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Testing the MS Lifecam Cinema HD for Solar Photography


Bizibilder

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I finally got round to modding my MS Lifecam Cinema HD yesterday - I followed the instructions from Gary Honis which can be found here:

Instructions for Converting Microsoft Lifecam Cinema HD Webcam for Telescope Use -by Gary Honis

This went well with the exception of his forgetting to mention the removal of the two screws that hold the old lens over the chip - these were a real pain to remove, I resorted to cutting them away with side-cutters!

Anyway, I managed to get a few shots of the Sun this afternoon and here they are:

Top left is my "standard" SPC900 shot 2mins at 10fps ie 1200 frames. This is really only here to act as a "control" for the rest.

The couple together are the MS Lifecam at 640x480 and 30fps (the higher frame rate being the point of the new camera). These are 2500/7200 and 1800/7200 respectively:

The last two singles are the MS Lifecam at full frame of 1280x800 but only 10fps (I believe you may be able to get 30fps with this size but, at the moment at least, I cannot).

I must admit that this camera is much more difficult to control than the SPC900. For these shots I had contrast on maximum, brightness on minimum and saturation at zero. There is no gain so the only real control is the exposure setting!

All the above were processed in Registax with exactly the same wavelets applied. A little unsharp mask in PS and a tiny crop to get rid of the white edges.

These I think show some potential - even with what may be light getting in round the camera??

The only other problem was that my usual 4-6 .avi's with the SPC900 is around 2-4 GB this lot was 30Gb (The last two being 6.9Gb each!).

All the above, by the way, are taken with my usual SW Evostar 120 achromat stopped to 100mm making it f/10 and a Baader solar filter.

Anyway any comments welcome ....... Over to you.

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  • 6 months later...

Its a long while since I did this mod - there are two screws holding the lens assembly onto the camers circuit board, if I remember rightly. They have to be Undone/cut away to remove the camera lens before you can use the webcam for astro.

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Its a long while since I did this mod - there are two screws holding the lens assembly onto the camers circuit board, if I remember rightly. They have to be Undone/cut away to remove the camera lens before you can use the webcam for astro.

thanks for the reply. when i get time il open my camera up and check that out. thankyou again

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I finally got my MS lifecam working last night, taking video of the moon. I did try it on Mars and found that even on 30fps the planet was over exposed through the 200P and I couldn't reduce the exposure enough. I also found that when using a barlow I didn't have enough inward travel of the focuser as the chip is buried some way up the tube (billbits). Other than that, I'm very pleased with the results.... but not going to give up my SPC900 just yet :(

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