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Old 30-08-2018, 09:31 AM
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sil (Steve)
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Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Canberra
Posts: 1,329
I use the 178MC-C primarily for planetary, a massive step up from the 120MC. When you go through the zwo cameras by spec you find each is strong for some targets and weak for others. None are perfect for everything, much like asking is a reflector better than a refractor? sort of meaningless. I mainly wanted a camera for planetary, that could also do well (not best) at everything else. I wanted cooled and also colour not mono. I settled on the 178 for small pixel size (for surface details, and gives you more pixels of the planet itself (nothing to do with megapixels)) It is also one of the fastest frame rate cameras so I can grab more subs persecond (important for planetary). One shot colour since rotation of mars and jupiter limits recording time before planet rotation starts smearing details, and wasn't keen on having that time further reduced by using three filters recording on a mono to get my colour. I wanted to take best advantage of Mars' recent approach and opposition. Cooling I wanted so I would get good results all year round.

As a side the 178 also has 6mp and can do longer exposures (but not as long as most of the others can do) so i can dabble a bit with it for wide field if i want. and Lunar imaging is superb. Havent used for solar, repurposing my 120 for that.

Solar, galaxies and nebula I want (and will get later) cooled-mono and filter wheel. But if i want to do some right now I can with the 178 and expect it'll do a good job, not as good as some of the other zwo imagers but it wont be totally useless for it either. Noise in the 178 is hugely reduced compared to the 120 and clean to a gain around 300 (if i need it) but can go to 500.

I guess you could call it a planetary all-rounder imager in that it does everything but excels for planetary. Specifically for Tareq's original question, the 178 is spot on for planets (use small region resolution to capture at higher speeds) plus great details for lunar/solar and its 6mp means you can cover the lunar and solar discs using less shots to mosaic it all. Mono should give even more detail and contrast but colour should be ok but not ideal, i know the 120mc was just very red and a bit hard to process doing solar on coronado and may be same on all osc, so doable but not ideal. As i said earlier every zwo has things to offer depending what you want to image, so understand whats required for planetary, solar, deep space , lunar imaging and you can narrow down which imager will suit your needs. For me the choice was 178 (forgot its sensor can do 14bit, while most of the others do 12bit). For you it might be too or maybe another, depending how much use you want in the different areas. Plus there's always going to be another camera around the corner if you want to wait for certain specs but the current zwo lineup I think is pretty good and they are all good (even the current 120mc, mine was the earlier generation so don't take my comparisons as applying to the new 120). Hope this helps.
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