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Image Sensors

We plan to offer two or three variants of the camera, with different image sensor sizes at a different price.

The following picture shows the image sensors that we're considering:

The AR0130CSSM is a highly sensitive but relatively small sensor (1/3 inch), costs about USD 20 and is easily available. It consists of 1280x960 3.75µm square pixels and supports a maximum frame rate of 45fps. We use this sensor in the first prototype. The good thing is that (unlike for all other chips listed here) the datasheet is available on the web. (The register reference, however, isn't.)

Either the AR0130CSSM or the slightly bigger (1/1.8 inches) and more expensive IMX178 (~3x the price of the AR0130) will be used in the "small" variant of the camera. Both sensors peak at a quantum efficiency of about 80%. The IMX178 consists of 3072x2048 2.4µm square pixels, with a maxiumum frame rate of about 60fps at 10-bit resolution and 30fps at 12-bit resolution.

The first-generation Pregius IMX174 is a candidate for the medium (if we build 3) or big (if there are just 2) variant. It's an 1/1.2 inch, 1920x1200 5.86µm square pixel sensor and is well known in the field of astronomy cameras (e.g. in the ZWO ASI174).

If there will be a third variant, it will likely contain the 3rd generation Pregius IMX428 sensor, with 3208x2200 highly sensitive 4.5µm pixels. Unfortunately, the chip is very expensive and requires complex interfacing, and as a result, the camera price would be significantly higher than the price for the two smaller variants. The good thing is that we plan to test this chip with the V2 prototype to see if it makes sense to build a variant of the camera with the IMX428.