Best webcam for astrophotography 2018
Astrophotography requires a specific equipement : a telescope, a mount and of course an astrophotography camera. But this device can cost hundreds of dollars and that’s expensive for people who have a small and limited budget.
Fortunately there’s a solution : Use a good Webcam astrophotography. This solution costs only few dollars (for example the excellent Logitech C270 is under 25$ ! ) and you can obtain very good results when you connect it to your telescope using a Barlow lens. I used for 2 years a webcam for telescope and i was able to image almost all the planetary system : The moon and its craters, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune! (check my gallery of planetary images with a webcam).
Example of images taken with webcam and a telescope
LOGITECH HD WEBCAM C270
This is certainly the best astrophotography webcam. I used it and i can recommend it to any astrophotographer because it’s simple to modify (by removing the lens and attaching a webcam adapter for telescope), high resolution, high sensibility and high quality image, and the most important is that this webcam is compatible with astrophotography softwares like Sharpcap.
Also thanks to its USB 2 interface, you can obtain up 30 images per second ! That’s excellent to freeze the atmospheric turbulence.
Some features of the camera :
- Logitech HD Pro C270 USB 2.0 720p High-Definition Webcam General Features: Black color
- USB interface High definition 720p video calling RightLight technology
- Captures 3 megapixel snapshots Built-in mic with RightSound Universal clip fits most LCD monitors
- Working with Windows 10
- Dimensions : 3.9 x 2 x 7.9 inches
The webcam has a LED that lights when it’s connected to the computer. You have to turn it off via its software to avoid any light pollution during your astrophotography session.
Buy Logitech HD Webcam C270 on Amazon
Microsoft LifeCam HD-3000
Microsoft LifeCam webcam are very good cameras for astronomy and astrophotography. They are at HD 720p of even Full HD resolution 1080p like the LifeCam Studio 1080p HD Webcam.
LifeCam cameras works also with USB 2.0 so you can shoto at high FPS and that’s great for imaging Planets or the Moon when there’s a bad seeing and a lot of turbulence.
The modification of the LifeCam HD-3000 is a bit complicated compared to the Logitech C270. But once done, you can do planetary astrophotography with a high quality.
- Resolution : 1280 x 800
- Pixel size: 3 x 3 micrometer
- Diagonal: 1/4″
- Frame rate: WXGA (1280×800): 30 fps, HD 720p (1280×720): 30 fps, VGA (640×480): 60 fps (Lifecams are rather 30 FPS limited)
- Sensitivity: 3300 mV/(lux-sec)
- Pixel well depth: 13 000 e-
- Dark current: 20 mV/s @ 60°C
- A/D: 10 bit A/D
- Dynamic range: 69 dB
Buy Microsoft LifeCam HD-3000 on Amazon
Webcam telescope adapter
To connect you webcam to the telescope (on the eyepiece holder) you need to fix an adapter 1,25″. The best adapter on the market is the Solomark Webcam Adapter
This webcam adapter is compatible with many cameras like the Philips SPC900NC,SPC890NC, ToUcam Pro II 840k,Philips ToUcam Pro 740K, Creative Webcam Pro EX,Creative Webcam Pro NX and of course the Logitech C270.
To fix it to your webcam, all you have to do is the remove the lens then screw the adapter. You’re done! You can now connect it directly to your telescope or you can put a Barlow lens for a higher magnification.
I just bought on Aliexpress a webcam module (not a complete webcam, no cabinet, just the electronics) with a Sony IMX323 CMOS sensor, featuring a 0.01 lux sensitivity and full HD (1080). I’m still trying it out, but at $30 USD it seems to be simply amazing. I already have a nice picture of Orion’s Nebula, and Mintaka’s binary. Sure, easy targets, but getting a nebula in a big city (25M inhabitants…) simply astounded me.
I think it’s a webcam module to keep on lookout.
put a filter anti infrared
I have a Logitech 720HD WebCam. The webcam adapter does not screw onto the C210. What mod must I make, to connect them together? Thanks, Dave