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Opticstar DS-616C XL+ & PX-126C Camera Bundle
6.1 Megapixels - 1.8" CCD - TEC Cooled - PLUS PX-126C CMOS Guider / Imager
Limited Offer - £80 off
Opticstar DS-616C XL+ & PX-126C.
Left: Opticstar DS-616C XL+ cooled CCD camera. Right: Opticstar PX-126C planetary imager / guider.
  • 1.8" Sony ICX413AQ Interline Colour CCD
  • Resolution: 6.1 Megapixels, 3032x2014
  • No Infra Red filter
  • Colour Binning: 1x1, 2x2, 4x4
  • Thermo-Electric Cooling & Fan
  • Cooling to 30ºC below ambient temperature
  • Hardware Gain - up to 100% sensitivity boost
  • Hardware Black Level
  • Preview / Focusing @ 1 frame per second
  • Ragged aluminium construction
  • Semi-Video mode for real time Deep Sky
  • StarView mode
  • Bundled Software:
    • Nebulosity v2
    • Plugin for AstroArt
    • Plugin for MaxIm DL
  • Computer Requirements:
    • Microsoft Windows (32-bit & 64-bit) XP/Vista/7/8/10
    • USB 2.0 port
Opticstar DS-616C XL+ suitability.
CCD Cameras
CCD Cameras Opticstar
CCD Camera
Opticstar DS-616C XL+ & PX-126C Camera Bundle
Order No. Price (inc_VAT) Shipping Delivery click to purchase
OSRDSPX £ 738.00 £ 10.00
DS-616C XL+ Setup Guide
PX-126C User Manual

DS-616C XL+ Outline
Not all 6 mega-pixel T.E.C. cooled astronomy cameras are created equal. The DS-616C XL+ is in a class of its own with 50% higher sensitivity in real-world applications (100% maximum) than other cameras using the same Sony CCD due to its hardware gain and outstanding hardware noise suppression, both features implemented in the camera hardware which is the only way to deliver the additional performance. Black Level is also implemented in hardware and is user set, it helps to effectively reduce dark noise levels prior to the data being sent to the computer.
Gain versus noise.
Showing the correlation between the Opticstar DS-616C XL's Gain level and sensor noise.

The new Opticstar XL+ cameras use precision machined heavy duty alloy cases that provide unparalleled solidity and support sensor orthogonality. The camera uses long-life, high quality seals and offer 99%+ camera window transparency. A substantial heat-sink (over five to ten times the mass of the typical heat-sink in comparable cameras) rapidly draws the heat away from the sensor via a powerful Peltier thermocouple for superior performance. This heat is then rapidly dissipated into the atmosphere with the assistance of a fan thus bringing noise levels down to an absolute minimum.
The huge Sony 1.8" format CCD sensor offers an unusually wide field of view (~13 times the sensor area of a 1/2" sensor typically found in top of the range astronomy video cameras) allowing exceptionally large targets like the Andromeda Galaxy to approximately fit on the DS-616 XL+ sensor at 1000mm focal length i.e. 8" f5 telescope.

Opticstar DS-616C XL+ sensor size comparison.
Demostrating the large size of the Opticstar DS-616C XL+'s Sony ICX413AQ CCD sensor.

Focus and preview modes run at a maximum 1 frame per second (at 6 mega-pixels) which is several times faster than other single shot astronomy cameras, this makes accurate focusing markedly easier to achieve.

The proprietary StarView mode enables semi real time viewing of deep sky objects in colour with an 1600% sensitivity boost with exposure times at up to 10 seconds, a very useful feature not available to other manufacturers' single shot cameras! As with all colour Opticstar CCD cameras, binning modes are supported at 2x2 and 4x4 in full colour.

Opticstar DS-616C XL+.
All dimensions in millimeters.

The DS-616C XL+ offers the functionality of single shot, long exposure large sensor cooled camera with features found in long exposure video cameras while delivering superior performance. Coupled with the real-time viewing ability the Opticstar DS-616C XL+ presents the ultimate astronomy cooled colour camera.

Bundled with the camera, is a mains power supply unit to power the thermo-electric cooling sub-system, hard carry case and adapters to attach the camera to the telescope. The camera also includes the Opticstar View camera control software, Nebulosity v2 camera control and image processing software as well as drivers for MaxImDL and Astroart.

The camera is ready to use out of the box, all you need is a telescope.

Opticstar DS-616C XL+.

Outstanding Legacy
The original Opticstar DS-616C XL earned the annual star product award from Astronomy magazine in the United States.

Astronomy is the world's best-selling astronomy magazine. The award was plublished in September 2013. Since then, the camera has benefited from a number of improvemets.
Opticstar DS-616C XL star product.
Star product award.

Sample Astronomical DS-616C XL Images
Please click on the images below to expand to their full size.
Sample image. Sample image.
M42 nebula by Gary Palmer, Wales.
DS-616C XL & 130mm ED Refractor.
25m exposure time.
Click image to enlarge to 2780 x 1946 pixels.

M20 nebula by John Haunton.
DS-616C XL & 10" RC with Focal Reducer F0.67.
240s x 15 frames plus dark frames and flat frames.
Click image to enlarge to 3032 x 2014 pixels.

Sample image. Sample image.
M16 nebula by John Haunton.
DS-616C XL & 10" RC with Focal Reducer F0.67.
240s x 20 frames plus dark frames and flat frames.
Click image to enlarge to 3032 x 2014 pixels.

M42 nebula by John Haunton.
DS-616C XL & 66mm ED refractor.
Click image to enlarge to 1516 x 1007 pixels.

Sample image. Sample image.
M8 nebula by John Haunton.
DS-616C XL & 10" RC with Focal Reducer F0.67.
Click image to enlarge to 3032 x 2014 pixels.

NGC104 by John Haunton.
DS-616C XL & 10" RC.
60s x 30 frames.
Click image to enlarge to 3032 x 2014 pixels.

Nebulosity v2 Software (bundled with DS-616C XL+)
Nebulosity is designed to be a powerful, but simple to use capture and processing application for a wide range of astronomy CCD cameras. Many cameras are supported for capture and images from just about anything can be processed (support for many FITS formats, PNG, TIFF, JPEG, CR2/CRW, etc). Its goal is to suit people ranging from the novice imager who wants to create his or her first images to the advanced imager who wants a convenient, flexible capture application for use in the field.

In it, you get a host of purpose-built, powerful tools to make the most out of your images (e.g., Digital Development Processing, traditional alignment/stacking (equatorial and alt-az), Drizzle alignment/stacking, Bad Pixel Mapping, LRGB tools, real-time tricolour histograms for colour balancing, star tightening via edge detection, adaptive scaling of stacks, 32/96-bit accuracy, etc.)

Click to enlarge.
Nebulosity's user interface for Windows.

Nebulosity Features
  • Simple, but powerful interface.
    • All basic controls are present on the main screen. No need to navigate through lots of menus during an imaging session. Nebulosity was designed to be easily operated in the field by someone who actually operates it in an actual field.
    • By default, all displays are auto-scaled. Any scaling (including inverted) of the data onto the display possible using easy sliders.
    • Histogram gives a quick view of how much of the valid data range is being used during each capture.
    • Pixel statistics / area statistics pop-up window.
    • Zoom button lets you rescale the displayed image quickly.
    • Measure Distance tool lets you measure the distance (CCD pixels, arc-seconds, or arc-minutes) among up to 3 points.
    • Can act as a FITS file viewer for Windows (double-click or drag-and-drop).
    • Can write / run scripts to automate captures.
    • Unlimited undo/redo (0, 3, or unlimited levels of undo).
    • Small clock to show local time, UTC, GMST, local sidereal, or Polaris RA.
  • Capture control.
    • All basic capture parameters present on main screen. Duration of exposure, number of exposures per captured series, delay between captures, name of series, camera gain and camera offset all in one simple panel.
    • Times may be specified in either seconds or milliseconds.
    • Quick Preview button captures one frame with current settings and displays it on the screen without saving. Helps in focus, composition, and tuning of capture parameters.
    • Frame and Focus mode: Loops a quick, binned image to assist in rapid initial focus and framing.
    • Fine Focus mode: Loops a very quick image around a selected star in full resolution to fine-tune focus.
    • Capture one-shot colour in RAW CCD format or reconstruct colour on the fly ñ your choice.
    • Automatic setting of camera offset.
    • Capture status able to be shown in large red display for easy viewing when away from computer.
  • Multiple file formats supported.
    • Read virtually any FITS file to process images from virtually any camera (RGB colour, black and white, compressed or uncompressed, any bit depth).
    • Captured data saved in FITS as 16-bits (0-65535) per colour channel, 32-bit floating point per colour channel, or in 15-bits (0-32767) per colour channel.
    • One-shot colour data captures may be saved in RAW CCD format or as reconstructed full-colour images in an RGB FITS format (Maxim / AstroArt style or ImagesPlus style) or 3 separate FITS files (the latter only for capture and subsequent use in other programs).
    • Captured data saved in either lossless compressed FITS according to the FITS standard or uncompressed FITS.
    • These same save formats available for any loaded image, making Nebulosity serve to convert between many FITS formats (just select your output format using the settings on the Preferences menu).
    • Save current displayed image in BMP or JPG format (24-bit colour) as displayed.
    • Save current image in 16 bit/colour (48-bit colour) uncompressed TIFF, compressed TIFF, or PNG (compressed) format.
    • Load Canon CR2 format RAW (Rebel XT, 20, 20Da, 5D, etc) and Canon CRW format RAW as pure Bayer-matrix RAW data.
    • Load 8/24 bit PNG, TIFF, JPG, and BMP (scaled to 16/48-bit) or 16/48-bit PNG and TIFF.
    • Batch convert from FITS to 16/48-bit PNG or compressed TIFF.
    • Batch convert from CR2, CRW, PNG, TIFF, JPG, and BMP to FITS.
  • Internal calculations.
    • All data stored internally in 32-bit floating point per colour channel. For B&W or RAW images, this equates to 32-bits and for colour images, this equates to 96-bits in all math routines. You will never have overflow (saturation) or overflow or quantization issues as a result.
    • Critical math routines computed in double-precision (64-bit per channel) floating point.
    • Since all captures even from one-shot colour cameras can be done in B&W mode (RAW CCD data) and since memory for colour images is only allocated when viewing in colour, memory requirements can be reduced by capturing one-shot colour data in RAW format for machines with less RAM.
    • All calculations done using pointer arithmetic for high-speed operation.
  • Image processing.
    • Dark / flat / and bias frame pre-processing of B&W, RAW one-shot colour, and RGB one-shot colour sets of images.
    • Auto-scaling of dark frames to compensate for differences in exposure time or temperature.
    • Create and apply Bad Pixel Maps as an alternative way of removing hot pixels.
    • Versatile Levels / Power Stretch tool lets you apply not only simple linear stretching of your images, but non-linear stretches as well. Pre- and post- stretch histograms interactively displayed and an ROI preview is available.
    • Digital Development Processing (DDP). A technique to make CCD images look more like film images by using a hyperbolic scaling of the data. Here, the basic technique is enhanced to allow easy darkening of the background at the same time.
    • Star Tightening. A technique to sharpen stars using an edge-detection algorithm (does not leave the artifacts found).
    • Grade a series of images to determine the sharpest / best of the set.
    • Line filter reconstruction for one-shot cameras. Optimized reconstruction of RAW images taken using line filters. General mode plus modes optimized for H-alpha and O-III/H-beta on CMYG arrays.
    • Align and stack a series of images using translation (for equatorially mounted telescopes) or translation + rotation (alt-az or equatorial) or translation + rotation + scaling. Unequal image sizes supported and output either the stack or the individual aligned frames.
    • Drizzle alignment / stacking and resolution enhancement for either equatorial or alt-az (translation + rotation).
    • Colours in Motion: Simultaneous over-sampling alignment/stacking and De-Bayer of one-shot colour images to significantly decrease colour error and increase resolution. For one-shot colour imagers, this improves resolution and reduces colour error.
    • Adaptive scaling of combined data (stacks) to use full 16-bit range (gives you the best features of adding and averaging frames).
    • Average a series of images without alignment (e.g., for combining darks, flats, bias frames, etc.)
    • Tools to set the minimum of an image to zero (useful if a computation has taken it above 65535 and you wish to save the image) and to rescale the intensity of an image (multiply each pixel by a constant.)
    • Colour balance adjust (offset and scaling) with real-time 3-colour histograms for easy, accurate balancing. Luminance extraction provided as well.
    • De-mosaic a RAW one-shot colour image for any of the supported cameras. Both interactive and batch-mode supported.
    • Automatic demosaic of Canon CR2 files with control over white balance for stock and IR-filter modified cameras.
    • Manual De-mosaic of RAW one-shot colour images from RGB or CMYG cameras. Full control over pixel aspect ratio and over colour balancing / mixing during conversion.
    • 2x2 binning of images: addition, averaging, or adaptive.
    • Blurring of images (3-levels).
    • Crop tool.
    • Rotation and mirroring of images.
    • Pixel squaring.
Model Opticstar DS-616C XL+
Sensor Sony ICX413AQ CCD
Sensor format 1.8" (25.10mm x 17.64mm)
Scan mode Interline
Resolution 3032(W) x 2014(H), 6.1 Mega-pixels
Pixel Size 7.8µm x 7.8µm
Green Sensitivity 1200mV max @ 1/30 accumulation maximum (Gain off)
Gain 6.88 dB in hardware, up to 100% sensitivity boost
Overall System Gain 8.5135 e/ADU
Readout Noise 5.7 e
Maximum Level 4095.0 ADU
Full Well Capacity 34863 e (minimum)
Dynamic Range 75.8 dB
Signal to Noise Ratio 45.4 dB
Filter Colour Bayer RGB Mosaic
Exposure control Manual
Cooling Thermo-Electric Cooling with fan assist to 30ºC below ambient temperature
ADC 12-bit RGB raw, (16-bit application data)
Optical mount T-mount
Exposure time 1ms to 1 hour
Frame Rate 1 fps @ 3032x2014
Window glass Clear, no Infra Red cut-off
Computer Interface USB 2.0 480Mb/s
Power Requirement 2A 12VDC Mains Power
Mounting T-thread (included)
Dimensions 108mm x 105.5mm x 57.3mm
Weight 750 grams
Cooling fan 30mm x 30mm, 5000rpm
Bundled software Nebulosity v2, plug-in for AstroArt, plug-in for MaxIm DL
Operating System Microsoft Windows (64-bit & 32-bit) XP/Vista/7/8/10
All information correct at the time of writing.

Opticstar PX-126C
Opticstar PX-126C
The PX-126C shown front and back.
  • Sensor: 1/3" Aptina AR0130 Colour CMOS
  • Sensor Resolution: 1280(H) x 960(V)
  • Sensitivity: 5.5 V/lux-sec @ 550nm
  • Frame Rate: 28 FPS @ 1280x960
  • USB 2.0 Powered
  • Hardware Gain
  • No Infra Red filter
  • Robust aluminium alloy body
  • Suitable for Planetary, Lunar, Solar imaging & Guiding
  • Auto guider port (ST4)
  • Bundled Software:
    • OpticstarSky
    • PHD Guiding
    • ASCOM support
    • DirectShow support
    • TWAIN support
  • Computer Requirements:
    • Microsoft Windows (32-bit & 64-bit) Vista/7/8/10
    • USB 2.0 port (USB 3.0 compatible)

PX-126C Outline
The PX-126C is the ideal colour video and single frame camera that combines high frame rates with high sensitivity and a built-in ST4 auto-guide port.

The PX-126C is very well suited for planetary, Lunar and Solar imaging with an appropriate Solar filter. The camera has been designed to come in focus even with telescopes with short focal travel including the Coronado PST without the need for a barlow that reduces the field of view.

The PX-126C is well suited for capturing critical type targets including the International Space Station due to its very low noise characteristics and high Gain while retaining the necessary high S/N ratios.

The camera is also well suited for industrial inspection and microscopy applications. Noise reduction, Gain and Region of Interest (ROI) are all features implemented in the hardware to deliver exceptional performance with frame rates of up to 28fps at 1280x960 resolution.

Opticstar PX-126C dimensions.
Opticstar PX-126 dimensions.

PX-126C OpticstarSky - Camera Control Software
The camera is bundled with the OpticstarSky application software for capturing and storing images and video. The software also includes dark frame support and extensive image processing functionality including image stacking.

Third Party Software Support
Optionally, the camera can be used with third party application software that support Microsoft’s DirectShow standard. Support is also included for the TWAIN communication protocol that allows third party application software to import images from digital devices such as the PX-126.

ASCOM Support
PHD Guiding software is bundled with the camera that allows the PX-126 to be used as an auto-guider. Auto-guiding is supported through the ASCOM software standard ensuring wide support by third party applications.

The camera requires a USB2.0 port to operate and is USB3.0 compatible.

Aptina AR0130 Colour CMOS Quantum Efficiency.
Aptina AR0130 Colour CMOS Quantum Efficiency.

Model Opticstar PX-126C
Sensor Aptina AR0130
Optical Format 1/3" CMOS colour sensor
Resolution 1280(W) x 960(H)
Pixel Size 3.75µm x 3.75µm
Data format 8-bit or 12-bit
Sensitivity 5.5 v/Lux-sec at 550nm (Gain off)
Colour Bayer RGB Mosaic 24-bit (3 x 8-bit) Uncompressed output
Frame Rate 28fps @ 1280x960
30fps @ 640x480
Shutter Electronic Rolling
Window glass Clear, no Infra Red cut-off
Exposure Time Automatic or Manual; 0.4ms to 15s
ADC 12-bit
Gain in hardware, user selectable from 0% to >100% boost
Computer Interface USB 2.0 (USB 3.0 compatible)
Power Requirement USB 2.0 Bus Power
Mounting to telescope C-mount to 1.25" nosepiece included (threaded for filters)
Mounting to lens C to T-thread, M42 x 0.75
Mounting to microscope C to 23mm, C to 30mm, C to 30.5mm
Weight 70 grams
Operation Temperature -10°C to 50°C
Storage Temperature -20°C to 60°C
Operating Humidity 30 to 80%RH
Strage Humidity 10 to 60%RH
Bundled software OpticstarSky, PHD Guiding, ASCOM, DirectShow, Twain, Drivers for Microsoft Windows (64-bit & 32-bt) Vista/7/8/10
Data Format AVI video with or wihthout MPEG compression, BMP, TIFF, JPEG, etc
Operating System Microsoft Windows (64-bit & 32-bit) Vista/7/8/10
All information correct at the time of writing.

Opticstar PX-126, PX-125, PX-75 & PX-35 Sample Images
Please click on the images below to expand to their full size.
Sample image. Sample image.
The Sun.
Captured by Gary Palmer, Wales.
Opticstar PX-125C
Click to expand to full size.

The Sun.
Captured by Gary Palmer, Wales.
Opticstar PX-125C
Click to expand to full size.

Sample image. Sample image.
Captured by S. Ota, Japan.
Opticstar PX-35C COOLAIR
Click to expand to full size.

Captured by S. Ota, Japan.
Opticstar PX-35C COOLAIR
Click to expand to full size.

Sample image. Sample image.
Jupiter (4 image sequence).
Captured by S. Ota, Japan.
Opticstar PX-35C COOLAIR
Click to expand to full size.

Captured by K., Japan.
Opticstar PX-35C COOLAIR
Click to expand to full size.

Sample image. Sample image.
The Moon.
Captured by Naoki Yokoo, Japan.
Opticstar PX-75C
Click to expand to full size.

The Moon.
Captured by Naoki Yokoo, Japan.
Opticstar PX-75C
Click to expand to full size.

Sample image. Sample image.
The Moon.
Captured by Naoki Yokoo, Japan.
Opticstar PX-75C
Click to expand to full size.

The Moon.
Captured by Naoki Yokoo, Japan.
Opticstar PX-75C
Click to expand to full size.

We are constantly checking the accuracy of the technical data. We are prepared to provide more detailed information on request. Technical data is subject to change without notice.

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Opticstar News
New DS-616C XL+ Model
posted: 24th August 2017
Opticstar DS-616C XL+.
Star product, improved.

The new Opticstar DS-616C XL+ deep-sky CCD is the successor to the popular DS-616C XL that earned the annual star product award back in 2013. It maintains all the features of the original model as well as other improvements.

DS-616C XL is Astronomy Magazine's Star Product
posted: 12th September 2013
Opticstar DS-616C XL is Astronomy magazine's product of the year.
Star product.

The Opticstar DS-616C XL deep-sky CCD camera has earned the annual star product award from Astronomy, the world's best-selling astronomy magazine. Read about it in the September 2013 issue.

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Willmann Bell
Books for Astronomy
updated: 20th September 2019
Willman Bell books.
Acclaimed books from Willmann Bell...
Centroid Noise And Precision Photometry
Centroid noise.
Centroiding noise is a random error, or "noise" component...
A&M 152mm f/8 Review
"Fantastic Performance" "Beauty of a Ferrari"
updated: 25th March 2009
A&M 152mm f/8 TMB.
Read the latest review about the A&M 152mm f/8 A&M/TMB on Cloudy Nights. According to the review this telescope combines the "beauty of a Ferrari" with "fantastic performance". The review also states that "the manufacturer's claims are valid".
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