The QSI 6162 Cooled Monochrome CCD Camera is the next step in astrophotography. Featuring the photography-focused KAF-16200 sensor, you know that whatever image you take with this camera will surely meet all expectations.
Why Choose This Camera?
You will choose this camera if you’re looking for consistent, professional-grade results. While you can certainly find cameras at a lower price, if you’re looking to step up your astrophotography this is the camera for you. With extremely efficient cooling at -50 Degrees, 40,000 full well capacity, and 9e- average read noise, you’ll have no problem with getting the data you want at an efficient speed. The download speeds with this camera get as low as 5 seconds, with the maximum length being 25 seconds for the utmost quality.
All significant performance characteristics, including Linearity, Read Noise, and Photon Transfer (Gain) are all thoroughly tested at the manufacturing facility before being shipped out. You can be certain that this camera will work upon arrival, and it will work well.
The QSI 6162 camera is crafted with the care and precision that the scrying astronomer demands. While we all understand how important it is to have a reliable mount and tripod or pier, we must also respect our equipment with a camera that's just as good.
Two separate analog processing chains, providing dual read rates, allow the QSI 600 Series to meet two seemingly incompatible imaging goals. The QSI 600 Series High-Quality mode provides the highest possible Signal to Noise Ratio (SNR) for applications that require the lowest noise and widest possible dynamic range. The high-speed mode has a read rate of 8MHz providing high speed reads at multiple frames per second. The read mode is easily changed under program control providing exceptional flexibility it tuning the camera’s performance to the desired imaging goals.
Coming equipped with a 5-position filter wheel, this camera is ready to get out there and start imaging once you've decided on your filters and updated your camera drivers. The durable materials will not fail you in this lifetime, so there's no fear of getting everything set up just to realize that your filter wheel is misaligned or your OAG connection is coming loose.
Extreme Technical Performance
Sophisticated mixed-signal design practices are utilized throughout the camera to permit a very compact design while eliminating interference from conducted and radiated noise. ROHS compliant multi-layer circuit boards and surface-mount components are used exclusively. A unique circuit board stacking methodology eliminates interconnecting wires that could reduce reliability in system performance.
An isolated, switching power supply generates any voltage needed to operate the camera from a single 12VDC power source. Low noise design practices and advanced filtering techniques completely eliminate any measurable impact on camera noise performance.
The video processing subsystem employed in this camera is the 600 Series, which begins with very low noise, a precision preamp that accurately amplifies the microvolt level pixel signal from the CCD image sensor. This signal is then processed through a Correlated Double Sampler (CDS) to reduce temporal read noise in the pixel signal. Subsequent signal conditioning then feeds the pixel level to a high-speed, precision 16-bit Analog to Digital Converter (ADC) where it is converted to a digital value between 0 and 65535.
The read noise contributed by this entire subsystem is exceedingly small, contributing less than 1/30 of the combined read noise of a typical KAF image sensor. The low read noise and carefully chosen camera gain yield excellent Dynamic Range. Linearity is also outstanding, limited only by the CCD image sensor itself.
Massive Imaging Sensor Made for Astrophotography
This large 16MP sensor is perfectly designed for 2-inch filters and fits snugly into the heavy-duty casing of the QSI 6162. Capture immense areas of the night sky with this powerful camera, sporting a 4499x3599 resolution and 6-micron pixel size. The 6 µm sized pixels provide extremely high resolution at long focal lengths and superb wide-field images at short focal lengths. No matter what scope you decided you pair with this beauty you’re bound to bring out the beauty in the cosmos above. You’ll find amazing results no matter if you’re looking for galaxies, nebulae, clusters, or anything else that drives your imagination.
The CCD sensor surface is covered in microlenses with the purpose of increasing the sensor's optical response performance. This further focuses incoming light through the transparent gates of these microlenses to provide the most accurate data possible, culminating in a sensor with response values between 400 nm and 1000 nm and a peak QE over 58%.
The Right Guiding Solution
Guiding with a separate guide scope provides the most flexibility, but differential flexure can be an issue, especially with long focal length scopes. With an internal guide chip, you’re forced to guide with light through your filters and you can’t guide at all while the shutter is closed or an image is being downloaded. This is especially problematic for narrowband imagers. To get around those issues, you could add an external off-axis guider, but a traditional OAG can add an inch or more of back focus plus more weight and two new mounting surfaces that need to be held rigidly.
Filter Wheel-Mounted OAG
The QSI 6162 model solves the problems with other guiding solutions by integrating a Precision Off-Axis Guider directly into the camera body with the pick-off prism positioned in front of the integrated color filter wheel – right where it belongs.
Never Struggle with Finding a Guide Star
One of the main challenges when using a camera with an internal guide chip is to find a star bright enough to guide by within the limited field of view of the internal guide sensor. When shooting through red, green, or blue filters, ⅔ of the available light is blocked by the filter and not transmitted to the internal guider chip, guaranteeing lower signal-to-noise stars for guiding. This problem is compounded with narrowband filters where as little as 1% of the total light from a star reaches the guide chip. By positioning the pick-off prism in front of the filters, you always have all the star’s light available for guiding.
Compatible with Fast Optical Systems
By integrating the Off-Axis Guider into the camera, we’re able to position the pick-off prism very close to the internal filter wheel adding minimal back focus and eliminating any possibility of flexure or rotation compared to a traditional OAG. The large ½” square pick-off prism is optimally positioned close to the internal filter wheel, supporting the use of guide cameras with large sensors, while preventing any vignetting of the main sensor even with very fast optical systems.