Firstly, to make it clear, this article is not an endorsement or a recommendation for a particular webcam. It is simply reporting the results of an experiment.
The webcam that was used cost less than £14 on Amazon. It is fully automatic in that it offers no functional controls to imaging software. AstroDMx Capture for Windows was used to capture data from the camera. AstroDMx Capture does have software controls that can be applied to save data if required, and this can be helpful if a camera doesn't present any controls.
The webcam used for this experiment.
The webcam was originally purchased to monitor an aquarium in which fish were breeding. It had to be high resolution, and this one is a true Full HD camera. It also had to be able to be focused rather than have an automatic focus.
The camera was easy to disassemble. The front of the camera just pops off, being held in place by small, integral plastic clips. The lens is a Standard S-mount M12 lens of the type often used with board cameras. It had been pre-focused at the factory and then a dab of glue had been used to cement the focus. With a pair of plyers, the glue could be broken and the lens either removed, or focused to a different distance as was required for monitoring the equipment.
Superfluous parts of the camera were removed and discarded and for aquarium monitoring, the camera was held in position with a clamp stand. For the astronomical imaging experiment the lens was removed and replaced by a standard 12mm x 0.5mm Mogg adaptor.
The camera lens