Beauty Most Anticipated Fall Children's Books Hallo nav_sap_plcc_ascpsc New Album by Russell Dickerson Electronics Gift Guide $69.99 Grocery Handmade Tote Bags Save $30 on a Deep Cleaning Appointment curbpremiere curbpremiere curbpremiere  Three new members of the Echo family All-New Fire HD 8, starting at $79.99 All-New Kindle Oasis GNO Shop Now HTL17_gno



on June 8, 2008
I purchased this camera from Amazon and have had a few weeks to test it out. Overall, I've found it to be an excellent tool for lunar and planetary imaging. It is easy to get started using, but to get really good images, you'll need to spend some time and you'll need to be technically adept. A few points are worth noting for newbies. All astro cameras in this price range are essentially webcams that have been modified to capture video through a telescope. This technology achieves image quality by sampling the best frames from the video and then stacking them on top of each other. This results in much more fine detail. This camera comes with two different pieces of software that must be used. The capture software gives a real-time view of the scope video, which allows you to focus, but you must be able to see the laptop screen while you adjust focus on the scope (unless you have a focus motor). The AMCap capture software also allows you to tune the brightness, contrast, frame capture rate and other important video quality metrics. Tuning the capture is a real art and takes practice. The second piece of software is the Registax post processing package. It takes the recorded video, collects and orients the moving image frames and allows you to tune the detail by bringing out features from different frames. The Registax package is relatively technical to use and is a bit intimidating. It takes several attempts to learn how to use it at a basic level, but the instruction PDF provided is very well done. Celestron's support faq site for this camera notes that the camera's internal BIOS can be modified to operate in RAW (uncompressed) avi mode, which will improve its image quality by about 2x. I downloaded the 3rd party utility to do this and also downloaded a better image capture program that allows easier processing of the RAW avi files. After spending several hours learning how CCD video imaging works and upgrading/tweaking, I was getting what I consider to be excellent planetary images with my Celestron NexStar 130 SLT Newtonian. This camera does not allow the use of eyepieces, but can be used with a Barlow. It is equivalent to a fixed 5mm eyepiece. I also bought the optional reducer (see my review of it). Because of the fixed focal character of the CCD chip, this camera is optimized for planetary and lunar imaging (I also did some filtered solar images), but it would be hard to get good deep space images with it, and a reducer is needed for the moon or sun, as they will fill the viewing area several time over. All in all, this is a great tool for the money and lets you produce really nice planetary images for a small price. However, if you're a newbie, you should plan to spend a weekend researching, tweaking and practicing before you get decent results. You can capture quick single frame stills, but they will be disappointing. The stacking and post processing is really needed to get good images.
11 comment| 108 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on July 5, 2010
I purchased this 6 months ago and have used it quite a bit. First things first. You won't get fantastic shots with it. I knew that when I purchased it. I'd describe the quality as slightly less than a cell phone in a dark room. The real fun happens when you take 50 shots and then stack them. I have a Macbook Pro and had to install VMWare fusion to get this up and running. All of the software included with the webcam (and that's what this is) only work with Windows.

I have taken many shots of Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn. I took a few of the moon and I didn't like them. The brightness of the moon was... off. To this day, the NexImage has taken my best shot of Jupiter. I also have a Canon XSI and an adapter to hook it up to my Celestron 6Se. My DSLR obviously takes much better shots of the moon and sometimes planets, but this little webcam put together my best planetary shot. If you're looking to get into Deep Sky Imaging, invest in something different. I tried to get a shot of the Orion Nebula and this little guy just can't do it.

Overall, the NexImage is a decent way to get into Astrography - planetary Astrography that is. If you're using an unguided mount, I'm pretty sure this is the way I'd go. Obviously, if you invested more than $1000 in your telescope, I'm sure you could scrounge up $500 more to buy a DSLR to get better pictures. But I'd only invest in that if you're sure you'll like Astrography. It's a cruel mistress. You can literally spend all night trying to get a good shot, and then when you see your finished product, you'll be less than underwhelmed. It takes a lot of practice, a lot of patience, and a lot of luck. So, investing a hundred dollars in the NexImage might be a good way to determine if you even want to continue with Astropgrahy.
0Comment| 11 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on December 29, 2010
I bought this to use with a 20+ year old 4" Schmidt Cassegrain Telescope (f/12). The first night I used it to image Jupiter at its close approach in September. I initially found it difficult to find Jupiter thru the imager, despite centering it with an eyepiece before switching to the imager. Then I realized I was way out of focus (much different focal plane for the imager). Once I turned the focus knob a few revolutions, there it was. I had to reduce the gain using the included software to see details on the surface. At least with my system you can either see the cloud belts or the moons, not both at the same time. The images on the computer screen were so-so but once I aligned and stacked the images with Registax, the picture was more than I expected for such a modest telescope. The equitorial belt was vivid (one missing at this time) and several smaller belts were also seen. One photo shows the Great Red Spot and another shows a moon or it's shadow as a small dark spot on the surface of Jupiter. Overall, this was more than I had hoped for with this imager for Jupiter considering my small telescope.

Some notes:

You don't necessarily need tracking but it makes your life much easier. With decent magnification, you will lose objects from your field of view before you can record a few hundred frames for stacking. Even with tracking on my scope, I would have to tweek the declination between photos to keep things in the frame.

The image size of Jupiter at prime focus with my telescope an this imager was perfect. For the moon, the magnification was too high. I could only photograph small sections and the quality was so-so. With Jupiter, you could start with the planet at the top of the frame and film it until it reached the bottom. This was not a problem for Registax to handle. With the moon, you fill the entire frame so only half of the craters are still in the frame after a minute or more of capture so some craters move out of frame during the capture while others appear.

I tried to use this with my f/6 10" Dobsonian. I was unable to focus within the range of my focuser until I lowered my mirror cell in the tube. This gave a very high magnification image so only short capture times were possible before objects left the frame (no tracking). The images using the 4"SCT were better so I converted my Dob back to a visual telescope and stick to the SCT.

Finding objects is a bit challenging due to the narrow field of view when using this imager. I recommend centering the object using a high powered eyepiece and using/making a parafocal ring to make the focus close between the eyepiece and imager.

The camera is easy to use and the cord is plenty long enough. The software is reasonably easy to use once you play with it a little. Registax works very well and the automatic processing is usually good enough. Keep in mind that if the image on the screen is horrible, you probably won't get much from Registax. You need to have clear skies and sharp focus.
0Comment| 4 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on September 9, 2011
I bought this camera when I had my old wornout winXP laptop, During that Time it worked Nicely on my 76mm telescope
It put out a better image then any of my lens's
BUT!...
When my old laptop finaly died. I bought a new WinVista 64bit laptop, and wasn't able to find any drivers for this camera.
I tried to contact Celestron to see if they had any new drivers, and the reply I got made it sound like they really didn't care!
and also searched the internet for a alternative driver without any luck, just people trying the same thing!

I would give Celestron a 5 of 5 for great camera but a 1 of 5 for Support.
I still have the camera, and DONT want to throw it away, and still surprised they are still selling it!

I would ONLY suggest this camera ONLY if the customer has windows XP 32 bit and has no intentions on upgrading there windows!

You can find out what windows you are running by
<Start> (Right click on <My Computer>) (Choose Propertys)
and on that window that opened, it will tell you!

Windows XP 32bit.......................(YES) :)
Windows VISTA / 7 64 Bit or higher ....(NO) :(

My advice to Celestron is support and update , or people will be afraid to buy anything that requires Drivers!
If you EVER make new drivers for this Camera, I want to know about it. I would like to use this camra again instead of it collecting dust!
22 comments| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on December 5, 2010
I used the NexImage Solar System Imager on two telescopes: a 6" Celestron Nexstar, and an 8" Meade SCT. The setup of the NexImage was straightforward, and the instructions were very good. It was very difficult to keep an image on the NexImage sensor with the Alt-AZ Nexstar. I had no trouble maintaining an image of Jupiter centered when using the equatorial mounted Meade SCT. The image capture is easy and the post-processing software included is surprisingly comprehensive. My initial images were overexposed--but that is a result of inexperience rather than any fault of the NexImage. In my opinion this is an excellent product that performs as advertised, although it takes a little practice and some patience to produce good images. I found it difficult to use with an ALT-AZ scope; I had a pretty good polar alignment on the Meade SCT and found that the image stayed in the sensor field very well. Focusing is a little challenging--you may at first have a barely perceptible light area that finally resolves into a wiggly round blob recognizable as the planet you are attempting to image. The post-processing software does a remarkable job of removing the wiggles.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on September 1, 2011
This is a good start for a beginner in my opinion. The software included is laughably outdated, but locating updates is fairly simple. The device provides an acceptable image, however the resolution is very low (Unless it you have traveled back in time and 640x480 is the norm) and may put off more advanced users or those wishing higher quality images. I can't see this device used on a telescope without a motor drive unless it is used to observe land based objects or it is being used for live viewing on a laptop. The field of view is pretty tight, so it is important to insure that motor driven telescopes are configured and set correctly.
No review on extended viewing or image stacking is available at this time due to seasonal high humidity and condensation forming on the lens of the telescope itself. Short tests were inconclusive.

If your looking for a low cost way of trying CCD before investing hundreds or thousands into a higher resolution device, this appears to be a good choice.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on November 20, 2011
This is a great, affordable telescope webcam for images of the Moon, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn. Fair warning: you'll need to download the Phillips webcam drivers from the Phillips website if you want to get the camera to work with Windows 7.

Also, you'll need to download a newer copy of the RegiStax photo-collating software. The one on the included disk is out-of-date, and a lot of new abilities have been added to the more current editions of RegiStax.

I've had great results taking .AVI movies of the Moon and combining the images with the RegiStax software. Modeling and resolution are fair-to-good, with best results close to the terminator. The major downside of a webcam is that you can't create images with a resolution better than 640 x 480.

As a beginner system, this is a great choice to dip your toe into video astrophotography.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on February 20, 2013
Got some great planetary images. Takes a bit of diligence in reading the Registax guidance but it will pull images out that are not otherwise visible in the eyepiece. With this gadget and software I got my first time ever to see "barges" on Jupiter. It was as much fun as the time when I saw the Zodiacal light for the first time. This low cost gadget can easily enhance your observation and planetary photography. Of course, you will need a good tracking mount for your scope.
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on July 31, 2011
This device is a low cost (cheap) web cam so don't expect miracles. I am a beginner at astronomy so I am still in the 'frustrated' zone. You will not get the great images you see advertised. You will want to use a Barlow lens with it too.
It is probably better to get the adaptors for your SLR instead of buying this imager.
You will need to spend a lot of effort to get RegiStax to work nicely.
Astronomy is more about enjoying the walk than getting to the destination. You should do some homework on astronomy forums/groups and rather buy the high quality items that will last you a lifetime than leave a trail of cheap and nasty accessories behind you.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on March 11, 2012
this camera is basically for planetary viewing ... this is a starting point camera in my opinion ... and that's what i wanted ... once you get familiar with your scope and camera you can then decide if you want video or photos ... then the real money must be spent ... so i spent 100 bucks .. it saved a lot of money,,, if i had bought the wrong camera to start with i could have spent several hundred or thousands and wasted good money .. so its a great begging point.. i have a c-11 scope
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse

Questions? Get fast answers from reviewers

Please make sure that you are posting in the form of a question.
Please enter a question.
See 1 answered question


Need customer service? Click here