Bigger, Better, Cheaper: New Kodak Chips

2007 Hot Product Image
S&T: Dennis di Cicco
In the world of high-end astrophotography, the biggest news this year originates with Kodak. Its new large-format KAF-09000 and KAF-16803 CCDs offer outstanding features for astronomical use, but size is only one of them. Furthermore, with an imaging area approximately 38 millimeters square (slightly more than the long dimension of a 35-mm film frame) these 9- and 16-megapixel chips are similar to the well-established KAF-16801 detector. What’s new is that these full-frame (as opposed to interline) chips use microlens technology to boost quantum efficiency, have lower noise, and now provide antiblooming protection. Best of all? Price. The new CCDs cost roughly one-third of the KAF-16801’s original price, making cameras with the new detectors, while still pricey, within range of many amateurs’ budgets.

Four big names in CCD cameras have committed to the new Kodak chips. Apogee Instruments began delivering in July 2006, Finger Lakes Instrumentation and Yankee Robotics followed by the end of 2006, and SBIG announced its camera for delivery in 2007. Check each company’s website for the latest information.

Contact: Santa Barbara Instrument Group (SBIG), 147-A Castilian Dr., Santa Barbara, CA 93117; 805-571-7244; www.sbig.com

Yankee Robotics, 24000 Alicia Parkway, Suite 17-470, Mission Viejo, CA 92691; 949-454-1000; www.yankeerobotics.com

Apogee Instruments, 1020 Sundown Way, Suite 150, Roseville, CA 95661; 916-218-7450; www.ccd.com

Finger Lakes Instrumentation, 7298 West Main St., Lima, NY 14485; 585-624-3760; www.fli-cam.com

Every year the editors of Sky & Telescope present their selection of the most intriguing new products to enter the marketplace. "Hot New Products for 2007" appeared in the January 2007 issue, page 100. For further information about a specific product, contact the manufacturer or distributor. To alert the editors of Sky & Telescope to the introduction of a new product, please send e-mail to nps@SkyandTelescope.com.