• SC3a
  • SBIG StarChaser SC-3 Off-Axis Guider Camera

    SKU: SC-3


    StarChaser SC-3 Guider.  Includes integrated support for AO-X.

    This product is also available in packages.

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Product Description

New!  SBIG StarChaser SC-3 Off-Axis Guide Camera

Diffraction Limited’s new SBIG StarChaser SC-3 is the large 3-inch version of our StarChaser SC-2, world’s first, all-in-one independent Off-Axis Guiding Camera with Adaptive Optics support. The StarChaser SC-3 operates independently of the main camera. It combines a pick-off mirror, guider camera, guide port, and Adaptive Optics control.

The StarChaser SC-3 works with your STX or STXL series camera, and the FW7-STX and FW8S-STXL filter wheels. The StarChaser SC-3 both acts as a guider and can control the AO-X adaptive optics unit.

Stop wasting time with ruined exposures caused by flexure between the main camera and guider.  Off-axis guiding eliminates this problem by using the same optical path for the main camera and the guider.

Most off-axis guider assemblies are awkward to use, consume too much back focus, and require you to focus by slipping a camera inside an eyepiece holder.  SBIG pioneered simplified off-axis guiding, with guide sensors built into CCD cameras. Later, we created the self-guiding filter wheel, placing the guide sensor in the light path ahead of photon-robbing narrowband filters. The StarChaser is the next step in this progression – a fully independent guide camera with AO capability.

Next-Generation Off-Axis Guiding

The StarChaser SC-3 represents our next generation of off-axis guide technology.  The SC-3 attaches to the front of your filter wheel and adds only 0.87″ (22.1 mm) of back focus distance and weighs only 0.9 lb (400 g).  It features a high-sensitivity 1.3 megapixel Global Shutter CMOS sensor with 4.8 micron pixels. Unlike competing autoguiders, the StarChaser has a mechanical shutter for easy dark frame correction.  This feature, standard on all SBIG guiders, optimizes sensitivity and eliminates hot pixels that could degrade guiding accuracy.

The pick-off mirror position is adjustable by loosening a locking knob and sliding the mirror into or out of the housing. You can avoid vignetting the main sensor while optimizing the light path into the guide sensor.  Once that is set, focus is adjusted simply by turning a second knob.

Adaptive Optics Control

Thanks to the SBIG StarChaser series, our renowned Adaptive Optics (AO) technology is now available for virtually our entire camera line!  Our AO-X bolts to front of the StarChaser SC-3, which in turn is attached to an SBIG standard filter wheel and camera. Adaptive Optics technology eliminates guiding errors caused by common mount problems such as stiction, periodic error, and wind loads.  It can even reduce “slow seeing” effects resulting in higher resolution images.

Supports Your SBIG Investment

Our renowned MaxIm LT software is included, providing integrated control of your StarChaser and SBIG main camera.  We also provide API interfaces for third-party software running under Windows, MacOS, or Linux.  An ASCOM standard camera interface is included. ASCOM does not currently support Adaptive Optics.

Supported SBIG cameras include the STX-16801, STX-16803, STX-9000, STXL-16200, STXL-11002, and STXL-6303.  The StarChaser SC-3 attaches to the FW7-STX or FW8S-STXL standard filter wheel.

Cameras supported by the StarChaser SC-3 can benefit from our AO-X Adaptive Optics unit.

The StarChaser SC-3 uses the same adapter plates that are used on our large and medium format cameras and filter wheels.  To avoid vignetting, we recommend using the standard 3″ dovetail adapter when using the SC-3 guider.

The StarChaser SC-3 requires a 12V power supply (included) and a USB 2.0 mini cable (6 foot / 2 meter cable included).  The SC-3 can send guider commands to the telescope either via ASCOM PulseGuide or an “ST-4” style guide cable (included). The StarChaser SC-3 can directly connect to our AO-X adaptive optics unit.  All guiding and AO operations take place independently of the main camera.


Diffraction Limited has been certified by BSI to ISO 9001:2015 Quality Management under certificate number FM 719560.


Additional Information

A/D Converter

10 bits

Adaptive Optics Option

Works with AO-X (cable required)


Adds 0.87″ (22.1 mm)

Sensor Size

6.18 mm x 4.95 mm

Computer Interface

USB 2.0 Mini

Dark Current e/p/s at 0 C

5 e-/p/s typical at 20C


13.5 ns to 59.26 s

Filter Wheel Option

Attaches to FW7-STX and FW8S-STXL filter wheels

Full Frame Download

0.2 sec

Full Well Capacity

10,000 e-

Imaging Sensor

Astronomical CMOS 1.3 Megapixel

Imaging / Pixel Array

1280 x 1024 pixels

OS Compatibility

Windows 7, 8, 10 x86/x64, MacOS 10.14 “Mojave” x86 binaries, Ubuntu 18.04 LTS x64, Raspbian Buster armhf, Ubuntu MATE arm64

Pixel Digitization Rate

72 megapixels / second

Pixel Size

4.8 μm


12V, 300 mA

Read Noise

5 e- typical


Electronic Global Shutter plus Mechanical Dark Frame Shutter

Temperature Regulation


Total Pixels

1,310,720 pixels


0.9 lb / 400 g


Product overview

Product overview of StarChaser guide cameras.


User Manual

User’s manual for installing and operating the StarChaser SC-3



Drivers and Camera Configuration Utility

StarChaser uses the DL Imaging driver package. Download the latest drivers and camera configuration utility.


MaxIm LT Software

Camera owners can request a MaxIm LT license here (camera serial number required):


To get started immediately, request the full MaxIm DL Pro demo version here (click Demo tab):


Once you receive your MaxIm LT license, simply replace your demo license using Help menu Enter License.

MacOS and Linux Drivers

Available by request. Please post in our support forum, Aluma section:


Software Development Kit

Available by request. Please post in our support forum, Aluma section:


Also Available