Opticstar SL-131C CoolAir Colour Camera

Entry-level, computer controlled planetary camera.

  • Planetary video camera
  • 1/3-inch CMOS Colour
  • Sensor Resolution: 1280(H) x 1024(V)
  • Frame Rate: 15 FPS @ 1280x1024
  • USB 2.0/USB 3.0 port (USB powered)
  • No Infra Red filter
  • Software for image capture
  • For Microsoft Windows 7/8/10
  • UK warranty
Opticstar SL-131C CoolAir Colour Camera
  • Product code: SL131CCA
  • Availability: In stock
  • Despatch: 2 business days
  • Retail Price: £ 99.00
Shipping rates
England & Wales
£ 6.00
Scotland Central & South
£ 6.00
Scotland North
£ 6.00
UK islands (from)
£ 6.00
Worldwide (from)
£ 15.00

Description

Caution: When using any camera to image the Sun, always use appropriate solar filters with your telescope.

The SL-131C CoolAir is a high-resolution 1.3 mega-pixel colour camera that can be used to capture images of the Sun and Moon. The camera is very easy to use and provides a quality, low noise affordable solution for viewing or capturing digital video from the telescope and recording it to your computer at a maximum 1.3 mega-pixel resolution. It is ideal for newcomers to astronomy who wish to capture high resolution images of bright objects such as the planets, Moon and the Sun (with a solar scope or suitable filters).

The SL-131C does not incorporate an infra-red block filter but can be fitted as an optional extra. The camera will operate at a maximum true resolution of 1280x1024 but lower resolutions of 640x480 and 320x240 are also supported.

The camera is cased in a robust metal body and can be connected to any telescope with a standard 1.25-inch drawtube. Additionally, the SL-131C has a 1/4-inch photographic thread that enables it to be attached to a photographic tripod. A PC with a USB2.0 port running Microsoft Windows 7 or later is required.


U.K. WARRANTY

BEGINNER

COMPUTERISED

ASTRONOMY

PHOTOGRAPHY
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Noise reduction and cooling

Thermal noise is reduced due to a fan that draws the heat out of the camera fast. Enclosed camera cases will typically show temperatures of around 10°C above ambient temperature, these can rise dramatically during extended exposures. Air-cooled cameras such as the SL-131C will show internal temperatures of around 3°C above ambient temperature under normal use, thermal noise halves for every 6 degrees of drop in temperature which means that a similar non-air-cooled camera with have higher noise levels.

SL-131C cooling mechanism.
SL-131C cooling mechanism.

View camera control software

The camera is recommended for lunar and solar (with a solar filter) imaging. It includes Opticstar View software for image capture and camera control with a point and click interface.

It can capture single frames, a series of single frames in BMP format or in AVI video format. The captured video data can optionally be compressed if required in MPEG-4 format.

A computer running Microsoft Windows and a spare USB port are required to operate the camera.



A brief outline of View’s image processing functions is listed below:
Opticstar View software for image and video capture.

  • Basic operations including Crop, Mirror, Flip, Invert, Rotate, Bright, etc.
  • Copy and paste user defined regions.
  • Distances can be measured between user defined points, circles, etc.
  • Angles can be calculated by defining three points on the image.
  • Operations can be performed on any user defined region.
  • Colour operations can be performed on individual R, G, B channels.
  • Data combine of two images.
  • Data calibration.
  • Image-zoom as a per cent of the original image.
  • Linear filters to soften, sharpen, emboss, blur and Gaussian.
  • Non-linear filters for median, erode, dilate, contour, edge and jitter.
  • Transform filters for pinch, punch, twirl and cylinder.
  • Fluorescence filters for gamma, colorize, mix and combine.


EtAMCAP camera control software

EtAMCAP is the second program bundled with the camera. It can be used to control the camera and capture video in AVI format. This program does not include any image processing functionality but the captured video files can be processed in other software such as Deep Sky Stacker, Registax, Paintshop, Photoshop, etc.

EtAMCAP software for image and video capture.


Image quality

The SL-131C camera can stream and store video to disk at up to 15 frames per second at 1280x1024 resolution, it can also grab single frames at 1280x1024. All video and single frames are captured without compression, ensuring high image quality. Higher frame rates can be achieved by reducing the resolution via the camera control software.

The ability of the camera to capture and store high quality video to disk in real-time provides the data required for stacking any number of frames to create a single greatly enhanced quality image using image stacking software, these include the excellent AstroArt V4.0 and freely available Deep Sky Stacker or Registax. AstroArt is more relevant when you want to manipulate the image but without altering the underlying data, AstroArt is therefore highly suitable for photometry.

Options

Optionally, the SL-131C incorporates a removable x0.5 focal reducer nosepiece that can double the field of view if required. An extension 5 metre USB lead with a USB repeater (amplifier) is also available in cases where the camera will be used further away from the computer.

Package contents

  • SL-131C CoolAir colour camera.
  • USB cable.
  • Nosepiece (for 1.25-inch telescope drawtubes).
  • CD with software and drivers.
  • Printed setup guide.

Carries full one year UK warranty.

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Opticstar SL-131C CoolAir Colour Camera
Attribute Specification
Opticstar Product Code (SKU) SL131CCA
Universal Product Code (UPC) n/a
Warranty 1 year UK warranty
Experience Level Beginner
Sensor Aptina MT9M111
Optical Format 1/3-inch CCD colour sensor
Resolution 1280(W) x 1024(H)
Pixel Size 3.6µm x 3.6µm
Sensitivity 1.1v/Lux-sec at 550nm
Colour Bayer RGB Mosaic 24-bit (3 x 8-bit) Uncompressed output
Frame Rate   • 15fps @ 1280x1024
  • 110fps @ 640x480
  • 160fps @ 320x240
Shutter Electronic Rolling
Window Glass Clear, no Infra Red cut-off
Exposure Time Automatic or Manual
Manual Exposure Time   • 0.12 milliseconds to 57.6 milliseconds (normal mode);
  • 0.06 milliseconds to 28.8 milliseconds (high speed mode)
ADC 10-bit, dual on-chip
Cooling Fan cooled
Dynamic Range 71db
Signal to Noise Ratio 44db (max)
Gain In hardware
Computer Interface USB 2.0 (USB 3.0 compatible) with 1.8 metre cable
Power Requirement USB Bus Power
Mounting to Telescope C/CS to 1.25-inch (included)
Mounting to Lens C to T-thread, M42 x 0.75
Mounting to Microscope C to 23mm, C to 30mm, C to 30.5mm
Operating temperature 0°C to 60°C
Bundled Software   • Opticstar View
  • etAMCAP
Data Format AVI video with or wihthout MPEG compression; BMP
Computer Requirement   • Microsoft Windows (64-bit & 32-bit) 7/8/10
  • USB 2.0 port (or higher)
Weight 250 grams
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