ZWO ASI-290MC Color Astronomy Camera USB 3.0

ZWO ASI-290MC Color Astronomy Camera USB 3.0
Item # ZWO-ASI290MC
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  • The ZWO ASI-290MC Color Astronomy Camera USB 3.0 is a stellar quality choice for an entry level astro-imaging CMOS camera, providing highly accurate and clear images in an efficient, easy to use package!
  • The ZWO ASI-290MC Color Astronomy Camera USB 3.0 boasts a remarkably low read noise of only 1e, meaning that it produces images with very little noise or interference.
  • The ZWO ASI-290MC Color Astronomy Camera USB 3.0 provides HD quality full color images with little to no interference in a small, portable package.


This splendid quality CMOS camera is a testament to low expense, high quality astronomical imaging technology. Perfect for any astronomer interested in getting into Astro-Imaging, the ZWO ASI-290 is a quality machine using incredibly efficient sensor technology! It utilizes a new 2.9 µm-square unit pixel which has been developed that combines a back-illuminated structure with technology for improving near infrared sensitivity to further enhance picture quality at low illumination while at the same time realizing Full HD cameras for industrial applications. This realizes two or more times the sensitivity in the visible-light region and three or more times the sensitivity in the near infrared light region than that of the existing Sony product (IMX236LQJ). What that means is that this sensor has radically improved image quality and efficiency without any increase in size or price from previous generations.

Low Read Noise and why that's a Great feature to have

One of the most splendid features of this imaging sensor is it's incredibly low Read Noise at 1.0. What read Noise is, is interference in your pixels, distortion in the image, and general interference with your camera's final result before it reaches you. At only 1 electron of Read Noise, the image produced by this camera at the end result is remarkably free of interference, a stellar trait that really does maximize the efficiency of this camera's sensor.

Small Sensor; Big Images

Now, at only 6.46 millimeters, the sensor used in this camera is tiny- lending itself to the highly compact design of the camera as a whole. Most of the time with an astronomy Camera, a small sensor is taken as meaning poor images...

But here, that's not true at all. This tiny sensor packs a good solid punch, due heavily to the low read noise that leaves images at near their full potential quality. It's capable of full HD imaging at 170 FPS, blazingly fast for the resolutions it's operating at! And that's it's maximum FPS, when operating at the absolute limit of it's resolution- at lower resolutions, it may be even faster! It supports a wide range of resolutions which will be listed below- but it's optimal resolution is 1936×1096.

Full Specifications and Features List

  • Pixel Size: 2.9µm
  • Exposure Range: 32µs-2000s
  • ROI: Supported
  • ST4 Guider Port: Yes
  • Focus Distance to Sensor: 12.5mm
  • Shutter Type: Rolling Shutter
  • Protect window: AR coated window
  • Operating System Compatibility: Mac, Windows, Linux
  • Bit rate: 12bit output(12bit ADC)
  • Dimensions: 62mm X 36mm
  • Weight: 120g or 4.2 ounces (without lens)
  • Read Noise: 1e at 30db gain
  • Full Well: 14.6ke
  • ADC: 12bit

Supported Resolutions and FPS at those Resolutions:

  • 1936×1096: 82.2/170
  • 1280×960: 93.6/193.9
  • 640×480: 184/381.2
  • 320×240: 355.9/737.5
  • 2X2Bin :968×548: 82.2/170
  • More resolutions can be user defined

Manufacturer Product Number: ASI290MC
Additional Information

Additional Information

Manufacturer ZWO
Color or B&W? Color
Sensor Type CMOS
Series ZWO ASI
Pixel Size < 5 Microns
Chip Diagonal 6.1mm - 8mm
Warranty 2 Year Warranty
Sensor Manufacturer Sony
# of Sensors Single Sensor
Front or Back Illumination Back Illuminated
Sensor Model IMX291
Full Well Capacity 14.6ke
Pixel Size in Micrometers 2.9µm
Pixel Array 2.1 Mega Pixels ;1936×1096
Sensor Diagonal 6.46mm
Minimum Exposure Time 32 us
Maximum Exposure Time 2000s
Binning Modes 2x2
Focus Distance To Sensor 12.5mm
Shutter Type Rolling Electronic
Interface USB 3.0
Operating System Compatibility Linux (3rd Party), Mac, Windows
Questions & Answers

Product Questions

Can you still use the camera with USB 2.0?
How does ZWO ASI-290MC connect to a telescope with
2" focusers like my ES ED127CF?
Support / Downloads