The Best Deep Sky Astrophotography Cameras for Beginners


Your search for the best deep space astrophotography cameras has been found! We’ve put together the top-recommended dedicated astronomy 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 ASI183MC PRO. This is one of the most versatile dedicated astronomy cameras on the market. Not only can it take great deep sky images, but also features the fast frame rates necessary for planetary, lunar, and solar imaging as well — something not many deep sky cameras have. At well under the $1000 mark, it's also one of the most affordable cameras to get into astrophotography without breaking the bank!


Check out our video below on the ZWO ASI183 going over why it's such a versatile camera:


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!

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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!

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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!

5 Responses

Larry Kealey

February 04, 2022


I believe that the asi533mc is the “replacement” for the asi183, double check me on this but that’s what I’ve gathered. I believe it’s more clearly stated on the zwo website. While the asi533 has fewer pixels, they are larger. Additionally, the asi183 models generate aa lot of amp-glow; whereas they have solved that problem with the asi533 models. The amp-glow is easily removed with darks and flats, but the processing is supposed to be easier – without the need for dark frames in many cases…

The asi183 models are referred to as the “venerable asi183” and have been out for quite some time. The asi533 models are much newer….

At least that’s what my research indicates so far. I’ve narrowed it down to cameras with the IMX071 and IMX571 sensors primarily. I
Ike the 071s, but the Peak QE of 50% seems like it would negate the value of the larger pixel size (4.8 microns) vs. the 571s with a Peak QA of 80% and 3.76 micron pixels…. Both are APS-C format sensors, which I like. I can’t afford a full frame camera.

It’s a bit out of my budget, but I’ve got my eye on the qhy268C (photography version) and the asi571mc Pro. They both use the IMX571 sensor – 26MP at 3.76 microns). If not for the lower QE of the IMX071 sensor, I probably would have purchased the asi071mc Pro or the QHY equivalent…. I need to do a bit more research on that. I’ve seen some really nice pictures from the IMX571 cameras, right out of the box, with no post processing! Get up and going right away! Still $2k is a nice chunk of change. At the same time, I don’t want to drop $1k and then want a new camera in six months…

I currently have a 12.2MP Canon DSLR as well as a Canon (film) SLR. It’s time for a dedicated astronomy camera…

Good luck!

spedra torrinomedica

December 16, 2021

I’m not sure exactly why but this weblog is loading extremely slow for me.
Is anyone else having this issue or is it a problem on my end?

I’ll check back later and see if the problem still exists.
spedra torrinomedica


November 13, 2021

How can there be two cameras that are “First on our list” (the ASI183MC Pro and the ASI533MC Pro)?

Ronald D Baldwin

October 26, 2021

Well, Mr. Carroll does have a point, you have to click away from the comparison article to get the price. Not really friendly for the non-tech folks. Then, again, this hobby hasn’t had a history of being non-technical! :-)

Gary Carroll

October 13, 2021

You show these great products but no prices. As a beginner I’m not familiar with all of the models or specs.
Looks nice but it doesn’t excite me. Put the prices on any future emails.

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