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APT or Backyard EOS

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#1 Kellogg

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Posted 08 December 2010 - 05:24 PM

Can anyone tell me the difference between these two pieces of software?

http://www.ideiki.com/astro/

http://backyardeos.b...rivers.com/home

The features seem pretty similar.

Is any one better than the other. I've used the trial of APT for a while and I like it but not sure if I should opt for other one. I'm waiting for a trial license to try Backyard EOS at the moment.

Thanks

Mat

#2 Greg K.

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Posted 08 December 2010 - 06:29 PM

I like APT (at least the free version) but I'm probably gonna try BackyardEOS too at some point. They seem very similar. Whichever I like best will get my money.

#3 Magellan

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Posted 23 December 2010 - 08:00 AM

I like the look of Backyard EOS, I may get it. But I don't see system requirements, I am looking to get a Netbook or single core notebook.

#4 David Pavlich

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Posted 23 December 2010 - 05:44 PM

I like the look of Backyard EOS, I may get it. But I don't see system requirements, I am looking to get a Netbook or single core notebook.


Scroll down to the text just below DOWNLOAD BETA RELEASE and you'll see that it should work with a Netbook.

David

#5 guyroch

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Posted 29 December 2010 - 10:13 AM

I like the look of Backyard EOS, I may get it. But I don't see system requirements, I am looking to get a Netbook or single core notebook.


Thanks, BackyardEOS version 1.0.2 (or later) fully supports netbook resolution 1024x600.

BackyardEOS is a multi-threaded application so the more core the better. However, it will run on a single core netbook; it may just take a bit longer to download and process the exif meta data after each download but it will run. I would recommend a 1.5 Ghz CPU or faster if you have a single core... but this is just a wild guess.

BackyardEOS runs on Windows 7, Vista, and XP; 32 bits or 64 bits alike.

BackyardEOS setup will verify that the Microsoft .Net 3.5 Framework is installed on your computer. If it is not, it will guide you to the Microsoft's download site first.

There is not need to install EOS Utilities, BackyardEOS supplies all the necessary drivers in its simple installer package.

I will leave it to you guys/gals to argue the real merit of BackyardEOS over APT as I don't think it would be ethical for me to do so.

I will read this thread like it was gold though :)

Guylain

#6 Yoddha

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Posted 29 December 2010 - 10:30 AM

;) Just to mention that there are no complains from APT on Netbooks...

#7 guyroch

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Posted 29 December 2010 - 10:39 AM

;) Just to mention that there are no complains from APT on Netbooks...


Ivo (Yoddha), I'm glad to see you're here too, it would not be complete without some visibility from you as well.. and it promises to be a good conversation for both of us.

Take care and happy new year,

Guylain

#8 Yoddha

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Posted 29 December 2010 - 10:48 AM

Thanks Guylain! You are right about this thread and that's the reason to keep an eye on it :)

Happy and successful new year to you and to all CN members!

#9 Tonka

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Posted 29 December 2010 - 12:04 PM

I have no experience with APT but I do own a licensed copy of BackyardEOS and I have had nothing but a positive experience with this software. It's easy to use. Fully featured and gets the job done. Plus, new ideas from users are considered and/or being implemented.
The very first time I tried it it linked up with my 450D in seconds. I love the focus features. Improved the quality of my nights worth of imaging.

IMHO money well spent.

Russ_in_AZ

#10 Nils_Lars

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Posted 29 December 2010 - 06:14 PM

I have tried both and I just like BackyardEOS better , dither is such a great addition over just plain old EOS Utility which I stuck with for way too long.

#11 caliu

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Posted 30 December 2010 - 12:42 AM

I always tried both and BackyardEOS It seems much better, nights on end without the slightest error, a very nice interface, friendly and easy to use, automatic saving system of folders and subfolders is great, the zoom window and reading the FMWH, is exquisite.
BackyardEOS has put together two very important things, efficiency and elegance.

Cheers
Ferran.

#12 Charles Hall

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Posted 09 May 2011 - 09:18 PM

I came across this old thread in researching the BackyardEOS vs. APT question and was a little disappointed not see more info. So now that I've used Backyard EOS and APT some I'll chime in with my 2-cents...

*** EOS Utility ***

First, you can use the FREE software that comes with your Canon camera to do astrophotography. With the EOS Utility program and a stopwatch you're in business:

1. The main screen lets you set the exposure time and ISO settings.
2. There's a Live View window to help you frame the target.
3. There's a magnified Live View to help you fine-tune focusing.
4. When you take a photo, a screen pops up with the new image.

So what's not to like? Well, did you notice that we now have FOUR screens up? And they're not the kind you can resize easily. And for any but a few set times (30 secs, 15 secs, ...) you'll need to press a button and watch a stopwatch to time the exposure by hand. I'm sure this is great for studio photography, but it's a lot to manage at night in the middle of a field. Plus, don't close that image preview screen, I can't figure out how to bring it back up! And if you forget to set the camera to BULB/ISO 1600 you won't see even a bright target (like Saturn) in the Live View screen, even though you'll need to crank that exposure way down to get a good picture.


*** BackyardEOS ***

So for $24 you can get Backyard EOS, or try the 30-day full-featured free trial. The first thing you'll notice is the BackyardEOS screen is a nice dim red color.

There are four buttons across the top:

1. The first is a CONNECT button, there's a little status log below it to let you see what mode your camera is in. If it's not MANUAL, you need to reach over and turn the dial on top of the camera.
2. IMAGING mode shows a captured image with a histogram display.
3. FRAME/FOCUS mode sets the camera to BULB/ISO 1600 automatically. You see a big area for the live view image, a magnified view for focusing, a numeric indicator of focus (FHWM), plus camera battery level, etc. All in view at once.
4. DRIFT ALIGN - Haven't tried that yet.

Once you're aligned and focused, you can click the IMAGING button get a screen that includes a "Capture Plan". Here you can list how many photos to take, and at what exposure and ISO setting. Once you start the "plan" running you can walk away and take a nap (or whatever).

One oddity, if you want to take just one image, you still need to enter a plan, and run it.

There are other features, but I was excited by just what I've seen so far.


*** APT ***

I also downloaded APT and tried it. I did not find it nearly as intuitive. Most of the controls seem to lie behind a series of cryptic icons; the majority of which are disabled in the trial version. For example, of the nine buttons on the right side of the screen, six are unavailable in the trial version. The full version is only 12.7 Euros (about $18 US).

Like BackyardEOS the screen is a nice dim red. There's a Live View preview window, a smaller focusing window with an FHWM number. There appears to be a built-in database of potential targets that would show you apparent size, etc.; sounds neat but it's disabled in the Trial version. There's also a SHOOT button to take a single exposure. Camera settings are behind a button which pops up a new window.

To create a shooting plan like BackyardEOS, you must bring up an editor screen. BackyardEOS's is all on the same screen. A lot of APT seems like that, many features, but not so accessible.

Even the little log window at the bottom of the display is not well thought out. Once you get about six or seven lines of the same message you can't tell what's going on. The log doesn't have scroll buttons, and you can't clear it. So if after pressing six buttons that generate a "Disabled in trial version" message, the next button press appears to have no effect, or did it add another "Disabled" message? No way to tell.

There's also some sort of quirk under XP. If you minimize the app, a little live window stays stuck on the screen (feature or bug?), and to restore the full screen view you can't simply click on the minimized tab at the bottom of the screen; you have to right-click and select Restore.


*** In Summary ***

BackyardEOS seems to be better thought out with regards to usability. Once you understand the four main buttons the rest is easy. APT seems to have more features, but all those cryptic icons and buttons are not arranged in any kind of order. I also emailed both authors with minor quibles about their app or website. Only Guylain of BackyardEOS responded.

So, as a rank amateur at astrophotography, I vote for BackyardEOS as the best one to start with.

#13 Yoddha

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Posted 10 May 2011 - 03:25 AM

Hi Charles,

A lot of thanks for this detailed comparison! It is always invaluable to see different points of view. Please allow me to share few lines about APT.

APT was started two years ago. By this time there were no much free alternatives, there were no much discussions like this one, so it was designed using my own astro photography experience (which is not as rich as I want). For more than year since it became available, APT has come a long way and many features has been added. Following the original idea everything to be “one click away on a small screen” has made the interface little bit harder to use for some new comers. I know that and in this very moment I’m working on newer interface that hosts the existing and new coming features better.

Something important is that the “demo” in fact is a free utility that is available for everybody that don’t like EOS utility and/or currently don’t want to spend money for astro dedicated software. Being that, it provides all basic functions you need to focus, frame, dither and control your camera during the night without limitations and from the main screen - the only dialogs are the Plans editor and PHD/MetaGuide integration settings (there is no camera settings dialog). If somebody likes APT and decides to reward my work, some extras will become available for use. This is my gesture of gratitude for supporting the future development of APT, that constantly improves both versions…

About the “quirk” screen :) It is a feature that allows to monitor the APT status and part of the last image when the main screen is minimized. A double click in this window is a way quickly to restore the main one.

Charles, I searched in my archives. The only time you contacted me was through the “Suggest” form in the site and you didn’t leave way to contact you back. In that message you suggested to update the “EOS matrix” page with the Canon model names used on US market. The page was updated half hour later… I’m putting a significant effort to support APT in all aspects and every question is usually responded in 0 to 9-10 hours depending on your time zone and my local time, no matter if it is related to the “demo” or to the full version. There are various ways to contact me including the “anonymous” form in the “Suggest” page on the site.

I want to thank again for your review! :salute:

#14 Charles Hall

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Posted 10 May 2011 - 08:23 AM

Thanks for your response Ivo. As you can tell from my review, I prefer the full-function/trial-period approach. At these prices, I don't think anyone would begrudge the cost of either product. It's just a matter of deciding which one to invest your time and energy in learning to use.

Please do post back to this thread when you've made your next round of changes. As it did me, I think Google will lead others back here.

#15 Yoddha

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Posted 10 May 2011 - 09:20 AM

Thanks Charles! I'll think how to implement a trial period for the extras. The big disadvantage of such periods is that they can expire before you were able to try the features, or even worse during an imaging session...

I'll contact the moderators to see if it will violate the rules to post a notice for the next update here.

#16 avarakin

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Posted 16 May 2011 - 08:13 PM

Charled,
I do agree that EOS Utility is not the most user friendly application, but it does have an intervalometer function which allows you to shoot automatically as many exposures of any length you like .

Alex

#17 guyroch

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Posted 11 July 2011 - 10:41 PM

One oddity, if you want to take just one image, you still need to enter a plan, and run it.


Thank you Charles for taking the time write about your experience. In version 1.2.0 you can take a quick preview image.

Guylain

#18 Tonk

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Posted 29 July 2011 - 08:46 AM

Charles said

With the EOS Utility program and a stopwatch you're in business ... And for any but a few set times (30 secs, 15 secs, ...) you'll need to press a button and watch a stopwatch to time the exposure by hand


Lets be totally fair to the EOS utility ;). Somehow Charles has completely missed that it has a fully functional intervalvometer ... you certainly don't need to sit up all night with a stop watch!!

With that said I'm going to test both BackyardEOS and APT out this fall on my AstroAdventures holiday

#19 StargateDG

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Posted 01 August 2011 - 11:06 PM

Hi All,
I tried Backyard EOS...It worked great but it caused my guide camara to stop working. I was going to purchace it until I realized that It's what caused my Orion ShootingStar guide camera to stop working. Don't know why but when I deleted Backyard EOS, it started functioning normally again. :bawling:

#20 Michael Morris

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Posted 09 August 2011 - 07:25 AM

I've tried both and it's a very close run thing. I too prefer the slick BackyardEOS interface. The latest beta release of APT goes a way to addressing these issues, although the interface is still not quite as polished as BackyardEOS. I understand that the next full release of APT (due out any day) may polish up the interface even more. I have registered APT so, because the two programs are so similar, I see little point in buying BackyardEOS as well. I have found the Ivo's (APT) technical support excellent and he is very open to ideas to improve the software.

For me, APT seems to have slightly more of the features that I'm after and there are some nice little touches that I find make it a bit easier to run an imaging session - but there is not a lot in it.

#21 guyroch

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Posted 24 August 2011 - 12:22 AM

Hi All,
I tried Backyard EOS...It worked great but it caused my guide camara to stop working. I was going to purchace it until I realized that It's what caused my Orion ShootingStar guide camera to stop working. Don't know why but when I deleted Backyard EOS, it started functioning normally again. :bawling:


Thanks for trying BackyardEOS. I would be very interested in getting your log files from your trial run with BYE, I see no reason that your guide camera would stop working and I'm sure I would find the root cause.

Anyway, entirely up to you; send me a PM or email.

Thank you for your support and interest.

Guylain

#22 StargateDG

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Posted 25 August 2011 - 07:09 PM

Guylain,
I downloaded BackyardEOS again to give it another try. I received the key...I'll send you the log file after the next clear sky.

Dave

#23 Yoddha

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Posted 26 August 2011 - 07:31 AM

I'm happy to inform all readers of this thread that the newest version of APT is released. Its user interface is completely reworked and now there are no icon buttons :)

#24 UniversalMaster

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Posted 13 September 2011 - 12:09 PM

Hi!

Will APT or Backyard EOS do autofocus with an ascom compliant motorized focuser?

Best Regards,
Søren

#25 Yoddha

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Posted 13 September 2011 - 12:14 PM

Hi Søren,

APT doesn't support this feature yet.






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