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Details about  Philips SPC900NC Webcam Astrophotography Setup

Philips SPC900NC Webcam Astrophotography Setup See original listing
Philips-SPC900NC-Webcam-Astrophotography-Setup
Item Ended
Item condition:
New other (see details)
Ended:
25 Jun, 2011 12:04:30 BST
Price:
£59.99
[
History:
]
Postage:
£3.29 Standard Delivery | See details
Item location:
Worcester, Worcestershire, United Kingdom

Description

eBay item number:
220789166208
Seller assumes all responsibility for this listing.
Last updated on  16 Jun, 2011 07:43:46 BST  View all revisions

Item specifics

Condition:
New other (see details): A new, unused item with absolutely no signs of wear. The item may be missing its original packaging, ... Read moreabout the condition
Brand:

Philips

Connection Type:

USB

Webcam Type:

For Desktop PC & Laptop

Resolution:

Upto 1.3 MP (interpolated)

Philips Webcam Astrophotography Setup

Comes with:

Philips Webcam SPC900 NC (SPC880NC) (As featured in the May and June additions of Sky at Night magazine)

Telescope Adaptor

Infrared Blocking Filter

*FREE astrophotography firmware upgrade options

*FREE CD-R of manuals, drivers, software, observation planning software and specialist astrophotography software

(*request at time of ordering)

 

THE CAMERA

These webcams were originally designated SPC880NC and formed part of an OEM hardware package.  Whilst there are a few minor external differences, internally they are the same as the renowned SPC900NC, with the same circuitry and high quality CCD imaging chip.  These cameras are recognised by Windows as the SPC900NC model.  I have upgraded the firmware and tested each camera myself.  

Information datasheet - http://download.p4c.philips.com/files/s/spc900nc_00/spc900nc_00_pss_eng.pdf

 

ASTROPHOTOGRAPHY

Because these webcams use CCD image sensor chips instead of the cheaper CMOS chips found in almost every other webcam, they have superb sensitivity in low light conditions.  This combination of low light sensitivity and high quality electronics makes these excellent webcams for either conventional use or for lunar and planetary astrophotography. 

You can see some images I have taken with these cameras at: http://almiraobservatory.awardspace.co.uk/SPC900.html

 

This package includes an adaptor that lets you plug the webcam straight in to the standard 1.25" eyepiece holder on your telescope.  These cameras are very sensitive at the infra-red end of the spectrum.  Without an infra-red blocking filter, your images will be slightly fuzzy.  The package includes an infra-red filter to cut out the infra-red end of the spectrum and hence helps you get sharper images.  I will include the original webcam lens in the package in case you want to use the webcam for conventional use. 

 

FIRMWARE UPGRADE 1 - OPTIMIZED COLOUR MODE

For those interested in purchasing a webcam purely for astrophotography, on request, I can flash the firmware to a special 'Optimized Colour (non-RAW) mode and special factory settings' version.  This gives improved sharpness and low light sensitivity, less noise and fewer artefacts.  There are no extra processing steps required and the video stream can be viewed in colour on all programs. 

 

FIRMWARE UPGRADE 2 - RAW MODE (New)

If you are after getting the very best out of your SPC900NC, you might want to opt for the 'RAW mode and special factory settings' firmware upgrade.  This is similar to the optimized colour mode, but also turns off the onboard debayering on the camera.   As a result the image will at first appear monochrome and will need a few extra processing steps to turn it into a colour image.  This mode really comes to the fore when you are shooting at 5 frame per second.  This slow frame rate is only practicable in very steady seeing conditions and I would thus recommend this as a second webcam for use when conditions are at their best, rather than as your main imaging webcam.  I will include a special 3-page tutorial to help with using a RAW mode camera on the free CD-R.    I WOULD NOT RECOMMEND RAW MODE FOR THE NOVICE WEBCAM IMAGER.

 

THESE FIRMWARE UPGRADES ARE FREE

Please let me know whether or not that you want either the 'optimized colour' or 'RAW' firmware upgrades at the time of purchase.   If you are unsure about which (if any) firmware upgrade to order, please feel free to message me to discuss your options before ordering.

 

Neither of these firmware upgrades enable long exposure astrophotography.  To convert an SPC 900NC for long exposure astrophotography, so that you can take pictures of starfields, gaxies and nebulae, you'll need to be handy with a soldering iron.  You can find ouit more about how to do this at:  http://astropetros.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=19&Itemid=33  

 

DRIVERS AND SOFTWARE

You can download the relevant Windows drivers and software for this webcam by going to http://www.p4c.philips.com and typing SPC900NC in to the search bar at the top of the web page.  Drivers are available for all versions of Windows from Windows 98SE to Windows 7. 

I am happy to include a FREE CD-R containing all the relevant manuals, drivers and Philips software, together with copies of a large number of very good programs for observation planning and webcam astrophotography, including Sharpcap and Registax. 

NOW with software to help you make stunning lunar mosaics.

 

Please let me know whether or not you want one of these free CD-Rs at the time or purchase.

 

I've found some introductory videos about using Sharpcap and Registax on YouTube that I thought you might find useful.

Sharpcap tutorial - http://www.youtube.com/user/astronomyshed#p/u/24/4UC0KmPkuy4

Registax tutorial - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=daXevwCNi4k

 

You can find a range of fantastic video tutorial about webcam imaging and processing at http://www.astronomyshed.co.uk/forum/viewforum.php?f=19 and some excellent tutorials in the astrophotography section of the Sky at Night magazine website http://www.skyatnightmagazine.com/

 

I can also strongly recommend Martin Mobberley's excellent book 'Lunar and Planetary Wecam User's Guide'

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Planetary-Webcam-Patrick-Practical-Astronomy/dp/1846281970/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1303939641&sr=8-2

 

I would be happy to answer questions about lunar or planetary imaging with these webcams. 

PAYMENT

Buyers must have a PayPal account with an associated credit/debit card.

Please do not press the ‘Buy-it-Now’ button unless you can pay for the webcam immediately.

Buyers from outside the European Union are reminded that you may be liable for Import Duty on these goods.

   

POSTAGE and PACKAGING

All cameras come in a cardboard box and are posted in a padded envelope (box may differ slightly from that illustrated).

All postage is by signed-for first class post - All postage is insured.

Low international postage rates.

 

REMEMBER TO LET ME KNOW WHETHER OR NOT YOU WANT EITHER THE 'OPTIMIZED COLOUR' OR 'RAW' FIRMWARE UPGRADES AND/OR THE CD-R WHEN YOU ORDER.

 

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