Moravian instruments
Search
Main menu
Main page
Contact
Distributors
Products
Gallery
References
Observations
Download
Cameras
CMOS & CCD cameras
Software
Software
Store
Online Shop


Main pageProductsCMOS & CCD cameras

C1 Series CMOS Cameras
 C1 cameras employ the same sensors like the C3 series latest generation of Sony APS and Full-Frame (24נ36mm) CMOS sensors, offering exceptional quantum efficiency thanks to back-illuminated design and very low dark current. Despite relatively small pixels, full-well capacity exceeds 50ke-, rivaling cameras with much greater pixels. Combined with full 16bit digitization, perfectly linear response to light and exceptionally low read noise, these cameras are suitable for both aesthetic astro-photography as well as astronomical research. At the same time the C1 camera head is designed to be symmetrical, with as small front cross-section as possible.

The C1 family of cameras combine large APS and Full-Frame sized sensors, used in the C3 series, with a compact body of C1+ cameras. The front cross-section of the C1 camera head is the same like the C1+ one, only its body is a bit longer to accommodate more complex electronics as well as more powerful cooling (here originates the name of the entire series C1 eXtended). Similarly to the C1+ line, also the C1 cameras lack mechanical shutter.

Using of large sensors up to size 24נ36mm required also redesign of the telescope/lens adapters of the C1 line, the M42/M48נ0.75 threads, used with C1+ camera adapters, are too small for such large sensors. So, the C1 adapters are equipped with new M56נ1 thread. The front plate of the M56נ1 adapter also contains four threaded holes, which makes it compatible with C3 camera body and thus the C1 can use the same External filter wheels and other accessories like the C3 line.

Rich software and driver support allow usage of C1 camera without a necessity to invest into any 3rd party software package thanks to included free SIPS software package. However, ASCOM (for Windows) and INDI (for Linux) drivers and Linux driver libraries are shipped with the camera, provide the way to integrate C1 camera with broad variety of camera control programs.

The C1 cameras are designed to work in cooperation with a host Personal Computer (PC). As opposite to digital still cameras, which are operated independently on the computer, the scientific cooled cameras usually require computer for operation control, image download, processing and storage etc. To operate the camera, you need a computer which:

  1. Is compatible with a PC standard and runs modern 32 or 64-bit Windows operating system.

  2. Is an x86 or ARM based computer and runs 32 or 64-bit Linux operating system.

    Remark:

    Drivers for 32-bit and 64-bit Linux systems are provided, but the SIPS camera control and image processing software, supplied with the camera, requires Windows operating system.

  3. Support for x64 based Apple Macintosh computers is also included.

    Remark:

    Only certain software packages are currently supported on Mac.

C1 cameras are designed to be attached to host PC through very fast USB 3.0 port. While C1 cameras remain compatible with older (and slower) USB 2.0 interface, image download time is significantly longer.

Alternatively, it is possible to use the Moravian Camera Ethernet Adapter device. This device can connect up to four Cx (and CCD based Gx) cameras of any type (not only C1, but also C1, C2, C3 and C4) and offers 1 Gbps and 10/100 Mbps Ethernet interface for direct connection to the host PC. Because the PC then uses TCP/IP protocol to communicate with the cameras, it is possible to insert WiFi adapter or other networking device to the communication path.

Hint:

Please note that the USB standard allows usage of cable no longer than approx. 5 meters and USB 3.0 cables are even shorter to achieve very fast transfer speeds. On the other side, the TCP/IP communication protocol used to connect the camera over the Ethernet adapter is routable, so the distance between camera setup and the host PC is virtually unlimited.

Download speed is naturally significantly slower when camera is attached over Ethernet adapter, especially when compared with direct USB3 connection.

The C1 cameras need an external power supply to operate. It is not possible to run the camera from the power lines provided by the USB cable, which is common for simple imagers. C1 cameras integrate highly efficient CMOS sensor cooling, shutter and possibly filter wheel, so their power requirements significantly exceed USB line power capabilities. On the other side separate power source eliminates problems with voltage drop on long USB cables or with drawing of laptop batteries etc.

Also note the camera must be connected to some optical system (e.g. the telescope) to capture images. The camera is designed for long exposures, necessary to acquire the light from faint objects. If you plan to use the camera with the telescope, make sure the whole telescope/mount setup is capable to track the target object smoothly during long exposures.

C1 Camera Overview

C1 camera head is designed to be as small and compact as a cooled camera with large sensor can be, and at the same time to be robust and resilient.

C1 cameras are equipped with tiltable telescope interface and tripod mounting threaded holes. They are also compatible with external filter wheels designed for larger C2 and C3 cameras camera head contains connector to control filter wheel. If the external filter wheel is used, the tiltable mechanism on the camera head is not accessible and tiltable adapters for external filter wheels are used instead. C1 cameras with external filter wheels are then compatible with vast range of other telescope and lens adapters including off-axis guider adapters etc.

C1 camera head

C1 camera head

C1 camera head is designed to be easily used with a set of accessories to fulfil various observing needs. Camera adapter base back focal distance is 16.5mm and can be used directly to attach the camera to the telescope focuser using the M56נ1 thread.

The M56נ1 thread in the adapter base is also used to attach several adapters for specific mounting standards:

  • M42נ0.75 (T-thread) adapter with 55mm back focal distance.

  • M48נ0.75 adapter with 55mm back focal distance.

  • Canon EOS bayonet lens adapter.

  • Nikon bayonet lens adapter.

C1 camera with M48, Nikon and Canon lens adapters (left), and with Canon lens attached using bayonet EOS adapter (right)

The adapter base is also equipped with four M3 threaded holes 44mm apart. As the adapter base BFD is 16.5 mm the same BFD like in the case of C2 and C3 cameras there is a possibility to attach the External Filter Wheel to the C1 camera. Four sizes of the External filter wheels, capable to accept various sizes of filters, are available for the C1 cameras:

Extra small “XS” size wheel for:

  • 7 unmounted D36mm filters

Small “S” size wheel for:

  • 5 square 50נ50mm filters

  • 7 unmounted filters D50mm or filters in 2 threaded cells

  • 10 unmounted filters D36mm filters

Medium “M” size wheel for:

  • 5 square 50נ50mm filters

  • 7 unmounted filters D50mm or filters in 2 threaded cells

  • 10 unmounted filters D36mm filters

Large “L” size wheel for:

  • 7 square 50נ50mm filters

  • 9 unmounted filters D50mm or filters in 2 threaded cells

Remark:

The filter wheels with D36mm filters can be used with C1 cameras equipped with APS size sensors only. Cameras with “Full-Frame” sensors (24נ36mm) cannot use such small filters.

Note the “S” and “M” filter wheels are of very similar dimensions and hold the same number of the same filters. They differ in the adjustable adapter size only.

C1 camera with “XS” and “S” sized External filter wheels

If the External filter wheel is used, the tiltable base directly on the camera head stays inactive. Instead, another tiltable base, intended for C3 adapters, is manufactured directly on the External filter wheel front shell. So, if the External filter wheel is used, adapters for the M56נ1 thread cannot be used. Instead, adapters designed for C3 cameras, must be used.

There are two sizes of adjustable adapters available, depending of the External filter wheel size:

  • Extra small ‘XS’ and small “S” External filter wheels use small “S” adapters, compatible with C2 cameras. These adapters include e.g. M48נ0.75 and M42נ0.75 threaded adapters, Canon EOS and Nikon bayonet adapter, 2 barrel adapter etc.

  • Medium “M” and Large “L” External filter wheels use large “L” adapters, compatible with C4 cameras, intended for large diameter attachments between camera and telescope, e.g. M68נ1 threaded adapter or C3-OAG, which is also equipped with M68נ1 thread.

C1 Camera System

Schematic diagram of C1 camera M56נ1 tiltable adapter and telescope adapters using this standard

Schematic diagram of C1 camera M56נ1 tiltable adapter and telescope adapters using this standard

Schematic diagram of C1 camera with the S size adapter system components

Schematic diagram of C1 camera with the “S” size adapter system components

Schematic diagram of C1 camera with the L size adapter system components

Schematic diagram of C1 camera with the “L” size adapter system components

Components of C1 Camera system include:

  1. C1 camera head with M56נ1 tiltable adapter base

  2. M42נ0.75 (T-thread) threaded adapter, 55mm BFD

  3. M48נ0.75 threaded adapter, 55mm BFD

  4. Canon EOS bayonet lens adapter

  5. Nikon bayonet lens adapter

  6. Moravian Camera Ethernet Adapter (x86 CPU)

  7. Moravian Camera Ethernet Adapter (ARM CPU)

    Remark:

    The Camera Ethernet Adapter allows connection of up to 4 Cx cameras of any type on the one side and 1Gbps Ethernet on the other side. This adapter allows access to connected Cx cameras using routable TCP/IP protocol over unlimited distance.

  8. External Filter Wheel “XS” size (7 positions)

  9. External Filter Wheel “S” size (5, 7 or 10 positions)

  10. External Filter Wheel “M” size (5, 7 or 10 positions)

  11. External Filter Wheel “L” size (7 or 9 positions)

  12. 7-positions filter wheel for the “XS” housing for unmounted D36mm filters

  13. 10-positions filter wheel for the “S” or “M” housing for unmounted D36mm filters

  14. 7-positions filter wheel for the “S” or “M” housing for 2/D50mm filters

  15. 5-positions filter wheel for the “S” or “M” housing for 50נ50mm square filters

  16. 9-positions filter wheel for the “L” housing for 2/D50mm filters

  17. 7-positions filter wheel for the “L” housing for 50נ50mm square filters

  18. Nikon bayonet lens “S” size adapter

  19. Canon EOS bayonet lens “S” size adapter

  20. M42נ0.75 (T-thread) or M48נ0.75 threaded “S” size adapter, 55mm BFD

  21. Canon EOS bayonet lens “L” size adapter

  22. M68נ1 threaded “L” size adapter, 47.5mm BFD

  23. Off-Axis Guider with M68נ1 thread, 61.5mm BFD

  24. C0 auto-guiding camera

  25. C1 auto-guiding camera

    Remark:

    The C0 and C1 cameras are completely independent devices with their own USB connection to the host PC. They can be used either on C3 OAG or on standalone guiding telescope.

    The C0 and C1 camera can share the Moravian Camera Ethernet Adapter with up to 3 other Cx cameras to be accessed over network.

CMOS Sensor and Camera Electronics

C1 cameras are equipped with Sony IMX rolling shutter back-illuminated CMOS detectors with 3.76נ3.76μm square pixels. Despite the relatively small pixel size, the full-well capacity over 50ke- rivals the full-well capacity of competing CMOS sensors with much greater pixels and even exceeds the full-well capacity od CCD sensors with comparable pixel size.

The used Sony sensors are equipped with 16-bit ADCs (Analog to Digital Converters). 16-bit digitization ensures enough resolution to completely cover the sensor exceptional dynamic range.

Remark:

While the used sensors offer also lower dynamic resolution (12 and 14 bit), C3 cameras do no utilize these modes. Astronomical images always use 2 bytes for a pixel, so lowering the dynamic resolution to 14 or 12 bits brings no advantage beside the slightly faster download. But cooled astronomical cameras are intended for very long exposures and a fraction of second saved on image download is negligible compared to huge benefits of 16-bit digitization.

Both IMX571 (used in C126000) and IMX455 (used in C161000) sensors are supplied in two variants:

  • Consumer grade sensors. The sensor manufacturer (Sony Semiconductor Solutions Corporation) limits their usage to consumer still cameras only with operation time max. 300 hours per year.

  • Industrial grade sensors, intended for devices operating 24/7.

All sensor characteristics (resolution, dynamic range, ) are equal, sensors differ only in target applications and usage time. C3 is technically digital still camera, only specialized for astronomy. If it is also “consumer” camera strongly depends on users. Cameras used for causal imaging (when weather permits) only rarely exceeds 300hours of observing time per year. Cameras permanently installed on observatories, utilizing every clear night and possibly located on mountain sites with lots of clear nights exceed the 300hours/year within a couple of months. This is why the C1 cameras are offered in two variants:

  • C126000 and C161000 with consumer grade sensors, intended for max. 300hours a year operation.

  • C126000PRO and C161000PRO with industrial grade sensors.

C1 camera models with consumer-grade sensors include:

Model C126000 C161000 C126000C C161000C
CMOS sensor IMX571 IMX455 IMX571 IMX455
Sensor grade Consumer Consumer Consumer Consumer
Color mask None None Bayer RGBG Bayer RGBG
Resolution 6252נ4176 9576נ6388 6252נ4176 9576נ6388
Pixel size 3.76נ3.76μm 3.76נ3.76μm 3.76נ3.76μm 3.76נ3.76μm
Sensor size 23.51נ15.70mm 36.01נ24.02mm 23.51נ15.70mm 36.01נ24.02mm

C1 camera models with industrial-grade sensors include:

Model C126000 PRO C161000 PRO C126000C PRO C161000C PRO
CMOS sensor IMX571 IMX455 IMX571 IMX455
Sensor grade Industrial Industrial Industrial Industrial
Color mask None None Bayer RGBG Bayer RGBG
Resolution 6252נ4176 9576נ6388 6252נ4176 9576נ6388
Pixel size 3.76נ3.76μm 3.76נ3.76μm 3.76נ3.76μm 3.76נ3.76μm
Sensor size 23.51נ15.70mm 36.01נ24.02mm 23.51נ15.70mm 36.01נ24.02mm

Camera Electronics

CMOS camera electronics primary role, beside the sensor initialization and some auxiliary functions, is to transfer data from the CMOS detector to the host PC for storage and processing. So, as opposite to CCD cameras, CMOS camera design cannot influence number of important camera features, like the dynamic range (bit-depth of the digitized pixels).

Sensor linearity

The sensors used in the C1 cameras show very good linearity in response to light. This means the camera can be used for advanced research projects, like the photometry of variable stars and transiting exoplanets etc.

Response of IMX455 sensor in 16-bit mode

Response of IMX455 sensor in 16-bit mode

Download speed

C1 cameras are equipped with on-board RAM, capable to hold several full-resolution frames. Downloading of the image to the host computer thus does not influence image digitization process, as the download only transfers already digitized images from camera memory.

Time needed to digitize and download single full frame depends on USB connection type.

Model C126000 C161000
Full-frame, USB 3.0 (5Gbps) 0.28s 0.61s
Full-frame, USB 2.0 (480Mbps) 1.23s 2.86s

If only a sub-frame is read, time needed to digitize and download image is naturally lower. However, the download time is not cut proportionally to number of pixels thanks to some fixed overhead time, independent on the sub-frame dimensions.

Model C126000 C161000
1024נ1024 sub-frame, USB 3.0 (5Gbps) 0.03s 0.04s
1024נ1024 sub-frame, USB 2.0 (480Mbps) 0.07s 0.07s

Warning:

The driver is sometimes forced to read bigger portions of the sensor than the user defined because of a sub-frame position and dimension limitations imposed by the sensor hardware. Sometimes it is even necessary to read a whole sensor.

Hint:

It is recommended to click the Adjust Frame button in the Frame tab of the SIPS camera control tool. The selected frame dimensions are then adjusted according to sensor limitations. Adjusted frame is then read from the sensor, without a necessity to read a bigger portions or even whole sensor and crop image in firmware.

Download speed when using the Moravian Camera Ethernet Adapter depends if the 100Mbps or 1Gbps Ethernet is used, if USB2 or USB3 is used to connect camera to Ethernet Adapter device, but also depends on the particular network utilization etc. When the camera is connected to the Ethernet Adapter using USB3 and 1Gbps Ethernet is directly connected to the host PC, download time of the C161000 full frame is approx. 2.5s.

Camera gain

Sensors used in C1 cameras offer programmable gain from 0 to 36dB, which translates to the output signal multiplication from 1 to 63.

Remark:

Note the C1 camera firmware supports only analog gain, which means real amplification of the signal prior to its digitization. The used sensors support also digital gain control, which is only numerical operation, bringing no real benefit for astronomical camera. Any such operation can be performed later during image processing if desired.

Camera driver accepts gain as a number in the range 0 to 4030, which corresponds directly to sensor register value. This number does not represent gain in dB nor it is an exact gain multiply. However, the driver offers a function, which transforms the gain numerical value to gain expressed in dB as well as multiply. Some selected values are shown in the table:

Gain number Gain in dB Gain multiply
0 0.00 1.00
1000 2.34 1.32
2000 5.82 1.95
3000 11.46 3.74
4000 32.69 43.11
4030 35.99 63.00

Conversion factors and read noise

Generally, many sensor characteristics depend on the used gain. Also, the used sensors employ two conversion paths. One path offers very low read noise, but cannot utilize full sensor dynamic range. Another conversion path offers maximum pixel capacity, but at the price of higher read noise. The cross point is set to gain 3 (approx. 10dB), where the full well capacity drops from more than 50ke- to ~17ke-. The read noise then drops from ~3.2e- RMS to ~1.5e-RMS.

Gain number Gain in dB Gain multiply Conversion factor Read noise RMS Full well capacity
0 0.0 dB 1 0.80 e-/ADU 3.51 e- 52,800 e-
2749 9.7 dB 3 0.26 e-/ADU 3.15 e- 17,100 e-
2750 9.7 dB 3 0.26 e-/ADU 1.46 e- 16,900 e-
4030 36.0 dB 63 0.18 e-/ADU 1.39 e- 11,600 e-

Sensor dynamic range, defined as full well capacity divided by read noise, is greatest when using gain 0, despite somewhat higher read noise:

  • At gain=0, dynamic range is 52,800/3.51=15,043

  • At gain=2750, dynamic range is 16,900/1.46=11,575

Also, it is worth noting that in reality the noise floor is not always defined by read noise. Unless the camera is used with very narrow narrow-band filter (with FWHM only a few nm) and under very dark sky, the dominant source of noise is the sky glow. When the noise generated by sky glow exceeds approximately 4e-RMS, extremely low read noise associated with gain set to 2750 or more is not utilized and dynamic range is unnecessarily limited by the lowered full well capacity.

So, which gain settings is the best? This depends on the particular task.

  • Gain set to 2750 can be utilized if imaging through narrow-band filter with appropriately short exposures, so the background noise does not exceed the read noise. This is typical for aesthetic astro-photography, where the lowered full well capacity does not negatively influence the result quality.

    But even without narrow-band filters, the extremely low read noise allows stacking of many short exposures without unacceptable increase of the stacked image background noise, caused by accumulation of high read noise of individual exposures.

  • Gain set to 0 offers maximum full well capacity and the greatest sensor dynamic range, which is appreciated mainly in research applications. Pass-bands of filters used for photometry are relatively wide and dominant source of noise is the sky glow.

    But also for RGB images, used for aesthetic astro-photography, higher dynamic range allows longer exposures while the bright portions of the nebulae and galaxies still remain under saturation and thus can be properly processed.

Remark:

Please note the values stated above are not published by sensor manufacturer, but determined from acquired images using the SIPS software package. Results may slightly vary depending on the test run, on the particular sensor and other factors (e.g. sensor temperature, sensor illumination conditions etc.), but also on the software used to determine these values, as the method is based on statistical analysis of sensor response to light.

Exposure control

The shortest exposure time of the C1 cameras depends on the used sensor type:

  • C126000 shortest exposure is 43ms

  • C161000 shortest exposure is 55ms

There is no practical limit on maximal exposure length, but in reality, the longest exposures are limited by saturation of the sensor either by incoming light or by dark current (see the following chapter about sensor cooling).

Cooling and power supply

Regulated thermoelectric cooling is capable to cool the CMOS sensor by approx. 35C below ambient temperature, depending on the camera type. The Peltier hot side is cooled by a fan. The sensor temperature is regulated with 0.1C precision. High temperature drop and precision regulation ensure very low dark current for long exposures and allow proper image calibration.

C1 air inlet with fan is on the bottom side of the camera head (left), air outlet vents are on the camera top side (right)

C1 air inlet with fan is on the bottom side of the camera head (left), air outlet vents are on the camera top side (right)

The cooling performance depends on the environmental conditions and also on the power supply. If the power supply voltage drops below 12V, the maximum temperature drop is lower.

Sensor cooling Thermoelectric (Peltier modules)
Cooling ΔT ~35C below ambient
Regulation precision 0.1C
Hot side cooling Air cooling (fan)

Chip cooling specifications

C161000 camera reaching -35C sensor temperature below ambient temperature

C161000 camera reaching -35C sensor temperature below ambient temperature

Remark:

Maximum temperature difference between the sensor and ambient air may be reached when the cooling runs at 100% power. However, temperature cannot be regulated in such case, camera has no room for keeping the sensor temperature when the ambient temperature rises. Typical temperature drop can be achieved with cooling running at approx. 90% power, which provides enough room for regulation.

Power supply

The 12VDC power supply enables camera operation from arbitrary power source including batteries, wall adapters etc. Universal 100-240V AC/50-60Hz, 60W “brick” adapter is supplied with the camera. Although the camera power consumption does not exceed 50W, the 60W power supply ensures noise-free operation.

Warning:

The power connector on the camera head uses center-plus pin. Although all modern power supplies use this configuration, always make sure the polarity is correct if other than the supplied power source is used.

Back side of the C1 camera with the 12VDC power plug, as well as USB and External filter wheel connectors

Back side of the C1 camera with the 12VDC power plug, as well as USB and External filter wheel connectors

Camera power supply 12VDC
Camera power consumption <6W without cooling
34W maximum cooling
Power plug 5.5/2.5 mm, center +
Adapter input voltage 100-240 V AC/50-60 Hz
Adapter output voltage 12VDC/5A
Adapter maximum power 60W

Power supply specification

Remark:

Power consumption is measured on the 12VDC side. Power consumption on the AC side of the supplied AC/DC power brick is higher.

The camera contains its own power supplies inside, so it can be powered by unregulated 12 V DC power source the input voltage can be anywhere between 10 and 14V. However, some parameters (like cooling efficiency) can degrade if the supply drops below 12 V.

C1 camera measures its input voltage and provides it to the control software. Input voltage is displayed in the Cooling tab of the Imaging Camera control tool in the SIPS program. This feature is important especially if you power the camera from batteries.

12 V DC/5 A power supply adapter for C1 camera

12 V DC/5 A power supply adapter for C1 camera

Mechanical Specifications

Compact and robust camera head measures only 78נ78נ108mm (approx. 3.1נ3.1נ4.4inches). The head is CNC-machined from high-quality aluminum and black anodized. The head itself contains USB-B (device) connector, connector for External Filter Wheel and 12VDC power plug.

The front side of the C1 camera body is not intended for direct attachment of the telescope/lens adapter. It is instead designed to accept tiltable adapter base, on with the telescope and lens adapters are mounted.

The M56נ1 thread and four M3 threaded holes creates the telescope/lens interface of C1 cameras

The M56נ1 thread and four M3 threaded holes creates the telescope/lens interface of C1 cameras

Head dimensions 78mmנ78mmנ108mm
Back focal distance 16.5mm (adapter base with M56נ1 thread)
Camera head weight 0.85kg

Mechanical specifications

Remark:

Back focus distance is measured from the sensor to the base on which adjustable adapters are mounted. Various adapters then provide back focal distance specific for the particular adapter type (e.g. Canon EOS bayonet adapter back focal distance is 44mm).

Stated back focal distance already calculates with glass permanently placed in the optical path (e.g. optical window covering the sensor cold chamber).

C1 camera head

C1 camera head with a tiltable adapter base with M56נ1 inner thread and four M3 threaded holes front view

C1 camera head with a tiltable adapter base with M56נ1 inner thread and four M3 threaded holes front view

C1 camera head with a tiltable adapter base side view

C1 camera head with a tiltable adapter base side view

C1 camera head with M48נ0.75/2-inch adapter with 55mm BFD

C1 camera head with M48נ0.75/2-inch adapter with 55mm BFD

C1 camera head with Canon EOS bayonet adapter for photographic lenses

C1 camera head with Canon EOS bayonet adapter for photographic lenses

C1 camera head with Nikon bayonet adapter for photographic lenses

C1 camera head with Nikon bayonet adapter for photographic lenses

Camera with the “XS” size External filter wheel

C1 camera head with External filter wheel side view dimensions

C1 camera head with External filter wheel side view dimensions

C1 camera head with External filter wheel bottom view dimensions

C1 camera head with External filter wheel bottom view dimensions

The “S”, “M” and “L” sized External Filter Wheels diameter is greater (viz. External Filter Wheels), but the back focal distance of all external filter wheels is identical.

Hint:

The M48, Canon and Nikon adapters, intended for the M56נ1 thread, cannot be used with the External filter wheels. However, the External filter wheel is equipped with adapter base for C2 and C3 adapters and thus all adapters, designed for these cameras, can be used with C1 and External filter wheel.

Optional accessories

Various accessories are offered with C1 cameras to enhance functionality and help camera integration into imaging setups.

Telescope adapters

Various telescope and lens adapters for the C1 cameras are offered. Users can choose any adapter according to their needs and other adapters can be ordered separately.

C1 camera with M480.75 threaded adapter (left) and Canon EOS bayonet adapter (right)

C1 camera with M480.75 threaded adapter (left) and Canon EOS bayonet adapter (right)

There are two means of connection between the tiltable adapter base on the C1 camera head and actual adapter:

  • The M56נ1 inner thread with 16.5mmBFD. Adapters for Canon EOS and Nikon lenses and standard M42נ0.75 (T-thread) and M48נ0.75 threaded adapters with 55mm BFD uses this thread for connection with the camera.

    Remark:

    The M56נ1 thread can of course act as a camera adapter itself, providing the used telescope system also offers such thread.

  • Four M3 threaded holes 44mm apart. The back focal distance of the front side of the tiltable adapter base is 16.5mm, which is the BFD of the front surface of C2 and C3 cameras without filter wheel. This makes the C1 cameras compatible with a vast set of accessories, intended for C2 and C3 cameras, including External filter wheels, off-axis guiding adapters etc.

Canon (left), Nikon (middle) and M48נ0.75 adapters

Canon (left), Nikon (middle) and M48נ0.75 adapters

If the External filter wheel is attached to the C1 base, telescope/lens adapters are attached to the External filter wheel. In such case adapters compatible with the C2 or C3 cameras are used.

There are two sizes of the adjustable adapter base, depending on the size of the External filter wheel used:

  • “XS” and “S” external filter wheels are compatible with “S” adapters

  • “M” and “L” external filter wheels are compatible with “L” adapters

Small “S” size adapters:

  • 2-inch barrel adapter for standard 2" focusers.

  • T-thread short M42נ0.75 inner thread adapter.

  • T-thread with 55 mm BFD M42נ0.75 inner thread adapter, preserves 55mm back focal distance.

  • M48נ0.75 short adapter with inner thread M48נ0.75.

  • M48נ0.75 with 55 mm BFD adapter with inner thread M48נ0.75, preserves 55mm back focal distance.

  • Canon EOS bayonet standard Canon EOS lens adapter (“S” size). Adapter preserves 44mm back focal distance.

  • Nikon F bayonet standard Nikon F lens adapter (“S” size), preserves 46.5mm back focal distance.

Large “L” size adapters:

  • M68נ1 adapter with M68נ1 inner thread and 47.5mm back focal distance.

  • Canon EOS bayonet standard Canon EOS lens adapter (“L” size). Adapter preserves 44mm back focal distance.

  • Nikon F bayonet standard Nikon F lens adapter (“L” size), preserves 46.5mm back focal distance.

All telescope/lens adapters of the C1 series of cameras can be slightly tilted. This feature is introduced to compensate for possible misalignments in perpendicularity of the telescope optical axis and sensor plane.

Adapters are attached using three “pulling” screws. As the adapter tilt is adjustable, another three “pushing” screws are intended to fix the adapter after some pulling screw is released to adjust the tilt.

Adjusting the telescope adapter tilt  releasing of the pushing screw (left) and adjusting of the "pulling" screw

Adjusting the telescope adapter tilt releasing of the pushing screw (left) and adjusting of the "pulling" screw

Because the necessity to adjust two screws (one pushing, one pulling) at once is inconvenient, the adapter tilting mechanism is also equipped with ring-shaped spring, which pushes the adapter out of the camera body. This means the pushing screws can be released and still slight releasing of the pulling screw means the distance between the adapter and the camera body increases. The spring is designed to be strong enough to push the camera head from the adapter (fixed on the telescope) regardless of the camera orientation.

Only after the proper tilt is reached, the pushing screws should be slightly tightened to fix the adapter in the desired angle relative to camera head. This ensures long-time stability of the adjusted adapter.

If the External filter wheel is used, the adjustment screws on the camera body are not accessible and they are not used to adjust the tilt. Instead, an adjustable adapter base on the External filter wheel is used to correct possible tilt.

External filter wheels are already designed to for adjustable telescope adapters compatible with C3 cameras

External filter wheels are already designed to for adjustable telescope adapters compatible with C3 cameras

Off-Axis Guider adapter

The Off-Axis Guider adapter (OAG) can be used with the C1 camera only if the External filter Wheel is used. Then the C3-OAG with M68נ1 thread can be attached to the “M” or “L” External filter wheel.

Remark:

Technically also the C2-OAG with M48נ0.75 thread can be attached to the “XS” and “S” External filter wheels, but C2-OAG mirror is positioned too close to the optical axis with respect to relatively small sensors of the C1+/C2 camera lines. So, the C2-OAG mirror would partially shadow large sensors use in the C1 cameras.

OAG contains flat mirror, tilted by 45 to the optical axis. This mirror reflects part of the incoming light into guider camera port. The mirror is located far enough from the optical axis not to block light coming to the main camera sensor, so the optics must be capable to create large enough field of view to illuminate the tilted mirror.

The C3-OAG is manufactured with M68נ1 thread with the back focal distance 61.5mm.

Position of the OAG reflection mirror relative to optical axis

Position of the OAG reflection mirror relative to optical axis

The OAG guider port is compatible with C0 and C1 cameras with CS-mount adapter. It is necessary to replace the CS/1.25 adapter with short, 10mm variant in the case of C1 cameras. Because C1 cameras follow CS-mount standard, (BFD 12.5mm), any camera following this standard with 10mm long 1.25 adapter should work properly with the C3-OAG.

Attaching camera head to telescope mount

C1 cameras are equipped with a “tripod” 0.250-20UNC thread, as well as four metric M4 threaded holes, on the bottom side of the camera head.

Threaded mounting holes on the C1 camera head bottom side (left), 1.75" bar for standard telescope mounts (right)

These threaded holes can be used to attach 1.75inch “dovetail bar” (Vixen standard). It is then possible to attach the camera head, e.g. equipped with photographic lens, directly to various telescope mounts supporting this standard.

Tool-less desiccant containers

C1 cameras employ the same desiccant container like the larger Enhanced cooling variants of the C3 and C4 cameras. The whole container can be unscrewed, so it is possible to exchange silica-gel without the necessity to remove the camera from the telescope.

The whole desiccant container can be baked to dry the silica-gel inside or its content can be poured out after unscrewing the perforated internal cap and baked separately

The whole desiccant container can be baked to dry the silica-gel inside or its content can be poured out after unscrewing the perforated internal cap and baked separately

Remark:

This is why the container itself does not contain any sealing, which could be damaged by high temperature in the owen. The sealing remains on the sensor cold chamber instead.

Container shipped with the camera by default does not exceed the camera head outline. It is equipped with a slot for tool (or for just a coin), allowing releasing and also tightening of the container.

This design also allows usage of some optional parts:

  • Threaded hermetic cap, allowing sealing of the dried container when it is not immediately attached to the camera head.

  • Alternate (somewhat longer) desiccant container, modified to be able to be screw in and tightened (as well as released and screwed out) without any tool.

Comparison of the standard and tool-less container (left), optional cap, standard and tool-less variant of the container

Moravian Camera Ethernet Adapter

The Moravian Camera Ethernet Adapter allows connection of up to 4 Cx cameras of any type on the one side and 1Gbps Ethernet on the other side. This adapter allows access to connected Cx cameras using routable TCP/IP protocol over practically unlimited distance.

The Moravian Camera Ethernet Adapter device (left) and adapter with two connected cameras (right)

Moravian Camera Ethernet Adapter devices are described in detail here.

Software Support

Powerful SIPS (Scientific Image Processing System) software, supplied with the camera, allows complete camera control (exposures, cooling, filter selection etc.). Also automatic sequences of images with different filters, different binning etc. are supported. With full ASCOM standard support, SIPS can be also used to control other observatory equipment. Specifically the telescope mounts, but also other devices (focusers, dome or roof controllers, GPS receivers etc.).

SIPS also supports automatic guiding, including image dithering. Both “autoguider” port hardware interface (6-wire cable) and mount “Pulse-Guide API” guiding methods are supported. For hi-quality mounts, capable to track without the necessity to guide at last during one exposure, inter-image guiding using the main camera only is available.

SIPS controlling whole observatory (shown in optional dark skin)

SIPS controlling whole observatory (shown in optional dark skin)

But SIPS is capable to do much more than just camera and observatory control. Many tools for image calibration, 16 and 32bit FITS file handling, image set processing (e.g. median combine), image transformation, image export etc. are available.

SIPS handles FITS files, supports image calibration and processing

As the first “S” in the abbreviation SIPS means Scientific, the software supports astrometric image reduction as well as photometric processing of image series.

SIPS focuses to advanced astrometric and photometric image reduction, but also provides some very basic astro-photography processing

SIPS software package is freely available for download from this www site. All functions are thoroughly described in the SIPS User's Manual, installed with every copy of the software.

Drivers for ASCOM standard as well as native drivers for third-party software are also available (e.g. TheSkyX, MaxIm DL, AstroArt, etc.). Visit the download page of this web site for current list of available drivers, please.

Also INDI drivers for 32bit and 64bit Linux running on x86 and ARM are available. Also drivers for TheSkyX package running on macOS are supplied with the camera.

Warning:

Make sure to always use the latest versions of available software and drivers. Minimal versions or the respective software packages, supporting the C1 cameras, are:

  • SIPS version 3.32

  • Moravian Camera Ethernet Adapter firmware version 52

  • ASCOM drivers version 5.7

  • INDI drivers in Linux version 1.7-5

  • Linux libraries version 0.6.6

  • TheSkyX drivers version 3.1

  • AstroArt drivers version 4.1

Automatic guiding

SIPS software package allows automatic guiding of the astronomical telescope mounts using separate guiding camera. Proper and reliable automatic guiding utilizing the computational power of Personal Computer (e.g. calculation of star centroid allows guiding with sub-pixel precision) is not simple task. Guiding complexity corresponds to number of parameters, which must be entered (or automatically measured).

The SIPS Guider tool window

The SIPS “Guider” tool window

The “Guiding” tool allows switching of autoguiding on and off, starting of the automatic calibration procedure and recalculation of autoguiding parameters when the telescope changes declination without the necessity of new calibration. Also swapping of the German Equatorial mount no longer requires new autoguider calibration. There is also a graph showing time history of guide star offsets from reference position in both axes. The length of graph history as well as the graph range can be freely defined, so the graph can be adjusted according to particular mount errors and periodic error period length. Complete log of calibration procedure, detected offsets, correction pulses etc. is also shown in this tool. The log can by anytime saved to log file.

An alternative to classic autoguiding is the inter-image guiding, designed for modern mounts, which are precise enough to keep tracking with sub-pixel precision through the single exposure, and irregularities only appear on the multiple-exposure time-span. Inter-image guiding then performs slight mount position fixes between individual exposures of the main camera, which eliminates “traveling” of the observed objects through the detector area during observing session. This guiding method uses main imaging camera, it does not use another guiding camera and naturally does not need neither OAG nor separate guiding telescope to feed the light into it.

Inter-image guiding controls in the Guiding tab of the Imager Camera tool window

Inter-image guiding controls in the Guiding tab of the Imager Camera tool window

Advanced reconstruction of color information of single-shot-color cameras

Color sensors have red, green and blue filters applied directly on individual pixels (so-called Bayer mask).

Every pixel registers light of particular color only (red, green or blue). But color image should contain all three colors for every pixel. So it is necessary to calculate missing information from values of neighboring pixels.

There are many ways how to calculate missing color values from simple extending of colors to neighboring pixels (this method leads to coarse images with visible color errors) to methods based on bi-linear or bi-cubic interpolation to even more advanced multi-pass methods etc.

Bi-linear interpolation provides significantly better results than simple extending of color information to neighboring pixels and still it is fast enough. But if the telescope/lens resolution is close to the size of individual pixels, color artifacts appear close to fine details, as demonstrated by the image below left.

The above raw image with colors calculated using bi-linear interpolation (left) and the same raw image, but now processed by the multi-pass de-mosaic algorithm (right)

Multi-pass algorithm is significantly slower compared to single-pass bi-linear interpolation, but the resulting image is much better, especially in fine details. This method allows using of color camera resolution to its limits.

SIPS offers choosing of color image interpolation method in both “Image Transform” and “New Image Transform” tools. For fast image previews or if the smallest details are significantly bigger than is the pixel size (be it due to seeing or resolution of the used telescope/lens) the fast bi-linear interpolation is good enough. But the best results can be achieved using multi-pass method.

Shipping and Packaging

C1 cameras are supplied in the foam-filled, hard carrying case containing:

  • Camera body with a user-chosen telescope adapter. If ordered, the filter wheel is already mounted inside the camera head and filters are threaded into place (if ordered).

  • A100-240VAC input, 12VDC output “brick” adapter with 1.8m long power cable.

  • 2m long USB3.0 A-B cable for connecting camera to host PC.

  • USB Flash Drive with camera drivers, SIPS software package with electronic documentation and PDF version of User'sManual.

  • Aprinted copy of camera User'sManual

 
 | Main page | Products |