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QSI RS 0.4
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  • Full-frame 0.4 megapixel KAF-0402 sensor
  • 768x512 9µm pixels
  • USB 2.0 High-Speed, 16-bit output
  • Dual read rates of 800kHz and 8MHz
  • Input and output shutter triggers
    for precise exposure timing
  • Selectable ROI and binning
  • AR-coated fused silica window
  • Configurations available for UV to NIR applications from 290nm to 1000nm
  • Deep cooling to >45C below ambient
  • Built-in mechanical shutter
  • Available 5 or 8-position color filter wheel
  • Windows & Linux drivers and API 520i
  • Made in the USA>>

QSI RS 0.4 0.4mp
Cooled CCD Camera

The QSI RS 0.4 model camera employs a 0.4mp Kodak full-frame CCD image sensor with microlens technology. With high quantum efficiency, wide dynamic range, dual read rates, and internal 5 or 8-position color filter wheels the QSI RS 0.4 is ideally suited to a broad range of demanding scientific, medical, astronomical, and industrial imaging applications.

The compact design of the QSI RS Series allows the RS 0.4 to set a new benchmark for cost and size in a high performance, full-featured scientific CCD camera. With optional features and upgradeability, the QSI RS 0.4 can be tailored to fit your needs today and in the future.

The RS 0.4 camera system is supported by industry leading image acquisition software plus a full camera control API is available for creating custom Windows or Linux applications.

Starting at $4,495  
Configure Camera

 
High Performance CCD Image Sensor
Leading Edge Technical Performance
Refined Design
Efficient, Low Power CCD Sensor Cooling
Compact Shutter and Filter Wheel
Connectivity and Notification
Extensive Software Support
Click Headings above for additional details

0.4 Megapixel CCD Image Sensor

Kodak KAF-1603METhe standard RS 0.4 model camera employs a Kodak KAF-0402ME 0.4 megapixel Enhanced Response full-frame CCD image sensor with microlens technology. The KAF-0402ME sensor has a photoactive array of 1536W x 1024H pixels. It has excellent quantum efficiency between 350nm and 1000nm with significant enhancement at the blue end of the spectrum. Peak QE approaches 80%. Low dark current and high pixel charge capacity result in a dynamic range exceeding 76db.

The sensor employs a true two-phase charge transfer technology with a transparent gate that significantly increases optical response compared to traditional front illuminated full frame sensors. Micro lenses cover the surface of the CCD to focus the light through the transparent gate to further increase optical response. See the Specifications tab for more detail.

An alternate CCD configuration is optionally available. The KAF-0402E image sensor does not include micro lenses but is otherwise identical to the standard image sensor. The chart above illustrates the difference in quantum efficiency between these CCD imager sensors. The KAF-0401LE is no longer available.
 

  High Performance Design

"The QSI RS Series was designed from the ground up to attain the highest possible imaging performance from Kodak's Full-Frame and Inteline Transer CCD image sensors."

Two separate analog processing chains, providing dual read rates, allow the QSI RS Series to meet two seemingly incompatible imaging goals. The QSI RS Series High Quality mode provides the highest possible Signal to Noise Ratio (SNR) for applications that require the lowest noise and widest possible dynamic range. High Speed mode has a read rate of 8MHz providing high speed reads at multiple frames per second. The read mode is easily changed under program control providing exceptional flexibility it tuning the camera's performance to the desired imaging goals.


 

  • All significant performance characteristics, including Linearity, Read Noise, and Photon Transfer (Gain), are tested and confirmed during manufacture. Each camera's timing and voltages are carefully set during manufacture to ensure maximum Charge Transfer Efficiency, and to minimize charge injection and other secondary noise sources. QSI's exclusive ResearchSpec profiling ensures optimal performance in every camera.
     
  • Sophisticated mixed-signal design practices are utilized throughout the camera. This permits a very compact design while eliminating interference from conducted and radiated noise. ROHS compliant multi-layer circuit boards and surface-mount components are used exclusively. A unique circuit board stacking methodology eliminates interconnecting wires that could reduce reliability.
     
  • A carefully designed and isolated switching power supply generates all of the voltages needed to operate the camera from a single 12VDC power source. Low noise design practices and advanced filtering techniques completely eliminate any measurable impact on camera noise performance.
     
  • Arguably, the most important aspect of a CCD camera design is the video processing subsystem. This is where almost all of the camera's performance characteristics are established. The RS Series video processing begins with a very low noise, precision preamp to accurately amplify the microvolt level pixel signal from the CCD image sensor. This signal is then processed through a Correlated Double Sampler (CDS) to reduce temporal read noise in the pixel signal. Subsequent signal conditioning then feeds the pixel level to a high-speed, precision 16 bit Analog to Digital Converter (ADC) where it is converted to a digital value between 0 and 65535.

    The Read Noise contributed by this entire subsystem is exceedingly small. So small in fact, that it is virtually undetectable, contributing less than 1/30 of the combined read noise of a typical KAF image sensor. The low read noise and carefully chosen camera gain yield excellent Dynamic Range. Linearity is also outstanding, limited only by the CCD image sensor itself.
    Read more about QSI Image Quality>>
     
Innovative, Aesthetic Body Design

Small enough to practically hide behind a CD-ROM, the medium format QSI RS Series family sets new standards for full-featured, high performance scientific CCD cameras. The striking appearance, refined design and superior fit and finish only hint at the advanced technical performance lurking inside. Some have described it as a work of art.

A defining feature of the RS Series is the flexible design that permits three progressively configured body styles with a minimal impact on overall size. The relative sizes of the three body configurations, Slim, Medium, and Full, can be seen in the image to the right. A camera's body size depends on the internal features installed. The Slim body is the thinnest version and can be used with CCDs incorporating an electronic shutter. The Medium body provides addition space for an internal mechanical shutter. The Full body allows the installation of both the shutter and a five position filter wheel with interchangeable filters.

Engineered with extensive use of sophisticated CAD-CAM design tools, the QSI RS Series is CNC machined from aircraft grade aluminum alloy. The finely finished anodized body components are assembled with corrosion resistant stainless steel hardware throughout.

Small, Light-Weight and Thin


The RS Series is designed to support image sensors with a maximum diagonal measurement of 22.5mm. For this class of camera they are surprisingly compact. At just 4.45" square, the Slim body camera is just 0.48" deep, occupying less than 30 cubic inches and weighing in at under 26 ounces. Even a Full body camera with shutter and color filter wheel is only 2.5" deep and a mere 40 ounces. In fact, the small footprint is the practical limit for a camera with a 5 position filter wheel using standard 1.25" threaded or 31mm unmounted filters.

Keeping the depth of the camera to a minimum was an early design goal. Not only is backfocus minimized, but the camera moment-arm is reduced resulting in greater stability. The shutter and filter wheel were placed inside the body, very close to the image sensor reducing backfocus and overall depth. The motion control electronics are actually buried in the 0.12" thick shutter/filter mounting plate to reduce depth further. Pulling the cooling fans and heatsinks into the body resulted in another significant reduction in depth. Finally, having all electrical cables and the optional liquid heat exchanger recirculation hoses exit the body in the same direction and perpendicular to the optical axis insured an interference-free fit in tight spaces.

More Camera and Application Photos >>

CCD Cooler Subsystem
 
Key in the compact design of the RS Series cameras is a very efficient custom 2-stage thermoelectric cooler (TEC) subsystem. Intelligent, programmable cooling fans are integrated into the rear of the camera body to remove the heat generated by the cooler. Typically, forced air cooling lowers the regulated CCD temperature by up to 45C below ambient utilizing 85% power. Tight +/- 0.1C temperature regulation is maintained at temperature settings of 10C below ambient and lower. A slim liquid heat exchanger (shown at right) can be attached to the rear of the camera body to increase the cooling further, up to 55C below the temperature of the circulating fluid.

The cooled CCD image sensor is positioned in a hermetically sealed environmental chamber covered with an anti-reflection coated precision optical window. The chamber is purged with an ultra dry noble gas to increase heat conduction and eliminate the possibility of frost forming inside the chamber. To extend the useful period before re-purging is required, a user-rechargeable microsieve desiccant is employed to scavenge water molecules that enter the chamber. It is located behind a sub-micron, gas-permeable membrane to prevent particulate contamination of the CCD chamber.

Cooling and Dark Current
 
Effective cooling of the CCD image sensor is essential for long exposure imaging, especially in astronomy. Thermally generated electrons accumulate in the pixels over time and compete with the photo-electrons that make up the image. This accumulation of thermal electrons is known as 'dark current'. It lowers the dynamic range of the sensor and reduces the signal to noise ratio. Eventually the thermally generated electrons will swamp the image.

Fortunately, dark current can be reduced dramatically by cooling the CCD. Kodak CCD sensors accumulate thermal electrons at a rate of roughly 4 electrons per second per pixel at 25C. With every 6.3C decrease in temperature the dark current is reduced by half. Where a 10 minute exposure might generate 2400 thermal electrons at 25C, it will produce only about 10 at -25C. This is a very small number when compared to the CCD read noise and pixel full well capacity.
 

Shutter and Filter Subsystem
 
The RS Series achieves its compact size and unique configuration flexibility though an innovative shutter/filter subsystem. Both the mechanical shutter and filter wheel can be installed internally while keeping the growth of the camera dimensions at a minimum. This results in minimal loss of backfocus as these features are added. The compact design also reduces vignetting with fast optical systems.  

Shutter

The Model RS 0.4s camera incorporates QSI's proprietary internal, even-illumination mechanical shutter in the 'mid-size' camera body configuration. The shutter is not only used for timing exposures, but can be left closed to produce 'dark frames' for subsequent image processing. Exposures can be as short as 0.03 seconds or as long as 240 minutes. The shutter is rated for more than 1 million cycles.

Exposures can be fired under software control or with the use of the hardware input trigger.

Filter Wheel  

The Model RS 0.4ws adds an internal five position filter wheel to the camera in a 'full-size' camera body. The RS 0.4ws-8 incorporates a larger 8-position filter wheel. The filter wheel accepts any standard threaded 1.25" or unmounted 31mm filters.

The filter wheel can be easily removed and replaced to change or clean the glass filters. Additional filter wheels can be purchased allowing quick interchange of different filter set configurations.




The connector panel, shown above, is thoughtfully recessed into the body of the camera for protection and provides access for all external connections. The two threaded holes on the back of the body are used to attach an optional cable restraint system to support the electrical connections as well as the recirculation hoses if the liquid heat exchanger is employed.

USB Interface

All QSI RS Series cameras utilize High Speed USB 2.0 port (USB 1.1 compatible) for connection to the host computer and imaging application software.

Guider/Control Port

A four channel optically isolated control port is accessible through a standard 6 pin modular connector. Two of the signals are used to control the input and output shutter triggers.

For telescope guiding the signal pin-out is compatible with most modern telescope mount drive correctors. The outputs can also be used for other control purposes when developing your own applications with the RS Series ActiveX software development toolkit. The outputs are common emitter, open-collector and can sink up to 50ma. The maximum voltage should not exceed 50v.

Power Requirements

One of the defining features of the RS Series cameras is power efficiency. A fully configured 640ws camera operates from a single 12v DC supply and consumes less than 24 watts at full cooling, with both fans at maximum and the filter wheel moving. Other camera model configurations have power consumption as low as 5 watts. Included with each camera is an approved 12 volt DC power supply with an input voltage range of 90-240V, 50-60HZ.

Notification

Both visual and audible notification is built into all RS Series cameras. A multi-color LED status display provides visual indication of the various states of camera operation. The behavior of the indicator is configurable and can be disabled by user command. A unique internal beeper provides audible feedback of camera operation and status. Like the visual display, the beeper can be configured and disabled by the user.


Comprehensive Software Support

Every RS Series camera is accompanied by a collection of software applications and tools that allow you to begin imaging immediately or develop custom camera control applications to precisely match your requirements.

View complete Software details >>

MaxIm LE and MaxIm DL

MaxIm LE is based on the award winning MaxIm DL version 4.5 from Diffraction Limited providing the fastest and easiest way to image the night sky. All QSI RS Series cameras are supported for imaging and auto-guiding, plus most popular guider cameras are supported as well. MaxIm LE is available with any RS Series camera. You can upgrade to MaxIm DL/CCD for an attractive price at the time of purchase. Details >>

Drivers for Software Bisque's CCDSoft and TheSkyX

Realizing that one shoe doesn't fit all, QSI also supplies the necessary drivers for CCDSoft, the popular Image Processing and Camera Control Software from Software Bisque, as well as their latest imaging application, TheSkyX.

Many other popular astronomical imaging packages are also support. See the QSI Software page for complete details.

Windows Custom Application Development

QSI provides an ASCOM-compatible API (Application Programming Interface) enabling customers to write their own custom camera control applications. The camera control API is an automation component that communicates with the camera device driver and exports a COM automation interface. COM automation provides an interface which Microsoft Office, VB, VBA, C++, and other Windows applications can use to control the camera. The API is available as part of the QSI Software Development Kit (SDK), available for download from the QSI website.

ASCOM Learn more about the ASCOM Initiative.

Using the Windows COM API with LabVIEW, MATLAB and other applications

The QSI camera control Windows API is an automation component that communicates with the camera device driver and exports a COM automation interface. The COM automation interface allows custom camera control applications to be developed for use with National Instruments LabVIEW, MathWorks MATLAB and any other application that adhere to the Windows COM interface. The API is distributed on the QSI Installation CD and is included with the QSI USB Drivers and Software installer above. The API Reference Manual can be downloaded from the documentation page. QSI has sample VI's for LabVIEW that can be used as a starting point to develop custom LabVIEW applications. Please contact QSI Support for details.

View complete details on the Software page>>

Linux Custom Application Development

QSI provides a camera control C++ API for Linux users on Intel x86-compatible platforms. The API provides full camera control and image capture capabilities via the USB interface. The API is implemented as a shared library providing an easy to use camera object that exposes all of the features and capabilities of the camera. It is well suited for both simple scripting, and more sophisticated imaging application development.


Field Upgradeable Firmware

All RS Series cameras can be upgraded to the latest firmware in the field. The latest firmware is always available for download from the QSI Software page. QSI supplies a simple fail-safe Updater application that handles all the details.

Model 540 CCD Image Sensor Specifications 
 
 
Feature Standard
CCD Manufacturer & Model     Kodak KAI-04022       
CCD Architecture Interline Transfer
     Microlens Yes
     Anti-blooming Yes - 300x suppression
Imager Size: (WxH) 15.15mm x 15.15mm
Pixel Array (WxH): 2112x2072 total pixels, 2048x2048 active (visible)
Pixel Size: 7.4µm x 7.4µm
  Typical Values
Pixel Full Well Depth 40,000 electrons
Absolute Quantum Efficiency Peak: 55% at 500nm
Pixel Dark Current <0.1 electron per second at 0C
Intrinsic Read Noise <8 electrons RMS
Dynamic Range 74db
Charge Transfer Efficiency >0.99999
Manufacturer's CCD Imager Specifications
KAI-04022M (PDF)


Model 540 Camera Specifications 
  (See additional 540wsg specifications>>)

Feature Model 540i Model 540s Model 540ws
CCD Image Sensor

KAI-04022

Electronic Shutter 100sec to 240 minutes 100sec to 240 minutes 100sec to 240 minutes
Mechanical Shutter No Yes Yes
Internal Color Filter Wheel No No Yes - 5 Position, 1.25" std filters
Camera Body Configuration Slim
Enclosure
Medium
Enclosure
Full
Enclosure
Dimensions W4.45” x H4.45” x D0.48”
(add 0.225" for T-Mount)
W4.45” x H4.45” x D2.00”
(add 0.225" for T-Mount)
W4.45” x H4.45” x D2.50”
(add 0.225" for T-Mount)
Weight, without Nosepiece 26 oz. /  740g 34 oz.  /  950g 40 oz.  /  1120g
Optical Back Focus
(without Filters in path)
0.58" w/ T-mount adapter
0.68" w/ C-mount adapter
0.35" w/o mounting adapter
0.90" w/ T-mount adapter
0.68" w/ C-mount adapter
0.68" w/o mounting adapter
1.40" w/ T-mount adapter
1.18" w/ C-mount adapter
1.18" w/o mounting adapter
Thermoelectric CCD Cooling Temperature regulation +/- 0.1C, @ 0C  to -40C CCD temperature
In free air,
Fans @ Full Speed
Typically 38C below ambient air with 85% cooling power
With Opt Liquid Cooling - Fans Off Typically 45C below circulating liquid with 85% cooling power
(adds 0.75" to camera depth)
Cooling Fan Control Intelligent, user configurable
Camera Gain User Selectable 0.8 e-/ADU, 1.9 e-/ADU
Digital Resolution 16 bits
Total System Read Noise Typically <8 electrons RMS (CCD specification limited)
Pixel Dark Current <0.1 electron per second at 0C
Full Image Read and Download Time Typically <11 second (host computer dependent)
Binning Modes Symmetrical on-chip 2x2 and 3x3, user selectable
Asymmetrical binning up to 3 pixels in either dimension
Status and Notification User configurable multi-color LED status indicator and multifunction
audible beeper. Over-temperature and high/low voltage alarms.
Power Consumption 12v, 1.5A (18 watts) at max cooling, max fans and filter moving
(25 AC watts max with included 90-240V AC power supply)
Operating Environment Temperature: -20C to 30C, Humidity: 10% to 90% non-condensing
Computer Connectivity USB 2.0 (USB 1.1 compatible)
Other Ports Optically isolated 4 channel control port for telescope guiding
or other application specific control
T Mounting Adapter Standard adapter - T-Thread, 42mm x .75mm

C Mounting Adapter
(1" x 32TPI)
(Not recommeded for 540i)

Optional, C-Mount lens focus compatible
(17.5mm backfocus)
Optional, C-Mount lens focus compatible
(17.5mm backfocus)
Optional, for non-lens adapters and accessories (standard
C-Mount lens does not reach
focus)
Nosepiece Standard, T-Adapter to 2" nosepiece
Optional, T-Adapter  to 1.25" nosepiece
 
Model RS 0.4 CCD Image Sensor Specifications 
 
 
Feature Standard Optional
CCD Manufacturer & Model     Kodak KAF-0402ME        Kodak KAF-0402E       
CCD Architecture Full Frame Full Frame
     Blue Enhanced Yes Yes
     Microlens Yes No
     Anti-blooming No No
Imager Size: (WxH) 6.91mm x 4.6mm 6.91mm x 4.6mm
Pixel Array (WxH): 784x520 total pixels,
768x512 active (visible)
784x520 total pixels,
768x512 active (visible))
Pixel Size: 9µm x 9µm 9µm x 9µm
  Typical Values
Pixel Full Well Depth 100,000 electrons 100,000 electrons
Absolute Quantum Efficiency Peak: 77%
400nm: 45%
Peak: 65%
400nm: 30%
Pixel Dark Current <1.0 electron per second at 0°C
<0.1 electron per second at -25°C
Dark Current Doubling 6.3° C 6.3° C
Intrinsic Read Noise 15 electrons RMS 15 electrons RMS
Dynamic Range 76db 76db
Charge Transfer Efficiency >0.99999 >0.99999
Manufacturer's CCD Imager Specifications
KAF-0402E/ME (PDF)
 


Model RS 0.4 Camera Specifications 

Feature Model RS 0.4s Model RS 0.4ws(-8)
CCD Image Sensor KAF-0402ME
Electronic Shutter Mechanical, exposure range: 0.03 seconds to 240 minutes
Mechanical Shutter Yes Yes
Internal Color Filter Wheel No ws    - 5-Position CFW
ws-8 - 8-position CFW
Holds 1.25" or opt. 31mm filters
Camera Body Configuration Medium
Enclosure
Full
Enclosure
Dimensions W4.45” x H4.45” x D2.00”
(add 0.225" for T-Mount)
5-pos, W4.45” x H4.45” x D2.50”
8-pos, W5.86” x H5.56” x D2.50”
(add 0.225" for T-Mount)
Weight, without Nosepiece 34 oz.  /  950g 5-pos, 40 oz.  /  1130g
8-pos, 51 oz.  /  1450g
Optical Back Focus
(w/o Filters in path)
0.90" w/ T-mount adapter
0.68" w/ C-mount adapter
0.68" w/ no adapter
1.40" w/ T-mount adapter
1.18" w/ C-mount adapter
1.18" w/ no adapter
Thermoelectric CCD Cooling Temperature regulation +/- 0.1C, @ 0C  to -40C CCD temperature
In free air,
Fans @ Full Speed
Typically 45C below ambient air temperature with 85% cooling power
With Opt Liquid Cooling - Fans Off Typically 52C below circulating liquid with 85% cooling power
(adds 0.75" to camera depth)
Cooling Fan Control Intelligent, user configurable
Read Rate User Selectable High Quality mode at 800KHz, High Speed mode at 4MHz
Camera Gain 2.6 electrons per ADU
Digital Resolution 16 bits (both High Quality and High Speed mode)
Total System Read Noise Typically 15 electrons RMS (CCD specification limited) in High Quality mode
Typically 25 electrons RMS (CCD specification limited) in High Speed mode
Pixel Dark Current <1.0 electron per second at 0°C
<0.1 electron per second at -25°C
Full Image Read and Download Time Typically <0.5 second (host computer dependent) in High Quality Mode (800KHz)
Typically ~0.1 second (host computer dependent) in High Speed Mode (8MHz)
Image download times will be reduced with binning and/or subframe (ROI)
Binning Modes Symmetrical and Asymmetrical binning up to 9 pixels horizonally or vertically
Status and Notification User configurable multi-color LED status indicator and multifunction
audible beeper. Over-temperature and high/low voltage alarms.
Power Consumption 12v, 2A (24 watts) at max cooling, max fans and filter moving
(25 watts max with included 90-240V AC power supply)
Operating Environment Temperature: -20C to 30C, Humidity: 10% to 90% non-condensing
Computer Connectivity USB 2.0 High Speed (USB 1.1 compatible)
Other Ports Optically isolated 4 channel control port for telescope guiding
or input/output shutter trigger (See API Reference Manual for details)
Lens Attachment Standard - T-Thread, 42mm x .75mm pitch
Supports Canon EOS and Nikon F-mount lenses

C Mounting Adapter
(1" x 32TPI)

Optional, C-Mount (Type II) lens focus compatible
(17.5mm backfocus)
Optional, for non-lens adapters and accessories
(standard C-Mount lens does not reach focus at infinity)
Nosepiece Standard, T-Adapter to 2" nosepiece
Optional, T-Adapter  to 1.25" nosepiece

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