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Post Info TOPIC: Philips Vesta Pro webcam


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Webcam Astronomy
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Webcam Astronomy - With Real Video

Simple guide how to do it - with real video.

Aimed at the amateur astronomer with access to a telescope with an RA drive who would like to be shown how get a decent image of the planets without spending a fortune.



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Philips Vesta Pro webcam driver
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Philips Vesta Pro webcam driver for Vista and Windows 7.

(32-bit driver)

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Philips Vesta Pro webcam
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As a roundup of my testing of the Vesta pro webcam with various telescope set-ups, i have concluded that the Vesta pro is impressively suitable for planetary astrophotography.
The main reasons for choosing this webcamera over similar desktop cameras is that it has CCD chip rather than a CMOS chip, and that it can be modified very easily to be attached to a telescope. Also the second-hand price is cheerfully cheap (they can be picked up for less than a couple of loaves of bread).

Other Webcams such as the Phillips ToUcam Pro/Philips SPC900NC and Logitech Quickcam 4000 are very popular, and their price reflects the demand. It should also be noted that the Logitech 4000 webcam comes in differing versions with varying chip components so some are duds for planetary imaging. The Phillips ToUcam Pro is perhaps the best adaptable (even with USB2 issues) and well suited for all-round astrophotography - but at a price.

The Vesta pro webcam is relatively unknown to amateur astronomers (for now) and so their second-hand price is very low. The webcam is however recognised by many webcam capture software packages. The best, for my preference, being the free SharpCap (installed on a old Advent Presario laptop with XP).

Example unprocessed captures

Juiter.jpgCapture03_02_201216_44_59-1.jpg


The Vesta pro webcam has a 640 by 480 pixel (1.3 megapixels) Sony ICX098AK with a sensitivity to light of less than 1 lux. And like similar Webcams can connect to any computer USB port.
The webcam can be fitted with a standard Philips 1.25 telescope adaptor. However, the bonus is that the original webcam lens can be dismantled and the original IR-cut filter used; especially so if you fabricated a DIY telescope adaptor from a 35mm film canister (and thus save the added cost of a filter and adaptor which can amount to a fair sum).



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Vesta Pro webcam
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The various Philips web-cams have earned a reputation for performing well when used for astronomy work on the back of telescopes. This is due to their good sensitivity (<1 lux), small pixel size (5.6um square) and chip size (640 x 480). Their only drawback was the inability to take exposures exceeding 1/7th of a second, limiting their use mainly to planetary, solar and moon imaging.
All this changed in September 2001 when Steve Chambers, a member of the Quickcam and Unconventional Imaging Astronomy Group (QCUIAG) announced that he had devised a modification to the camera which would allow exposures of any desired length of time, up to the noise limit of the CCD detector.

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The camera can record video at up to 640x480 resolution at 30 frames per second. It can also take still pictures in resolutions of 640x480 and 800x600

Specifications:Download PDF

Those on a tight budget may wish to reuse the IR-cut filter from the web camera lens. The tiny square IR-cut filter is mounted on the front of the webcam lens.
A blunt knife can be used to prise apart the plastic moulding to remove the filter.

And, for those who wish to make their own DIY telescope adaptor, the glass elements of the lens can be drill or smashed from the lens, and the now hollow webcam lens insert into the bottom of a 35mm film canister (not forgetting to refit the IR-cut filter).



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L

Posts: 131433
Date:
Philips Vesta Pro webcam
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Giove MEADE LX 200 10" Vesta Pro



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Philips PCVC675K Vesta web camera

Can accept a 'standard' 1.25in webcam adapter.
Unfortunately, due to its age, there are no Vesta or Window7 drivers.

Technical Specification

Optical
Sensor 1/4 CCD (Sony ICX098AK)
Pixels 640 (H) x 480 (V)
Min. Illumination < 1 lux
Integrated lens 4.8 mm, F3.0

Camera controls
Framerate / Image resolution
Contrast
Brightness
Backlight compensation
Colour on/off
White-balance
Exposure control
Operating Environmental Parameters: 0C - 45C

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Update Philips Webcam Drivers

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