Frequently Asked Questions

Our FAQs are organised into four sections for ease of navigation: System Set Up, Camera Operation, Advanced Control Options and Maintenance & Repair. Don’t forget there is a mine of information in the user manual supplied with the camera, so in the first instance, please check either the printed copy or the pdf recorded on the CDROM.

Have a question that isn’t answered here? Email support@atik-cameras.com with your query, and we’ll do our best to help.

Do you supply drivers for software X?

Drivers for Maxim DL, AstroArt and ASCOM can be found in our core software install package available on the website and our installation CDs. For support with other software including Nebulosity and Prism please contact the software developer directly.

Are Atik cameras compatible with Matlab?

While Matlab is not officially supported, a number of customers have had success by using our SDK which is free to download from the downloads page.

Can Atik Cameras be controlled with Micromanager?

A Micromanager adaptor is under development. Please contact support@Atik-cameras.com with any specific questions.

Can Atik Cameras be controlled with ImageJ?

An ImageJ plugin is available to control all Atik Cameras. Be sure to check the appropriate box when installing Capture core software. Don’t worry if you have already installed Capture. It can simply be re-installed from the CDROM or from the Resources page at www.atik-cameras.com

Do you support LabView?

Officially we do not support LabView. We appreciate that this is particularly important to some customers so we can supply a range of vi files which will permit control and image acquisition in a LabView environment.

I am seeing occasional horizontal lines in my image, what is causing these?

If you see the occasional horizontal line(s) on your images and the line change positions in subsequent images its indicative of the USB transfer of the image to the computer being interrupted. This can be due to other programs running on the PC. Try running only Artemis Capture on the PC then adding back one program at a time until the cause becomes apparent.

What software can I use with Atik Cameras?

We provide our Capture software and plug ins for Maxim, Astro Art and CCD Soft. In addition Prism, PHD and K3CCDTools can support Atik Cameras. Check the software's websites to find which models are supported.

Can I take one-shot colour images when binning pixels?

Yes you can.  However the colour information will be lost and the image will be monochrome.

My sensor has a vertical bright line! What is causing this?

Typically these are charge traps and add a few ADU counts to the pixel values of a column.  They are caused by small defects in the CCD during manufacture or by comic ray strikes during the life time of the camera.  Typically the Kodak sensors will have more of these than the Sony sensors but nether types are completely immune.  To fix these during processing use dark frames or dithering and sigma combine during stacking. Note the lines with pixel values higher that neighbouring lines are not the same as column defect.  A column defect is a column with pixels values that are always saturated, i.e. 65000 adu counts.   These can not be corrected by dark frames.  If your camera develops a column defect send a uncalibrated dark frame to our support team.

Which sensor grades are used on your cameras?

The Sony sensors with the exception of engineering samples are not graded.  All the Sony sensors we use are the highest and only grade commercially available.  The KAI11002 used in the Atik 11000 comes in grade I and II types.  The grading is done by Kodak running the sensors at high frame rate and high temperature.  We have found no benefit in image quality in our cooled lower speed read out application from using the expensive grade I sensors over the grade II.  So our standard Atik 11000 uses the class II sensor.

How much cooling should I use?

Cooling the CCD will decrease the the number of hot pixels and the thermal signal generally.  If you are using standard dark frames these should be taken at the same temperature as the the imaging frames.  So its worth imaging 5 or 10 degrees above the maximum the camera can achieve on a given night in order that you can get corresponding calibration frames.  However if you are using dithering or defect mapping to calibrate your images it better to set the camera to maximum cooling by entering a set point below which the camera can achieve.  This will give you the best quality of data.

Why are the colours strange when I de-Bayer an image?

To de-Bayer an image correctly the software needs to know which Bayer matrix the camera is using and what is the colour of the first pixel. This information is automatically generated within Atik software (Capture, ArtemisRGB and Dawn). There is however, no accepted way to pass this information to 3rd party software so manual entry of the matrix type and offset are required. The Matrix type is RGB (sometimes called RGGB or RGBG) and the offsets in x and y have to be found by deduction. Values can be 0 or 1. Two of the four possibilities will produce a strange magenta image while the other incorrect option will have red and blue swapped. Once found the correct settings should always work with that software. Colour cameras work best with an IR blocking filter. These will give images with stronger colour and more saturation.

Why is the image from my colour camera monochrome (black & white)?

Colour cameras have individual red green or blue filters over each pixel in a pattern called a Bayer matrix. This allows software to generate a colour image using a process known as ‘de-Bayering’. Note that this process only works with the image is taken with a cameras native resolution (1x1 binning). Any higher binning will combine pixels of different colours and so destroy the colour information.

Do you support OSX, Android, Linux, DOS?

Only Software and drivers for windows is maintained by Atik. Linux and MacOS are supported by 3rd part developers including x y and z. We do have experience of helping OEM customers develop for other platforms.

My images are coming out completely black, what could be the cause?

Ironically it may be the camera is receiving too much light.  If the sensor is saturated while imaging during the day or while pointed at the moon the software may be displaying the image as all black.  Its worth checking the pixel values to see if these are all zero i.e. really black, or 65000 which corresponds to a saturated image.

How do I contact technical support?

Please send an e-mail to support@atik-cameras.com. We aim to answer all emails within 2 working days.

Where can I share images I have taken with my Atik Camera?

Lots of Forums and Magazines publish astronomical pictures. The Atik Camera forums, UKAI and Stargazers Lounge are good places to start. If you have a website, send us your link and we'll gladly publish it in our dedicated webpage.

How do I replace my lost Users Manual?

All our User Manuals and guides are available in pdf format to download from the Resources section of www.atik-cameras.com

What is the optical window made of?

The optical window is made from high quality BK7 crown glass with anti-reflective coating. No specific filtering is employed in the optical path.

How long will it take to repair my camera?

It depends on the nature of the repair. If we do not have to order parts not currently in stock, then we aim to have the repair completed within 10 working days.

I’ve lost the USB cable supplied with GP camera; can I use a generic cable?

The GP camera requires a high quality cable of less than 1.2m, if in doubt contact you Atik dealer. The length can be extended by using a USB hub or active extender.

My camera is no longer being recognised by my computer, what can I do?

We recommend that you power cycle the camera and computer. With no other peripherals attached or software running plug in the USB cable and power connector, the presence of a camera can be checked in Device Manager. All Atik cameras except the GP will be listed under USB devices in Device Manager. The GP will have its own class under Atik Cameras and the EFW2 listed under HID devices.

My optical window is scratched/marked where can I get a new one?

Please contact our support team on support@atik-cameras.com

What product do you recommend to clean the external glass on my optical window?

If you see donut shaped shadows on your flat field images you will likely have small specks of dust somewhere in your optical train. Try rotating the camera and if the donut remains in the same position it’s likely the dust is on the front optical window of the camera. First try cleaning with an air duster or a soft optical brush. More stubborn dust or marks can be removed with a lens pen or cleaning solution but be careful not of scratch the surface of the window.

I think that there is some dirt on my CCD sensor, can I clean it myself?

Dust on the surface typically shows itself as discrete dark spots on a flat field image. They will normally be removed during processing by using a flat field frame correction. If you wish to have the CCD cleaned please contact our support team on support@atik-cameras.com.

How do I revive my old desiccant tablets?

When the CCD of a camera is cooled, any moisture in the CCD chamber will condense on the CCD as moisture droplets or frost. To avoid this, the CCD chambers are sealed and the air dried which will last years with normal use. Some Atik camera models feature desiccant tablets that can be changed when they become exhausted. The user manuals will describe this process but typically the cameras have small caps on the CCD chamber with a slotted fixing. To avoid burring the slot a round plastic tool can be used if provided between a screwdriver and the cap. On removing the cap an o-ring and one or more desiccant tablets will be found inside. The first stage is to leave the camera with the cap and desiccant removed somewhere dry for a couple of days. To regenerate the desiccant tablets, place on a microwave safe dish and put in a microwave for 5 minutes. Warning! The tablets will get very hot. After they are cool enough to handle replace in the camera and replace the cap and its o-ring.Wait 24 hours before cooling the camera once again.

What is the back focus distance of my camera?

The back focus distances are described in the mechanical drawings you'll find in the product pages.

I would like to get into astro imaging but am unsure where to start?

Astronomical Imaging can be both massively rewarding and rather frustrating. Talking to like minded astronomers will help emphasise the former. Again the Atik forum can be useful (you don’t need to have an Atik camera to join). Also UKAI is well recommended. There are many hundreds of astronomy societies that meet throughout the world so its worthwhile finding your local one.

How do I download Dawn and other optional software?

Please install the latest version of core imaging software, Artemis Capture from the Resources page. During installation, a dialogue box will open allowing several software options to be downloaded at the same time.

Which filters work with your filter wheel?

The following are known to work fine although this is not a comprehensive list:
  • Baader 1.25”, 36mm, 2” and 50mm
  • Astronomics
  • Astrodon

How do I connect my camera to telescope X?

All our cameras except the Atik 11000 feature standard T threads (M42x0.75) and 1.23 or 2 inch draw tubes. Your telescope vendor will be able to suggest a suitable adaptor should the telescope not come equipped with these as supplied. We recommend that the T thread coupling method is used in preference to the draw tube as it’s less likely to lead to incorrect tilt or collimation. The M54x1 thread used in the OAG, EFW2(50mm) and Atik 11000 is a standard used by many astrographs and your telescope vendor should be able to suggest suitable adaptors. Alternatively Precision Parts has experience of joining many different imaging trains together.

Will Atik Cameras support USB3?

All of our cameras are compatible with the USB3 specification however the they transfer data at 'High Speed' which is also compatible with USB2.0.

What is the back focus of my camera?

Please refer to the specification for your specific model in the ‘Getting Started’ guide or at www.atik-cameras.com

What PSU specification do you recommend?

The camera requires a well regulated 12V supply capable to providing at least 2.5A. When choosing a supply make sure it is suitable to the environment in which it will be used. The connector is a standard 2.1mm jack plug with centre positive. If a battery is used ensure that the lead is fused at 2.5A or less and the correct polarity observed.

What is the maximum voltage that can be used to power the cameras?

The nominal supply voltage required is 12Vdc with an absolute maximum of 13.8V