|
|Mount||T-thread, 2" nosepiece|
|Pixel Size||5.4x5.4 microns square|
|Power Requirements||12VDC at 3.5 amps|