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I Have Decided to Buy a ZWO ASI385MC - Talk Me Out of It

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#1 Thermodynamics

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Posted 01 May 2021 - 11:44 AM

-I plan to use the camera mostly with my C8 and C6 SCTs, I am also open to getting a small refractor for wider FOV targets.

-I will use it with my Dell G5 gaming laptop.

-I want to use it with an Alt Az mount, I had a GEM but found that I observed less because it is too much trouble to set up.

-I am interested in galaxy and cluster viewing as well as solar system targets.

-I want to be able to see more than my eyes can show me, capture stills and videos to create a record of my observations and to bore friends with. 

-My level of experience in astronomy is very low, so I value simplicity. 

 

Is the ASI385MC a good choice or would you suggest something better? If so why?

 

Thank you in advance!



#2 alphatripleplus

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Posted 01 May 2021 - 11:58 AM

I've never used one, but I started EAA with the very similar and slightly smaller 224MC. The 2224 and 385 are fine starter colour cameras, if you don't want to spend a lot of $$$s when beginning EAA. You will definitely want to use a f/6.3 reducer with your f/10 SCTs to speed up acquisition and get a larger FOV.


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#3 Gipht

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Posted 01 May 2021 - 12:26 PM

The second law of thermodynamics states that the entropy of any isolated system always increases.  Entropy  is energy that is not available for useful work.  With your proposed setup, your entropy would be increased by limited exposure  time and a longer focal length.   Sorry, I had to go there.

 

In using my ASI224MC with short exposures, only the really bright objects stood out.  The Iris Nebula, for example, was barely visible, even at a 330mm focal length.


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#4 matt_astro_tx

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Posted 01 May 2021 - 01:24 PM

Personally I’d recommend the ASI183MC. I picked one up used and on my door step within a week on the CN classifieds for $675. Worth every penny.
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#5 Thermodynamics

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Posted 01 May 2021 - 01:30 PM

Good answers, making me think!



#6 matt_astro_tx

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Posted 01 May 2021 - 02:40 PM

If you haven’t already, go to the astronomy.tools website and use the field of view calculator. Use “imaging mode” and select your scope and you can select the various cameras you’re considering from the drop downs. This will show you the true field of view you’ll get with each combination. Select various targets to see the results below.

Then, use the CCD suitability tools to determine whether you’ll be over sampled or under sampled.

Every scope and camera combination is different. I spent literally 6 weeks on that website before pulling the trigger on my purchase.
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#7 matt_astro_tx

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Posted 01 May 2021 - 02:46 PM

For example. In the below you can see the 290MM would be ideal for planetary, but not for globulars. The 183MC is a happy medium. The 294 is a bit large for planets. 
 

play around with it. 

Attached Thumbnails

  • 3E4C0834-604D-475F-9562-AE384BA8D100.png
  • A9110017-4C0C-46A9-BB8F-0C7BA1EB2258.png

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#8 GazingOli

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Posted 01 May 2021 - 02:56 PM

I figured out that 90 % of the stuff that I like observing - galaxies & (planetary)nebulae - I can do with the C8 and ASI 178, most of the rest with my 80/480 triplet apo. Of course there are some objects, like M31, which I will never be able to observe in one piece but this is not so important to me. It is just a handfull.

 

So, one main thing to decide is, what type of objects you want to observe. I am definitely not the widefield-guy. Are you?

 

If you want to spend the money, the ASI 183 is a good choice, of course.

 

I even had the ASI 294 for some weeks but gave it away, because it was not my camera. Somehow...

 

CS.Oli


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#9 aiken999

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Posted 01 May 2021 - 03:46 PM

i have the 385 and like it. Bigger field of view than 224 for finding objects. Great place to start out!


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#10 selfo

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Posted 01 May 2021 - 04:12 PM

I have and continue to use a ZWO 385 with the same equipment you want to use it with.
You mentioned you value simplicity well you can’t go wrong given the equipment you plan on using with it with:

C6

C8

Alt/Az

Refractor

Planetary

 

Wide field and planetary are at opposite ends of the spectrum but the 385 is a good compromise.

 

Here is a link to another similar post where I go into more details.

 

https://www.cloudyni...ose/?p=10584498

 

Good luck with your quest.

 

 


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#11 Thermodynamics

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Posted 01 May 2021 - 06:19 PM

You folks are an amazing wealth of information, thank you for all the helpful posts so far.

#12 Thermodynamics

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Posted 01 May 2021 - 06:23 PM

Sorry for the multi-poat, I have been reading CN on my cellphone and thought I missed the little button.

#13 ColoKid

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Posted 01 May 2021 - 08:12 PM

I have a Celestron 6SE and asked Dean Koenig at Starizona what camera would be best to use with their Hyperstar.  Here is what he said:

 

Most or our customers are using the ZWO ASI183MC Pro with the C6 HyperStars- https://starizona.co...183mc-pro-color
But you could use the non cooled version - ZWO ASI183 - https://starizona.co...re/zwo-asi183mc

Regards,

Dean

 

FYI in case you are considering Hyperstar for your SCT at some point.


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#14 MikiSJ

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Posted 01 May 2021 - 08:30 PM

Ok, don't buy it!   smirk.gif

 

I realize you are budget-conscious, but I would save a few more and get an ASI294MC-Pro with 5 times the sensor area and much larger pixels 4.63 v 3.76


Edited by MikiSJ, 01 May 2021 - 08:38 PM.

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#15 Ptarmigan

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Posted 01 May 2021 - 10:42 PM

I have used IMX385 based camera in the form of Altair. They are a great camera as it is a larger version of IMX224. Great camera to start with EAA.


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#16 arbit

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Posted 02 May 2021 - 01:10 AM

I have a 385MC.

It is one of the most sensitive sensors in Sony lineup (along with 224 and 533). But the FOV is bigger than 224 and the 533 is much more expensive. So the budget matters.

I find it a good all rounder. Large nebulae need a reducer. But galaxies, clusters and planets generally fit in well, and the high sensitivity helps for EAA. The frame rate is also suitable for planetary imaging.

Sent from my SM-N960F using Tapatalk
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#17 krapfi

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Posted 02 May 2021 - 10:05 AM

I'm using a very similar setup (C8, 385MC) and this is my first EAA setup.

 

Overall, I like the 385MC. The price was right as an entry level camera for me as I didn't know if I'd even like EAA yet. Plus, it plays nicely with my ASIAIR Pro.

So far I've used it for deep sky and the moon and with an f/3.3 reducer on the C8. The FOV is fine for galaxies (my primary interest), but too small for most nebulas in my opinion. You can check out some captures done with this rig here and here.

 

However, I'm already eyeing the 533MC to combat thermal noise as temperatures at night go up and also to have a larger FOV so I can observe emission nebulas better. I'd also like to use a f/6.3 reducer to get higher res pictures of galaxies, which isn't possible with the 385MC as the FOV when used with a f/6.3 reducer is below the plate solving limit of the ASIAIR.

Hope this helps!


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#18 DSO_Viewer

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Posted 02 May 2021 - 11:35 AM

-I plan to use the camera mostly with my C8 and C6 SCTs, I am also open to getting a small refractor for wider FOV targets.

-I will use it with my Dell G5 gaming laptop.

-I want to use it with an Alt Az mount, I had a GEM but found that I observed less because it is too much trouble to set up.

-I am interested in galaxy and cluster viewing as well as solar system targets.

-I want to be able to see more than my eyes can show me, capture stills and videos to create a record of my observations and to bore friends with. 

-My level of experience in astronomy is very low, so I value simplicity. 

 

Is the ASI385MC a good choice or would you suggest something better? If so why?

 

Thank you in advance!

There is absolutely nothing wrong with buying an ASI385MC depending on your budget, equipment and needs. If your hearts desire is buying this camera, I would suggest that you go for it.

 

Steve


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#19 alphatripleplus

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Posted 02 May 2021 - 12:20 PM

I have a Celestron 6SE and asked Dean Koenig at Starizona what camera would be best to use with their Hyperstar.  

Was he talking about AP use or EAA use?


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#20 Thermodynamics

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Posted 02 May 2021 - 02:04 PM

@krapfi that cap of M51 was breathtaking, if i can ever get that kind of view it will have been wort it all.


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#21 chilldaddy

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Posted 02 May 2021 - 03:36 PM

I started out with a C8 and 385 because I wanted the slightly larger FOV compared to the 224 but didn't want to spend too much which for me, was over $500.  I loved it and learned a lot using it, however, it wasn't long before I wanted a wider FOV so I added a small 60mm refractor before eventually springing for the 533.  I'm happy with both OTAs and cameras and I still use the 385 for polar alignment and planetary imaging.

 

So if you're goal is to get your feet wet for less $ and you are okay with a small sensor, which will work for the majority of galaxies, then the 385 is a fine choice.  It has a high frame rate making it a better planetary imaging camera than most other DSO cameras yet still works well with medium to small DSOs. 

 

A small refractor is a great option especially with your AZ-GTi.  I use that as my most portable rig that easily fits in a small suitcase.  Your AR127 would also be a great option and I would suggest you consider starting with it because of the shorter focal length.  As you know, there are many tools needed for many tasks so a purchase that can be used later as you upgrade is a smart choice in my opinion.

 

Good luck!

 

Greg


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#22 Thermodynamics

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Posted 02 May 2021 - 04:08 PM

@chilldaddy, great information, thank you!


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#23 Broglock

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Posted 02 May 2021 - 04:18 PM

That is the camera that opened up the world of EAA for me! Oh, and I still have it and use it, btw. cool.gif


Edited by Broglock, 02 May 2021 - 04:19 PM.

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#24 Thermodynamics

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Posted 02 May 2021 - 08:13 PM

Today was a good day in spite of clouds:

 

1. I ordered the ASI385MC, I decided after checking astronomy.tools that it fov hit the sweet spot based on the scopes I have and targets I am interested in.

 

2. I took my CG-5 -mount off it's tripod to throw it away since the declination motor was seemingly dead. I decided that I would take it apart in spite of my profound lack of mechanical inclination and see if I could spot any obvious problems. For me an obvious problem would be something like a popsicle stick stuck in the gears with the words "obvious problem" written on it, nevertheless I started unscrewing bits and pieces. The tar that passes as grease was a bit heavy and gunky, but aside from that I did not see anything that stood out to me. For some reason rather than throwing the pieces away, I put it back together and powered it up and somehow, some way, it worked! If you offered me a million bucks to tell you how I fixed it, I couldn't do it, but it worked, go figure. I am very happy and hope it keeps working.


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#25 matt_astro_tx

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Posted 02 May 2021 - 10:19 PM

Congratulations! On both counts!
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