QHY 294M / C Pro Medium Size Cooled CMOS Camera (various versions available)

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QHY 294M / C Pro Medium Size Cooled CMOS Camera (various versions available)

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€ 1,250.00 Price excl. German VAT tax (19%): € 1,050.42

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Important note:

Due to the quad-bayer matrix and a 2x2 binning defined by Sony as standard, the QHY294C-Pro is technically a special case. After internal tests, we can confirm that most applications support the 11M and 47M mode and a choice between 1x1 and 2x2 binning is possible. Testing was done with the native QHY driver and ASCOM. However, the software APT produced no output with 2x2 binning enabled.

RAW files in binned 11M mode can be debayered with the RGGB pattern. Users report that in 47M mode, only B&W images are displayed or written in the live preview and output file respectively, even when the debayer preview option is enabled. RGB24 should be chosen as the color space instead of RAW8 or RAW16. Presumably the color interpolation in RGB24 is processed in-camera and results are correctly displayed 47M color images, compared to the RAW modes which are incorrectly displayed in grayscale due to the software-dependent external RAW converters not supporting the quad-bayer matrix natively.

A note concerning the manual white balance in 47M mode and RGB24 color space: Setting deviating RGB weights led us to see a matrix structure at the pixel level, which can easily be interpreted as incorrect color interpolation. Pleased customers could completely fix the effect by setting identical values (e.g. R=128, G=128, B=128). SharpCap 4.0 was used as the recording tool and SIPS 3.32 as the display tool.[As of 04.2022]

  • Cooled medium size 4/3inch monochrome/color camera with exceptional low-illumination performance and super low dark current (0.005e-/p/s @ -20C) with expanded Pixel Mode from 11.7 MP to 46.8 Megapixel at 2.315µm
  • Uses a SonyIMX294 STARVIS Exmor R Back-Illuminated CMOS sensor in the format 19,28 x 12,95 mm.
  • Enables two different readout modes: 11.7 MP (4.164 x 2,796 pixels) with 4.63 µm pixel size at 14 bits data depth (mode o). The second read mode unlocks the binning to produce 46.8 MP images with 2.315 µm pixel size at 12 bits per pixel (mode 1).
  • 6,8e- readout noise in lowest gain, 1.6e- read noise near unity gain and 1e- read noise at highest gain
  • Exposure duration from 60µs to 3600sec
  • With electronic rolling shutter
  • Two-stage Thermoelectric Cooling (TE) about -30 to -35C blow below ambient 
  • Anti-Noise, Anti-Glow and Anti-Dew Technology 
  • With USB3.0 High Speed Transfer 
  • Include 256MB DDR3 Image Buffer 
  • Short back focal distance of 17 +/- 0.5 mm
  • Available mono-version or color version

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€ 1,250.00 Price excl. German VAT tax (19%): € 1,050.42

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The QHY 294-C becomes the QHY 294 M/C - PRO Series

The new QHY 294 Pro Series is a 4/3-inch camera equipped with the Sony IMX 294 (color) and IMX 492 (mono) sensor. The 294 Pro has 11.7 megapixels at 4.63 µm and 14 bit data depth. Both sensors are Back Side Illuminated. Sony supplies these two sensors with a fixed pixel binning of a 2x2 matrix.

The IMX 294 and IMX 492 chips have 46.8 million 2.315µm pixels, which Sony 2x2 bins on-chip to create the sensor's advertised 11.7 million 4.63 µm pixel array. The QHY 294 Pro series camera is capable of locking and unlocking the on-chip binning to provide two readout modes. The first mode reads the sensor in "locked" mode to produce 11.7 MP images with 4.63µm pixel size and 14 bits per pixel. The second mode unlocks the binning to produce 46.8 MP images with 2.315 µm pixel size at 12 bits per pixel.

High quantum efficiency and low readout noise

Preliminary tests indicate that this sensor will be an outstanding performer with extraordinarily high QE, low read noise, and low dark current. The 294 has 6.8 to 6.9 e- read noise at the lowest gain, 1.6 e- read noise near unity gain, and 1.0 e- read noise at highest gain, with great dynamic range!

Dual Gain Auto Switch

HGC/LGC MODE - Boosts Low Light Performance

The QHY294 Pro CMOS sensor has a dual gain mode, HGC (high gain) and LGC (Low gain). The QHY294 Pro will switch the two modes automatically when the gain is set to 1600 you will get the benefits of the ultra low read noise (1 e- to 1.6 e-) of the HGC mode and a full well capacity of about 14.5 ke- at the switch point setting.

The IMX 292/294 adopts Type 4/3 as the optical size, and supports various output formats (angle of view) including 10M (3704 × 2778) for aspect ratio 4:3, UHD (3840 × 2160) for 16:9, and 4096 × 2160 for 17:9. In addition, the A/D converter can be selected from 10 bits, 12 bits, and 14 bits according to the application.

Pixel Size

Expanded Pixel Mode  from 11.7 MP to 46.8 MP

The IMX 294 and IMX 492 chips have 46.8 million 2.315um pixels, which Sony 2x2 bins on-chip to create the sensor's advertised 11.7 million 4.63 µm pixel array. The QHY 294 Pro series camera is capable of locking and unlocking the on-chip binning to provide two readout modes. The first mode reads the sensor "locked" mode to produce 11.7 MP images with 4.63 µm pixel size and 14 bits per pixel. The second read mode unlocks the binning to produce 46.8 MP images with 2.315 µm pixel size at 12 bits per pixel. Further data of the two readout modes can be found in the following table:

QHY 294 M / C-PRO Modus 0 Modus 1
Pixels 11,7 MP 46,8 MP
Pixel size 4,63 µm 2,315 µm
Read Noise 1,27 to 6,91 e- 0,64 to 3,4 e-
Full Well Capacity 66,2 Ke- Ca. 17 Ke-
Dynamic Range > 13 Stops > 12 Stops
Dark Current @ /-20° Celsius < 0,0025 e- < 0,0025 e-

With the ability to use the 294M/C PRO with two different pixel sizes, it can also be used for two different focal lengths, matching the optimum resolution of the telescope.

  • Mode 1 for telephoto lenses and Mode 0 for longer focal length systems.
  • For narrow-band photographers, the 296 M-PRO can be combined with the QHY Color Filter Wheel (CFW 3) (various versions available) with or without  QHY Off-Axis Guider (OAG) (various versions available) with adapters that provide the 55 mm back focus required by many optical systems.

Connection adapters of the 292/294 PRO series, including OffAxis Guider and filter wheel. More details you can find on the original QHYCCD webpage:  QHY294 Pro Specifications 

The QHY294M is compatible with the new CFW3 filter wheel and OAG with adapters that will provide 55mm of backfocus required by many optical systems.

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aldebaran70 338/12/2022 05/12/202216:21
  • Rating:
Sehr gute Deep-Sky-Kamera
Die Kamera QHY294C ist sehr solide gebaut, der Treiber ließ sich einfach von der Website des Herstellers herunterladen, und sie läuft stabil mit der freien Software FireCapture. Die beigefügten Beispielbilder wurden unter äußerst mäßigen Bedingungen im Ruhrgebiet (einmal leichte Zirrusbewölkung ohne Mond, einmal leichter Dunst und durchziehende Wolken bei zunehmendem Halbmond, bessere Bedingungen hatte ich seit dem Kauf des Geräts noch nicht) ohne Filter im Primärfokus meines 200/1200-mm-Newtonteleskops aufgenommen. Die Empfindlichkeit der Kamera ist enorm, das Rauschen bei Kühlung auf -15 bis -20 Grad auch bei maximalem Gain moderat. Auch das Ausleserauschen ist kaum merklich, was mir entgegenkommt, da ich derzeit noch ohne Autoguider arbeite und daher für ein Gesamtbild immer mindestens 300 jeweils 10 Sekunden lang belichtete Bilder mittele.
  • Kamera läuft stabil, hohe Empfindlichkeit, geringes Rauschen.
  • Der hochauflösende Modus mit über 40 Megapixeln lässt sich in FireCapture nicht einstellen. Zumindest auf meinem System (Laptop unter Windows 10) funktioniert er aber nicht einmal mit der von der Firma QHY selbst zur Verfügung gestellten Aufnahmesoftware EZCAP_QT. Mich stört das jedoch nicht so sehr, weil mein langbrennweitiges Teleskop ohnehin ziemlich hochauflösend ist und das Seeing schon extrem hervorragend sein müsste, damit ich den hochauflösenden Modus sinnvoll nutzen könnte.
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Dennis Mihm 82/03/2022 24/03/202214:40
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Bin sehr zufrieden mit der Kamera
Die Kamera macht tolle Bilder, die auch sehr unproblematisch bei der Bearbeitung sind. Die Bilder sind auch mit recht kurzen Belichtungszeiten beeindruckend gut. Entgegen einiger Rezensionen im Netz habe ich weder mit den Flats noch mit Schmalbandaufnahmen irgend welche Probleme. Alles hat auf Anhieb perfekt funktioniert.
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Mario 153/06/2021 03/06/202112:09
  • Rating:
Solid mono-camera on a budget
The camera is a good compromise between chip- and pixel-size and is therefore for 400mm-800mm focal length a good choice. Particularly noteworthy from the get-go is the high sensitivity of the camera.
Nevertheless, the camera needs a bit of a “careful touch” to dial-in offset and gain in order to avoid banding and definitely requires proper processing with darks and flats in order to exploit its full potential. Drivers (ASCOM, native support for SC, FC, NINA, […]) appear meanwhile mature and work well, no problems here. Integration (both mechanical as well as electronic) with the QHY filter-wheel and the off-axis guider is exceptionally well engineered and a real stand-out.
Important to consider is that the color filters should definitely be larger than 1.25” otherwise vignetting for telescopes faster than f6-f5 becomes too severe. Cooling power is more than adequate, since temperatures below -10°C do not result with this chip in further tangible dark noise reduction beyond that point. So far, no signs of cooling related fogging-up or condensation on either chip or front window, time will tell how well the chamber seal will hold up.
Bottom-line: As a mono-camera in this price bracket probably the best bang for the buck on the market and therefore a solid entry point for beginners and intermediate users into the mono game.
  • craftsmanship and sensitivity of the chip
  • high performance chip, but somewhat unforgiving
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Konstantin 02/01/2021 03/01/202115:00
  • Rating:
Gute Kamera, aber starkes Banding und schwache Kühlung
Die Kamera ist im 11 MP Modus sehr lichtempfindlich und sammelt mehr Informationen als meine Akte ASI 1600. Allerdings ist trotz Dithering ein sehr starkes Banding wahrnehmbar, welches nicht so leicht in der Bearbeitung zu entfernen ist. Ich stehe hier bereits im Kontakt mit QHY.

Die Kühlung kommt mir sehr schwach vor. Draußen im Winter hab ich keine Probleme, wenn ich aber die Darks innen machen will kommt die Kamera bei -15 C schon an ihr Limit. Ich musste die Terrassentüre öffnen um die Temp. konstant zu halten. Das kenne ich auch anders.

Sonst alles soweit gut.

Im Anhang eine Aufnahme Ha mit deutlichen Banding.
  • Sehr lichtempfindlich.
  • Banding. Kühlung.
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Vielen Dank für Ihre Bewertung. Aufgrund des nun noch zusätzlich erschienenen Kommentars möchten wir gerne noch auf Ihre Kritikpunkte eingehen:

1.Schlechte Kühlung: die Spezifikation der QHY 294 des Delta-T ( 30-35 Grad) unter Umgebung wird bei Zimmertemperatur 22-24 Grad bei - 15 Grad wirklich vorbildlich erreicht. Das kann gegenüber früheren Erfahrungen kaum abweichen.

2. Daten Reduktion: Welche Korrekturen sind am Bild abgewendet worden? (Dark, Bias....). Was ist die Anzahl der Lights für das Summen Bild?

3. Der PN ist nicht sehr hell (Fläche) und das Bild ist über STF hochgezogen worden. D.h.: sehr wenig Signal des Nebel stark sichtbar gemacht. Denn H-alpha ist im NEBEL richtig dargestellt, im Hintergrund gibt es kein Signal.

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    • @Konstantin Auf jeden Fall reklamieren.Das sieht mir nach einem defekten Kondensator (C-Güte/Leckstrom) in der Kameraelektronik aus.
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