Which camera is best for deep sky astrophotography?
The short answer: any of the latest dedicated astronomy cameras are going to perform very well for deep sky astrophotography, but the right camera depends on what you’re trying to image, your budget, and what equipment you may already own.
The long answer: finding the right dedicated astronomy camera for your setup will depend on a few different factors. These factors include:
- Whether you plan to image in color (beginner) or monochrome (advanced)
- What size image circle your telescope/corrector can cover, which will determine the largest sensor diagonal you can use
- What your pixel scale will be at your telescope’s focal length
- What your budget is
If you need help figuring out the answers to the above, our Sales team is always ready to assist you and recommend the right camera for your setup and needs. Click Here to Contact Us.
Which camera is better for deep sky imaging, a color or monochrome camera?
From a purely technical standpoint, monochrome cameras are inherently better than color cameras due to their sensor design. You can watch this video for an in-depth explanation, but monochrome cameras produce a cleaner and slightly sharper image than color cameras can. However, monochrome cameras are more expensive, and they require a filter wheel/drawer plus costly filters to produce a color image.
Color cameras, on the other hand, can produce color images right out of the box. Although monochrome cameras still have the upper edge, color camera technology and astronomy filters have gotten so good in recent years that it can be difficult to tell the difference between two images made from each camera type.
If you're just beginning astrophotography, we recommend starting off with a color camera. If you're already an experienced astrophotographer, consider upgrading to a monochrome CMOS or CCD camera.
How do I attach a deep space camera to my telescope?
Most often, many deep space cameras (like ZWO) come with the necessary adapters to attach to your telescope with either an M42 thread, and M48 thread, or an M54 thread, which are some of the most common connection sizes for telescopes. Be sure to double check what thread size your telescope or telescope accessory has, and make sure the adapters that come with your camera can fit. If you still need assistance figuring out how to attach your camera, we're here to help!
Which is better for deep sky astrophotography, a DSLR or Dedicated Astronomy Camera?
Dedicated astronomy cameras with cooling will be able to outperform DSLR/Mirrorless cameras because they can keep the sensor cool over long exposures, which is critical for keeping noise levels low. This helps capture those extremely faint details that make deep sky images really come to life. Dedicated astronomy cameras are also more sensitive to the entire spectrum of light, allowing you to capture more light on certain targets like hydrogen alpha nebulae. However, unlike DSLR/Mirrorless cameras, dedicated astronomy cameras do not have a screen or a built-in battery, meaning you need a computer of some kind and a power source to take images.
What's the difference between CMOS and CCD cameras?
Although CMOS and CCD sensor cameras are quite different, they also share a lot of similarities. For one, they're both digital camera sensors, and both can produce fantastic images for astrophotography. While CCDs used to reign supreme in astrophotography in years past and still hold a slight edge, CMOS cameras have been catching up rapidly. To most amateurs, though, it can be hard to tell a difference between images when compared side by side. The bottom line is this: if you're doing planetary imaging or deep sky imaging for your own enjoyment, most astrophotographers go with a CMOS camera. If you're using the camera to take scientific measurements for an institution, you may want to consider a CCD camera.