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Mr niall

iPhone 6 camera or PlayStation eye webcam?

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Hello there!

im thinking about dabbling in some planetary photography in the summer (and I do mean dabble - I want to see A) if I can do it and B.) whether it’s a stressful or pleasant experience) before I commit to the ZWO ASI034mc or 120Mc.

To do this I have a choice, either by a phone holder thingy for my iPhone 6s or, mod an old PS3 eye camera I have knocking about (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/PlayStation_Eye), I’ve had a look at modding and am confident it’s a project within my reach.

im just wondering - as these are two very different approaches - whether anyone has any thoughts on what they think would be the best route? It’s either a very cheap out of date webcam or a very expensive (and quite good) camera that wasn’t designed for planetary imaging at all!

if anyone has anyway of quantifying their opinion I’d really appreciate it too!

Niall

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I think the ps3eyecam would be a better experience for collection and processing as you can most likely use the same software as if you had bought a dedicated camera for the job. You could confirm that now before making a final decision.

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The usual way for planetary imaging is to get a video of the offending planet, load the video into AS2 or Registax and then select the best 200 frames or something like that, then stack these and the do a little processing.

Seems from comments that AS2 is a bit better at stacking and registax a bit better at the processing. The processing is faairly minor. For Registax I have heard 3 "options.

First was move all the wavelet sliders to the centre, second was move the first a little, the second a bit more and so on all the way to the last, the other was slide No 3 or 6 all the way to the right and leave the rest. So I suggest you ignore the previous and just use trial and error. Half an hours playtime.

So whichever of the 2 imaging options will give you an AVI file for processing would be best, and I suspect that will be the webcam.

Edited by ronin

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Oh really the PS3 cam - even though it’s a much older sensor? Is that because there’d be no lens in the way or would it be something else?

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I'm thinking about dabbling in some planetary photography in the summer (and I do mean dabble ...

For me it is because you already have that PS3 cam and prime focus is what you would be doing. The iPhone would be afocal imaging,

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Why don't you do both, but just hand hold the iPhone at the eyepiece? It is perfectly possible, I do it all the time.

Using the webcam would be the best for practising the methods you are likely to use with a better quality camera so this would be useful too.

The sensors on the latest phones are a lot better than those in old webcams, I even think that my iPhone outperforms my Canon 1000D in certains respects.

Latest afocal iPhone 6 moon shot and an old Jupiter attached so you can see what is possible. Both single shots, with a little processing.

IMG_2951.JPG

IMG_5530.JPG

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I've played around a fair bit with the PS3 camera (50p each, I've got a dozen in a bag downstairs). It's only 640x480 but you can get 75fps from it if the target's bright enough. It's only a 1/4" sensor or so, has 6um pixels. I'm assuming your mount tracks already at least? Worth working out in advance the pixel scale through your scope to judge how big things will appear. I've only done lunar, no planets with it yet.

It's a fiddle to crack open the case first time, and the M12 lens is glued into it's holder so I took it off and used a hairdryer and a vice, but after that, an M12-1.25" adapter and a UV/IR cut filter should be all you need.

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With the PS3 Eye I just bought a replacement M12 mount. I was never able to remove the glued in lens myself. The pros of the PS3 eye is a high frame rate and the ability to use at prime focus. Unfortunately the windows driver for it hasn't been updated for a few years, so it's a coin toss as to what software it'll work with. Last time I used it, it worked with PHD2 but it was fiddly. It also worked with Sharpcap 2.9, but not the latest versions. The iPhone will have a much better sensor but you will need to use it afocal and you will need specialised apps to save videos to an avi or ser format, if it's possible. It's a shame you can't buy an iPhone with a removable lens so you can use it at prime focus.

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