Altair GPCAM Colour BASIC

This is a "basic" version of the GPCAM for autoguiding or planetary imaging.

It does not include the Meteor lens or 5mm CS-to-C-mount extension in the "fully-loaded" GPCAM package.

This package is ideal if you want a colour camera for planetary imaging, video astronomy and autoguiding.

This camera also has extended exposure boards, with onboard analog gain control, onboard noise control, onboard ROI, and trigger mode.
It also takes advantage of the latest Altair drivers available here: cameras.altairastro.com (opens new window).

GPCAM BASIC - what's in the box:
1) GPCAM Camera
2) CS Adapter with built-in UV/IR blocking AR Coated Optical Window
3) 1.25" Nosepiece with 1.25" Astro Filter thread (connects to the CS adapter)
4) 1.5m ST4 Guide Cable
5) USB2.0 Cable
6) Plastic dust cap

What's not included in this package:
1) 5mm CS to C extension adapter
2) Meteor Lens (available separately code: GPCAM-METEORLENS)

About the GPCAM:

The GPCAMAR0130C is an all-in-one General Purpose astronomy camera with a 1.2mpx COLOUR CMOS AR0130 sensor. It's the size of a small eyepiece, and weighs about 70 grams.

You can image the Moon, Sun and Planets in full HD high speed video mode, or take long exposure deep-sky images.

The GPCAM is great for Video Astronomy or "EAA" (Electronically Assisted Astronomy), for real-time viewing of deep-sky objects. Replace your eyepiece with a GPCAM and prepare to be amazed by the detail and colour you can see in for example, the Messier objects.

An ST4 auto-guiding port is included along with all the cables and adapters you need for imaging with almost any telescope.

Special voltage regulation hardware and on-board noise reduction circuitry creating less noise in long exposure mode. Non-essential circuitry is shut down during long exposures resulting in even less noise and a stronger signal. Japanese SMD boards with US made components give better reliability than older style cameras on the market.

GPCAM is perfect for autoguiding with the Altair Miniguider 60 and Starwave 50 finder/guider optical tube ranges. GPCAM fits direct to your Miniguider 60 optical tube just like a 1.25" eyepiece, and no additional adapters are required to achieve focus.

Full ROI (Region Of Interest) support is included, allowing you to increase the frame rate to very high speeds by isolating planets or solar features/

The free downloadable AltairCapture software, enables recording of high speed video, timelapse video, or single frame long exposure images.

High tech CMOS colour sensor: Selected 1/3" Aptina AR0130C HD CMOS sensor with 3.75 micron pixels, high sensitivity and fast frame rate, as well as long time exposure capability. Quantum efficiency (QE) peaks at about 68% in green, which is very high for a colour sensor. Special DR-Pix Dynamic Response technology provides high colour performance in a very low light environment, required for planetary imaging, video astronomy and deepsky exposures.

Quality 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.

Quality CNC machined casing: The camera casing is CNC machined accurate to thousands of an inch, therefore component fit and alignment are very accurate. An internal heat transfer structure conducts heat away from the sensor, to be radiated quickly and efficiently, resulting in a cooler sensor and lower noise. The compact slim casing is attractive for auto guiding because of the limited space when using an Off Axis Guider, Filter wheel or Guidescope. The ST4 & USB cables protrude from the back of the camera for less cable tangles. GPCAM cameras use higher quality USB connectors which will not disconnect or pull out easily. Neat cable management, strong connectors and clearance are more reasons to choose the GPCAM.

The optical window: The sensor is protected by a double-side Anti Reflection (AR) coated optical window, The colour camera optical window blocks UV & IR light enabling direct use with telescopes, barlow and reducer lenses.

Connecting your GPCAM to your PC and mount: A built-in ST4 auto guider port is included on the GPCAM with a 2m ST4 cable. Simply plug your GPCAM into the ST4 guide port on your mount and plug the camera into your PC. This reduces cable-clutter and there is no need for an expensive USB to autoguider converter box.

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. 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 itself. A 5mm CS to C mount converter ring is also included. This allows you to attach CS-mount lenses with 12.5mm back-focus, or C-mount lenses with 17.5mm backfocus. Therefore you can experiment with a huge range of lenses, unlike other cameras which only allow the use of CS lenses. See the GPCAM system chart for more info.

The Meteor lens: You can use the 150 degree FOV F1.6 Meteor 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. You can even make timelapse daytime videos to capture cloud formations or capture any activity with standard high speed video mode. This little lens is sharp too, and perfectly capable of macro photography and video. Your imagination is the limit!

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.
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!
AltairCapture astrophotography 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 .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.
A special version of PHD2 Guiding can also be downloaded here. GPCAM is also supported in the official release of PHD2.6
ASCOM drivers available at cameras.altairastro.com.
Beta drivers are available on the Altair Astro Google Group.
Included in the box:
Camera body.
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.
C-Mount 5mm extension adapter for C-Mount lenses requiring 17.5mm backfocus.
Extra CS-Mount adapter with built-in clear AR coated optical window (for UV or IR imaging of planets with UV or IR pass filters).
CS-Mount adapter with built-in UV-IR Blocking Filter AR coated (for imaging with lenses or refractors).
2.1mm F1.6 150 degree FOV wide angle Meteor lens and dust cap.
Plastic dust cap 1.25".
Note: This camera does not come with software in the box. You will need to download the latest GP-CAM drivers.

A Note on typical Frame Rates

GPCAM V1 Mono and Colour cameras:

Approx. Max frame rates (assuming computer Bus and Hard Drive operating at full bandwidth)*:

8 bit mode:
1280x960 17-26fps
640x480 56-62fps (ROI)
320x240 80-93fps (ROI)

12 bit mode - approx 50% of above.

Technical Specs:

Sensor & performance specifications:

GPCAMAR0130C: Aptina AR0130 Colour CMOS sensor
Sensor Size: 1/3" diagonal (4.8x3.6mm)
Exposure duration shortest/longest: 0.4 ms (0.0004 secs) / 800 secs
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 operating at full bandwidth):
1280x960 30FPS, 1024x768 40FPS, 800x600 70FPS, 640x480 100FPS, 20x240 200FPS
Sensor QE / Quantum Efficiency:
GPCAMAR0130C: Approx. 68% peak in green light
Gain Sensitivity:
GPCAMAR0130C: 5.5v/lux-sec
Dynamic Range:
GPCAMAR0130C: >85.3dB
SNR Maximum:
GPCAMAR0130C: 44dB
Readout: Progressive Scan
Shutter: Electronic Rolling Shutter

Spectral Range & Colour Management - GPCAMAR0130C colour camera:
350-1050nm with double sided AR Coated window (removable)
White balance: ROI White Balance/ Manual Temp-Tint Adjustment
Colour Rendering Technique: Ultra Fine Colour Engine

Software & OS support:
Drivers & software download (Windows only): cameras.altairastro.com
Driver support: PHD2, 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.

Physical characteristics:
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:
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

Optional Accessories:
Altair Astro Premium 1.25" CLS-CCD Filter with UV/IR Block & AR Coating (Code: F125CLSCCD) for imaging emission nebulae in light polluted urban enivonments.