QHY – Cooled Medium Size CMOS Cameras
The QHYCCD medium size COLDMOS camera series includes all of the cooled cameras with CMOS sensor sizes from less than 1 inch to Full Frame (35mm Format) and includes BSI (back-illuminated) as well as FSI (front-illuminated) CMOS sensors in both monochrome and color cameras.
- USB 3.0
- Front-illuminated and Back-illuminated Sensors
- Lightweight Compact Design
- Regulated TE Cooling Delta -35C to -40C
- 128 MB DDR Frame Buffer
- ST-4 Compatible Guide Port
- Filter Wheel Port
- Anti-Noise Technology
- Anti-Amp Glow Technology
- Anti-Dew Technology
All models include a heated optical window to prevent external dew, a desiccant plug socket to help maintain a frost-free CMOS chamber, a 128MB frame buffer, a filter wheel port, and 2-stage TE cooling to reduce the sensor temperature to -35C or -40C below ambient along with temperature regulation to maintain a constant temperature set point. Due to the efficient TE cooling, single exposures many minutes in duration are possible, making them ideally suited for deep space imaging of dim objects as well as brighter objects and planets.
The QHY camera has a built-in 128MB DDRII image buffer. The benefit of the image buffer is that the memory will cache the image and transfer it to the computer when the USB interface is not busy or being interrupted, and the frame will not be lost or corrupted. This buffer also allows a slower computer with USB 2.0 socket to capture every frame without loss even if the USB socket is occasionally busy with other peripherals. This buffer also helps multiple camera applications and avoids USB transfer problems. For example, it is possible to operate four QHY163M cameras on the same computer to create an LRGB imaging array.
Six of these medium sized COLDMOS cameras (QHY 165/168/247/128/367/294) use Sony Exmor CMOS sensors, including the two largest with 24 and 36 Megapixels, respectively, in 35mm format sensors(more information about the QHY128 and QHY367 35mm Format cameras). Even these large sensors deliver multiple frames per second at full resolution. These front illuminated sensors also exhibit very high sensitivity.
One model in this group (QHY163M/C) uses a Panasonic sensor in the format 17.7mm x 13.4mm (diagonal 21.9mm) and two models (QHY183M/C, QHY294C) use a Sony STARVIS Exmore R back-illuminated sensor. STARVIS is Sony’s designation for sensors capable of recording under starlight. These back-illuminated sensors have even greater sensitivity as well as noise reduction - the key factors to enhancing image quality, while radically realigning their fundamental pixel structure from front-illumination to back-illumination. They retain the advantages of CMOS image sensors such as low power consumption and high-speed operation while dramatically improving sensitivity.
The QHY183M is 20 Megapixel back-illuminated monochrome CMOS camera with a peak QE of 84%. The sensor size is 13.3mm x 8.87mm (diagonal 15.8 mm) and the pixel size is 2.4um, yielding high-resolution with modest size telescopes. The camera is capable of producing 15FPS@20 Megapixels. It has a two-stage TEC that cools the sensor to -40C to -45C below ambient. The ADC is 12-bit / 16-bit with 1e- read noise! The computer interface is USB 3.0 and exposure times can be set from 50us to 3600sec.The camera is also available in color version.
The QHY163M/C uses a relatively large sensor in the format 17.7mm x 13.4mm (diagonal 21.9mm), 16 Megapixel CMOS sensor, available in both monochrome and color. The QHY163M/C has exceptionally low readout noise (as low as 1 electron!), low dark current and two-stage cooling capable of reducing the sensor temperature to -40C below ambient. The sensor chamber is sealed and the optical window is heated to prevent dew. The camera's interface is USB 3.0 and delivers 23FPS@16 megapixel full resolution output, 30FPS@4K HD video output. The low read noise capability of the QHY163M and mono sensor is ideal for use with narrowband filters
The QHY168C is a popular APS-C format cooled color camera. The SONY Exmor IMX071 sensor has 4.8um pixels and 2.3e- to 3.2e- read noise. This sensor was used in the Nikon D5100 DSLR camera. With low read noise, it is easier to detect a dim target against of the background noise.
While the QHY168C has the same CMOS sensor as the D5100, unlike the consumer camera the QHY168C offers True RAW Image output. In the DSLR implementation there is a RAW image output, but typically it is not completely RAW. Some evidence of noise reduction and hot pixel removal is still visible on close inspection. However, the QHY168C offers TRUE RAW IMAGE OUTPUT and produces an image comprised of the original signal only, thereby maintaining the maximum flexibility for post-acquisition astronomical image processing programs.
In order to avoid halos around bright stars the QHY168C has a AR+AR coated optical window rather than the common IR cut window for Single-Shot Color cameras. This permits full access to the red wavelength of H-alpha and SII without attenuation by the window coating. For RGB color balance, without passing the near IR wavelengths above 700nm, a separate removable 2-inch UV/IR filter with the desirable passband characteristics is placed in a custom filter holder in front of the camera.
The QHY165C is a lower cost version of QHY168C. It uses the same APS-C format 16 Megapixel CMOS sensor with 4.8um pixels. The only difference is that the QHY165C has a 12-bit ADC whereas the QHY168C is 14-bit.
The QHY247C uses a 24 Megapixel sensor with 3.91um pixels and has TE cooling to -35C below ambient. The Sony IMX193 sensor is the same sensor used in Nikon’s D5300 and D5500 cameras. The IMX193 has the lowest read noise and lowest thermal (dark) noise of any sensor in the QHY medium size camera product line.
Additionally, the already low thermal noise is reduced even more by QHYCCD’s proprietary thermal noise reduction technology that does not affect the accuracy of the raw image. Amplifier glow can also be an issue with some CMOS cameras, but this QHY model boasts the rare capability of zero amplifier glow, no matter how long the exposure. The image output is a true raw image, without any internal processing for maximum flexibility with image processing software. In addition to AR coating on the optical window, the sensor cover glass and micro lenses are also AR coated for maximum halo suppression. The optical window is AR+AR coated, reducing halos around bright stars. IR blocking is not used so that the cameras can be used with maximum sensitivity to H-alpha and near IR light when desired, or a simple IR blocking filter can be attached for typical RGB imaging with IR cut.
BSI Cooled Medium Size APS-C Camera – Ultra High Resolution, 26 Megapixels, APS-C format
QHY268C is a 26 Megapixel back-illuminated cooled color CMOS camera with 16-bit A/D and 3.76um pixels. The QHY268C is available only in a color model. The sensor size is 23.5mm x 15.7mm (28.3mm Diagonal). Choose between two models: The Photographic Model QHY269 PHOTO-C or the Professional Model QHY268 PRO-C. Image quality is identical between the two models. Here you can find more details about the product.
The Sony Starvis IMX294CJK Exmor R is a 21.63 mm diagonal (Type 4/3), 10.7 megapixel, back-illuminated color CMOS sensor. Sony has commercialized the IMX294CJK Type 4/3 back-illuminated CMOS image sensor for low light applications. The IMX294CJK is the first in-house image sensor to adopt the Type 4/3 format and realize output of the number of pixels needed for 4K video at 120 frame/s (in ADC 10-bit output mode). In addition, use of a large-size pixel achieves SNR1s of 0.14 lx, and use of a Quad Bayer pixel structure realizes a High Dynamic Range function with no time difference, enabling video imaging with a wide dynamic range.
The IMX294CJK adopts Type 4/3 as the optical size, and supports various output formats (angle of view) including 10M (3704 × 2778) for aspect ratio 4:3, UHD (3840 × 2160) for 16:9, and 4096 × 2160 for 17:9. In addition, the A/D converter can be selected from 10 bits, 12 bits, and 14 bits according to the application.
Exceptional low-illumination performance of SNR1s: 0.14 lx is realized by use of a large-size optical system and by expanding the area per pixel to 4.63 µm. This makes the IMX294CJK ideal for applications that require low-illumination performance.
The IMX294CJK uses a Quad Bayer structure, and outputs data binned in 2 × 2 pixel units in normal mode. In HDR mode, integration can be divided into long-time integration and short-time integration for each 2 pixels in the Quad array. In this case there is no time difference between long-time integration and short-time integration, which realizes HDR with little blending offset when imaging moving subjects.
QHY Medium Size Cameras at a glance:
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