Making our own image intensified eyepieces

Making our own image intensified eyepieces

Andrew & Damian


This entry is a copy of an entry made in November 2009.

The commercial versions of these eyepieces cost £1500 ($2000) upwards…….here we describe how we made one for £50 ($80) plus some spare SLR lens/extension tubes lying around the house.

The main differences that we are aware of between the commercial versions and ours are:-

(i) Theirs has a higher resolution – not that we noticed at the eyepiece!

(ii) Ours has more distortion of the field – oh well you can’t have everything!

(iii) Theirs are a lot lighter…no getting away from that – our version requires a sturdy telescope/mount and 2 inch focuser.

What we are less sure of is:-

(i) Any difference in brightness? Possibly but the image intensifier we used is a 3 stage generation 1 intensifier that gives pretty bright images

(ii) Fun level – ours delivers on the fun side

(iii) Both image intensifiers can be used with an SLR lens without the scope – probably the best bit

(iv) Ours gives you the enjoyment and sense of achievement of having made it yourself

(v) Price difference – this is one aspect of ATM where there is still a really big difference in price between the ATM version and the commercial version!

Please note we accept no liability for damage or injury incurred from following our instructions (its just what we did) and we make no guarantee that this will work for you. Please let us know if you find a better way of constructing your eyepiece so we can update this website. You will need to source components – a difference image intensifier should work but you will need to modify the instructions. Plus – please note neither of us have had a chance to compare our version with the commercial versions.

We hope you have great fun making your image intensified eyepiece!

The two files below are both PDF files:



Andy & Damian


4 Responses

  1. Actually, it is much better with a PC. I use an old small w7 netbook outdoors in fact with Sharpcap – at the cost of needing a frame grabber and more wires to trip over. You still get a “real time” stacked display on the PC screen. My small w10 tablet won’t run the frame grabber, but it will run the Mikrokular. No integration on-board with this, of course, but Sharpcap will do it.

  2. I have made one of these, and it is undoubtedly a lump!

    At about the same time, I acquired a PD camera. This is a video camera and can be coupled directly to a small tv monitor if desired – no computer is needed. You only need the frame grabber if using a PC. I have a small 8 inch monitor that runs off 12v, in fact. All the controls including the ability to stack frames (up to 1024) are on the camera itself. The whole arrangement when operated like this is much lighter than the image intensifier, and you get almost a live output – a 20 second delay at the highest sensitivity. As well as more than one person being able to view the output, you can, of course take a photo of the screen. It is then much more sensitive than the intensifier. There are also many board cameras available for a few £ that are video cameras and operate in the same way – ask Ed!

    For me , this is a much better bet, and I never use the intensifier – does anyone want one?!

    1. All excellent points! I’m sure you’re right and integrating video camera is much better. I quite like the “at the eyepiece experience” that comes with the image intensified eyepiece but if I thought out how to setup my PD camera properly I suspect I could get a very similar experience using that. I will have to think it out again……

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