ZWO ASI294MC PRO COOLED Colour Camera
The first camera in the world with SONY’s latest 4/3″ sensor, the IMX294CJK.
Similar to the ZWO ASI1600MC Pro colour camera, the ZWO ASI294MC Pro Colour is an excellent choice for imaging deep sky objects, but it can do much more than that. With a max framerate of 19 FPS at 10 bit ADC and 16 FPS at 14 bit ADC this camera can also be used as an extremely high resolution planetary imager. If you cannot decide between deep sky or planetary imaging, go for this camera. It is also a much more affordable alternative to converting a DSLR.
You can even use it for guiding, although though this is somewhat overkill, there might be occassions when this is useful.
This product listing is for the COOLED version of the ZWO ASI294MC Pro Colour. This cooled version is part of the PRO series of cooled ZWO cameras that features a DDR memory buffer.
With the ZWO ASI294MC Pro Colour you won’t have to spend lots of time to get beautiful images, however, if you want to get the best results from this range of cameras and you have plenty of time to spare, why not to try L-RGB or narrow band photography with the monochrome version of the similar ZWO ASI1600MM or ZWO ASI1600MM-COOL. (If you go for the monochrome version, you’ll also need a filter wheel and a set of L-RGB filters, plus H-alpha, OIII and SII filters, and maybe even H-beta filter as well for narrow band photography…)
Please note that the sensor diagonal size is very close to the internal clear aperture of a 1.25″ filter, therefore with extremely fast telescopes (small f-ratio) there might be vignetting. The limiting f-ratio will depend on the telescope and whether you will use any filters with this camera. Although it’s a colour camera, good results can be achieved by using filters against light pollution and even H-alpha or other narrowband filters in certain setups.
Here is a link to an interesting article that might help many users to use and calibrate the camera correctly. One of the important notions is that short exposures below 3-4 seconds to be avoided due to non-linear response of the camera… (this relates to flats and flat-darks as well), but please read the article here:
Features of the NEW ZWO ASI294MC-PRO
Recommended for Deep Sky Imaging as well as the Sun, Moon and planets at very high resolution (although monochrome ASI174 would be better for the Sun)
(To image the Sun you’ll have to use a proper front solar filter or Herschel wedge depending on your telescope. Please contact us if not sure!)
High-Sensitivity Type 4/3 CMOS Image Sensor that Supports 4K for Astro Cameras and Industrial Applications
The “IMX294CJK” is the first in-house image sensor for astronomic cameras to adopt the Type 4/3 format, and realizes output of the number of pixels needed for 4K at 120 frame/s (in ADC 10-bit output mode, ASI294MC can run up to 25fps at 4k format base on USB3.0 bandwidth). In addition, use of a large-size pixel achieves SNR1s of 0.14 lx* which is very close to the value of ASI224(0.13 lx*).
Exceptional low-illumination performance
Exceptional low-illumination performance of SNR1s: 0.14 lx is realized by use of a large-size optical system and by expanding the area per pixel to 4.63 µm. This makes the IMX294CJK ideal sensor for astronomic camera market applications which requires low-illumination performance.
DDR Memory Buffer
The ASI294MC Pro colour camera includes a 256MB DDR3 memory buffer to help improve data transfer reliability. Additionally, the use of a memory buffer minimizes amp-glow, which is caused by the slow transfer speeds when the camera is used with a USB 2.0 port.
14bit ADC & 13 stops Dynamic Range
ASI294 have 14bit ADC and it can achieve 13 stops dynamic range which is even better than ASI1600.
HCG mode will be on when gain is higher than 120 (12db), read noise will drop below 2e but same dynamic range (13 stops).
Full well Capacity
63700e full well capacity, which is 3 times more than the ASI1600’s capacity. Even bright stars won’t saturate under long exposure.
This camera can achieve higher SNR (signal to noise ratio) with just one single exposure.
ASI294MC Pro has same mechanics as ASI1600 Pro. There are four screws that seal the sensor chamber. Our camera design has been extensively tested and is very stable.
Even when used in higher humidity environments, ASI294MC Pro will still works fine without dew problems.
The IMX294 sensor is a BSI (backside illuminated type) sensor, which has very high QE (quantum efficiency, which we estimate is over 75% peak).
The dark current of the ASI294 is slightly higher than the ASI1600, based on our test results.
Dark frame sample @ Highest dynamic range settings, 300s, -10degree, bin1.
USB 3.0 Port & USB2.0 HUB
USB 3.0 Port: Provide 5Gb bandwidth to make it possible for ASI294 Pro to run at 16 fps (14bit, normal mode) or 19 fps (10bit, high speed mode) at full resolution(11.7Mega).
Recommended cooler power supply: 12V @ 3-5A (or more) DC adapter (2.1×5.5mm, center pole positive). Also suitable: DC battery with 9-15V.
Using a battery with 9-15V is also suitable for the cooler power supply.
USB 2.0 HUB: can connect with various accessories, such as filter wheel, guide camera and electronic focuser, so you can better manage your cables. The ASI294 Pro includes two short 0.5m USB 2.0 cables. The integrated USB 2.0 hub is powered by the external power source if you connect one.
The ZWO ASI294MC PRO colour has a two-stage TEC cooling system that allows deep cooling to 35°C-40°C below ambient. You will need an external power supply to power the cooler. As users might want to power it in various ways (i.e. from a power tank, a Primaluce Lab Eagle 2 or mains, an AC-DC power adapter is not included in this package.
If you are having any trouble with the cooling, please check out the following page on the manufacturer’s website before contacting us:
ASI294 VS ASI1600
The following table provides a comparison of the differences between the ASI294 and ASI1600. One cannot say which one is better as there are pros and contras for both; they are simply different. It would depend on the application, optical system used and the imaged object which camera would have to be favored.
Resolution: 11.7MPixel 4144 x 2822
Pixel Size: 4.63µm
Exposure range: 32µs – 2000s!
Read Noise: 1.2e – 7.3e
Full Well: 63700e
ADC: 14 bit
Cooling: 40 – 45 degrees below ambient (obviously, only on the cooled version)
Standard Autoguider Port
Peak Quantum Efficiency: TBC
Full aluminum housing with standard 2″ interface
M42X0.75 internal thread (T-thread)
Back Focus: 6.5mm (from camera front)
Back Focus: 17.5mm (from front of 11mm reverse thread adapter)
1. M43-T2 adapter
2. EOS-T2 adapter
3. 2”Filter (optional)
4. 1.25” T-Mount
5. 1.25” Filter (optional)
6. M42-1.25” adapter (optional)
7. T2 extender 11mm
WHAT’S IN THE BOX:
On the included CD you’ll find drivers and two software applications: Firecapture and SharpCap. These are both freeware and the latest versions can be downloaded from the developers’ websites.
If you have any problem with installing any of the software from the CD, please download them from here:
Firecapture Beta Downloads
We’d recommend to always use the beta version of Firecapture, but reverse to the latest stable version if you experience problems.
ALL SKY CAMERA
due to the large sensor size, the usual 150 degree wide lens IS NOT included as it is not compatible, but there might be some other compatible lenses that would work with this camera. If you know about such lens, please let us know, so that we can share it with other users as well.
Specifications of the ZWO ASI294MC Colour Camera
Camera technical details
Sensor: 4/3″ SONY IMX294 CMOS
Resolution: 11.3Mega Pixels 4144 x 2822
Pixel Size: 4.63µm
Bayer Pattern: RGGB
Exposure Range: 32µs-2000s
ST4 Guider Port: Yes
Focus Distance to Sensor: 12.5mm
Shutter Type: Rolling Shutter
Protect window: AR coated window
Operating System Compatibility: Mac, Windows, Linux
Bit rate: 12bit output(12bit ADC)
Adaptor: 2″ / 1.25″ / M42X0.75
Dimension: φ62mm X 36mm
Weight: 120g or 4.2 ounces (without lens)
Working Temperature: -5°C—45°C
Storage Temperature: -20°C—60°C
Working Relative Humidity: 20%—80%
Storage Relative Humidity: 20%—95%
Max FPS at full resolution:
More resolutions can be user defined
For full specification, driver installation tutorial (youtube video), basic usage information and recommended third party software please visit the manufacturer’s website: ZWOptical
There is also a Yahoo Group where you can find lots of information about how other members use the ZWO cameras: Yahoo Group ZWO ASI Cameras