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Moravian Instruments C1-1500 Colour CMOS Astrophoto GUIDING & IMAGING Camera with SONY IMX273 Sensor

Moravian Instruments C1-1500 Colour CMOS Astrophoto GUIDING & IMAGING Camera with SONY IMX273 Sensor
Moravian Instruments C1-1500 Colour CMOS Astrophoto GUIDING & IMAGING Camera with SONY IMX273 Sensor
Moravian Instruments C1-1500 Colour CMOS Astrophoto GUIDING & IMAGING Camera with SONY IMX273 Sensor
Moravian Instruments C1-1500 Colour CMOS Astrophoto GUIDING & IMAGING Camera with SONY IMX273 Sensor
Moravian Instruments C1-1500 Colour CMOS Astrophoto GUIDING & IMAGING Camera with SONY IMX273 Sensor
Moravian Instruments C1-1500 Colour CMOS Astrophoto GUIDING & IMAGING Camera with SONY IMX273 Sensor
Moravian Instruments C1-1500 Colour CMOS Astrophoto GUIDING & IMAGING Camera with SONY IMX273 Sensor
Moravian Instruments C1-1500 Colour CMOS Astrophoto GUIDING & IMAGING Camera with SONY IMX273 Sensor
Moravian Instruments C1-1500 Colour CMOS Astrophoto GUIDING & IMAGING Camera with SONY IMX273 Sensor
Moravian Instruments C1-1500 Colour CMOS Astrophoto GUIDING & IMAGING Camera with SONY IMX273 Sensor
Moravian Instruments C1-1500 Colour CMOS Astrophoto GUIDING & IMAGING Camera with SONY IMX273 Sensor
Moravian Instruments C1-1500 Colour CMOS Astrophoto GUIDING & IMAGING Camera with SONY IMX273 Sensor
Moravian Instruments C1-1500 Colour CMOS Astrophoto GUIDING & IMAGING Camera with SONY IMX273 Sensor
Moravian Instruments C1-1500 Colour CMOS Astrophoto GUIDING & IMAGING Camera with SONY IMX273 Sensor
Moravian Instruments C1-1500 Colour CMOS Astrophoto GUIDING & IMAGING Camera with SONY IMX273 Sensor
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Moravian Instruments C1-1500 Colour CMOS Astrophoto GUIDING & IMAGING Camera with SONY IMX273 Sensor
Moravian Instruments C1-1500 Colour CMOS Astrophoto GUIDING & IMAGING Camera with SONY IMX273 Sensor
Moravian Instruments C1-1500 Colour CMOS Astrophoto GUIDING & IMAGING Camera with SONY IMX273 Sensor
Moravian Instruments C1-1500 Colour CMOS Astrophoto GUIDING & IMAGING Camera with SONY IMX273 Sensor
Moravian Instruments C1-1500 Colour CMOS Astrophoto GUIDING & IMAGING Camera with SONY IMX273 Sensor
Moravian Instruments C1-1500 Colour CMOS Astrophoto GUIDING & IMAGING Camera with SONY IMX273 Sensor
Moravian Instruments C1-1500 Colour CMOS Astrophoto GUIDING & IMAGING Camera with SONY IMX273 Sensor
Moravian Instruments C1-1500 Colour CMOS Astrophoto GUIDING & IMAGING Camera with SONY IMX273 Sensor
Moravian Instruments C1-1500 Colour CMOS Astrophoto GUIDING & IMAGING Camera with SONY IMX273 Sensor
Moravian Instruments C1-1500 Colour CMOS Astrophoto GUIDING & IMAGING Camera with SONY IMX273 Sensor
Moravian Instruments C1-1500 Colour CMOS Astrophoto GUIDING & IMAGING Camera with SONY IMX273 Sensor
Moravian Instruments C1-1500 Colour CMOS Astrophoto GUIDING & IMAGING Camera with SONY IMX273 Sensor
Moravian Instruments C1-1500 Colour CMOS Astrophoto GUIDING & IMAGING Camera with SONY IMX273 Sensor
Moravian Instruments C1-1500 Colour CMOS Astrophoto GUIDING & IMAGING Camera with SONY IMX273 Sensor
Moravian Instruments C1-1500 Colour CMOS Astrophoto GUIDING & IMAGING Camera with SONY IMX273 Sensor
Moravian Instruments C1-1500 Colour CMOS Astrophoto GUIDING & IMAGING Camera with SONY IMX273 Sensor
£341.00
Ex Tax: £284.17
  • Stock: Ask About Stock
  • Model: MI-C1-1500C
  • Shipping Weight: 1.50kg
  • SKU: MI-C1-1500C
  • MPN: MI-C1-1500C

Moravian Instruments C1-1500 Colour CMOS Astrophoto GUIDING & IMAGING Camera with SONY IMX273 Sensor

Sony IMX CMOS 1456 x 1088 pixels, CS-thread lens adapter, CS to 1.25'' telescope adapter, USB 3.0 interface

Ideal for imaging the Moon, planets and bright deep-sky objects or use it as a guide camera.

The C1 series CMOS cameras were designed to be small, lightweight imagers for Moon and planets and for automatic telescope guiding. With proper image calibration, C1 cameras provide surprisingly good results also in entry-level deep-sky imaging. The used CMOS sensors response to light is linear up to very close to saturation point, so, C1 cameras can be used for scientific applications like variable star research, too.

Developed and manufactured in Europe to highest standards.

Sensor: Sony IMX273 Colour CMOS
Colour filter: Bayer mask
Resolution: 1456 x 1088 pixels
Pixel Size: 3.45 x 3.45 µm
Imaging Area: 5.02 x 3.75 mm
Diagonal size: 6.27mm
Interface: USB 3.0
Download time: appr. 0.05s with USB3.0 host
Cooling: passive fan cooling
Available from UK stock. Usual dispatch time: appr. 1 - 2 days

C1 camera models are equipped with Sony IMX global shutter CMOS detectors with 3.45 × 3.45 μm square pixels. Individual models differ in resolution only.

All used sensors utilize global electronic shutter. This means every pixel within the image is exposed in the same time, as opposed to rolling shutter sensors, which exposes individual lines one after another. There is no difference for long exposures of static objects, but imaging of moving objects using short exposure time using rolling shutter leads to image shape distortions.

Two lines of C1 cameras are available depending on the available dynamic range (bit-depth of the digitized pixels):

  • C1 cameras with Sony IMX sensors supporting 8- and 12-bit digitization. Because every 12-bit pixel occupies two bytes when transferred to host PC, 12-bit image download time is longer compared to 8-bit image. Maximal FPS in 8-bit mode is then significantly higher.

  • C1 cameras with Sony IMX sensors supporting 12-bit digitization only. As the 12-bit read mode is always used for long-exposure applications (astronomical photography, scientific research) either way, lower theoretical download time in 8-bit mode brings no limitations for real-world scenarios. All other parameters being same (sensor size, resolution, pixels size, noise, …), lower price of these cameras may be then very attractive.

C1 camera models with 8- and 12-bit digitization:

Model CMOS sensor Resolution Pixel size Image area
C1-1500 IMX273 1456 × 1088 pixels 3.45 × 3.45 μm 5.02 × 3.75 mm
C1-3000 IMX252 2064 × 1544 pixels 3.45 × 3.45 μm 7.12 × 5.33 mm
C1-5000 IMX250 2464 × 2056 pixels 3.45 × 3.45 μm 8.50 × 7.09 mm
C1-12000 IMX253 4112 × 3008 pixels 3.45 × 3.45 μm 14.19 × 10.38 mm

C1 camera models with 12-bit digitization only:

Model CMOS sensor Resolution Pixel size Image area
C1-3000A IMX265 2064 × 1544 pixels 3.45 × 3.45 μm 7.12 × 5.33 mm
C1-5000A IMX264 2464 × 2056 pixels 3.45 × 3.45 μm 8.50 × 7.09 mm
C1-12000A IMX304 4112 × 3008 pixels 3.45 × 3.45 μm 14.19 × 10.38 mm

Remark:

Cameras limited to 12-bit read mode are marked with letter A, following the model number. For instance, if C1-3000 marks camera with both 8- and 12-bit read modes, C1-3000A denotes camera model with only 12-bit read mode. All other parameters (sensor size, pixel resolution) are equal.

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 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 compatible with a PC standard 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 connected with the host PC through USB 3.0 interface, operating at 5 Gbps. Cameras are also compatible with USB 2.0 port to communicate with a host PC.

Alternatively, it is possible to use the Moravian Camera Ethernet Adapter device. This device can connect up to four Cx (with CMOS sensors) or Gx (with CCD sensors) cameras of any type 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.

The C1 cameras do not need an external power supply to operate, they are powered through the USB connection from the host PC.

Note the camera must be connected to some optical system (e.g. the telescope) to capture images. The camera is capable of 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 System

Components of the C1 Camera system include:

  • C1 camera head with CS-mount adapter

  • C1 camera head with combined T-thread (M42×0.75) and CS-mount adapter

  • C/CS-mount to 1.25” barrel adapter

  • Short (10 mm) variant of C/CS-mount to 1.25” barrel adapter, intended for usage with OAG

  • Off-Axis Guider adapter (OAG) to large cooled (C2/C3/C4 or G2/G3/G4) camera

    Remark:

    OAG shown here is not exactly part of the C1 camera system. It is intended for C2/G2 cameras and only accommodates C1 camera for guiding.

    Note the C1 cameras are also compatible with larger OAGs for C3/C4 and G3/G4 cameras, not shown here.

  • Extension tube with M48 × 0.75 thread and 55 mm back focal distance

  • Extension tube with M42 × 0.75 thread and 55 mm back focal distance (standard T-thread adapter)

  • Adapter for Canon EOS bayonet lens

  • Adapter for Nikon bayonet lens

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 C1 cameras shows very good linearity in response to light. This means the camera can be used also for entry-level research projects, like for instance photometry or brighter variable stars etc.

C1-3000 (IMX252) response to light

C1-3000 (IMX252) response to light

Download speed

As already noted, there are two lines of C1 camera series, differing in the used sensor. The first series offers four different read modes:

  • 8-bit slow mode with ~132 MPx/s digitization speed

  • 12-bit slow mode with ~72 MPx/s digitization speed

  • 8-bit fast mode with ~263 MPx/s digitization speed

  • 12-bit fast mode with ~132 MPx/s digitization speed

Remark:

The slow variant of both read modes can be used to slightly lower the amount of heat generated by the sensor, as the communication interface operates at half speed compared to fast mode. Also, when the camera is connected using USB 2.0 interface, fast read mode provides data at higher speed than the USB 2.0 can handle and thus causes more interruptions of image digitization process.

The “A” version of C1 cameras offers only single read mode:

  • 12-bit fast mode with ~132 MPx/s digitization speed

The digitization speeds mentioned above are valid for USB 3.0 connection. Also please note the digitization speeds do not necessarily lead to corresponding FPS, because every image downloaded has to be processed and displayed, which also consumes time. This time is negligible, if slow-scan camera needs many seconds for image download, but in the case of fast CMOS cameras, time for image processing in the PC (e.g. calculation of image standard deviation etc.) can be longer than image download itself.

Remark:

Despite one byte per pixels is transferred from camera to PC in the 8-bit read mode, many astronomical processing software packages work with 16-bit or 32-bit images only (e.g. SIPS). So, images occupy the same space in the computer memory regardless of the read mode.

Also, standard format for image storage in astronomy is FITS. While this format supports 8-bit per pixel, this variant is rather unusual and 16 or 32-bit integer or 32-bit floating-point pixels are typically stored to disk files to achieve as wide compatibility as possible.

Camera gain

Sensors used in C1 cameras offer programmable gain from 0 to 24 dB, which translates to the output signal multiplication from 1× to 15.9×. Gain can be set with 0.1 dB step.

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.

Conversion factors and read noise

Generally, many sensor characteristics depend on the used gain. So, we provide two list of parameters for both minimal and maximal gain.

Camera/sensor parameters for minimal gain 0 dB (1×):

Full well capacity 9000 e-
Conversion factor 2.2 e-/ADU
Read noise (12 bit) 1.8 e- RMS

Camera/sensor parameters for maximal gain 24 dB (15.9×):

Full well capacity 820 e-
Conversion factor 0.2 e-/ADU
Read noise (12 bit) 1.2 e- RMS

Remark:

Please note the values stated above are not published by sensor manufacturer, but determined from acquired images. Results may slightly vary depending on particular sensor and other factors (e.g. sensor temperature), but also on the software used to determine these values.

Exposure control

C1 cameras are capable of very short exposures. The shortest exposure time is 125 μs (1/8000 of second). This is also the step, by which the exposure time is expressed. So, the second shortest exposure is 250 μs etc.

Long exposure timing is controlled by the host PC and there is no upper limit on exposure time. In reality the longest exposures are limited by saturation of the sensor either by incoming light or by dark current (see the following sub-chapter).

Sensor Cooling

Dark current is an inherent feature of all silicone circuits. It is called “dark”, because it is generated regardless if the sensor is exposed to light or not. Dark current, injected into individual pixels, appear in image as noise. The longer exposure, the greater amount of noise is present in every image. As it is generated by random movement of particles, it depends on the temperature exponentially (this is why the noise generated by dark current is also denoted “thermal noise”). Typically, lowering the sensor temperature by 6 or 7 °C halves the dark current.

While the C1 cameras are not equipped with active thermo-electric (Peltier) cooling, they are still equipped with a small fan, exchanging the air inside the camera body. What's more, a small heat sink is located directly on the sensor (with the exception of the C1-1500 model, which sensor is too small for heat sink) to remove as much heat as possible. So, the C1 sensor cannot be cooled below the ambient temperature, but its temperature is kept as close to environment as possible. Compared to closed designs, the sensor temperature in the C1 camera can be up to 10°C lower and resulting dark current may be less than half.

Cooling air intake is on the left side of the camera (left image), while the output vents are on the opposite side (right image)

Cooling air intake is on the left side of the camera (left image), while the output vents are on the opposite side (right image)

The fan operation can be controlled from the software. SIPS directly offers a slider controlling fan in the “Cooling” tab of the main camera control tool window. Camera drivers for other software must rely on driver configuration dialog box to control fan.

With fan off, sensor temperature quickly rises more than 10 °C above ambient. Turning fan on lowers the temperature by 5 °C or more.

With fan off, sensor temperature quickly rises more than 10 °C above ambient. Turning fan on lowers the temperature by 5 °C or more.

Autoguider port

A lot of astronomical telescope mounts (especially the mass-manufactured ones) are not precise enough to keep the star images perfectly round during long exposures without small corrections. Cooled astronomical cameras and digital SLR cameras allow perfectly sharp and high-resolution images, so even a small irregularity in mount tracking appears as star image deformations. C1 cameras were designed especially with automatic mount guiding on mind.

C1 cameras were designed to operate without any mechanically moving parts (with the exception of magnetically levitating fan). Electronic shutter allows extremely short exposures and also obtaining thousands of images in a short time, which is necessary for quality guiding.

C1 cameras work in connection with a host computer (PC). Guiding corrections are not calculated in the camera itself, it only sends acquired images to the PC. The software running on the PC calculates the difference from required state and sends appropriate corrections to the telescope mount. The plus side of using a host PC CPU to process images is the fact, that current PCs provide overwhelming computational power compared to any embedded processor inside the guiding camera. Guiding algorithms then can determine star position with sub-pixel precision, can match multiple stars to calculate average difference, which limits the effects of seeing, etc.

Calculated corrections can be sent back to mount using PC-to-mount link. If the mount controller does not support so-called “Pulse Guide” commands, it is possible to use “Autoguider” port. It is enough to connect the C1 camera and the mount using standard 6-wire cable and guide the mount through the camera.

The maximum sinking current of each pin of the C1 camera is 150 mA. If the mount does not treat the autoguider port as logical input only, but switches the guiding motors directly by these signals, a relay box must be inserted between the camera and the mount. The relay box ensures switching of currents required by the mount.

Standard 6-pin Autoguider Port is located beside the USB3 port on the top side of C1 camera

Standard 6-pin Autoguider Port is located beside the USB3 port on the top side of C1 camera

The Autoguider port follows the de-facto standard introduced by SBIG ST-4 autoguider. The pins have the following functions:

1 R.A. + (Right)
2 Dec + (Up)
3 Dec – (Down)
4 R.A. – (Left)
5 Common (Ground)
6 Not connected

Mechanical Specifications

C1 camera head is designed to be lightweight and compact to be easily attached even to small telescopes or finders. Compact and robust camera head measures only 57 × 57 × 48 mm not including the lens adapter.

The head is CNC-machined from high-quality aluminum and black anodized. The head itself contains USB-B 3.0 (device) connector and standard 6-pin “autoguider” connector.

 

Internal mechanical shutter No
Shortest exposure time 125 μs
Longest exposure time Limited by chip saturation only
Head dimensions 57 mm × 57 mm × 48 mm (excluding lens adapter)
Back focal distance 12.5 mm for 1/32 UN thread (CS-mount compatible)
  18.5 mm for M42 × 0.75 thread (T-mount)
Camera head weight 215 g

Telescope/lens adapters

C1 cameras are supplied with two types of telescope/lens adapters:

  • Adapter with 1/32 UN thread and 12.5 mm Back Focal Distance (CS-mount).

  • Adapter with M42 × 0.75 thread (T-thread) and 18.5 mm Back Focal Distance. This adapter also contains inner thread 1/32 UN with 12.5 mm BFD (CS-mount).

C1 camera with T-thread (M42 × 0.75) adapter (left) and with CS-mount adapter (right)

C1 camera with T-thread (M42 × 0.75) adapter (left) and with CS-mount adapter (right)

CS-mount it compatible with vast number of CCTV lenses. If C-mount lens has to be used (with 17.5 mm Back Focal Distance), simple 5 mm thick adapter ring can be used.

Warning:

If the C1 camera should be used with OAG for cooled Cx or Gx cameras, short 10 mm C-to-1.25” barrel adapter has to be used. This adapter, shipped with respective OAG, is fully compatible with C1 camera.

Note the C1 camera with M42 × 0.75 (T-thread) adapter cannot be used with OAG, despite the short CS-to-1.25" barrel adapter can be attached to it. The large-diameter M42 adapter interferes with screws fixing the camera in the OAG guider port. This is why C1 variant with CS-mount only adapter is still supplied.

C-to-1.25” barrel adapter, compatible with standard 1.25” eyepieces, is included into camera package. So, the C1 camera can be easily mounted into virtually every astronomical telescope instead of an eyepiece.

The T-mount interface (also known as T-thread adapter) is defined by thread dimensions M42 × 0.75 as well as by 55 mm Back focal Distance. T-thread adapter for C1 cameras does not comply to the second parameter, its BFD is only 18.5 mm. The 55 mm BFD is not required in all applications and keeping such relatively large BFD would make the adapter quite bulky.

Still, an extension tube with male M42 × 0.75 thread is available. This extension tube converts the C1 camera BFD to 55 mm, required by numerous focal-reducers, field-flatteners, coma-correctors and other optical elements.

There are two variants of the 55 mm BFD extension tubes available:

  • Extension tube with M42 × 0.75 (T-thread) on the telescope side.

  • Extension tube with larger M48 × 0.75 thread on the telescope side.

C1 camera (left), 55 mm BFD extension tube with M42 × 0.75 thread (center) and with M48 × 0.75 thread (right)

C1 camera (left), 55 mm BFD extension tube with M42 × 0.75 thread (center) and with M48 × 0.75 thread (right)

Also, extension tubes with bayonet interfaces for standard photographic lenses are available:

  • Extension tube with Nikon bayonet adapter.

  • Extension tube with Canon EOS bayonet adapter.

Hint:

The extension tube outer diameter is exactly 2 inches (50.8 mm), so it can allow using of the C1 camera with any 2" focuser instead of 2" eyepiece.

C1 camera with Canon EOS lens attached

C1 camera with Canon EOS lens attached

Tripod and metric threads

C1 camera bottom contains standard 0.25

C1 camera bottom contains standard 0.25" (tripod) thread and 4 metric M3 threaded holes

If the C1 camera is not attached to the telescope focuser through its telescope/lens adapter, it can be attached to standard photographic tripod using 0.25” thread. Another possibility is to use 4 metric M3 threaded holes, also located on the bottom side of the camera head.

Position of the four M3 threaded holes on the bottom of C1 camera head

Position of the four M3 threaded holes on the bottom of C1 camera head

C1 Camera Dimensions

General Information
Weight in Kg 0.4