Celestron now has a NexImage 10 Astrophotography Camera,
which is 10 Megapixels, for $309.
Celestron released the NexImage camera sometime
2008. I bought it in 2012 for around $100 ($133
in 2023 - a 33% increase due to inflation!). It has the following specifications:
Sensor: 1/4" format, HAD (Hole-Accumulation Diode),
Resolution: VGA 640x480 pixels
Sensor Size: 3.6 mm x 2.7 (4.5 mm diagonal)
Pixel Size: 5.6 micron square
Sensitivity: <1 lux
USB Cable: 7ft
As with most things, if you read online reviews for the NexImage, most people
either love it or hate it. My own experience is that the frustration I had initially
was due to inexperience in setting up the software and with getting a good focus
on the telescope. Once those two obstacles were overcome, I began getting some really
good images of the moon and planets.
Printed Circuit Assembly Front Side
Front Side of Both NexImage Printed Circuit Assemblies
Back Side of Both NexImage Printed Circuit Assemblies
Celestron now has a 10 Mpixel version of the camera out called the NexImage 10.
It costs $309. I have learned a bit more about imaging CCDs and will do a bit of
shopping around first. I really do not want to get a DSLR because they are big and
heavy. What would be nice is to buy a medium quality telescope camera for doing
deep space imaging and another for planetary work. The investment would be around
$1,000, which is what an acceptable DSLR would cost. However, the DSLR will not
come with software and, especially for the deep space work, will probably not have
as good of a low light level capability as a camera designed for astroimaging.
Mars images that I got using the NexImage
and my Celestron NexStar 8SE telescope.
Since the warranty period is over on my NexImage camera, I decided to go ahead
and open it up to see what's under the hood. The pictures below show the components
on the printed circuit assemblies, and identify most of the major components. There
were a couple that I could not find datasheets for, but of those I could find, there
are hyperlinks to them.
If you are interested in seeing the guts of a
NexStar 8SE, please read my teardown report on it. It has since been sold.
Celestron NexImage Astrophotography Camera
SAA8116HL04 Digital PC-Camera SPU Microcontroller and USB Interface
TDA8787A 10-bit, 3.0 V, 18 Msps A/D Interface for CCD Cameras
PCF8594C-2P 512 x 8-bit CMOS EEPROM Global
GS34063 DC-To-DC Converter
CXD1267AN CCD Vertical Clock Driver
Posted December 29, 2023
(updated from original
post on 5/20/2012)