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Are eyepiece cameras as good as eyepiece


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With a camera attached to the telescope I think it’s fair to say you will see a brighter, more detailed and colourful image than just using an eyepiece alone, simply because it has the ability to collect and present more signal to the eye. These days there are electronically enhanced eyepieces which give stunning views at the telescope, but they can be very expensive.

However, I’m sure the visual only enthusiasts will say that the experience is not matched by viewing directly at the eyepiece, seeing the object unadulterated and without digital enhancement.

Of course any view through a telescope is enhanced, either optically or electronically or both, so in the end it’s a personal choice.

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For me it depends on what you are looking at. Seeing Saturn for the first time through an eyepiece and trying to compare that experience to a galaxy which is a faint grey smudge in the eyepiece to having lots of detail on a screen is difficult. Both are good.

I would say though taking everything into account the Laptop screen wins.

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2 hours ago, Mart29 said:

Question, can you see as good as looking through a decent eyepiece with a camera to replace the eyepiece,  looking on the laptop.

There are distinct advantages of using a camera - save the image, process in Photoshop etc. to enhance it, and the ability to see colour on fainter objects (eg. M42)

But the charm of seeing visually is a very different feeling as you get a feeling of having done it with your own eyes!

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I used to do planetary videos with a minidv camcorder, from a purely performance point of view the images were definitely superior to that of an eyepiece.  Something to do with the difference between "frame rates" ?    🙂

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5 hours ago, Mart29 said:

Question, can you see as good as looking through a decent eyepiece with a camera to replace the eyepiece,  looking on the laptop. 

 

It depends what your expectations are.  The experiences are quite different.  Visually, you can have whatever magnification and field of view you like, by swapping eyepieces, but with a camera system you are stuck with the field defined by the focal length of the objective and the size of the camera chip.

If you want a wide field of view, comparative to that delivered by a 32mm eyepiece, you will need either a DSLR or an expensive astro camera. Inexpensive cameras and webcams tend to have small chips.  Even the ASI224MC, which isn't sold at pocket money prices, gives a field of view comparable to a 5mm eyepiece.  And if you have a basic type of mount, just how are you going to get the object you want to view into that small FOV?

As noted in posts above, the camera system can give you a lot more detail, but it's not an instant view, being delayed by the exposure or stacking time, or the need to process the recording next day (in the case of planetary imaging).  It will also be more work to set up the equipment and make it behave.

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I always describe it like this: a camera can see over time (when using for ap) whereas the eye can see at the time. If you take lots of images and stack like for planetary imaging or deep sky or even eeva you will see more detail in the post processed images. Even at the eyepiece with camera you'll probably see more as you can take longer exposure images like 10-60s, you'll certainly see those galaxies pop up rather than relying on direct or averted viewing especially within light polluted zones. I did however prefer seeing the planets through an eyepiece, the detail was sharper and more pronounced (your eyes and brain can resolve detail if you concentrate, it happens almost magically when doing ha solar observation).

Edited by Elp
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In my opinion the view through the eyepiece at the telescope is vastly superior to what you seen on the screen of a laptop using a planetary astro camera.

Its only when you stack and process the various images, do you get a superior view, and as Cosmic Geoff has posted, you can't vary the magnification and field of view like you can by changing the eyepiece, although you can zoom in by adding Barlows or various amplifications.

John 

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Try holding your cellphone camera up to the eyepiece to get some idea of what's possible.  I haven't tried it yet, but I've read on here that some folks are having success when showing dim objects to young children this way.

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1 hour ago, johnturley said:

In my opinion the view through the eyepiece at the telescope is vastly superior to what you seen on the screen of a laptop using a planetary astro camera.

IJohn 

I'd agree that the experience of a direct view can be great, and the screen view limited. But what if you can't see anything at all through the eyepiece? There are plenty of objects I have seen only with camera assistance, e.g. M1, M33, the spiral arms of sundry galaxies, and various planetary nebulae. 

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Thank you all, answered my questions. 

I will stick to the eyepiece rather than camera , only occasionally view deep sky and mainly planetary.  Reckon the money to replicate a top notch eyepiece would be huge in a camera. 

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2 hours ago, Cosmic Geoff said:

I'd agree that the experience of a direct view can be great, and the screen view limited. But what if you can't see anything at all through the eyepiece? There are plenty of objects I have seen only with camera assistance, e.g. M1, M33, the spiral arms of sundry galaxies, and various planetary nebulae. 

Agree, I was referring just to the view of the major planets.

John 

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I much prefer the visual view through a scope. To me it is the whole reward for the hobby, learning observing skills and putting in the time and effort to see objects at their best. You don’t need a vast scope to get rewarding views.

I do frequently take images with a smartphone, mainly to share and as a record. I take single shots, sometimes long exposures for deep sky objects and in almost every way I find the visual views better. The only thing you do get with the smartphone is colour in objects like M42 which is very rare visually.

As two examples, here is Jupiter taken handheld at the eyepiece with an iPhone 6 I think, when at opposition some years ago. You can see banding and a shadow transit, but visually there was much more detail visible in the bands, and the shadow was a jet black oval.

M42 was a ten second exposure I think, using a mount to hold the phone to the eyepiece. The stars were much sharper visually, but obviously the colour was only visible with the camera.D62E1B4F-14CB-48D2-B736-6D67A7B57B60.jpeg.855a4cd3e71df05edfc2edc0792e77dc.jpeg

A3A222AB-E73E-428F-8F0B-172EB374EC55.jpeg.f68887c9c8b51600b551bd55ea575888.jpeg

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30 minutes ago, Stu said:

I much prefer the visual view through a scope. To me it is the whole reward for the hobby, learning observing skills and putting in the time and effort to see objects at their best. You don’t need a vast scope to get rewarding views.

I do frequently take images with a smartphone, mainly to share and as a record. I take single shots, sometimes long exposures for deep sky objects and in almost every way I find the visual views better. The only thing you do get with the smartphone is colour in objects like M42 which is very rare visually.

As two examples, here is Jupiter taken handheld at the eyepiece with an iPhone 6 I think, when at opposition some years ago. You can see banding and a shadow transit, but visually there was much more detail visible in the bands, and the shadow was a jet black oval.

M42 was a ten second exposure I think, using a mount to hold the phone to the eyepiece. The stars were much sharper visually, but obviously the colour was only visible with the camera.D62E1B4F-14CB-48D2-B736-6D67A7B57B60.jpeg.855a4cd3e71df05edfc2edc0792e77dc.jpeg

A3A222AB-E73E-428F-8F0B-172EB374EC55.jpeg.f68887c9c8b51600b551bd55ea575888.jpeg

Love the images , very nice . Exactly what I'm after. Looks like I already have what I need , just need a soild phone holder 

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5 hours ago, Cosmic Geoff said:

I'd agree that the experience of a direct view can be great, and the screen view limited. But what if you can't see anything at all through the eyepiece? There are plenty of objects I have seen only with camera assistance, e.g. M1, M33, the spiral arms of sundry galaxies, and various planetary nebulae. 

This is the main reason why I image more than view even though I find viewing more satisfying. Good luck trying to see a nebula in a bortle 7-8.

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During one of the lockdowns and when I was furloughed during this pandemic, I purchased a Wi-Fi eyepiece for use with my android OS phone/tablet.

For reasons I do not know, the damn things would not communicate with each other and one of a few excuses/reasons that I am still a visual observer
and use these 'bad boys'... plus a few others!

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I'm going to work my way up to eaa.  I've got enough to learn so far.  

To be honest, the more I try to understand astronomy the more I get the impression that it like woodworking and the various scopes and eye pieces and cameras are like tools.  Planetary so far for me has been ace, watching Jupiter and it's moons and Saturn's rings whip around, reasonably blurry except every so often the seeing is for an nstant perfect and you can pick out loads more detail.  Explaining that to a normal isn't the same as showing them a picture though.

They each have a job they do well and have their time and place.  Asking if a camera won't have to scroll far to find my own post asking about what scope I should get which wasn't the right question really.  Is a camera better than an eyepiece is like asking If a chisel is better than axe.  Well it depends if you are fitting a hung to a door or chopping down a tree.

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I started using a camera instead of an eyepiece (e.a.a) and it's great for picking out detail. The disadvantages for me though is the set up and the fact you are looking at a screen. Looking through the eyepiece you tend to see less but your imagination tends to kick in more, your eyes get more dark adapted and generally feel more involved. Combine the two and you have the best of both worlds. Do the same session twice, but do the visual one first.

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On 25/08/2022 at 11:22, Mart29 said:

Love the images , very nice . Exactly what I'm after. Looks like I already have what I need , just need a soild phone holder 

You might want to check out some of the astro-specific camera apps for smartphones.  I use StarryCam and Nocturne which are both free and do a much better job IMO than the standard phone camera.

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