Recommendation for USB camera for astrophotography

I’m looking for recommendations for which ArduCam cameras would be suitable for astro-photography.


  • USB interface
  • long exposure control
  • gain control
  • M12 or CS/C3 lens mount
  • Linux support

I was considering one of the hires PI cameras 16mpix+ via the ArduCAM USB3.0 Camera Shield Plus B0317.

Would this be suitable?


I’m sorry, cameras are not recommended here, you can ask [email protected]


Do not buy any of this arducam or rpi for astrophotography. Go with player one or zwo or omegon or similar.

I have failed terriblely, and wasted lot of money. Player One Mars C IMX462 costs 200 usd. It has long exposure time for deep space, and it has high fps of over 200 in 720p.It can record Raw AVI which is usable for planetary and 2000s long single exposure which is great for deep space.

Arducam IMX462 is fixed at 60fps, raw does not work, longest exposure is 15s and you have to flash custom rom even to get it. And 15s is not so good. It will not work with astroberry as kernel is not supported

Rpi HQ cam has much much worse noise, max fps depends on mode but it is unimpressive as it forces binning that is usually not wanted in Astronomy as you loose details for planetary. For deepspace you do not care much if it is binned. Max exposures is 230s that is not so bad. It supports astroberry and has dedicated INDI drivers, that has annoying bug(you need to capture 10s image, then 15s image to enable long exposure mode) but it works in the end.
So if you insist HQ Cam is less bad option. and it bas CS mount. It does not support USB Cable but you can connect it to rpi directly I am. not. sure about limitations you would get when you plug it to Arducam USB board.

But all in all, go with dedicated, it is worth it as their developers think about you and how to make it good for astrophotography !
Zwo, Player one, Topup Tek, Omegon, Svbony, There are more than enough brands to choose from.

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It’s maybe not obvious but you probably DON’T want long exposure time for astrophotgraphy. Do the math. The Earth rotates 360 degrees in 24 hours, to avoid star trails you need the shutter open a short time like 1/60 second. It’s a compromise, you want a lot of light in a short time so ideally a star is a pinpoint of light, not a streak. Something that can do 30 FPS video might be close.

Actually looking around, do a video for a minute or more, extract the frames and combine them using one of those programs that aligns them first (forget what that’s called). [Duh: look at focus stacking.]
One pitfall would be MPEG distortion in the video, not using compression would be better.

See How to output uncompressed movie from a camera to an external HDMI devices for using a Nikon DSLR. I have a D5200, haven’t tried it yet. Or set your release mode to continuous (3-5 FPS) which can save in RAW and combine those. Or write something using GPhoto to shoot and store a burst of pictures as fast as possible and as cleanly as possible. Combine those later.

Svbony yes, see something like this for $90 SV205 Electronic Camera 8MP USB3.0 for Telescope Astrophotography but you need some telescope. It’s better than trying to hang a DSLR on a telescope because you don’t have a 2 lb DSLR screwing up your telescope balance. There’s no viewfinder though.

My dear friend it might not be obvious but there are often wider views in all areas than simple you do not want it that way :slight_smile: Let me try to explain it in a more detail:

You have two main use cases. Planetary and Deep Sky. *

Planets are well lit by the sun so goal is to take as much as possible frames in as shortest possible time and use small percentage of them to stack. This is called Lucky Imaging*.

For Deep Sky you want to get as much as SNR (Signal to Noise Ratio). For this, to negate sensor read noise, you need to take longer exposures. As you said Earth rotates, to negate this there are sky trackers, equatorial mounts, autoguiding software… With 1/60s you have 1% signal, due to dim targets, and 99%read noise. 1s to 300s are sweet spot for most deep space targets. Also here you will want to take multiple exposures and stack them, idealy all of exposures you capture.

For both Planetary and deep sky you want only RAW, or eventually compressed LOSELESS, not lossy, video or image format. MPEG is not an option. You can use software like Backyard Nikon or Backyard EOS to capture in raw at high FPS for planetary. I use EOS 550D.

For deep space tacking software is Deep Sky Stacker, Siril, Sequator… For planetary stacking you would proably use Autostakkeret 3.0, and Registax for wavelets.

That Svbony model is bad. They have much better cameras like 405 and 905, 305 might be fine as well. Svbony would be my last choice out of offered ZWO is industry leader, Player one is new player but promising with cool ideas. You do not need telescope, lens with adapter is often used, something like Samyang 135mm f2 is briliant if you get good model. Telescope complicates things more, But mount/tracker is basicaly a must have.

This was very very brief summary :slight_smile:

1.* There is also lunar and solar, but they can be concidered planetary as well.
2.* Lucky imaging can be used for some bright nebulas as well.