ZWO ASI294MC Pro USB3.0 Cooled Colour Astronomy Camera (ASI294MC-P)
Important: For the following imaging camera models, please use a separate 12V power supply rather than the power hub in the ASIAIR Pro as the hub cannot provide enough amperage to power the camera's TEC coolers: ASI6200, ASI2600, ASI2400, ASI533, ASI294, ASI071MC
The ASI294MC Pro is the first camera in the world equipped with the latest Sony sensor IMX294CJK. This is one of the top-selling cameras from ZWO. Looking at the specifications and comparing it to the relatively low price, it is easy to see why.
Some of the highlights include:
- back-illuminated sensor – improving sensitivity and reducing noise
- 4/3” format with 4.63 um pixel size – ideal for many types of telescopes
- 14-bit ADC– giving high dynamic range of 13 stops
- An impressive 7ke- full well capacity- helping to reduce the issue of, for example, saturated stars.
On top of this, it also has a very high QE-value with a peak of over 75%. If you are looking for a small-format OSC camera for astrophotography, you can’t go wrong with the ASI294MC Pro.
Sony IMX294CJK CMOS Sensor
Sony 10.71M-Effective Pixel Color CMOS Image Sensor (official description from Sony site), with a diagonal of 21.63mm (4/3 format). ZWO has refined the sensor and remolded it to increase the diagonal to 23.2mm with approximately 11.71M-Effective pixels (4/3 format).
High-Sensitivity Type 4/3 CMOS Image Sensor that Supports 4K for Astronomic
Cameras and Industrial Applications
The IMX294CJK sensor is the first in-house image sensor for astronomic cameras to adopt the 4/3 format and provides the necessary number of pixels for true 4k output at 120 frames per second (w/ ADC 10-bit output mode, the ASI294MC can run up to 25fps at 4k format when used with USB 3.0). In addition, the use of larger-sized pixels achieves SNR1s of 0.14 lx* which is very close to the value of the 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 for astronomic camera market applications that require low-illumination performance.
DDR Memory Buffer
The ASI294MC Pro 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.
DDR memory buffer is the main difference between ASI “Cool” and “Pro” cameras.
14bit ADC w/ 13 stops DR
The ASI294MC Pro has a 14bit ADC unit, allowing it to achieve 13 stops of dynamic range. This is an excellent characteristic for deep sky imaging, which inherently needs high dynamic range. At 13 stops, the ASI294MC has even more dynamic range than the ASI1600.
HCG (high conversion gain) mode, which reduces read noise to even lower levels at higher gain without loss to dynamic range, is automatically enabled when the gain setting is 120 or higher. Read noise will drop under 2e-, while dynamic range will remain at 13 stops.
Full well Capacity
The ASI294MC provides a great full well capacity of 63700e-, which is 3 times higher than the capacity of the highly regarded ASI1600. Even bright stars won’t saturate under long exposures. This also means that this camera can achieve higher SNR (signal to noise ratio) with just one single exposure.
ASI294MC Pro has the 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 work well 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).
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 (12bit, high speed mode) at full resolution(11.7Mega).
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.
Thanks to the two-stage TEC cooling, ASI294MC Pro can lower the CMOS sensor temperature to 35-40 degrees Celsius below ambient temperature, which can greatly reduce dark current generation and sensor noise even during extended exposure times.
*The Delta T 35-40℃ is tested at 30℃ ambient temperature. It might get down when the cooling system is working for a long time. Also, as the ambient temperature falls, the Delta T would also decrease.
Please notice that the camera needs to be connected to an external 11-15v power supply to implement the cooling function. We recommend you use 12V@3A DC adapter (5.5*2.1mm, center pole positive) or lithium battery with 11-15V to power the camera.
Sensor: 4/3″ SONY IMX294 CMOS
Resolution: 11.7Mega Pixels 4144X2822
Pixel Size: 4.63µm
Bayer Pattern: RGGB
Exposure Range: 32µs-2000s
Read Noise: 1.2-7.3e
QE peak: TBD
Full well: 63.7ke
DDRIII Buffer: 256MB
Non-volatile memory/On camera storage: Build-in total 192K byte user-accessible space(image size up to 480X320)
Protect window: AR
Dimensions: 78mm Diameter
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 Temperature: -5°C—45°C
Storage Temperature: -20°C—60°C
Working Relative Humidity: 20%—80%
Storage Relative Humidity: 20%—95%