Our expert staff at OPT is on a mission to help you find the perfect Telescope Camera for your Astrophotography needs. Astrophotography Cameras are essential in order to capture and share images of celestial phenomena such as nebula, galaxies, planets, or the moon. With the ability to photograph and share beautiful images of the night sky, it is no surprise that Astrophotography is one of the fastest growing areas of astronomy!
There are a large number of Telescope Cameras that are best suited for planetary and solar work. These cameras excel at capturing detailed images of targets like the red spot on Jupiter or the Rings of Saturn when used with the correct Telescopes and Accessories. Many of these cameras are also well suited to use with Solar Filters and can capture high-quality images of the Sun when used appropriately. Planetary imaging is a great place to start for those interested in moving from observation to imaging, and these Telescopes Cameras are sure to help.
Some Telescope Cameras are exceptionally well suited for capturing images from the deepest and darkest reaches of space. These imaging cameras are great for capturing nebulae and galaxies, letting you capture some of the most breathtaking sights in the night sky to enjoy forever. These cameras are characterized by very long exposure times and use powerful cooling systems needed to take advantage of those exposure times.
There are Specialized Telescope Cameras for auto-guiding that can help your overall astronomy accuracy and act as support when you are imaging with another camera. These types of cameras are support units for your main camera, additions to your setup that help everything else run smoothly. They help guide your mount, which helps your camera and telescope track your target.
Some cameras are heavily specialized and perform extremely specific functions. This can range from Astronomy Video Cameras to Polar Alignment tools to things like 'All-Sky' cameras which show an extremely wide field of view. These cameras are great for getting the job done when you need something out of the ordinary and are some of the more interesting and unique cameras we stock.
CCD Cameras are capable of the most outstanding possible Astrophotography image quality. Unlike traditional cameras, the CCD Camera uses a rectangular chip of silicon called a Charge-Coupled Device to gather and record incoming light. The silicon chip is a solid-state electronic component comprised of light-sensitive cells called photo-sites, each photo site corresponds to pixel in your final image. Just one tiny area in a photograph can contain hundreds of thousands of pixels. When incoming light strikes the photo-site, the photoelectric effect creates and builds an electron charge for as long as exposure occurs. The electrons are then "stored" in their individual cells until the analog-to-digital converter unloads the array, counts the electrons, and reassembles them into the "big picture" that is sent to your computer. These traits make them incredible for high-resolution imaging and photography, but also mean that you will need to use a computer to process your images. Specialized software is available for processing your CCD images, and can be provided alongside your camera purchase if you are interested.
A CMOS Sensor is the alternative to a CCD Sensor when it comes to Astrophotography. CMOS Cameras tend to be less expensive than CCD Cameras, and have lately experienced a dramatic surge in technological advancement that has put many of the finer models on a higher footing than their CCD cousins. CMOS Cameras are very similar to CCD Cameras but have certain fundamental differences in design that drastically affect them and establish firm and predictable differences between the two kinds of camera. CMOS Image Sensors can incorporate other circuits on the same chip, eliminating the many separate chips required for a CCD. This also allows additional on-chip features, increasing the efficiency of manufacture and thus lower the sensor's cost.
If you'd like to have even more fun with your Telescope, consider an Astronomy Video Camera. These awesome tools can broadcast real-time images of deep space objects to a monitor and function as cameras. You could teach a class while watching globular cluster resolve on screen or share the views of Saturn during an outreach program. Perhaps you might like to make a film of a shadow transit on Jupiter or record the day’s solar activity. Maybe you'd just like to record motion pictures of comets or record a lunar eclipse... the possibilities are endless! Planetary Cameras and Digital Imagers are a wonderful, low-cost way of introducing yourself to Astrophotography. These fascinating tools can be as easy to use as inserting the Eyepiece Camera into the Telescope and turning on the screen! This is one of the coolest ways to share your hobby with others in an easily accessible way and can produce truly breathtaking views that are by their nature preserved for others to share.
What telescope camera should I get? How do I choose an astronomy camera?
With so many options, picking a camera that's right for you can be tough. Luckily, we have a guide to help you find the camera that is right for you.
What is the difference between a Color and Monochrome camera?
The simple answer is: color images output images in color, where monochrome cameras output in black and white. Check out our in-depth video to learn the differences between color and monochrome cameras.
How do I attach a camera to my telescope?
There are multiple ways to attach a camera to a telescope, and they all depend on what type of telescope and what type of camera. Typically, for DSLR cameras, you need a T-Ring for your specific camera, which attaches to a T-thread.
For astronomy cameras, most of them attach with either a 2"" nose piece, T-thread or M48 thread. Not sure how to attach your camera to your telescope? Get in touch with our telescope techs so we can help you by reaching us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What astronomy cameras work for Mac?
There are a number of Mac compatible astronomy cameras and astrophotography cameras available. ZWO and Starlight Xpress cameras work flawlessly with Mac operating systems.
Nebulosity is a great Mac compatible astronomy camera control software and works very well with ZWO and Starlight Xpress cameras.
DSLR vs dedicated astronomy cameras fro astrophotography?
The biggest difference between a DSLR and a dedicated astronomy camera is the ability to cool. Dedicated astronomy cameras can cool the sensor, allowing users to take longer exposures to capture those extremely faint details that make deep-sky images really come to life.
Advantages of DSLR imaging vs CMOS/CCD imaging:
- Cameras are less expensive for a given size chip and number of megapixels
- A larger chip means a larger field of view, and more pixels means larger printed photos
- No laptop or computer required to use in the field
- Ability to cool the camera for reduced noise and longer exposures for more detail
- CCD cameras are up to 50 times more sensitive than standard digital SLRs
- CCD cameras have a greater dynamic range than digital SLRs, meaning they can more easily capture both faint and bright detail in a single exposure
- Greater sensitivity makes imaging through filters (narrow-band or light pollution filters) easier.
For help on finding the right camera, check out this blog post on the different telescope camera types.