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What if I don't want to "mod" my webcam?

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I've been trying to find an answer to my question in search but I have not yet found quite what I am after.

I have a microsoft lifecam HD webcam which is normally used for Skype and so taking it to bits is not an option. So far I have not tried to attach it to my scope but I am thinking about it. I have read other threads where it has been said that you really need to remove the lens off the front of webcams when using them to capture images from scopes.

So I was wondering what happens if I do just hold it up (attach it) to the the scope where the eye piece is?

As my webcam will still have a lens do I need an eyepiece as well?

One reason for trying this is that I get the impression from other threads that webcams are more sensitive to light and I might have more luck spotting galaxies??

Have I understood this correctly?


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If you attach the webcam to your telescope you will still need an eyepiece to allow an image to form on the webcam's sensor, this is called afocal imaging. An unmodded webcam ie one that has not had a long exposure modification is not sensitive enough to see galaxies in real time (or even one that has had the lx mod)


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I have used my webcam as Cornelius above has suggested, but I have removed the cam housing and used a old film tub (Happens to be around 1.25") this isolates the light between the eyepiece and CCD webcam (5 minute job seens to work fine), but if you need to keep the webcam in one piece maybe you should think about buying a Digiscope, the main problem with afocal photography especially if you have no tracking, is the time between spotting your object in the FOV and then getting the camera on there recording can be abit too much, so simple things like abit of sticky tape just won't do :) Another big issue is, no matter how steadier hand you have, you will incur blur if taking shot holding it to EP, its just not practical. Another method I've used is a camera tripod, or some kind of a boom arm (A straight stand just with a over hanging arm) which is actually part of my drum kit, just to hold a camera to the eyepiece.

Find a way of getting the webcam to firmly hold to the eyepiece that is easily removable and attachable (So you can look, adjust, record), taking videos for say planetary shots, as then you obtain many singular shots from a few 1 minute captures, for Nebula, use webcam software where you can use longer exposures (Remember, over do it, and it will blur!) From the set up you want, you probably will be limited to the brighter objects in the sky.

Hope this helps in some way B)

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Thank you for your comments.

From what Cornelius says, it is looking like using an unmodded webcam to view faint objects is impractical, unless there is a way to control the webcam "shutter speed/exposure" .

In reply to Karlos, you talk about the messing about taking the camera on and off the eyepeice. Have I missed something? If I have the webcam attached to the scope and at the same time attached to a laptop (with a dimmed screen somehow) can't that be used to locate and focus on objects?

Now where am going to get an old film tube? I threw loads out a few years back. Perhaps a section of silver foil tube or kitchen towels??

I guess the obvious starting point is to point the scope/webcam at the moon where light levels are not an issue to start learning and understanding what works and what does not.


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