Moravian Instruments G4-16000 MARK II CCD Camera with KAF-16803 CCD with Enhanced Cooling
Moravian Instruments G4-16000 MARK II Monochrome CCD Camera with ENHANCED COOLING,
with LARGE 36x36mm imaging area, 16MPixel Resolution, Low Noise, High Quantum Efficiency Kodak KAF-16803 CCD Sensor for scientific applications,
such as astrometry and photometry as well as narrow-band astrophotography with Antiblooming and Electronic Shutter
The large, 9µm pixel size makes this camera ideal for large RCs, SCTs, Newtonians and similar telescopes with an aperture of around 10" - 14", but please contact us for further advice. For even larger telescopes, the G4-9000 version would be better suited.
Please note, there is no built in filter wheel in this camera due to the large sensor. We would recommend to buy a 5-position (or larger) external filter that would hold 50x50mm square filters that are necessary for this CCD size to achieve vignetting-free images. 50x50mm square filters from Astrodon, Astronomik, Baader, Chroma or Optolong are also available separately.
Sensor: Kodak KAF-16803 Monochrome CCD
Resolution: 4096 x 4096 pixels
Full well capacity: appr 100,000 e-
Pixel Size: 9 x 9 µm
Size of imaging area: 36.9 mm (H) x 36.9 mm (V)
Interface: USB 2.0 (USB 1.1 compatible)
Cooling: Two-stage Peltier up to max - 55°C - 58°C (now Liquid Cooling option is also available!)
Available on back order. Usual delivery time: appr. 2-3 weeks
MARK II version of this great and very popular camera is now available!
Choose your colour! Now with a touch-of-colour!
Main features of the MARK II range:
- faster download (up to about 2.5x the original)
- built-in tilting mechanism
- new, modern design with precise mechanical construction
- top quality electronics
Due to the wide range of variants, available usually on back order.
Usual delivery time is appr. 2-3 weeks.
Available G4 Mark II Camera Models
|Model||CCD chip||ABG||Color mask||Resolution||Pixel size||Image area||Preview download||Low-Noise download|
|G4-9000||KAF-09000||>100×||no||3056 × 3056||12 × 12 μm||36.7 × 36.7 mm||4.17 s||5.77 s|
|G4-16000||KAF-16803||>100×||no||4096 × 4096||9 × 9 μm||36.9 × 36.9 mm||7.19 s||10.03 s|
Shipping and Packaging
G4 CCD cameras are supplied in a foam-filled, hard carrying case containing:
- Camera body with a user chosen optional telescope adapter. A M68x1 adapter is included by default, a Canon EOS adapter is available separately for extra cost.
- A 100-240 V AC input, 12 V DC output “brick” adapter with 1.8 m long power cable.
- A USB Flash Drive with camera drivers, SIPS software package with electronic documentation and PDF version of User's Manual.
- 5 m long USB A-B cable for connecting camera to host PC.
- A printed copy of camera User's Manual
G4 CCD cameras are shipped in a foam-filled carrying case (left), larger case is used if camera is ordered with external filter wheel (right)
G4-16000 uses 16 MPx OnSemi KAF-16803 Full-Frame CCD chip.
KAF-16803 CCD specifications:
|Resolution||4096 (H) × 4096 (V) pixels|
|Pixel size||9 μm (H) × 9 μm (V)|
|Image area||36.9 mm (H) × 36.9 mm (V)|
|Full well capacity||~100,000 e-|
|Dark current||3 e-/s/pixel at 25 °C|
|Dark signal doubling temperature||6.3 °C|
G4-16000 electronics specification:
|Gain||1.6 e-/ADU (all binnings)|
|System read noise||11 e- RMS (Low noise)|
|12 e- RMS (Preview)|
|Full frame download||10.03 s (Low noise)|
|7.19 s (Preview)|
Binning can be combined independently on both axes.
Stated read noise is measured on particular CCD sensor, evaluated during camera design. Actual read noise of different sensors varies among various manufacturing batches, but also within single manufacturing batch. The camera read noise is determined by the sensor itself and the camera manufacturer cannot affect it.
Cooling and power supply
Regulated thermoelectric cooling is capable to cool the CCD chip from 42 to 47 °C below ambient temperature, depending on the camera type. The Peltier hot side is cooled by a fans. The CCD chip temperature is regulated with ±0.1 °C precision. High temperature drop and precision regulation ensure very low dark current for long exposures and allow proper image calibration.
G4 cameras are available in two variants, differing in the cooling performance:
Standard cooling cameras achieve regulated temperature difference up to 42 °C under environment temperature.
Enhanced cooling cameras can regulate temperature up to 47 °C under environment temperature. Compared to standard variant, enhanced cooling cameras are somewhat bulkier due to bigger heat sink, slightly heavier and somewhat noisier because of more powerful fans.
The camera head contains two temperature sensors — the first sensor measures directly the temperature of the CCD chip package. The second one measures the temperature inside the camera shell.
The cooling performance depends on the environmental conditions and also on the power supply. If the power supply voltage drops below 12 V, the maximum temperature drop is lower.
|CCD chip cooling||Thermoelectric (Peltier modules)|
|Standard cooling ΔT||45 °C below ambient maximum|
|42 °C below ambient typical|
|Enhanced cooling ΔT||50 °C below ambient maximum|
|47 °C below ambient typical|
|Regulation precision||0.1 °C|
|Hot side cooling||Air cooling (two fans)|
|Optional liquid coolant heat exchanger|
Chip cooling specifications
Maximum temperature difference between CCD 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 CCD temperature when the ambient temperature rises. Typical temperature drop can be achieved with cooling running at approx. 85% power, which provides enough room for regulation.
Camera construction does not allow usage of both air and liquid cooling. Combined cooling (air with the liquid cooling option) is not available, because such cooling does not work effectively enough with air only nor with water only.
The 12 V DC power supply enables camera operation from arbitrary power source including batteries, wall adapters etc. Universal 100-240 V AC/50-60 Hz, 60 W “brick” adapter is supplied with the camera. Although the camera power consumption does not exceed 40 W, the 60 W power supply ensures noise-free operation.
Power supply specification:
|Camera power supply||12 V DC|
|Camera power consumption||15 W without cooling|
|52 W maximum cooling|
|Power plug||5.5/2.5 mm, center +|
|Adapter input voltage||100-240 V AC/50-60 Hz|
|Adapter output voltage||12 V DC/5 A|
|Adapter maximum power||60 W|
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.
Power consumption is measured on the input (AC side) of the supplied power adapter. Camera consumes less energy from 12 V power supply than state here.
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 14 V. However, some parameters (like cooling efficiency) can degrade if the supply drops below 12 V.
G4 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.
Compact and robust camera head measures only 154 × 154 × 65 mm (approx. 6 × 6 × 2.6 inches) for the model with standard cooling. Enhanced cooling increases camera depth by 11 mm.
The head is CNC-machined from high-quality aluminum and black anodized. The head itself contains USB-B (device) connector and 12 V DC power plug, no other parts (CPU box, USB interface, etc.), except a “brick” power supply, are necessary. Another connector allows control of optional external filter wheel. Integrated mechanical shutter allows streak-free image readout, as well as automatic dark frame exposures, which are necessary for unattended, robotic setups.
|Internal mechanical shutter||Yes, blade shutter|
|Shortest exposure time||0.2 s|
|Longest exposure time||Limited by chip saturation only|
|Internal filter wheel||no|
|Head dimensions||154 mm × 154 mm × 65 mm (standard cooling)|
|154 mm × 154 mm × 76 mm (enhanced cooling)|
|Back focal distance||33.5 mm (base of adjustable adapters)|
|Standard cooling head weight||1.6 kg (without filter wheel)|
|2.5 kg (with “M” external filter wheel)|
|2.8 kg (with “L” external filter wheel)|
|Enhanced cooling head weight||1.8 kg (without filter wheel)|
|2.7 kg (with “M” external filter wheel)|
|3.0 kg (with “L” external filter wheel)|
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 44 mm).
Stated back focal distance already calculates with glass permanently placed in the optical path (e.g. optical window covering the CCD cold chamber).
Camera without filter wheel
G4 Mark II camera head front view dimensions:
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.
But SIPS is capable to do much more than just camera and observatory control. Many tools for image calibration, 16 and 32 bit FITS file handling, image set processing (e.g. median combine), image transformation, image export etc. are available.
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 32 bit and 64 bit Linux running on x86 and ARM are available. Also drivers for TheSkyX package running on macOS are supplied with the camera.
Various accessories are offered with G4 Mark II cameras to enhance functionality and help camera integration into imaging setups.
When there is no filter wheel inside the camera head, all electronics and firmware, intended to control it, stays idle. These components can be utilized to control external filter wheel with only little changes. Also the camera front shell can be manufactured thinner, the space for filter wheel is superfluous.
G4 Camera Mark II without filter wheel (left), with “M” size (center) and “L” size (right) External filter wheels
Usage of many common types of telescope and lens adapters are ruled out by very large sensor used in G4 Mark II cameras. The CCD diagonal dimension of G4 cameras is 52 mm, which is greater than outer dimensions of many adapter kinds. Only the M68 threaded and Canon EOS bayonet adapters are large enough not to cause vignetting.
M68 × 1 — adapter with M68 × 1 inner thread and 47.5 mm back focal distance.
Canon EOS bayonet — standard Canon EOS lens adapter, preserves 44 mm back focal distance.
All telescope/lens adapters of the G4 Mark II 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.
The Mark II camera telescope 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.
Adjustable telescope/lens adapters are attached slightly differently depending if the adapter is attached directly to the camera head (e.g. when camera is equipped with internal filter wheel) or to the External filter wheel case.
G4 Mark II adapters are not mounted directly on the camera head. Instead a tilting adapter base, holding the circular spring, is always used.
If the External filter wheel is used, the adapted base is not necessary, as the Mark II External filter wheel front plate is already designed to hold the spring and it also contains threads to fix respective adapters.
G4 camera can be optionally equipped with Off-Axis Guider Adapter. This adapter 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 G4-OAG offers the M68 × 1 thread on the telescope side. The back focal distance is 61.5 mm.
If the OAG is used on camera without filter wheel, thicker adapter base must be used to keep the Back focal distance and to allow the guiding camera to reach focus.
OAG guider port is compatible with G0 and G1 cameras. It is necessary to replace the CS/1.25” adapter with short, 10 mm variant in the case of G1 cameras. Because G1 cameras follow CS-mount standard, (BFD 12.5 mm), any camera following this standard with 10 mm long 1.25” adapter should work properly with the G4-OAG.
G4 Mark II cameras are equipped with two “tripod” 0.250-20UNC threads on the top side of the camera head. This thread can be used to attach 1.75 inch “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.
The G4 Mark II cameras are supplied with silicagel container, intended to dry the CCD cold chamber. This container can be unscrewed and desiccant inside can be dried in the owen (see the camera User's Manual).
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 CCD 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 (of for just a coin), allowing releasing and also tightening of the container. Containers intended for enhanced cooling cameras are prolonged as the camera thickness is greater in the case of this variant.
Containers for standard and enhanced cooling cameras also in variants allowing tool-less manipulation
It is possible to order spare container, which makes desiccant replacement easier and faster. It is possible to dry the spare container with silicagel and then only to replace it on the camera. Spare container is supplied including the air-tight cap.
Spare container can be supplied also in a variant that allows manipulation without tools. But this container is longer and exceeds camera outline. If the space behind the camera is not critical, this container can make desiccant exchange even easier.
Further product information is available on the manufacturer's website.
Example images captured with G4 cameras.