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Which webcam should I modify for planetary imaging under 25 dollars ?


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You can buy some very cheap cameras that will work for planetary imaging, but my experience is that you get what you pay for, and the cheaper ones are not very good.  Currently I am using a ZWO ASI224MC.

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The main problem is being able to get unadulterated files out of the camera. If you can get hold of an old Philips ToUcam (preferably one of the higher end models with a CCD sensor) you can update the firmware so it will output raw files. There may be other brands/cemeras but I don't know which ones.

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The Logi C270 can be modified to take a 1.25-inch adaptor, but the lens holder in the unit isn't a regular M12 so you'd need to sort a solution. Lots of video on youtube on that mod. They used to be quite cheap but lately seem pricey and scarce, given the global situation at the mo. Also its supported in sharpcap directly which might help getting started.

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9 hours ago, Abhinav said:

which webcam is best for planetary imaging under 25 USD . If you have experience of any webcam for planetary work please help me out 

 

Have you had a go using your phone camera with an adapter? You can get very decent pictures.

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Perhaps ten years ago there was a lot of interest in modding webcams for planetary imaging because dedicated cameras were so expensive, but they have come down in price quite considerably and people don't talk about it so much any more.  Possibly not helped by the fact that so many laptops, tablets and phones already come with cameras so demand for cheap commodity webcams perhaps isn't as great as it used to be.

I still see the occasional SPC900 for sale which is a fairly easy mod for planetary imaging and you might find someone selling one for less than $25, maybe.

Otherwise I think I'd suggest paying a bit more and looking for a used QHY5L-II or the old USB2 ASI120 or perhaps a DFK21.  There was even an ASI034MC, one of the first ever ZWO cameras I think.  That would probably be ok for planetary imaging and I can't imagine it would be very expensive now assuming anyone has one for sale.

James

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I modded a £14 Logitech C270 over a year ago and I was very pleased, using it exclusively until very recently when I upgraded back to a ZWO ASI 120mm. 

However, the C270 has now gone up in price to at least £25. I have a modding video for the C270 on my You tube channel - DIY Astronomy if you want to check it out. There are sample images taken with it at the end of the video using a small achromatic refractor.

The thing is, I've recently seen SVBONY astro cams on ebay for about £40.

So it would now cost you the same money to buy a Logitech C270 and adaptor as it would just to buy a complete SVBONY camera. 

For around £100 you can get into a second hand ZWO ASI120 which will be better still. 

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I had thought to mod mine but never actually did so far, like you I'd paid £15 for it a year or so back and with lockdown did think to get another but of course prices went crazy on just about everything imported. One I might pick up once prices settle again or look to an alternative for the occasional use it'll get.

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I have the Logitech C270 and a couple of Philips SPC900NC webcams (which are CCDs). The latter are great for planetary, very sensitive and I've converted them easily enough using these instructions http://www.orion-xt10.com/philips-spc900nc-webcam.html

The C270, which is a CMOS sensor, was also easy to convert to have a 1.1/4" webcam adaptor fitted. The hole for the existing lens that comes with the camera just needs opening up to 11mm (13/32") and then simply screw the adaptor in carefully by hand. Throw the lens away as you will no longer need it.

The adaptor will make its own M12 thread as it is screwing into plastic (if you have the metal adaptor like this one - Elerose Telescope Adapter for Telescope 1.25in Thread for Taking Video Capture https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B07H4CLB88 ) and it works really well.

The best webcams are the Philips SPC900NC's and it is staggering just what they can do albeit with a small sensor size. The C270 is fine for the moon and some of the larger planets although don't expect Hubble type images from either of these.

 

 

Edited by TerryMcK
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23 hours ago, AstroMuni said:

Have you had a go using your phone camera with an adapter? You can get very decent pictures.

Yes I tried that out but I can not get Jupiter clearly it is like white ball can not get any detail 

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  • 5 months later...
  • 3 weeks later...
On 08/07/2020 at 09:31, TerryMcK said:

I have the Logitech C270 and a couple of Philips SPC900NC webcams (which are CCDs). The latter are great for planetary, very sensitive and I've converted them easily enough using these instructions http://www.orion-xt10.com/philips-spc900nc-webcam.html

The C270, which is a CMOS sensor, was also easy to convert to have a 1.1/4" webcam adaptor fitted. The hole for the existing lens that comes with the camera just needs opening up to 11mm (13/32") and then simply screw the adaptor in carefully by hand. Throw the lens away as you will no longer need it.

The adaptor will make its own M12 thread as it is screwing into plastic (if you have the metal adaptor like this one - Elerose Telescope Adapter for Telescope 1.25in Thread for Taking Video Capture https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B07H4CLB88 ) and it works really well.

The best webcams are the Philips SPC900NC's and it is staggering just what they can do albeit with a small sensor size. The C270 is fine for the moon and some of the larger planets although don't expect Hubble type images from either of these.

 

 

TerryMcK, How did you determine pixel size of the C270? I am trying to use one of these in an optics lab.

Edited by chemist
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I have a Philips SPC900N CCD webcam with a 1.25" adaptor and a Microsoft Lifecam (720P)

spacer.png

It was a simple camera to mod to use with a telescope... Remove the housing, take out the microphone and bracket and then slot the thing into an old film cartridge tube.  There was also one company that made aluminium housings to accept the canera which made the assembly look a lot more professional

You can pick up these cameras for around £34 used or £80 new...

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On 08/07/2020 at 03:43, Abhinav said:

which webcam is best for planetary imaging under 25 USD . If you have experience of any webcam for planetary work please help me out 

 

I bought an Xbox live cam a few months ago for this purpose.  There are a couple of threads on here showing how to do it.

however I doubt I'll do it now as I ended up also getting a ZWO camera.

you can have the Xbox webcam for the cost of postage if you like?

£3 should cover postage.  PM me if you want it? 

regards

steve

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Has anyone done a comparison of images from these low cost cameras with a reasonable smart-phone with adapter/mount? 

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