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Is SGP Pro v3 upgrade worth it?


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Hi,

I have been using SGP v2 for years and it has served me well with very few issues other than the occasional drop out or annoying window behaviour.
As I am about to receive a new Pegasus auto focuser I thought I would take a look at the latest version of SGP.

So v3 seems to still be the current versions although I see that a v4 is in Beta.
What I found slightly disappointing is that as well as a one off payment of $149 they have the dreaded yearly subscription fee model of $59 thereafter.
As my new focuser is fully supported on v2 so this is a bit of an ask.

Looking through the features list I don't see much that v2 cant do, is it mainly for new users with later CMOS camera support?
Is there anything fundamental in the way focusing works in SGP v3 (or the v4) that makes it an essential upgrade?

Thanks 

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I'm curious if you've given a look at N.I.N.A yet? It's free and it's been getting some pretty decent traction in development in the past year. Also SGP has moved to a subscription model (although you can opt not to participate but forgo the upgrades).

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Thanks. I have not tried NINA yet. I guess I am being lazy as I want to get up to speed with my new focuser rather than having to learn a new application as well. Interesting about yearly plan I did not realise you can forego the upgrades. Maybe once I have tested my focuser (weather permitting) I will have a look a NINA.

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I'm on SGP V3, the focussing algorithm has been improved, although I had no problems with the previous way it functioned.

I can't see that I'll upgrade to V4 and will probably move to NINA or Voyager in the summer when I have time to learn new software without risking losing precious imaging time.

IMO NINA and Voyager are better now than SGP v4 and their development is proceeding at a far faster pace than SGP.  It seems to take the guys at SGP forever to implement new features, it's GUI is full of foibles, click something out of sequence, or twice by accident, try to cancel platesolve etc and it locks the whole thing up.

I've learnt to live with SGP over the years, it still frustrates me regularly though.

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Having used Astroberry/KStars/EKOS I cannot imagine paying for a piece of rig control software again. Coupled with the fact it'll run on a Pi3 or Pi4 so no expensive computer equipment to leave out it's just brilliant. Fully built in WiFi hotspot as well so can use portable no dramas at all. 

When I can find my laptop charger I will give NINA a go too but it will take a lot for me to move back to a laptop/full fat PC.

 

 

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What functionality do you think you are missing comparing v2 to v3?

I think SGPro was the benchmark for acquisition automation software for the masses but it is very CCD centric and it hasnt evolved. The move to a subscription model was the final nail for me and I havent used it since.

Before paying for subscription software check out Nina or Ekos. Both are free and much better optimised for CMOS imaging (especially Nina).

 

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Thanks JimJam. You are right I don't think I am missing any functionality, other than software stability and maybe improved focusing algorithm's.
I have a good old CCD which is still serving me well so I think you maybe right about the CMOS focused.

I'll stick with version 2 for the moment. Still trying to get outside to setup my new Pegasus FocusCube, its either cloudy or too windy!

 

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I installed NINA when SGP changed its subscription model with the intention of running them side by side as an experiment.

I had no intention whatsoever of jumping ship full time to NINA.

Within a month I had deleted SGP.

NINA really is that good. 

If you want to have a peep just use the ASTAP routine for plate solving and I think you will see what is possible.

https://nighttime-imaging.eu/

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3 minutes ago, Skipper Billy said:

I installed NINA when SGP changed its subscription model with the intention of running them side by side as an experiment.

I had no intention whatsoever of jumping ship full time to NINA.

Within a month I had deleted SGP.

I too have downloaded NINA (been on EKOS / KStars for a while) and have played about with it a bit when skies were cloudy (obviously couldn't platesolve) just to try to get used to it and yest it seems good.

First clear night was Tuesday this week so tried to give it a go but struggled with a few things and as it was a pretty clear night which are few and far between up North I reverted back to EKOS to get some images done.

So I still want to give it a go, only reason for not sticking with it was that I just struggled with some aspects but I am sure it it just I was not familiar with the layout and need a bt more play time with it.
I just find EKOS so simple and straight forward but just wish it worked with Windows and I would not think of changing.
 

Steve

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I have been playing with NINA too but not committed to it fully yet because clear sky time has been so incredibly precious of late and I won't waste that time to me playing around with new software.  I would pay the SGP subscription fee were SGP a bit more stable with less lock-ups and they listened to development requests from the community.  People been asking for certain features like dual cameras for a decade now.  As a two man shop they will fall behind NINA because they will never match the coding hours that the community model of NINA can deliver and I feel the best days of SGP are behind it.

I do find NINA slightly cumbersome in terms of workflow.  I readily concede that I am accustomed to the way that SGP does things so I am probably trying to unfairly shoehorn the SGP way of working onto NINA which I acknowledge is not ideal.  I will have a play around when and if we get some more clear sky time.

A feature I LOVE in NINA is the way it works with Cartes Du Ciel.  I wish SGP had that.  Another ask of the developers.  It should be simple to interface to CdCs openly published API.

Edited by kirkster501
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18 minutes ago, kirkster501 said:

A feature I LOVE in NINA is the way it works with Cartes Du Ciel.  I wish SGP had that.  Another ask of the developers.  It should be simple to interface to CdCs openly published API.

Interesting. How does it work, I have never used it and the documentation seems sparse?

If I want to connect CDC I typically connect it to my mount but it sounds like I am missing something...

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You click on the object in CdC and from framing module in NINA you import the exact coordinates that are selected in CdC by clicking the button.  I spoke to Patrick - developer of CdC and the NINA developers - and he is also exposing via the API the rotation of the CdC reticule so that this information will also be imported into NINA.  I have also developed some Python myself that I am in discussions with NINA developers about.

I can see the power of NINA and believe this is the future.  We just have had such a shocking six months of skies that I have not had the clear skies to completely commit to it yet.  I know how to use it but just not fully using it for my active sessions just yet. 

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