Altair GPCAM2 290C Colour Guide / Imaging / EAA Camera
The Altair GPCAM2 290C Colour camera has the sought after Sony Exmor IMX290 CMOS sensor, with high sensitivity, and extremely low read noise, which alongside the IMX224 is possibly the lowest of any similar sized sensor. *
It can be used for solar, planetary, lunar “lucky” imaging as well as long exposure deepsky imaging, and of course video astronomy. Time-lapse all-sky imaging (with optional meteor lens) is fully supported in the software. Amp glow is very well suppressed making this sensor a particularly good choice for deepsky imaging or video astronomy.
The SONY Exmor IMX290 Color CMOS sensor has very low read noise, with 2.9 micron pixels and a large 1920x1080 array giving 2.07 megapixels. It is also BSI, or backside illuminated and carries the STARVIS rating.
Onboard buffering gives USB data transfer speeds significantly higher than the GPCAM1 series, pushing the USB2.0 format to the limit, yet within a stable envelope. This almost completely eliminates dropped frames, corrupted video, and enables faster more consistent frame rates, even with less powerful notebook computers.
The casing has an external heatsink surface, which dissipates heat generated by the electronics, reducing thermal noise.
The USB2.0 connector is the high strength type - the highest quality component of it's type on the market. This is much more reliable than the micro-USB connectors found on smartphones (we all know how those loosen up over a short time!).
SPECIAL OFFER! FREE 6 Month SharCap PRO License with all Altair cameras made in 2017! Click here for more SC PRO feature info. Just download the latest SharpCap and connect your camera, register when the screen pops up and off you go. Sharpcap PRO has the amazingly accurate guidescope polar alignment routine, focus assistance, live flat field subtraction and many more great features to make deepsky, EAA or solar system imaging that much easier. Download SharpCap now to take advantage of this special offer - offer only valid in 2017.
The camera has an ST4 auto-guiding port, and can be used to auto-guide with mounts from all the major mount manufacturers supporting ST4 format, such as iOptron, Celestron and Skywatcher.
You would be hard-pressed to find a more versatile small-format colour astronomy imaging camera with this price and features.
And what's more, you get UK/EU based warranty support, plus the Altair Camera Google User Group for all your technical questions - a great place to share tips and techniques to get the best out of your camera.
The camera can be fully controlled in AltairCapture and SharpCap to output uncompressed .AVI and .SER video files for solar system imaging, as well as all common still image formats such as .JPEG .PNG .TIF .BMP, to mention just a few. The GPCAM supports 8bit or 12bit output. The 12 bit output mode can be used for deep sky imaging with less frames needing to be stacked and a wider pixel intensity range. The IMX290 sensor is extremely sensitive in the IR region (for all pixels not just red!) and can be used effectively with IR Pass filters for solar and lunar imaging in mono mode.
What’s different about the GPCAM2 platform compared to the GPCAM1 platform? You’ll notice the GPCAM2 casing is larger than the GPCAM. This is to house larger electronics boards which support trigger mode and frame buffering as well as to increase the surface area for cooling. The GPCAM2 platform supports “Trigger Mode” to make long exposures of over 5 seconds easier to control. With most cameras, in normal video mode, you have to wait for an exposure to complete before the camera will accept, say a command to abort the frame, for say clouds, aircraft, or an alignment issue, like kicking the tripod and so-on, or for routine changes in gain, exposure time, , re-aligning or refocusing on the object. For long exposures, normal video mode is inconvenient, especially for video astronomy and deep-sky imaging, however in Trigger mode, you can stop the camera instantly (even if you are half way through a long 30 second exposure) change the settings, and re-start the camera looping again. The GPCAM2 also has an improved onboard 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 buses on laptops and desktop PCs. Included in the box: BASIC Package:
- Camera body with high-strength USB2.0 connector.
- 2m High-speed USB2.0 A male to B male cable.
- 1.5m ST4 guide cable.
- 1.25 inch x 20mm nosepiece with female 1.25" filter thread on the front.
- CS-Mount adapter with built-in UV-IR Blocking Filter, AR coatings. (Removable for sensor cleaning).
- Plastic dust cap 1.25".
- PLUS 2.1mm F1.6 150 degree FOV wide angle Meteor lens and dust caps.
- PLUS C-Mount 5mm extension adapter for C-Mount lenses requiring 17.5mm back-focus.
* Read noise is unknown / unconfirmed at time of writing.
The Altair GPCAM2 290C Colour camera has the sought after Sony Exmor
IMX290 CMOS sensor, with high sensitivity, and extremely low read noise