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Xbox Livecam Mod (Cliff)


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OK, as promised, two images of Jupiter, one from the Xbox cam, the other from the Toucam Pro II. You can see the Toucam is more sensitive as it picked up two moons and there is more detail on Jupiter

I went off Cliff's instructions and figured I would take pictures and explain in a bit more detail...Thanks for the initial mod Cliff. Here is the beginning...Materials used: 1. livecam 2. Plastic ru

Found another bit of film from last night which gives a little more detail from the xboxcam...

Posted Images

Very nice steve74. Did you use a Barlow and, if so, what magnification? Did you take it last night. I was out observing, visual, with my SW 200p and Saturn was stunning. The best visibility for a while and the Cassini division was occasionally very sharp. Mars was also extremely good and Syrtis Major was quite obvious, for me. Also had my first look at the ring nebula which was quite something.

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Hi Steve,

Outstanding picture of Saturn with a Mak127. I started with one of those, they are a really good scope and I think you are proving that the Xbox camera is the new Phillips.

You might still be able to get an image of Mars before it disappears and then watch out for Jupiter's return later in the year.

Robin

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I'd definitely try a 2x barlow if you can, Steve. I'm struggling to get a decent images with a 2.5x this year because Saturn really isn't close to optimally placed, but a 2x works ok for me (127 Mak & SPC900). This is the kind of image size I'm getting. I'd expect the Xbox camera to be similar:

saturn-2012-04-22-2.png

Be aware that some 2x barlows are actually closer to 2.5x if you're buying one though (the Ultima/Orion Shorty are about 2.4x I think) so might give worse results than you'd expect.

James

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I feel the need to rejoin this thread - the dreadful weather have prevented any attempt at imaging with the Xbox Cam, so I've not had much to add. Anyway, last weekend was lovely and clear - managed to get my "new toys" out for first light (NEQ6 and 200PDS) and have a go at trying to image Saturn. I'm still very new to this game - I'd never polar aligned a scope before last Friday night nor had I used Registax before (oh and I'm struggling with SharpCap a bit too!), but here we go. Not great, but I'm really pleased with the result, especially as the Cassini Division is partially visible.

saturn 2.bmp

Gives an idea of what the xbox cam is capable of.

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Very nice steve74. Did you use a Barlow and, if so, what magnification? Did you take it last night. I was out observing, visual, with my SW 200p and Saturn was stunning. The best visibility for a while and the Cassini division was occasionally very sharp. Mars was also extremely good and Syrtis Major was quite obvious, for me. Also had my first look at the ring nebula which was quite something.

Congrats on the pics, the xboxcams seem to work well, although I havent manged to get a working picture - mostly through not knowing how the software works, tbh - but am a little worried over not being able to see the same kind of detail with my newly aquired 200p Explorer. It seems no better than my good ol' 130p which is not what I was expecting, i'm pretty sure my collimation is not up to the standard it should be but would that stop me seeing the same detail of cassini division or surface of mars? The Xbox mod (all hail Cliff!) is a genius bit of astro-diy, and the first I've ever done, so I'm really excited following this thread to see what can be achieved using it, so untill I get the hang of sharpcap+registax+photoshop I was hoping someone with similar (200p) set-up can tell me what I might be doing wrong. That Saturn pic is very sharp and lacking in grey fuzzy noise - nothing like what I am able to capture with the Xbox cam - so I think there is probably something wrong here with my methods so far.

Appreciate any help/advice greatly,

Cheers folks, and thanks again to the main contributors on this thread,

Regards

Jay

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Congrats on the pics, the xboxcams seem to work well, although I havent manged to get a working picture - mostly through not knowing how the software works, tbh - but am a little worried over not being able to see the same kind of detail with my newly aquired 200p Explorer. It seems no better than my good ol' 130p which is not what I was expecting, i'm pretty sure my collimation is not up to the standard it should be but would that stop me seeing the same detail of cassini division or surface of mars? The Xbox mod (all hail Cliff!) is a genius bit of astro-diy, and the first I've ever done, so I'm really excited following this thread to see what can be achieved using it, so untill I get the hang of sharpcap+registax+photoshop I was hoping someone with similar (200p) set-up can tell me what I might be doing wrong. That Saturn pic is very sharp and lacking in grey fuzzy noise - nothing like what I am able to capture with the Xbox cam - so I think there is probably something wrong here with my methods so far.

Appreciate any help/advice greatly,

Cheers folks, and thanks again to the main contributors on this thread,

Regards

Jay

Hi Jay, I own a 200PDS, so you should be able to achieve images comparable to the one I posted above. Actually, you should be able to do much better as I'm a complete novice at this - I hope to see improvements as I get to grips with my new kit. A couple of thoughts:

Are you using a barlow lens? The image is a bit small and lacks detail on my 200PDS without one.

I have previously tried imaging with a 150P dobsonian and had problems achieving focus. As it turned out, the problem was that the focuser would not move the webcam close enough to the secondary mirror. My solution was to purchase a low profile 1.25" adaptor. If you own the 200P, not the 200PDS this could be your problem as the focusers look different to me.

Other than that, I can only wonder if you have a problem with the Cam itself?

Hope this helps,

Andrew

Edited by sausages
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Hi,

I have a C11 for the planets and a DFK31 and I am struggling on Mars and Saturn as well. I am getting more detail, but then the DFK31 is a good camera and the C11 is 2800mm focal length so you would expect it to be better.

I think [in comparison to Juptier] Saturn and Mars are just much harder targets, especially if you are venturing in to it for the first time.

It's all practice, you can't beat time outside, just about disheartening when you spend all evening and don't get very good results.

Regarding Registax, I have been using it for around 18 months and I still usually have to process everything 3 times. If fact for every hour I spend outside I seem to spend 3 hours in front of the PC. Still gives me something to do on cloudy nights or slack days at work.

Best of luck, keep plugging away and it will come.

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Ta, folks.

Yeah, I have the 200p and hand tracking still - yet to afford a motor - but even with eye-to-eyepiece, without a cam, I cannot seem to see any mars detail, only that the orange is slightly tinged darker although never enough to make out whats there, so i'm working on my collimation, which has always caused me grief.

Yes to having a barlowx2 - the SW c/w it and with lunar and jupiter it has always served me well.

Also yes to being lost on software processing - complete novice - so been looking for basic how-to's on the net, more novice than novice it seems! doh.

Thank you 2 all who have posted advice, and many who continue to do so, the complex knots of astro-tech would be impossible to unravel without you - cheers, clear skies and collimated scopes.

Regards

Aenima

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Ive been reading this thread with lots of interest, and have just took the plunge into buying one from Amazon for the huge sum of £4.49 delivered.

However I cant help noticing how similar it is to the VX5000 HD life cams, so I ask the question, why is this one so much better than the life cam?

Edited by daz395
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Because it's about 1/5th the price of a Lifecam Cinema or 1/10th the price of a Lifecam Studio and doesn't require anywhere near as much work to make it suitable for astro use?

James

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life cam VX5000 life cams are £6.99 on ebay new, the cinema's go for about £9.99 on there Ive been watching them with a view to getting one, the VX5000 casing is almost identical to the xbox one. I missed out on the ASDA cams cos Im stuck indoors for 3 months after an operation, so snapped up the xbox cam from Amazon instead. Im just looking for things to keep me busy while Im stuck in the house, and was wondering if it has different internals to the VX5000 etc. and that made it more suitable for astro use. Now I know its just price and modding I may get a £6.99 one and compare the two. But Ive just read (two minutes ago) that the xbox cams aren't guaranteed to work with Windows 7 64 bit.

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I've not seen a lifecam cinema on ebay for that little, I have to say. I thought they were generally going for around the £25 mark.

James

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Yup, a search for completed lifecam cinema listings on ebay shows most of the sales recently to be between £20 and £30 with a few loony £50 ones thrown in. Where do you see them for £10?

James

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Hi,

MS Lifecam are CMOS but the resolution and frame rate is much higher than an Xbox camera. The Xbox cameras are CCD, so should be more sensitive but CMOS has come along way so there might not be too much in it.

I modified a Lifecam, it is slightly harder than an Xbox but it gave very good results. Soon after modifying the Lifecam I bought a DFK31 and whilst the DFK is better, as you would expect, it cost about 10 times as much.

Have a look at www.drrobin.co.uk/planets.htm for pictures of Jupiter with a Lifecam and then with a DFK.

For pictures with an Xbox see www.drrobin.co.uk/moon.htm and www.drrobin.co.uk/sun.htm

I haven't got the Lifecam anymore so can't do a comparison on the same target onthe same night.

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hi James, I was watching one a few days ago that went for £9.99 in an Ebay auction it was brand new in the box. I thought it went cheap but in all honesty never looked at other auctions.

This is another cinema Ive been watching http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/180880946460?ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1423.l2649 I thought it looked pretty cheap for a completed unit.

Also this one http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/350564987063?ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1423.l2649 as you can see the price is ridiculous considering what others sell them for.

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Interesting to see the comparison of images, Robin. The more I see of images taken with the Lifecam the more I'm persuaded that it is much better suited to larger scopes or brighter targets.

Perhaps when Jupiter returns to us later this year I shall do some comparisons of the SPC900, Xbox and Lifecam Cinema side-by-side to see how they look.

For the moment I'm suffering from webcam imaging fatigue I think :) I went out the other night with just the ST120 on the AZ3 to hunt Messier objects and it was such a pleasant change. Until Jupiter returns I think I'm going to lay off the planets.

James

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Ready-modded webcams don't seem to go for that much of a premium, if any. I guess perhaps they're just not as popular. The VX is certainly cheap though. At that price it may well be worth a punt.

James

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Hi Robin, those images certainly show the differences but the lifecam is still pretty good for the price. I have an old trust spacecam somewhere that I may pull apart as that was good in low light.

James, I agree the modded ones seem to go for less than the OEM units. But I think I may just try a VX5000 seeing as they're so cheap. I cant resist a bargain haha!

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Hi,

I should of mentioned that my Lifecam was a Lifecam HD. Daz.... that first camera on eay looks a bargain especially if it's an HD.

James, lucky you to see something last night it was total cloud cover. Typical I have just bought a Canon for DSOs and it's just raining here, constantly.

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Hi Robin, it says its a Cinema HD in the heading Ive no idea how much the billet mount is but Id guess at least £10-£15 so he must be getting the camera internals for next to nothing.

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