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Atik’s 4000 provides an ideal introduction to the joys of large-format imaging. It incorporates a 4-megapixel Kodak sensor with 7.4µm pixels, this being much bigger than the Sony sensors which are typically used for astronomy. At 15mm x 15mm the sensor array is a perfect fit for standard 1.25” filters, offering a considerable saving over the 2” filters required by anything larger.
Resolution from the Atik 4000 is fine for printing at A4 or even A3 size, and when viewing images on a computer monitor it is a pleasure to see details emerging at ever-deeper zoom levels. Both mono and one-shot colour versions of the Atik 4000 are available.
Common features of the Atik 4000 and Atik 11000
The other cameras in the Atik range use Sony sensors, but the large-format cameras incorporate Kodak devices. These have gained a great reputation in astrophotography, and offer qualities not available in the Sony CCDs. However, optimum performance from the Kodak chip is only obtained with the use of highly sophisticated control electronics and advanced cooling systems, and this is where Atik’s design and build expertise comes to the fore.
The Kodak sensors require dark frames to be used for calibration, and these must be taken at the same temperature as the primary image. The Atik 4000 achieves this through the provision of full set-point temperature regulation using a two-stage Peltier element and fan. This can provide cooling to 40 degrees below ambient, and will be suitable for the majority of conditions.
For more demanding use, water can be pumped through the camera’s internal heat exchanger. When water cooling is employed, the maximum level of cooling depends on the water temperature. Approximately 45 degrees of cooling can be achieved using water from a typical cold tap.
Such efficient cooling cuts thermal noise to an absolute minimum and reduces the prevalence of hot pixels, but it raises the risk of condensation forming in – or on – the camera. A high-efficiency desiccant is used to dry the air inside the sensor chamber, so preventing internal condensation. Meanwhile, condensation on the outside of the camera is avoided through the use of heater elements which gently warm the window. The power supplied to this heater is controllable through software so that it can be adapted to the environmental conditions.
The Atik large-format cameras have been designed and built to meet the needs of the most demanding users, yet offer an unparalleled simplicity of use. They have only two sockets – a 2.1mm socket for the 12V power supply, and a USB2 port for communicating with your computer. The cameras are also compatible with our highly acclaimed Capture software, as well as with Astroart, CCDSoft and Maxim DL.
The Atik 4000 is fitted with a KAI 04022 sensor as standard. This comes in a single commercial grade and is specified as having no column defects.
What's in the box?
- Camera body
- 3-metre USB cable
- 1.8-metre battery power connector
- CD-ROM with drivers, software and user's manual (PDF)
- Quickstart guide (paper)
- High-quality case with die-cut foam inserts
- Universal (110-230V) power supply