Please understand that the Jupiter images were first-light "test images" taken immediately after the modification, taken during poor seeing conditions with the planet low and not meant to impress. Here in NE PA, we only get a handful of good seeing nights a year. I try to get down south every winter for planetary imaging, especially to Florida, but I will be unable to do so this year. My best Saturn image was taken six years ago (2003) in Florida with a Toucam and was posted in Sky & Tel:
My best images of Mars were taken back in 2005 with a Toucam:
When I converted a Logitech Fusion for astro, I did comparison testing and found the Fusion outperformed the Toucam. When I later converted a Logitech Pro 9000, I found the Fusion outperformed it. I will be making comparison tests of the LifeCam HD to the Fusion when the clouds decide to part and it will most likely be during poor seeing, when I would not normally attempt planetary imaging. The resulting test images will not be pretty, but the tests will tell me which webcam is better for imaging with my setup as I get prepared to image Mars.
Concerning your interest in the actual sensitivity of the camera, only comparison testing will tell. Based on my experience with the LifeCam HD so far, I can say that a Toucam exposure at 1/25 second is about the same as a LifeCam HD exposure of 1/250 second. But, the LifeCam HD has no GAIN adjustment and higher GAIN usually results in increased noise. I have found that noise is very low with the LifeCam HD and that is in agreement with non-astro reviews I have seen of the webcam. MJPG encoding is not lossless so I need to compare the results using it compared to a lossless codec at lower frame rates.
For those of us located in areas of poor seeing, capturing a lot of frames during the time limit to avoid planet rotation problems is important and that is one reason the LifeCam HD interested me since it can do HD at 30 fps.
So far, I have tested 9 video capture programs with the LifeCam HD using MJPG encoders to allow 1280X720 resolution at 30 fps:
1. IC Capture - works perfect
2. AMCAP - works perfect
3. Open Video Capture - captures perfect but preview freezes during adjustments
4. K3CCDTOOLS3 - captures perfect but preview freezes during adjustments
5. VirtualDub - captures perfect but preview not available during adjustments
6. wxAstroCapture - dropped frames - low capture frame rate
7. Debut Video Capture - MJPG not an option
8. NeoExpress3 Capture Video - MJPG not an option
9. QCfocus - high definition resolution not available
If anyone has a capture software they would like me to test with the LifeCam HD, let me know.