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Altair Hypercam 294C PRO 11.6mp Cooled Colour Camera

Altair Hypercam 294C PRO 11.6mp Cooled Colour Camera
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Price:  £750.00(Inc. 20% VAT)
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Product Code:  AA294CPRO
Manufacturer:  Altair Astro

Altair Astro


The fan-cooled Hypercam 294C Colour camera is the preferred alternative to a DSLR camera when it comes to astro-imaging, due to it's higher sensitivity to Hydrogen Alpha light.
 
The 11.6mp Sony IMX294 is a 4/3rds sensor (23.2mm diagonal) capable of 14bit depth. It is Back Side Illuminated (BSI) with both Starvis and EXMOR-R ratings, making it ideal for low light imaging applications such as astronomy and microscopy. The Hypercam features fan cooling with 4GB DDR3 RAM, and amp glow reduction for easier image capture and processing.

Due to it's low read noise, the Hypercam 294C is suitable for both deepsky and solar system imaging with ROI, as well as "frame stacking and averaging" in microscopy applications.

  • The PRO Version has the following features:
  • 4GB DDR3 RAM Memory Buffer for better performance.
  • Amp glow reduction - practically zero amp glow.
  • Temperature sensor, with data available in realtime, temperature written to .FITS files for easier processing.
  • ROI (Region of Interest) for cropped higher speed solar, lunar and planetary imaging.
  • Binning supported.

Easier than a DSLR and no "astro modding" required: Unlike a DSLR, there's no need to risk modifying your camera to capture detail in red hydrogen wavelengths, because it has no "red blocking filter" in the way. Hypercam is much easier to use and focus than a DSLR, thanks to the live preview mode which shows uncompressed video at full resolution. You can see a tiny star-point clearly in real-time, because there is no video compression like with a DSLR video stream. There are no clumsy power connectors which drop out easily, no firmware to fight with your software, no mirror to lock up, and a "true" uncompressed RAW mode output. You get exactly what this Sony sensor "sees" from without alterations.

Low read noise. The Sony IMX294 CMOS sensor has very low read noise at approx. 2e, wide dynamic range, and high sensitivity. The IMX294 ExmorR rated Back Illuminated Sensor has high-sensitivty, low dark current, no smear, and excellent anti-blooming charateristics. BSI technology moves the sensor circuitry behind the pixel, so unlike conventional sensors the light path is not blocked, resulting in higher quantum efficiency than a CCD sensor. 
 
HGC mode: HGC is can be switched on in the AltairCapture software, allowing read noise to stay below 2e but preserving dynamic range of 13 stops. We recommend HGC is ALWAYS switched on at gain setting 4.5 in AltairCapture which is equivalent to 450 in SharpCap PRO. SharpCap PRO automatically switches the camera to HGC mode when  Gain of 450 is selected.

Recommended Telescopes for the Hypercam 294C: With a pixel size of 4.63 microns, and an active imaging area of 17.47x12.86mm, the Hypercam 294C performs extremely well with telescopes of around 750mm imaging focal length or more. It will tend to undersample at shorter focal lengths (therefore the Hypercam 183C series cameras are suggested for shorter focal lengths). In particular the Hypercam 294C is recommended for Altair Wave Series 115mm, 130mm and 152mm refractors, 200mm and larger Newtonians, and Schmidt Cassagrains (SCTs) such as the Meade and Celestron ranges, Celestron Hyperstar and RASA scopes. Basically telescopes with a larger spot size are more suitable for the 294C sensor pixel size. For lunar and planetary imaging, at long focal lengths, the 294C is is quite a formiddable solar system camera.

4GB DDR3 RAM: The Hypercam PRO series also has an unprecedented 4GB on-board frame buffer to improve data transfer stability at high frame rates (to reduce dropped frames) and to increase compatibility with a wider range of PCs. The improved buffers give a more consistent data transfer rate over USB2.0 and USB3.0 allowing longer imaging sequences with small notebooks, stick PCs, or mini-PCs. 

Low read noise BSI sensor. The Sony IMX294 CMOS sensor is ExmorR rated, and Back Illuminated (BSI). BSI technology moves the sensor circuitry behind the pixel, so unlike conventional sensors the light path is not blocked, resulting in higher quantum efficiency than a traditional CCD sensor. Read noise is low, and there is no smear or “blooming” on bright stars.

Try deep-sky "lucky" imaging. The low read noise let’s you stack shorter exposures to take advantage of the low read noise, reducing atmospheric aberration, mount tracking errors and wind vibration. The more frames you stack, the smoother the image becomes, and the higher the cumulative dynamic range. In this way, long cumulative exposure times of many hours can be achieved with modest equipment. The result is a smoother, sharper image with more detail.

Video Astronomy/EAA Friendly. The Hypercam 294C camera is not only desirable for Deepsky Imaging - it's also great for Video Astronomy or "EAA" Electronically Assisted Astronomy. The resolution, high sensitivity, and amp glow reduction technology are well suited to this task. What's more, you can use the Live Stacking features in the AltairCapture software or SharpCap PRO. All-sky time-lapse imaging or video is easy with a DSLR lens and optional Hypercam Lens Adapters (product code: CLA-EOS or CLA-NIKON).

To sum it up, the most desirable features of the Hypercam 294C camera are:
 
- 11.6mp resolution SONY Exmor R Back Side Illuminated IMX294 CMOS sensor 
- 5440 x 3648 active pixels in a 13x9mm 16mm diagonal array (16.05mm x 12.61mm physical sensor size).
- Extremely low read noise enabling deepsky lucky imaging and very smooth image quality.
- Amp glow reduction technology onboard reduces amp glow, reduces noise, and increases contrast.
- High Dynamic Range with 14 bit ADC to 16bit output .FITS files in RAW mode, for beautiful deepsky images.
- Up to 17.5 Frames per second video in full 20mp resolution. (You will need a computer with high USB bandwidth to achieve these speeds, preferably with Intel or Via hardware USB controller on the motherboard)

Included in the box:

  • Camera body with internal cooling fan, heat-sink, and front female M42x0.75mm T-Thread interface (12.5mm backfocus).
  • 1.8m High-speed USB3.0 cable.
  • 2" OD Nosepiece with standard 2" M48x0.75mm filter thread on the front. (code ALTAIRH-2IN).
  • Built-in UV-IR Blocking Filter, AR coatings. (Removable for sensor cleaning).
  • Plastic screw-on dust cap.
     

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