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Debayering a Webcam


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I think I remember this being mentioned in the DSLR debayering thread and I'm considering trying it on a webcam to use as a planetary imaging camera.  I've read that better planetary images are obtained by using an IR pass filter with LRGB or LRG filters.  ie. L-IR-R-G filters with a mono camera.

I've looked at the planetary cameras that the astromony suppliers sell and most of these have quite large pixels whereas webcams are a lot smaller.  eg. the MS Lifecam HD Cinema has 3.1 micron pixels with a resolution of 1280x720 and a sensor size of 4.0mm x 2.2mm.  I have used a webcam for planetary imaging in the past which may have been an MS Lifecam.

Of course, with the CFA only every other pixel contributes to the image so the real resolution is halved just as with a DSLR.  I don't know if webcams have microlenses like DSLRs but I think the increase in resolution would be worth a reduction in sensitivity.

So my thought is to convert a webcam from OSC to mono and use filters and I'd like to know if others have succeeded in doing this.  Cheers :)

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I love this idea (and I liked my Lifecam HD-5000 back when I was using it for solar/lunar imaging), but it seems to be problematic to get a full resolution. Even though Lifecam has uncompressed video formats, they are YUYV, so already interpolated from CFA. We'd need a raw output, so also a firmware/circuit board hack.

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I love this idea (and I liked my Lifecam HD-5000 back when I was using it for solar/lunar imaging), but it seems to be problematic to get a full resolution. Even though Lifecam has uncompressed video formats, they are YUYV, so already interpolated from CFA. We'd need a raw output, so also a firmware/circuit board hack.

Ah, I see - hadn't thought of that :D  Thank you :) 

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If you can get hold of a Phillips SPC900 it's possible to change the colour CCD (ICX098BQ) to the mono version (ICX098BL)  There are more details here - http://www.iceinspace.com.au/forum/archive/index.php/t-106324.html  There's also firmware available to output the data in raw mode.

Noel

I have a few Philips SPC900NCs but I'm not sure I could manage to change sensor chips even if I could source a mono replacement. 

Thank you for your suggestion :)

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I've managed to debayer a Logitech Quickcam for Notebboks Pro, it has the same ccd chip as the SPC900, or QC3000. And yes, they have a microlenses layer. Unfortunately I damaged the surface of the debayered layer, and the camera broke down, didn't give me any picture, but I managed to do a snapshot during the project.

The outer part is untouched, the inner, darker part is without the microlenses layer, and in the middle is the pure debayered, B/W. 

It's me on the picture, Hello! :)

post-11253-0-14301000-1404494814_thumb.p

Now I have a QC 3000 and a 4000, a broken Scopium webcam with a flawless ccd chip to serve as a donor, and now I'm waiting for a QC for notebooks pro again, all of them waiting to be debayered, and then modded. :)

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I had a crack at this Gina on a PS3 eye cam, the benefit being it was cheap, readily available and most importantly it allowed streaming of RAW pixel data so you get the full benefit of de-bayering it :), oh and it does 60fps too at 640x480 :)

not it had much chance to use it though other than a few shots of the moon :(

I wrote a little capture program to grab the raw data and save to avi, not brilliant but it appears to work.

http://stargazerslounge.com/topic/210686-moon-with-de-bayered-ps3-eye-cam/

 

Hth

 

Keith 

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I had a crack at this Gina on a PS3 eye cam, the benefit being it was cheap, readily available and most importantly it allowed streaming of RAW pixel data so you get the full benefit of de-bayering it :), oh and it does 60fps too at 640x480 :)

not it had much chance to use it though other than a few shots of the moon :(

I wrote a little capture program to grab the raw data and save to avi, not brilliant but it appears to work.

http://stargazerslounge.com/topic/210686-moon-with-de-bayered-ps3-eye-cam/

 

Hth

 

Keith 

Thank you Keith :)   Yes, the availability of RAW data streaming make the whole project "doable" :)

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I've managed to debayer a Logitech Quickcam for Notebboks Pro, it has the same ccd chip as the SPC900, or QC3000. And yes, they have a microlenses layer. Unfortunately I damaged the surface of the debayered layer, and the camera broke down, didn't give me any picture, but I managed to do a snapshot during the project.

The outer part is untouched, the inner, darker part is without the microlenses layer, and in the middle is the pure debayered, B/W. 

It's me on the picture, Hello! :)

attachicon.gifCapture 2014.01.25. 17_48_43.png

Now I have a QC 3000 and a 4000, a broken Scopium webcam with a flawless ccd chip to serve as a donor, and now I'm waiting for a QC for notebooks pro again, all of them waiting to be debayered, and then modded. :)

Thank you for that :)  Can you get pure RAW data out of this cam?

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For reference this was my brief experience with webcams from the DSLR thread: http://stargazerslounge.com/topic/166334-debayering-a-dslrs-bayer-matrix/?p=1775129

Certainly the SPC900NC was a lot easier than the DSLR. The cover glass came off easily and the bayer filter was easier to remove. It does have microlenses so the net sensitivity isn't really improved in the visible range (but will be for UV/IR). The resolution noticably improved though. It's also easy to tweak the camera to output the raw b+w data.

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Gina, as mentioned above, swapping the sensor for the mono version and applying Martin Burri's 'raw mod' to a Philips webcam is a good option to get raw data and full mono resolution, and is easy to do.

Adrian

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Swapping the sensor is fairly straightforward, it would take me a lot longer to debayer a colour sensor properly.

The downsides are that sensors can be tricky to get hold of, and will probably cost more than the webcam, whereas debayering is essentially free.

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Also, where can you get a mono sensor in the UK?

There's some on ebay at the moment from Hong Kong at £11.68 + £2.34 p&p. Strangely, I couldn't find them through ebay's search, but they showed up in Google.  Also the listing title is 'SONY ICX098AL DIP Diagonal 4.5mm (Type 1/4)' but in the description it says 'ICX098BL', note the different versions.  Best to ask the vendor for clarification before buying.

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You might find that Andy at "Astronomiser" still has one left , he only had two in when he converted one of my SPC900's earlier in the year. 

They are like hen's teeth to find now unfortunately ...  :embarassed:

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There's some on ebay at the moment from Hong Kong at £11.68 + £2.34 p&p. Strangely, I couldn't find them through ebay's search, but they showed up in Google.  Also the listing title is 'SONY ICX098AL DIP Diagonal 4.5mm (Type 1/4)' but in the description it says 'ICX098BL', note the different versions.  Best to ask the vendor for clarification before buying.

Hi, I have already asked the seller if they are mono. He replied "yes" so I purchased one.

When it arrived I desoldered the chip on an SPC900 and swapped it. The webcam works but no image, as the de-solder was tricky I dont know whether i've fudged it or the sensor was bad.

That's the chance you take. The whole thing is now sitting in a tub waiting for me to get enough enthusiasm to have another look at it.

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Ah yes, unsoldering one sensor and soldering on another with those tiny, closely spaced "legs" frightens me too :(  I think I'd rather try debayering the sensor in-situ :D  This thing has so many legs that it almost resembles a centipede! :eek:

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  • 8 months later...

I've successfully debayered two QuickCam for notebboks pro (ICX098BQ). A wooden toothpick turned out to be perfect for the procedure. A QC3000 and 4000 still waiting to be debayered and LX/AMPoff modded. 

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