Naming The Imaging Source Astronomy Cameras

Blogged by John Berryman on September 27, 2007 and tagged with FAQ, Getting Started.

Since so many customers call with questions regarding the DBK versus DFK cameras from The Imaging Source, I thought I'd devote an entire article on the differences, as well as, the similarities between the three camera siblings available from The Imaging Source!

Mostly unknown to the general public, the alphanumeric labels of our astronomy cameras do have significance. The fact that they are built in Germany governs the first few characters of their names and CCD chip standards provides the rest.

Below I have listed the alphanumeric characters, the German translations, and finally the (English) translation in parentheses if a difference exists. Let us first look at the best seller in the astronomy world, the ever popular DMK 21AF04.AS:

  • D = Digital, M = Monochrome, K = Kamera (Camera)
  • The "21A" is a series name and nothing else.
  • F = FireWire, 04 = 1/4″ CCD Chip, .AS = Astronomy

This should give you an idea of how the names have been "assigned" from their German origins, sort of like the infamous over-engineered automobiles from BMW. Question:

1. What does BMW stands for?

Now, if Farbe means color in German and we sell cameras with 1/3″ and 1/2″ format CCD chips, can you decipher the following camera line?

2. DFK 31AF03.AS

Finally, the most frequently asked question from soon-to-be users of The Imaging Source cameras is:

What is the difference between the color camera and the Bayer color camera?

This term is derived from the name of its inventor, Dr. Bryce E. Bayer of Eastman Kodak, and refers to a particular arrangement of color filters used in most single-chip digital image sensors. Both The Imaging Source color and Bayer cameras use this technique to interpolate the color which leads us to the answer of the FAQ of the year. The primary difference between the two color cameras is:

  • the DFK 41AF02.AS cuts out the IR region of the spectrum
  • the DBK 41AF02.AS does NOT cut out the IR region of the light spectrum.

Which leads us to the final quiz question, what type of camera is this?

3. DBK 41AF02.AS

Hopefully this blog post will not only shed light on the method for the naming procedures at The Imaging Source, but also, will give you a little insight to why the DBK 21AF04.AS is the color camera preferred by most astrophotographers!

1. Die Bayerischen Motoren Werke AG (Bavarian Motor Works)
2. DFK 31AF03.AS = 1/3″ Color Camera with IR Filter
3. DBK 41AF02.AS = 1/2″ Color Camera with no IR Filter