Smartphone Adapters

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I have a goal of being able to document my visual observing through a telescope using my smartphone. I realize this goal doesn't replace traditional astrophotography using a DSLR or USB camera but I just want a way to take a quick picture. To this end, I had purchased two adapters which would hold a smartphone above the eyepiece. The first one is a Carson Hookupz 2.0. The second one is Orion SteadyPix Quick Smartphone Adapter.

I previously created two blog posts on my initial thoughts on the Hookupz and SteadyPix.

My original attempt didn't produce a test image that I was happy with so decided to try again first inside. The first thing I noticed was I think my iPhone case was an issue. Since I got a very rugged case, it is quite thick. I realized it moved the camera lens a good distance from the adapter. So, all test going forward would be without the case.

I found some steps on how to take an image with the iPhone.

  1. Focus the image
  2. Press the screen to get exposure and focus lock
  3. Slide to change the exposure
  4. Take image

To avoid causing the image to blurry, the headphone cable that came with the iPhone could be used as a shutter or cable release to take the image without having to touch the iPhone.

Telescope eyepiece covered turned down
Telescope eyepiece covered turned down

Additionally, one technique that helped was to turn down the eyepiece cover.

Carson Hookupz 2.0

I tried the Carson Hookupz first. The Hookupz didn't hold tightly to the eyepiece when in the rugged case. It performed better without the case. I wonder if this is due to the reduced weight.

I was able to take some images. The first thing I noticed was the image didn't fit the screen. I guess this makes sense since the eyepiece is a round opening and the camera lens is constrained by it. I tried zooming in to see the results. Note that I was imaging inside a house through a glass window so didn't expect to have a crisp image.

Orion SteadyPix Quick Smartphone Adapter

I then tried the Orion SteadyPix. It held the adapter very tightly to the eyepiece. To avoid tightening the SteadyPix on the telescope, I actually took the eyepiece off and then tighten and place the entire assembly on the telescope. The SteadyPix was very steady on the telescope.

Here are the images with the SteadyPix

Comparison Results

  • The key initial finding was the iPhone shouldn't be in a case so the camera lens is as close to the eyepiece as possible.
  • The Hookupz holds the iPhone well on the eyepiece and its design make it easy to swap between eyepieces.
  • The SteadyPix created a very steady connection to the eyepiece.
  • Image quality was inconclusive since not testing outside.