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rwg

SharpCap - free Astro Webcam Capture Software

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 What camera are you using? I recall writing code for the FITS pixel size headers to be set, but they only will be if the camera driver can tell SharpCap what the pixel size is. 

I'm using an Altair Astro IMX224.   I think the driver must supply the pixel size information, as PHD2 "knows" it is 3.75um in both directions.

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Hi Robin,

The freeze happens on both my Compute Stick and a T100TA. I used Task Manager and confirmed there's ~500MB of free RAM when it freezes. Both devices have plenty of disk space available and I also have over 2 GB of swap space on the Compute Stick.

Compute Stick Specs

1.44 GHz Intel Atom x5-Z8300 Quad-Core, 2GB of DDR3L RAM
32GB of Onboard eMMC Flash Storage

The T100TA Specs

Intel Quad-Core Z3735 1.33 GHz Processor with 2GB RAM.
32 GB Solid State Storage in tablet

Let me know if there's anything I can do to help test or capture more details.

Thanks,

Tom

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@perdrix

Ah, looks like the API to get the pixel size for the Altair cameras didn't exist when I added support for the cameras and I hadn't got round to adding it - I'll get it into 2.10

@Tom M

Ok, so those CPUs are a bit on the slow side - might be a good idea to use bin2 to make the images smaller to allow the processing to be faster.

cheers,

Robin

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Robin,

I tried Live Stacking at full resolution in both RAW8 & RAW16 with 2x2 binning and it didn't freeze. It's cloudy so it wasn't a "real" test as no stars could be found so I just left the lens cap on but it does look like switching to 2x2 binning did the trick. Out of curiosity, would it ever complete if left at 1x1 binning? Is it really just CPU bound at that point?

Thanks.

Tom

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Hi

I can't find the way to flip vertically the image in preview window. Neither in the Camera Control Panel  nor in the scripts console.  Is it possible?

Thanks in advance.

--
Fernando

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@Tom M

Actually the thing that eats the most CPU time is the detection of stars in each image. In 2.9 it re-detects the stars in the stack each frame. In 2.10 it doesn't do that so the CPU time for stacking is effectively halved. 2.10 will be out any time now (maybe even later today if I get a chance to write up some release notes)

@fercapa

Some cameras have the flip control available in the camera driver - if that exists SharpCap makes it available, but SharpCap doesn't add a flip option for other cameras. From memory ZWO cameras have it.

Robin

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1 hour ago, rwg said:

 

@fercapa

Some cameras have the flip control available in the camera driver - if that exists SharpCap makes it available, but SharpCap doesn't add a flip option for other cameras. From memory ZWO cameras have it.

Robin

Ok Robin.
My camera is a QHY5III174C so I suppose its driver doesn't have this option. I will try to live without it ;-)
Thanks for your fast response
--
Fernando

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Robin,

Just a big thank you for your amazing turn round in fixing bugs in the 2.10 beta. I can confirm that the latest version - 3456 - fixes the bug report that my system generated yesterday (capturing sequences of images). Works  OK with the webcam - will try with my ASI 1600 later tonight.

 

Regards

Neil

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Hi Neil,

trying to get new updates out pretty quickly at the moment while the bugs are the simple ones that are easy to fix :)

cheers

Robin

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Robin

I'm back to using sharpcap as back to a zwo camera after a dslr holiday.

One question. The histogram stretching in live stacking used to have a nice sigmoidal type function. Or something like that I think ? Much nicer than the newer one. Any chance of another stretch function - either like that or like the one in fitswork, astrotoaster ?

Cheers. Chris

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@ChrisFC

Try the 2.10 beta - it adds a control to allow you to soften the stretch near the black point so that you don't go straight from black to a high gradient gamma function - maybe that will give you the flexibility you are looking for. The extra slider is above the graph on the left hand side (to the left of the white point slider).

cheers,

Robin

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For some reason I cannot get my Watec 902H2 Ultimate to work with SharpCap 2.9....I am sure I could with an older version of this program?

Help?

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good evening,

  I have been using Sharpcap since I started imaging with an zwo asi 120 mc-s camera. Not been out for around 3-4 months, until yesterday.  I use a dob for imaging planets and I don't have a tracking/goto mount so I make use of the pan and tilt feature using 480x480 box to track the planet over the sensor. now the pan and tilt really slow the fps down and it crashes sharpcap, It wasn't doing this 4 months ago so was just wondering if something changed? sort of gutted because this was my only way to image planets and produce decent images without the use of a mount. I have tried using my desktop pc and the image flickers when moving the pan and tilt and the fps go right down, with the laptop it dose the same plus crashes the program. I did a fresh install on the laptop and installed latest sharpcap 2.9 as well as reinstalling drivers for the camera.

 

cheers

john

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10 hours ago, john86 said:

good evening,

  I have been using Sharpcap since I started imaging with an zwo asi 120 mc-s camera. Not been out for around 3-4 months, until yesterday.  I use a dob for imaging planets and I don't have a tracking/goto mount so I make use of the pan and tilt feature using 480x480 box to track the planet over the sensor. now the pan and tilt really slow the fps down and it crashes sharpcap, It wasn't doing this 4 months ago so was just wondering if something changed? sort of gutted because this was my only way to image planets and produce decent images without the use of a mount. I have tried using my desktop pc and the image flickers when moving the pan and tilt and the fps go right down, with the laptop it dose the same plus crashes the program. I did a fresh install on the laptop and installed latest sharpcap 2.9 as well as reinstalling drivers for the camera.

 

cheers

john

To use pan and tilt the planet still needs to be in frame.

If you have the storage space, just capture full frames and then use PIPP to pre-process the video by putting the target in the middle of a smaller box. Have it use lossless video and you can delete the original capture without losing any data.

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The point of using ROI is that it allows you to up the frame rate and reduce the file size  - so 640x480 ROI on the ASI will probably get you about double the frame rate (exposure permitting) of the full resolution.

ZWO have put out a new driver and a new SDK this month. The new SDK isn't in SharpCap yet, but I hope to have a version with it sorted by the weekend. In my testing, the currently released SharpCap 2.9 works fine with the new driver for my 120MC and 120MM-S (and 174MC and 1600MM for that matter). I see the increased FPS when I go to ROI. The FPS does drop a little while moving the ROI area around but recovers within less than a second.

Some things you can try are: test the 2.10 Beta version of SharpCap (you can install it alongside 2.9). Check that you are not using the DirectShow driver by mistake (you get a big warning from SharpCap if you try to do that, so unlikely). Check that you are using a USB3 port and cable for your MC-S. Try a shorter USB cable if you are using a long one (>3m in total). Try adjusting the 'Turbo USB' setting for the camera manually (turn it off auto and probably turn it down a bit) and see if that makes the problem go away.

cheers,

Robin

 

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Cheers, the way I capture involves me constantly moving the roi, I find it better than using full frame because I could get alot more fps and better images. If its case of my laptop being weak now I'll have to get a new laptop and get a mount ( should have done that months ago).  Excellent program still :-)  below images I have taken using my method

best collage.jpg

Edited by john86
photos
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Nice images John!

I have just uploaded a new version of SharpCap 2.9 which has the very latest ZWO SDK in it. Might be worth giving that a try to see if that helps any.

cheers,

Robin

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I haven't really done a lot of imaging but last week I did manage some of Jupiter & used SharpCap with my ASI224MC & I have a question. 

 

I was capturing at RAW8 with debayer set to ON & when I stacked the files in AS!2 I noticed that there was faint hatching marks on the images that became more pronounced when Wavelet sharpening in RegiStax. 

 

Should I be capturing in RGB24 or am I not doing something correctly?

 

By the way AS!2 was set to AUTO debayer mode. 

 

Thanks

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@1CM69

Normally changing from RAW to RGB would be a bad choice - not only do you triple the amount of data that is written to file but you also put yourself in the hands of whatever debayer algorithm the camera deveopler has put into their SDK (probably bilinear as it is fast).

SharpCap just copies the data it receives from the camera to the output file (exception: using darks or flats changes this as the corrected frame is saved), so you are going to have to look at your processing to see if you can work out the cause of your pattern artifacts.

If you aren't already, I'd suggest running the output SER file through PIPP and debayering it there - you can pick a more expensive but better debayer algorithm in PIPP and that will hopefully help. You could also view the SER file in SERPlayer (from the same website as PIPP) to see if you can see the problem in the individual frames.

cheers,

Robin

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8 minutes ago, rwg said:

@1CM69

Normally changing from RAW to RGB would be a bad choice - not only do you triple the amount of data that is written to file but you also put yourself in the hands of whatever debayer algorithm the camera deveopler has put into their SDK (probably bilinear as it is fast).

SharpCap just copies the data it receives from the camera to the output file (exception: using darks or flats changes this as the corrected frame is saved), so you are going to have to look at your processing to see if you can work out the cause of your pattern artifacts.

If you aren't already, I'd suggest running the output SER file through PIPP and debayering it there - you can pick a more expensive but better debayer algorithm in PIPP and that will hopefully help. You could also view the SER file in SERPlayer (from the same website as PIPP) to see if you can see the problem in the individual frames.

cheers,

Robin

Ok, thanks for the info.

I haven't used SER format as yet, only AVI & then opened them straight into AS!2 without the PIPP step.  

I'll give you idea a bash.

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Ah, Ok. If you are using AVI then you may need to manually tell AS!2 to debayer the frames and pick the correct bayer pattern. With SER the bayer pattern is embedded in the file so everything is automatic. If you've missed the debayer step in AS!2 with AVI then you would get a grid on the images but they'd be greyscale too.

Robin

PS. You can pass your existing AVI files through PIPP too.

Edited by rwg
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17 minutes ago, rwg said:

Ah, Ok. If you are using AVI then you may need to manually tell AS!2 to debayer the frames and pick the correct bayer pattern. With SER the bayer pattern is embedded in the file so everything is automatic. If you've missed the debayer step in AS!2 with AVI then you would get a grid on the images but they'd be greyscale too.

Robin

PS. You can pass your existing AVI files through PIPP too.

I'll look into the options. 

I do pick the debayer pattern in AS!2 & images I get out are in colour, so I think I can rule that step out. 

I will have a go using SER & see what hapoens

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