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Webcam for Astrophotography

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22 replies to this topic

#1
Herishi

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Guys

After reading a lot about how to flash the phillips 880 to be a 900, my main question is why not buy a SCP900NC to start with? is it a cost thing or is there something I'm not understanding?

Cheers Guys

Steve
Current Equipment :-
skywatcher explorer 150p,
Modded Microsoft Lifecam Cinema HD

Canon 1000d (unmodded)
70-200mm f2.8
18-55mm f3.5-5.6
50mm f1.8
2 lens doublers

#2
jgs001

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Steve, you're first challenge is finding an SPC900 in the first place. Philips stopped making them a number of years ago, and they are becoming more and more rare. Then the cost, being rare is far more than it was in the past.

Morgans seems to have come into a large stock of the 880, which is basically, for our purposes anyway, the same camera, and a quick firmware flash brings it to be identical, which you have to do, to be able to use the 880 with the latest windows OS's
John

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#3
Herishi

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Has there been nothing better made in recent years, preferably in HD :)

I see the microsoft life HD webcam can be modified but it's a lot of work, I like the small amount of work required with the Phillips :-)

I'll post one if I find a good one.

Steve
Current Equipment :-
skywatcher explorer 150p,
Modded Microsoft Lifecam Cinema HD

Canon 1000d (unmodded)
70-200mm f2.8
18-55mm f3.5-5.6
50mm f1.8
2 lens doublers

#4
Herishi

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There is this one

http://www.play.com/...995|prd:3255995

But it is a CMOS sensor rather than a CCD
Current Equipment :-
skywatcher explorer 150p,
Modded Microsoft Lifecam Cinema HD

Canon 1000d (unmodded)
70-200mm f2.8
18-55mm f3.5-5.6
50mm f1.8
2 lens doublers

#5
Zakalwe

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Has there been nothing better made in recent years, preferably in HD :)

I see the microsoft life HD webcam can be modified but it's a lot of work, I like the small amount of work required with the Phillips :-)

I'll post one if I find a good one.

Steve


Modding the Lifecam only takes a few minutes, TBH. Its a wee bit fiddly, but nothing too difficult.

My Website

Scopes: Lunt L60Tha D/S with BF1200, Celestron C11, Altair Wave 115mm Refractor
Cameras: DMK21au618, Chameleon mono, Atik 428EX, Xagyl FW and Baader LRGB, Starlight Xpress Filterwheel and Baader LRGB, astro-modded 1100D
Mounts: EQ8, Skymemo portable, Sky Watcher Star Adventurer.


#6
Herishi

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Modding the Lifecam only takes a few minutes, TBH. Its a wee bit fiddly, but nothing too difficult.


Thanks for the info, how does it compare to the Spc900? do you know?

Steve
Current Equipment :-
skywatcher explorer 150p,
Modded Microsoft Lifecam Cinema HD

Canon 1000d (unmodded)
70-200mm f2.8
18-55mm f3.5-5.6
50mm f1.8
2 lens doublers

#7
Herishi

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FYI

this is the info I found on modifing the lifecam HD
Instructions for Converting Microsoft Lifecam Cinema HD Webcam for Telescope Use -by Gary Honis

Steve
  • Juri likes this
Current Equipment :-
skywatcher explorer 150p,
Modded Microsoft Lifecam Cinema HD

Canon 1000d (unmodded)
70-200mm f2.8
18-55mm f3.5-5.6
50mm f1.8
2 lens doublers

#8
red dwalf

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last year if you could find a philips 900 it would have cost £60 upwards without uv/ir filter, but the flashed 880 seem to be in plentyfull supply so the whole unit including filter could be purchased new for around £40 mark.
the webcams are exactly the same inside and work so well that they are almost a must for first time planetary imaging, also all the software needed is free from the net.

Edited by red dwalf, 28 January 2011 - 12:51 PM.

SCOPE:- Celestron 8 SE XLT, William Optics GT81, Altair Astro 10x60 guide scope MOUNT:- NEQ 6 Pro Synscan with belt drive mod EYEPIECES:- 21mm Baader Hyperions, 32mm Skywatcher Panaview
CAMERA:- Canon 1100D, Atik 314L+ Mono, Astronomik LRGB filters + ZWO ASI 120mm
EXTRAS:- Solar filter, Antares FR1 0.5 & f/6.3 SCT focal reducers,

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#9
Zakalwe

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Thanks for the info, how does it compare to the Spc900? do you know?

Steve


I can't comment as I have never used the SPC900. The Lifecam is a bit more expensive isn't it?



These were done on a Lifecam, so it can get decent results.

Attached Thumbnails

  • Mare Crisium Project_stitch.jpg
  • Vallis Schroter.jpg

My Website

Scopes: Lunt L60Tha D/S with BF1200, Celestron C11, Altair Wave 115mm Refractor
Cameras: DMK21au618, Chameleon mono, Atik 428EX, Xagyl FW and Baader LRGB, Starlight Xpress Filterwheel and Baader LRGB, astro-modded 1100D
Mounts: EQ8, Skymemo portable, Sky Watcher Star Adventurer.


#10
Herishi

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Microsoft H5D-00003 Lifecam Cinema Webcam: Amazon.co.uk: Computers & Accessories

I've found the Lifecam for £30 on amazon, I might get one and look at modifying one,

I am a little green about this so please excuse my ignorance, how does this all go together does it just fit with a Barlow or do you fit a EP then this, if this can only plug into the barlow, then with my 750mm 150P and a 2x barlow then the maximum magnification would end up being 1500mm, which would normally be a lot but them stars and planets are quite a long way away:D does it assemble like the pic below?

Steve

Attached Thumbnails

  • mount-03.jpg

Edited by Herishi, 28 January 2011 - 01:07 PM.

Current Equipment :-
skywatcher explorer 150p,
Modded Microsoft Lifecam Cinema HD

Canon 1000d (unmodded)
70-200mm f2.8
18-55mm f3.5-5.6
50mm f1.8
2 lens doublers

#11
Zakalwe

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Do the mod, as per Gary Honis's site (nothing more than removing the lens and the mount).
Get a Lifecam adapter from Billetparts.co.uk and bung the modfied cam into it.

Then mount the cam in place of the eyepiece. Job jobbed.

I personally don't use a barlow, as it is nigh on impossible to get the image onto the chip (planetary). It also makes focusing very difficult on Lunar work....the slightest movement on the focuser knob will throw the focus off. I am using a 'scope with a 2000mm focal length...your mileage will vary if your 'scope has a different focal length.

My Website

Scopes: Lunt L60Tha D/S with BF1200, Celestron C11, Altair Wave 115mm Refractor
Cameras: DMK21au618, Chameleon mono, Atik 428EX, Xagyl FW and Baader LRGB, Starlight Xpress Filterwheel and Baader LRGB, astro-modded 1100D
Mounts: EQ8, Skymemo portable, Sky Watcher Star Adventurer.


#12
Herishi

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I can't comment as I have never used the SPC900. The Lifecam is a bit more expensive isn't it?



These were done on a Lifecam, so it can get decent results.



Wow Truly amazing shots
Current Equipment :-
skywatcher explorer 150p,
Modded Microsoft Lifecam Cinema HD

Canon 1000d (unmodded)
70-200mm f2.8
18-55mm f3.5-5.6
50mm f1.8
2 lens doublers

#13
starship trooper

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hi sorry to high jack post but will the lifecam work on the windows 7 64bit os
Cheers dazz

#14
Herishi

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hi sorry to high jack post but will the lifecam work on the windows 7 64bit os
Cheers dazz


http://www.microsoft...temRequirements

Looks like it just says xp 64bit not supported
Current Equipment :-
skywatcher explorer 150p,
Modded Microsoft Lifecam Cinema HD

Canon 1000d (unmodded)
70-200mm f2.8
18-55mm f3.5-5.6
50mm f1.8
2 lens doublers

#15
PortableAstronomer

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I own the SPC900NC and have done the SC1 LX modification for it.

For planetary imaging I think I would get better results from the MS Lifecam. Because it is capable of proper USB2.0 bandwidth (unlike the SPC900NC which claims to be USB2.0 but is actually USB1.1) so it will be capable of higher frame rates without having to compress the images (and lose detail).

Don't get too carried away by the CMOS inferiority argument these days. Traditionally CMOS sensors were less sensitive because of more electronics around the edge of the pixels on the surface of the sensor which reduced the surface area of each pixel, which explained why CCDs were more sensitive and less noisy. But most CMOS sensors these days use microlensing, which focus light more intensely onto the sensitive parts of each pixel and makes up for a lot of it.
My opionion is that for planetary imaging, with the MS Lifecam HD, the higher bandwidth capability through it's own USB controller far outweighs the CMOS/CCD comparison, especially these days.
I remember my Nikon D70s camera was a Sony ICX-series real CCD sensor, then they (as well as Canon) built all their later DSLRS using a CMOS sensor. And not many people complain about those.

I use my modified SPC900NC specifically with the long-exposure modification so I can take time-lapse video of my imaging sessions when outside. Like this... Astro processing of M51 and M81/82 with DeepSkyStacker PixInsight LE - ChrisLoran - blip.tv

Edited by PortableAstronomer, 30 January 2011 - 08:16 PM.

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#16
Herishi

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Ok so I got the lifecam HD built and in the billet parts enclosure, Cheers for the info,

I had a quick go last night, got Jupiter lined up and was amazed at the amount of "zoom" using the webcam, I could see jupiter and the 4 biggest moons, but the planet it's self was so bright all the detail was burnt out.

I was just using the lifecam software and fully except that I have probably done something wrong.

Has anyone found better imaging software to use?

Steve
Current Equipment :-
skywatcher explorer 150p,
Modded Microsoft Lifecam Cinema HD

Canon 1000d (unmodded)
70-200mm f2.8
18-55mm f3.5-5.6
50mm f1.8
2 lens doublers

#17
rwg

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<blows own trumpet>

SharpCap - http://sites.google....gastro/sharpcap



Robin

PS. The Lifecam HD outperforms the SPC on planetary targets in my experience too...

Edited by rwg, 01 February 2011 - 09:23 AM.

Author of SharpCap - the free Astro image capture application.
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Mounts : NEQ6 (EQMod), Celestron SE
Cameras : ASI120MC, ASI130MM, QHY5LII, Basler Ace, Lifecam Cinema, SPC900 LXMod

Observatory : Homebuilt roll-off-roof


#18
TheThing

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Sharpcap is seconded here! Not affiliated to it except as a very happy user.
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Soligor reflector, 152mm (6"), 750mm, f5; SPC900;

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#19
collangm

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Hi, I was reading this thread with some interest and was looking at following a link on how to modify the Microsoft Lifecam HD (720P) camer for astrophotography when I noticed that MS have since released a newer Full HD (1080P) webcam - MS Lifecam 1080p.

Microsoft Unveils New LifeCam With Stunning 1080p HD Sensor: Closest Thing to Being There in Person: LifeCam Studio is the perfect HD video calling companion for Windows Live Messenger 2011.

Does anyone have any experience of using this camera for astrophotgraphy and whether there is any real improvement in image quality over that provided by the older 720P model?

Thanks,

Gary

Edited by collangm, 23 June 2011 - 03:46 PM.


#20
Space Cowboy

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The new lifecam looks impressive but I wonder if its possible to manually control the settings? Seems a lot of auto stuff going on.

Stuart.
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