Camera comparison on lunar imaging

After modifying the Ps3 Eye camera for usage with a telescope, I wanted to compare it with other astro cameras.

In order to do a comparison I pointed my telescope to the moon with the following cameras:

  • Microsoft Lifecam Cinema
  • ALCCD5 B/W
  • PS3 Eye
  • Canon S95
  • Canon 20d

I used my Orion 80ED and imaged the lunar disc which was low at 30-35 degrees.
For the Canon S95 camera I used a meade 26mm super plossl eyepiece for projection.

Capture and Processing

For the PS3 eye and Microsoft lifecam I used k3ccdtools to capture the video and processed the video exclusively in registax 6. For the canon 20d, I used backyard EOS and converted the raw files to bmp with IRIS. Finally the bmp files were processed in registax. For the canon S95, I converted the MOV video to an avi with Canon ZoomBrowser  and processed the avi in registax. For the PS3 Eye camera, I combined 2 pictures in a small mosaic.

On all cases I did some wavelet sharpening and levels with registax and converted the files to jpg with GIMP.

below are the final processed images with some comments.

Canon S95 (Meade 4000 SP 26mm)

Canon S95 (Meade 4000 SP 26mm)

I also experimented with the Canon S95 using a baader adapter with a meade 4000 SP 26mm eyepiece. The result is OK, but it is a hassle converting the MOV video to an avi in order to be readable by registax. It will be interesting to try again at some point with a larger focal length.

Canon 20d

Canon 20d

I also wanted to try my canon 20d. I captured 39 frames and processed them in registax. The result is very good. Although it is not practical and I will likely not do it again, I like the final image very much.

Lifecam cinema

Overall, I am somewhat disappointed with the Lifecam cinema. In its native resolution (1280×720) it does not seem to be usable. This is likely due to the compression. I also get some noise which is translated to false color on the sides which is likely due to the very bright led near the sensor which I have not shielded very well. Overall I do not find the camera to be something special. It seems to perform better on planets, but its drawbacks are obvious on lunar imaging.

ALCCD5

The ALCCD5 performs very well and I use it very often. Its only drawback is that it has a rolling shutter but this does not seem to cause any problems whatsoever. Overall it is a very good value-for-money camera.

PS3 Eyecam

Finally the PS3 Eye camera.  The result is good. Nothing special, but considering that these cameras are available at a very low cost, it is definitively above my expectations. I could not directly compare it with a philips toucam but I have the feeling it is better. I will also try it on planets in the near future.