About this product
Part Number: ASI294MC-PRO
The first astronomy camera series equipped with SONY's new IMX294CJK sensor.
The ZWO ASI1294MC features Sony's remarkable IMG294CJK 4/3 CMOS sensor with a massive 4144x2822 resolution! That's over 11 megapixels!
- Sony IMX294 4/3 CMOS Sensor
- Extremely low read noise - 1.2e @30db gain
- 14Bit ADC - provides real 14bit dynamic range
- Electronic shutter - no issues with vibrations sometimes found in mechanical shutters
- USB3.0 Port (back compatible with USB2.0) - 16fps@4144×2822
- AR coated protective window - all light can pass
- Compatible with Windows / Mac OS / Linux
23.2mm diagona,l approximately 11.7 megapixels.
Back illuminated highly sensitive 4.63μm pixels.
The 'IMX294CJK' is the first image sensor for astronomy cameras to adopt the 4/3 format and achieves the number of pixels required 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, the large-size pixels achieve SNR1s of 0.14 lx*, which is very close to ZWO's ASI224 (0.13 lx*).
DDR Memory Buffer
ZWO Pro cameras feature a 256MB DDR3 memory buffer to help maintain data transfer stability and reduce amp-glow issues caused by the slower data transfer speed when using a USB2.0 port.
All ZWO cameras include a 2-year warranty.
Camera Field of View Simulator
Exceptional low-illumination performance of SNR1s: 0.14 lx is achieved using a large-size optical system and by expanding the area per pixel to 4.63 µm. This makes the IMX294CJK sensor an excellent choice for astrophotography which requires high performance in low light.
14bit ADC & 13 stops DR
14bit ADC 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 is 3 times greater than the ASI1600’s capacity. Even bright stars won’t saturate under long exposure.
Can achieve higher SNR (signal to noise ratio) with just one single exposure.
ZWO's ASI294MC Pro has the same mechanics as their highly regarded ASI1600 Pro. Four screws seal the sensor chamber.
Even when used in higher humidity the ASI294MC Pro will will work fine, without dew problems.
IMX294 sensor is a BSI (back-illuminated type) sensor so has very high QE (ZWO measure the QE peak higher than 75%).
The dark current of the ASI294 is slightly higher than the ASI1600, based on ZWO test results.
Dark frame sample @ Highest dynamic range settings, 300s, -10°C, bin1.
ASI294MC Pro Dark Frame
USB 3.0 Port: Provides 5Gb bandwidth making it possible for the 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, for easier cable management. The USB Hub draws power from an external power supply if you have one connected. Two short 0.5m USB2.0 cables are included.
The ASI294 Pro has a 2-stage TEC cooling system that enables deep cooling (35°C-40°C below ambient). The cooler requires an external power supply - not included with the camera.
ASI294MC Connection Drawing
- M43-T2 adapter (optional)
- EOS-T2 adapter (optional)
- 2” Filter (optional)
- 1.25” T-Mount
- 1.25” Filter (optional)
- M42-1.25” adapter
- T2 extender 11mm
ASI294MC Mechanical Drawing
What's in the box
- ASI294MC-Pro Camera
- Soft Padded Case
- T2-1.25" Nosepiece Adapter
- 1.25" Cap
- 2-metre USB 3.0 Cable
- USB 2.0 Short Cable x2
- T2-1.25" Adapter
- T2 Extender 21mm
- T2-M48 16.5mm Extender
- Spacers x2
- Quick Start Guide
- Driver CD
|Sensor||4/3″ SONY IMX294 CMOS|
|Resolution||11.7Mega Pixels 4144X2822|
|Read Noise||1.2e @39db gain|
|Protect window||AR window|
|Back Focus Distance||6.5mm|
|Cooling||Regulated Two Stage TEC|
|Delta T||35°C-40°C below ambient|
|Camera Power consumption||650mA at 5V|
|Cooler Power consumption||12V at 3A Max|
|Working Relative Humidity||20%—80%|
|Storage Relative Humidity||20%—95%|
Additional resolutions can be user defined.
Downloads / Manuals
The following manuals and downloads are available for this product:
ZWO ASI Camera User Manual v1.3 (PDF)
ZWO ASI USB2.0 Camera FAQ v1.0 (PDF)
ZWO ASI USB2.0 Camera Troubleshooting v1.0 (PDF)
ZWO Software and Drivers
|Average Rating (6 Reviews): |An excellent next step from a DSLR
Saturday, 19 September 2020 | Paul
I had been using an old EOS50D and had been planning to change to a CMOS camera in around 12 months. I was finding the 50D was beginning to hold me back, it has a sensor that's prone to banding and no amount of dither was able to fix it. I also had 11 batteries - all of them bad. This meant I was constantly swapping batteries and recharging through an imaging session. It was time for a change.
When it comes to colour CMOS, the 294 hits a sweet spot in terms of price and performance. Judging by the YouTube and forums it's a popular choice. The camera is light, but very solid. It won't strain your focuser. Finding back focus with the included adapters was easy, once I worked out what thread I needed to end up on (I use 200PDS and the required 55mm takes all the spacers). The supplied cable is a little short, but its flat profile makes for easy routing.
Setup and usage is simple - I use Astrophotography tool and it's a case of plug in, set to cool and you're running. The fan is quiet and won't disturb anyone. There have been a couple of times I forgot to plug in the PSU...
Image wise I have hugely impressed by the results. The camera produces sharp, detailed images, consistently. I've not had issues with gradients or amp glow (there is an issue with a flare on one side of the sensor, with calibration frames it's not an issue. I only know about it because of the web),
My current settings are unity gain, 3 minutes and -10 degrees. My first night of imaging produced an okay version of the Western Veil, the second night produced an M16 that knocked it out of the park. Since then every session has produced solid images, plenty of detail and very little noise. I now have a certainty that I will have good data at the end of the night.
Practically the two USB sockets on the back really help. I run my guide cam into one of them and it reduces trailing cables.
One area I have had to adapt to is the smaller sensor. Some targets can be difficult to fit in with a 900mm focal length scope. In the short term I'll adapt and mosaic larger targets. In the longer term intend to use it with a wider field refractor.
I did initially encounter some issues with bloated stars, but soon realised this was due to heavy handed processing!
At the time of writing we've had a run of around 10 clear nights. The 294 has massively impressed. For me it was definitely the right step at the right time. In some ways it's almost boring in that it just does what you ask of it. Transition for DSLR is easy. Cooling and Warm up will add some additional time to your imaging sessions, but you soon factor that in.
Should you choose this over mono? I struggled with this question, but realised with my workflow, list of targets and time restrictions OSC was the right choice for me. With that in mind the ASI294MC Pro is the right spec at the right price. Although I have been "doing the telescopes" for 30 odd years, I still class myself as an advancing beginner at imaging and I'm certain it will be a long time before I outgrow this camera.
So to sum up. This camera is a significant step up from a DSLR. You will have less noise and capture great detail. If you have been using a DSLR for a while, you won't struggle with the transition, but will need to remember the reduced sensor size. At around £1,000 this is a hefty investment, but it will pay you back immediately.
Wednesday, 10 June 2020 | Garry
I haven't had a chance to use this product yet, but will write a review once used.
This is just to say ordered on Sunday afternoon recieved Tuesday morning.
Thank you for a quick delivery as always, my number 1 place for all the gear I have.
Tuesday, 31 March 2020 | Martin
I have been pondering the upgrade from a DSLR for sometime. I have only had the camera for one week but and totally amazed by the improvements in my images. I did have a USB interference issue but that seems to be PC it is connected to and not the camera. Having read lots about this camera before I bought it it has lived up to my high expectations so far. First light Optics were fantastic with quick delivery and speedy response in helping diagnose my PC USB issue.
Great camera, great service as always
Thursday, 5 December 2019 | Terry
My first CMOS cooled colour camera having a mono CCD with filters in the obsy. This is used on my RedCat51 and while I’m still learning to get the best from it, the first results are impressive. Still trying to get my head around shorter exposures being good for a low read noise camera - my head says it makes sense, intuition says the reverse! Anyway, it’s nice to buy a camera where all the adapters and extension tubes that you might need are included.
Excellent camera, accurate and great results even in moderate conditions.
Friday, 1 November 2019 | John
Used this twice so far, so early days. First impressions are I'm very happy with this camera. I wanted something so I didn't need to keep using my DSLR on my telescope, I mulled over getting a cooled versus an ambient camera, and decided on cooled rather than regretting at a later date. I tinkered around with it in daylight on the scope to work out how to work it then got out on a couple of mostly clear nights. Although clear, conditions weren't great due to the pesky fireworks being let off all around . Field of view on sensor is slightly less than my D7100 DSLR, but that's OK, sensor size is fine. Found it much easier to use than the DSLR (as I've not used a CMOS / CCD to photograph before). It was on my skywatcher 80mm evostar. Image quality was far superior to stuff I've taken before (tried simple stuff like Andromeda and Pleiades). Getting the camera bias / gain set appropriately took a bit of thinking about, and I'm sure I need to work on that. The contents of the box are well packed and the carrying case is quite useful. Thing to note is there is no power cable for the cooling included, so remember to get one of those too if you don't have a spare. Overall - so far really happy with this and looking for the clouds to clear sometime within the next few weeks / months (please, even just a small gap in the clouds would help.)
Monday, 19 August 2019 | Francis
This camera is giving me more than I expected from an OSC. Much more sensitive than I thought, giving colourful results with relatively short sub exposures (thus reversing my usual thinking on sub lengths with a CCD). The included extension tubes, spacers and cables enabled me to switch from a dslr by simply removing the dslr adapter and screwing on the ASI294MC Pro. For me telescope time seems to be getting shorter and shorter, so a camera that will give me pleasing results without complicated post processing makes astro-imaging much more enjoyable.
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