Altair Hypercam 269C Colour Camera
The Hypercam 269C Colour camera has a Thermoelectric Cooling System (TEC) for extremely low noise imaging.
The 21mp Sony IMX269 is a 12bit colour 4/3rds sensor with 3.30 m Pixels - a better replacement for the now discontinued colour Panasonic MN34230 Series for long exposure astrophotography, for those wanting similar image scale and pixel size.
The Hypercam features TEC-cooling with 4GB DDR3 RAM, and amp glow reduction for easier image capture and processing. A sealed chamber, and desiccant system with heated optical window make the camera ideal for harsh environments. Due to it's low read noise, the Hypercam 269C PRO TEC camera is suitable for both deepsky and solar system imaging with ROI, as well as "frame stacking and averaging" in other applications. The TEC system can be switched off for fast exposure video imaging.
The Hypercam 269C PRO TEC camera has the following features:
- 4GB DDR3 RAM Memory Buffer for better performance.
- Total elimination of amp glow. We cannot detect any glows on this camera.
- TEC Cooling system - cools down to -45C below ambient.
- Temperature sensor, with data available in real time, temperature written to .FITS files for easier processing.
- Free offer armoured case.
- 12v Power supply (specify EU UK or USA cord)
- ROI (Region of Interest) for cropped higher speed solar, lunar and planetary imaging.
- Binning supported.
FREE 1 YEAR SharpCap PRO License: Includes ultra-accurate polar alignment assist, deepsky CMOS exposure time optimisation assist, live stacking for EAA/Video astronomy, live dark frame and flat frame subtraction. Click here for more SC PRO features. Just download the latest SharpCap, connect your camera, register when the screen pops up and sign up for your free license. Download SharpCap 3.0+ now to take advantage of this special offer.
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 IMX269 CMOS sensor has very low read noise at approx. 2.6e and the usual high-sensitivity, low dark current, no smear, and excellent anti-blooming characteristics you would expect from a CMOS sensor. Unity gain is 565 in SharpCap and most other imaging applications, 5.65 in AltairCapture.
Video Astronomy/EAA Friendly. The Hypercam 296C 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 Adaptors (product code: CLA-EOS or CLA-NIKON).
To sum it up, the headline features of the Hypercam 269C camera are:
21mp resolution SONY Exmor IMX269 CMOS sensor.
5280x3956 active 3.3 micron pixels in a 20.49 mm × 17.83 mm array. Physical sensor size, 4/3rds" 21.77mm diagonal.
Extremely low read noise enabling deepsky lucky imaging and very smooth image quality.
Amp glow reduction technology onboard totally eliminates amp glow, reduces noise, and increases contrast.
A 12 bit ADC converting to 16bit output .FITS files in RAW mode, for deepsky imaging.
Up to 17.5 Frames per second video in full 21mp 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).
Pure RAW video and stills mode and "digital" RGB output modes for better post processing: The Hypercam sensor ADC can deliver 12bit RAW files, which are stretched to 16 bit. In RAW mode analog (on-sensor) gain is used for ultra low read-noise images. Because the output is completely "RAW" in analog mode, there is no partial "downstream digital" processing like with a DSLR or other cheaper Chinese cameras of similar design, resulting in true RAW mode for the best deepsky performance. True RAW mode allows greater flexibility and consistency in processing large stacks of frames for deepsky "lucky" imaging, where the camera's low read noise can be taken advantage of. Either .FITS image or .SER video files are captured in their purest form for later processing in your software of choice. Of course for Video Astronomy / EAA use, you can select RGB Mode and capture .AVI files, or just view the screen with full access to white balance, gamma, contrast and histogram controls, just like any other camera.
USB3.0 speed and USB2.0 reliability:
USB3.0 gives much faster transfer speeds than USB2.0 cameras, however, if like most imagers, you prefer to use longer and more flexible USB2.0 cables for better tracking and reliability with a USB2.0 hub, no problem! The Hypercam is completely compatible with USB2.0 or USB3.0. Just plug and go!
QUALITY software and drivers included:
AltairCapture: Unlike cheaper cameras, Altair Astro has spent considerable time improving the extensively featured and intuitive AltairCapture software, which can be downloaded from www.altaircameras.com. AltairCapture is a stable 64 bit Windows application, which allows full control of the camera in high speed video or still mode. It includes extensive automation features, and supports all the major file formats useful for astro imaging and professional scientific imaging in 16bit, 12bit or 8bit mode. The popular PHD Guiding, SharpCap PRO, and Deepsky imaging software APT and NINA are also fully supported. An ASCOM driver is available for other software, downloaded at www.altaircameras.com where you can also get ASCOM driver updates. The installation process is simple and straightforward, starting with AltairCapture which contains the driver base.
SharpCap PRO: Altair Astro have worked closely with SharpCap developer Robin Glover since 2015, to fully integrate Altair cameras with SharpCap at a basic level. Now, Sharpcap PRO enables even more features with this camera, such as software driven polar alignment (more accurate than any other method), live flat frame subtraction and live darkframe subtraction. The fast, accurate polar alignment feature in SharpCap PRO is a life-saver for imaging, minimising setup time.
The Hypercam has an internal Thermoelectric cooling system connected directly to the sensor. The temperature can be set and maintained at a chosen level down to -45C below ambient (though there is no real benefit going below -15-20C aside from power consumption). Cooling is especially desirable for long exposure imaging to reduce thermal noise which accumulates during long exposures. The result is visibly reduced noise per frame, easier processing, and less sub-frames required to attain a smooth noise-free image, compared to a non-cooled camera.
Support & warranty: Altair delivers proper on-shore English-speaking UK/EU support with a 2 year manufacturer warranty against defects in materials and workmanship. New users should visit the Altair Astro Facebook Group or Altair Camera Google User Group where you can get answers to technical questions. Our support groups are also a great place to share tips and techniques, to get the best out of your camera. The AltairCapture software interface supports most European languages including English, German, French, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Spanish, and Thai.
File formats: 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 .TIFF .BMP, and .FITS (for deepsky imaging) to mention just a few. The Hypercam 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 sensor is extremely sensitive and a good candidate for video astronomy, especially with small refractors. Find out more about bit depth here. Find out more about video & file formats here.
The Hypercam platform: The Hypercam 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, changes in gain, exposure time, or re-aligning or refocusing. 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 exposure) change the settings, and re-start the camera. The Hypercam also has an improved 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 buses on laptops and desktop PCs.
Included in the box:
Camera body with internal Thermoelectric cooling system and front female M42x0.75mm T-Thread interface (17.5mm backfocus).
A spare, rechargeable dessicant cartridge is included for long-term servicing.
(Note: This should not be replaced unless confirmed by your dealer or Altair Astro and the sensor chamber seal should not be opened unless under instructions by a qualified party).
1.8m High-speed USB3.0 cable.
2" OD Nosepiece with standard 2" M48x0.75mm filter thread on the front. (code ALTAIRH-2IN) to accept standard astro filters.
Built-in UV-IR Blocking Filter with AR coatings protects the sensor and hermetically sealed chamber.
Protective silicon rubber end-cap for M42x0.75 front female thread.
Dust cap for 2" nosepiece.
Armoured sealed case with foam insert.
110v/240v Power supply for camera (please specify US, UK or EU plug when ordering).
Note: This camera does not come with software in the box. To operate the camera you will need to download the latest camera drivers at www.altaircameras.com (opens new window)
Sensor performance & specifications:
AA269CPRO: SONY Exmor IMX269 Color CMOS sensor
Sensor Size: 4/3" diagonal (21.77mm)
Exposure duration shortest/longest: 0.1 ms (0.00014 secs) / 5 secs (Video Mode)
0.1 ms (0.0001 secs) / 1000 secs (Trigger Mode)
Unity gain 565 in 12bit mode (=5.65 in Altaircapture).
Bit depth: 8bit & 12bit mode switchable
Pixel size microns: 3.3 x 3.3 um
Resolution in pixels: 5280x3956 (21mp)
Recording System: Still Picture and Video
Region of Interest (ROI) support: Available
Approx. Max frame rates 8bit (assuming computer Bus operating at full bandwidth)*:
5280x3956 17.5fps 1x1 binning
2640x1978 17.5fps 2x2 binning
1760x1318 75fps 3x3 binning
584x440 210fps 9x9 binning
Approx. 50% of above FPS.*
* Based on average testing. May be revised as we get more data. The shorter the exposure duration, the faster the frame rate. An expensive PC does not guarantee a fast frame rate it depends on the PC drivers, bus and main board architecture.
Sensor QE / Quantum Efficiency: No data from Sony
Readout: Progressive Scan
Shutter: Electronic Rolling Shutter
Software & OS support:
Drivers & AltairCapture software download (Windows only): www.altaircameras.com (opens new window).
Driver support: PHD2, AltairCapture, SharpCap
AltairCapture OS support: Win 8/ 10 (32 & 64 bit)
NOTE: Windows 10 is recommended for best performance, with 2013 or later machine USB host controller v1.0 or later.
ASCOM fully supported with drivers downloadable at www.altaircameras.com (opens new window).
SharpCap and APT (3rd party applications) are also fully supported with native drivers for seamless camera control.
USB Port & Cable: 3.0 USB Cable, 1.8m cable (USB2.0 also supported).
Backfocus / Flange Distance: 17.5mm from front flange to sensor.
Cooling: High Performance Electronic Fan-cooling System with Heat-sink connected to sensor via cold-finger
Camera body length: 98mm
Camera body outer diameter: 85mm
Weight grams: 580g
Optical window: AR-coated UV/IR blocking filter 400-700nm wavelength Transmission
Back-focus & Adaptor compatibility:
Optical Window is NOT removable for cleaning.
Camera body thread: M42x0.75 T2 Thread.
Astro filter thread adaptor: Included, 1.25" OD and 2 OD (optional), Female thread
Sensor surface distance from flat end of CS-mount adaptor: 12.5 mm
Power consumption: 1.4W (standby) 5V 280mA
3.65W (running with Fan off);
7.2W (running with Fan on);
Max operating temp: 50 °C
Lowest operating temp: -10 °C
Max operating humidity: 80 % RH
Power source in Volts: 5V DC (via USB cable)
we have changed the PC specifications for Hypercam because customers keep trying to use very cheap devices without adequate USB:
Windows PC Hardware Requirements for best performance:
Minimum CPU: Equal to i5 or Higher
Minimum Memory: 8GB or More
USB ports: USB2.0 High-speed Port or USB3.0 High-speed Port (best performance). Please note: Some laptops and touchscreen notebooks may not have adequate USB throughput.
Software delivery: Downloaded online at www.altaircameras.com and saved to hard drive.
Quick Start & AltairCapture instructions: Online at www.altaircameras.com and saved to hard drive.
Packaging: Armoured plastic case with foam insert.
Warranty: 2 years manufacturer warranty against defects in materials and workmanship. Return to point of purchase.
The Hypercam 269C Colour camera has a Thermoelectric Cooling System (TEC) for extremely low noise imaging.