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Ascent A285 CCD Camera with Color Sony ICX-285 Interline Sensor

Ascent A285 CCD Camera with Color Sony ICX-285 Interline Sensor


The Apogee Ascent CCD Camera is the latest imaging technology from Apogee Imaging Systems.
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Item No: APA285

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Apogee Imaging Systems Ascent A285 CCD Camera with Color Sony ICX-285 Interline Sensor


  • The Apogee Ascent A285 CCD Camera has a Sony Color ICX-285 1.4-megapixel interline transfer sensor with high quantum efficiency.

  • This Sony ICX-285 is a color sensor with a 1392 x 1040 array at 6.45 x 6.45 microns.

  • The Apogee Ascent A285 CCD Camera has a direct USB 2.0 link between camera and computer for fast data transfer rate.

  • Subarray readout and fast sequencing modes, plus programmable offset and gain.

  • The Apogee Ascent A285 CCD Camera camera features a Compact Thin Lightweight Enclosure - 20 oz, 1.2" thick with 0.320 BFD.

  • Cooling up to 40C below ambient with liquid or fan assist, 30C without.

  • The Apogee Ascent A285 CCD Camera is hermetically sealed and argon filled CCD chamber with lifetime warranty.

Apogee Ascent CCD Camera

The Apogee Ascent CCD Camera is the latest imaging technology from Apogee Imaging Systems. Many of the features are built on the highly successful Alta series. Ascent is the perfect choice for applications requiring high speed, low cost and a compact enclosure. Let's take a look at just some of the benefits of choosing the Apogee Ascent CCD Camera...

Cooling Enhancements

The Ascent is designed for a maximum temperature delta of 30C below ambient for the smaller/mid format CCDs. By using forced air, cooling to 40C below ambient is achievable. The Ascent has minimal (<10C) heat rise on the enclosure during full cooling. For OEMs, Thermal coupling the Ascent housing to a heat dissipating structure within a larger will also serve as a cooling enhancement.

Filter Wheel

The optional Apogee AI-AFW25-4R filter wheel provides a fast compact filtering solution for the Ascent series of imaging systems. The wheel plugs directly into the front of the Ascent camera, using the integrated Ascent Peripheral Interface for power and control. A 2-inch slip fit adapter is available for mounting on telescopes. Coupled with the optional Nikon F-mount lens adapter, the camera and filter wheel can be easily mounted to any F-mount lens, or to any microscope with an Nikon F-mount camera adapter.

Driver Compatibility

The Ascent maintains compatibility with the Apogee SDK used for Alta and previous models. Applications written for Alta are compatible with Ascent

Progressive Scan and Continuous Imaging Modes

Interline transfer CCDs first shift charge from the photodiode in each pixel to the masked storage diode, and then march the charge through the storage diodes to the serial register. Acquisition of a new image in the photodiodes during readout of the previous image is called “progressive scan.” Alta and Ascent cameras both support progressive scan with interline CCDs.

Image Sequences

Image sequences of up to 65535 images can be acquired and transferred to camera / computer memory automatically. A delay may be programmed between images from 327 microseconds to 21.43 seconds. (This does not mean you can acquire images every 327 microseconds; it means you can program a delay of 327 microseconds between the end of a readout and the start of the next exposure.)

The Alta and Ascent platforms allow for three types of image sequencing:

  • Application-Driven Sequencing: This is the most common form of image sequencing. The application merely takes a specified number of successive images. This type of sequencing is suitable when the time between image acquisitions is not short and where slight differences in timing from image to image are not important.

  • Precision back to back sequencing Altas and Ascents incorporate a firmware controlled back to back image sequencing mode suitable for image-image intervals from 327uS to a maximum of 21.43 seconds in 327uS intervals. This provides for precision spacing of images in a sequence where windows applications cannot respond.

  • Fast back to back sequencing (Ratio Imaging - Interlines only) This is a special form of precision back to back sequencing designed for a fixed <1 microsecond spacing between a pair of interline CCD exposures. The caveat with this mode is that the exposure times for each image must be greater than the readout time for the image. For example, if using the Ascent A2000 camera, the readout time for a full frame is less than 0.2 seconds so your exposure would need to be at least 0.2 seconds.
Apogee Ascent cameras are designed for demanding scientific applications. High sensitivity sensors detect very weak signals that cannot be seen by the human eye or standard CCD cameras. The direct USB 2.0 link between camera and computer allows easy installation, portability and fast data transfer rate. High resolution enables detection of very fine detail across a wide field of view. The 6.8 - 7.4 micron pixels in some of these cameras are the ideal balance between optical sampling and dynamic range for microscopy. Used with the optional CRI liquid crystal tunable filters, the cameras acquire stunning publication quality color images. All cameras come with their own easy to use software. An ActiveX software development kit and Linux drivers are available for easy integration into custom applications.

Apogee Ascent CCD Camera


There are many technological jumps designed into the Ascents. But other aspects of the technology represent refinement upon refinement over more than a decade. Our cooling technology, for example, is advanced, not just because of what it is, but because of what it isn't. We've made mistakes--and survived to apply the lessons learned to improving the product and the company as a whole. We continue to refine not just our electronics and our mechanical designs, but also our procedures, our documentation, our customer recordkeeping. It's quite an accomplishment to manufacture and sell thousands and thousands of cameras, but unless they are robust, the result is a customer service nightmare. In our effort to improve our process, we've achieved the following benchmarks: FCC compliance, CE compliance, ROHS compliance and ISO-9000 compliance (in process).

Apogee Ascent CCD Camera Features...

  • USB2.0 High Speed Serial Interface
  • Interline CCDs from 0.3 to 16 megapixels
  • Compact Thin Lightweight Enclosure - 20 oz, 1.2" thick with 0.320 BFD
  • Cooling up to 40C below ambient with liquid or fan assist, 30C without.
  • Hermetically sealed and argon filled CCD chamber with lifetime warranty.
  • SDRAM in camera head for local image storage and fast sequences
  • 16 bit digitization at up to 12 Mpixels/second
  • Single +6V supply
  • Advanced triggering, Ext. Shutter and Readout controls
  • Programmable status indicator LEDs
  • Binning to 4095 Vertical x 8 Horizontal, independently selectable
  • <1uS separation between back-to-back images
  • No external control units or plug-in cards
  • Field upgradeable firmware
  • Progressive Scan and Continuous Imaging modes
  • Compatibility with Alta software drivers
  • Supported by all software currently supporting Alta and additional applications
  • Attachable filter wheel accessory and flexible peripheral mounting options.
  • Compatible with Apogee FW50 filter wheels
  • 2 year warranty on camera, lifetime warranty on CCD chamber seal

Apogee Ascent A285 CCD Camera Features...

The Ascent A285 has a 1.3-megapixel interline transfer sensor with low noise and high quantum efficiency. The camera is available with a monochrome or color sensor. Small pixels are ideal for microscopy.
  • 1360 x 1024 array, 6.45 x 6.45 micron pixels
  • 32 Mbyte SDRAM image buffer
  • Programmable 16-bit digitization speeds up to 10 MHz
  • USB 2.0 interface: no plug in cards or external controllers
  • Programmable, intelligent cooling to 40°C below ambient
  • Binning up to 4 Horizontal x CCD height
  • Subarray readout and fast sequencing modes
  • Programmable offset and gain
  • External triggering and strobe controls
  • ActiveX drivers included with every system
  • Field upgradeable firmware
  • BK7 windows (optional fused silica)
  • Optional internal vane or external electromechanical shutter
  • Optional C-mount, Nikon F-mount, or 2” slip fit adapter
  • Single 6V supply with input voltage protection system
  • Compact enclosure: 23 oz. (0.65 kg)
  • Programmable status indicators

About the Sony ICX285 Color Sensor...

The Sony ICX285AL is a diagonal 11 mm (Type 2/3) interline CCD solid-state image sensor with a square pixel array. High sensitivity and low smear are achieved through the adoption of EXview HAD CCD technology. EXview HAD CCD's drastically improve light efficiency by including the near infrared light region as a basic structure of HAD (Hole-Accumulation-Diode) sensor.

Sony ICX285 Color Sensor
Progressive scan allows all pixel signals to be output independently within approximately 1/15 second. Also, the adoption of high frame rate readout mode supports 60 frames per second. This chip features an electronic shutter with variable charge-storage time which makes it possible to realize full-frame still images without a mechanical shutter. The Sony ICX285AL is suitable for image input applications such as still cameras which require high resolution, etc.

Sony ICX285 Color Imaging Sensor Features

  • High horizontal and vertical resolution (both approximately 1024 TV-lines) still images without a mechanical shutter
  • Supports high frame rate readout mode (effective 256 lines output, 60 frame/s)
  • Square pixel - Aspect ratio: 4:3 - Horizontal drive frequency: 28.64 MHz
  • High sensitivity, low smear - Low dark current, excellent anti-blooming characteristics
  • Continuous variable-speed shutter - Horizontal register: 5.0 V drive
  • Optical black: Horizontal (H) direction: Front 2 pixels, rear 40 pixels - Vertical (V) direction: Front 8 pixels, rear 2 pixels - Number of dummy bits: Horizontal 20 Vertical 3
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