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ASI 183MC pro, 533 MC pro or 294MC pro with a Z61


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I'm in the market for a new one shot colour camera to pair up with my William Optics Z61ii scope (focal length 360mm).  For reference I also use the Astro Essentials 30mm mini guide scope + ASI 120MM mini guide camera, all mounted on an AZ-gti mount in eq mode and run using the ASI Air pro (and is why I'm only looking at ASI cameras).  In terms of targets, nebulae and galaxies are my focus.

I was initially looking at the ASI 183MC pro camera due to the small pixel size married up to my short fl scope.  However, with an eye to the future and potential additional telescope purchase of either an imaging reflector such as the 130/150 pds or a larger refractor (and mount to match), my main concern is how well it may combine with the 183.  That wouldn't be for at least another 12 months though and would still want to keep the Z61 regardless as it's a great little scope.

In terms of pixel scale, the 183 sits right in the "sweet spot" with the Z61 at 1.37, although the 533 (2.15) and the 294 (2.65) aren't a million miles away and would improve as focal length increased.  But, as nothing more than a keen amateur, is that really something I need to concern myself with?  Possibly not.

Anyway, would the 533 or 294 perhaps be a more flexible purchase, with the future in mind?  I don't think there's any "wrong" answer here as I imagine any purchase will be a step up from my current DSLR.  All are much of a muchness in price and their different fields of view is a non issue for me.  On the other hand of course there's always the adage of buying something for the gear I've got, not the gear I don't.

I've tried searching the web for other's experiences.  I've found a few who successfully use the 533 with the Z61 (and even shorter focal length scopes), but hardly anyone who combines the 183 or 294 with the Z61 (or similar).

I'm probably over thinking this as usual - I'm just interested in people's experiences and suggestions please.

Edited by herne
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Check my Flickr page (doimg), I'm using a 183mm pro with the Z61, quite an excellent setup to be fair. I do however look for a 533mc or 294mc, their full well capacities are stated as being much higher and next step up in bit depth but when you work around 100 gain the FWC comes down drastically to 183 levels anyway. I'm considering the latter two in colour as at the end of a night I'd be able to process a "finished" image, shooting mono you tend to have to plan you shoots over a number of sessions sometimes spanning months due to weather.

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I use a ASI183MM PRO on my Redcat51 and a ASI183MC PRO on my WOZS73 with a x0.8 reducer which brings it close to the ZS61 native focal length. Absolutely no probs at all with either combination. I’ve even used it on my longer focus WOZS103 again with a x0.8 reducer with no problems. I have a 294MM PRO and it is more suited to the 103 when binned 2x2. Although it will also go on the shorter focal length scopes when binning at 1x1. To be clear the 294MM is totally different sensor (IMX 492) to the 294MC [IMX 294) though despite sharing the same names. Maybe the ASI294MM pro should really be named the ASI492MM.

The 294MC doesn’t have the magic unlocking which the MM has that changes the binned 2x2 4.63 micron compound pixels into individually addressable 1x1 2.3 micron pixels. The MC just has 4.63 micron individual pixels.

A difficult decision I know when budgeting for a dedicated astro camera but I would go for the 183MC for now and try it out on the 130PDS. It might surprise you. Just be aware that it has amp glow but that is easily solved with calibration frames. Keep the gain at unity and the offset at 8.

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Just a footnote. Have a look at the astronomy.tools website (also a FLO offering) and goto the CCD Suitability Calculator http://astronomy.tools/calculators/ccd_suitability . Input the scope you are looking at and the camera you want. The SW130PDS and the ASI183MCPro comes out in the green sector which means it is well a suited combo.

Whereas the 150PDS comes out slightly over sampled but that can be compensated for by using a x0.8 reducer.

 

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Thanks for the replies all, food for thought 👍.

Bottom line - any will be a step up from a DSLR.  I'm leaning towards the 533, but not rushing into any decisions until I do some further due diligence.

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3 hours ago, DaveS said:

I think I would go with the ASI 533, it's just newer technology. Don't get too hung up over pixel scale.

I have a 183 sensor based camera paired with a 130pds and it's fine, but I would still endorse DaveS' advice- the newer generation of sensors do work better.

Edited by Whistlin Bob
Grammar!
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My pick would be either the 533 or 294.

I've owned a Z61 for years and can tell you the 61mm aperture can no way resolve 1.37 arcseconds. Dawes limit is about 1.9, so the small pixels of the 183 are wasted.

I also have a 294m, and it's a great match binned 2x2 (2.65 arcseconds/pixel). Unlocked it is way oversampled (similar pixel pitch as 183).

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I've been using the 533 with both my ZS73 and altair 150edf.  It's great for objects that would fit into a circle - galaxies, rosette nebula and so on. What it's not so good for is big nebulae like M42 as the square format doesn't really suit. Most of the time I'm wishing I'd saved a bit more for the ASI2600MC pro. 

Graeme

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9 hours ago, herne said:

I'm in the market for a new one shot colour camera to pair up with my William Optics Z61ii scope (focal length 360mm).  For reference I also use the Astro Essentials 30mm mini guide scope + ASI 120MM mini guide camera, all mounted on an AZ-gti mount in eq mode and run using the ASI Air pro (and is why I'm only looking at ASI cameras).  In terms of targets, nebulae and galaxies are my focus.

I was initially looking at the ASI 183MC pro camera due to the small pixel size married up to my short fl scope.  However, with an eye to the future and potential additional telescope purchase of either an imaging reflector such as the 130/150 pds or a larger refractor (and mount to match), my main concern is how well it may combine with the 183.  That wouldn't be for at least another 12 months though and would still want to keep the Z61 regardless as it's a great little scope.

In terms of pixel scale, the 183 sits right in the "sweet spot" with the Z61 at 1.37, although the 533 (2.15) and the 294 (2.65) aren't a million miles away and would improve as focal length increased.  But, as nothing more than a keen amateur, is that really something I need to concern myself with?  Possibly not.

Anyway, would the 533 or 294 perhaps be a more flexible purchase, with the future in mind?  I don't think there's any "wrong" answer here as I imagine any purchase will be a step up from my current DSLR.  All are much of a muchness in price and their different fields of view is a non issue for me.  On the other hand of course there's always the adage of buying something for the gear I've got, not the gear I don't.

I've tried searching the web for other's experiences.  I've found a few who successfully use the 533 with the Z61 (and even shorter focal length scopes), but hardly anyone who combines the 183 or 294 with the Z61 (or similar).

I'm probably over thinking this as usual - I'm just interested in people's experiences and suggestions please.

533 has my vote for sure. You are never getting 1.37arc seconds per pixel from a ZS61 anyway. Just won't happen. 

Adam

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12 hours ago, 8472 said:

My pick would be either the 533 or 294.

I've owned a Z61 for years and can tell you the 61mm aperture can no way resolve 1.37 arcseconds. Dawes limit is about 1.9, so the small pixels of the 183 are wasted.

I also have a 294m, and it's a great match binned 2x2 (2.65 arcseconds/pixel). Unlocked it is way oversampled (similar pixel pitch as 183).

 

8 hours ago, Adam J said:

533 has my vote for sure. You are never getting 1.37arc seconds per pixel from a ZS61 anyway. Just won't happen. 

Adam

Very useful, thanks both.  Just goes to show that reading the results of an equation doesn’t beat experience 👍.

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