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Opticstar DS-336C XL
3.3 Megapixels - 1/1.8" CCD - TEC Cooled - Hardware Gain - Video Mode
Opticstar DS-336C XL
  • 1/1.8" Sony ICX412AQ Interline Colour CCD
  • Resolution: 3.3 Megapixels, 2048x1536
  • No Infra Red filter
  • Colour Binning: 1x1, 2x2, 4x4
  • Thermo-Electric Cooling with Fan Assist
  • Hardware Gain - up to 100% sensitivity boost
  • Hardware Black Level
  • Preview / Focusing @ 5 frames per second
  • ROI Video mode: 30fps @ 640x480
  • External Power Supply Unit for TEC
  • Ragged aluminium construction
  • Semi-Video mode for real time Deep Sky
  • StarView mode
  • Bundled Software:
    • Nebulosity v2
    • Opticstar View
    • 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-615C XL suitability.
CCD Cameras
CCD Cameras Opticstar
CCD Camera
Opticstar DS-336C XL
Package includes:
  • Opticstar DS-336C XL 3.3 mega-pixel colour CCD camera.
  • C/CS to 1.25" telescope adapter threaded for filters.
  • T-thread (M) to 2" telescope adapter threaded for filters.
  • 2.5 metres in-situ USB cable.
  • High quality regulated PSU. 3A; AC:100-240V for Europe, USA etc; DC:3.3V.
  • Software on CD:
    • Nebulosity v2 software for camera control and image processing.
    • Opticstar View software for camera control and image processing.
    • DS-336C XL Plug-in for Nebulosity v2.
    • DS-336C XL Plug-in for AstroArt.
    • DS-336C XL Plug-in for MaxIm DL.
  • Printed Set-up guide.
Order No. Price (inc_VAT) Shipping Delivery click to purchase
OSRDS336CX £ --- £ ---
Setup Guide
(Mar 2012, PDF)
Sony ICX412AQ
Nebulosity v2
User Manual (PDF)
Opticstar CCD Cameras
(Brochure, PDF)

The DS-336C XL is a long exposure T.E.C. cooled, 3.3 mega-pixel camera with unique features. Exposure times can be over an hour long but this camera can also run in video mode at up to 30 frames per second! As with all colour Opticstar CCD cameras, binning modes are supported at 2x2 and 4x4 in full colour.

The DS-336C XL excels in usability and performance. Simply put, with this camera there are no compromises. It offers 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 this 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-336C XL's Gain level and sensor noise.

The new Opticstar XL cameras use precision machined heavy duty aluminium 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 (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 larger than usual Sony 1/1.8” format CCD sensor offers a wide field of view allowing easier framing of larger deep-sky objects.

Focus and preview modes run at a maximum 5 frames per second even at full resolution which is many times faster than other single shot astronomy cameras, this makes critical focusing markedly easier to achieve.

The proprietary StarView mode enables semi real time viewing of deep sky objects in colour with an incredible 3600% sensitivity boost with exposure times at up to 10 seconds, a very useful feature not available to other manufacturers’ single shot cameras!

The DS-336C XL offers the functionality of single shot, long exposure sensor cooled camera with features found in long exposure video cameras while delivering superior performance. Coupled with the real-time viewing ability and high sensitivity the Opticstar DS-336C XL is ideal for high definition imaging due to its 3.45 micron CCD pixels.

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 v2.0 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-336C XL.
The DS-336C XL shown with the nosepiece attached and without.

Nebulosity v2 Software
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.
Opticstar View - Camera Control Software
It includes Opticstar View software for image capture and camera control with a point and click interface. It can capture single frames or a series of single frames in BMP format.
Opticstar camera control software.
Opticstar View for camera control and image processing.

A brief outline of View’s image processing functions is listed below:
  • Basic operations including Crop, Mirror, Flip, Invert, Rotate, Bright, etc.
  • Copy and paste user defined regions.
  • Distances can be measured between user defined points, circles, etc.
  • Angles can be calculated by defining three points on the image.
  • Operations can be performed on any user defined region.
  • Colour operations can be performed on individual R, G, B channels.
  • Data combine of two images.
  • Data calibration.
  • Image-zoom as a per cent of the original image.
  • Linear filters to soften, sharpen, emboss, blur and Gaussian.
  • Non-linear filters for median, erode, dilate, contour, edge and jitter.
  • Transform filters for pinch, punch, twirl and cylinder.
  • Fluorescence filters for gamma, colorize, mix and combine.
Model Opticstar DS-336C XL
Sensor Sony ICX412AQ CCD
Sensor format 1/1.8" (8.10mm x 6.64mm)
Scan mode Interline
Resolution 2048(W) x 1536(H), 3.3 Mega-pixels
Pixel Size 3.45µm x 3.45µm
Green Sensitivity 546mV max @ 1/30 accumulation maximum (Gain off)
Gain in hardware, up to 100% sensitivity boost
Filter Colour Bayer RGB Mosaic
Exposure control Automatic or Manual
Cooling Thermo-Electric Cooling with fan assist to 30ºC below ambient temperature
ADC 12-bit RGB raw, (16-bit application data)
Optical mount C-mount
Exposure time 1ms to over 1 hour
Frame Rate 2.5fps @ 2048x1536
5fps @ 2048x1536 fast readout mode
30fps @ 640x480 in video Region of Inetrest (ROI) mode
Window glass Clear, no Infra Red cut-off
Computer Interface USB 2.0 480Mb/s
Power Requirement USB 2.0 Bus Power plus 3.3V for TEC cooling
Mounting T-thread (included)
Dimensions 115mm x 110mm x 95mm
Weight 940 grams
Cooling fan 30mm x 30mm, 5000rpm
Bundled software Nebulosity v2, Opticstar View, 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.

Sample Astronomical DS-336C XL & DS-335C ICE Images
Please click on the images below to expand to their full size.
Sample image. Sample image.
The Sun by Gary Palmer.
DS-336C XL, Coronado SolarMax II.
Click to enlarge to: 1995 x 1467 pixels.

The Sun by Gary Palmer.
DS-336C XL, Coronado SolarMax II.
Click to enlarge to: 2004 x 1498 pixels.

Sample image. Sample image.
The Sun by Gary Palmer.
DS-336C XL, Coronado SolarMax II.
Click to enlarge to: 1995 x 1467 pixels.

The Sun by Gary Palmer.
DS-336C XL, Coronado SolarMax II.
Click to enlarge to: 2004 x 1498 pixels.

Sample image.
Jupiter by Gary Palmer.
Opticstar DS-336C XL.
Click to enlarge to: 1024 x 819 pixels.

Sample image. Sample image.
Eta Carina nebula by John Haunton.
DS-335C ICE, WO66SD.
Stacked frames: 14 x 120s.
Click to enlarge to: 2048 x 1536 pixels.

Eta Carina nebula by John Haunton.
DS-335C ICE with VC200L f6.3 FR.
Stacked frames, 2x2 colour binning.
Guided with Opticstar AG-130M.
Click to enlarge to: 1024 x 768 pixels.

Sample image. Sample image.
Omega Centurai by John Haunton.
DS-335C ICE, WO 66mm refractor.
Stacked 6 frames x 120 seconds.
Click to enlarge to: 2048 x 1536 pixels.

M8 Nebula, by John Haunton.
DS-335C ICE, WO 66mm refractor.
Stacked 10 frames x 240 sec.
Click to enlarge to: 2030 x 1504 pixels.

Sample image. Sample image.
M42 by Nick Witte-Vermeulen.
DS-335C ICE.
Frames: 5 x 120sec in Hα.
Guided with Opticstar AG-130M.
Click to enlarge to: 1024 x 770 pixels.

M42 by Peter Shah.
DS-335C ICE, 8" f4 Newtonian, poor conditions.
Frames: 2x5 min. + 1 min. core (2x2 colour binning).
Click to enlarge to: 768 x 1024 pixels.

Sample image. Sample image.
M31 by Peter Shah.
DS-335C ICE, A&M 80mm f6, near full Moon.
Stacked 8 frames x 600 seconds.
Click to enlarge to: 1011 x 735 pixels.

Trifid nebula by John Haunton.
DS-335C ICE, WO 66mm refractor.
Stacked frames (2x2 colour binning).
Click to enlarge to: 1013 x 743 pixels.

Sample image. Sample image.
The Moon by Peter Shah.
Single shot.
Taken with 66mm f/5.9 refractor.
Click to enlarge to: 2048 x 1536 pixels.
Centaurus A by John Haunton.
DS-335C ICE.
Frames: 14 x 120s, 2x2 colour binning.
Click to enlarge to: 950 x 768 pixels.

Related Products
The Opticstar AG-131M COOLAIR (monochrome) or the Opticstar AG-131C COOLAIR (colour) can be used for auto-guiding when long exposure times are required. Typically, these guide cameras are used in conjuction with a guide scope.
Guide camera.
The Opticstar AG-131 COOLAIR autoguiding kit.

The Opticstar AR80S Guidescope kit consists of the AR80S Gold telescope (80mm, f/5), set of collimating rings and Vixen type dovetail to mount the telescope to standard mount saddles as found on the Sky-Watchers, Celestron CG-5, Vixen and other mounts.
Opticstar AR80S Guidescope
The Opticstar AR80S Guidescope includes collimating rings, dovetail and extension tube.

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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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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