SharpCap‎ > ‎

ZWOptical Cameras

ZWOptical have been kind enough to provide me with a sample of their new ASI130MM camera to allow me to develop some new features and allow SharpCap to work better with it.



The ASI130MM (and it's colour version, the ASI130MC) are very interesting cameras. They use the Micron MT9M001 CMOS sensor (which has a peak QE of 55%, so it's not giving away anything in sensitivity to a CCD - it's the same sensor as in the QHY5). They are nicely housed in an aluminium case with screw in 1.25" nosepiece (C thread on the camera case I believe). The computer connection is USB2 and no separate power lead is required.

Where ZWO have really worked hard is with the camera driver - rather than having proprietary capture software like so many manufacturers do for Astro cameras, they have put together a standard Direct Show driver so that pretty much any webcam capable application should work with the camera (Sharpcap, Amcap, WxAstroCapture, etc).

Performance is the key to this camera - 30fps @1280x1024, rising to 100fps with an ROI of 640x480 and an incredible 320fps with an ROI of 320x240!!

It's not just the high frame rates that are interesting though - the camera has a maximum exposure of ~1000s (just drag the exposure control all the way to the right to +10!).

The latest versions of SharpCap have a number of improvements to allow them to work better with these cameras:

* A progress bar for how far through the frame you are when the exposure rises above about 1s
* Detecting of the 2x2 and 4x4 binned modes offered by the cameras
* Support for ROI selection via the pan/tilt controls
* Corrected display of frame rate and colour space name.

I've yet to have a chance to take the camera outside and actually connect it to a scope, but I'll be reporting back once I do. And watch out for more improvements to support this camera range too!
Comments