NEW! Realtime Live-Stacking EAA feature in AltairCapture. Click on the "Live Stack" menu in AltairCapture, choose "Additive" stacking and "Deepsky" mode, and watch a detailed image of very faint objects build up on the screen. Click "Align" and each new frame is auto-aligned with the first frame using stars as a reference!
Why buy an Altair camera with so many brands out there?
Altair cameras boast many unique features that set them apart from competing brands, a dedicated user group with unrivalled support backed by constantly evolving software and drivers. Superior construction with a CNC machined body designed for cooling and precise optical alignment. A particularly relevant difference is the USB socket, Altair cameras use an industry standard robust socket that is both secure and reliable unlike micro USB phone type sockets that are notoriously troublesome
Sensitivity is important
The AR130 is more sensitive than older 120 series cameras, this means you can guide on fainter stars lessening the chances of no guide stars being within the field. This mono version offers a significant advantage for guiding applications.
Special voltage regulation hardware and on-board noise reduction circuitry enable longer deepsky exposures compared to other older CMOS camera designs. The camera ADC has a geniune 12bit output so you can stretch the histogram to bring out faint detail, and the free Altaircapture software can be used to generate 12bit .FITS files for stacking in image processing software without any quality loss. Japanese SMD boards and US made components give better reliability than older style cameras on the market. The USB connector is rock solid and your cable will not drop out during an imaging run unlike other cheaper cameras.
Being so sensitive, the GPCAM AR0130 Mono camera is ideal for autoguiding with the Altair Miniguider 60mm, Maxiguider 80mm and Starwave 50mm finder/guider optical tubes. You get more sensitivity than CCD quide cameras costing many times the price, as well as the advantage of a light-weight direct fit - just like a 1.25" eyepiece.
If you ever wanted to experiment with imaging the planets with colour RGB filters, or in UV or NIR light, the GPCAM AR0130 Mono is also ideally suited. What's more, you can attach a standard C or CS-mount lens for wide angle imaging of the sky to capture meteorites and aurora displays - or just create a video of the night sky as the earth rotates.
Full ROI (Region Of Interest) support is included, allowing you to increase the frame rate to very high speeds by focusing on planets or solar features, and with the free downloadable AltairCapture software, you can even take sequences of images and sequences of videos to create larger animations.
The sensor: Specially selected 1/3" Aptina AR0130 HD CMOS sensor with 3.75 micron pixels, high sensitivity and fast frame rate, as well as long time exposure capability. The mono CMOS sensor has a Peak QE rating of 78% outperforming more expensive CCD sensors, and is optimised for performance in a very low light environment, making it a good option for solar imaging, planetary imaging, video astronomy, and deepsky imaging. The peak Quantum Efficiency (QE) of the Aptina AR0130 Mono sensor is appox. 78% in green light, and 65% in Red Hydrogen Alpha light, making it one of the most sensitive 1/3" CMOS sensors available at this price. It is also extremely sensitive in the IR region making it ideal for challenging task of imaging gas giants in NIR light using the Altair Planet Killer filter. This high NIR sensitivity also brings planets such as Neptune and Uranus into the reach of amateur imagers with medium sized telescopes.
The electronics: Altair Astro GPCAM PCB boards feature ESD protection (Electro-Static Discharge). All the electronic components on the PCB board are of high quality and are imported from the USA and Japan. These quality components give Altair cameras more stable performance and a longer lifespan than most other cameras, hence the two year warranty. Non-essential circuitry is shut down during long exposures resulting in even less noise and a stronger signal. Special voltage regulation hardware and on-board noise reduction circuitry allow the GPCAM to outperform CMOS cameras using older electronics boards, so the GPCAM can even be used for longer deepsky exposures. Japanese SMD boards and US made components give better reliability than older style cameras on the market.
The casing: The camera casing is CNC machined on a CNC lathe will multi axis milling capabilities, accurate to thousands of an inch, therefore component fit and alignment are very accurate. The case features an internal heat transfer structure designed to conduct heat away from the electronics, and directly from the sensor to be dissipated through the outer housing quickly and efficiently resulting in a cooler sensor and lower noise in long exposure mode. The GPCAM is attractive for auto guiding because it has a slim casing which fits between OAG and Filter wheel or Guidescope and main optical tube. The ST4 & USB cables protrude from the back of the camera for more clearance. Some cameras do not have this slim casing, and some even have a large wide body with cables protruding from the sides at 90 degrees to the optical axis, or USB/ST4 cables which cannot be combined in a sheath because they are too far apart. This means they are difficult or impossible to use with an OAG and most finder/guiders with cable pull and clearance issues. Neat cable management and clearance are more reasons to choose the GPCAM.
The optical window: The sensor is protected by a removable double-side Anti Reflection (AR) coated optical window. The mono camera optical window is clear to allow the user full control over what type of light they wish to pass for example narrowband imaging, Ha solar imaging, RGB planetary imaging or even UV and NIR planetary imaging. When you order the lens kit with the Mono camera, you'll get the UVIR blocking optical window as well. The optical window unscrews making it easy to swap or clean the sensor.
Connecting your GPCAM to your PC and mount: A built-in ST4 auto guider port is included on the rear face with 2m ST4 cable for easy connection between auto guider directly to your GOTO mount. The camera is powered through the included 2m USB 2.0 cable, which is aligned with the USB cable so you can combine them in a sheath or tie them together with cable ties to reduce cable-clutter.
Connecting your GPCAM to telescopes with filters, and C or CS-Mount lenses: The CNC machined aluminum housing has a standard 1.25 inch OD barrel to fit to almost any telescope focuser including the Altair Miniguider 60, 80, and Starwave 50mm guide scopes. A standard 1.25 inch eyepiece filter can be installed on the end of the 1.25" barrel, such as a light pollution or other special filter. The 1.25" barrel can be removed to reveal a standard CS/C-mount thread compatible with most industrial and surveillance lenses, or microscope eyepiece adapters. If you want to image in exotic wavelengths like UV or IR you can use the clear optical window which comes with the MONO camera. For use with a lens or a telescope with lenses in the optical path, you just attach UV/IR Blocking optical window (already in place on the colour camera and included with the mono camera. The GPCAM is a very flexible system compared other cameras. It allows you to swap the optical window instantly and easily whilst avoiding touching the filter, a feature not possible with some other cameras. A 5mm CS to C mount converter ring is also included. This allows you to attach CS-mount as well as C-mount lenses, so you have a huge range of lenses available to experiment with, unlike other cameras which only allow the use of CS lenses. See the GPCAM system chart for more info.
Software & compatibility:
Note: This camera does not come with software in the box. You will need to download GP-CAM drivers and software to make it work. DO NOT PLUG IN CAMERA UNTIL YOU HAVE INSTALLED THE DRIVERS.
AltairCapture astro photography software supports on-the-fly darkframe subtraction, video preview, video recording, snapshot image capture, timelapse, and real 8 or 12 bit data output in .SER and .AVI video, stills or frame-stacks in .FITS .PNG, TIFF .BMP formats and more. You can control the camera frame rate, exposure time from milliseconds to minutes, colour balance, gain, gamma, live histogram manipulation (in RGB or Mono), switching between mono or colour modes, camera resolution, ROI (Region Of Interest) and a lot more. NEW EAA feature in AltairCapture - live additive stacking with star-alignment.
Fully supported by the latest version of Sharpcap for still and video capture, and full control of your camera. Sharpcap supports darkframe subtraction, and live image stacking for viewing deepsky objects in real-time!
Download the ASCOM driver here.
To make the camera work with PHD2.6, you need to copy the altaircam.dll file into your PHD2.6 program folder. The GPCAM AR0130 drivers are scheduled for inclusion in the next release of PHD2.6 for native support.
Beta and ASCOM diver updates are available on the Altair Astro Google Group. Please check for regular updates.
Included in the box
2m High-speed USB2.0 A male to B male cable.
1.5m ST4 guide cable.
1.25 inch x 20mm nosepiece with 1.25" filter thread.
Plastic dust cap 1.25".
Note: This camera does not come with software in the box. You will need to download the latest GPCAM software and drivers from cameras.altairastro.com..
Sensor & performance specifications: (Where they differ, Colour and Mono camera specs are included for comparison).
Aptina AR0130 Mono CMOS sensor
Sensor Size: 1/3" diagonal (4.8x3.6mm)
Exposure range: Shortest 0.4 ms (0.0004 seconds) ~ Longest 800 seconds (13.33 minutes)
Bit depth: 8bit & 12bit mode switchable
Pixel size microns: 3.75x3.75 um
Resolution in pixels: 1280x960
Recording System: Still Picture and Video
Region Of Interest (ROI) support: Yes, user selectable via driver
Approx. Max frame rates (assuming computer Bus and Hard Drive operating at full bandwidth)*:
8 bit mode:
1280x960 17-18fps (by comparison the Altair GPCAM2 model "ALTAIRGP130M" is about 35-40% faster)
320x240 approx. 35fps
12 bit mode - approx 50% of above.
* Based on average user reports. May be revised as we get more data. The shorter the exposure duration, the faster the frame rate. An expensive PC does not guarantee a fast frame rate.
Sensor QE / Quantum Efficiency: Approx. 78% peak in green light
Gain Sensitivity: 5.5v/lux-sec
Dynamic Range: 85.3dB
SNR Maximum: 44dB
Readout: Progressive Scan
Shutter: Electronic Rolling Shutter
Software & OS support:
Drivers & software download (Windows only): cameras.altairastro.com
Driver support: PHD2.6 Guiding (with altaircam.dll), AltairCapture, SharpCap, (Windows DirectShow)
AltairCapture OS support: Win XP/ Vista/ 7/ 8/ 10 (32 & 64 bit)
USB Port & Cable: 2.0 USB, 2m cable
ST4 Port & Cable: Standard ST4 Opto-Isolated, 1.5m cable, iOptron, Celestron, Skywatcher SynScan GOTO.
Cooling: High Performance Cooling Chassis uses telescope focuser as heat-sink
Camera body length: 63mm total length including C-Mount and 1.25" Astro barrel
Weight grams: 70 g (camera net weight)
Optical window built into CS Mount Adapter before 1.25" front barrel - can be removed:
Mono Camera: AR-coated clear 350-1050nm wavelength transmission
Colour Camera: AR-coated UV/IR blocking filter 380-650nm wavelength transmission
Back-focus & Adapter compatibility:
Optical Window is removable to reveal female C-Mount thread.
Camera body: OD 1.25" stepped barrel
Camera body thread: C/CS-Mount female allows direct attachment of CS-Mount lens or C-Mount lens with 5mm extension.
C-mount lens adapter: Included, terminates in female thread.
C-mount lens compatibility: C-Mount male threaded lens with 17.526 mm back-focus (or flange-distance) requirement.
C-mount lens compatibility: C-Mount male threaded lens with 12.526 mm back-focus (or flange-distance) requirement.
Astro filter thread adapter: Included, 1.25" OD, Female thread
Pushfit Barrel OD: Standard Astro format 1.25" OD eyepiece-barrel
Sensor surface distance from flat end of C-mount adapter: 17.58 mm
Sensor surface distance from flat end of 20mm 1.25 Astro adapter: 37.58 mm
Operating environment conditions:
Power consumption: 0.8 W (Ave. Camera running)
Max operating temp: 50 °C
Lowest operating temp: -10 °C
Max operating humidity: 80 % RH
Power source in Volts: 5V DC (via USB cable)
Windows PC Hardware Requirements:
Minimum CPU: Equal to Intel Core2 2.8GHz or Higher
Minimum Memory: 2GB or More
USB port: USB2.0 High-speed Port
Monitor Display: 17" or Larger
Software delivery: Downloaded online and saved to hard drive.
Protective rubber end-cap
Padded cardboard storage box with durable foam inserts
Warranty: 2 years manufacturer warranty against defects in materials and worksmanship.
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