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Luckythecat

Orion StarShoot G3 Colour

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Hi,

this is my first approach to image capture and, up now, ... it was not a big entry.

I bought an Orion StarShoot G3 Colour camera which looks "not so bad" for the (relatively) low price and, at least in my mind, is a "general and well known" camera for beginners.

I just started using it and, while a general appreciacion for the camera itself is confirmed, the major issue seems to be the software: it cracks (nearly) continuously.

I (finally) succeeded in capturing some acceptable images of nearby roof and trees (on daylight, with a "moon" filter installed and inputing 0.003 sec exposure) but the instability of the software persists.

I then downloaded and installed (on my, 16 Gb high-speed RAM, desctop computer) some freeware (SharpCap, WxastroCapture, Cratelet, ...) and I discovered that ... I am in troubles: none of the softwares recognized my camera.

In effect SharpCap recognize an "Orion G3 camera" but, when I select it, I receive a " Camera could not be started - Colour spare not supported CMYG2" message.

Now my (first issue) problem: did I make some mistake installing ASCOM platform?; even though my camera is not recognized by SharpCap it does (seldom) work whit is native software (Camera Studio), so where I am wrong?

Maybe it is just a "driver problem", but I am no able to solve it.

As (hopefully) Orion StarShoot G3 colour should be a "generally known" camera and, as I guess, SharpCap should perform nicely with it, can someone, kindly, help me solving the problem?

Many thanks in advance

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I used to have a G3 colour and the only way I could get it to work with the software was to follow the instructions for use as if it was the mono camera. But I agree the software is not good.

Did you try downloading the latest driver http://www.telescope.com/Orion-StarShoot-G3-Deep-Space-Color-Imaging-Camera/p/101501.uts

Peter

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Hi Peter,

(thanks for answering) yes ... I did.

Forgive my ignorance, but ... how do I follow the instruction (with SharpCap) as it was a mono-camera?

Luckythecat

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No I mean the instructions that you got with the G3 camera - using its own software.

Peter

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I have the G3 mono and have gotten decent results when Orion's archaic software decides to cooperate. But when it doesn't - the only solution I've found is to uninstall the Orion Camera Studio as well as the ASCOM driver and camera driver and then reinstall the whole package all over again out in the field. I need to do this at least once during a night of imaging and sometimes way more often than that. I'm sure it's not an issue with my PC either since I'm using a laptop running Windows 8.1 with a quad core Intel i7 processor and 8GB of RAM and it has no problem running other astro-imaging software or ASCOM drivers including those packaged with Orion's SSAG Pro.

There's clearly an issue with Orion's Camera Studio and/or the G3's driver(s) and I had emailed Orion about it months ago but have received no response to date. It's a shame such a good entry-level camera has to be handicapped by such an inadequate, temperamental software solution but guess we can only hope Orion eventually acknowledges the issue and does something about it - or at least develops drivers which allow the G3 to be used with other imaging software that actually works. What amazes me is they've actually increased the G3's price about $20 US since I purchased mine but have done nothing to resolve the software issue. Glad you posted this and will be following the thread to see if anyone has found a solution or alternate imaging software which supports the G3.

Orion - hope you start listening to your customers and do something about this ongoing software issue soon!

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So, it seems that the problem is there (Camera Studio software).

I just sent the following request for support to telescope.com (see following)

Goodmorning,

I bought (through Amazon Italy) your StarShoot G3 Color camera and I am starting using it .. with some difficulties.
The major issue I have is the istability of Camera Studio software: often, at staring up, it does not recognise the camera, often it crashes during the use (not necessarily during the image capture), I never succeded capturing an image for more than 40 seconds.
Normally it has been possible to work again (for a while) by turning off/on the software, by unplugging/plugging the USB cable (I also used a different, shorter, USB cable: sometimes it worked, sometimes not), by re-installing the ASCOM Platform, ...
I duly (I guess) followed the istructions and installed the ASCOM Platform and (then) Camera Studio: I made some trials in daylight (with some focusing difficulty) and finally, with moon filter and 0,003 sec exposure, I got some "good" images of nearby roofs but, when I repeated the same trials (on nearby roofs) at night, anytime I tried to increse the exposure over 40 sec ... the software crashed (with lower exposures I had not appreciable problems).
I have a "powerful" (with 16G high speed RAM) desktop working with Windows 7 64 bit and, as far as I understood (surfing the web) this could be the problem: it is really possible that the problem is Windows 7 64 bit?
I tried some different image capture freeware (SharpCap, WxatroCapture, Craterlet, ...) but ALL failed to recognise the camera, so I doubt if the necessary driver(s?) is correctly installed: how I can verify the issue? (or, in any case, how I can make these freeware to recognise my camera?).
By the way: software SharpCap 2.5 recognise an "Orion G3 camera" but, when I select it, I receve a "Camera could not be started - Colour space not supported: CMYG2" message.
Do you (hopefully) have any suggestion?
By the way, there is any image capture software (maybe to buy) which surely works both with Windows 7 64 bit and  G3C and (possibly) allows to see the image (say of the moon), before capturing it, on the computer's monitor?
 
Thanks in advance for you kind support and best regards

... provided that I will receive an usefull answer, I will keep you informed.

Surfing on the web I made confident that Windows 7, and mostly 64 bit, could be the problem: I got the feeling that older systems may have not such a problem (... maybe).

In effect I am actually acting as Scorpius, ... but it is frustrating.

Anyone is using an alternative software with this camera?

Thanks for the while and have a clean sky

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I have a G3 mono and gave up on the installed software after the first night: not due to instability issues but due to its general usability challenges. I ended up installing (and purchasing) Nebulosity along with current ASCOM drivers and have had few problems since. The one significant problem I had -- Nebulosity crashing in "Frame and Focus" mode when I slewed too fast -- was fixed by installing the latest Nebulosity patch.

-- Joel.

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Dear Joel,

I followed your advise and I just downloaded Nebula 3 (demo mode) which seems to work fine (I just tested on daylight, in the same yesteray's conditions: I encountered no problem and I got images of nearby roof that looks even better).

Just for not being too hasty (and mostly, before paying 80$), I will carry on some more tests and I will wait for the (likely?) reply from telescope.com or for the comments from other members, but it seems that your "solution" is the good one. Thanks (many thanks, indeed).

All the best

Luckythecat

PS: just before reading carefully (if ever I will) the manual, can you tell me if/how it is possible to put in "night mode" the screen?

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hmmm... Thought I tried Nebulosity with no success but will definitely give the trial version another go next time out. Not sure if Nebulosity has night mode but Orion Camera Studio doesn't so I've been using freeware called Knightvision along with the PC's brightness control for night mode and that worked great until I added a second USB monitor for focusing. Even though the USB monitor has it's own brightness buttons - Knightvision only adds the "virtual red overlay" to the screen of my laptop which I'm sure is not the fault of the software.

I know this is a little off-topic - but that USB monitor has been a welcome addition to my kit. I set my laptop on a fold-up table  - inside a pop-up tent during all night imaging sessions - and trying to see the laptop screen when focusing at the scope was challanging to say the least. Now I just carry the super light USB monitor out to the scope and it helps me get focused using a Batinhov mask. Even has a little kick stand that makes a perfect hand hold as if you're holding a motar board (but much, much lighter) Then when done focusing, the USB monitor goes back alongside my laptop while one shows the imaging software and the other shows PHD. This way you can have PHD running full screen without it getting in the way and if you loose your guide star you'll know it right away. Works like a charm and is one of the best investments I've made to help the process of astro-imaging go smoother for me...

Here's a link to the Knightvision software: https://knightware.biz/knightvision/knightvision.htm (just enter the code you see in the box at the bottom to start the download)

And here's the Lenova USB monitor: http://www.amazon.com/Lenovo-ThinkVision-LT1421-LED-Monitor/dp/B005OEJFIK/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1430072010&sr=8-2&keywords=lenovo+usb+monitor (Brand new is a little pricey but got one refurbished from Amazon for $180 several months ago)   :grin:

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I just tested my Orion G3C camera (aiming the same "nearby" roof) with Nebula 3 and .. it really seems to work fine.

Nice, very nice (and, mostly, very usefull) nightvision.

Everything seems to move in the right direction but, unfortunately ... I am "enjoying" a totally claudy night and I have to wait (most probably some days) for a better sky ... (ach).

Thanks and ... clear sky to all

Luckythecat 

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This is great news so please let us know how it goes when you get the chance to photograph some celestial objects. Just curious - What's your kit? scope, mount, etc. and what objects to you plan to image first?

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As you surely understood I am a "new entry" (not only in this forum): less than 3 yars ago I bought my first telescope: a Celestron Astromaster 130 EQ_MD.

Up to now I made the above mentioned first trials of image capturing (of nearby, 600 - 700 m, roofs and trees) with the Astromaster 130, but I will use the G3C camera (when the sky conditions will allow it) on another Newtonian, a Sky-Watcher Black Diamond 200 BD-NEQ 5 with GPS and GoTo.

For image capturing I just "discovered" another interesting software: Astro Photography Tool - APT which, also, is undergoing evaluation (it is "free" ... but you can donate 12.70 Euro).

Captured data (all) will be processed with RegiStax 6.

Further to "basic" optics, 25mm, 15mm, 10mm, 6mm and even ... 2.3mm (nearly unused, just somethimes for the moon) and 2x Barlows, I have a Baader Hyperion Mark III 8-24 (with a 2.25 Barlow).

I witt try to take photographs starting with the moon, then (when and if ...) Juppiter, Saturn and maybe Mars and then ... "per aspera ad astera".

I am very curious about the possible results obtained connecting the camera to the Baader Hyperion zoom (without Barlow): physically and optically it is possible, ...

Another intriguing (for me) item which I am curious to try is an Omegon "Clean Sky" filter ("my" sky is so ... bright), still packed.

I know, I am a rookie and I am just entering this merveillous world, ... the good news is that I have to walk a lot though it

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Well - Said I would follow-up if I heard back from Orion - which I have several times throughout the day - but so far it's been them asking me questions about my PC with no hint of a solution in sight. Things like - does the camera show up in device manager as working properly. So - I plugged it in and it did show up (Sent them a screenshot of device manager) Then I connected to the camera and tried to start a 1 sec exposure loop at which time I immediately got an "invalid image" message and the program locked-up. (Sent them a screenshot of this as well) Then I ended the program - re-opened it & tried to re-connect to the camera and got a longer - completely different - error message (something about an instance of an instance so sent them another screenshot) Since then - no further response from Orion...

What gets me is they act like they've never heard of this before - it's all over the internet in forums and even their own website reviews! I don't like playing cat and mouse with tech support (been there - done that) and just wish they'd acknowledge the issue and get their software engineers (if they even have any) working on a solution. Sorry for venting but trying to get a resolution for this issue from the manufacturer is just a waste of time. I would suggest that anyone who has a G3 with software issues try some of the after market software solutions suggested in this thread and hopefully us G3 owners can work together to figure out which one works best so we can find a viable solution for ourselves...

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Hi again, I made some tests and I would like to share them with you (I will appreciate your comments).

Tested software: Astro Photography Tool, Orion Camera Studio and Nebulocity3 (demo)

Subject: white painted crane and trees at about 800mt

Conditions: daylight (moderately windy afternoon, with cloudy sky)

Telescope: Celestron Astromaster 130 EQ_MD (static)

Camera: G3C fitted with Moon filter

Focus: "fixed" (with a phisical mark) for all images, it has been "evaluated" with Astro Photografy Tool (very useful the Live View, ... in daylight conditions) but also tested with the others: more difficult with Orion Camera Studio and with Nebulosity (not having a "star" to point the focusing tool was useless)

Images: 10 pictures (exposure: 0.001 sec) + 10 pictures (exposure: 0.010 sec) + 10 pictures (exposure: 0.050 sec) for each software (... because of the, even moderate, wind, the crane sligthly waved, that's why 10 pictures)

Sequencies: all three sofware tested in a row (nearly at the same time) at 0.001 sec, then sequency repeated at 0.010 sec and at 0.050 sec - Total time duration of tests: about 10-15 minutes (with no significant variation of light conditions)

Image processing software: Registax6 without any adjustment (same identical conditions for all treated images) resulting in 9 final photographs (one per 10 images)

Results:

- the most astonishing (to me) aspect is that ... NO SOFTWARE (not even Orion Camera Studio) CRUSHED NOR EVIDENCED PROBLEMS!

- all images resulted in BW (even though the camera is "colour") ... ?

- I have no experience for evaluating the absolute quality of the images (considering the distance, I would define it as: "poor" to "poor-acceptable")

- the relative quality of the equally not processed images, evidences (in my opinion) a better distribution of grays in the images taken with Orion Camera Studio (images from Nebulosity3 are affected from the artificial disturbing marks due to the "demo" version, but seems the poorer among three)

- I tried to repete the same tests during the night (moderately windy and with same cloudy sky) but ... ALL SOFTWARES (mostly Orion Camera Studio) EVIDENCED PROBLEMS ... and I switched to a different pastime

If someone is interested at seeing the 9 resulting pictures, or to receive the 90 .FIT original files (and/or) the 9 final bitmap files, I would be pleased to attach them here ... if I knew how to do ... (please forgive me, but I wasn't able to find how/where to attach pictures or files)

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I have the mono version so I'm not sure about the colour. I think the files are saved as mono and need to be converted back to colour.

I have found when focussing and taking short exposures, 2 seconds, the image is "grainy". It improves a lot with longer exposures.

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To attach photos click more reply options at bottom right-then add files at bottom left-then browse to folder with photos-then make sure curser is where you want photo to appear within message-then click add to post at bottom. Make sure they are jpeg or folks will have to download them to view. I'd like to see the pics you took so give it a go. Also- I tried APT last night with no success and then tried nebulosity which worked pretty well but this was just connected to PC without scope, mount, etc... :)

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Hi Scorpius

I attach copy of the 9 JPEG files (not my greatest performance).

The sequece of the pictures is:

APT 0.001 sec                       APT 0.010 sec

APT 0.050 sec                      Camera Studio 0.001 sec

Camera Studio 0.010 sec     Camera Studio 0.050 sec

Nebulosity 0.001                   Nebulosity 0,010 sec

Nebulosity 0.050 sec

It was very strange (to me) that in the afternoon I practically had no problem (only once APT didn't recognise the camera but: tourn off - tourn on ... everithing OK) while in the evening I had problems (not so "immediate" to be solved) with all three softwares.

I have just a feeling, but it looks to me that the "products" of the three softwares are different:  I noticed that the hystograms are different (in value of the B-W range, but also as shape of the diagram).

In case I had to discard and re-install Camera Studio (I did "some" times) I got the impression that connecting the camera ONLY AFTER completing the re-installation of the software ... give a better chance that the software will work.

Hoping to have, possibly soon, a clear sky I just wish it to you

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Hi LTC - (you ok with the nickname?) you’ve been dedicating a great deal of effort in trying to resolve this so my compliments. I usually don’t think too much about it til I’m out in the field getting all stressed out as I struggle with uninstalling and re-installing the software throughout the night  :sad:

You make an interesting point as I never considered one imaging program might actually take better pictures than another. As far as the histograms - I have no idea but wonder if each application applies its own default “stretch” to the images which makes them appear differently on screen. My understanding is the underlying data generated by a particular camera remains constant across imaging platforms meaning what appears on the screen may not be all that’s there – and this by the way is where the “dark art” of image processing comes in to play :smiley: However, you may be on to something so I’ll be watching with interest for future analysis.

I’ve done a little daytime test photography but mostly to work out focusing issues and such so evaluating software & camera performance in this way is new territory for me. Point is, you may never know for sure until imaging celestial objects since that’s what astro-CCD’s are designed to do best. Might be different for DSLR’s - since they were originally designed as daytime cameras - but if I really thought one imaging program took better pictures than another – I’d have to judge that based on photos of nighttime celestial objects at much longer exposures - without a moon filter (unless imaging the moon) and with the camera focused at infinity (star focus).

Anyway – keep us posted on your findings. As for me - I’m currently debating whether to purchase Nebulosity 4 since it seems to perform better than Camera Studio or APT using my highly developed “connect to PC – take some test exposures with lens cap on - and see if it crashes” technique...  :grin:

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Hi Scorpius,

further to my last post, I attach the screen pictures of the three softwares (Nebulosity, now, is "4" version).

It seems to me that the hystograms are quite different (obviously pictures have been taken in a very minimal delay of time, so - I hope - they should be taken in the "same" conditions).

I am not an expert (among many other subjects) of hystograms, but, notwithstanding how you fix the black and white thresholds, I guess that the shape and the range of the hystograms should be directly connected with the "amount/quality of data" collected.

Therefore (provided that I am right) APT sees to be the "poorest" recored image; I am not able (not even as a guess) to say which one is better among Camera Studio and Nebulosity4 images. According to you, am I right?

Another (of mine) issue: whenever I succeed, I, definitely, geting only B/W images (... with a "color" camera), where I am wrong? (I continue to have doubts about my correct istallation of the driver (provided that it is the right one): telescope.com provide two diffent "Cam Studio" downloads for Windows (8.something and 7.something), do you know which one is better for Windows 7 64 bit? (I asked support@telescope.com, ... but I had no answer).

All the best (possibly with "clean sky")

LTC (my astronomy observation assistant, aka AOA, Lucky (... the cat), even though not fluent in english, enjoied "LTC")

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LTC - I'm not sure about the histograms but the difference in their profile is obvious. Hopefully someone with more knowledge on this subject will be along to explain the discrepancy soon. I am very much a newbie to the hobby myself having only been involved less than a year and considering the weather here and worse than average winter - probably have no more than two weeks actual time in the field.

Unsure which driver for Windows 7 but suggest sticking with the one that's most stable on your PC. I would very much like to have 7 back again as it was a very stable OS on my previous laptop but like many - I fell into the Win. 8 trap when upgrading my PC a couple years ago.

Sorry I can offer no real guidance on your questions but would say that photo from APT looks pretty darn good - at least on my phone display. Hope you get a response regarding the histograms as this question is very good and quite intriguing... :)

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Have you tried debayering the images? It is normal for colour images to appear as mono before they are debayered.

In Neb that would be Image > Demosaic and Square.

Not sure about the histograms a but I would guess the spike on the left of the Nebulosity one is from the demo version blacks lines.

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

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don't worry about the histograms, that's just different scaling on the x axis.  I think* that the fatter histograms are log scale and the thinner one is linear scale, but they're representing much the same data.

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