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ST-10E Description and Preliminary Specifications:

The Model ST-10E is the latest large array, high resolution CCD camera from SBIG.  The body is identical to the ST-7, ST-8 and ST-9 models with some slight modifications to accommodate the larger detector.  The ST-10E contains an enhanced KAF-3200E imaging detector from Kodak.  This 3.2 megapixel CCD has a Full Frame Resolution of 2184 x 1472 pixels at 6.8 microns making it the ultimate camera for wide field apochromatic refractors.  The active imaging area is 17% greater than the ST-8E and the array contains approximately twice as many pixels.  The imaging camera includes an electro-mechanical shutter, 16 bit analog to digital (A/D) converter, regulated temperature control with all of the electronics integrated into the CCD head. Communication to the PC is through the parallel port.

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Multi-megapixel KAF-3200E

The KODAK DIGITAL SCIENCE TM KAF-3200E Image Sensor is a high density, 3.2 million pixel, full-frame Blue Plus image sensor. It joins the family of Kodak Blue Plus sensors with improved quantum efficiency across the visible spectrum. Ultra-low dark current of less than 1e-/pixel/second at 0o C (typical) allows moderate cooling for applications involving extended exposures.  With two stage cooling, the ST-10E will reach approximately 40o C below ambient temperature for best performance even in hot climates.

Athough the ST-10E camera is a perfect match to high quality refractors in high resolution mode, with 3.2 million pixels the ST-10E is easily adapted to a variety of focal lengths.  The various binning modes of 6.8, 13.6 and 20.4 micron pixels allow you to match the focal length of a wide range of telescopes and lenses to this imaging camera.  There are also half-frame and quarter-frame modes available for each resolution setting.  Moreover, even when binned 2x2 or 3x3 the number of pixels is still comparable to the ST-7, ST-8 and ST-9 as the table below illustrates.  For example, in addition to 2184 x 1472 at 6.8 microns, the user can elect to image at 1092 x 736 with 6.8 micron pixels or 1092 x 736 with 13.6 micron pixels.  In "low" resolution, full frame mode, the ST-10E still operates much like a ST-9E with 36% more pixels and 43% larger field of view!  The various combinations of useable frame and and pixel sizes makes this an extremely versatile camera. 


Full Frame Half Frame Quarter Frame
High Res
2184 x 1472
6.8 microns
1092 x 736
6.8 microns
548 x 370
6.8 microns
Medium Res
(binned 2x2)
1092 x 736
13.6 microns
546 x 368
13.6 microns
275 x 186
13.6 microns
Low Res
(bin 3x3)
728 x 490
20.4 microns
364 x 245
20.4 microns
184 x 124
20.4 microns

The file size of high resolution images can be reduced by about half by saving the images in SBIG compressed file format.  The benefit of this format is that the compression is lossless, unlike JPEG and other compression techniques.  The original file size and amount of compression varies somewhat depending on the content of the image and the resolution mode selected, but the information contained in the table below is typical.

Resolution Modes

Pixel Array
(Full Frame)

Image Size
Image Size
High Res Mode (1x1) 2184 x 1472 ~ 6.4 Mb ~ 3.4 Mb
Med Res Mode (2x2) 1092 x 736 ~ 1.6 Mb ~ 1.1 Mb
Low Res Mode (3x3) 728 x 490 ~ 715 Kb ~ 500 Kb

The ST line of cameras was originally developed using detectors having fewer pixels so the full frame, high resolution download time for this detector is rather long - about 118 seconds.   However, at the end of a long exposure this download time is not so onerous.   For finding and centering objects and for focusing, various binning or partial frame modes may be selected to significantly shorten the download time.  For instance, in focus mode with a 20 x 20 pixel box the download time is less than 3 seconds, and in medium resolution mode of 1092 x 736 at 13.6 microns, the download time is 38 seconds, about 10 seconds faster than an ST-8.  CCDOPS software has an Auto Resolution feature that makes using this type of large array easier.  For instance, when focusing using Auto Resolution in conjunction with Planet Mode, the camera is automatically binned 3x3 for the first full frame download.  This shortens the first full frame download time to about 20 seconds.  The user selects a small box size around the star to be used for focusing and thereafter the area inside the focus box is automatically downloaded in high resolution mode.  But since only the area inside the focus box is downloaded, the update rate (for a 20 x 20 box) is less than 3 seconds per frame.  This gives the best resolution and the shortest download times for focusing.  [Note: SBIG is also developing an autofocus accessory that will be compatible with the ST-10E camera.]   The table below shows the download times for various frame and binning modes.     


Image Mode
Full Frame

Image Mode
Half Frame
Image Mode
Quarter Frame
Focus Mode
Focus Mode
50 x 50
Focus Mode
20 x 20
6.8 x 6.8 u 118" 40" 17" < 5" < 4" < 3"
13.6 x 13.6 u 38" 15" 7.5" < 5" < 4" < 3"
20.4 x 20.4 u 20" 8.8" 4.7" < 5" < 4" < 3"
ST-10E Download times for various binning and frame modes

The Model ST-10E camera maintains similar performance, low noise an high QE as the ST-8E camera.  In fact, the ST-10E has slightly less dark current and lower read noise than the ST-8E.  The dual CCD structure also allows the full range of existing accessories to work with the ST-10E:   The AO-7 Adaptive Optics System, CFW8 color filter wheel, camera lens adapters, etc., are all the same for the ST-10E as the ST-8E.   

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The Multi-Megapixel KAF-3200E enhanced CCD installed in the ST-10E Camera.
Our highest resolution, dual sensor, self-guiding CCD camera.


Model ST-10E CCD Preliminary Specifications

Imaging CCD Kodak KAF-3200E +
Texas Instruments TC-211
Pixel Array 2184 x 1472 pixels
14.9 x 10 mm
Total Pixels 3.2 million
Pixel Size 6.8 x 6.8 microns
Full Well Capacity 77,000 e-
Dark Current 0.9 e/pixel/sec at 0 C
Antiblooming Non-ABG only

Readout Specifications

Shutter Electromechanical
Exposure 0.11 to 3600 seconds, 10ms
Correlated Double Sampling Yes
A/D Converter 16 bits
A/D Gain 1.5e/ADU
Read Noise 11e RMS
Binning Modes 1 x 1, 2 x 2, 3 x 3
Pixel Digitization Rate 27 kHz
Focus Frame Update Rate
20 x 20 pixels
< 3 seconds
Full Frame Acquisition High Resolution Mode
118 seconds
Medium Resolution Mode
38 seconds
Low Resolution Mode
20 seconds

Optical Specifications

  24" FL 30" FL 42" FL 80" FL
Field of View
1.4 x 0.9 degrees 1.1 x .74
.8 x .5 degrees 25 x 17 arcminutes
Pixel (6.8u)
Field of View
2.3 x 2.3
1.8 x 1.8
1.3 x 1.3
.7 x .7 arcseconds
Limiting Magnitude Magnitude 14 in 1 second
(for 3 arcsec FWHM stars) Magnitude 18 in 1 minute

System Specifications

Cooling - standard Two Stage Thermoelectric,
Active Fan, Liquid assist,
-40 C from Ambient Minimum
Temperature Regulation 0.1C
Power 5 VDC at 1.5 amps, 12 VDC at 0.5 amp Desktop Power Supply Included
Computer Interface Standard Parallel Port
Computer Compatibility MS-DOS
Windows 95/98/NT
Guiding Dual CCD Self-Guiding

Physical Dimensions

Optical Head 5 inches diameter x 3 inches 12.5 cm diameter x 7.5 deep 2.2 pounds/1 Kg
CPU All electronics integrated into Optical Head, No CPU
Mounting T-Thread, 1.25" and
2" nosepieces included
Backfocus 0.92 inches/2.3 cm
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