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Image aquisition software


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Hi all 

just wondered what everyone is using for there imaging software?

i use Voyager, I previously used Nina but i had a few issues with it hanging in the meridian flip overnight. 

 

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In the interest of balance I use NINA. I did try APT once but couldn't get on with the interface. 🙂

On a more serious note what was the issue with the flips as I can say I've never had an issue either using the built in method or the plugin. I'm now using the Nightly 3.0 (not recommended for operational use disclaimer....) and still no issues

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I started out with APT when I was using a DSLR, but moved to AstroArt when I got serious with a mono CCD. Currently I use Maxim DL, but that's because the ASA software suite needs it for capture.

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Using NINA myself. Everything works as intended (some user error not included) and have been perfectly satisfied with it for all my needs. I use an old version from 2021 but since everything works just fine i am not going to update it.

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Posted (edited)

I love APT but the hocus focus plug in pulled me toward NINA, so far no issues with flip but that might change now the clocks have gone forward 😁

Edited by knobby
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I imaged for the first few years with APT, and found it a great way to learn the ropes. Switched to NINA when I got a cooled astrocam and have been using that happily for the last couple of years. The base software is great, but the features that the plugins offer are the icing on the cake. 

 

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I use NINA, the latest release version. There are some specific settings for the Meridian Flip which provide lots of flexibility and allow you to set things up so that minimum time is wasted and/or you take advantage of your mount's ability to run beyond the meridian. However, you need to get these set up correctly for your mount settings in order to make sure that it doesn't get stuck - you can have the settings such that the mount stops before NINA performs the flip. Once the settings are correct, I've not had a problem with it - works every time.

I can't say NINA is better, as I've never used anything else (apart from Sharpcap, which I still use for some things). However, I will say that I really like it - loads of capabilities and continually improving. In particular: Framing Assistant is excellent used with the colour HIPS sky survey; the new Advanced Sequencer provides a very flexible tool for setting up long imaging sessions (with my RASA I will run all night on multiple targets); auto focus is great, and with Hocus Focus plug-in there is an Aberration Tool which has been a Godsend for me in sorting out tilt.

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Ekos/Kstars for me. This season, I’ve had only one session where it had stopped working unexpectedly. And I had to reset the pointing model once, because of meridian flip errors. Other than those two mishaps, it just worked.

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I'm surprised nobody has mentioned SGP so far.   I also started with APT, moved to SGP and loved it, (Autofocus, meridian flip, auto centering, plate solving framing, scheduling targets, etc), but I'm stuck on version 3.2 now as I refuse to pay for the annualized latest version.  I've also tried NINA, I want to stick with it, as I see many of the features in SGP  have found their way into NINA.  The Interface is less intuitive than SGP  in my view, and, although I can still quite happily run all my kit through SGP, I see NiNa being actively developed, especially the plug-ins as Ady says, so I do need to persevere through the learning curve (and stop thinking 'SGP does that'...).  Learning curves seem to get harder as time goes on .. :(

 

 

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Posted (edited)
44 minutes ago, mikeyj1 said:

The Interface is less intuitive than SGP

A friend who runs his setup remotely from my observatory, uses SGP. I use Ekos/Kstars. I find his user interface the most counterintuitive and unstructured I've ever seen. I guess it's all in the eyes of the beholder. Once you get to know a/any software package, it seems simple and straight forward. But for an outsider it may be anything but that.

Btw, this is not meant as any criticism of SGP, but rather an observation on user interfaces and how we perceive them.

Edited by wimvb
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Posts about SGP seem to have declined since they changed their pricing model, but interestingly, it’s the image acquisition software chosen for the FLO remote imaging venture in Spain.

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I used APT for a couple of years, but found the interface a bit dated and clunky, then tried SG pro for about a week, did not like that at all,  then moved to using an RPI with Ekos, and that worked very well for a couple of years, until EQMOD just failed to work one day, and I could never fix, shame as I really liked that set up…then switched to NINA with a mini PC on the pier, and I have to say, it just works flawlessly and is the best of the bunch in my honest opinion, you can just forget about it, and it’s free, and the support is second to none on the Discord group….I can’t see any reason why I would ever change…it has everything and more then you could ever need….

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Posted (edited)

Started out (many moons ago) with MicroProjects’ Equinox Image and Pro (acquisition and planetarium) software using SBIG on Mac - even did some beta testing on the imaging side of things.

When I changed camera and moved to a Windows PC, I went with CCDCiel and CdC.

Considering I’d never used a Windows based laptop before, it works superbly and I’ve had no issues; accurate ASTAP integrated blind and plate solving, simple / accurate auto focusing and integration with Phd2.

I contacted the owner, Patrick Chevalle (via the GitHub development portal) to see if he would add some features I’d lost with the change of control software and he implemented…. then I asked if we could better use the long 18 second Atik 16200 image download time, to action the dither command and settle time so that the next image capture could be actioned as quickly as possible…. and he sorted that as well.

Couldn’t ask for more. Now trust enough to be able to watch over from the house - via TeamViewer.

Damian

Edited by TakMan
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Posted (edited)

I used to use APT, but switched to NINA and haven’t looked back.

APT was great, but it felt dated and i couldn’t zoom into the subs for inspection. I also had issues with losing connection, which made me try Nina. Ironically, Nina was worse and dropped more frequently, but I liked the feel of the software and eventually found out it was a windows usb powermode and a usb3 hub that caused the problems.

Both APT and Nina worked flawlessly after fixing those, so I swapped to Nina. I’ve only done the meridian flip once and it worked. The only thing with Nina I don’t like is the histogram display. APT’s version reflects a DSLRs histogram, whereas Nina appears to draw its graph differently. 

Edited by WolfieGlos
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On 02/05/2023 at 08:23, Stuartmyatt76 said:

Hi all 

just wondered what everyone is using for there imaging software?

i use Voyager, I previously used Nina but i had a few issues with it hanging in the meridian flip overnight. 

 

Prism version 11.

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Voyager advanced.

Bought into this to get multiple cameras imaging at once. Upgraded to advanced for the powerful sequencer. Got loads of data last year using it to manage the obs. Just as well considering the weather.

Still waiting for the array version  to work with advanced scheduler though. Should be soon. 

Can run two instances, have to run monitor script over the top to run two main cameras in tandem and both be mount and dither aware. I haven't done that yet. 

 

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Posted (edited)

I've used an old version of APT for years now.  I did try NINA several years back, but having an old D400 SLR found that NINA lacked the ability / functionality to operate serial controlled shutter release, even though the interface appears to suggest it did.  After consultation with the developers via the discord server I was informed that whilst the interface has the option, the code behind it was never written as cameras such as the D300 and D400 are obsolete !  - In fact it was the snotty, somewhat arrogant replies I got that from the developers that made me revert back to APT, which caters fine for my needs.

Edited by malc-c
typo
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APT foe me too. Whatever limitations my imaging are, they aren't caused by lack of functionality of APT :)

I started, initially with Astroberry on a Pi 4 , but it was never stable and I never, ever got more than 2 subs in a sequence before it crashed/froze/rebooted etc.. Then tried KStars/Ekos on a mini PC running Ubuntu. All worked perfectly during dummy runs and set-up, as did Astroberry, but on its first outing under the stars it played up. So not wanting to spend another 3 months trying to find and solve whatever the cause was, I just went to APT. Other than a rare glitch here and there, it's been stable on the same mini PC that didn't like KStars under Ubuntu.

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NINA.  Brilliant software.  Work at your meridian flip problem, it's not the fault of the software.  I did use SGP but I do not like their licensing model change and I also found it increasingly buggy and lock-up prone.

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