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Many people ask “what is the best camera to use?”

One answer might be similar to the question about “what is the best telescope to use!"

 Some say (quite reasonably, I think!) that the best equipment is that which you are going to use most often, rather than sitting there gathering dust…& this means it depends upon who you are, your circumstances & how much effort is required - or what amount of effort etc that you might want to put into this activity…

“Circumstances” always involves money as well…& as well as perhaps not having the time nor the desire to use the more involved equipment –the money will always have the final say!!! L.

Colour cameras are certainly much simpler to use, quite a lot cheaper in that they do not need filters & filter wheels…& in some other respects are easier to get a final image from…when a planet is low in the sky they are also easier to use with an “ADC” or Atmospheric Distortion Corrector” – these devices correct to a degree the image-“marring” aspects in these situations…& now that they can be obtained much more cheaply, are becoming much more common.( a ZWO product recently released has revolutionised their availability)

Also, with the advent of the ASI224MC colour camera last year the notion of colour cameras being less sensitive has been dismissed to a significant extent – this particular camera has great sensitivity & very low “noise” values.

That said, many people (including us) tend towards mono camera use, particularly now that the ZWO ASI290MM mono camera has been released. Mono cameras are certainly more versatile with the range of filter options possible & some aspects of them make them an overall “better” choice for many imagers …

However, the ASI224MC is a particularly fine planetary imaging camera & compares to the best mono outcomes in many respects when other conditions of imaging are equal…..so to confuse people with choices about what is a “preferred” camera-type here are 3 images of Saturn, all taken in good seeing conditions.

The top & bottom images are captured with mono cameras, the middle with the ASI224MC colour camera. J


22nd August 2016









13th August 2016









2nd July 2016

To add to our “somersaulting Saturns” we made with the ASI174MM & ASI224MC I have included one taken with the ASI290MMcamera below, on a night of good seeing where plenty of disk activity can be seen - & where Saturn’s many bands are prominently displayed.


2nd June 2016


Above & below are 2 images from the same night…the top image one where only a single set of r-g-b captures were used (total capture time for the 3 “channels” being 6 minutes – the maximum roughly allowable before the planet’s actual rotation begins to blur the finer details ) whilst the bottom image uses 2 sets of r-g-b channel captures via the WinJUPOS software program that allows sets of images to be “derotated” so they can be compiled into a single image. J

If you look at each image carefully you might draw the conlusion that the upper image displays the very fine detail slightly better, whereas the lower image is slightly “smoother” due to the number of frames (many more) that result from combining sets of captures. This isn’t always the case however, so it is difficult to generalise! ;)


17th May 2016


Another (above & below) set of images taken/captured on the same night, the below on shortly after the one above.

The bottom image of these 2 is an “iR685nm” image…a specific infra-red type filter that reveals what the planet looks like in infrared light centred around 685nm (Nano meters) in the light spectrum. (see the “Uranus” webpage to understand this “light spectrum” a little better!) J


4th May 2016

The image below was the first time we used the ASI290MM mono camera on Saturn – a very good “First Light” for this camera where a very large white storm spot is evident. (roughly near the centre of the planet’s disk)


11th April 2016

Perhaps the last time we use the ASI224MC colour camera, despite it still being one of the best planetary cameras available – this is more a statement of just how rapidly advances are being made with these types of sensors & cameras than any indictment on any specific model…


Below is another infrared image taken using the iR685nm filter – remembering that images taken at these light wavelengths often reveal details that cannot necessarily be seen in (normal) rgb (colour) images.

This image also displays one of the outstanding capabilities of this ASI224MC colour camera – it is so sensitive with regard to light in the infrared part of the spectrum that using such a filter results in very good infrared images of planets such as this below! J


15th March 2016

One of the first (early) images captured for 2016 of Saturn – with the ASI224MC colour camera: details (storm spots) can be seen on the disk, a good catch for this early in the season! J



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