K3's AstroPhotography
"When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars which You have set in place, what is Man that You are mindful of him?" -- Psalm 8:3,4

ToUCam Pro versus Vesta Pro
Webcam comparison tests

Recently I bought a new webcam - Philips ToUCam Pro. As I saw a lot of messages about its better picture quality compared to Vesta Pro, I decided to do side-by-side tests.

Note: All tests were done in 5fps mode to obtain the best picture quality (see Philips Vesta Pro picture quality tests).
The goal of the test was to compare the picture quality, so I tried to set the same image brightness for both cameras and I compared the noise.
When you look at exposure settings for both cameras you can see that for the same image brightness you need lower gain for ToUCamPro. That confirms that ToUCamPro is more sensitive.

A, Webcam parameters
B, Tests with the original lens
C, Tests with the same lens



A, Webcam parameters

Philips Vesta Pro (model PCVC680K) Philips ToUCam Pro (model PCVC740K)

CCD chip: SONY ICX098AK (Type 1/4")
Image size: Diagonal 4.5mm, 3,87mm x 2,82mm
Effective pixels: 659(H) x 494(V) ~330K pixels
Total number of pixels: 692(H) x 504(V) ~350K pixels
Unit cell (pixel) size: 5.6Ám(H) x 5.6Ám(V)
Chip size: 4.60mm(H) x 3.97mm(V)

Integrated lens: Focal length 4.8 mm, F3.0
Sensitivity: <1 lux

CCD chip: SONY ICX098BQ (Type 1/4")
Image size: Diagonal 4.5mm, 3,87mm x 2,82mm
Effective pixels: 659(H) x 494(V) ~330K pixels
Total number of pixels: 692(H) x 504(V) ~350K pixels
Unit cell (pixel) size: 5.6Ám(H) x 5.6Ám(V)
Chip size: 4.60mm(H) x 3.97mm(V)

Integrated lens: Focal length 6.0 mm, F2.0
Sensitivity: <1 lux

As you can see, the main difference (as far as we don't talk about case design) is in used CCD chip and in the integrated lens. There must be also difference in firmware and also in drivers. You can compare chip sensitivities here.



B, Tests with the original lens

There are only crops of the full image sizes in the table. Click the images to see their full size.

  Philips Vesta Pro (model PCVC680K) Philips ToUCam Pro (model PCVC740K)

180W Incadescent light

Exposure settings
Raw frame
1/25s, gain 90%

1/5s, gain 0% (set 1/25s **)
Stack of 25 frames
1/25s, gain 90%

1/5s, gain 0% (set 1/25s **)

180W Incadescent light

Exposure settings
Raw frame
1/10s, gain 40%

1/10s, gain 15% (set 1/33s **)
Stack of 25 frames
1/10s, gain 40%

1/10s, gain 15% (set 1/33s **)

**Note: The exposure times for ToUCamPro camera taken from driver settings dialog don't correspond to real values.
Look at
ToUCam Pro exposure time.



C, Tests with the same lens

As I mentioned above, the webcams are equipped with the different lens. ToUCam Pro is equipped with faster lens. For astroimaging the telescope objective is used instead of original lens, so it is important to compare the webcams when the same objective lenses are used.
This tests compares webcams with the same lens (I used Vesta Pro lens). Exposure was 1/5s for both cameras and for all tests.

There are only crops of the full image sizes in the table. Click the images to see their full size.

  Philips Vesta Pro (model PCVC680K) Philips ToUCam Pro (model PCVC740K)

30W Incadescent light (1/5s, 5fps **)

30W Incadescent
Exposure settings
30W Incadescent
Raw frame
30W Incadescent
Stack of 20 frames

100W Incadescent light (1/5s, 5fps **)

100W Incadescent
Exposure settings
100 W Incadescent
Raw frame
100W Incadescent
Stack of 20 frames

180W Incadescent light (1/5s, 5fps **)

180W Incadescent
Exposure settings
180 W Incadescent
Raw frame
180W Incadescent
Stack of 20 frames

**Note: The exposure times for ToUCamPro camera taken from driver settings dialog don't correspond to real values.
Look at
ToUCam Pro exposure time.

ToUCam Pro is evidently more sensitive. You can see the difference in low light (30W). In normal light situation it allows to use lower gain and that's why it provides the picture with lower noise.


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Last Update: 02.09.2003