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The Best Dedicated Astronomy Cameras for Beginners


Your search for the best deep space astrophotography cameras has been found! We’ve put together the top-recommended astrophotography-dedicated deep space cameras for beginners by the OPT team based on experience.

If this is your first time buying a deep space camera, enjoy the extra help with highlighted features for each camera below, and some OPT team featured images. In addition, we have a library of astronomy resources like our DSLR intro to deep space imaging that provides tips on how to take pictures of deep space objects

These cameras make great planetary cameras too, but they’re best for deep space imaging. So get comfortable as we look into the details of OPT Telescopes expert’s best deep space cameras for beginners.

Let’s jump in!


First on our list is the ASI1600MM PRO. The ASI1600MM PRO is a powerhouse of a camera and more when paired with 36 mm filters. This deep space camera is can push at a maximum of 40 to 45 degrees below the ambient temperature. Like most ZWO cooled cameras, it has a short back focus, making it very adaptable to almost any telescope system.

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Check out these beautiful images captured by Mack Murdoc with the ASI1600MM PRO!

best deep space cameras for beginners asi1600mm pro mack murdoc Click here to check out more specs.


First on our list is the ASI533MC PRO. This camera has made our top list because of the features it provides at its price point. You can capture galaxies and nebulae in incredible detail. Check out the specs below!

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Drew Evans took this amazing photo of NGC7000 using the ASI533MC PRO!

The Best Deep Space Cameras for Beginners asi533mm pro drewevans

Click here for more specs and details of the ASI533MC PRO.

ZWO ASI294MC PRO Deep Space Camera

Similar to the ZWO ASI553MC PRO the ZWO ASI294MC PRO expands its features like a wider field of view, saving you time with capturing more objects in one frame.

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Check out this stunning capture by Drew Evans of the Rosette Nebula using a ZWO ASI294MC PRO!

The Best Deep Space Cameras for Beginners asi294mc pro drewevans

Click here to learn more about what makes the ZWO ASI294MC one of the best deep space cameras for beginners!

QHY 163 Cooled Color CMOS Deep Space Camera

Finally, but not least is the QHY 163 cooled color CMOS camera. This camera is engineered with 16 megapixels, which is a nice resolution for its price point. It also has a moderately-sized 3.8-micron pixels, making it sensitive enough to capture faint deep space objects. Cooling goes down to -40ºC below ambient, which is nice as some more advanced cameras only do -35!

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Click here for more specs on the QHY163!

Whichever you choose, these cameras make great options as beginner deep space cameras for their price point and the specs they provide at their price point.

What's your dream camera? Tell us in the comments!

8 Responses

Joe Summers

April 18, 2021

I am viewing ZWO, Meade and QHY. Do any take the mac (ISO) ? or any just don’t take computers?

Matthew Michota

April 08, 2021

Late to the party but here I am, everyone saying how expensive they are for a beginner, well Astrophotography is an expensive hobby. Considering that all these cameras are about the price of an entry-mid level DSLR and considering their capabilities, I’d say it’s a reasonable price. I can’t wait to get mine.


April 01, 2021

Hey Howard, thank you so much for the feedback. We are pleased to know you enjoyed this list of deep space cameras. Clear skies!

Howard Hughes

March 30, 2021

This is a reasonable list. If you want to get reasonable images beyond what a DSLR can capture, then this is the price of admission (plus a scope, plus a reasonably good mount, plus a laptop). I think the staff did a good job of spelling out options.


October 13, 2020

Hi George, thank you for your valued feedback. We have updated our blog to better reflect why we listed these cameras. Everyone starts somewhere, and while these cameras may not be the best for you at the moment, there are many tools you can take advantage of to get started in the hobby. Please contact us so we can help find the right camera for you. You can also join us on Twitch at to connect with astronomers around the world and get live questions answered about astrophotography and gear. Clear skies!


October 13, 2020

Hi Jay, we appreciate your feedback and have updated the blog to better reflect why we placed these on a beginner deep space cameras blog. These cameras are engineered to capture professional quality images, although there are different ways you can still capture some deep space objects depending on the scope you have. A simple tool is the Celestron NexYZ Smartphone Adapter which easily locks onto your eyepiece and uses your phone’s camera to capture what is visible from the eyepiece. If you are looking to image bright deep space objects, like the Orion Nebula, our “Best Planetary Cameras” blog has more budget-friendly options that can capture bright deep space objects too. Please contact us if you’d like more help on finding the right camera for you. In the meantime, join us on Twitch at to see live streams of remote observatories in action and to connect with other astronomers around the world. We hope you found this helpful and continue your journey in astrophotography. Clear Skies!

Jay Lobb

October 11, 2020

I’m with George. If those are beginner cameras, then I guess I’ll NEVER bother to start astrophotography. Ridiculous.

George Strayer

October 07, 2020

These are for beginners? Yeah, maybe if you are a very well off beginner!

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