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Everything posted by Dom543

  1. Bobby, I don't know. But Mallincam is not known for their software. What they bundle with the camera is not likely to be very different from what the OEM provides. The owners of the Skyraider AGm seem to be overjoyed that Sharpcap recognizes their camera. Sharpcap has a very good reputation. I suggest that you try to hook up with other users of this same camera. The Mallicam yahoo group or CluodyNights EAA forum might be good places to find them. Clear Skies! --Dom
  2. Bobby, This same camera is also sold as Mallincam Skyraider AGm. You may find other users on the Mallincam Yahoo group https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/mallincam/info. In fact, that's where I heard from a happy Skyraider AGm user that his camera was recognized by Sharpcap as an Altair GP. Clear Skies! --Dom
  3. Rob, Is Made in Japan written on it? There has been documented issues with the non-Japan version. If the reducer is the Made in Japan version and the elongation is only in one diagonal direction, then there may be an orthogonality issue. Try to rotate the camera. Also, this reducer is not very sensitive to a few millimeters of variations in spacing. If the elongation is in all radial directions, then you probably have the non-Japan version. --Dom
  4. I saw a post on another forum saying that Sharpcap recognizes this camera and is able to connect to it. Sharpcap is a very good free live stacking program. Using it you don't need to make a separate movie file and then post process it. Everything is done automatically and in real time, while you are watching the object. Download the newest beta version of Sharpcap. It has registered stacking that compensates for the limitations of altaz mounts. Clear Skies! --Dom
  5. Bobby, Good start! Continue with larger, well defined objects. For 500mm focal length, the Crescent and Dumbbell nebulas are of suitable size and still up high on the sky earlier in the evening. In a month, there will be many good targets around Orion. I would also consider of getting an inexpensive x0.7 or x0.5 focal reducer. Using that you would be able to use shorter exposures. It would also open up a range of additional larger targets. Clear Skies! --Dom
  6. I was curious to find out the reason why the capture taken with the color camera could not be stretched to the same brightness as the one taken with the mono camera. More specifically, why the smoothness of the texture starts to break up for the image taken with the color camera, when being stretched. Here is a side by side comparison of the same region of the very first and very last images on this thread zoomed in to the same degree. You will have to click on the image to see it in full size and resolution, which is important in this case. To me this explain everything. It shows that the color camera has not only lower resolution but it is also less clearly defined on the fine scale. The debayering algorithm also involves some interpolation to smooth over transition between pixels of starkly different brightness and color. This works well to compensate for the lower resolution of the color sensor on the native scale. But it cannot be stretched as well as the much more clearly defined image provided by the color sensor. At least this is the best interpretation I could come up with. Any comments or additions are welcome. Clear Skies! --Dom
  7. I re-did the same multi-spectral procedure with the color Lodestar that had been used with the mono camera to get the very first image on this thread. This means I used the multi-spectral checkboxes to assign the O-III filtered exposures to the green and blue channels and the H-alpha filtered frame to the red channel. This is a fairer comparison of the mono and color cameras as it avoids the issue explained in the previous post. I got the following result with all the same settings as for the very first image. The capture is slightly fainter than the one obtained with the mono camera but is closer to it than the one taken with the other approach with the color camera. Certainly a perfectly presentable result. (Please disregard the trailing hot pixels. I forgot to take dark frames.) As Paul said, this shows that the multi-spectral approach is also applicable to mono cameras. You may ask, why would anyone want to use multi-spectral with color cameras, when they are perfectly capable of taking color pictures without any further tricks. The answer is to make it possible to use narrowband filters and, notably, more than one. Narrowband filters are the best way to defeat light pollution, sky glow and they also reduce star bloat. Despite of getting a satisfactory image, I tried, if I could further brighten it up by stretching it more. To my surprise, as soon as I started to stretch the image, smoothness of its texture started to break up. I got results like this. This was somewhat unexpected. But to keep this post to reasonable length, I continue on this if a subsequent post. Clear Skies! --Dom
  8. The breakfast coffee lubricated my brain and I came up with a different, more likely applicable explanation for the fainter image obtained by the color camera. It's that mean stacking is applied in both cases but in different ways. With the mono camera the two O-III frames were assigned to the green and blue channels. Consequently the two frames got added together and the result divided by two. Similarly, the three H-alpha frames got assigned to the red channel, they got added up and the result was divided by three. So the stacks for the green and blue channels consisted of the average of two genuinely green and blue frames. The stack of the red channel consisted of the average of three intensely red frames. In case of the color camera all frames were assigned to ALL channels. So mean stacking added up all five frames and divided the result by five. What does this mean for the center O-III area? Two frames with strong teal (blue-green) signal in the area plus three frames with no signal in the area added. (With H-alpha filter there is a black hole in the middle of the nebula.) Averaging then divides this sum by five. As a result, for the center area we got the signal from the same two green-blue frames as in the case of the mono camera, but this time divided by five, instead of two. Similarly, for the red rim of the nebula, the stack consists of the sum of two times nothing (from the O-III filters frames) plus three times red signal divided by five. To make the long story short, The way we did the averaging for the color sensor results in approximately half of the signal strength. This is the reason for the fainter resulting image. This explanation also is in accordance with my experience from the old times, before multi-spectral feature was built into LL. One could do the kind of multi-spectral described for the color camera but one had to increase exposure times. This was to compensate for the fact that stacking averaged over some frames with strong signal and others with no signal for any given spectrum. One has to add that with the current multi-spectral enabled version of the software, there is no real reason to assign all frames to ALL channels with the color sensor. One could just follow the same procedure as one does with the mono sensor. In that case the brightness of the resulting images would probably be muck closer. In the current experiment, my primary interest was to see, if the micro filters direct the signal the same way as I do by manually assigning filtered frames to channels. The result seem to be affirmative, the resulting colors are fairly close. It should also be noted that the dimming effect resulting from the way averaging was done would have not occurred, had I used additive stacking. Clear Skies! --Dom
  9. From the album: Widefield Lodestar

    Captured with Lodestar x2 monochrome camera using LodestarLive's multispectral capability 500mm f2.0, Meade 10" f6.3 SCT with x0.33 reducer, Oiii and H-alpha filters; 2x60secOiii (assigned to Green+Blue channels) +3x60secHa (assigned to Red channel) exposures mean stacked; Captured from the Wenas Wildlife Management Area, East of Seattle WA (Lat.47M); Live image captured with no post-processing.

    © Dom543

  10. Dom543

    Widefield Lodestar

    Near-live (max 90 sec) widefield captures made with photo lenses and Lodestar x2c camera and LodestarLive v.0.11 software. The main purpose of the album is to demonstrate the field of view of the various lenses, when used with the 1/2" sensor of the Lodestar. Captions are chosen so that by sorting by them lines up the images in the order of increasing / decreasing FOV. No processing was applied, the images are as they were captured during live observation sessions.
  11. I was curious to compare the outcome of the same multi-spectral procedure applied to mono and color cameras. Here is what I got on the example of the Helix Nebula Lodestar x2 mono. Lodestar x2 color using the exact same settings. The color camera yields a somewhat fainter image. It can be brightened up by using higher brightness, contrast and saturation settings. This is about the max how far one can get without significant deterioration of image quality. My conclusion is that both cameras can deliver comparable results. But to do that, the color camera requires more aggressive stretching. This makes sense, as the micro filters on the pixels of the color camera cause some light loss. The exact methodology was the following. Two 60sec O-III and three 60sec H-alpha frames were mean stacked in LodestarLive in both cases. With the mono camera the O-III frames were assigned to the green and blue channels and the H-alpha frames to the red channel. Then the contrast, brightness, black level, white level and color saturation settings were chosen that yielded a pleasing image. Then the mono camera was swapped out for its color sibling and all display settings were left unchanged. For the color camera both the O-III and H-alpha frames were assigned to all channels. This means that it was left to the micro filters on the sensor to route the captured light to the matching color channels. The background of the images taken with the color camera is brighter and looks noisier. But I believe that this is just the result of the fact that the settings used were optimized for the mono camera, that was used first. For the color camera a slightly higher black point would have been optimal. I made one error, I forgot to take fresh dark frames after I swapped cameras. The many hot pixels on the color camera images are my fault, not the camera's. The optics used was my Meade 10" SCT at around f2.0. (The "Meade-8 f4.0" info displayed in the footer is an error.) The experiment was performed from just outside of Seattle (Latitude 47). From here the Helix is very low over the horizon. For this reason, to remain on the safe side, I took longer exposures and stacked more frames than absolutely necessary. This is all and I am not sure, if this is of any interest. Certainly no dramatic findings. Clear Skies! --Dom
  12. Great experiments Rob! For a simulated eyepiece experience, my favorite is #4. Gray is our current space and time and through the hole we peek out into the infinity of the universe, a completely different world. There is no need for a frame or dividing line, in my opinion. It's a hole and is even more dramatic if unfenced. #7 would be perfect to mask the vignetting of the Meade 3.3 reducer on an 825 sensor. It cuts off almost exactly the area, where light fall-off would start to be noticeable, It is much easier to apply than a flat.. But to me, it doesn't convey the sense of an eyepiece as well as #4. It's a great design but for a different purpose. Clear Skies! --Dom
  13. The "magic" referenced in the post reminds me of the noise reduction technique in some Nikon and now also Sony cameras that is commonly called the "star eating algorithm". http://www.cloudynights.com/topic/394106-nikon-d300s-a-star-eater-or-not/?p=5046387 http://www.cloudynights.com/topic/498339-sony-a7s-star-eater-algorithm/?p=6557447 http://www.cloudynights.com/topic/505754-another-real-world-example-of-sonys-star-eater-problem/?hl=+star +eating --Dom
  14. Helix Nebula with SX-825 mono and LodestarLive Multispectral 2x60sec H-alpha + 2x60sec O-III frames live mean stacked in LodestarLive. Meade 8" SCT at f4.0 and Baader 7nm and 8.5nm H-alpha and O-III filters. Image has been captured from under the Boston light dome and at about 20 degrees above the horizon. The file size of this image has been reduced to 50%. See the full size, full resolution capture here http://stargazerslounge.com/uploads/gallery/album_3893/gallery_26379_3893_63743.jpg. This is a real-time capture of a live image with no post processing applied. I am taking advantage of the nice New England autumn nights, The foliage of the trees is getting as colorful as this image. Around midnight I had to wait about 30 minutes, while the Helix went behind some of those colorful leaves and then came out again. Clear Skies! --Dom
  15. From the album: SX-825 Real-Time

    Captured with SX-825 monochrome camera using LodestarLive's multispectral capability. 2x60sec H-alpha + 2x60sec O-III frames live mean stacked in LodestarLive. Meade 8" SCT at f4.0 and Baader 7nm and 8.5nm H-alpha and O-III filters. Image has been captured from under the Boston light dome and at about 20 degrees above the horizon. Creating color images in live with mono cameras is a new capability of the test build of LodestarLive beta-tested here. For more info please see LodestarLive's creator's post here http://stargazerslou...ectrum-preview/ This is a real-time capture of a live image with no post processing applied.

    © Dom543

  16. Dom543

    SX-825 Real-Time

    All images are real-time (max 90sec exposure) captures made with an SX-825 mono camera and LodestarLive software. No post processing has been applied and no intermediate data files were saved. What you see in this gallery is exactly what was seen on the computer screen during the observation session. All captures were made in Seattle from a location with direct view of downtown and all its lights about 3 miles away and through the moisture laden, low transparency atmosphere typical for the region. Narrowband filters were used to suppress light pollution. A discussion thread on the use of the SX-825 camera for electronically assisted real-time observing can be found here http://stargazerslounge.com/topic/249914-sx-825-with-lodestarlive-available-and-working/. To see the captures in full size and full HD resolution, right click on the gallery image and and select "Direct link to this image file".
  17. This thread has gotten very difficult to follow for people, who are interested in information about StalightLive v.1.1. The discussions about CMOS vs. CCD sensors and all kinds of other cameras should be conducted in threads separate from this one.. --Dom
  18. Chris / Macavity, Have you considered mirrorless Sony E-mount or Oly or Pan micro four-third mount cameras? Their flange-to-sensor distance is only ~18 mm as opposed to 44mm for the Canon. You can still use your filter drawer between the Canaon lens and a mirrorless camera. There are also inexpensive straight-through adapters to fit Canon lenses to those mirrorless cameras, for daylight applications, when you are not using filters. Clear Skies! --Dom
  19. John, Are you aware that there is a free program called LodestarLive aka Starlight Live that works with all Starlight Xpress cameras? You can download it from the StalightLive ver. 1.1 thread on this forum. --Dom
  20. Hi Don, Apart from the shorter exposure times, I don't see much difference between these images and the ones you took earlier with your 8" SCT at f3.3. This is somewhat of a surprise. According to optics theory, the almost twice as large aperture should provide considerably higher resolution. And seeing cannot be blamed on MK. The only explanation I can come up with is that the resolution of the Lodestar is already maxed out with the 8" optics. Or that on diffuse nebulas resolving power doesn't really matter. I posted my experience with the SX-825 in some detail in August. The short summary is that it appears one stop slower than the Lodestar. That means exposure times would double. But with more aggressive stretching one can stick with the Lodestar exposure times, at the cost of some loss of dynamic range. Exposure times are, of course, not really an issue in the magnitude of 10 seconds. The higher resolution of the 825 is noticeable on a good computer screen but not on internet size jpeg postings. To me the most important improvement is that stars are nicer, more pinpoint, even when no NB filter is used. All this is just my personal, subjective opinion. Clear Skies! --Dom
  21. Cocoon Nebula with Lodestar mono and LodestarLive Multispectral The blue reflection components are usually the most challenging to capture. Real time captures of the Cocoon often go for the easy H-alpha only and ignore the blue entirely. This capture synthesizes blue and H-alpha plus just a touch of all-spectrum luminance to make the stars look white. 500mm f2.0, Meade 10" SCT, Blue and H-alpha filters, 3x30secBlue+3x30secHa+1x5secLum exposures mean stacked, Lodestar x2m with LodestarLive v.0.11, Live image captured from Seattle in-city (light pollution + moisture filled air). BTW, the Cocoon is much more challenging than the Trifid.
  22. From the album: Widefield Lodestar

    500mm f2.0, Meade 10" f6.3 SCT with x0.33 reducer, Blue and H-alpha filters, 3x30secBlue+3x30secHa+1x5secLum exposures mean stacked, Lodestar x2c with LodestarLive v.0.11, Live image captured with no post-processing.

    © Dom543

  23. Martin, Very interesting experiment. The first question that comes to mind is if there are any young blue stars in M103 and NGC663? The second observation is that I see two distinctly different star colors among the faintest small stars: Bluish grey and yellowish white. This is very noticeable on the OSC images but I am not so certain about it on the RGB image. These may be only spurious colors due to star sizes getting close to the pixel scale. I am curious to hear, if others also see this variation or if it's just that my vision gets biased by my mind. Clear Skies! --Dom P.s. Here are examples of colors of faint stars that I believe to see. The crop is from the right side of Martin's image. Please check the colors on the original image as my as my red pointers may interfere. --Dom
  24. Like seeing a daughter changing her name when she gets married... The acronyms tell the story better. SLL is all that LL has been but brings all its wonderful benefits to more cameras. And some diehards may just keep calling it Super Lodestar Live. Cheers! --Dom
  25. As I understand it, StarlightLive v.1.0 is the same as LodestarLive v0.12 with a few minor bug fixes plus the ability to also recognize and connect to other SX cameras. So for Lodestar cameras the to are the same except for the fixes of a few bugs we've never even noticed. I don't know about the future. --Dom
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