Discovery Astrophotography with ZWO ASTRO

ASI Planetary Camera Selection Guide

ASI Planet Camera Guide

We have all seen incredible images of the planets online and in books and wanted to see them for ourselves. With ZWO, you can see the rings of Saturn and the great red spot on Jupiter. 

ZWO is committed to providing high-quality astronomical cameras at an affordable price to enthusiasts around the world. 



The gear you need specifically to start guiding is, 

1. Deep space camera

2. Acquisition software/hardware – ZWO ASIAIR

3. Filter Wheel and Filters (optional)

4. Electronic Focus (optional)

5. Guide scope/Off-Axis Guider

6. Guide Camera

To suit everyone’s desires, we have created multiple planetary cameras. With this guide, you will be able to pick the one best suited to you! 


ASI Planetary Camera


Retail Price – 179 USD 


Resolution – 1280×960

Pixel Size – 3.75μm

Imaging the moon is how most get started in astrophotography. If you are a beginner, you cannot go wrong with the ASI120MC-S. This is the best entry-level camera for lunar and planetary imaging. The ASI120 conquered the CCD camera as the go-to for imaging our solar system. Due to its high sensitivity, high frame rate and ease of use, the ASI120 is the perfect choice for planetary photography.

The ASI120-S series has two models the ASI120MM is black and white, more sensitive and requires different filters to make a colour image and the ASI120MC is a colour camera which is easier to use however slightly less sensitive. Both will yield amazing results!

Planetary photography is different from lunar in that the planets are much smaller. This means a longer focal length and or barlow lens is an advantage.


Retail Price – 249 USD


Resolution – 1304×976

Pixel Size – 3.75μm

The ASI224MC is a more advanced choice for planetary photography. It is just as easy to use as the ASI120MC however with a more sensitive sensor and less noise, the results are out of this world (pun intended). It is because of this low noise and sensitivity that the ASI224MC is one of the most popular planetary cameras in the world. 


Retail Price – 369 USD


Resolution – 1936×1096

Pixel Size – 3.75μm

The ASI385MC is an upgrade from the ASI224MC. With an ultra-low readout noise of 0.7e and an increased resolution of 1936×1096 pixels, it is the most powerful colour planetary camera.


Retail Price – 369 USD


Resolution – 1936×1096

Pixel Size – 2.9μm

If you want to go further in improving the details of your planetary imaging, you should consider the ASI290MM. This is a black and white camera and with the use of filters, will produce some of the best planetary images you have ever seen!

With an image resolution of 1936×1096 pixels, a low readout noise of 1e and a maximum frame rate of 170FPS at full resolution, the ASI290MM is more than capable of meeting your planetary imaging needs. 

This image of Jupiter was taken by Damian Peach with an ASI290MM from France.


Retail Price – 299 USD


Resolution – 3096×2080

Pixel Size – 2.4μm

For higher resolution planetary imaging, the ASI178 is the answer. With a 6.4 megapixel back-illuminated CMOS sensor and a resolution of 3096×2080 and 2.4um small pixels, the ASI178 has amazing sampling accuracy. To improve the quality even further, you can again choose the black and white option. 

The ASI178 has been regarded as one of the best cameras for high-resolution imaging.


Retail Price – 599 USD


Resolution – 1936×1216

Pixel Size – 5.86μm

The ASI174MM is recognized as the best camera for solar imaging. It features a 1/1.2″ large sensor, a high frame rate of 164fps, and uses the global shutter. It is also a great camera for imaging high-speed moving objects such as ISS. 


Electronic Filter Wheel Mini

The electronic filter wheel mini supports up to five filters and will change automatically depending on how you have set up your sequence in your imaging software. 

Manual Filter Wheel

The manual filter wheel will also support up to five filters, but you instead switch filters manually.


Atmospheric Chromatic Aberration Correction Mirror (ADC)

ADC is very useful for observing and photographing planets at low angels or during bad seeing. It helps you and your camera see through the turbulence of the atmosphere to produce a clearer image of the planet.


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