Astrophotography Cameras

Canon AE-1 SLR

A Good old fashioned SLR. The AE-1 is a nightmare for astrophotography, primarily due to the unremovable focus screen and the battery drain while the shutter is open. There is no solution to the first problem. To deal with the second problem I bought a 6 volt lantern battery and I pipe it directly into the camera during long exposures to spare the expensive camera battery. You will notice that I have an 80-200 mm lens. While 50-130mm is nice for widefield photography, it's nice to have some more zoom capability if I decide to take pictures of nebulas and such. I also have a 2x teleconverter.

Logitech Quickcam Pro

640 x 480 webcam. CMOS sensor, which means it sucks for astrophotography. Basically, it has horrible low-light sensativity. Doesn't matter anymore since it mysteriously stopped working. I probably statically zapped it carrying it around the house. Notice that I removed it from its enclosure so I could mount the bare CCD with the lens removed directly on the telescope (the lens is still in place in this picture however).

Philips ToUcam Pro

640 x 480 CCD webcam. This is the absolute best webcam for astrophotography. Excellent low-light sensativity. Unfortunately, this camera is no longer manufactured and is almost impossible to locate. As a result, I am very weary of doing a long exposure modification on it because I don't want to risk destroying what is basically an irreplacable camera.

Logitech Quickcam Pro 3000, long exposure modified

This puppy started out as an off-the-shelf Quickcam Pro 3000. Ordinarily, this camera can't run slower than five frames per second with a maximum shutter time of one fifth of a second, but I did a hardware modification, which involved soldering on the webcam's circuitboard, to turn it into a long exposure webcam. Consequently, I can theoretically take arbitrarily long exposures with this camera now.

Head this way to see a detailed description of how I modified this camera for long exposures.

Philips Vesta 675, long exposure modified

This camera is a Philips Vesta 675 which I have modded in similar fashion to the QuickCam Pro 3000. This mod is a little different though. I don't have a switch on the shutter. Instead it is permanantly disabled. Otherwise, the two mods are very similar.

Head this way to see a detailed description of how I modified this camera for long exposures.