SBIG STT 3200ME CCD for Astrophotography
Yet again, SBIG has announced even more camera models! Inspired from the production of the STT-8300M camera, the company has now decided to make the STT-3200ME!
The STT-3200ME is very similar to the STT-8300. So the question may come to mind, what could the difference be? The only difference is the sensor that it is built upon. SBIG has designed this camera in purpose of being a successor to the legendary ST-10XME.
- 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
SBIG's history has provided the company a mangificient opportunity to adjust their cameras based upon the review of their customers. The new STT-3200ME is based upon years of innovation and research that has brought this CCD camera to a volume of 4.9x4.9x2.9 inches! Just as the STT-8300, this version of the STT also includes very advanced cooling systems, USB 2.0 and Ethernet computer interface ports and a full frame buffer. In addition, there is also internal automatic image processing, self-guiding in filter front, remote guide head support, and of course, optional adaptive optics.
High Precision Wheel and Guider
Being that alone kid that stands out, the STT-3200ME camera differs from its brothers in that it is capable of holding a maximum of eight 36mm filters. Not only that, it can also accomodate filters of 1.25" and 31mm diameters. Astrophotographers will adore this camera due to the self-guiding CCD for efficient light management and the precise re-position of filters to match during exposures, even when power is out or unecessary movement takes place. SBIG has provided the observor with optional Astrodon, Baader planetarium, and Astromik are available in conjuction with this camera.
SBIG has done considerable research over the years and found accuracy of more than 5.4 microns of filter re-positioning. How amazing it that! Flat fields taken after re-positioning still equal an accuracy of about one pixel!
- 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
Even Illumination Shutter
An imbalance of light entering the CCD sensor while taking dark frames can corrupt the resulting images beyond repair. The solution SBIG has come up with long before the construction of the STT-3200 camera is an installation of an even illuminated shutter. This is a rare feature mostly unique to only SBIG CCD cameras. It helps regulate and balance proportion of light falling into the sensor from external forces or the shape of the shutter. Like there previous ST-8300 cameras, SBIG has implemented a fan shaped shutter. They do this to ensure that no area of the sensor recieves more exposure than another. This type of sensor also only requires one motor to function. The company has gone through enormous instances to ensure that the mechanics behind their CCD cameras can surivive to their fullest potential throughout millions of exposures.
User Selectable Internal Image Processing
SBIG cameras definately rank at the top of the list as far as automatic image processing is concerned. In fact, both the STT and the STF-8300 cameras are the first CCD cameras on the market to have this feature implemented. Cleaning up images is quite straightforward and easy. Simply select a level of hot pixels and get rid of them!
Efficient TE Cooling
When using CCD cameras, cooling, cooling, and one more thing, cooling is everything. If there isn't a suitable cooling system, not only are great results sacrificed, but the life of the optics has been shortened considerably. SBIG always guarantees their CCD cameras have excellent cooling methods. In the STT-3200ME, there are twin speed fans that run efficient TE cooling in conjunction with a heat sink that drives out the maximum amount of heat possible at a safe rate. SBIG STT-3200ME has pinned heat sinks as opposed typical parralel type since they are preferred as far as heat dissipation is concerned. In five minutes, cameras can reach a delta>50C. The STT cameras also include a water cooling system in which the astrophotographer can insert water into the adjustable fixtures on the side.
High Quantum Efficiency
The SBIG STT-3200ME excels at high quantum efficiency, in which light is now more focused on the sensitivity of each pixel displayed. The sensor has the highest QE that is available so far to amateur astronomers with only the 8300 and 1603ME ranking slightly below. Kodak's KAF-3200 chip is well designed upon this specific aspect. The chart below will demonstrate.
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 Autoguider Output Port
Just like its brother model the STT-8300M, the STT-3200ME also includes a modular telephone 6-pin jack guider port when the observor desires to use the camera as a temporary autoguider. SBIG has made setup simple, simply take a cable and connect the mount to the autoguider port. The connections used in this CCD camera are opto-secluded, so external relay boxes are out of the picture.
The STT-3200ME works with AO-8 adaptive optics accessory by SBIG. This makes mount control while autoguiding much less stressful and in even some cases, unecessary because the adaptive optics accessory will already stabilize the image for you due to its connection and power directly from the CCD camera via the I2C port. Just how precise could this autoguider possibly get? Since the autoguider directly connects to the CCD, it can make minor corrections approximately 10 times per second! This can easily compensate for external forces like wind or other vibrations.
Remote Guide Head
SBIG has available a new type of remote guide head specifially designed for the STT camera series. Unlike previous cameras and remote guide heads in which extra cables and connections were needed to function, this new designed one fits directly into the camera itself, eliminating the frustration of tangled cables!
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|Name||SBIG - STT-3200ME CCD Camera|
|Manufacturer||Santa Barbara Instrument Group (SBIG)|