Astrophotography used to be an obscure hobby available only to dedicated astronomers willing to put in the effort—both in time and equipment—to get the shot.
When higher resolution digital cameras came onto the scene, astronomers knew that they were perfect for the task, but their priceyness restricted their use mostly to professionals.
When digital cameras became more mainstream, the resulting price drop brought them within reach of the serious hobbyist. That was when things started to get…interesting.
Quality images once only available from professional astronomers (NASA, university observatories, etc.) were now being taken by “serious” backyard stargazers; granted, they were stargazers with means, but still…
And when smartphone cameras started to compete seriously with DSLRs (in resolution), the amateur astronomy market once again took notice.
DIY adapters for smartphones started popping up in user groups and hobbyist sites. Astro gear companies (Gosky, Orion, Carson) took notice and started offering dedicated adapters for smartphones. Functional though they were, most of the early ones were only OK for imaging the moon, but not much else.
Celestron was one of the first to market a more robust adapter. It was kind of a beast and it was more for point & shoot cameras than smartphones, but it was sturdy and adjustable enough for those willing to spend the time to “dial it in” using its smartphone holder.
Recently Celestron released a 3-axis holder designed specifically for smartphones.
When we saw it, we got really excited because we think it will now finally make astrophotography accessible to even the casual amateur!
The Celestron NexYZ:
- Connects to the eyepiece and fits all 35-60mm eyepiece diameters;
- The holder accommodates a wide range of smartphone models;
- Three directional knobs (X, Y, and Z axis) allow precise alignment; and
- Tension adjustments to keep everything firmly in place.
All boxed up
The NexYX box gives you:
- A fully-assembled smartphone adapter; and
- Two eyepiece adapter rings.
The metal frame and polymer body gives the NexYZ a robust sturdy feel and keeps the weight to just 10 oz.
We like the large ridged knobs. They will make small adjustments easier to make…a complaint we have had with many of the adapters in our past.
Celestron chose metal rack and pinion setups for the linear rails. They will allow for much more precise movements while minimizing wear. Nice!
We liked everything we saw of the Celestron NexYZ. We will have our thoughts on this new smartphone adapter once we’ve had a change to try it out on the optical gear around the RainyDayScience office. Look for the FirstUse writeup later this Fall.
Amazon links to items mentioned: