When manually holding the digital camera close to the eyepiece, the main difficulty is maintaining the camera lens in line with the optical axis of the eyepiece and close enough to avoid vignetting. Using an existing camera adapter facilitates lining up the digicam and eyepiece but increases the likelihood of making the telescope vibrate during camera shutter release. What is needed is a device that holds the camera to the eyepiece for the user. Used with the camera self-timer to release the shutter, this should allow images to be obtained without vignetting and vibration.
A number of such devices are now available, as described in the list prepared by Simon Szykman. On the basis of a number of factors, such as suitability for my digicam and eyepieces, availability and price, I selected the SteadyPix Universal Camera Mount. This is marketed by Orion Telescopes and Binoculars in the USA, and is available in the UK frofrom SCS Astro.
This link to the Orion site shows the SteadyPix camera mount. The mount comprises a camera pedestal, to which the camera can be attached using the camera tripod threadad hole, which can be clamped at positions along a metal beam. At one end of this beam is a clamp which secures a rod and eyepiece clamp. By adjusting the orientations and relative displacement of the camera pedestal and eyepiece clamp, it is possible to clamp a range of cameras adajacent to eyepieces in the telescope draw tube. There are sufficient degrees of freedom for cameras with off-centre lenses or tripod fittings, such as the Finepix A405 described here, to be accommodated.
|This shows an image obtained
using the SteadyPix camera mount with a 25 mm Plössl eyepiece
and 2x Barlow. The image was obtained at approximately 21:34 UT on 30
March 2004, when the Moon was almost exactly 10 days old. South is up
with the largest three craters being (from top) Copernicus, Archimedes
A resolution of 1 Mpixel was used, and a Hartmann mask had been used for focussing. The image has been converted to grey scale and resampled to 40 per cent. Resolution approaching that in plates 5b and 5e of the Hatfield atlas (2) have been achieved through using this camera mount.
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Last updated: 3 January 2005