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G1-1400: powerful entry-level imaging camera and ultimate autoguider
 The G1 series of CCD cameras was extended with a new model G1-1400. Although this model does not offer greatest resolution among G1 cameras (G1-2000 has almost a half more pixels), thanks to bigger pixels the used CCD detector offers the greatest light-collecting area. Also important is the highest quantum efficiency compared to other G1 cameras, especially in red and near-infrared portion of the spectrum. G1-1400 can be used as high-quality entry-level camera for beginner astrophotographers and then can work as excellent automatic guider with exceptionally big detector and very high sensitivity.

CCD detector Sony ICX285AL, used in the G1-1400 camera, is well know by its high sensitivity and low noise among astronomers. While its ceramic package is substantially bigger compared to other Sony ICX CCD chips of the similar size, which usually leads to bigger camera body, G1-1400 camera dimensions were kept the same like other G1 cameras. Also other features like low weight, connection through single USB cable (G1-1400, as well as other cameras of this series, is powered from the host PC over USB cable) and overall easy operation are the same.

G1-1400 camera offers greatest CCD detector from all G1 cameras

G1-1400 camera offers greatest CCD detector from all G1 cameras

G1-1400 cameras are offered in monochrome as well as color variants:

Model CCD detector Chip architecture Color filters Resolution Pixel size Image area Download time
G1-1400 ICX285AL progressive no 1392נ1040 6.45נ6.45μm 9.0נ6.7mm ~ 0.18s
G1-1400C ICX285AQ progressive RGBG (Bayer) 1392נ1040 6.45נ6.45μm 9.0נ6.7mm ~ 0.58s

Image digitization speed can be choses between 2.5MPx/sand 8MPx/s. The whole image can be downloaded in a fraction of second, which is particularly important for automatic guider. Analog/Digital converter resolution is 16bits (65,536 levels), so camera electronics dynamic range fully covers CCD detector dynamic range.

Remark:

Slower readout can be beneficial e.g. when the G1-1400 camera is connected through USB hub together with another USB device and no enough bandwidth is available. Slower read then leads to uniform image fields without artifacts caused by interrupted transfers.

The CCD detector is equipped with electronic shutter, which allows capturing of very short exposures (shortest exposure is 125μs). Longest exposure is on the other side limited only by the detector saturation, which allows automatic guiding using much dimmer stars compared to the best web or TV cameras. When coupled with a guiding telescope with focal length around 50 or 75cm and diameter around 10cm, G1-1400 can detect guiding star after several seconds of exposure time almost anywhere on the night sky.

As well as other cameras of this series also the G1-1400 is equipped with standard “autoguider” port. This port allows direct connection of camera and telescope mount compatible with this standard, introduced by SBIG. The G1-1400 camera has mount switching circuits isolated from the rest of the system (camera itself, USB and host computer), which enhances reliability and noise resistance.

1 R.A. + (Right)
2 Dec + (Up)
3 Dec (Down)
4 R.A. (Left)
5 Common (Ground)
6 Not connected

The guiding itself is performed by the SIMS (Simple Image Manipulation System) software or by other camera control software, for which G1 camera driver exists (e.g. MaxIm DL or AstroArt). Automatic guiding running in SIMS utilizes the computational power of modern PCs to achieve sub-pixel precision of star position, so it can guide the very precisely even if a guiding telescope with short focal length is used.

Guiding setup tab in the CCD Camera tool of SIMS software

Guiding setup tab in the CCD Camera tool of SIMS software

SIMS software performs not only guiding, but also allows automatic calibration independently on camera orientation, recalculates calibration parameters when the telescope is moved to different declination so no calibration is needed, can keep the guide star on defined pixel coordinates, which allows keeping of the guide star on the same position during subsequent observations etc. Differences from ideal positions are displayed graphically and all guiding actions including measured differences and performed corrections are logged into text window and can be saved into text file.

Guiding tab in the CCD Camera tool of SIMS software

Guiding tab in the CCD Camera tool of SIMS software

Remark:

The G1-1400 camera is supported by the driver distributed with SIMS version 1.1.5 and later. Older drivers does not support this camera model. SIMS software can be freely downloaded from this WWW server.

 
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