Toucam Pro 740k Images

First Light


Here are my first pictures taken with my brand-new, Toucam Pro 740K, CCD-based webcam.  They were all taken on the night of November 29/30th, 2003.   All images were taken through a Celestron C-8 2000mm F/10 telescope with the Toucam mounted on the star diagonal without any eyepiece.  Software used was K3CCDTools for image acquisition and image generation from the raw AVI frames and Photoshop for post-processing.

I wanted to get more into digital imaging with my telescope for quite sometime.  The pictures I've taken with my Sony DSC-P30 digital camera only served to wet my appetite for more.  Unfortunately, the limitations of the Sony are speed in taking successive pictures, 2 second maximum exposures and only fair low-light sensitivity.  I wanted to take the next step up and the Toucam is it!  

The amateur astronomy community on the Internet is buzzing with the talk of a webcam that can take amazing astrophotographs.    It is the Toucam Pro 740K, originally manufactured by Philips but is no longer in production.  They are very hard to find, and if you do find them, they are priced way above their original retail price.   I paid $168.50 on E-Bay with shipping.  There is a replacement model (the Toucam 840K,) but I wanted the tried and tested 740K. 

Mine is the original unmodified factory model. There is a modification that has been developed to make it do exposures longer than the 1/25 second that the webcam is hard-wired to do normally.  It is called the Toucam-SC Mod, SC being Steve Chambers, the inventor. 

I will be modifying mine soon, I hope.   Right now, all I can take with it are the planets and the Moon in its unmodified form.  But, even like it is the images are pretty good!   Here, see for yourself:




First Image - The Moon


Here's another Moon Shot. About the 4th or 5th one of the night.  Not too bad, huh?


I got better at it as the night wore on.  See?


Later in the night, after the moon was no longer available to shoot, I turned my attention to Saturn.  After a few shots that I was not completely satisfied with, I came up with this one around 3:15 am CST on 11/30/03.  I was very pleased with the Toucam, to say the least.   (Click here to see the same image processed with Registax instead of K3CCDTools.)


After getting Saturn, I went after Jupiter.   It took some processing to get this image to look as good as it is, so I want to tackle Jupiter again when it is higher in the sky at a more reasonable time.   Hopefully, I'll get a better picture then.  BTW, this shot was taken at 6:15 am.  I pulled an all-nighter, folks! 


All in all, it was a successful first night of imaging with the Toucam Pro webcam.   I am very satisfied and excited at the possibilities with it.  I will attempt a modification of it to do longer exposures so I can take some astrophotographs of dimmer objects.  Hopefully, I won't ruin the camera in the process.   If successful, I will  have many more pictures to display on my site, I assure you!



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All Images Copyright © 2003 Mike Broussard. All rights reserved.
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This page was last updated on 11/30/2003.