Product Type: Celestron telescopes
Newest Review: ... great to the budding astrophotographer until we look at the pricetag, £116. Celestron are hoping that their potential customers will ... more
Celestron Neximage makes astrophotography easy
Member Name: lunarc
Advantages: Incredibly easy to use - you can take pictures in minutes
Disadvantages: Only 640 x 480 resolution
If you're an amateur astronomer or are considering taking it up as a hobby, you might have spent some time thinking about whether it's possible to take pictures of stars and planets using your telescope. This is known as astrophotography and while you might have spent time marvelling at some of the photos taken by the Hubble, you might not realise you can actually take your very own pictures from your back yard - even on a modest budget by using Celestron NexImage.
NexImage is a compact camera which looks and feels quite similar to a webcam. It has a CCD (Charge Coupled Device) sensor and can take pictures up to 640 x 480 pixels in resolution. It has a 1.25" fitting, so it will fit perfectly into any telescsope which takes 1.25" eyepieces. You can also use additional magnification such as Barlow lenses. The camera comes with an instruction manual and two software programs on CD: one for capturing video clips or still images and another for 'stacking' video frames into a still image. The camera will not run on its own, so you DO need to be able to attach NexImage to a computer. Therefore, it's best if you have access to a laptop.
Getting started is simple - start with something easy like the moon and find it in your telescope as normal. Now, switch over your eyepiece for NexImage and open the software on your laptop. You'll need to re-adjust the focus and possibly adjust some settings in the software (the instructions explain all!) but within seconds you'll have a beautiful clear picture of the moon on your laptop screen. Then you can either take a still shot or record some video - 20 seconds or so.
Using your 20 second video recording, you can fire up the stacking software to get an amazing final image. The stacking software works by looking for a common feature in all the video frames, lining the frames up, getting rid of the poor quality frames and 'stacking' all the others together to blend them into one fantastic picture. There are a range of settings to adjust to optimise your picture and bring out features such as craters.
My very first recording & picture were of the moon at dusk (so still quite light outside) and through my living room window (not ideal!) but it still came out brilliantly! Since then, I've had some amazing pictures taken in better conditions and have even managed to capture Jupiter.
If you have an interest in astrophotography and don't want to have to shell out for an expensive DSLR camera or high-tech telescope camera, NexImage is a perfect choice. The cost is affordable (around £120) and it's SO easy to use - you'll be taking amazing pictures in no time at all!
Summary: NexImage is a perfect entry-level camera for astrophotography.