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Altair GPCAM 287M camera is ready

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Hi there, Hope you're all well and enjoying the nice weather today!


Final firmware and production tweaks have been made, and I'm satisfied enough to release the Altair GPCAM 287M


Nickname "Baby Shark" thanks to the amazing frame rate of 540fps!


Some thoughts about this camera from my experiments so far:

This is more a camera for advanced mono solar and planetary imagers because of the big 6.9um pixels. If you want a larger field of view, the Hypercam 174M is still the goto choice for solar imaging with it's 174fps at full resolution. However there is something very special about this little camera for high power imaging. The read noise is very low for a Pregius sensor. I'm sure you'll agree when you see the lunar shots I've taken with it during some reasonable seeing 6/10 a week or so ago. You'll need a decent machine to get that frame rate in USB3.0 mode. I'm using a quad core Xeon laptop, and it easily does 525.5fps with the drive nearly full, and about 540 with the drive half empty. SSD is best as always.


The test shots below taken with my 10" and Altair Flat Field Barlow, best 1000 of 10,000 frames, stacked in Autostakkert, Wavelets in Registax. Something else struck me aside from the frame rate - the resulting .TIFF files were so easy to sharpen! Just one slider in Registax and done. Usually I play around quite a lot to get the balance between noise and sharpness, but this was so very easy and done in seconds, drag slider to right and off you go. For mosaics and batch processing that's very handy. 


Now I do tend to capture quite dark files and stretch later, so I don't blow highlights like crater walls and such, so I used 1.0 - 0.8 millisecond exposures and gain 1.0 (basically zero gain). What this really shows is that the camera is quite sensitive. That has nothing to do with the relatively large (for CMOS) pixel size by the way, the two are unrelated - but just that the QE is good.


I'm waiting patiently to try this on the sun now with my 150EDF and Quark for some high resolution imaging.


I don't think any advanced solar or planetary imager will be disappointed with this camera, and I was certainly quite thrilled with Baby Shark 🙂

Oh, and before I forget, for guiding with a OAG or long focal length guide scope, I think this camera will be just the ticket with those big pixels. It's certainly more than sensitive enough.





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