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Capture Software (Anything but Windows)

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#1 Aquatone

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Posted 25 August 2013 - 10:30 AM

What image capture software is there now available that runs on OS X or anything except Windows?

I have used Equinox but what other alternatives are there?

Chris

#2 Wouter D'hoye

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Posted 25 August 2013 - 11:51 AM

The sky with camera add on should work on apple.

kind regards,

#3 Aquatone

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Posted 25 August 2013 - 01:14 PM

Thanks - yes I looked at the Sky, (and have an older copy) but was really wondering if there are other non-Windows image capture applications only, as I use Sky Safari as my planetarium application.

The astrophotography software market at times feels like it is still back in the year 2000 (Windows everything etc) The world is moving on.

Chris

#4 CounterWeight

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Posted 25 August 2013 - 01:33 PM

The astrophotography software market at times feels like it is still back in the year 2000 (Windows everything etc) The world is moving on.


I disagree, it's is active as the market which is very tiny, and there is sufficient out there to get the job done if you don't limit yourself. It is your requirement that is limiting you - don't blame the industry, maybe consider it an opportunity to write the necessary code?

#5 finderman2

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Posted 25 August 2013 - 06:34 PM

@CounterWeight
I think what Aquatone is trying to say (and I feel this myself) is that despite the fact that astronomy software is being released and updated, the interfaces and platform distribution are very skewed towards Windows, which is fine, a lot of people use and like windows, but with Apple market share at more than 11% (just for computers) and growing, I think its time that software makers start taking notice, especially with more and more astronomers using iPhones and iPads out in the field with all sorts of apps from sky charts to supernova alerts. And to top it all off most computers used in science in general have almost always been Unix or Linux based, even at VLT which I visited a few month ago, I saw tonnes of iMacs and Apple laptops around. Things have changed since 2000, and unfortunately not everyone has the will or the want to write their own code, I happen to be a developer already, but its not for everybody. And lambasting someone because that want an opinion on software options is not very welcoming, some people drive a Honda Civic, some a BMW, we shouldn't just declare that only Hondas can use the gas stations because they are in the majority, just because someone wants to use a Mac doesn’t mean that we should say, stop cramping everyones style and just use Windows 7, there are options for everyone. But thats my 2 cents.

In response to Aquatone, I use a Mac also and have become a fan of PHD (for guiding) and Nebulosity both by Stark Labs (they also have windows versions) and Nebulosity is very cheap at $80 for all that it offers, you can grab a 30 day free trial on their website and see if it works for you, the cheapest option is to use the canon capture utility if you have a DSLR, as for a CCD there are some programs besides Nebulosity but they are more specific to each camera so you would have to search for one that would work for you.

Here is a great website which has a lengthy list of mac astronomy software
http://www.primordia...astronomer.html
Even a quick google search brings up a whole bunch of websites:
http://www.google.co...856&hl=en&am...

#6 tclehman1969

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Posted 26 August 2013 - 12:24 AM

Ahh...it is refreshing to see there are more Mac users in the amateur astronomy field! I, too am a Mac user, and have noticed a bias toward the Windows side of things.

So, you use nebulosity on your Mac? How do you like it? I downloaded the trial, but it didn't seem very user friendly to me.

#7 CounterWeight

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Posted 26 August 2013 - 06:03 AM

Finderman2 I've no interest whatsoever to get into one of these ridiculous apple vs. windows vs. whatever else discussions here, better in the computer software part of the forums here. But that is entirely missing the mark on what I posted. Go into the yahoo groups on any of the available software and it's quite active and I believe they are some talented folks that are indeed 'modern' trying to write software for us and doing what they can within what makes sense for them. In any area it applies there are tools for the job, if you choose for some reason not to use them it's silly to make accusations that they are at fault. Even more silly when most if not all support lions share of products promptly after they come out. My CCD came out in about 2010 and support was immediate with the software I use.

#8 obin robinson

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Posted 26 August 2013 - 07:09 AM

I tested Linux on my laptop a few months ago. I found some really nice CCD software for it. It worked really well. I can't recall the name of it offhand but I know there were lots of free options out there for Linux.

obin :)

#9 astrodog73

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Posted 26 August 2013 - 07:41 AM

Nebulosity works well, I found it user-friendly enough for image capture, I just use it now for image processing.

I'm a certified mac-head, but use Windows in the observatory

#10 DaemonGPF

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Posted 26 August 2013 - 11:23 AM

11% may be too small of an amount for a company to invest the CAPEX dollars into. We are talking about a niche field and they aren't selling millions of copies like Microsoft, or Adobe, or any other major software player. I don't know if you guys realize just how much cost can be involved in professional software development.

The good, senior level developers and architects are not cheap - they command $125-250 an hour depending on expertise and experience. You could be putting in 6 and 7 figures easily on procuring ONE Sr. developer for a software application that has to be tested and stable with many different hardware and software configurations, and the relative peripherals such as CCD, CMOS, and DSLR cameras.For a big name to market it, they tend to need it to be quite universal and stable or it will cost them more in the end in pain and money. Then there are post-sale OPEX support expenses that come with it. You have to provide some sort of tech support layer, capable of escalating to a developer level as needed for bugs and workarounds. Those support people cost money. If your volume is around say 10,000 licenses sold (just an arbitrary value) and it takes say 2000-4000 (1-2 people for roughly a year) developer hours to fine tune and QA a working application for this purpose, your profit margin may not exist.

This is actually what I do for a living by the way and have for years - I operate and manage teams of software developers and principle architects, DBAs, etc. for communications and media companies. It's always a balancing act to justify the Capital and time on development requests, even at an enterprise level. It's hard to make a profitable or efficient business case for an 11% user-base and this is why you'll find so many astrophotography applications are developed by enthusiasts instead. This is also a contributing factor to the reason why Mac gear is not cheap. And no offense, but Celestron, Orion, and Meade, nor any of the camera manufacturers are in it just for the fun of it.

Sorry Mac users, but you're expecting something to work that isn't mainstream supported in the astronomy community yet. You can either wait, build something yourself, switch to a PC with windows or Linux, or fund a company. I don't mean to sound rude or harsh, but statistically most of the world operates on Windows on a personal and professional level. Not my first choice either, but it is what it is. My teams and I, for example, build a lot of hosted solutions that reside on Solaris environments for stability, but the client/user side is tailored to operate mostly on Windows because that is what the vast majority of people run.

It is unfortunate because Mac hardware is quite good these days. But it's just like astrophotography in general, there's simply not that many of us out there to warrant any special treatment.

Good luck.

#11 hytham

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Posted 26 August 2013 - 11:38 AM

Finderman2,

What you have neglected to mention in your 11% citation is what is the actual percentage of users within that 11% are in fact into astrophotography. Your 11% is significantly smaller - my bet is far less than 1%.

To back up DaemonGPF's statements I'm one of those architects that is called upon for high end projects and there better be one heck of an ROI before I'm tasked with it - this is set forth by the organization - or they won't waste my time or their money with it.

#12 tclehman1969

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Posted 26 August 2013 - 01:01 PM

Post deleted by tclehman1969

#13 hytham

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Posted 26 August 2013 - 01:17 PM

A picture of 3 Macs that are not performing the function we're discussing in an isolated setting.

That's enough proof for me.

#14 Jeff2011

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Posted 26 August 2013 - 01:20 PM

It would be interesting to get a sample set of Cloudy Nights members. Perhaps a mod can setup a poll to see who prefers Windows, OS X, or Linux. Not that it would settle anything, but would just be interesting to know.

#15 DaemonGPF

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Posted 26 August 2013 - 01:36 PM

A picture of 3 Macs that are not performing the function we're discussing in an isolated setting.

That's enough proof for me.


Exactly. If an argument is going to be made, at least make it using an (no pun intended here) apples to apples comparison. Three Mac notebooks used by a few guys at NASA who just docked in at a conference table is hardly evidence of anything. Lots of people in my company use Mac books to read their email and use web browser based tools. None of the production or customer-facing systems they work on or support are Mac based. So what does that prove? Not much. But since that is the route for debate that was chosen - have you,tclehman1969, looked into the NASA workstation consoles that actually manage their operations, monitor probes, deal with communications, handle incident and problem management aspects? They ARE NOT apple products.

Don't get me wrong here, I'm not saying anything negative about Apple products. My wife uses them, and so does her company, extensively. My one and only point above is that there is a small yield of compatible products for astrophotography that run on apple products because both are still niche and it's very hard to justify major software development on the scale you guys are looking for when things are niche.

#16 SergeC

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Posted 26 August 2013 - 01:37 PM

My Father-In-Law was on the team that wrote Curiosity's code (and was making changes to it almost until entry into Mars' atmosphere). There wasn't a single line of it using any consumer-grade OS. None of them would be anywhere close to sufficiently robust.

#17 Aquatone

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Posted 26 August 2013 - 01:37 PM

Thank you for the responses so far. It appears that the only commercially available non-Windows camera capture solutions I can locate are:

- The Sky / Camera add on
- Equinox (For SBIG cameras only)
- Nebulosity

I posted to see if anybody knew of any other camera capture application on OS X since I last looked. I do not know of any solutions on Linux.

I already have a Windows based image capture and processing pipeline and am certainly not "limiting" myself. However I am experimenting with other pipelines where I can do things with tools that are not compiled on Windows and the future of high fidelity image manipulation (which astrophotography is) is not going to be just Windows/PC based. (I work in 2D/3D feature film software development and have managed many of the key applications)

I feel a little awkward that my question should have prompted some of the responses here. I am quite aware these are smaller opportunities compared to Windows, though Mac's have traditionally been more heavily represented in the professional graphics niche.

Chris

#18 SergeC

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Posted 26 August 2013 - 01:41 PM

Capture and processing are 2 entirely different - and unrelated - endeavors. I prefer working with Photoshop on a Mac, but I capture with a Win laptop.

#19 DaemonGPF

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Posted 26 August 2013 - 01:41 PM

It would be interesting to get a sample set of Cloudy Nights members. Perhaps a mod can setup a poll to see who prefers Windows, OS X, or Linux. Not that it would settle anything, but would just be interesting to know.


That's great and all, but preferences vs. the reality of the world's software/hardware market may not line up with a poll in a small environment such as CN where the user-base is polarized around a certain interest. "Birds of a feather..." and all that. Yes, CN is remarkably small sampling in the scheme of things like this issue in particular.

#20 DaemonGPF

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Posted 26 August 2013 - 01:45 PM

Thank you for the responses so far. It appears that the only commercially available non-Windows camera capture solutions I can locate are:

- The Sky / Camera add on
- Equinox (For SBIG cameras only)
- Nebulosity

I posted to see if anybody knew of any other camera capture application on OS X since I last looked. I do not know of any solutions on Linux.

I already have a Windows based image capture and processing pipeline and am certainly not "limiting" myself. However I am experimenting with other pipelines where I can do things with tools that are not compiled on Windows and the future of high fidelity image manipulation (which astrophotography is) is not going to be just Windows/PC based. (I work in 2D/3D feature film software development and have managed many of the key applications)

I feel a little awkward that my question should have prompted some of the responses here. I am quite aware these are smaller opportunities compared to Windows, though Mac's have traditionally been more heavily represented in the professional graphics niche.

Chris


You'll find this issue is very similar to others that you can find on this form where people are polarized. Meade vs. Celestron, Ford vs. Chevy. Just one of those things that will always spark a debate. I don't think most of the comments were aimed towards you directly, more towards others.

#21 tclehman1969

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Posted 26 August 2013 - 02:13 PM

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#22 Jeff2011

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Posted 26 August 2013 - 02:54 PM

Ultimately it boils down to supply and demand. If there are enough users out there for one particular platform, then software will get developed for it. My interest in a poll was simply out of curiosity. However, I suspect the result would be skewed because Mac users are more passionate about their platform. By the way, I prefer the Windows platform. Not because I think it is better. Just because I have been using it for the last 25+ years.


#23 finderman2

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Posted 26 August 2013 - 03:25 PM

Well that escalated quickly!

@hytham, @DaemonGPF
As for NASA and macs, what they are doing on those laptops is anyones guess, and contrary to what hytham said, there were 7 macs total in the room, and even more in mission control, I saw more than a dozen when I watched the live stream that night for the landing, that photo was a crop, here is the original:

http://d.pr/i/IHcx+

I am not saying that they are running the entirety of NASA's mission control, but its interesting to note, and not entirely unsurprising when you consider how common Unix is in the scientific environment, and Mac is nothing more than a very refined and pretty version of it.

Another reason NASA doesn’t use mac on everything is that some of their spacecraft were sent up in the 90's and early 2000's so they still use old terminals to keep in contact with the craft, because the new machines can't run the old software, I saw that in a documentary recently.

As for the dev cost perspective I understand and completely get, what everyone is saying, all I am saying that it would be nice if we could be treated as people and possible customers, rather than a bunch of crazy bozos who chose not to go with the grain, I understand that Windows rules the world, it sucks that it does, but that doesn’t mean everyone has go with it, and I will agree with you that Windows is a great and easy way to set up large systems due to the plug and play nature with a lot of devices, but that doesn't mean Mac couldn't do the same if people actually made systems and devices which supported it.

As for the numbers game 11% may not seem like a lot, but that almost 70 million mac users, how many use mac for astronomy I don't know, a poll would be interesting, and currently Apple is set to outpace the PC industry in combined sales of Computers, Tablets, and Mobile devices within 2 years, they are already very close now, and there are over 600 million iOS devices (iPhones and iPads and iPod Touches) sold so far, quite a lot by any standard, again I don't have concrete numbers on how many are astronomy nerds but with the shear number of astronomy apps on the app store, supply and demand would dictate quite a few.

This is not to sound preachy and to try and convert everyone to mac, I just thought I would add some information to the discussion.

I also found out that there is a mac astronomers group on yahoo with 407 members, interesting tidbit as to how many people use a mac in astronomy.

#24 Madratter

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Posted 26 August 2013 - 03:42 PM

My take on this is that most Astronomy software is a losing proposition for the developer or at best a marginally profitable product. That makes Mac software a doubly losing proposition.

#25 finderman2

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Posted 26 August 2013 - 03:52 PM

@madratter no disagrement there, the software business is a tough market. A very similar situation is the magic community (I used to be a magician in my younger years) a very niche market where everything is way over priced due to the lack of customers, i.e a custom deck of special cards for magicians could run at around $10 or $11, a regular bicycle deck $2, insane!






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