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This seems to me like people taking advantage of people looking to get into astrophotography (but hey business is business!). Prices have rocketed for these webcams. Can anyone advise if these offer any benefits over a specialist ccd camera like the ones I've seen on vendor websites?

I ordered my skymax 127 from opticstar in Manchester. They sell ccd cameras for planetary photography. Are these worth the extra money? Or are webcams the way to go?

http://www.opticstar.com/Run/Astronomy/Astro-Imagers-Opticstar.asp?p=0_10_0_50

Cheers

NM

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The celestron Neximage is broadly the same camera as the SPC 900. I have both and the latter seems to perform slightly better and was less than half the price. Fortunate to have bought two of them so I guess I was one of the lucky ones. Morgans are sold out but may get some in as they always sell every one of them.

Ebay usually has one or two, as does UK Astro Buy and Sell, but like the advice above, I guess it's time we tried to find a new CCD camera. I've just watched a video about a new CMOS chip on the QHY IMG 132E camera which is much better than the useless CMOS chips but I can't find that camera for sale anywhere. As it's a QHY it'll probably be prohibitively expensive for most of us, but Dion on Astronomy Shed got one to try out and it looks the business.

Keep trying to find an SPC 900 - we all eventually get one!

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I have the Philips 840K flashed to SPC900 but today a Trust WB-5400 webcam with cmos sensor arrived. I paid 99p for it on eBay. And paid £5 for another one brand new off eBay yesterday.

This was my first shot with my 99p webcam and 200p!

6807737571_87a4165135_z.jpg

The Moon by Paul S Wharton, on Flickr

Paul

Edited by Redpaul
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That's a cracking shot for a CMOS webcam, but then again it's a bright lunar target, could you try it out on Jupiter and Mars perhaps?

That's next on my test list but no clear skies forecast for Northern Ireland for at least a week :D

Paul

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I'd say we would all also be interested to know the setting you used and the processing (was it registax), did you use photoshop etc

I used wxAstroCapture which didn't give me much choice in settings. The gain option was greyed out so I couldn't adjust it. I took about 1500 frames then I run it through Registax at default settings and sharpened in wavelets. No further processing at all.

Paul

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Would like to give imaging a go but all this modding & flashing is a bit scary (using a Mac not a PC) so limited on makes etc.

Anyway had a dig around & found a Unibrain i-Fire web cam stashed away. Anyone tried this one & is it worth getting the attachments to fit it to my Celestron 127 SLT.

It's got a 640x480 CCD chip & as it's firewire 400 thought it might be better than USB.

Any thoughts would be most welcome.:D

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I've just ordered a Microsoft lifecam Cinema £30 (the 720p version), a chasis for it Billet Parts / Vintage & Classic Spares £15 and the mod instructions are here Instructions for Converting Microsoft Lifecam Cinema HD Webcam for Telescope Use -by Gary Honis.

I was speaking to Wayne at Billet parts and they are possibly doing some more astronomy parts. I told them we want to see dual dovetail adapters for under a hundred pounds and he said he was thinking about it :D Anyway the MS lifecam adapter is back in stock now.

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How can you tell its got a CCD chip in a webcam as i see them all the time at boots sales.

You might have to Google it on your phone! Only real way to say as it's not the kind of thing they blazen all over it.

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So guys, can I just clarify that people are recommending the MS LifeCam Cinema as a decent imaging unit. The reason why I ask is that it's an expensive webcam (running on Amazon at about £35) and then you have to add the cost of the conversion adaptor to that price as well.

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I've been following this thread (and others) with interest as I'm also looking at doing a bit of non-serious Astro-photography. I've just found an old Trust 1300n webcam that I bought from Argos for about a tenner, screwed the lens cap off the front and held it up against the focus tube of a 73mm reflecter that I'm borrowing presently. Too my surprise it picks up the moon as sweet as a nut, albeit a rather wobbly image. I'm now going to see if I can find something to hold it steady for me so I can hit the record button :D

Edited by Pappy Nick
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had some results with a neximage and 8ins dobsonian

used the half moon as first subject, them acuratly

allined the red spot finder with the dobby,

got onto jupiter with some interesting moon formation at the time

if i knew how to post the vidio on here i would,

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I decided to have a go with a cheap webcam and see if it was the road i wanted to go down, i'm not saying it's good or how it will be on Jupiter but it lets my 3 year old see the moon without swinging on the eyepiece, if nothing else it might let me learn how to work the editing software before i spend the cash on something better. The camera is a Logitech C270P, it's only £9.99 from that big electrical store named after a lump of ice traveling through space. I only started just after Christmas so have a very long way to go, but i'm having fun so far.

Edited by Kano
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If you are still looking keep an eye out for the MS lifecam cinema 720p...that adapter rocks and it is fairly easy to mod I didn't really find it difficult...I found three of them for $15 a piece so they are out there cheap you just need to keep your eye out for them.

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I was lucky to get a Celestron Neximage ccd camera thrown in when I bought my scope.

It is apparently based on the Philips spc900 and related.

All I can say is that I have managed to create some pretty good images with it, despite being new to this game.

I'm so glad I got it.

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  • 3 weeks later...

i bought a microsoft studiocam hd found some simple instructions on modifieing it from google and had first light through a friends telescope looking at jupiter fair doos it was impressive now just waiting to get my own scope mid march to have a really good crack at it all in all it cost around £80 for the camera and the t adaptor which i used as the main body for the cam

Edited by basher0010
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Modifying the Microsoft life cam is a piece of cake and the adapter provided by Billet Parts gives it a really professional looking finish I took mine into work to show a couple of lads one of which is studying astro-physics and they couldn't believe it was just a web cam. I did buy a soldering iron but tbh you only need to desolder two pins and you can skip the fiddly bits on Garys guide (the two hard to reach screws don't need to be undone). To remove the blue led you can use to the soldering iron but they push off pretty easily without if anyone has any questions just pm me.

Now if I can just make a device to blow the clouds away and convince my boss that I need to work flexitime everything will be sorted :D

Edited by UnderTheRain
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