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Imaging.....please help


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Hi folks, iv been reading so much about imaging and the different things you need to do that my head has started to hurt through all the different advice and many types of equpment, Please could someone tell me in laymans terms.......1. what is the best web cam for (1) planets and lunar, (2). for DSO, ..(3)...I have downloaded Registax but, do i need another programme to run through the web cam as im viewing or do i have to save the film to a specific programme?(4) Once iv saved the film in a certain programme(thats if i have to??) do i then have to transfer it over to Registax???

As you can probably imagin my head is hurting with trying to fathem it all out so, as much advice as possible would be greatly appreciated......

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Hi folks, iv been reading so much about imaging and the different things you need to do that my head has started to hurt through all the different advice and many types of equpment, Please could someone tell me in laymans terms.......1. what is the best web cam for (1) planets and lunar, (2). for DSO, ..(3)...I have downloaded Registax but, do i need another programme to run through the web cam as im viewing or do i have to save the film to a specific programme?(4) Once iv saved the film in a certain programme(thats if i have to??) do i then have to transfer it over to Registax???

As you can probably imagin my head is hurting with trying to fathem it all out so, as much advice as possible would be greatly appreciated......

I'll be succinct;

1) Phillips Toucam pro 2 or SPC900, logitech quickcam 4000, xbox webcam (remove filter).

2) I wouldn't use a webcam for DSOs. A second hand dslr such as the Canon 1000D can be had for a little over 100 pound now.

3) Sharpcap is a program that permits the capture of .avi video files and has various settings to play about with.

4) Then just go into registax, click select and open the avi. Registax takes the avi component frames then aligns and stacks them for you. Again there are various settings which you may want to familiarise yourself with.

You will also require another program to process your final image such as photoshop, pixinsight, paint.net (free) etc.

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just downloaded 1.5.328 and seems better, now to find somewhere that sells a Toucam pro2 ??

I sold one for £80 about 2 months ago. You may have a problem with drivers when running a toucam pro 2 on vista. An SPC900 would be a better option. However, I think you can pick up an xbox cam off ebay for something like £4. That should provide a good intro to lunar/planetary imaging.

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Here's a link to what you need to do to mod an Xbox Livecam:

You will also need to have a tracking mount to do DSOs as they require at least 30 sec exposures and, at best, a few mins - ask on here for advice. But the longer exposures require guiding which is another subject for you to ask when you've taken the first steps! Slowly does it! I would just start with the Xbox (or other webcam) doing lunar and then move to planetary.

Also get the book 'Making Every Photon Count' by Steve Richards. It's the imaging bible and will help you a lot. It's sold by First Light Optics. http://www.firstlightoptics.com/books/making-every-photon-count-steve-richards.html

I've got the HEQ5 Pro mount which is what most people consider the minimum for decent astrophotography, but others use cheaper ones with motor drives successfully.

What scope and mount do you have?

Alexxx

Edited by Astrosurf
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Hi folks, iv been reading so much about imaging and the different things you need to do that my head has started to hurt through all the different advice and many types of equpment, Please could someone tell me in laymans terms.......1. what is the best web cam for (1) planets and lunar, (2). for DSO, ..(3)...I have downloaded Registax but, do i need another programme to run through the web cam as im viewing or do i have to save the film to a specific programme?(4) Once iv saved the film in a certain programme(thats if i have to??) do i then have to transfer it over to Registax???

As you can probably imagin my head is hurting with trying to fathem it all out so, as much advice as possible would be greatly appreciated......

Hi,

I know that you are keen to get started but it would be helpful to know what equipment you have. Forget DSOs for now. Get an Xbox webcam and modify it and have a crack at imaging the Moon. You have very little chance of doing anything with Saturn as it is small and dimm. Jupiter is way low down now till next Oct or November. Moon is bright, large and can be imaged with either a dslr or webcam. Most of the software that you need are free.

As an added advice even if your mount, scope and skill is up to it you should spend at least a year if not longer imaging DSOs with your DSLR and then you can start thinking about CCd and guiding and so on and on and make sure that you have a fat bank balance.

Regards,

A.G

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I think your mount might not be sturdy enough to take the 200P Bunglelad. I've been told that the HEQ5 I have is at the limits of its load capacity with my 200P. I'm sure someone will be along to advise.

I'm still not too clued-up about motor drives to know whether just an RA drive is enough for DSO AP. I'm sure someone will be along to answer that too!

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Sorry i didnt mention .....i will be getting EQ5PRO mount with 200p but will prob get synscan a little later as cant fork out for the lot as yet.

Also just another question......after modifeid xbox webcam is sorted do you use any kind of eye peicies with it or do you just use the webcam??

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You just pop the webcam's nosepiece (explained in the modding tutorial) into the ep holder. No need for an ep. You will probably need a Barlow for planetary. I would use a 3X with tthe 200P but you can use 4x if the seeing is good.

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Just having a read of this interesting thread as it the web cam route is one I want to go down, if I purchased another cam (not the Xbox) would modding the cam be simular? Eg..gluing an adaptor tube on?

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Sorry i didnt mention .....i will be getting EQ5PRO mount with 200p but will prob get synscan a little later as cant fork out for the lot as yet.

Also just another question......after modifeid xbox webcam is sorted do you use any kind of eye peicies with it or do you just use the webcam??

Hey there Bunglelad,

Somewhere buried in the huge xbox modd(cliff) thread is a post that I made with a basic run through of imaging (very basic and very buried, sorry) with webcam and registax. Also, if you are getting the Pro EQ5 it will have synscan already, or you might mean deluxe? in which case the synscan is a kit you add after and quite expensive. If there is any chance your budget will allow a HEQ5 even with basic motors, then do that. Its something that - if you want to do astrophotography - is going to be the foundation of years of learning the imaging curve, otherwise you'll spend more money on upgrading everytime you reach the limit of the equipment.

The xbox cam is good cos its v cheap and easy to mod, a great practice camera, but you will definitely want to upgrade to a better one pretty soon afterwards. The webcams mention above will be easy enough to modify (unless you want long exposure - this takes some minor electrical work) or look out for a dedicated imager like orion starshoot or celestron neximage.

http://stargazerslounge.com/topic/131246-xbox-livecam-mod-cliff/page__st__1040#entry1713044

http://stargazerslounge.com/topic/131246-xbox-livecam-mod-cliff/page__st__1040#entry1712119

Here is a url link to one of the posts, there were others but as you might have noticed its a long thread :p

Best of luck.

Regards

Aenima

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Thanks Aenima,

loads of good advice there and will be taking all of it inn, i think i may of ment basic EQ5 mount but after your advice will be saving for the extra benifits of HEQ5....seems well worth it!

Got my xbox webcam through the post the other day, modified it (hopefully) took me ages to find a 1.25" peice of piping to add to it (as i dont have to many old barlows to use) but poundland and a hard plastic skipping rope handle seemed to do the trick just right, was not quite 1.25" to be far but with a few layers of micro-pore tape added fitted into the focal shaft just nicely!

Not had a chance to find out if it works yet due to bad seeing but am looking fwd to trying it out!

Any more advice is much appreciated........Downloads include....registax 6, Sharpcap and gimp 2. any advice on when and where to use these programms is needed.

Thanks All.

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Sharp cap is used to capture (record) the video feed of the webcam, also to view while fine tuning the focus... Probably the most important step!

Registax is used to process the saved avi file, it aligns and then stacks all the individual frames.

Gimp is to adjust the brightness / contrast etc. Of the final image :D

There are loads of tutorials for sharp cap and Registax on you tube...

happy reading!

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You're welcome. Please check out other tutorials! They will go into more detail. Don't forget the IR filter. I think you will also need it to be UV blocking as well. I've done a search and all the ones are out of stock. There are IR filters though. I don't know if this would be suitable. It's best to ask as I'm not that knowledgeable!

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Revelation-IR-Blocking-Filter-1-25/dp/B0039ZDYY2

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