ZWO ASI094MC Pro cooled, full-frame camera

ZWO has pushed Sony’s in-vogue IMX094 sen­sor a lit­tle fur­ther… at a cost

Sky at Night Magazine - - CONTENTS - WORDS: GARY PALMER

Z WO has been around for quite a long time now and has been push­ing the bound­aries of CMOS camera ca­pa­bil­i­ties with ev­ery new model. On pa­per, its lat­est camera looks to push those bound­aries to a whole new level. The ZWO ASI094MC Pro cooled full-frame camera has some im­pres­sive spec­i­fi­ca­tions and hefty rice tag to match.

This is the first full-frame camera for ZWO so we were ea­ger to get imag­ing with it. In­side the box, the camera ar­rives in its own padded carry bag and comes with quite a few ac­ces­sories. It shares the same cylin­dri­cal shape as other cooled cam­eras in the ZWO range. Tak­ing the cap off the camera re­veals a for­mi­da­ble-sized sen­sor mea­sur­ing 36x24mm, giv­ing a di­ag­o­nal mea­sure­ment of 43mm. On the back of the camera there’s a dual USB3 and USB2 port along with two USB2 ports that act as a hub for ac­ces­sories such as mo­tor fo­cusers and fil­ter wheels. There’s also a 12V socket for the cooler, though there’s no power sup­ply included with the camera. It would have been nice to see one in the box con­sid­er­ing the price ZWO is charg­ing.

Af­ter down­load­ing the driver pack­age the camera was ready to go. On the first clear night the Moon was quite bright, so we gave the camera a run in video mode. Setting the camera up on a 5-inch re­frac­tor with an 800mm ex­ten­sion tube it was easy to re­solve a good im­age of the Moon on screen. The max­i­mum speed of the camera in full- frame is 5FPS and, setting a cap­ture of 200 frames, it didn’t take too long for the SER video file to download. You can can in­crease the speed of the camera con­sid­er­ably by chang­ing the re­gion of in­ter­est (ROI) set­tings.

SKY SAYS… For a CMOS it has im­pres­sive colours as well well as fine de­tail, but it doesn't come cheap

Sen­sor sen­si­bil­ity

One of the big dif­fer­ences with this camera is that it uses a Sony imag­ing sen­sor and not one orig­i­nally made for high-speed bar­code read­ing. This gives very good colours in cap­ture and live dis­plays on a screen, with­out the green cast seen with a lot of one-shot colour cam­eras on the mar­ket.

With a change of tele­scope on an­other night we pointed the camera at Mars, setting it to 95FPS

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