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Dedicated AP Camera Upgrade

CMOS Astrophotography Equipment
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#1 bigbenbrown55

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Posted 26 September 2022 - 08:11 PM

Hello All,

 

Beginner astrophotographer, looking to upgrade from his unmodded-DSLR (Nikon D5600) to a dedicated AP camera. I've been involved with ZWO tech since the beginning and I currently operate a ZWO ASIAir Pro and a 120MM camera + 30mm scope for guiding. The rest of my kit includes a RedCat 51, SkyWatcher HEQ5 mount, and Optolong L-Pro and L-Extreme filters, and I have no experience or gear for mono-shooting right now.

Just going off articles online and reviewing YouTubes from the more experienced AP's out there, the ASI294MC Pro or -183MC Pro are what seem to most appropriate price-point wise. But there's more to a "good decision" than just the dollar signs behind it, which is why I'm reaching out to the community here for opinions, wisdom, conjecture, and any criticisms or jokes to be had at my expense :)

 

So...what are people's thoughts on the 294 or 183 from ZWO, and are there any other models/options I should consider?


Thanks All, and Clear Skies!


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#2 MikeECha

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Posted 26 September 2022 - 08:37 PM

Hello All,

 

Beginner astrophotographer, looking to upgrade from his unmodded-DSLR (Nikon D5600) to a dedicated AP camera. I've been involved with ZWO tech since the beginning and I currently operate a ZWO ASIAir Pro and a 120MM camera + 30mm scope for guiding. The rest of my kit includes a RedCat 51, SkyWatcher HEQ5 mount, and Optolong L-Pro and L-Extreme filters, and I have no experience or gear for mono-shooting right now.

Just going off articles online and reviewing YouTubes from the more experienced AP's out there, the ASI294MC Pro or -183MC Pro are what seem to most appropriate price-point wise. But there's more to a "good decision" than just the dollar signs behind it, which is why I'm reaching out to the community here for opinions, wisdom, conjecture, and any criticisms or jokes to be had at my expense smile.gif

 

So...what are people's thoughts on the 294 or 183 from ZWO, and are there any other models/options I should consider?


Thanks All, and Clear Skies!

In my opinion, you should decide mono vs osc first.  Then, for your wide field scope, the asi183 gives you better image  scale. I have both and they are great. The amp glow callibrates out completely. My 294 is imaging The Iris Nebula as we speak on my AT6RC.


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#3 72Nova

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Posted 26 September 2022 - 08:38 PM

You have a good beginner AP setup and you will really enjoy a cooled camera.  I have a 60mm refractor that I image with and started with a 533mc.  It’s a really good camera and about the same price as the two you mentioned.  I haven’t used the 183mc but it does have smaller pixels that are a good match for your Redcat.  


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#4 idclimber

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Posted 26 September 2022 - 09:11 PM

Look at the 533 series. It is a newer and better sensor than either the 294 or the 183. It has the same tech as the 2600 and 6200. 


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#5 galacticinsomnia

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Posted 27 September 2022 - 01:34 AM

Hello All,

 

Beginner astrophotographer, looking to upgrade from his unmodded-DSLR (Nikon D5600) to a dedicated AP camera. I've been involved with ZWO tech since the beginning and I currently operate a ZWO ASIAir Pro and a 120MM camera + 30mm scope for guiding. The rest of my kit includes a RedCat 51, SkyWatcher HEQ5 mount, and Optolong L-Pro and L-Extreme filters, and I have no experience or gear for mono-shooting right now.

Just going off articles online and reviewing YouTubes from the more experienced AP's out there, the ASI294MC Pro or -183MC Pro are what seem to most appropriate price-point wise. But there's more to a "good decision" than just the dollar signs behind it, which is why I'm reaching out to the community here for opinions, wisdom, conjecture, and any criticisms or jokes to be had at my expense smile.gif

 

So...what are people's thoughts on the 294 or 183 from ZWO, and are there any other models/options I should consider?


Thanks All, and Clear Skies!

What have you been shooting ?  Can you show a picture of your setup or post some sample images you have taken so far ?

 

Clear Skies


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#6 limeyx

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Posted 27 September 2022 - 03:00 AM

Look at the 533 series. It is a newer and better sensor than either the 294 or the 183. It has the same tech as the 2600 and 6200. 

This is my plan. It pains me to go from the APS-C of my DSLR but my budget wont support the 2600, so 533mm it will be for now (once I buy the wife a front door for the house to compensate :)


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#7 mayhem13

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Posted 27 September 2022 - 04:22 AM

The 294 offers the larger sensor size and image…..but also has the larger pixels so not a great sampling match for your Redcat scope. It is also kinda finicky for some folks with getting proper flat frames….it’s a pretty specific process apparently that demands some discipline or there will be significant artifacts in the image

 

The 183 sensor is much smaller as are its pixels…..it’s a much better match sampling wise but you really can’t take full advantage of the widefield of the Redcat UNLESS you practiced Mosaics….in that case, you’ve likely put together the best possible scope/sensor option available

 

The 533 sensor is a tiny bit larger overall than the 183 and the pixel size is a bit larger too…..an ok sampling match for the Redcat but even better for 500-800mm focal lengths. This sensor generation is of the most recent so image quality wise…..you’ll get cleaner images with more dynamic range in less time than either of the previous two. That’s NOT to say the 183 and 294 can’t……..it will just take more time and work

 

And then there’s the pay once/cry once option of the ASI2600…….the same chip specs as the 533 just much larger so you can get the full view available from your Redcat without mosaics.

 

So here’s the scope inherent demand…..it’s a Petzval so the full image is flat…..a perfect mating for the 2600 APS C sensor while the smaller sensors of the 183 and 533 won’t see nearly 50% of that field and IMO are best suited for optical systems with existing field curvature or inherent structural issues that result in tilt……..these little sensors ‘see’ only the center of the image on a scale that all but eliminates tilt, curvature and vignette.

 

My $$ say the cooler months are upon us so hold on to your $$ and your DSLR…..the noise will be less of a problem now till mid spring. In the mean time, find a way to stash away a few more $$ each week that gets you to the 2600……you’ll want for nothing for a few years and longer focal lengths after.


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#8 idclimber

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Posted 27 September 2022 - 07:03 AM

This is my plan. It pains me to go from the APS-C of my DSLR but my budget wont support the 2600, so 533mm it will be for now (once I buy the wife a front door for the house to compensate smile.gif

I would suggest getting 36mm filters now with the 533mm. That way when you do upgrade to the 2600mm all you need to do is sell the one camera and buy another. Replacing filters and the wheel is a pain. 

 

The 533 does not accept the ZWO filter wheel using the bolt method like the 2600, but you can thread it on instead. This is shown in one of the many diagrams for these cameras, but it is hard to find. 


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#9 bigbenbrown55

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Posted 27 September 2022 - 11:25 AM

Thanks for all the responses and guidance everyone, much appreciated!

I've been imaging high mag targets like Andromeda, North American Nebula, Pleiades, etc. I took a run at Elephant's Trunk, didn't turn out that great unfortunately. I can't seem to share some of my imagery via CloudyNights, so feel free to view via the links below:

I'm hearing A LOT of feedback on the 183, the 294, the 533, and the 2600:

  • The 183, 294, 533 options are comparable price-wise, give or take, which is a plus
  • The 183 & 294 sensors are both fairly small compared to my RedCat's wide field view, a minus to some degree but I'm not sure I'm able to appreciate how much of minus
  • 533 and 2600 both have the same tech, but the 533 has the lowest resolution of all the models discussed, and the 2600's sensor is larger and can "see" the RedCat's full view similar to my un-modded DSLR

 

The 533 option seems like the best middle ground, however, I am concerned with the lower image resolution compared to all the other options discussed (maybe I shouldn't be?).

And on the flipside, mayhem13 makes a good point about the seasonality change.



#10 rkaufmann87

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Posted 27 September 2022 - 11:35 AM

Sorry but the links you provided above do not work. Anyone else having the same problem?? The message I get says "This shared file or folder link has been removed."



#11 bigbenbrown55

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Posted 27 September 2022 - 03:02 PM

Sorry but the links you provided above do not work. Anyone else having the same problem?? The message I get says "This shared file or folder link has been removed."

I've confirmed the links do work, is it a cloudynights error you're seeing?



#12 limeyx

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Posted 27 September 2022 - 03:18 PM

I would suggest getting 36mm filters now with the 533mm. That way when you do upgrade to the 2600mm all you need to do is sell the one camera and buy another. Replacing filters and the wheel is a pain. 

 

The 533 does not accept the ZWO filter wheel using the bolt method like the 2600, but you can thread it on instead. This is shown in one of the many diagrams for these cameras, but it is hard to find. 

Thank you and this is my plan. My budget is pretty limited due to kids (...and life)

 

Plan is

 

533mm + 36mm filter wheel + ZWO (or similar) 36mm filters - I know these are not the best

 

I will get used to this as it will be a steep curve

 

Then the plan is to upgrade the OIII filter to a better filter, assuming I get halos from the ZWO one. I dont know if I will be able to afford the Chroma or not. I know it's cheaper to buy these in sets than individually but ...

 

This I can get done for around $2k + the OIII filter later

 

The 2600 adds another $1500 to that which really isn't that much (if I don't mind the lower quality filters) but probably out of range for now

 

The full setups with good filters are just way over what I can afford right now


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#13 limeyx

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Posted 27 September 2022 - 03:20 PM

Thanks for all the responses and guidance everyone, much appreciated!

I've been imaging high mag targets like Andromeda, North American Nebula, Pleiades, etc. I took a run at Elephant's Trunk, didn't turn out that great unfortunately. I can't seem to share some of my imagery via CloudyNights, so feel free to view via the links below:

I'm hearing A LOT of feedback on the 183, the 294, the 533, and the 2600:

  • The 183, 294, 533 options are comparable price-wise, give or take, which is a plus
  • The 183 & 294 sensors are both fairly small compared to my RedCat's wide field view, a minus to some degree but I'm not sure I'm able to appreciate how much of minus
  • 533 and 2600 both have the same tech, but the 533 has the lowest resolution of all the models discussed, and the 2600's sensor is larger and can "see" the RedCat's full view similar to my un-modded DSLR

 

The 533 option seems like the best middle ground, however, I am concerned with the lower image resolution compared to all the other options discussed (maybe I shouldn't be?).

And on the flipside, mayhem13 makes a good point about the seasonality change.

Same concern on the 533, however pixel size is the same as 2600 (I think, or close) so with Mosaics you can still get the same shots with more time - unless I am missing something

 


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#14 AngryBear

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Posted 27 September 2022 - 04:14 PM

Sorry but the links you provided above do not work. Anyone else having the same problem?? The message I get says "This shared file or folder link has been removed."

I get the same error



#15 mayhem13

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Posted 27 September 2022 - 05:37 PM

Same concern on the 533, however pixel size is the same as 2600 (I think, or close) so with Mosaics you can still get the same shots with more time - unless I am missing something

Yes…..the 533 square sensor lends itself to easier integration of mosaic panels IMO…….you’ll nee 4 of them to cover the same area as the 2600 though……..so four times the integration and 4 times the processing time……….but there’s value in the time and experience.


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#16 galacticinsomnia

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Posted 27 September 2022 - 05:54 PM

Nope links don't work for me..




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