Opticstar PX-137M Coolair Monochrome CCD Camera
The PX-137M is a scientific grade monochrome sCMOS camera that combines high frame rates with extremely high sensitivity and unusually low noise. The PX-137M is very well suited for planetary, Lunar and Solar imaging where an appropriate solar telescope or solar filter is required. The PX-137M CoolAir fan-cooled camera offers exceptional value for money in terms of performance and versatility.
Capturing critical detail with the PX-137M is now possible due the sensor's unique characteristics and high quality camera electronics that keep electronic noise at minimal levels. With an exposure range of 1ms to 60 seconds the camera can also be used for introductory deep sky imaging. For longer exposures thermal noise is significantly reduced due to the camera's built-in active air-cooling subsystem.
The camera's wide dynamic range makes it ideal for imaging demanding targets including planets, the Sun and the International Space Station among others. The PX-137M camera is ideal for industrial inspection and microscopy applications.
Noise Reduction and Cooling
Thermal noise is kept to a minimum via a heat-sink that is directly attached to the back of the Sony sCMOS sensor and a low vibration fan that draws the heat out of the camera. Enclosed camera cases will typically show temperatures of around 10ºC above ambient temperature, these can rise dramatically during extended exposures. Air-cooled cameras such as the PX-137M will show internal temperatures of around 3ºC above ambient temperature under normal use, thermal noise halves for every 6 degrees of drop in temperature which means that a similar non air-cooled camera with have over twice the noise of the PX-137M during longer exposures.
The PX-137M requires a fully featured, full speed USB2.0 port to take advantage of all the camera's advanced features. The camera boasts a large Well Capacity of 15,000 e~ typically present in higher quality CCD sensors. The camera offers two modes of operation 1280x1038 and 668x512 resolutions. The PX-137M electronics in combination with the on-board sCMOS sensor ensure high signal-to-noise ratio even at very short exposure times.
The PX-137M camera can stream and store high quality video to disk at up to 50 frames per second at 668x512 resolution or at 25 frames per second at 1280x1030 resolution, it can also grab single frames. All video and single frames are captured without compression, ensuring high 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 the excellent AstroArt and freely available Deep Sky Stacker or Registax. AstroArt is more relevant when you want to manipulate the image but without altering the underlying data, AstroArt is therefore highly suitable for photometry.
ISCapture - Camera Control Software
The camera is bundled with ISCapture software for image capture and camera control with a point and click interface. It can capture single frames in AVI video format as well as single frames. The captured video data can optionally be compressed if required in MPEG-4 format. ISCapture includes functions for image processing and image measurements. It can also be used for a wide range of applications including microscopy.
A brief outline of ISCapture'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 the second program 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.
Optionally, the PX-137M can accept a removable focal reducer that can significantly increase the field of view or an image amplifier that will substantially increase image size, relevant when imaging at high magnifications. The Opticstar Photo-visual Focal Reducer will triple the camera's field of view (x0.33) where the Opticstar Imaging Focal Reducer will offer focal reductions between x0.46 and x0.73.
The Opticstar Planetary Imaging Kit on the other hand will offer magnifications between x1.7 and x3.85 and is well suited for imaging the planets, moon and Sun with a suitable Solar filter. 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.
|Name||Opticstar - PX-137M Coolair Monochrome CCD Camera|
|Custom Stock Status||Ships in 3-5 Days|
|ADC (analog to digital converter)||12-bit ADC, full 4096 range|
|Computer Interface||USB 2.0 with 1.8 metre cable|
|Computer Requirements||Microsoft Windows (64-bit & 32-bit) XP/Vista/7/8; USB 2.0 port|
|Cooling||Heat sink and fan|
|Data Format||AVI video with or wihthout MPEG compression; BMP|
|Data Output||8-bit or 16-bit uncompressed output|
|Dynamic Range||4500:1 (Gain 1X)|
|Exposure time||Automatic or Manual; 1 millisecond to 1 minute|
|Frame Rate||25fps @ 1280x1038; 50fps @ 668x512|
|Frames Per Second (fps)||25 FPS @ 1280x1038, 50 FPS @ 668x512|
|Gain||In hardware, user selectable from 0% to >100% boost|
|Peak QE||76% @ 500nm|
|Pixel Size||3.63µm x 3.63µm|
|Power Requirements||USB 2.0 Bus Power|
|Quantum Efficiency||76% @ 500nm|
|Read Noise||3e- (RMS)|
|Resolution||1280(W) x 1038(H)|
|Sensor Type||1/3" Sony IMX035 Exmor CMOS Monochrome|