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Jm1973

Sharpcap Question

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I'm thinking of buying sharpcap, mainly for the polar alignment tool. However I have a nikon d3300 which is unsupported by sharpcap.

 

Does sharpcap's 'virtual camera' feature work with its polar alignment tool? If so then I could take images and use them for polar alignment.

 

I suppose the other possibility is to use as ascom, but last I checked there was no ascom driver for the d3300, although there had been talk of one.

 

Does anyone know the answers to these questions? Many thanks.

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I presume you mean with the Nikon attached you will take & save an image at each appropiate stage asked and use the virtual camera to open it.  Whether the polar alignment routine has the option to open the image is another matter.

Prior to Sharpcap having the polar routine and before Polemaster one of the forum members created a polar alignment program which uses saved images and would prompt you in a slightly more manual way.

See PhotoPolarAlign if I recall correctly you can download and use test images to get the hang of it.

 

 

 

 

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4 hours ago, StevieDvd said:

I presume you mean with the Nikon attached you will take & save an image at each appropiate stage asked and use the virtual camera to open it.  Whether the polar alignment routine has the option to open the image is another matter.

Prior to Sharpcap having the polar routine and before Polemaster one of the forum members created a polar alignment program which uses saved images and would prompt you in a slightly more manual way.

See PhotoPolarAlign if I recall correctly you can download and use test images to get the hang of it.

 

 

 

 

Hi. Firstly thanks for the reply.

You are quite correct, I am talking about manually taking a photo with my DSLR attached to the telescope (using digicamcontrol), and using the 'virtual camera' functionality in SharpCap to process the images within the Polar Alignment tool (assuming the virtual camera is integrated into the polar alignment module).

However, PhotoPolarAlign sounds like it may be a viable alternative. I will take a look at that and see how well it works. Thanks for the tip!

If anyone else uses SharpCap, I would still be interested in hearing whether the polar alignment module makes use of the virtual camera module.

Edited by Jm1973

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10 hours ago, rnobleeddy said:

I haven't used it, but perhaps https://github.com/vtorkalo/ASCOM.DSLR is worth a look?

I hadn't seen that github. It looks like they have very recently made some updates to the Nikon side of things. Thanks!

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As mentioned, it might be worth trying the ASCOM drivers. I really did not expect them to work with my EOS 1000D but they did, first time, and every time since, and now I'm a happy bunny with Sharpcap's polar align feature which is awesome. 

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3 hours ago, BrendanC said:

As mentioned, it might be worth trying the ASCOM drivers. I really did not expect them to work with my EOS 1000D but they did, first time, and every time since, and now I'm a happy bunny with Sharpcap's polar align feature which is awesome. 

I'll try to get the ASCOM driver to work with my camera tonight. That's the best method really, as I can use the ASCOM option in Astro Tortilla as well, instead of the 'File Open Dialogue' method.

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Be very interested to know how you get on. What I found was that, at first, I didn't think the drivers were working because the camera kept taking exposures, but it turns out that's what it was supposed to be doing. Make sure that, in Sharpcap, you play around with whatever controls you have for exposure ISO and time. I found ISO1600 and ten-second exposures worked fine.

 

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5 hours ago, BrendanC said:

Be very interested to know how you get on. What I found was that, at first, I didn't think the drivers were working because the camera kept taking exposures, but it turns out that's what it was supposed to be doing. Make sure that, in Sharpcap, you play around with whatever controls you have for exposure ISO and time. I found ISO1600 and ten-second exposures worked fine.

 

Well I got the ASCOM DSLR driver installed, and it picked up my camera. I installed SharpCap 3.3 and when I tried to pick ASCOM driver it would just hang and if I clicked on the screen it crashed.

However, when I just left it for a minute or so, it popped up with a screen asking if I wanted to wait for the program to recover or close it. I clicked wait, and then the camera was finally picked up.

I went to the polar aligment tool, and as you say, it just started taking exposures continually. Eventually I figured out that's what it is meant to be doing. I didn't actually have my telescope set up, as it was cloudy, but it does look like it may actually work!

When the weather is better I will try with 10 seconds and 1600 ISO. Thanks for the advice.

As a side-note, I also installed NINA and APT as they work with ASCOM DSLR drivers, but although they picked up my camera, they did not seem to work very well with it. I get the feeling the driver only partially works, but if it works enough for the polar alignment tool in sharpcap, then that's great!

 

 

Edited by Jm1973

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Hey, that's grea to know. It's confusing isn't it, when the camera just keeps taking exposures? But yes, that's how the ASCOM drivers work, I honestly don't know how/why, but it's ideal for the polar alignment feature.

I once installed NINA but didn't really use it. I've been using APT for over a year now and it's great. It automagically detects my Canon, no need for the ASCOM drivers. It might do the same for your Nikon? If not then pop over to the APT forum whether the developer Ivo is very helpful.

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On 21/10/2020 at 23:51, Jm1973 said:

Well I got the ASCOM DSLR driver installed, and it picked up my camera. I installed SharpCap 3.3 and when I tried to pick ASCOM driver it would just hang and if I clicked on the screen it crashed.

However, when I just left it for a minute or so, it popped up with a screen asking if I wanted to wait for the program to recover or close it. I clicked wait, and then the camera was finally picked up.

I went to the polar aligment tool, and as you say, it just started taking exposures continually. Eventually I figured out that's what it is meant to be doing. I didn't actually have my telescope set up, as it was cloudy, but it does look like it may actually work!

When the weather is better I will try with 10 seconds and 1600 ISO. Thanks for the advice.

As a side-note, I also installed NINA and APT as they work with ASCOM DSLR drivers, but although they picked up my camera, they did not seem to work very well with it. I get the feeling the driver only partially works, but if it works enough for the polar alignment tool in sharpcap, then that's great!

 

 

I haven't tried it yet (on a Nikon or Canon) but if your camera supports live view then I'd guess it'd be able to use that to record frames faster.

But if you just want the PA tool then I don't think it'll matter too much (imho sharp caps PA alone is more than worth the £10 fee, it's probably the best bang for buck of anything I've bought for astro).

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18 hours ago, BrendanC said:

Hey, that's grea to know. It's confusing isn't it, when the camera just keeps taking exposures? But yes, that's how the ASCOM drivers work, I honestly don't know how/why, but it's ideal for the polar alignment feature.

I once installed NINA but didn't really use it. I've been using APT for over a year now and it's great. It automagically detects my Canon, no need for the ASCOM drivers. It might do the same for your Nikon? If not then pop over to the APT forum whether the developer Ivo is very helpful.

Nikon have apparently not released the API or SDK for the D3300, so most developers don't bother to code for it. For ages they said there was no way to do bulb, or get live view working etc., until digicamcontrol came along and proved it could be done. Now the ASCOM driver uses the same method that digicamcontrol uses for the D3300. APT still swear they can't do anything with it though.

Digicamcontrol does bulb and has an AP tool where you can set up however many exposures you want, and it can set the ISO and expsoure time, and it has a basic Live View (no zoom), so I get by with that.

I think I'd need to buy a different camera in order to get APT working. However, I can take photos remotely with DCC, plate solve with AT and now hopefuly polar align with SC, so at the moment I don't really need anything else.

Edited by Jm1973

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14 hours ago, rnobleeddy said:

I haven't tried it yet (on a Nikon or Canon) but if your camera supports live view then I'd guess it'd be able to use that to record frames faster.

But if you just want the PA tool then I don't think it'll matter too much (imho sharp caps PA alone is more than worth the £10 fee, it's probably the best bang for buck of anything I've bought for astro).

If SC PA tool works, then I am definitely paying a tenner. Money well spent!

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Sharpcap Polar Align is as good as anything else out there. Used it for over two years.  

Well worth the £10.

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On 23/10/2020 at 22:13, wornish said:

Sharpcap Polar Align is as good as anything else out there. Used it for over two years.  

Well worth the £10.

Having now tried it successfully, it is great. Definitely worth a tenner.

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