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Planet imaging: camcorder vs webcam/laptop

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#1 jumna

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Posted 21 November 2012 - 09:44 PM

Hello! I've done some planet imaging using a HD camcorder (canon vixia hf s20) mounted on an orion variable camera adapter, but it seems to only go so far in resolution. It may just be that my local seeing or processing is the problem, but otherwise is a webcam a better way to go, and if so why & what kind? I've resisted going this way as to limit equipment to haul around, but I could adapt....
Thanks, Mike

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#2 ccs_hello

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Posted 22 November 2012 - 08:32 AM

Mike,

Nice capture!

Planetary imaging is mainly "lucky" imaging thus good shooting condition is the king.

To pursue the best possible sharp/clean and crisp images for stacking, people try to use the imaging devices that have
high frame rate (to "freeze" the seeing), and
less compression (to reduce compression algorithm induced artifacts).

Technically speaking, these well known devices (The Image Source, Lumera, etc.) are really industrial imaging cameras, not consumer webcams.


IMHO, your camcorder meets the first criteria but not the top game in the second part. However, your result still looks great!

BTW, the only consumer grade camcorders that meet the second criteria are the old, long discontinued SD, bulky camcorders using DV25 codec (digital Hi-8 and friends).

Clear Skies!

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#3 jumna

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Posted 22 November 2012 - 10:25 AM

Thanks ccs hello. Some of those cameras, like a flea3 are double the cost or more of my whole setup! :o I'll keep watching for those real crisp skies.

#4 RedLionNJ

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Posted 22 November 2012 - 10:44 AM

Sensitivity is the other factor. A classic "webcam" is not usually very sensitive and you'd be doing extremely well to get more than 10-15fps from one without compression artifacts. I would say the improvement you'd see with a webcam over your current setup is minimal compared to differences in seeing.

Been there, tried that. Ended up (for now) with a DMK21AU618.

Grant

#5 jumna

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Posted 22 November 2012 - 05:35 PM

Thanks Redlion NJ. OK, webcams are not so capable. For cameras, I wonder if you get better results with monochrome and filters or color?

BTW, I went into the camcorder menus to see if I could up the framerate, but no dice. Then I noticed it had a highest resolution mode (MXP) that it warns "does not transfer to dvd", but I'll give it a try on registax and see how it looks. :)

It has a setting for "x v color" that extends the color gamut, but warns that it will only work with compatible HD TVs, anyone ever try that for astro?






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