ASTROPHOTOGRAPHY WITH WEBCAMS
Last updated: 8 August 2013
This page documents Quickcam, ToUCam, and similar video/web cameras comments, tips, and photos. Also, see the Quickcam references on the Astrophotography - Basics page. webcam the site for other items about webcams. Contributions welcome.
Subject: Webcam with etx125 Sent: Tuesday, August 6, 2013 10:00:23 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (email@example.com) On your most recent update there was a question asked about "Webcam with etx125". He may have mentioned it but, I didn't notice that he said he had installed the drivers for the cam.Mike here: Good point. He did say "Just dark and light when I move it around.", so it sounds like the webcam is providing an image to the computer.
End of today's update
Subject: Webcam with etx125 Sent: Friday, August 2, 2013 06:27:29 From: Chris Mcilhargey (firstname.lastname@example.org) Was wondering if you have any words of wisdom for me. I bought a cheap webcam Logitech 5000 pro that's been modded for use with a scope. I connected it but couldn't focus on anything! Was wondering if you have had any luck doing this on the 125? Do you know if I need a focal reducer or something? And if so what one? Cheers Chris Sent from my iPhoneMike here: I don't use a webcam for imaging. But a couple of questions for you: Where and how are you attaching the webcam? Have you removed the webcam lens? Also, you might want to check some of the articles in the "Video Cameras" section on the Helpful Information: Astrophotography page.
Im attaching it from my netbook using a usb and just placing it into the eyepiece slot. Here is the webcam i bought http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/190872934967?ssPageName=STRK:MEWNX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1497.l2649#ht_657wt_1140Mike here: Looks like it should work since the lens has been removed. Do you see anything in the webcam field-of-view when attached to the telescope? You can test it in the daytime on a distant object.
No mate nothing. Just dark and light when I move it around. I tried it in the daytime yesterday but nothing worked and was never even close to focusing on anything.Mike here: Can you see any focus change when sliding the webcam in and out of the eyepiece holder?
No I tried this too as I read that somewhere! Prob on your site :) Is there anyway to tell if it's just broke or it just won't work on my scope. Do u think it might require a focal reducer?Mike here: If you can see where the sensor is located, you can hold a piece of tracing paper over the empty eyepiece and focus what the telescope "sees" on the paper. If the paper is at the same distance as the sensor, it should reach a focus. You can do another test by removing the rear port cover and holding the webcam at various distances from it and see if you can get a focus there. If it focuses there you know it works. You can also use an Barlow Lens in the eyepiece port to see if you can focus using that.
Ok nice one thanks. I was thinking about trying the Barlow but I figured if I couldn't focus on something with less magnification I wouldn't have a chance with a Barlow. But will test it when I'm home tonight and let you know! Thanks a lot mate!!
End of 4 August 2013 update
Subject: RE: ETX-90 : trouble focusing SPC900NC webcam Sent: Sunday, February 5, 2012 04:40:40 From: Rob Voorend (email@example.com) I tried several things to get a clear image with my webcam but it didn't work. I can't use my webcam in the rear port because it doesn't fit. Now that i'm into astrophotography, I want to try a digital camera. Somewhere on your site I read that a Sony F828 could work just fine (I want to start low level because of costs). Do you know if I can mount a Sony F828 on my ETX-90? And if so, do you know what other things I need to mount it? Regards, RobMike here: If you search the ETX Site for "Sony F828", you will find a couple of pages that discuss it. You will need the appropriate adapter to mount the camera on the telescope. See the Accessory Reviews: Astrophotography page for more on adapters. As to the webcam, for mounting at the rear port, you would need an ETX Visual Back. The Visual Back allows mounting of 1.25" eyepieces, etc, at the rear port.
End of 8 February 2012 update
Subject: ETX-90 : trouble focusing SPC900NC webcam Sent: Wednesday, February 1, 2012 09:18:57 From: Rob Voorend (firstname.lastname@example.org) First of all, thank you for keeping your website in the air for so long. It helped me out in numerous occasions. There's only one thing I can't find and can't fix, and that is how to get good focus with my ETX-90 and a SPC900NC webcam with a IR blocking filter. I used this webcam before on my older telescope and it worked fine. What is the issue? When I try to get good focus on let's say the moon, the image stays blurry. I use Craterlet as software on a XP machine. I was wondering, what do I do wrong here? Hope you can help me out. With kind regards, Rob Voorend The NetherlandsMike here: By "blurry", do you mean "out of focus" or blurred from motion (either atmospheric distortion or telescope movement)?
Thanks for the quick reply. With blurry I mean out of focus.Mike here: Infrared light will focus at a different point than visible light. So, if you have focused a "parfocal" eyepiece using your eye, the image would be out of focus using the IR filter. If you are monitoring a "live" webcam image on your computer, you should be able to achieve a good focus.
Thats the problem, I can't get a good focus when watching my live webcam on my laptop. Removing the ir filter doesn't work.Mike here: Oh, so the image on the computer screen is not changing as you rotate the focus knob. Does it change if you slide the webcam in and out of the eyepiece holder?
Yes its changing, i can adjust the focus but i can't seem to get a clear picture. I havent tried sliding the webcam in and out. Could it be the focal lenght?Mike here: Depending on where the webcam sensor is located in its housing, it is possible that there is not enough focus travel on the ETX to achieve a focus. If you have an ETX Visual Back, you can try using the rear port.
Thanks for "clearing" my skies :) I will try that tomorrow evening. I will also try to slide the webcam more out. I'll update you with my findings. Regards Rob
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