Simple iPhone telescope mount

simple-iphone-telescope-mount

This cheap and easy hack will let you use your old smart phone to take pictures and videos of the view through a telescope. [Xobmo] built the connector for just 55 cents. Apart from our concerns about scratching the lens when inserting the phone in the bracket we love the idea.

He was given the¬†Celestron Powerseeker 70AZ as a gift from his wife last Christmas. He looked around the Internet and saw that there are already some solutions for recording video using an iPhone 3GS. This design on Thingiverse¬†would be perfect, but he doesn’t have access to a 3D printer and ordering it form a service would cost almost $50. But when he got to thinking about it, all he needed was a ring to fit on the telescope and a way to connected the iPhone to it. He headed down to the hardware store and picked up a PVC coupler. After working with a hack saw and drill he ended up with a slot with two wings on it. Just slip the phone in and slide the ring on the eyepiece. You can see some action shots, and get a look at the mount itself, in the clip after the break.

Comments

  1. Dojo says:

    First post. Is the iPhone sensor actually good enough to make good photos?

    • I’ve found that it can be moderately decent if you are using the right equipment. I used a powerful telescope with several eyepiece filters stacked on top of each other and then hold my phone up to the lens and take as many pictures as possible. I then go through them to find the best ones, but they look nothing like real life. I haven’t yet used a camera stand, but hopefully that will make it easier to actually find the objects I am photographing. Also, I am going to try to stack multiple photos on the computer to create a clearer image. Here is an image I took without a camera mount or any stacking software. I used only the built-in photo enhancing software of the iPhone and the Instagram app. http://instagram.com/p/jbuQhxzZnV/

  2. Hirudinea says:

    Why risk scratching the lens when you could epoxy a dollar store iphone case onto the pipe and have a much more precise fit?

  3. fartface says:

    Yeah, epoxy a cheapie case and call it done. and yes, the iphone 4s and higher has a better camera in it than most point and shoot cameras (outside of Nikon and Canon) Cue the kiddies that cant afford the iPhone to chime in on how it Suxx0rs even though they have never touched one.

  4. Velli says:

    “But when he got to thinking about it,”

    Yes. This exactly. When you get to thinking about it, you can find a better and cheaper (and often faster) way than 3d printing almost every time. Good job with hacking instead of hitting -.

  5. Paladin says:

    I have seen another version of this that used a web cam. The problem I had was that, because most of the field of view is black, the view thru the telescope was over exposed.
    Is there some way to compensate for this ??

    • dean says:

      If you can’t manually adjust exposure, there are ways of minimizing the vignetting:
      (From http://www.barrie-tao.com/afocal.html)
      Use an eyepiece with long eye relief.
      Couple the end of the camera lens as close as possible to the eye lens of the telescope eyepiece.
      Set the digital camera at macro mode rather than infinity.
      Use digital camera at full optical zoom.
      Purchase lenses specifically designed for the type of digital camera used.
      If possible, use a camera lens with a focal length longer than the eyepiece focal length.

  6. Andy says:

    You’d get better images with an Android.

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