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What do you Look for in a CCD Camera?

What do you look for in a CCD camera?

QSI Read Noise Frame FFTHighest image quality?  Lowest noise?
All QSI cameras are designed from the ground up to attain the highest possible imaging performance and lowest noise.  All significant performance characteristics, including Linearity, Read Noise, and Photon Transfer (Gain), are tested and confirmed during manufacturing. Every QSI camera receives QSI's exclusive ResearchSpec® profiling ensuring optimal performance in every camera.

Just as important as having low noise is the nature of that noise.  The noise in QSI cameras displays no structure, as confirmed by full FFT analysis of every camera, meaning you can go as deep as you want, stack as many images as you want without adding noise in your final combined image.   The low noise and lack of structure also helps reveals faint details in your subjects and makes your image processing faster and easier.  See Why QSI for more details>>

Fast downloads?
QSI 600 Series cameras have dual read rates.  In High Speed mode the 8.3mp QSI 683 can download a full-frame image in about 1 second, even faster using a subframe or binning for framing and focusing.

Deep cooling?  Precisely regulated cooling?
QSI 600 Series cameras conservatively cool the CCD to 45C below ambient.   That allows you to hit -20C even on the warmest nights.  QSI cameras cool fast and maintain the desired set point to within less than 0.1C.  See this blog article for more on CCD cooling and dark current>>

QSI 683wsgEasy guiding?
QSI’s innovative WSG models offer the ultimate guiding solution.  By integrating the pick-off prism in front of the built-in filter wheel, QSI cameras provide a simple, rigid solution with complete flexibility to use your current guide camera, or select a guide camera that offers the largest sensor and highest sensitivity available like the tiny SX Lodestar.  Read more about QSI’s WSG models here>>

Shortest back focus?  Use your Canon or Nikon lenses?
With QSI’s thin even-illumination shutter and internal 5 or 8-position filter wheel QSI cameras provide the shortest back focus of any filter wheel camera.  This allows the camera to be used with a wider variety of optics, including Canon and Nikon DSLR lenses.   Even with the integrated guider port, QSI’s innovative WSG models can be used with almost every flattener/reducer and even fast Newtonians.

QSI Auto-Focus bracketUltimate Grab and Go System for Guided Wide Field Imaging?
With QSI’s Pentax 6x7 lens adapter, you can even do guided wide field imaging with your WSG system and inexpensive, high quality Pentax 6x7 lenses.  Add the new QSI Auto-Focus bracket for the ultimate portable wide field imaging system>>

Fast optics?
Because the internal filter wheel is positioned so close to the focal plane, QSI cameras provide unvignetted images with inexpensive 31mm filters using optics as fast as f/3.  Even at f/2 on a Hyperstar, the small amount of vignetting in the corners is easily corrected with a flat field.  Speaking of the Hyperstar, the 683ws is the only mono-filtered camera compatible with an 11” or 14” Hyperstar.

Less Expensive Filters?
The close spacing of the internal filter wheel on QSI 500/600 Series cameras also allows the use of smaller, less expensive filters.  Standard 1.25” threaded filters provide unvignetted images to about f/5.  And unmounted 31mm filters, which cost less than the 36mm filters required by other cameras, provide unvignetted images even with extremely fast scopes to about f/3.  If you’re planning to do any narrowband imaging, this can result in savings of hundreds of dollars – not to mention being smaller and lighter!

Selectable Gain?
All QSI 600 Series cameras and some 500 Series models have selectable gain.  Why is this important?  Gain values are selected to maximize the dynamic range available from any given sensor. The idea is to convert the number of electrons read from the sensor for any given (possibly binned) pixel and convert that into a number that fits into 16 bits (0-65,535). For most CCDs, the Horizontal Shift Register (HSR) and Output Register have a higher capacity than an individual pixel.  With selectable gain, QSI cameras optimize the charge conversion to provide the maximum dynamic range whether you’re imaging with 1x1 binning or higher.  See this blog article for more details on selectable gain>>

QSI 600 Series



Compact and Light Weight?

QSI cameras are smaller and lighter than the competition.  By integrating the filter wheel and guide port directly into the camera, QSI WS and WSG models deliver a small, elegant, integrated package that puts less demand on your focuser and mount.



Made in the USAMade in the USA

QSI is employee-owned and proud to design and build world class scientific cameras in the USA. QSI’s headquarters and manufacturing facility is located in southern Mississippi, not far from New Orleans and NASA Stennis Space Center. Engineering facilities are located in California and Mississippi. Circuit boards are manufactured in Oregon. Most sensors are manufactured by Truesense Imaging (formerly Kodak) in Rochester, NY. Metal machining is done locally using Haas CNC mills manufactured in Oxnard, California.  Take a virtual tour of QSI’s manufacturing facility>>

Exceptional Customer Service
QSI is committed to providing the highest quality customer service in the industry.  Great customer service starts with building great products that work intuitively and install easily.  An extensive online Knowledge Base provides quick answers to common questions.  Email inquiries are answered promptly during business hours and many times even late into the night.  We know your time is valuable.  If you call QSI you’ll talk to one of our highly trained, sales or support specialists, all based in the U.S. and all equipped with the tools they need to answer your questions thoroughly and quickly.  You’ll find that all QSI representatives are eager to help.

Best Value!

Best value!

QSI 500 and 600 Series cameras are an exceptional value, even more so now with new lower prices on select 600 Series models including the popular 683 and 640Compare the total system cost.  1.25” and 31mm filters cost less than the 36mm or 48mm filters required by other cameras.  Especially if you plan to do any narrowband imaging, those savings can be substantial.  Every QSI camera includes a custom Pelican case and a complete set of standard accessories so you can begin imaging immediately.


Learn more on the QSI web site>>

Order a 500 or 600 Series camera today!>>   Most popular models ship within one to two weeks!

Reviewers agree

In summary, I can honestly say that this is the best CCD camera
I’ve ever used.
- Nik Szymanek, Astronomy Now magazine

My overall assessment is that the QSI 532ws is a laboratory-quality camera that’s an outstanding value for amateur astronomers who demand top-notch imaging performance... I ordered one for myself.
- Richard Berry, Astronomy Technology Today

Such low noise, wow!... The results speak for themselves.
- Alan Smallbone, AstroPhoto Insight

Read the full reviews>


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