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Old 05-08-2010, 11:49 AM
robz (Robert)
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Question Microsoft VX-5000 CMOS based webcam

I grabbed one of these webcams as a possible contendor for planetary imaging.
In one of my other posts, a mini CCD security camera was hopeless : lousy picture, colours all over the place and no control over the settings.

As a matter of interest, this LIFECAM VX-5000 webcam was reviewed as comparable to and equally as good as the Phillips 900nc and the Logitech Quickcam Pro 9000 in image quality and low light performance (the Logitech, also a CMOS device, was actually better than the 900nc in the low light department.......interesting?).

Well, I have not yet connected it to a telescope etc., but can say that the image quality on video capture is extremely impressive.
It has a new generation of chip on board with pixels that are 2.4 times larger than previous webcams in the Microsoft range(and probably most other CMOS based webcams).

There is very little noise in near dark lighting conditions and the colour accuracy is outstanding as is the sharpness (with a plastic lens, not a Carl Zeiss or anything in that class).

I have already posted the pics of the webcam dismantled in the other post, so I have not done this again.....it's only a small , typical webcam board.

Does anyone have any thoughts on this as CMOS chips are beinning to look scaringly good out in webcam world?
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Old 05-08-2010, 12:17 PM
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Astroman (Andrew Wall)
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Sound promising, I hope it works out okay, I have a vx-3000 which is my wife's actually so dismantling it to test it would create a massive rip in the time/space continuum. Needless to say I wont be ripping it apart yet...

Look forward to your results.
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Old 05-08-2010, 12:56 PM
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michaellxv (Michael)
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I've been using a Lifecam HD, not sure how the specs compare. Works fine for the moon. Have not had any real success with planets although I have been waiting for the clouds to clear to have a go at Jupiter now that it's rising earlier. I am using an 80mm refractor, it might be OK on a bigger scope, I just don't get enough light in to the camera to get any detail.
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Old 05-08-2010, 01:32 PM
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AdrianF (Adrian)
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I tried an old Logitech wabcam, dont remember the model but it was an early version paid 5$ at a garage sale, worked OK as a webcam but couldnt get a picture on the screen when connected to a scope even at high gain, just a blur. I know something was there but couldnt tell what.
Then it committed Hari Kari off the balcony.


Adrian
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Old 05-08-2010, 04:53 PM
robz (Robert)
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Yeah, I think I'm underestimating the amount of light that is available even on SCT'S etc,where extremely long F ratio's and high magnification.

Oh well,webams with CCD's are rare here in Perth. It's all CMOS with all sorts of low light claims, but I really doubt that it's anywhere sensitive enough to beat a CCD device
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Old 11-08-2010, 11:06 AM
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I actually took the VX3000 appart and first added a film container later a proper machined adaptor to use it on the eyepieceholder.

On a ed80 or 150mm F5 netwon it is only good for the moon. I tried Jupiter and Mars but couldnīt get anything better than a snowball. On saturn it produced a blob with ears left and right. For the moon it is good and produces nice images of craters but neither auto-guiding nor planetary imaging is managable. At least with these types of scopes - a 12" dob might show better results.

Perhaps the VX5000 proves better but depending on costs for cam and modding it might be worth to go for a proven device like the Celestron NexImage or the Imaging Source DMK 21 (my next investment).
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Old 13-08-2010, 05:53 PM
robz (Robert)
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Thanks Max.

I think I'll use it to spy on my neighbour's wife sunbaking in the nude............(better adjust the settings)............the camera's.......not mine!!!!

Seriously though, the vx-3000 is a 5-6 year old model. According to Microsoft and the reviewers, the CMOS imaging device is a totally new generation chip to ALL previous models...even last years!

As I have just obtained a super bargain 8 inch F 4.0 Orion newtonian and GEM, I'll soon find out and report back

Last edited by robz; 14-08-2010 at 10:22 PM.
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Old 14-08-2010, 10:42 PM
robz (Robert)
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Actually, the Meade LPI Imager is a VGA resolution color CMOS chip and DOES do high quality planetary images with it's included software.

As I have said, the latest CMOS webcams are a different beast to what was around afew years back.

Here's a test I did last night(non telescope..........yet):

Logitech Quickcam............4 years old.............tested outside at night, imaging the dimly lit street/neighbourhood. Result?..............nothing....... .blackness, lots of noise, only thing visible was the street lights themselves...........over exposed as manual control was not employed.
.
Microsoft VX5000 : same test.............street and areas visible, dimly lit houses visible, low electronic noise. Omce again, only auto settings were used.

Point is..................BIG difference between two CMOS based chips/webcams..........?????????
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Old 26-08-2010, 07:17 PM
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hey rob,

have you managed to get a decent image of a planet with the vx 5000?
if it turnes out to be a stunner I might myself a few bugs on the dmk and go with that one.
can you pls attach it to your post?

look forward!


cheers mate!
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Old 26-08-2010, 10:33 PM
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ballaratdragons (Ken)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NorthernLight View Post

On a ed80 or 150mm F5 netwon it is only good for the moon. I tried Jupiter and Mars but couldnīt get anything better than a snowball. On saturn it produced a blob with ears left and right. For the moon it is good and produces nice images of craters
If you can get nice images of Craters you will get nice images of planets.
Adjust the settings.
The fact that you get good craters shows that it will focus on the planets.
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Old 27-08-2010, 07:59 AM
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hi Ken,

I think the problem is that the moon offers even illumination in the whole fov but the plantes are so small that they are permanently overexposed.

Now I am thinking of 2 options:

1: use a ND filter or deep red to compensate the brightness against the background

2: add a 2x + 5x barlow to the optical train to narrow the field, slow down the f ration and magnify more - but I think the resolution of the 6" is somewhat limited at 7.5m fl

what is your opinion?
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Old 29-08-2010, 04:07 PM
robz (Robert)
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Hi Max, nothing as yet as I decided to wait for my EQ6 PRO mount to arrive (any day now) because I feel it's pointless with my current mount which is not only driverless but a sticking/jamming pile of crap (GAZER G.E.M.)

The VX5000 controls allow some capture/ image manipulation -exposure etc. , so it should prove to be interesting.

As soon as I have something, I'll post if it's worth a look.
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Old 29-08-2010, 06:32 PM
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Hi Rob,

yes please! I need some encouragement here. Yesterday I tried giving it a shot with filters but after set up the bloudy clouds reappeared and I had to hurry to bring it all back in before the rain. I hate the current weather here.

I would really like to see what you get straight out of the box without filters and stuff just to compare the actual camera capabilities.

Are gonna use a barlow?

Cheers
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Old 01-09-2010, 05:38 PM
robz (Robert)
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Hi Max, I checked my webcam settings control and contrast, brightness, gamma and exposure can all be set on the VX5000.
Should be the same for the VX3000?......have you tried the settings in the software for your webcam?

Might be an idea to try this before adding filters and such as the settings are critical to successfully capturing planets on webcams.

Having said this, whether these settings give adequate control over a dull enlarged planet is yet to be seen.

Yes, I will be using a 3x barlow, but can't try anything until my scope is properly laser collimated (I know it's way out even though it looks o.k on low power) which is also important to obtaining a clear capture.
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Old 27-12-2010, 09:34 PM
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Gday,

I know this topic has aged a little, I just picked up the VX-5000 from Harvey Norman's.(Half price sale for $45 for everyone's information)

By the way I hope you don't mine me posting this here Rob and if its ok ill add some images the VX-5000 produces. Seems silly to start a new topic on the same thing.....all good to go just waiting for clear skys now.

I have attached a pic of the cam modified.

Dan.
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Old 12-03-2012, 01:27 AM
cmoris (Carlos Moris)
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What happened with the VX5000!!! I have one and I wanna know!!!
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Old 23-03-2012, 05:12 PM
robz (Robert)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cmoris View Post
What happened with the VX5000!!! I have one and I wanna know!!!
Accidentally got damaged in my study when a shelf collapsed a few months ago. Something heavy fell on to the dismantled PCB/chip and smashed straight through the board..............total wipe out.

Have just (once again)picked up another bargain fom Dick Smith Electronics : a Logitech C600.
2.O TRUE megapixel chip!............was once selling for $129...........I picked one up from the closest store to me for $27.40!!!
Have not dismantled the camera yet, just testing on my P.C. as is using GSTAR 4.0 capture software.
So far, I can not believe how good the image is at 1600X1200!
Sharp, great contrast, colors and sensitivity in the dark.

Will be interesting for sure!

Check out this link : the Logitech Fushion is a native 1.3MP not a 2.0MP as is the newer C600.
look at the comparison images taken against the TOUCAM !!! http://ghonis2.ho8.com/fusiontest3.html

Last edited by robz; 23-03-2012 at 06:20 PM.
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