Sony 10.71M-Effective Pixel Colour CMOS Image Sensor (official description from Sony site), with a diagonal of 21.63mm (4/3 format). ZWO has refined the sensor and remoulded it to increase the diagonal to 23.2mm with approximately 11.71M-Effective pixels (4/3 format).
High-Sensitivity Type 4/3 CMOS Image Sensor that Supports 4K for Astronomic Cameras and Industrial Applications
The IMX294CJK sensor is the first in-house image sensor for astronomic cameras to adopt the 4/3 format and provides the necessary number of pixels for true 4k output at 120 frames per second (w/ ADC 10-bit output mode, the ASI294MC can run up to 25fps at 4k format when used with USB 3.0). In addition, the use of larger-sized pixels achieves SNR1s of 0.14 lx* which is very close to the value of the ASI224 (0.13 lx*).
Exceptional low-illumination performance
Exceptional low-illumination performance of SNR1s: 0.14 lx is realized by use of a large-size optical system and by expanding the area per pixel to 4.63 µm. This makes the IMX294CJK ideal for astronomic camera market applications that require low-illumination performance.
DDR Memory Buffer
The ASI294MC Pro camera includes a 256MB DDR3 memory buffer to help improve data transfer reliability. Additionally, the use of a memory buffer minimizes amp-glow, which is caused by the slow transfer speeds when the camera is used with a USB 2.0 port.
14bit ADC w/ 13 stops DR
The ASI294 has a 14bit ADC unit, allowing it to achieve 13 stops of dynamic range. This is an excellent characteristic for deep sky imaging, which is inherently high dynamic range. At 13 stops, the ASI294 has even more dynamic range than the ASI1600.
HCG (high conversion gain) mode, which reduces read noise to even lower levels at higher gain without loss to dynamic range, is automatically enabled when the gain setting is 120 or higher. Read noise will drop under 2e-, while dynamic range will remain at 13 stops.
Full well Capacity
63700e full well, which is 3 times than ASI1600’s capacity. Even bright stars won’t saturate under long exposure. This camera can achieve higher SNR(signal to noise ratio) with just one single exposure.
ASI294MC Pro has same mechanics as ASI1600 Pro. There are four screws that seal the sensor chamber. Our camera design has been extensively tested and is very stable. Even when used in higher humidity environments, ASI294MC Pro will still work fine without dew problems.
The IMX294 sensor is a BSI (backside illuminated type) sensor, which has very high QE (quantum efficiency, which we estimate is over 75% peak).
The dark current of the ASI294 is a bit lower than the ASI1600 at same temperature, based on our test results. Dark frame sample @ Highest dynamic range settings, 300s, -10°C, bin1. Please check the dark frame to make sure you fully know the performance.
USB 3.0 Port & USB2.0 HUB
USB 3.0 Port: Provide 5Gb bandwidth to make it possible for ASI294 Pro to run at 16 fps (14bit, normal mode) or 19 fps (10bit, high speed mode) at full resolution(11.7Mega).
USB 2.0 HUB: can connect with various accessories, such as filter wheel, guide camera and electronic focuser, so you can better manage your cables. The ASI294 Pro includes two short 0.5m USB 2.0 cables. The integrated USB 2.0 hub is powered by the external power source if you connect one.
The ASI294 Pro has a 2-stage TEC cooling system that enables deep cooling (35°C-40°C below ambient). The cooler requires an external power supply, which is not included with the camera. Recommended cooler power supply: 12V @ 3-5A (or more) DC adapter (2.1×5.5mm, centre pole positive). Also suitable: DC battery with 9-15V.
Using a battery 9-15V is also suitable for the cooler power supply.