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Lodestar X2C Captures with SX Software


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So after messing around with the 825 color based cameras the speed of the X2C was very refreshing. But Starlight Live is just not able to debayer the complementary color matrix.

The X2C is the fastest color sensor I have ever used hence it is a shame that Starlight Live cannot render the color correctly. Not sure if there is a possibility of SX providing a binary of their debayering library to Paul to integrate into Starlight Live.

Anyways, taking a cue from Nytecam I tried the SX software to do some live viewing last night. There is a lot of powerful functionality hiding behind that terrible user interface. In fact all of the fundamental building blocks of a EAA SW are there just that the workflow is painful.

All exposures below using the SX software are single unstacked images with no calibration (no darks or flats). I did not use a LP filter for maximum sensitivity and the moon was out hence there is a slight color cast in the images. Easily fixable with some color adjustment but never got around to doing it.

I have also posted a comparison of the M82 galaxy using Starlight live which shows absolutely no color detail, but a single 30s exposure with SX SW brings out the color!

 

 

m82.jpg

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m42.jpg

m81.jpg

Edited by Astrojedi
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Hi Hiten - nice shots - glad you're trying old SX s/w !  As you'll find it's very powerful if crudely implemented.   Multiple anti-aliases 'clicks' removes the colour 'halos' at high saturation.  Do try the various imaging mode.  Here, under London LP, the Gradiant Filter is essential [except near the zenith!] even with the Lodestar's tiny fov @ f/3.3.  There's even a Chroma Filter for shifting R/B caused by atmospheric refraction.

Nyte    

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Hiten, you must have read my mind when posting this, I am close to pulling the trigger on a motorised filter wheel and  filters to use with my Lodestar mono, but have been thinking that for the same price I could get a Lodestar X2C giving similar sensitivity and less effort to obtain the colour. Your results confirm that StarlightLive really doesn't handle the colour matrix well and I'm not sure how I would get on with the SX s/w for EAA, powerful though it is, perhaps I should give it a go. Even so I guess the resolution of the colour Lodestar would not match the mono and you could not do narrow band as effectively.  Probably still going with the mono plus filters idea. The single capture using the SX software is remarkably good by the way. Sorry for the ramble. :)

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16 minutes ago, nytecam said:

Hi Hiten - nice shots - glad you're trying old SX s/w !  As you'll find it's very powerful if crudely implemented.   Multiple anti-aliases 'clicks' removes the colour 'halos' at high saturation.  Do try the various imaging mode.  Here, under London LP, the Gradiant Filter is essential [except near the zenith!] even with the Lodestar's tiny fov @ f/3.3.  There's even a Chroma Filter for shifting R/B caused by atmospheric refraction.

Nyte    

Sounds like the SX software is worth trying anyway!

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1 hour ago, nytecam said:

Hi Hiten - nice shots - glad you're trying old SX s/w !  As you'll find it's very powerful if crudely implemented.   Multiple anti-aliases 'clicks' removes the colour 'halos' at high saturation.  Do try the various imaging mode.  Here, under London LP, the Gradiant Filter is essential [except near the zenith!] even with the Lodestar's tiny fov @ f/3.3.  There's even a Chroma Filter for shifting R/B caused by atmospheric refraction.

Nyte    

Thanks for the tips Nytecam (how do you use the gradient filter?). I am still finding my way around the SW but it is surprisingly powerful under the clunky interface. Looks can be deceptive!

Also any way of managing dynamic range? I tired very hard but could not fix the blowout in the Orion Neb above. This is quite an easy fix in Starlight Live but cannot find a way to fix it in SX SW.

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1 hour ago, RobertI said:

Hiten, you must have read my mind when posting this, I am close to pulling the trigger on a motorised filter wheel and  filters to use with my Lodestar mono, but have been thinking that for the same price I could get a Lodestar X2C giving similar sensitivity and less effort to obtain the colour. Your results confirm that StarlightLive really doesn't handle the colour matrix well and I'm not sure how I would get on with the SX s/w for EAA, powerful though it is, perhaps I should give it a go. Even so I guess the resolution of the colour Lodestar would not match the mono and you could not do narrow band as effectively.  Probably still going with the mono plus filters idea. The single capture using the SX software is remarkably good by the way. Sorry for the ramble. :)

Rob,

Let me ramble as well :happy8:

I am just fresh off the exercise of trying the 825 color sensors both Infinity and Ultrastar color. I found them to be very noisy and slow. The X2C is a remarkably clean and a very fast sensor.  Also the ease of use and speed of a OSC will always be better vs. using a mono camera + filter wheel but the mono + filter wheel combo will produce better quality images once you get used to it and figure out the workflow. The choice depends on what you value more (speed or quality).

The SX SW is very clunky but I find that the color produced by it rivals RGB matrix based sensors but with the speed of a complementary matrix. In fact I observed ~20 DSOs last night with 30-60s exposures and did not feel the need to stack or even use darks or flats. Quality was of course not as high as what stacking produces but was nevertheless very enjoyable. Also the resolution is somewhere between that of a mono camera and a RGB sensor due to the color response.

Hiten

 

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Decoding RGB colour space from the CYMG sensor is actually quite difficult and it took a lot of experimentation. However, that said now I have a working relationship with SX I will ask what algorithm / equation they use and see if I can do anything to improve colour from the CYMG sensor, as I agree it does come out on the weak side. I do notice a lot of colour fringing artefacts in the images with the SX software, my algorithms try to reduce this, possibly at the expense of colour saturation but with this type of sensor there may need to be compromises. If I get hold of their algorithms I can see what is what.

I assume you have increased the saturation in SL to boost colour reproduction? With test images I found increasing to 1.5-1.7 gave better results.

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Thanks Paul. I really like your SW and its ease of use and would prefer to use it over the SX SW so excited about the possibility. I hope you can work something out with SX.

I did try increasing the saturation in Starlight Live but was unable to bring out the color detail. Always possible that I am doing something wrong. 

 

 

 

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