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ZWO ASI 290 Color CMOS Telescope Camera

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ZWO ASI 290 Color CMOS Telescope Camera

The ASI-290MC Color Astronomy Camera USB 3.0 by ZWO:


This high quality CMOS camera is a testament to low expense, high quality astronomical imaging technology. Perfect for any astronomer interested in getting into Astro-Photography, the ZWO ASI-290 is a quality machine using incredibly efficient sensor technology! It utilizes a new 2.9 micrometer-square unit pixel which has been developed that combines a back-illuminated structure with technology for improving near infrared sensitivity to further enhance picture quality at low illumination while at the same time realizing Full HD cameras for industrial applications. This realizes two or more times the sensitivity in the visible-light region and three or more times the sensitivity in the near infrared light region than that of the existing Sony product (IMX236LQJ). What that means is that this sensor has radically improved image quality and efficiency without any increase in size or price from previous generations.

One of the most impressive features of this imaging sensor is it's incredibly low Read Noise at 1.0. What read Noise is, is interference in your pixels, distortion in the image, and general interference with your camera's final result before it reaches you. At only 1 electron of Read Noise, the image produced by this camera at the end result is remarkably free of interference, a stellar trait that really does maximize the efficiency of this camera's sensor.

Now, at only 6.46 millimeters, the sensor used in this camera is tiny- lending itself to the highly compact design of the camera as a whole. Most of the time with an astronomy Camera, a small sensor is taken as meaning poor images. 

But here, that's not true at all. This tiny sensor packs a good solid punch, due heavily to the low read noise that leaves images at near their full potential quality. It is capable of full HD imaging at 170 FPS, blazingly fast for the resolutions it's operating at! And that's its maximum FPS, when operating at the absolute limit of its resolution- at lower resolutions, it may be even faster! It supports a wide range of resolutions which will be listed below- but its optimal resolution is 1936 x 1096.

Full Specifications and Features List:

  • Pixel Size: 2.9 micrometers
  • Exposure Range: 32 us to 2000s
  • ROI: Supported
  • ST4 Guider Port: Yes
  • Focus Distance to Sensor: 12.5 mm
  • Shutter Type: Rolling Shutter
  • Protect window: AR coated window
  • Operating System Compatibility: Mac, Windows, Linux
  • Bit rate: 12-bit output (12-bit ADC)
  • Dimensions: 62 mm X 36 mm
  • Weight: 120 g or 4.2-ounces (without lens)
  • Read Noise: 1e at 30db gain
  • Full Well: 14.6ke
  • ADC: 12-bit


Supported Resolutions and FPS at those Resolutions:
  • 1936x1096: 82.2/170
  • 1280x960: 93.6/193.9
  • 640x480: 184/381.2
  • 320x240: 355.9/737.5
  • 2x2 Bin: 968 x 548: 82.2/170
  • More resolutions can be user defined


OPT Product Number: ZWO-ASI290MC


Bayer MatrixColor
Focus Distance To Sensor12.5mm
Free ShippingYes
InterfaceUSB 3.0
Maximum Exposure Time2000s
Mega Pixels2.1 mp
Minimum Exposure Time32 us
Operating System CompatibilityLinux (3rd Party) & Mac & Windows
Pixel Array1936 x 1096
Pixel Size2.9 microns
Read Noise1e at 30db gain
Sensor DesignCMOS
Sensor Diagonal6.46mm
Sensor TypeCMOS
SensorSony IMX236LQJ
Shutter TypeRolling Electronic
Warranty2 Year Warranty


  • ZWO ASI290MM or ASI290MC Camera Body
  • 2 m long ST4 guider cable
  • 1.25-inch Cover
  • M42, 1.25-inch T-Mount
  • 2 m long USB 3.0 cable
  • Driver and Extra Software CD (Mac, PC, & Linux Compatible)




Customer Reviews

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Brian C.
United States

Awesome Camera for the Price

I’ve only had the opportunity to use the camera once, but from that experience I can say it’s leaps and bounds better than my last planetary camera. The quality of the device is good, the software is simple, and overall it’s a great little camera. OPT delivered quickly, as always!

Mike W.
United States

Great service

Dealing with OPT was good as always. Easy and fast. It has been raining here since I received the camera so I can’t say much about it or how it works. Hopefully soon

william w.
United States

working well

i actually own the mono, and bought the color on sale for time lapse events. first light with the included fisheye lens on perseids went well.

Wayne F.
United States

Amazing. An over used word, but in this case true!

Have not had a chance to use the camera yet I am still reading on how to use and downloading software for it. But I got the camera one day after I had ordered it. How is that possible? Yes I am only 100 miles away, but still that is almost impossible. Had a online chat with sales staff before I placed order and they were very helpful in their suggestions and their knowledge base. Would I buy from OPT again? YES!

Vincenzo P.
United States

Wow, what a camera

I was very surprised about the image quality from the ZWO ASI290C camera. For first light, I slewed to Jupiter and pow, there it was in fine detail. I processed and stacked the images and was very happy with the results. OPT made my purchase easy and delivered to my address in very short time. I will buy my next ZWO product from OPT again for sure.