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.
Cooling and You.
Astronomical Camera's need to be cooled when you are performing any kind of long exposure or extended session, as the battery tends to heat up over time during constant use. Cooling prevents it from overheating and causing issues- that's pretty self explanatory. And it's the reason why ZWO's ASI-290 needs the potent cooling system that is built into the camera- so that you can take as long as you need or want on your imaging sessions without worrying about overheating or other issues that take away from your time spent capturing the night sky in Photo! The ASI-290 is capable of cooling up to a magnitude ranging from 35 to forty degrees Celsius below the ambient temperature. That means that it can cool your camera down from the ambient temperature of the air around it by a magnitude of at most, forty degrees Celsius. This cooling system does drain extra power, draining 12V at 2A as a maximum level of power drain.
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)
- Cooling: Up to 35-40°C below ambient.
- Storage Temperature: -20°C—60°C
- Working Temperature: -5°C—45°C
- 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: ASI290MM-C