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New Never Used Altair GPCAM3 178m USB 3.0 Colour Guide/Imaging Camera

New Never Used Altair GPCAM3 178m USB 3.0 Colour Guide/Imaging Camera
Price:  £189.00(Inc. 20% VAT)

Model:  ALTAIR178M3-125
Brand:  Altair



Generally In Stock, Please Confirm Before Ordering

2 Year Warranty On All New Items
(Excluding Batteries & Globes)

New Never Used Altair GPCAM3 178m USB 3.0 Colour Guide/Imaging. RVO has purchased this camera but it has never been out of the box or used. 3 months warranty.

The GPCAM178M camera is a great all-rounder with a high pixel density, making it particularly useful for imaging with short focal length telescopes.

Solar Imaging:

The small 2.4 m pixel size is well suited to refractors of 80mm or smaller, and the Altair Solar Wedge. Hydrogen alpha imaging with the DayStar Quark on small re-fractors of 80mm or smaller gives impressive results, as does imaging with the Lunt range of solar scopes.

Auto Guiding:

The larger sensor area and small pixels allow multi-star auto-guiding with short focal length guide scopes such as Altair MG32, MG50 or MG60. The camera has an ST4 auto-guiding port, and can be used to auto-guide directly with mounts from all the major manufacturers.
Lunar and planetary imaging: Not only is the GPCAM287M ideal for high speed Mono planetary imaging with filters, but also delivers impressive high power lunar imaging results due to the high pixel density and low read noise. The ROI (Region of Interest) feature can be used for even higher frame rates when imaging the planets, sun or moon at high magnification.

Deepsky Imaging and video astronomy (EAA):

The GPCAM3 178M is a good option for Electronically Assisted Astronomy high 6.3 Megapixel resolution and sensitivity thanks to Sony STARVIS back-side-illumination (BSI) and Exmor-R technology. Try the Live Stacking features in the free AltairCapture software or SharpCap for impressively detailed real-time views of nebulae and galaxies. Time-lapse all-sky imaging and video is fully supported, and the camera can be used with a DSLR lens to image large areas of sky.

File formats:

The camera supports 8bit and 14bit ADC output. The camera can be fully con-trolled in AltairCapture and SharpCap to output uncompressed .AVI and .SER video files for solar system imaging, compressed MP4 files for social media uploads, as well as all common still image formats such as .JPEG .PNG (12bit) .TIFF (12bit) .BMP, and .FITS (12bit) for deepsky imaging. 


Included in the box:
Camera body with dual USB3.0/2.0 socket and ST4 guide port.
1.5m High-speed USB3.0 cable.
1.5m ST4 guide cable.
1.25 inch x nosepiece with female 1.25" filter thread on the front.
(Optional 2" OD Nosepiece with dual 2 and 1.25" filter threads is available, code GPCAM-2IN)
CS-Mount insert (12.5mm back-focus) is pre-installed on camera. (Optional 5mm extension adapter is available for C-Mount lenses requiring 17.5mm back-focus.)
Removable Clear blocking filter with AR anti-reflection coatings. (Removable for sensor cleaning).
Plastic dust cap 1.25".
Silicon dust trapping dust cap for dark frames.
Note: This camera does not come with software in the box. To operate the camera you will need to download the latest camera drivers at (opens new window).

Sensor & performance specifications:
USB Interface: USB 3.0 and USB2.0 supported.
Colour/Mono: Mono/ Colour
Sensor: SONY IMX178 sensor with STARVIS and Exmor R Technology and a sensitivity of 2000 mV or more per 1µm²
Resolution: 6 Megapixel, 3040x2048px
Pixel Size: 2.4 m
Sensor Size: 7.37 x 4.92mm
Sensor Diagonal : 6.21 mm
Optical Window: AR-coated 350-1050nm transmission wavelength
Shutter: Rolling shutter
Read Noise: 0.9-2.2e-
QE Approx.: Not published by sensor manufacturer.
Full Well Capacity: 15,000 electrons (e-)
ACD: 8 / 14 bit
Dynamic Range: 66db
SNR Maximum:  38db
Cooling: Air Passive Cooled
Exposure duration shortest/longest: 0.244 ms (0.000244 secs) / 5 secs (Video Mode)
0.244 ms (0.000244 secs) / 1000 secs (16.66mins) (Trigger Mode)
Max Frame Rate:
Approx. Max frame rates* (assuming computer Bus operating at full bandwidth):
8bit mode:
3040x2048 59FPS
640x480 220FPS ROI
320x240 303FPS ROI
14bit mode: Approx. 50% of above
* Based on average user reports. May be revised as we get more data. The shorter the expo-sure duration, the faster the frame rate. An expensive PC does not guarantee a fast frame rate because PC bus and main board architecture vary. 12bit mode:
ST4 Guide Port: Yes
Region Of Interest ROI: Yes

Camera Body Format and compatibility:
Camera body is shaped like a 1.25 telescope eyepiece and will replace an eyepiece in stand-ard 1.25 accessory ports common on almost all telescopes.
Passive Cooling: CNC machined aluminium casing with external Heat-sink contacting rear of sensor.
Camera body overall length: 73 mm
Weight grams: 70 g (camera net weight) 
Sensor to flange distance and lens compatibility:
Front cover glass mount is removable for cleaning and can be swapped with either a clear or UV/IR block glass as required.

CS/C-mount lens compatibility:

Camera has a C-Mount female threaded front with 12.5mm sensor-to-flange spacing allowing use of CS Lenses. For C-Mount lenses, an optional 5mm extension is required, producing the required 17.5mm sensor-to-flange spacing.
Astro filter thread adaptor: Included, 1.25" OD and 2 OD (optional), Female thread
Sensor surface distance from flat end of CS-mount adaptor: 12.5 mm
Sensor surface distance from flat end of 1.25" / M42 Astro adaptor: 37 mm
Power consumption: 
0.3 W (standby)
0.97w (running)
Max operating temp: 50 °C
Lowest operating temp: -10 °C 
Max operating humidity: 80 % RH
Power source in Volts: 5V DC (via USB cable)
Dust caps included:
Protective silicon dust trapping end-cap for camera CS-thread.
Plastic end cap for 1.25" nose-piece. 

Software & OS support:
Instructions & quickstart guide: searchable knowledgebase at
Drivers & AltairCapture software download: (login required).
Driver support: PHD2, AltairCapture, SharpCap, NINA, APT, FireCapture, other software requires ASCOM driver downloadable at (login required).
SharpCap PRO Free License: 
AltairCapture OS support: Win 8/10.

Recommended PC hardware:

2014 or later manufacture date, Intel i3 or i5 (or equivalent) 8GB RAM. Intel USB Host Controller 1.0 or later preferable. A PC with separate graphics card will deliver better display quality.
Dual USB Port: USB 3.0 and USB2.0 are both supported (USB2.0 gives lower frame rates).
ST4 Port & Cable: Standard ST4 Opto-Isolated, 1.5m cable, iOptron, Celestron, Skywatcher. 

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Some items that are showing as in stock are in stock at our holding warehouses, not at the shop. To double check the stock levels at the shop, please contact us on 01909774369 or

The delivery times for most items is 1 - 2 days but again, please double check stock levels on important orders before placing an order via the website.

The delivery costs for courier next day are for mainland UK only. If you live in the Scottish Highlands/Islands, Channel Islands or Northern Ireland, then a shipping surchage will apply. please contact us for prices. Smaller items can still go 1st class via Royal Mail.

Please note that if you are wanting to take advantage of our Saturday and Sunday timed services or next day pre 12 or pre 10:30 services, you MUST check that the stock is here at the shop before placing orders. Also, orders using the Saturday and Sunday services must be placed before 1pm the previous working day. Also, please remember to check that the stock is here at the shop before placing orders. If the stock is not at the shop, we won't be able to ship on any of the timed services. 

Please note International customers will need to contact us for a shipping price prior to ordering via the website. We don't ship all items internationally. It is at our discretion what we ship outside of the UK. This all depends on the size and weight of the items. Please get in touch with us for any postage costs. Please note we do NOT ship telescopes or heavy items outside of the UK. This is due to massive postage costs and problems regarding returns.

If you have any questions regarding stock levels or delivery, please get in touch.

Zygo Interferometer Testing For ED Refractor Telescopes!

We are extremely pleased to announce our Zygo Interferometer is now installed and ready for use! Our experienced staff can test refractor lenses up to 120mm aperture and provide a comprehensive 2 page report showing the optical quality and Strehl ratio, plus much more information. We are using the very latest Zygo MX software to provide a more detailed report compared to other standard reports.


The interferometer is essentially a measuring instrument. Within the interferometer is a calibrated laser that is pointed through the optical test surface, then onto a high quality reference sphere, then back through the test subject then to an internal camera which gives us the measurement on the screen. From this, we can adjust the position of the test optic and the reference sphere to obtain a perfectly calibrated system. The more central the laser to the test optic and then on return, the better and more accurate reading and measurement we can take. This takes a lot of adjustment to get the best results from the optical surface. Once the measurement has been taken, we are provided with a series of results that show the optical quality of the surface plus other information. Continue reading for an explanation of the individual values and you can also see a test report that was done on one of our RVO Horizon 60 OTAs. 

We are offering certain telescopes with a Zygo test at an extra cost. Mainly ED doublets and triplets. All available telescopes with a Zygo test report are listed here. Just select Zygo Test Report from the drop down box at the top of the listing and we will test the optics in house and provide a full 2 page report with your scope. This will show you the optical quality of your telescope optics. We can also offer this service on your refractor telescope. Please get in touch for more details about this. 

At Rother Valley Optics, one thing we pride ourselves on is customer service and quality of our equipment. When we test your telescope, we will ensure that it is of the highest quality otherwise, we will reject the scope under our strict quality control and test another model for your peace of mind. One of the main values to look at when testing a refractor is the Strehl ratio. The higher this number, the higher quality lens you have. At Rother Valley Optics, we will guarantee the highest possible Strehl ratio for your telescope.  We will aim to provide 0.95 Strehl or higher on Takahashi, RVO Horizon, William Optics and many more! Generally, the higher the Strehl ratio, the lower the Astigmatism and Coma meaning a better image quality from your instrument. 

Other measurements such as the PV and RMS are important too. With these measurements, the lower the number the better as it shows less curvature on the lens. The flatter an optical lens, the better it will perform. The PV rating (Peak To Valley) is a measurement from the highest point (Peak) to the lowest point (Valley). From this we get the RMS (Root, Mean, Square). This is a similar figure to the PV and measured exactly the same way. The RMS is basically an average height difference from the PV so again, the lower the better. As you can see form the example below, we measured an RMS of just 0.027 wave which is a very good value.

We also measure the Power with our systems which is essentially the error from the reference sphere to the test optic. The reference sphere we use on our system is a very high quality sphere so the closer to zero the Power, the less error between the 2 elements thus ensuring a higher quality optical surface. 

You will also see some more values such as Astigmatism and Coma. Again, these are measured by the interferometer when we take measurements of the optical surface after adjustment. These are values which ideally would be at 0 but as our test optics are all curved lenses, there will always be astigmatism and coma present. The lower the number, the less of these aberations you will effectively see but with most refractors, you can buy field flatteners which will compensate for the coma anyway. The astigmatisms value is explaining the error between the symmetrical curvature of the lens. Basically, no lens will be perfectly symmetrical, the lower the astigmatism, the more symmetrical the lens surface is. 

Once the Zygo test report has been completed, the optical alignment is thoroughly tested and tuned to ensure they are spot on before they leave us. 

All available telescopes are on the website at the link below and ones we've tested already that are available straight away are also listed.

Here is an example of the test what we provide. This was a test on one of our Horizon 60 ED OTA's.

For any questions about this amazing new service, please either call 01909774369 or email


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