The ZWO ASI120MC-S is a sensitive and affordable color astronomy camera with 1.2 megapixel resolution and super-fast USB 3.0 data transfer. This versatile camera captures images of the Moon, planets, and the Sun (with a proper solar filter), as well as brighter deep-sky objects. It also includes a wide-angle 150-degree lens that turns the ASI120MC-S into an all-sky camera that captures meteors, aurora, and the slow movement of the stars and planets across the sky during the night.
The heart of this color camera is a 1/3" CMOS sensor with 1.2 megapixels (1280x960) with a quantum efficiency (QE) of 75% and no fixed-pattern noise. The pixels are 3.75 μm in size, small enough for imaging solar-system objects but large enough to capture fainter objects such as nebulae, galaxies, and star clusters. The camera enables exposure times of 64 μs to 1000 s (16.67 minutes).
The ASI120MC-S is the USB 3.0 version of the ASI120MC camera from ZWO, a Sky and Telescope Hot Product for 2014 which featured USB 2.0 data transfer. At full resolution of 1280x960, the faster ASI120MC-S can transfer images at 60 fps, twice as fast as USB 2.0. At reduced resolution, download rates up to 254 fps become possible. Such rates make it easier to produce single-shot high-quality color images without the need for a filter wheel or for stacking filtered monochrome images. The camera also works seamlessly with USB 2.0 ports as necessary.
Many cameras in this price range have plastic housings, but the ASI120MC-S has a robust and attractive CNC machined red-anodized aluminum body that stands up to heavy field use. An IR-cut glass window protects the sensor and helps keep images sharp. A 1/4-20 thread in the bottom of the camera makes it easy to attach the device to a camera tripod or mount, and four M4 threads along the outside edge offer additional mounting options.
The camera body features a standard T/T2 female thread (M42x0.75) so that it can be directly connected to T-threaded accessories. Included is a 1.25"-T threaded nosepiece adapter that allows you to use the camera in standard 1.25" telescope focusers. The front of the camera also has a short (8mm long) 2" barrel that can be directly inserted into 2" telescope focusers. However, we recommend that use of a 2" T threaded prime focus adapter (not included) for a more robust connection to 2" telescope focusers.
The ZWO ASI120MC-S astronomy camera comes with everything you need to get started including a CD with the user manual, Windows camera driver, ASCOM driver, SharpCap Image Capturing software, FireCapture Image Capturing software, and Stakkert 2 Stacking software. You also get a 2-meter USB 3.0 cable and a 2-meter ST4 guider cable for use in autoguiding. An M42-threaded 1.25” nosepiece, a 1.25” cover, and a 150-deg wide angle lens also come with the camera.
Camera Technical Details
- Sensor: 1/3″ CMOS AR0130CS (Color)
- Resolution: 1.2 megapixels 1280×960
- Pixel Size: 3.75µm
- Exposure Range: 64µs-1000s
- ROI: Supported
- Interface: USB3.0/USB2.0
- Bit rate: 12bit output (12bit ADC)
- Telescope connection: 2" nosepiece / 1.25" nosepiece / M42X0.75 female T thread
- Dimension: φ62mm X 28mm
- Weight: 100g
- Working Temperature: -5°C to 45°C
- Storage Temperature: -20°C to 60°C
- Working Relative Humidity: 20% to 80%
- Storage Relative Humidity: 20% to 95%
*Tested under USB3.0 port without overclocking. There is an option to overclock 30% of the current fps
What’s in the Box
- ZWO ASI120MC-S color 1.2 megapixel astronomy camera
- 150° lens for use as an all-sky camera
- M42-1.25" nosepiece
- 1.25" IR-cut window
- 2 m long USB cable
- 2 m long ST4 guider cable
- Driver & extra software CD
Manufacturer part number: ASI120MC-S
Product carries a 1 year manufacturer warranty against mechanical defects (within USA only).
Jul 6, 2019
Inexpensive, but high frame rate.Pros: Cons: Comments:
I have a more expensive mono cam with a color filter wheel for planetary imaging, but doesn’t match the ease of this camera for great color images of Jupiter, Saturn, Mars and the moon.
This review was provided courtesy of AgenaAstro.comMay 9, 2019
Great for imaging and meteor showersPros: Cons: Comments:
Great camera perfect for doing imaging of planets and DSO, their is noise when using high exposures fact quite a lot, but doing some dark frames should help remove the noise in processing.
This camera is great for Meteor Showers as well I did a YouTube video on how to do it: https://youtu.be/BZNjWScMR7k
Is the link to the video if you want to do some meteor shower time lapse.
Dark frames can be done by putting the cover on your telescope and then doing a few captures of just a dark picture. This all can be done using Sharpcap.
This review was provided courtesy of AgenaAstro.comJul 27, 2018
I am brand new toPros: Cons: Comments:
I am brand new to astrophotography... so I can tell you this camera is very easy to use! Basically, it is just plug it in and download the drivers onto your computer... and boom! You are off and running. The folks at Agena Astro are great, and shipped out the camera very quickly.
This review was provided courtesy of AgenaAstro.comJul 11, 2018
Most compatible cameraPros: Cons: Comments:
Have had 2 of these. The slower USB2 one also and a QHY and I find this unit the fastest and most compatible with any given software. I use on a PC laptop and with a raspberry PI also for more compact carrying. Not disappointed with its results. Sharpcap 3.1 however does not support the contrast buttons. Image is rather flat without it. Still with more persistence this 3.0 usb camera should be great under ideal conditions.
This review was provided courtesy of AgenaAstro.comJun 14, 2018
Rad cameraPros: Cons: Comments:
You can see my progress so far with this camera at ig: @space_time_with_robert
It works. But does your brain? There are "simple" youtube videos explaining the image processing procedures using free 3rd party programs that teach you how to get the best out of these cameras. Or if you think you're a photoshop guru go ahead and give it a go. Either way, you're going to have a lot more fun then you expected for the price of this camera. Dig in. Space is infinite. Marvel at your own photos of Jupiter. I used a telescope $30 cheaper than this camera and was shocked at the level of detail I was able to obtain.
I also pair mine with an i7 Surface Pro 4 and the speed of this camera allows me to obtain gigs of data in less than an hour on multiple objects.
If I ever decide to go deeper into the hobby and in space, this camera should also work well as a guide but that's just from what I've read.
It definitely lives up to its reputation as an awesome entry-level imaging camera, however.
Oh, and have fun with the all-sky 150-degree lens. It's a blast and will add an interesting variety to your space photos. With some editing, you can do selfies with constellations behind you. Just give me credit for giving you the idea ;)
This review was provided courtesy of AgenaAstro.comJun 2, 2018
Very happy with planetary views :)Pros: Cons: Comments:
I wasn't specting to see Jupiter so detailed. I have seen the GRS very clear and a shadow from a io transit. With the naked eye i have had some excellent views but in a very good seeing condition.
I have it on an Orion Apex 127
This review was provided courtesy of AgenaAstro.com
Prowler75 New Member
- Skill Level
- Time with Product
Jan 22, 2017
- User Notes:
- Review by Craig S.
ZWO 120MC CameraPros: Cons: Comments:
hooked this up with a Canon 200mm FD lens as a guide camera with PHD2 software. it performs beyond my expectations! the camera comes with the all sky lens, but have not had a chance to use it yet. I would recommend Sharpcap software if you plan to use it to take photographs with. Great camera for the price! I was not disappointed.
This review was provided courtesy of AgenaAstro.comSort by
Manufacturer ZWO Astronomy Cameras