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rwg

SharpCap - free Astro Webcam Capture Software

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3 minutes ago, rwg said:

Are you suggesting that you could set the camera to (say) a 600x600 ROI by dragging an area in the preview window?

Yes you pinpointed it :-)

Carsten

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Hi, 

Have you developed a Mac version of Sharpcap?

If so can you send me a link please for download?

Thanks, Rich.

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Hi Rich,

no Mac version and there isn't going to be one either - it would involve a complete rewrite from scratch and to be honest I don't like Macs or Apple anyway, so I've got absolutely no inclination to do that :)

Have a look at oacapture (there's a thread for it around here somewhere) - that's a possibility for OSX and Linux users

cheers,

Robin

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Hi

I tried the alignment feature in the beta version last night and would like some input as to a very strange problem.
Being pretty new and having to re-align each night I wanted something slightly quicker than drift aligning.
 

I fired up sharpcap and went through the procedure according to the instructions.
Everything seemed to go great and managed to get down to within a few seconds of error.

I decided to do a second run to confirm everything but this time rotated the mount 90" the other way. It was telling me this time that my alignment was WAY off. Now I either have a serious problem with my setup or something did not go as planned.
Any input into what could be the issue here would be great.

Keep up the great work

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On 2.6.2016 at 12:22, rwg said:

It turned out that the problem with the aligning was down to the regional settings on the computer - if you had '.' as the decimal separator (ie 1.23) then it worked, if you had ',' (ie 1,23) then it didnt. That's now fixed in the latest beta as you spotted.

I tried Autostacking with Align last night and it worked very well! Despite the bad light pollution and some faint clouds I could stack after some parameter wrangling. And that was on a NexStar SLT with a mounted ASI120MC and a 28, 50 or 210mm Nikon lenses. :-) M81 and M82 are there and the image from the live stack was nearly as clear as a seperate DSS stack. (both images are looking ugly but no wonder for a few minutes and the circumstances).

Carsten

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@digitalcyanide

Sounds like maybe one of the frames solved incorrectly so threw off the calculations - if you get a chance to try again, please save at least one frame in each of the orientations you try (sounds like you tried 3) and send them to me, then I basically re-run the code over those frames and see if anything is going wrong.

@calli

Glad it's working nicely for you now - looking forward to seeing some images :)

Robin

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On 5.6.2016 at 21:37, rwg said:

 

@calli

Glad it's working nicely for you now - looking forward to seeing some images :)

 

Well. Here. Really a test image, only 60x5s subs (used a dark also) and a fast thin cloud layer. As I said, used a ASI120MC on a Vivitar 210mm (KB) Series 1 Telezoom (f3.5) I used a 50mm Nikon Lens (f2) with the ASI120MC on a NexStar SLT Goto Mount.

[ZWO ASI120MC]
Pan=0
Tilt=0
Output Format=AVI files (*.avi)
Binning=1
Capture Area=1280x960
Colour Space=RGB24
Temperature=20
Discard Split Frames=Off
High Speed Mode=On
Turbo USB=75
Flip=None
Frame Rate Limit=Maximum
Gain=100
Exposure=4,999999
Timestamp Frames=Off
White Bal (B)=95
White Bal (R)=70
Brightness=0
Gamma=65
AutoExpMaxGain=50
AutoExpMaxExp=30
AutoExpMaxBrightness=100
Subtract Dark=C:\Desktop_Ext\AstroWork\SharpCapREC\darks\ZWO ASI120MC\RGB24@1280x960\5,0s\gain_100\dark_11_frames_2016-06-03T22_07_48.png
Display Brightness=1
Display Contrast=1
Display Gamma=1

But I am happy with the result, this could be nice at better seeings.

Carsten

M81_M82_ASI120_DeepSky.png

Edited by calli
Corrected a mistake with the used lens

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Thanks Carsten, can definitely see both galaxies there which is good - that short FL lens would probably be better pointed at the rich fields of the milky way, while actually your 127 Mak might give a decent field of view on the smaller galaxies if you can get the pointing accurate enough to find them. It's perfectly acceptable to turn up the gain a fair bit in this sort of EAA to make sure you pull out some detail in each exposure. I think some people use a 0.5x reducer with this sort of camera with an SCT or Mak, so maybe that's an option for varying the focal length too.

Happy stacking!

cheers,

Robin

 

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@rwg I made a error on the image above. This was with a 50mm Nikon Lens.

I also own a Vivitar Series 1 Telezoom, which is a very decent quality, build for full KB cams. The Vivitar gives me 1.395x1.047° FOW with the ASI120MC... The Mak127 with my Nikon D51000 0,882x0.588°. I would not call the ASI with Vivitar wide field. The Mak127 with ASI is incredible 0.183x0.137° quite useless on DS, maybe a planetary nebula will work. The Mak is F10 or so. The vivitar Lens has f3.5. I am still waiting for good seeing to prove all this...

I tried a cheap 0.5x reducer but could not get it to focus on the ASI120.

Carsten

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@rwg Oh and I found something which at least bugs me :-)

I use a DIY focusser:

AAF2 Link (link preview above seems not working atm)

What bugs me is that SharpCap seems to limit the focus position to max 10000. Because other programs (Firecapture, AAF2 etc.) don't care about I guess it is a limitation you programmed in? I choosed 10000 as my initial value to have enough headroom for different cameras and Bathinov/Reducers on my Mak127 which has a enormous backfocus.

And how about storing Focus positions? I am not sure if this should happen with the profile?

Also a field for entering an arbitary value would be nice.

BTW: for me the camera control panel runs a bit small and after making it broader it will not remember that setting for next start or even choosing sessions.

Cheers,
Carsten

Edited by calli
Link preview empty fix

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Hi Carsten

your maximum of 10000 comes from the ASCOM driver for the focuser - see this link and look at line 343 https://sourceforge.net/p/arduinoascomfocuser/code/HEAD/tree/Ascom_Driver/AAF/AAF2/Driver.cs  - SharpCap just obeys the maximum value that the focuser driver says it can cope with.

Focus via a focuser (autofocus in the end) is something that I am slowly working on. Storing a focus position is a bit tricky as it only makes sense for 'absolute' focusers - ie ones that remember their position through a power cycle and when told to go to 5775 always go to the same place. Lots of ASCOM focusers aren't absolute, and worse, some aren't but claim that they are :(

Entering a value makes a lot of sense and should be a small and easy change (I hope). I will also look at saving the width of the panel.

cheers,

Robin

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@rwg Ok, I saw it working in other apps, but yes after closer inspection I found even others which also limit it. No Problem, I shifted my "sweet spot" to a lower value. My focuser is an absolute one which is a great help, i.e. Firecapture stores the focus position with the "Filter", so when swapping to a barlow for example, I choose the filter and it drives the focusser to the position, great help.

A direct Goto input would be very helpfull, maybe in a future step just saveable positions which then can be load on demand.

Thanks for your great work!

Carsten

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Hi Carsten,

yes, all stuff that's likely to happen in the future when I get a chance. Can I ask if your focuser has any significant backlash in it (ie does it matter which direction you approach from if you goto a particular position)

cheers,

Robin

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Hi,

this time I took a chance at Bodes Galaxy and the Cigar Galaxy with the Vivitar Series 1 210mm Nikon Lens (f5.6 as f3.5 shows halos) adapted to a ASI120MC. I am happy with the image, however keep in mind that all quirks and bad things are not SharpCaps faults, only caused by the "suboptimal" equipment and my little knowledge :-)

I only used LiveStacking in SharpCap (latest beta) and I think it worked very well taken into account the ASI120MC (Planetcam!) my wacky NexStar SLT Mount and my DIY Lens Holder.

The image below is 138 lights @10s and 10 darks, Gain 90. Levels/denoise in Gimp 2.9.x.

So the dark substraction works now in LiveStacking. However I was not able to use RAW16 and darks, this crashed SC. Also the RAW16 is quite wacky here, often it seems to take images (green bar) but it stays 0 images / 0 dropped and the total exposure time counts up. This is not only in live stacking. Maybe it is a USB problem, I need to investigate.

Cheers,
Carsten

 

Bodes_Zigge.jpg

Vivitar.jpg

Edited by calli
little additions
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@rwgI wonder if it would be possible to have live stacking AND save the individual frames to Disk? That way we could combine both worlds, having a stacked preview and beeing able to stack later with all bells and whistles.

Cheers,

Carsten

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It's a sensible idea - I guess is should save as the normally selected output type. I'd also be inclined to save the frames before any processing at all (ie no dark subtraction). I'll look into it.

cheers,

Robin

 

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Just downloaded to my Windows 10 laptop and hope to use it pretty soon with a modified webcam. :) 

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Is the Dark Frame subtraction feature currently working in any version? I tried to use it last night (sorry, can't recall the precise versions but I have a 2.8 (release) and latest 2.9beta) and it apparently doesn't seem to. This was using a QHY5-II mono.

ChrisH

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Hi Chris,

quick test says that they are working pretty much ok in RGB mode, but not in RAW mode. I will have a look to see what's going wrong. This is with the latest 2.9 code.

cheers,

Robin

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I am using an AI120MM and an MC camera with SharpCap.

Last week I downloaded the latest version and I notice that now when I tell the camera to stop or I use time or frames the camera still appears to be running. I can see the frame rate of number of images in the bottom of the user screen still clicking up.

Has anyone else seen this?

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@baggywrinkle That's pretty much the way it is supposed to work - at the bottom it's just counting frames (either captured or just viewed). If you do a capture and then stop it, you'll see a green notification just below the menu telling you the details about number of frames captured, how long, etc. This used to appear at the bottom for 10s or so, but has been moved in the latest versions.

@ChrisLX200 I think I have got to the bottom of the dark frame bug(s). Currently dark frame subtraction looks good for me in testing on the latest 2.9 code - will try to get a new build out this week.

cheers,

Robin

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Question about WinXP support for latest Sharpcap versions.

Robin, I noticed somewhere (in a comment or the release notes that 2.7) that 2.7 was going to be the last version supporting XP but it appears that some 2.8 releases do as well. 

I'm running XP on my observatory PC because of some older hardware and device drivers (and because I don't want to have to change and build a new disk image if I don't have to). I noticed that the latest 2.8 release (2378) doesn't appear to install on my XP system (but no error messages, it just seems to leave the previous version -2353 in place). 

I'm assuming (always a dangerous thing) that I'm up against your need to stop building XP compatible releases ... is this true? If not will 2.9 be XP compatible?

Cheers,

Mark

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Hi Mark,

I haven't deliberately done anything in 2.8 or 2.9 that will stop SharpCap installing on Windows XP, but I don't test with XP any more, so something could have slipped in perhaps. At some point in the near future I will be making changes that will definitely kill off Windows XP support, but not just yet.

It might be worth trying an uninstall of the existing version of 2.8 before installing the latest build to see if that helps.

cheers,

Robin

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thanks Robin, that's very good news. I just didn't want to go charging into a potential issue without finding out if you had done something specific to preclude XP use.

I'll do a little poking around (de install and such) and let you know.

Cheers,

Mark

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