The Hypercam 1600M PRO TEC Cooled camera has a 16mp Mono sensor, amp glow reduction and high sensitivity, for smooth, detailed images. Main applications are astronomy and microscopy.
The Hypercam 1600M is not only very sensitive, it also has very low read noise, making it suitable for both deepsky and solar system imaging with ROI as well as low light flourescence microscopy and image stacking. In fact, the Hypercam 1600M Mono excels in any application where higher senstivity, and better SNR performance than a DSLR is required. The addition of TEC set-point cooling is particularly beneficial for long exposure imaging and image calibration.
The PRO TEC COOLED Version has the following features:
4GB DDR3 RAM Memory Buffer for best performance.
Thermoelectric Cooling (TEC) max -45C below ambient temperature*
Temperature sensor, with data available in realtime.
Heated optical window to prevent dewing and fogging.
Internal, replaceable, rechargeable dessicant cartridge, plus one spare.
Two extra USB2.0 ports and internal USB2.0 hub to connect filter wheel and guide camera.
ROI (Region of Interest) in 8bit mode for cropped higher speed solar, lunar and planetary imaging.
4K Mode (cropped).
Amp glow reduction.
Separate 12v power supply included to power this cameraSPECIAL OFFER! FREE 1 YEAR SharpCap PRO License
Includes ultra-accurate polar alignment assist, deepsky CMOS exposure time optimisation assist, live stacking for EAA/Video astronomy, live darkframe and flat frame subtration.
Please Download Altair Camera Drivers Here
Before plugging in the cameraEasier than a DSLR and no "astro modding" required:
Hypercam is much easier to use and focus than a DSLR, thanks to the live preview mode which shows uncompressed video at full resolution. You can see a tiny star-point clearly in real-time, because there is no video compression like with a DSLR video stream. Unlike a DSLR, there's no need to modify your camera to capture detail in red hydrogen wavelengths, because it has no red-blocking filter in the way. There are no clumsy power connectors which drop out easily, no firmware to fight with your software, no mirror to lock up, and a "true" uncompressed RAW mode output. You get exactly what this Sony sensor "sees" from without alterations.TEC cooling:
Cooling reduces random thermal noise during long exposure imaging. The internal Thermoelectric cooling system (TEC) unit is controlled with your imaging apps, allowing you to set the temperature (which is recorded in the .FITs file header). The Hypercam is designed for consistent, reliable deepsky imaging at up to -45 below ambient temperature. The most appropriate cooling temperature for this camera is approx. 15/20°C Absolute, beyond which, no real gains are made.Anti-fogging heated optical window.
Every precaution has been taken to address the most common issues with cooled cameras. The optical window is warmed by special heaters to stop fogging and condensation at low temperatures. To inhibit sensor-frosting, the sensor chamber is sealed, and dry air purged during assembly in a special atmosphere. Two stainless steel desiccant cartridges with 0-rings are supplied, each individually sealed in a plastic bag. The cartridge can be used to remove moisture from the sensor chamber by screwing it into the side-port at the front of the camera, and leaving it connected until the moisture is absorbed into the dessicant cartridge, which can then be removed, and the chamber re-sealed by means of the side-screw port with o-ring. The dessicant cartridges can be recharged (after removing the mini O-rings) by placing them in an oven at 120C for a couple of hours. PLEASE CONTACT YOUR DEALER BEFORE OPENING THE SIDE PORT OR USING THE CARTRIDGES as it is usually not necessary.
4GB DDR3 RAM: The Hypercam PRO series is the world's first astronomy camera with a 4GB on-board frame buffer to improve data transfer stability at high frame rates and to increase compatibility, for more consistent data transfer over USB2.0 and USB3.0. Low read noise sensor.
The Panasonic sensor has much lower read noise than a traditional CCD sensor. This means that Signal-To-Noise-Ratio or SNR is much lower than traditional CCD sensors used in astronomy and fluorescence microscopy. The TEC cooling reduces noise significantly and is designed for reliable operation in outdoor and indoor laboratory conditions. Unlike a traditional CCD, the ultra-low read noise lets you stack many shorter exposures in 12 or 8bit modes, reducing the effects of vibration (for example foot traffic in in a laboratory environment) or atmospheric aberrations and tracking errors or wind vibration (in astronomy). The more frames you stack, the smoother and sharper the image becomes, and the higher the effective dynamic range even with high gain (quantitative error reduction by averaging). In this way, long cumulative exposure times of many hours can be achieved with and the result is a smoother, sharper image with more detail.Video Astronomy/EAA Friendly.
The Hypercam is not only desirable for Deepsky Imaging - it's also great for Video Astronomy or "EAA" Electronically Assisted Astronomy. All thanks to the high resolution, high sensitivity, and amp glow reduction technology. What's more you can use the Live Stacking features in the AltairCapture software or SharpCap PRO. All-sky time-lapse imaging or video is easy with a DSLR lens and optional Hypercam Lens Adapters (product code: CLA-EOS or CLA-NIKON).
The technical stuff:Pure RAW video and stills mode and "digital" RGB output modes for better post processing:
The Hypercam sensor ADC can deliver 12bit RAW files, which are stretched to 16 bit. In RAW mode analog (on-sensor) gain is used for ultra low read-noise images. Because the output is completely "RAW" in analog mode, there is no partial "downstream digital" processing like with a DSLR or other cheaper Chinese cameras of similar design, resulting in true RAW mode for the best deepsky or low light flourescence microscopy performance. True RAW mode allows greater flexibility and consistency when processing large stacks of frames for deepsky "lucky" imaging, where the camera's low read noise can be taken advantage of. Either .FITS image or .SER video files are captured in their purest form (8bit or 12bit) for later processing in your software of choice. Of course for Video Astronomy / EAA use, you can select RGB Mode and capture .AVI files, or .JPEG, .TIFF, .PNG, .BMP, or just view the screen with full access to white balance, gamma, contrast and histogram controls, just like any other camera. (.AVI files are uncompressed hence highest quality possible with this file format).USB3.0 speed and USB2.0 reliability:
USB3.0 gives much faster transfer speeds than USB2.0 cameras, however, if like most imagers, you prefer to use longer and more flexible USB2.0 cables for better tracking and reliability with a USB2.0 hub, no problem! The Hypercam is completely compatible with USB2.0 or USB3.0. Just plug and go!Two rear USB2.0 ports for accessories
Save on cabling by connecting your guide camera, filter wheel, or focuser to the rear USB2.0 ports and internal powered USB2.0 hub.
QUALITY software and drivers included:AltairCapture:
Unlike cheaper cameras, Altair Astro has spent considerable time improving the extensively featured and intuitive AltairCapture software, which can be downloaded from cameras.altairastro.com. AltairCapture is a stable 64 bit Windows application, which allows full control of the camera in high speed video or still mode. It includes extensive automation features, and supports all the major file formats useful for Astro-imaging and professional scientific imaging in 16bit stretched, 12bit or 8bit mode. Furthermore, the popular SharpCap and Firecapture are also natively supported. ASCOM drivers are also available for download at cameras.altairastro.com where you can also get regular driver updates. The installation process is very simple, starting with installation of AltairCapture which contains the driver base.SharpCap PRO:
Altair Astro have worked closely with SharpCap developer Robin Glover since 2015, to fully integrate Altair cameras with SharpCap at a basic level. Now, Sharpcap PRO enables even more features with this camera, such as software driven polar alignment (more accurate than any other method we know of), live flat-frame subtraction and live darkframe subtraction. The fast, accurate polar alignment feature in SharpCap PRO is a life-saver for imaging, minimising setup time.Further 3rd party software support:
PHD2 for auto-guiding (direct support for Altair Cameras)
APT Deep-sky imaging software (direct support for Altair Cameras)
NINA Deep-sky imaging software (direct support for Altair Cameras)
KSTARS & EKOS Desktop Planetarium software with plate solving / camera control (direct support for Altair Cameras)
INDI Open Astronomy Instrumentation Software (direct support for Altair Cameras)
Many other software applications are supported through the ASCOM Astronomy Platform (Download Altair Camera ASCOM driver here)Support & warranty:
Altair delivers proper English-speaking support with a 2 year manufacturer warranty against defects in materials and workmanship. New users should visit Altair Camera Google User Group where you can get answers to technical questions. The group is also a great area to share tips and techniques, to get the best out of your camera. The AltairCapture software interface supports most European languages including English, German, French, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Russian, Chinese, Spanish, Thai, and Turkish.File formats:
The camera can be fully controlled in AltairCapture and SharpCap to output uncompressed .AVI and .SER video files for solar system imaging, as well as all common still image formats such as .JPEG .PNG .TIFF .BMP, and .FITS (for deepsky imaging) to mention just a few. The Hypercam supports 8bit or 12bit output. The 12 bit output mode can be used for deep sky imaging with less frames needing to be stacked and a wider pixel intensity range. The sensor is extremely sensitive and a good candidate for video astronomy, especially with small refractors. Find out more about bit depth here. Find out more about video & file formats here.The Hypercam platform with Trigger Mode:
The Hypercam platform supports Trigger Mode to make long exposures of over 5 seconds easier to control. With most cameras, in normal video mode, you have to wait for an exposure to complete before the camera will accept, say a command to abort the frame, for clouds, aircraft, or an alignment issue, like kicking the tripod and so-on, changes in gain, exposure time, or re-aligning or refocusing. For long exposures, normal video mode is inconvenient, especially for video astronomy and deep-sky imaging, however in Trigger Mode, you can stop the camera instantly (even if you are half way through a long exposure) change the settings, and re-start the capture.Included in the box:
Camera body with internal cooling fan, heat-sink, and front female M42x0.75mm T-Thread interface (17.5mm backfocus).
Onboard 2port powered USB 2.0 hub (USB3.0 input, 2x USB2.0 ports output).
12v Power supply.
2m High-speed USB3.0 cable. (Camera is also USB2.0 compatible).
2" OD Nosepiece with standard 2" M48x0.75mm filter thread on the front. (code ALTAIRH-2IN).
Plastic screw-on dust cap.
Waterproof impact armour case with foam interior to hold camera and accessories.
Note: This camera does not come with software in the box. To operate the camera you will need to download the latest camera drivers at cameras.altairastro.com (opens new window)Sensor & performance specifications
Altair Hypercam 1600 M PRO TEC: Panasonic MN34230ALJ Mono CMOS sensor
Sensor Size: 4/3" (17.60x13.30 mm)
Peak Sensor QE / Quantum Efficiency: approx. 60%
Readout: Progressive Scan
Shutter: Electronic Rolling Shutter
Exposure duration shortest/longest: 0.150 ms (0.000150secs) / 5 secs (Video Mode)
0.150 ms (0.000264 secs) / 3600 secs (Trigger Mode)
Bit depth: 8bit & 12bit mode optional
Pixel size microns: 3.8 x 3.8 um
Resolution in pixels: 4648x3506
Recording System: Still Picture and Video
Region of Interest (ROI) support: Yes, in 8bit mode only
Approx. Max frame rates (assuming computer Bus operating at full bandwidth)*:
640x480 104FPS (ROI)
320x240 150FPS (ROI)
Approx. 60% ~98% of above depending on host device.
* Based on average testing. May be revised as we get more data. The longer the exposure duration, the slower the frame rate. An expensive PC does not guarantee a fast frame rate because board architecture varies.
Software & OS support:
Drivers & AltairCapture software download (Windows only): cameras.altairastro.com (opens new window).
Driver support: PHD2, AltairCapture, SharpCap
AltairCapture OS support: Win 8/ 10 (32 & 64 bit)
NOTE: Windows 10 is recommended for best performance, with 2015 or later machines.
ASCOM fully supported with drivers downloadable at cameras.altairastro.com (opens new window).
SharpCap and APT (3rd party applications) are also fully supported with native drivers for seamless camera control.
USB3.0 and USB2.0 cables are both supported. Camera ships with 2m USB3.0 Cable.Camera Format:
Cooling: High Performance Thermo-Electronic Cooling System connected direct to rear of sensor.
Camera body length: 80x85 mm
Weight grams: 580g (camera net weight)
Optical window clear-type, cannot be removed:
Mono Camera: AR-coated clear optical window 350-1050nm wavelength transmission
Colour Camera: AR-coated UV/IR blocking filter 400-700nm wavelength Transmission
Back-focus & Adapter compatibility:
Sensor surface distance from flat end of T2 / M42x0.75x female adapter: 17.5 mm Windows PC Hardware Recommendation:
For absolute best performance we recommend a desktop or laptop with at least 8GB of RAM memory, and a 64bit OS, with Intel Core2 2.8GHz processor equivalent, or better. Intel "i" series i5 onwards is best.
USB port: USB2.0 or USB3.0 Ports are supported. Devices with USB3.0 should be manufactured post 2013 for best performance.
Monitor Display: At least 4K resolution is recommended, higher is better. Packaging:
Threaded Plastic end cap.
Armoured waterproof plastic case with foam insert.