Per DC Watch, Sightron Japan Co., Ltd. has announced it will release Player One Astronomy’s CMOS camera for astrophotography next week. Player One Astronomy is an astrophotography equipment manufacturer based in Suzhou, China. The Chinese firm develops sophisticated astronomical observation equipment, including cameras and additional equipment and accessories.
|Image of Mars captured by MoonPrince using the Player One Astronomy Mars-C camera and C11HD telescope with TV2.5x Powermate.|
Player One Astronomy’s cameras are designed to photograph specific planets and accordingly have different image sensors. There are five Player One Astronomy planetary cameras: Neptune-C II, Neptune-C, Mars-C, Neptune-M and Mars-M. ‘C’ means color, and ‘M’ means monochrome. In addition to availability through Sightron Japan, the Player One Astronomy cameras are also available in the US through Agena AstroProducts.
|Player One Astronomy’s planetary cameras include a USB 3.0 data port and sensor tilt adjustment.|
All Player One Astronomy planetary cameras can be attached to a telescope with a 1.25″ T-mount or using a Barlow lens between the camera and telescope. Likewise, with all the cameras, the user can adjust the sensor tilt plate to reduce Newton’s rings, which is an interference pattern created by light reflection between two surfaces. Newton’s rings are most often an issue when photographing the sun. All the planetary cameras include a 256MB DDR3 cache, which Player One Astronomy states helps stabilized data transmission, effectively eliminating frame dropping and reducing overall read noise.
|Player One Astronomy Neptune-C camera|
The Neptune-C and Neptune-M cameras are equipped with 6.4MP 1/1.8″ IMX178 image sensors. The Neptune-C is currently on sale for $319, and the monochrome Neptune-M is also on sale for $329.
|Player One Astronomy Neptune-M camera|
With an improved 1/1.8″ Sony IMX464 image sensor, the Neptune-C II promises higher sensitivity in the near-infrared region, reduced read noise and a higher frame rate. The image sensor has slightly fewer megapixels, however, at 4.2MP. The Neptune-C II can be used as a monochrome camera with an IR850 filter. For infrared photography, a CH4 filter can be attached. The Neptune-C II can record at 93fps at full-resolution, compared to the 60fps maximum speed of the IMX178 sensor in the Neptune-C and Neptune-M cameras. The Neptune-C II costs $329.
|Player One Astronomy Neptune-C II camera|
The Player One Mars-C and Mars-M cameras utilize different sensors. The color camera uses a Sony IMX462 image sensor. It’s a 1/2.8″ image sensor with 2.1MP. The monochrome camera’s sensor is the same size and resolution, although it’s an IMX290 sensor. Player One writes that the IMX290 sensor is ideal for the use of various filters. Each sensor includes dead pixel suppression (DSP) to remove hot and cold pixels from the image automatically. The Mars-C costs $269, and the Mars-M is available for $329.
|Player One Astronomy Mars-C camera|
|Player One Astronomy Mars-M camera|
Player One Astronomy also offers a trio of filters. The IR850nm filter allows infrared light with wavelengths greater than 850nm to pass while blocking shorter wavelengths. It is well-suited for lunar and planetary imaging. The Player One S-Series IR Pass Filter (685nm) does the same thing at a different wavelength. It allows infrared light with wavelengths greater than 685nm to pass through while blocking shorter wavelengths. Player One writes, ‘By combining a luminance image taken with the IR-Pass filter, along with RGB and U-Venus filters, overall image sharpness is significantly enhanced when using a monochrome camera. The filter also makes it possible to image planets in daylight because the background sky appears much darker at wavelengths beyond 685nm.’
The final filter is the UV/IR Cut Filter. This filter blocks infrared and ultraviolet light from reaching the sensor while passing light through at visible wavelengths, making it a good choice for observation. It results in sharper images and improved color balance. It is also well-suited to solar imaging.
For more information on the Player One Astronomy planetary cameras and accompanying filters, visit Agena AstroProducts.