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Penguin/Pro Color Camera Series

If you have questions that is not answered here, please contact a Pixera sales representative for help. Contact Pixera

Q: How do I install the driver software?

A: It depends on which software operating system you are using on your computer. Pixera currently supports Windows® 95, 98, Me, NT, 2000 and XP including Mac® OS 9.0-9.2.x
Each operating system requires a slightly different approach. You can download detailed installation instructions from the Pixera web site's Support section. Generally speaking, the driver and application software require separate installations, where the driver is always installed first.

Q: Why can't I install the driver?
A: It may be that on some manufacturers' computers, the operating system will only take the driver when prompted to do so. In such case you would not insert the software CD first, but let the computer detect the hardware and when requested, insert the software CD for driver installation.

Q: Can I use the camera system with Mac® OS X?
A: Pixera is currently working on a software application for Mac® OS X, with expected release in Q4 2002.
Contact Pixera sales for an update of the exact release date. Contact Pixera

Q: What are the minimum system requirements for installing the software?
A: Minimum Requirements:

Operating System Requirements:

Windows® 95, 98, Me, NT, 2000, & XP
Mac® OS 9.0-9.2.x

Computer Interface:

PCI card slot (Slot No.1 recommended*)

CPU speed (Windows®):

300MHz or higher

CPU speed (Mac® OS):

Blue/White G3 or later

Memory RAM (Windows®):

128MB or more

Memory RAM (Mac® OS):

256MB or more

Hard disk space (Windows®):

100MB of free space or more

Hard disk space (Mac® OS):

200MB of free space or more


Display/Monitor Resolution:

1024x768 pixels or more

Display/Monitor Color:

16bits or more

* Slot No. 1 is closest to the CPU on the motherboard. A fan mounted on top often indicates the location of the CPU.

Q: Does the slot position of the PCI card matter?
A: For Mac® OS users it doesn't matter. We recommended that Windows® users use slot 1, nearest the *CPU to avoid possible compatibility issues with other third party hardware.

*A fan mounted on top often indicates the location of the CPU.

Q: Can I use two Penguin/Pro camera systems on the same computer?
A: Not currently. The drivers do not work independently of each other.

Q: Can I use a Penguin/Pro Series camera system and a Professional/120es camera system on the same computer?
A: This is possible under very specific conditions. If you have questions regarding this combination, please contact our Technical Support staff with your question and someone will get back to you.

Q: How does the Pixera DiRactor technology achieve 4x the actual image sensor resolution?
A: The patented DiRactor™ light refractor mechanism shifts the incident light from the subject, with sub micron accuracy, and 4 spatially shifted exposures (1392x1040 million pixels per exposure) of the subject are captured. After image processing, the maximum resolution of the resulting images is approximately 5.8 million pixels.

Pixera's DiRactor light refractor consists of two pieces of optical glass, each surrounded by a small coil of wire and encased in a plastic shell. These two pieces form the diaphragms of the refractor.
A doughnut shaped magnet separates the diaphragms and these three pieces are placed in front of the CCD and housed, along with the CCD, in a plastic case. Our light refractor is extremely accurate to sub-micron distances.

This technology is also very reliable over time, and doesn't need occasional calibration compared to other similar technologies.

Q: How much cooling is achieved for Penguin 600CL and 150CL?
A: The 4 stage thermoelectric peltier cooling device reduces the temperature of the CCD sensor by 20°C compared to a non-cooled operating condition. The cooling device is extremely fast with quite operation and achieves this temperature within 2 minutes (+/-30sec). We have accomplished this performance without using a fan, from which vibrations could degrade the image quality during longer integration exposures.

The cooling device will reduce "dark current" noise, or unwanted spontaneous electric charges of pixel elements within the CCD sensors silicon layer by lowering the temperature. The amount of "dark current" is depending on both the CCD temperature and exposure duration.

Q: What microscopy application was the Penguin and Pro Series camera systems developed for?
A: All Penguin and Pro camera systems can be used in wide range of applications such as biological & medical research, medical diagnostics, pathology, materials science, industrial inspection and analysis, etc.

Most physicians, researchers, lab technicians or engineers select a Pixera camera system for the exceptionally high image quality, color reproduction, reliability, and ease of use. A system that is easy to learn and operate will improve both quality of your work and productivity.

In addition, you can choose to capture either up to 1.5 million pixels with the Penguin 150CL and Pro 150ES or up to 5.8 million pixels resolution with Penguin 600CL and Pro 600ES. The higher resolution, 5.8 million pixels offer large size publishing quality at about 9"x7" (23cmx18cm), 300dpi and the ability to zoom-in on your computer with better detail.

Q: What microscopy methods was the Penguin and Pro Series camera systems developed for?
A: The cooled camera systems, Penguin 600CL & 150CL offer greater sensitivity (0.01lux), and are especially suited for low light fluorescence imaging of dim specimens, industrial low light and other low light applications. Of course, these systems can also take excellent color images in brightfield and other applications, which make the Penguin 600CL and 150CL extremely useful for a variety of applications and future needs.

The non-cooled camera systems, Pro 600ES & 150ES offer 0.05lux sensitivity and are emphasizing high quality color imaging for brightfield imaging techniques, polarized light, phase contrast, DIC/Nomarski, Gel documentation, etc. These systems can also be used for many fluorescence applications that don't require the lower light capabilities.

All Penguin and Pro camera systems also offer as standard, a "live" viewfinder, up to 15frames per second at 640x480 pixel size in color, for easy focusing and live specimen capture at 640x480 and 1392x1040 pixels resolution. Optional accessories include a hand switch for remote image capture or a foot switch for hands free image capture. Both accessories are extremely useful for specific applications and microscopy methods where the user must focus all attention on microscope operation.

Q: What software applications are in the Penguin/Pro Application Suite?
A: The Penguin/Pro Application Suite include the following modules,

Windows® Operating System:
Pixera Viewfinder (Live pre-viewing of image and easy to use pre-image adjustments)
Pixera Studio (Post capture application with editing and saving options)
TWAIN Viewfinder

Mac® OS Operating System:
Pixera Studio (with integrated viewfinder)
Adobe Photoshop Plug-in

For a more detailed description of each application module, please visit our Software section.

Q: What are the technical specifications for the Penguin and Pro Series camera systems?
A: Most details about the camera systems are displayed on this web site, under Products. If you need more specific details than what's available on these web pages, please contact our Technical Support staff with your question and someone will get back to you.

Q: How can I mount the Penguin or Pro Series camera system to a microscope?
A: Pixera's camera systems fit most manufacturers microscopes via a standard C-mount fitting.

In order to mount the camera onto a microscope, you need a C-mount coupler/reducer that fit in between the camera and the microscope. Each adapter also needs to be fitted with the correct clamp for the specific model of microscope: Zeiss Axioplan, Olympus BX, etc.

The coupler/reducer's task is to reduce the image size from the microscope optics to fit the ½" CCD sensor on the Penguin/Pro camera system. When you are selecting how much reduction or magnification you need, you need to decide whether you want to match the microscope's eyepiece or let the camera system see less or more. For the widest field of view, choose a 1/2" coupler/reducer with a magnification of 0.38x. This will allow you to capture the maximum amount of area seen in the eye piece, but it may also cause some vignetting (shadows) in the corners of the image. The best match with the eye piece which also avoids vignetting would normally be 0.5x magnification, and if you want to capture even less of what you see in the eye piece choose 0.67x magnification.

You can receive exact information on what type of coupler/reducer you need if you provide you reseller or a manufacturer of couplers/reducers with your camera and microscope details.

Please be prepared with the following information:
Camera CCD size: ½" Type, 8mm diagonal.
Camera mount: C-mount
Microscope Manufacturer and Model:
Field of view required (in the application viewfinder):

Q: What about technical support and warranty?
A: Pixera is committed to the satisfaction of our customers. Pixera currently provides free technical support by telephone, fax or email. See Technical Support page for contact details.

All Pixera cameras come with 12 month limited warranty.