ZWO ASI128MC PRO COOLED FULL FRAME One Shot Colour Deep Sky Imaging Camera - 24MPixels
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ZWO came out now with two more deep sky imaging cameras with model numbers ASI094MC Pro and ASI128MC Pro, meaning they have now four different deep sky imaging cameras to offer...
And these are their first full frame cameras that is a really exciting news. Both cameras have the same physical size, but because the pixel sizes are different, the overall resolution is also different, so the ASI094 is a 36MPixel camera whilst the ASI128 has 24MPixels...It doesn't mean that one is better than the other as it would depend only on the telescope's focal length which camera would be more suitable for your imaging setup.
The ASI128MC Pro camera integrates a Sony IMX128 full-frame sensor (36 mm x 24 mm). It is a ZWO full-frame cooled colour camera. This camera features 6032 x 4032 pixels, and supports BIN2, BIN3 and BIN4 modes. The pixel size is 5.97 μm x 5.97 μm. This camera provides 14bit ADC and its full well is 76000e.
It features the same 24MP imaging sensor as the Nikon D600, but the big difference is that the electronics were designed specifically for deep sky imaging with features that are not present in usual dSLR cameras, but make a very good sense for a serious astro photography tool, so for example it comes with two-stage TEC-cooling, a built-in tilting device, built-in protect window heating to fight dew and other features. This camera is only available as a colour version, so you would be advised to use it in areas with good quality dark skies with limited light polution or alternatively use it with a CLS CCD, L-PRO, UHC or maybe even with a H-alpha filter to reduce the effects of light pollution...
Single Shot Colour only refers to the fact that you don't need to use LRGB filter sets or narrowband filter sets to take images when you use this camera. You can achieve a colour image in just one step, although in practice you would probably still take several images and stack them together to reduce noise and get rid of other artefacts... So if you have limited time and only want pretty pictures with comparatively small effort, this is the camera for you.
With the ZWO ASI128 PRO you won't have to spend lots of time to get beautiful images, however if you need to tackle light pollution, you would also need a light pollution filter that we mentioned before. Due to the really large sensor, you would need to use a really large filter. Contact us if you are not sure what filter you need and how to attach it to this camera.
Based on the features of this camera we would anticipate that it would be a very good choice for imaging large deep sky object for those who don't want to bother with filters, (other than a light pollution filter if necessary), plus with 5 frame per second frame rate it will most likely provide stunning views of the moon when used as a live view visual observation tool. (of course, it will also depend on the used telescope and seeing conditions). Bear in mind that the files would be also very large, so you'd need a PC or laptop with very good specs and large storage drive if you use it not just for long exposure deep sky imaging, i.e. high speed imaging or a video at 5 fps would produce a very large file in a short time.
So why "PRO"?
The key here is the DDR Memory Buffer.
The ZWO ASI128 Pro camera includes one 256MB DDR3 memory buffer to help data transfer more stable and no amp-glow issue which is caused by the slow speed data transfer during reading out under USB2.0 Port.
The DDR memory buffer is the main difference between ASI “Cool” and “Pro” cameras.
The ASI128 Pro offers very good performance for astrophotography. Low read noise, high dynamic range, QE peak of 53%, AR protective window and much more.
IMX128 vs. KAI-11002
Compared with old full frame CCD such as KAI-11002, the IMX128 sensor has higher resolution, higher QE, lower read noise and faster FPS.
USB 3.0 Port & USB2.0 HUB
USB 3.0 Port: can provide 5Gb bandwidth to let ASI128 Pro run at 7 fps (14bit, normal mode) or 10 fps (10bit, high speed mode) at full resolution (24MegaPixels).
The ASI128 Pro camera has got a large full frame sensor, so the power consumption (650mA@5V) is much higher than that of other cameras with smaller sensors. The USB3.0 port can provide 1000mA current, so the ASI128 Pro can run standalone under USB3.0 host, it doesn’t need external power supply, however you need to connect the external 12v power supply if you connect the camera via the USB 2.0 host which can only provide 500mA current. Don't forget that neither of these will provide enough power for the cooling...
We recommend to use a 12V at 3A or more DC PSU adapter to power the cooling system (2.1/5.5mm jack, center positive connection for the power supply).
Battery from 9-15V is also suitable for cooler power supply.
USB 2.0 HUB: can connect with various accessories, such as filter wheel, guide camera and electronic focuser, so you can manage your cables better with a USB2.0 hub. There are 2 short 0.5m USB2.0 cables with the ASI128 Pro. The power of hub source from external power supply if you connect it.
The ASI128 Pro has got a 2 stage TEC cooling system to enable very deep cooling (-30-35℃ below ambient), but you need external power supply to power on the cooler. AC-DC power adapter is not included in this package, but available as an optional extra.
This is the first ZWO ASI camera to come with a built-in anti-dew heater that can heat the protect window to avoid any internal or external dew problems. it povides a heat power of around 6W and can be turned off from the software to save power.
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.
Here you can download a pdf file that will guide you through ZWO ASI camera troubleshooting. Click here!
ALL SKY CAMERA
due to the large sensor size, a 150 degree wide lens IS NOT included as it is not compatible.
SPECIFICATIONS OF THE ZWO ASI128MC PRO
Camera technical details
Sensor: SONY IMX128 CMOS
Resolution: 24Mega Pixels 6032X4032
Pixel Size: 5.97µm
Bayer Pattern: RGGB
Max FPS at full resolution :7FPS
Exposure Range: 64µs-2000s
Read Noise: 2.5e @24db gain
QE peak: 53%
Full well: 76ke
Protect window:AR window
Dimensions: 86mm Diameter
Back Focus Distance: 17.5mm
Cooling: Regulated Two Stage TEC
Delta T: 30-35°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%
more resolutions are 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