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RainyDayGiftGuide 2017: Smartphone Astrophotography

Happy Christmas and Merry Holidays!!!

The Holiday Season is upon us again!

As in years past, we have assembled a fantastic series of GiftGuides full of interesting ideas for our RainyDayMagazine readers. Our Guides includes items we have reviewed during the year, new ones we haven’t yet posted, and some from years past..

The one thing that stays the same year after year is the selection criteria: all of the recommendations are things we have actually touched and things we would actually want.

Happy Holidays!

Smartphone Camera Mounts

Smartphone cameras have evolved into a serious tool for all types of photography. While it is most often used for snapshots, serious amateurs—and working pros—have used them for landscapes, closeups, and advertising work. In the last year, we paired smartphone cameras with other optical gear (microscopes, spotting scope, binoculars, telescopes) to see how they did in afocal photograpy.

There was quite a bit of trial-and-error involved to get the setup “just right.” We have learned a lot, and have shown that the concept is sound, especially for astrophotography. A very important thing we learned was to use the right mount for attaching the smartphone to the instrument. To that end, we now present a few mounts which we found to work very well. They certainly will make for a unique Holiday gift for that special photographer on your list!

For Control Freaks

  • Celestron Universal Digital Camera Adapter/Mount – This mount is the heaviest and most complicated of the bunch, because it can hold a point-and-shoot camera as well as a smartphone. The rails have adjusters that allow the user to dial-in the precise position on all axis.
  • Smartphone Tripod Clamp – This straight clamp attaches the smartphone to the Celestron Camera Mount.

With this combo, you can mount any small camera/smartphone to almost any optical instrument. The slight downside is that it is difficult to set up quickly out in the field because of all the adjustments required to “dial it in.” However, it is the rig for those willing to trade ease-of-use for complete control!

For Telescopes

  • Solomark Smartphone Mount – The ocular clamp will fit over any eyepiece with a diameter between 28mm-47mm. That means it will work with spotting scopes, binoculars, and other optical instruments.

  • Low profile Smartphone Mount – This super simple adapter works well with smart phones that have a flat, smooth surface. The mount will fit over a standard size 1.25-inch eyepiece barrel. The soft silicon rubber suction cups will hold the phone, allowing easy centering of the camera’s lens.

For Binoculars

  • Landove Universal Smartphone Quick Mount – We love this mount for binoculars, as it easily clamps over the eyepiece and hangs securely. The clamping mechanism is circular and will self-center when attached.

WenPod SP1+ Digital Stabilizer

While this mount does nothing for astrophotography, this stabilizer will let anyone shoot rock-steady videos with their smartphone! The WenPod SP1+ 2-axis Digital Stabilizer for the smartphone is the first hand-held gimbal for the smartphone market.

  • WenPod SP1+ – Just grip the smartphone with WenPod, adjust the balance, pair it with the trigger via Bluetooth, and you are good to go!

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