Meade Instruments:  
 » LX90 SCT & ACF Series. 
 » LX200 ACF Series. 
 » LXD75 ACF Series. 
 » ETX Computerised Telescopes. 
 » Lightbridge Dobsonian Telescopes. 
 » Premium Refractor Telescopes. Coronado Solar Telescopes: 
 » Personal Solar Telescopes. 
 » SolarMax II Telescopes. Opticstar sections: 
 » Cooled, long exposure cameras, 6.1MP CCD, USB 2.0. 
 » Video cameras for planetary use up to 1.3MP, USB 2.0. 
 » Imaging accessories. 
 » Auto-Guiding systems, complete solutions. Ascension telescopes and accessories: 
 » Apochromat ED Triplet Refractors 
 » Achromat Doublet Refractors  
 » Eyepieces including zoom eyepieces. 
 » Guiding eyepieces. 
 » Extension tubes. 
 » Flip mirrors. 
 » Imaging filters. 
 » Barlow lenses. 
 » Binoviewers. 
 » Red dot finders. 
 » Eyepiece projection kits. 
 » Mirror and prism diagonals. Starlight Xpress: 
 » Cooled CCD Cameras. 
 » Guide Cameras. 
 » Filter Wheels. Farpoint Astro: 
 » Dovetail systems and mount accessories. 
 » Focus masks. 
 » Binocular mountings. Willmann Bell books. Shoestring Astronomy sections: 
 » Autoguiding connectivity kits and interfaces. 
 » Shutter control units for DSLR cameras. 
 » Focus motor controllers.
Opticstar DS-142M XL
1.4 Megapixels - 1/2" CCD - TEC Cooled - Hardware Gain - Video Mode
Opticstar DS-142M XL
  • 1/2" Sony ICX205AK Progressive Monochrome CCD
  • Resolution: 1.4 Megapixels, 1360x1024
  • Binning: 1x1, 2x2, 4x4
  • Thermo-Electric Cooling with Fan Assist
  • Hardware Gain - up to 100% sensitivity boost
  • Hardware Black Level
  • Preview / Focusing @ 3.5 frames per second
  • 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
    • USB 2.0 port
Opticstar DS-142Μ XL suitability.
CCD Cameras
CCD Cameras Opticstar
CCD Camera
Opticstar DS-142Μ XL
The package contains the following:
  • Opticstar DS-142Μ XL 1.4 mega-pixel monochrome CCD camera.
  • C/CS to 1.25" telescope adapter threaded for filters.
  • C/CS to T thread adapter for T thread lens.
  • 2.5 metres in-situ USB cable.
  • High quality regulated PSU. 3A; AC:100-240V for Europe, USA etc; DC:3.3V.
  • Storage and carry case.
  • Software on CD:
    • Nebulosity v2 software for camera control and image processing.
    • Opticstar View software for camera control and image processing.
    • DS-142M XL Plug-in for Nebulosity v2.
    • DS-142M XL Plug-in for AstroArt.
    • DS-142M XL Plug-in for MaxIm DL.
  • Printed Set-up guide.
Order No. Price (inc_VAT) Shipping Delivery click to purchase
OSRDS142MX £ --- £ ---
Setup Guide
(May 2011, PDF)
Sony ICX205AL
Nebulosity v2
User Manual (PDF)
Opticstar CCD Cameras
(Brochure, PDF)

The DS-142 XL is a 1.4 mega-pixel T.E.C. cooled astronomy camera that 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-142Μ 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 offers 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 large Sony 1/2" 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 3.5 frames per second which is several 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 at 1600% sensitivity boost with exposure times at up to 10 seconds, a very useful feature not available to other manufacturers' single shot cameras!

The camera can also operate in high speed video mode at 15 frames per second in full resolution (1360 x 1024) or 30 frames per second at 640 x 480. The DS-142 XL cameras offer 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-142 XL cameras are capable of delivering exceptional performance.

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.

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-142M XL
Sensor type Sony ICX205AL CCD, progressive scan
Sensor size 7.60mm x 6.20mm (1/2")
Resolution 1.4 Megapixels, 1434 x 1050 pixels
Pixel size 4.65µm x 4.65µm
Green Sensitivity 450mV max @ 1/30 accumulation maximum (Gain off)
Binning modes 1x1, 2x2, 4x4
Preview mode 1360x1024 at 3.5 frames per second
Video mode 15 fps @ 1360x1024, 30fps @ 640x480
On Board Functions Gain, Noise Reduction, Black Level
Full Well Capacity 18000 e~
Dark Current 0.15e~/pix/s (cooled)
Readout speed 20, 10MHz
Data output 16-bit monochrome
Exposure time user defined from 3ms upwards.
Raw 16-bit image transfer 0.5 second approximately at 1360x1024
Cooling Thermo-Electric Cooling with fan assist to 30ºC below ambient temperature
Optical mount C-mount. C to 1.25" adapter included, C to T adapter included
Computer interface USB 2.0
Power Requirement USB 2.0 Bus Power plus 3.3V for TEC cooling
Dimensions 100mm x 81mm x 48mm
Weight 480 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
The technical data is correct at the time of writing.

Sample Astronomical DS-142 ICE Images
Sample image. Sample image.
NGC7635 cluster by Roy Hollister.
8" f4.5 Newtonian
15 frames x 10m. Binned 2x2 to match sky conditions
Guided with Opticstar AG-130M COOLAIR
Click to enlarge to: 624 x 453 pixels.

NGC7023 nebula by Roy Hollister.
8" f4.5 Newtonian
10 frames x 5m. Binned 2x2 to match sky conditions.
Guided with Opticstar AG-130M COOLAIR
Click to enlarge to: 616 x 449 pixels.

Sample image. Sample image.
M3 cluster by Roy Hollister.
7" f9 Maksutov-Cassegrain
DS-142C ICE, single frame, 5m. Hardware Gain:30%
Guided with Opticstar AG-130M COOLAIR
Click to enlarge to: 1360 x 1024 pixels.

M1 nebula by Roy Hollister.
10" f4.8 Newtonian
DS-142C ICE, 3x10m & 3x5m. Hardware Gain:30%
Guided with Opticstar AG-130M COOLAIR
Click to enlarge to: 1360 x 1024 pixels.

Sample image. Sample image.
Blue Snowball nebula by Roy Hollister.
DS-142C ICE, 8x5m subs. Hardware Gain:30%
Guided with Opticstar AG-130M COOLAIR
Click to enlarge to: 1360 x 1024 pixels.

M27 nebula by Roy Hollister.
10" f4.8 Newtonian
DS-142C ICE, 15 x 2m subs. Hardware Gain:30%
Guided with Opticstar AG-130M COOLAIR
Click to enlarge to: 1360 x 1024 pixels.

Sample image. Sample image.
M76 nebula by Roy Hollister.
10" f4.8 Newtonian
DS-142C ICE, 16 x 5m subs. Hardware Gain:30%
Guided with Opticstar AG-130M COOLAIR
Click to enlarge to: 1360 x 1024 pixels.

Merope by Roy Hollister.
7" f15 Rumak Maksutov
Guided with Opticstar AG-130M COOLAIR
Click to enlarge to: 499 x 499 pixels.

Click on image to play animation. Sample image.
Asteroid 41630 animation sequence by Roy Hollister
on Nov 2008, 10" f4.8 Newtonian and DS-142C ICE.
Guided with Opticstar AG-130M COOLAIR
First discovered at the Kitt Peak Observatory,
by the University of Arizona’s Spacewatch project
on September 21st 2000.

Merope by Roy Hollister.
10" f4.8 Newtonian
DS-142C ICE, 3x5m. Hardware Gain:30%
Guided with Opticstar AG-130M COOLAIR
Click to enlarge to: 1360 x 1024 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 AR80 refractor is ideal as a portable scope and can be used for observing, imaging or as a guider. It features a retractable metal dew shield, fully multi-coated optics, 1.25" all-metal rack & pinion focuser and comes complete with tube rings and quality padded case. A T-thread at the drawtube end will enable you to attach a camera directly to the scope.
Guide scope.
Left: Opticstar AR80 guidescope, buffled, all metal. Right: Additional pair of collimating rings and dovetail.

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.

How To Order Terms & Conditions Email Us
International Customers
International website.
Customers outside the European Union can order Opticstar cameras at our international website:
Product Search

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.

Online Shopping
Credit & Debit Cards
updated: 18th June 2019
Online shopping.
We accept all the credit and debit cards shown above. Online payments are cleared by Barclays. Online payment integration by Worldpay. Please read our
Terms & Conditions

Willmann Bell
Books for Astronomy
updated: 28th February 2019
Willman Bell books.
Acclaimed books from Willmann Bell...
Opticstar News
Imaging Brochure
updated: 10th February 2014
Opticstar brochure.
Download the Opticstar imaging catalogue here.
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".
We want to hear your comments.
© Opticstar Ltd 2019