ZWO ASI224 Color Camera - Information

Look | Look at the PS 72/432 | Field of View | Visited Sky Objects | First Photo Attempts | Preliminary Conclusions | Links | Appendix: Data

On this page, I present some information about my ZWO ASI224MC color camera (borrowed from a starfriend at the beginning of April 2021, bought on April 25, 2021). This camera has the same Sony sensor as my eVscope (Sony IMX224/225), so I was interested in finding out how it would perform on my telescopes in comparison with the eVscope and my Atik Infinity camera.

See the appendix for the data.

 

Look

Unboxing...

Note: Since this is a used camera, the package may not be in its original state...

Box and camera cable (not original)

Box opened (center and right)

Box opened and (nearly) emptied

Look of the Camera

 

Look at the PS 72/432

 

 

Field of View

I used the Website astronomy.tools for calculating the field of view of the ASI224MC camera at my current telescope tubes (as of April 2021). In any case, this is the most convenient way for doing so!

Legend: Orange Custom Scope = eVscope; Red Custom Scope = PS 72/432

And here the same for the Atik Infinity:

Legend: Orange Custom Scope = eVscope; Yellow Custom Scope = PS 72/432

I summarize the results in the following table:

 
Field of View
 
Telescope Reducer Focal Length Aperture ASI224MC Atik Infinity Remarks
PS 72/432 --- 432 72 0.65° x 0.48° 1.19° x 0.89° The largest FOV
C5 --- 1250 127 0.22° x 0.17° 0.41° x 0.31° FOV like C8 with reducer
C5 f/6.3 787.5 127 0.36° x 0.17° 0.65° x 0.49° FOV a little smaller as with TLAPO1027
C8 --- 2032 203 0.14° x 0.1° 0.25° x 0.19° The smallest FOV
C8 f/6.3 1280 203 0.22° x 0.16° 0.4° x 0.3° FOV like C5
TLAPO1027 --- 714 102 0.39° x 0.29° 0.72° x 0.54° FOV a little larger that for C5 with reducer
eVscope --- 450 114 0.61° x 0.46 --- Same chip as ASI224

Roughly simplified, the fields of view of the Atik Infinity are almost twice as large per dimension, that is, the image areas are almost four times as large as that of the ASI224MC. Since the chips have roughly the same numbers of pixels, this difference is probably due to the different pixel sizes (3.75 versus 6.45 µm).

 

Visited Sky Objects

So far, I have visited (and documented...) the following sky objects with the ZWO ASI224MC and with my telescopes PS 72/432, C5, and TLAPO1027:

 

First Photo Attempts

April 8, 2021: Night Test with PS 72/432 Refractor

On April 8, 2021, I tried the ASI224MC camera for the first time at night. So the camera had its "first light", namely at my PS 72/432 refractor on the AZ-GTi mount (controlled via iPhone with the SynScan app). I used the camera software ASI Live, because this also runs on the Apple Macintosh under OS X and because it is easier to use than SharpCap. Moreover, the latter can only be operated under Windows (on the Mac with emulator). I did not use dark frames, so hot pixels and amp glow were more or less visible.

I started my session with the Orion Nebula M 42/43 before supper, tracked the nebula for about 20 minutes during supper (it was still in the eyepiece after that, but no longer at the center), and then continued with the Orion Nebula once more. Further targets were the Flame Nebula NGC 2024 (found via Alnitak), M 78, and finally M 96, where I actually wanted to photograph M 105, missed it, and after some searching finally found M 96 - and stayed there.

M 42/43 (16 frames, 10 s, gain 134)

NGC 2024 (30 frames, 10 s, gain 300)

M 78 (30 frames, 10 s, gain 300)

 

M 96 (30 frames, 10 s, gain 300)

 

Overall, the results were not convincing, but I was glad to have found and photographed something at all with the unfamiliar camera and camera software! In the end, I first had to learn how to control the camera with ASILive. This involved setting the exposure time, the gain (amplification = ISO), handling the brightness control for the image, and last but not least saving the photos. Not all questions have been answered on that evening!

April 13, 2021: Another Re-Test with C5 and PS 72/432

On April 13, 2021, I tested the ASI224MC camera for the third time at night (I skip the second test here, because I took no photos), at the C5 with f/6.3 reducer/corrector and at my PS 72/432 refractor, both on the AZ-GTi mount (controlled via iPhone with the SynScan app). Again, I used ASILive as camera software. And once again, I did not use dark frames because I still did not know how to create them in ASILive.

Mt the C5, I was not able to take usable photos (M 42/43, M 78) because the stacking aborted nearly immediately. With the PS 72/432, things went better, and I was able to observe and photograph the following objects: M 65/66, NGC 3628, M 105, M 95, M 96, and M 51. The stars were a bit blown up once again...

M 105 (17 frames, 10 s, gain 300)

M 51 (50 frames, 10 s, gain 134)

NGC 3628 (48 frames, 10 s, gain 134)

M 65/66 (31 frames, 10 s, gain 0)

M 95 (15 frames, 10 s, gain 300)

M 96 (12 frames, 10 s, gain 300)

Here are two versions of M 51 with different gains:

M 51 (76 frames, 10 s, gain 300)

M 51 (50 frames, 10 s, gain 134)

Further "Dry Runs" and Night Tests

I describe further "dry runs" and night tests on pages ZWO ASI224 Color Camera - First Experiences and ZWO ASI224 Color Camera - Further Experiences in order to keep this page fairly short... But last not least, a comparison from the latter page between three telescopes using the ASI224:

PS 72/432

 

C5

 

TLAPO1027

           

M 11, 60frames, 5sec, gain300

     

M 11, 60frames, 5sec, gain300, processed

   

M 13, 61frames, 5sec, gain300, processed

 

M 13, 48frames, 5sec, gain300, processed

 

M 13, 60frames, 5sec, gain300, processed

   

M 27, 85frames, 5sec, gain300, processed

 

M 27, 60frames, 5sec, gain300, processed

 

M 27, 96frames, 5sec, gain300, processed

     

M 51, stacked from single frames

     

M 51, 96frames, 5sec, gain300, processed

     

M 57, 72frames, 5sec, gain300, processed

     

M 57, 73frames, 5sec, gain300, processed

   

M 92, stacked from single frames, processed

 

M 92, 60frames, 5sec, gain300, processed

 

M 92, 60frames, 5sec, gain300, processed

 

Preliminary Conclusions

It is far too early even for preliminary conclusions... For this, see the subsequent pages ZWO ASI224 Color Camera - First Experiences and ZWO ASI224 Color Camera - Further Experiences.

Since April 2016, ZWO provides all ASI224MC and AISI224MC-C cameras with the PCB revision 1.3, which reduces amp glow. Inside the camera box there is a stamp with the year 2019 (I cannot decipher the Chinese date...), so the camera should already have the latest PCB. However, my first impression was that some of my shots exhibit a considerable amp glow.

An open question is also whether I will use the camera with ZWO free ASILive software or with the renowned application SharpCap....

 

Links

 

Appendix: Data of the ZWO ASI 224MC

Camera Technical Details (from ZWO Website)

Since April 2016, ZWO provides all ASI224MC and AISI224MC-C cameras with the PCB revision 1.3, which reduces amp glow.

 

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23.10.2021