ASI120MM/MC camera, as a famous product of ZWO company, is an epoch-making CMOS planetary camera, which opens the door of CMOS camera to the temple of planetary photography. It has brought good news to all planetary photography lovers and laid the foundation for a prosperous era when CMOS cameras dominated the arena of planetary photography.
Nowadays, we can see that many astronomy cameras on the market that use the same sensor as ASI12, don’t forgot to say ‘thank you’ to ZWO. Because of the success of ASI120, ZWO takes its place in astronomy.
Here is a timeline of the ASI120 series cameras:
In 2012, the world’s first AR0130CS sensor astronomy camera ASI120MM/MC was born in China.
In 2013, ASI120MM/MC entered the international market, and CCD planetary cameras were completely replaced by CMOS cameras.
At the end of 2013, the ASI120MM/MC camera was rated by world’s leading astronomical magazine Sky & Telescope as hot product of the year.
In 2014, ZWO launched the USB3.0 version of the ASI120 camera ASI120MM-S and ASI120MC-S.
In 2017, the Mini version of ASI120 camera for guiding came out: ASI120MM Mini.
In 2018, ASI120MM/MC was discontinued.
Recalling the bits and pieces of the past six years, many things seem like just happened yesterday…
The story behind the ASI120 camera
In November 2011, ASI130MM camera was successfully developed and ZWO CO., LTD. was officially established. At that time, ZWO was a start-up company specializing in Newtonian and astronomical accessories.In 2012, ZWO worked hard in the selection and exploration of new sensors and successively released ASI030 and ASI035 cameras, but the performance of these two cameras were not satisfactory. Until the advent of ASI120 camera, ZWO suddenly flew on the branches to be a phoenix, and successfully entered the international market!Back then, mainstream planetary camera was CCD camera and they are quite expensive, which were $500 and more. Most photographers have not enough money to buy such an expensive camera, so many people used modified cheap webcams such as 840k, SPC900NC, Pro4000 and so on, the price is a little bit cheaper, but the performance of those webcams were just so-so.But ZWO philosophy doesn’t have the word ‘so-so. ‘After keeping doing research and development, testing, improvement, we finally discovered a great CMOS sensor, which can be comparable to the top CCD camera at that time, that camera called ASI120MM. As the saying goes: Where there’s a will, there’s a way! We made it!The first generation of ASI120, looks like the image below (raise your hand if you have seen this picture, you are definitely a super big fan of ZWO!).
In the summer of 2012, ASI120MM without protective glass come to Three experienced astrophotographers’ hands: MoonPrince, ZuoZhao and Wah! The reviewing and sharing of ASI120MM has become the hot topic the Chinese astronomical photography circle. The barrage of ASI120MM photos of planets, moon and sunspots is overwhelming.
First quarter of Moon, ZWO12 ” Newtonian +ASI120MM camera, by MoonPrince
Saturn, DOB10 “+ ASI120MM, by ZuoZhao
International space station, 8 “SCT + ASI120MM, by Wah!
In international market, ZWO successfully invited Emil (author of AS!2) to test ASI120MM. Emil used ASI120 camera to capture Jupiter and Orion nebula, which caught people’s attention at that moment. He showed to people that ASI120 can not only take pictures of planets, but also can do something in deep sky imaging!
This time, all the world knows about ASI120 camera. This camera which from China has been reviewed and reported by various international astronomy magazines.
<<Sky & Telescope>> is a world-famous astronomical magazine
<<Sky at Night>> magazine
<<Astronomy Now>> famous British magazine, peach master wrote:
As more and more fans use and review the ASI120 camera, it gained higher and higher popularity among astronomy lovers. ZWO also made some improvements to ASI120 quickly, such as adding protective window.
Since then, CMOS cameras become same outlook as today.
In 2014, ZWO made a new technological breakthrough and released first USB3.0 planetary camera in the world, named ASI120mm-s/ASI120mc-s. As we know, at this time, all the astronomy cameras except ZWO were still in the USB2.0 era. The S-series is the symbol of speed and stability, higher frame rate and better performance.
In 2017, after a lapse of three years, we redesigned the 120 model and launched ASI120MM Mini guide camera to serve deep sky imaging for guiding. 120mini camera has a smart outlook and stable performance.
At this point, three new forces of ASI120 series have been gathered. The ASI120MM and ASI120MC, two of the oldest cameras, have completed their historical missions over the past 6 years and retired with great success!
This was quite hard for us to make this decision, because the ASI120MM still had significant sales volume before it was discontinued. However, we think that ASI120MM is too old. If we can’t make this decision, still rely on the old products, it is against ZWO’s original intention. Innovation and make astrophotography to be easier is always our mission.
Today, in honor of this astronomical camera, which has brought benefits to many fans, it has been reborn in a different form.
This ASI120MM model is perfectly replicated in a ratio of 1 to 2.2 and is made of PVC.