Colin Webb's FAQ page

Q: Do I need a telescope?

A: No, like astrophotography you can use a standard photographic lens by adapting a web cam. Then use the combination as you would a standard camera for astrophotography. On a normal tripod or a barn door type mount. One way to adapt a web cam for a lens is to acquire the lens mount ring from a non functioning camera body that suits your type of lens mount. Remove the mount ring, usually done by undoing 4 small mounting screws. Then attach the ring to the original cam body or whatever container you are remounting the camera into. Try to make the distance from the front surface of the mount to the sensor face the same as the distance from the mount face to the film plane in the original camera. (Colin Webb)

Q: What sort of telescope do I need?

A: Any telescope you already have that will produce a reasonable image. Look at the members images on this site and the home pages, You will find a wide range of telescopes in use from small reflectors and refractors to large computurised scopes. (Colin Webb)

Q: Do I need a motorised mount?

A: A motorised or computerised telescope is nice, But members use mounts of all types from simple altazimuth, dobsonian and equitorial mounts to the goto types of mounts. (Colin Webb)

Q: Do I need a portable or laptop computer?

A: Again nice if you have one. If you only have a desktop to use with a web cam that's ok. Members have experimented with longer standard parallel port cables upto 25 feet with success, But the average seems to be 15 feet. Do not remove the parallel port plug from the end of a Quickcam camera cable as it contains electronic components that the cam needs to operate.To save extending the cable which goes into the keyboard socket for power for the cam many members make up battery packs, Look at members home pages to see how it is done. If you are using a normal digital stills camera or some other self contained imageing system you will not have to worry about cables or computers at the telescope, just have you got enough storage media. (like aperture of a scope a lot is never enough) (Colin Webb)

Q: Do I have to modify the web cam?

A: You normaly have to remove the lens assembly and possibly the IR filter to be able to image celestrial bodies.Caution you will void the warranty for your cam by doing this. On most cams this mod appears to be reversible if done with care. Look in the QCUIAG Research section and members home pages for ways of doing this. Other mods can be done i.e. cooling etc. Look in the research section for articles. (Colin Webb)

Q: What can I image with my cam?

A: Most of the bright objects in the night sky ie. Moon, Saturn , jupiter and clusters etc. look at the images on this site and the home pages to get an idea of what is possible at the moment. Then try pushing your equipment and experiment, You may find a way to rival hubble. Please let us know what you try even if the result is not as planned, Your contribution to the groups knowledge will be greatly appreciated. (Colin Webb)

Q: A lot of images seem to be stacked and processed, how?

A: There is a program in the research section that will enable you to stack images and process them. There are other programs available on the web. Members also use commercial image processing packages like photoshop and paint shop pro to name just two. (Colin Webb)

Q: OK got my camera read the FAQ but I need more help?

A: Easy, join the e-mail list on the QCUIAG home page. You will receive a warm welcome and have access to some of the best brains on the web for imaging. Remember we have all been at the bottom of the learning curve and that it has no end your input is always welcome. (Colin Webb)

Q: OK got my first image what now?

A: If you intend to remain in and contribute to the activities of QCUIAG then e-mail it to with some details and it will be put in the members images section, if you have a web site let us have the URL and we will put a link with your images. Send a post to the list telling us about your image. (Colin Webb)

Q: Do I have to use a web cam?

A: No. The group wants to foster and encourage all unconventional imageing. Web cams are relatively cheap so you can experiment without to big a financial investment. If you have a digital stills camera or any other form of digital imager experiment with it then let the group know what the result was. (Colin Webb)