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Opticstar - "Optimum One" Series - ED80S Gold + PL-131M Monochrome Planetary Camera

Model#: ED80S + PL-131M

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Details

Opticstar ED80S Gold 80mm ED Fluorite Doublet Refractor Optical Tube Assembly

 

Overview:

  • High quality apochromatic refractor
  • Lens type: FPL-53 Fluorite Doublet
  • Coatings: Broadband FMC
  • Lens diameter: 80mm
  • Focal ratio: f6.25
  • Focal length: 500mm
  • Two speed (1:10) Precision 2" rotatable focuser
  • Robust, all-metal construction
  • 2" to 1.25" eyepiece adapter included
  • Metal knife-edge baffles
  • Retractable dew shield
  • Finder scope saddle
  • Mounting rings (with 1/4" photo/c thread)
  • Aluminium case (or quality nylon, padded travel-case)

 

The Opticstar ED80S short-tube refractor is ideal as a portable scope and can be used for observing, imaging or as a guide scope. It uses a high quality 80mm apochromatic doublet that is fully broad-band multicoated to ensure maximum light transmission.

The ED80S uses the higher quality FPL53 Fluorite glass rather than the FPL52 or FPL51 types. FPL53 Fluorite glass suppresses chromatic aberration and is very well suited for short focal lengths unlike the FPL52 or FPL51 types. The optical tube greatly benefits from metal knife-edge baffles (not the plastic less effective step-type) that prevent stray light outside the field of view from reaching the focal plane. Knife-edge baffles markedly increase image contrast.

The dual speed Crayford type focuser, main tube and lens assembly are screwed into each other for maximum rigidity, no peripheral screws are used as they can compromise the rigidity of the telescope. This eliminates movement and ensures orthogonality.

The ED80S refractor features a high quality precision 1:10 two-speed Crayford type focuser with a 2" drawtube (1.25" adapter included), retractable metal dew shield, finder scope saddle, CNC rings with 1/4" photo tripod threads, broadband fully multi-coated optics and comes complete with a quality padded travel-case or alternatively with a hard aluminium re-enforced padded case.

With a focal length of 500mm (f/6.25) the ED80S is also very well suited for wide field astrophotography, guiding as well as for nature photography.

With a minimum total length of only 39cm and 80mm aperture the ED80S is the perfect travel scope. All you need to start using the ED80S is a photographic tripod, diagonal and eyepieces.

 

 

Focusing the Finder Scope

Loosen lens-cell B by turning it anti-clockwise. Turn the locking ring A clock-wise. Point the finder scope to a distant object, ideally a star, and bring the finder scope to focus by turning lens-cell B clock-wise or counter clock-wise as required. Once you have reached focus turn locking-ring A op.

 

The ED80S Gold as a Spotting Scope

The ED80S is ideal as a spotting scope due to is excellent optics and compactness. You will need a prism diagonal to obtain a corrected view through the ED80S as with any other refractor. With a prism diagonal the ED80S will focus down to 11 meters, with the addition of a 2 inch extension tube the ED80S will focus down to 6 meters. We highly recommend the padded case as this can by carried over one’s shoulder and provides ample storage space for the ED80S and its accessories.

 

 

Mounting on Schmidt-Cassegrain Telescopes (SCT)

The ED80S can be mounted on top of SCT telescopes with mounting rings, dovetail accessory adapters and dovetail plates as shown below.

 

 

Opticstar PL-131M CoolAir Monochrome CMOS Camera

 

 

Overview:

  • Sensor: 1/2" CMOS Monochrome
  • Sensor Resolution: 1280(H) x 1024(V)
  • Frame Rate:
    • 22 FPS @ 1280x1024
    • 80 FPS @ 640x480 (ROI)
    • 220 FPS @ 320x240 (ROI)
  • USB 2.0 Powered
  • Hardware Binning: 1x1, 2x2, 4x4
  • Hardware Region of Interest (ROI)
  • Hardware Gain
  • Robust aluminium alloy body
  • Air-Cooled with internal fan
  • Suitable for Planetary imaging or Auto-Guiding
  • Bundled Software:
    • etAMACAP (DirectShow/WDM)
    • Craterlet (DirectShow/WDM)
    • Nebulosity Lite
    • PHD Guiding
    • Plug-in for MaxIm DL
    • Plug-in for AstroArt
  • Computer Requirements:
    • Microsoft Windows (32-bit & 64-bit) XP/Vista/7/8
    • USB 2.0 port

 

 

The PL-131M CoolAir fan-cooled camera offers exceptional performance and versatility easily outperforming cameras costing considerably more. The camera excels as a planetary (Solar and Lunar) camera with frame rates of up to 220fps. It is also ideal as a guider or for industrial inspection and microscopy applications. Gain, Region of Interest (ROI) and binning are all features implemented in the hardware to deliver exceptional performance.

The PL-131M camera has been designed to deliver high image quality at unusually high frame rates. The camera is capable of capturing an image even at a minimum 1ms exposure (10secs max in single shot mode) at all supported resolutions and with frame rates of up to 220fps.

The PL-131M camera requires a fully featured, full speed USB2.0 port to take advantage of all the camera’s advanced features. Please refer to Hardware Requirements lower in the page for more information and advice.

 

Region of Interest

ROI has been implemented in hardware and offers fast frame rates at the expense of field of view. Frame rates of up to 220 frames per second are possible. In addition the position of the ROI window can be set by the user via the supplied software and repositioned as required.

The above example shows the ROI in action. The user can resize (1280x1024, 640x480, 320x240) and reposition the ROI over the planet in this example so as to dramatically increase frame rates from 22fps to 80fps and to 220fps respectively without reducing the actual size of the planet, this remains the same in all three images i.e. 306x204 pixels approximately. In practice the ROI reveals and sends to the computer only a portion of the total sensor area.

As such considerable amounts of detail can captured at these extreme speeds. The size of single frames and video files are also greatly reduced resulting in singe frames and AVI video files of 1/4 and 1/16 in size without compromising image quality.

R.O.I. Size
(in pixels)
R.O.I. Position Frame Rate * Frame Size
(megapixels)
1000 frames
AVI File Size
Total Time for
1000 Frames*
1280x1024 whole sensor area 22fps 1.3mp 1300 MB 46 seconds
640x480 user definable x, y 80fps 0.325mp 325 MB 12.5 seconds
320x240 user definable x, y 220fps 0.081mp 81 MB 4.6 seconds

 

Binning Modes

Binning is implemented in the camera hardware for improved performance and is useful when you need to increase the camera’s light sensitivity. Binning increases light sensitivity at the expense of resolution, the field of view remains the same in all binning modes. The camera uses the whole of the sensor surface to collect photons and outputs the image at different resolutions depending on the binning mode selected. The diagram below is for illustration purposes and shows the effect of binning as light sensitivity increases and resolution/image size decreases, exposure time remains the same.

Binning Mode Resolution Sensitivity Binning Frame Rate
1x1 1280x1024 x1 not applicable 22fps
2x2 640x480 x4 hardware 80fps
4x4 320x240 x16* hardware/software 80fps

 

Hardware Gain

Gain is implemented in the camera hardware and is useful in amplifying the incoming signal. This feature is particularly useful when minimum exposure times and/or maximum signal levels are required.

 

Planetary, Lunar, Solar Imaging

When imaging the Sun, Moon and planets atmospheric turbulence will have an adverse effect on the quality of the image. As such the best way to capture a high quality image of say a planet is by capturing hundreds or thousands of frames in succession and in the minimum amount of time possible. The resultant AVI video file can then be imported in say AstroArt or the freely available Registax where the image frames can be stacked by the software in a single final image of superior quality.

At a maximum frame rate of 220fps the PL-131M CoolAir is the ideal planetary and Lunar camera offering high quality video streams while dramatically reducing hard disk space requirements and the size of captured video AVI files.

For planetary imaging we recommend running the camera at 1280x1024 with the ROI set at 320x240. This ensures the highest image quality at the highest speeds possible, i.e. 220fps. When long focal lengths are used (i.e. over 6 meters for the larger planets) the camera ROI can be set to 640x480 (80fps) to comfortably fit the planetary disk inside the ROI window.

The 1/2" format sensor will accommodate focal lengths of around 12 meters for the largest planets so that the projected planetary disk remains smaller than the size of sensor. If the focal length used is around 12 meters you would use the camera at full resolution (22fps, ROI set to OFF).

For Lunar imaging setting the camera at 1280x1024 and the ROI at 320x240 will suit smaller Lunar features and/or when you want to draw out that extra detail. Otherwise for medium sized Lunar features running the camera at 1280x1024 with the ROI set at 640x480 will offer the best option. If you are interested in capturing as much of the area of the Moon as possible in a single shot you will need to run the camera at its full 1280x1024 resolution at 22fps (ROI set to OFF). What applies to the Moon also applies to the Sun (full aperture Solar filter required).

Finally the camera’s high speed makes it ideal for imaging (and viewing) in real time ‘fast moving’ targets like the International Space Station.

 

Auto-Guiding

The PL-131M CoolAir camera can be used as a guide camera and offers a number of features useful in auto-guiding sometimes not found in dedicated guiding cameras.

Hardware binning allows your guide camera to reveal and guide on fainter stars. Its ability to bin makes it ideal for guide scopes with shorter and longer focal lengths as you can better match the guider scope’s focal length to the size of the pixels. An on-board camera frame store ensures the highest image quality and S/N ratios.

The camera needs an auto-guide controller like the Shoestring GPUSB unit to be able to auto-guide with any ST-4 compatible mount. The Opticstar AG-131M CoolAir is the auto-guiding version of the PL-131M CoolAir and includes the PL-131M CoolAir camera as well as the Shoestring GPUSB unit.

 

Other Applications

The PL-131M CoolAir is very well suited to microscopy and machine inspection in particular due to its high frame rates combined with high image quality. The camera will perform well even under not ideal lighting conditions.

 

Hardware Requirements

The PL-131M CoolAir camera requires a fully featured, full speed USB2.0 port to take advantage of all the camera’s advanced features. Fully featured USB2.0 ports are rare in older laptops and not always present in entry level laptops. PCMCIA/CardBus USB2.0 cards typically do not deliver full USB2.0 speeds and will not work with USB2.0 high resolution video cameras including the PL-131M CoolAir.

To resolve such issues an ExpressCard (with a USB2.0 port) could be used instead of a PCMCIA/CardBus card due to the ExpressCard's superior speed of 2.5Gbit/s (480 Mbit/s through USB 2.0) per slot.

Express type cards use a 34mm slot where PCMCIA/CardBus cards use 54mm slots. An ExpressCard should be connected directly to the computer and not via a PCMCIA/CardBus card.

Please note the ExpressCards will resolve USB related issues assuming that the laptop data bus can support full ExpressCard speeds and is fully implemented.

Computers with slower USB2.0 ports may still be able to capture at full resolution but may be able to only transfer a user selectable area (ROI 640x480 or 320x240) to the computer while sustaining image resolution and high frame rates. This does not have a real effect when imaging planets where video capture should ideally take place at the smallest ROI size possible, typically 320x240 @ 220fps for focal lengths to around 6 meters for planets like Jupiter or Saturn.

Always download and install the latest Windows and Direct X service packs.

This does not have a real affect when imaging planets where video capture should ideally take place at the smallest ROI size possible, typically 320x240 @ 220fps for focal lengths to around 6 meters for planets like Jupiter or Saturn.

 

Options

Optionally, the PL-131M COOLAIR incorporates a removable x0.5 focal reducer nosepiece that can double the field of view if required. An extension 5 metre USB lead with a USB repeater (amplifier) is also available in cases where the camera will be used further away from the computer.

The camera comes with a C/CS ring and a 1.25" telescope adaptor threaded for filters. A C/CS to T-thread adaptor is available as an optional extra. The camera will accept standard C and CS mount lenses as well as T-thread lenses (with the optional adapter). The PL-131M COOLAIR can also be mounted on standard photographic tripods as it incorporates a 1/4" photographic female thread.

 

Bundled Software

In addition to EMAMCAP, the camera is bundled with a number of software applications including Opticstar View, Nebulosity Lite and PHD Guiding. Also there are software plug-ins for third party applications such as AstroArt and MaxIm DL. The most appropriate software to use depends on the particular application.

If maximum frame rates are required then the camera should be configured as a Windows DirectShow/WDM device. Alternatively, if maximum light sensitivity is desired then it should be used in native mode.

The PL-131C COOLAIR is supported natively in Nebulosity, PHD Guiding, AstroArt and MaxIm DL. The camera can also be used as DirectShow/WDM video camera in EMAMCAP.

 

 

Opticstar View - Camera Control Software

The camera is recommended for lunar and solar (with a solar filter) imaging. It includes Opticstar View software for image capture and camera control with a point and click interface. It can capture single frames, a series of single frames in BMP format or in AVI video format. The captured video data can optionally be compressed if required in MPEG-4 format.

 

A brief outline of View’s image processing functions is listed below:

  • Basic operations including Crop, Mirror, Flip, Invert, Rotate, Bright, etc.
  • Copy and paste user defined regions.
  • Distances can be measured between user defined points, circles, etc.
  • Angles can be calculated by defining three points on the image.
  • Operations can be performed on any user defined region.
  • Colour operations can be performed on individual R, G, B channels.
  • Data combine of two images.
  • Data calibration.
  • Image-zoom as a per cent of the original image.
  • Linear filters to soften, sharpen, emboss, blur and Gaussian.
  • Non-linear filters for median, erode, dilate, contour, edge and jitter.
  • Transform filters for pinch, punch, twirl and cylinder.
  • Fluorescence filters for gamma, colorize, mix and combine.

 

EtAMCAP - Camera Control Software

EtAMCAP is also bundled with the camera. It can be used to control the camera and capture video in AVI format. This program does not include any image processing functionality but the captured video files can be processed in other software such as Deep Sky Stacker, Registax, Paintshop, Photoshop, etc.

 

Image Quality

The ability of the camera to capture and store high quality video to disk in real-time provides the data required for stacking any number of frames to create a single greatly enhanced quality image using image stacking software, these include Nebulosity (bundled with the camera), the excellent AstroArt, the freely available Registax and others.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Product Series

Our Optimum ONE series was designed for the entry level Astro Imager in mind to bring together an "all-in-one" Telescope & Camera package with quality and affordability at the forefront...Value is our key aim, whether your interest lies in Planetary, Lunar or Solar astronomical photography the Optimum ONE series is the perfect Solution...Are you searching for Deep Sky Auto-guiding? Optimum ONE is right up your alley and coupled together with our matched accessories, you can add a filter wheel, additional filtering, a focal reducer or an Off-axis Guider and be off scanning the heavens! Optimum ONE speaks for itself...

 

"It's the OPTIMUM for Imaging Performance"

 


Each Optimum ONE series comes combined with an 80mm refractor with either our PX 35 or 75 series camera, our PL series we have the perfect Solution...

 

 

  • High quality apochromatic refractor
  • Lens type: FPL-53 Fluorite Doublet
  • Coatings: Broadband FMC
  • Lens diameter: 80mm
  • Focal ratio: f6.25
  • Focal length: 500mm
  • Two speed (1:10) Precision 2" rotatable focuser
  • Robust, all-metal construction
  • 2" to 1.25" eyepiece adapter included
  • Metal knife-edge baffles
  • Retractable dew shield
  • Finder scope saddle
  • Mounting rings (with 1/4" photo/c thread)
  • Quality nylon, padded travel-case or Aluminum case.

 

 

( display photos shown with an optional 9x50 finder scope)

 

 

Show with additional "V" series dovetail

 


 

 

 

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Additional Information

Name Opticstar - "Optimum One" Series - ED80S Gold + PL-131M Monochrome Planetary Camera
Manufacturer Opticstar
Model ED80S + PL-131M
ADC (analog to digital converter) 8-bit
Aperture 80mm
Computer Interface USB 2.0 with 1.8 metre (6 feet) of USB cable
Construction All metal construction
Cooling Air-cooled from internal fan (USB powered)
Dew shield Retractable with metal screw-type cap
Dimensions 65mm (W) x 40mm (D) x 85mm (H)
Exposure time Minimum 1ms; Maximum 10 seconds in native long exposure mode.
Focal Ratio f/6.25
Focuser Two speed (1:10) precision, rotatable, adjustable
Frame Rate 22fps @ 1280x1024 maximum; 80fps @ 640x480; 220fps @ 320x240
Objective Objective
Operating System Microsoft Windows (32-bit & 64-bit) XP/Vista/7/8
Optical Coatings Broadband FMC (fully multi-coated)
Optical Design Suitable for use with bino-viewers
Optical Format 1/2" CMOS monochrome sensor
Optical Tube Internally anti-reflection coated, knife-edge baffles
Optical Tube Weight 5.5 Ibs with Rings
Pixel Size 5.2µm x 5.2µm
Power Requirements USB Bus Power
Resolution 1280(W) x 1024(H)
Sensor Type Micron MT9C001
Shutter Electronic Rolling
Tube Diameter 97mm
Tube Ring Heavy duty tube rings and dovetail with photographic 1/4" thread