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

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34 replies to this topic

#26 arbit

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Posted 03 May 2021 - 01:13 AM

If you are comfortable with some soldering etc you can add a peltier cooler.

Youtube video by Martin Pyott.

Haven't tried it myself as I ended up getting a 533 - still keeping the 385MC of course.

Sent from my SM-N960F using Tapatalk
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#27 alphatripleplus

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Posted 03 May 2021 - 07:30 AM

Looking forward to seeing some captures with your new camera when you are all set-up.


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#28 Thermodynamics

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Posted 03 May 2021 - 08:12 AM

Looking forward to seeing some captures with your new camera when you are all set-up.

I am sure I'll be here with lots of questions on software et cetera before I have much to show.



#29 SDProfX

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Posted 03 May 2021 - 10:18 AM

Thermodynamics,

 

As many have stated already, the ASI385 is a great camera for EAA. I use the 385 and a QHY294c with a C6 SCT. The 385 without a focal reducer on the C6 works for planetary nebulas, globular clusters, close ups of Lunar features, and even planets (a bit small but OK). With the F/6.3 reducer on the C6 it has produced great images of the Helix nebula, M1 supernova remnant, M33 Triangulum Galaxy, large globulars like M22, M15, M13 etc. I recommend using SharpCap Live Stack mode for EAA. SharpCap will also assist with generating a dark frames. The darks can then be included in a camera profile for fast setup.

 

When not in use as the main imaging camera, I repurpose it with a camera lens as an E-Finder. It is fantastic as a finder, and I use the finder with 28 mm lens for plate solving.

 

FYI, the 294 camera is wonderful on medium and large nebulas, but not great for small, bright targets like planetaries. I always switch to the 385 for that image scale. Also, the 385 seems happy on the C6 without using flat frames. The 294 definitely needs good flat frames, which are more difficult to create.

 

One more comment, I have used the 385 / C6 combo on an Evolution mount and on equatorial mounts with good success. SharpCap does well de-rotating the images while stacking, and the 385 / C6 fits on the Evolution with no clearance problems. The 294, or most cooled cameras,  cannot easily be used on the Evolution mount.

 

Have Fun!

 

Dave


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#30 Mark Brickley

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Posted 03 May 2021 - 03:10 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.

I second a 183  but just to put a spanner in the works, for EAA galaxy viewing I would go for the mono one... with the small pixels you need the extra sensitivity for dim objects like most galaxies and in most cases the colour while nice isn’t worth the loss in sensitivity *IMHO*. Needs differ of course..

 

I have used this camera and amongst others a 294MM, the 183 gets more use for me because I find I like looking at galaxies in as high a res as I can. 
 

I would add a gold star for ZWO ... great cameras at a good price and good support in terms of decent drivers and software. Also the whole ecosystem integrates well so if you want to drop a filter wheel or oag in later for ap then they are there.

mark 


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#31 matt_astro_tx

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Posted 03 May 2021 - 06:15 PM

I second a 183  but just to put a spanner in the works, for EAA galaxy viewing I would go for the mono one... with the small pixels you need the extra sensitivity for dim objects like most galaxies and in most cases the colour while nice isn’t worth the loss in sensitivity *IMHO*. Needs differ of course..

 

I have used this camera and amongst others a 294MM, the 183 gets more use for me because I find I like looking at galaxies in as high a res as I can. 
 

I would add a gold star for ZWO ... great cameras at a good price and good support in terms of decent drivers and software. Also the whole ecosystem integrates well so if you want to drop a filter wheel or oag in later for ap then they are there.

mark 

I agree with the mono sentiment, and I would have gone there if I had the cash at the time.  The 183MC was my first astro cam as an upgrade from a DSLR, so I stuck with the same format (OSC) as a test drive.  Astro cams hold their value incredibly well, especially if you buy it used to begin with, so my concerns about "loosing money" were I to ever resell it were put to rest.  Either way, the OP made a great decision going for a new camera!


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#32 Strykyr22

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Posted 03 May 2021 - 06:54 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

 

I completely second what Chilldaddy is saying. I have the C6 and 385. I'm blown away by the lunar features and galaxies that I've been able to see in heavy light pollution. The only problem is that the FOV is really limited and open clusters don't look great. I'm looking to pick up a WO ZS73 to get more flexibility on the focal length and FOV. The good news is that because of the small sensor size of the 385 I will never have to worry about vignetting and the celestron focal reducer should work on the WO refractor.

 

The 385 just seems like a great all-rounder. Good for DSO EAA, planetary, guiding, and even all sky. 

 

Moon

Lunar North Apr 20, 2021
M105
M 105 and adjacent galaxies
M1
M1

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#33 Mark Lovik

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Posted 04 May 2021 - 09:50 AM

How about the 178mm instead of the 385 color.

  • Nearly the same size (sensor is a bit bigger)
  • Nearly the same price
  • Go with mono ... you can ignore dithering and have better QE. Easier workflow to start.
  • Higher resolution (not OSC and smaller pixels) ... or bin as needed
  • 178 becomes a good guide camera if you decide on a larger sensor later


#34 bthrel

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Posted 04 May 2021 - 11:17 AM

Mine is arriving today, clear skies later in the week, first ever EAA attempts to follow .... LOL



#35 WThesing

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Posted 29 May 2021 - 02:04 PM

I have been a strictly visual observer since C1987. I retired a couple of years ago, and had the time to get back into the hobby, that running a successful business slowly took away. 1st thing I did was get a new AVX mount for my 8" SCT. Next was a StarSense, followed by an Omni 150 XLT  Newtonian. I was contemplating getting into EAA, as my skies continued to get more and more light polluted. Things I could once see very clearly were faint grey smudges, or no longer visible. Last September, I bought an AsiAir Pro, and a ZWO 385MC. All I can say is WOW!!! I've seen more in the last few months with the camera than in the last 20 years, many objects for the very first time. Would I do it again? Without hesitation!!! I'm now learning the post processing of images as an addition to EAA, but the capturing and live stacking is my real joy. Already getting into filters and a focal reducer to get my SCT camera ready. Oh, and have one of two lined up as a next camera! If only the weather would cooperate a bit more, but shouldn't complain. I had some nice warm winter nights with me indoors, and the scope outside while I ran everything wirelessly.


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