Planetary Imaging – Which Webcam?

I review several webcams that are available for planetary imaging.

Link to my website on planetary imaging:

Link to the planetary imaging playlist:

— New cameras since this video —

ZWO now has USB3 webcams

— Cameras mentioned in this video —

Celestron NexImage 5

ZWO webcams

Orion Telescopes

Celestron NexImage Burst (not mentioned in this video)

The Image Source / Celestron Skyris


I talked about these 2 cameras in the video but I do not recommend them.

Celestron NexImage

Celestron NexImage (original)

You can learn more by visiting the Cloudy Nights astronomy forums. Most of what I know I learned there.

They have a forum just for planetary imaging called
Solar System Imaging & Processing

The “optimal” focal ratio is 5 times the pixel size (in microns). I talk about this in my video Which Barlow? and you can read about it here:


Mahendra Sompura says:

How I can operate my webcam on mobile display screen ?

ShadowGaIlery says:

Very helpful videos! thank you for making them!

Do you have any new recommendations on other webcams for 2017 compared to the neximage 5 / zwo 120 tier? thanks in advance.

Daniel Earl says:

What is the formula you use to determine the desired focal ratio?

John Huddy says:

Dear sir. Thank you for this video. My dream is dso’s.
I can’t afford guided mount and short apo right now.- or even used dslr.
ZWO now claims this camera will do dso’s. ( I assume deep sky stacker, and 400 lights,,darks, and flats. Too good to be true kind of thing.
I really just want to say thanks for the video. I have learned enough from you and Forrest Tanaka to set up a 10 hr imaging session, wirelessly, with eq-Ascom, without actually owning the equipment.
Also liked your vid of celestron polar alignment . (Cone error)- then drift align. You rock!

fairclge says:

thanks for the video’s. I’m thinking of getting a Celestron Nextimage 5 camera with a Celestron 8″ nexstar evolution scope. I see the scope is listed as a F10, so going by what you said in your video I would not need a Barlow lens? if so I assume the camera would directly attach? any recommendations for a basic go to first lens. Thanks. Greg

They lie ohio says:

The best moon images I have ever seen is from Bill Bryson and he used a Logitech c910 webcam…..hands down it still blows the rest away.

SandiandBodiandI says:

I love your videos! Not like the rest where I don’t know what they’re talking about.

OMGWTF?Ghaz says:

Hi,I love your video’s, I have watched them all! I notice that you use a Celestron Nexstar 5 SE… I have just gotten into astronomy and looking for a little advice.I have a Celestron Nexstar 6SE and ZWO Asi120MC and a Revelations 2x and 2.5x barlow, however I am getting real fuzzy images of jupiter!I seen in one of your videos, that your initial video of Jupiter was very detailed! which in turn is going to have a massive impact to the final image after processing with registax etc. Any chance you could give some tips or even a Video of settings etc in Sharpcap or firecap(Using your 5SE and Asi120MC please? that would be amazing!Subscribed 🙂

Sam Sen says:

Excellent review and very good information for the potential buyer. I am totally surprised by the low number of viewer yet. Will advertise for this good clip.

Few questions:
1- Is there anyways to make Cel NexImage-5 into a Guidoscope? Any sort of USB to ST4 converter?

2- There is no reference to SBIG. Is the price obstacle?

3- There is no reference to Meade’s Deep Sky Imagers. Is the fact that Meade discontinued the production of those wonderful sensors that is the reason? And do you know why Meade has stop making those wonderful products?

4- Can I find any software that support a simple webcam conversion for astrophotography? I assume iCap etc do not come free and even then, are not going to support non OEM cameras.

Again thanks a lot for your wonderful and accurate video clip. Enjoyed fully, subscribed and will promote your great valuable videos.

Colby Schuelke says:

What cheap computer webcams do you recommend?

Scott Powers says:

Thank you very much for your very informative videos I greatly appreciate them. I have a question for you what would you recommend I own the next image five and I’m considering the ZWO asi120-a….I have used my next image five probably about 10 times and I have gotten pretty decent results on Jupiter, would you suggest that I continue to use that camera to hone my skills or would you recommend that I upgrade the camera if I have the resources to do so? Also is the USB 3.0 option worth the extra frame rate? I have a 12″ z12, a 8″ XT8, 6″ newt (c6-n) and an ED80.

dr7asans says:

hello sir.
I have 2 questions plz.
1- what about the orion starshoot cameras and which are the best.
2- can u make a review about the skyris cameras ?


Mahendra Sompura says:

I want to use my mobile display screen via OTC USB cable. How I can use webcam?

markus ford says:

So I’m having a dilemma. What is better the nexImage 5 or the nexImage burst color. What has the highest FOV. Do you have any experience with the burst color

David Ettie says:

Love your work, always recommend to those I meet who are new to the hobby, have you looked at the Neximage 10 yet?, I just got one and am fairly impressed but would love to know your thoughts?

Mike Raggett says:

Hi, Enjoying your new videos and its good to see you back uploading tutorials again. I have recently upgraded from the Neximage to the ZWO 120MC. Not had a great opportunity to use it on the planets yet but with Jupiter rising at a more sociable time I hoping to get some good captures. As I mention before good work and perhaps you could run some videos on lunar capture (perhaps this is already in progress …)

John Huddy says:

Thanks for the reply!
I have advanced since posting my goofy comment.
Now have cgem, Zwo 120mc-s, ( which I will use for guiding), 72 mm astrotech, t3i, fire capture, and backyard eos.
The point of my post is that your video guided me in the right direction on my planetary, and heavily influenced me to get a good camera. The Zwo 120 mc-s is an awesome camera. Your vid on 5x pixel size = desired f ratio really helped.(3.75 microns x 5)
I hope you post more videos! I suggest anybody wanting to do planetary imaging watch all your vids. I hope you make more.

Corky Cat says:

I run a MS HD Lifecam (720) and achieved good lunar & Jupiter images after little practice with my SW 130 Synscan. Rare camera only ever seen this camera twice!

Stephen Jones says:

Logitech c920 awesome for eyepiece projection. Around $60

LiveSteamMad says:

Be aware that one of the very best planetary imagers in the world, Chris Go, uses a Skyris camera ;-

Awon2zip says:

I’d love to use a webcam, but i dont have a laptop to hook it up to, only a desktop. For now i”ll stick with my iPhone

Bruce says:

I bought the Neximage 5 and I still cannot get it to focus in on an image! Icap is relatively straight forward and have had many different capture cards as well as software! I have worked trying to get it functional and I am about to return it as non functioning but want to exhaust all avenues before I give in short of voiding any warranty! I can locate with other lenses and track them then switch over to the Neximage 5 and attempt imaging and everything just stays blurry no matter which resolution or how I focus! I try to use! I’ve tried all tutorials and have nothing in the way of results that are recognizable! I’ve tried focusing in on a stationary object and the best I can can manage is a vague shadow of it’s silhouette! Disillusioned with this to say the least! BTW I am using an I7 Intel 12 core CPU the Telescope is Celestron Nexstar Evolution 8

Kim Jong-un says:

I find the iPhone 6 with a bracket on my nexstar 6 is good for images. We all have smart phones so why not just use them with the thousands of apps available.

Juan Melgar says:

Really Great!!!!! I would just loved to see example of images you have taken!!!
Great Thank you

Percy Tate says:

I am picking up my Orion StarShoot 5MP Solar System Colour Camera tomorrow. I am looking forward to using it. Thanks again for your series of videos

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