High QE Low Cost Camera
The SBIG STF-402M is a compact, economical, high QE camera with a scientific grade full frame CCD. It is excellent for educational use and photometric studies. Options include an internal RGBC color filter wheel or BVIC photometric filter wheel. Many users with larger telescopes and cameras consider The STF-402M to be the ultimate camera to use for guiding due to its high sensitivity and generous field of view.
Simple and Powerful: These were the design goals for the STF-402M. The small size and light-weight of these cameras make them very easy to handle and set up. The STF-402M also has two optional internal filter wheels, one with high quality RGB color imaging filters, and one with equally high quality BVI photometric filters. These cameras have a photometric quality, even-illumination shutter for automatic dark frames. The low noise and extraordinary QE of these sensors make these cameras among the most sensitive CCD cameras available at any price. With a peak QE of nearly 85%, these cameras bow to no others when it comes to recording faint detail in dim objects. Simply put, there is nothing in their price range that can touch them for sensitivity.
An enhanced cooling package is now standard equipment. The improvements consist of (a) a larger heat sink installed in the camera, (b) a larger 50mm magnetic levitating fan and fan guard, (c) a new back plate with openings to accommodate the extension of the fan housing and guard, and (d) improved internal power supply for the TE cooler. No additional external power is required.
The graph at left below above shows the improvement in cooling performance as a function of delta from ambient temperature as a result of the new design. In our first production prototype camera with the enhanced cooling package, the maximum delta achieved was -35 degrees C below ambient at 100% power. After allowing the camera to stabilize, it was able to regulate the temperature at a delta of -31 degrees C from ambient with less than 95% power in a warm room (approx. 24C). We feel comfortable specifying typical performance of approximately 30 degrees C below ambient, regulated to +/- 0.1 degree C (user’s set point). The graph at right below shows the typical dark current as a function of the absolute temperature of the CCD.
Image or Autoguide
Electronic relays provide standard autoguider outputs from the RJ-11 jack, so these cameras can be used as a highly sensitive autoguider with a larger field of view than most other autoguiders. The computer interface is USB 2.0. The high-speed readout rate is approximately 4.25 megapixels per second. A full frame, high-resolution image from the STF-402M will download in less than 1/4 second. A regulated power supply is built into the camera so you can operate directly from a 12V battery or other unregulated 12VDC source. A universal power supply is included for operation from 100 to 240VAC. The STF-402M is so sensitive one is virtually guaranteed to find a guide star in the field of view no matter where it is pointed using a modest finder scope. This makes the STF-402M not only an excellent educational camera but a sought after camera used to guide larger scopes.