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Star eater in Action - sony A7rII

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#51 bwallan

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Posted 09 May 2017 - 02:41 PM

I captured this a few days ago with the A7sii and it seems fine to me https://youtu.be/sB8Jocv7A1Q

Sent from my Nexus 6P using Tapatalk

Lovely time-lapse!

 

One of the reasons I'd buy the A7S II or A7R II again if I needed another.  But my current full spectrum A7S and A7R II are great astro-imaging cameras!

 

As Wei-Hao said, "No matter what lenses and what focal lengths you use, stars won't be totally eaten.  I believe many stars will survive, especially the brighter ones, although perhaps with strongly altered core profile.  The star eater won't show up clearly in videos.  Only in carefully taken still images plus side-by-side comparisons with/without star eater in action, you start to feel the camera is not up to the $$$ you invested."

 

And if you aren't a pixel peeper and want to spend valuable imaging time chasing a problem that is NOT readily apparent, you won't see the "star-eater" problem.  I haven't!

 

bwa



#52 erictheastrojunkie

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Posted 09 May 2017 - 09:01 PM

 

I captured this a few days ago with the A7sii and it seems fine to me https://youtu.be/sB8Jocv7A1Q

Sent from my Nexus 6P using Tapatalk

Lovely time-lapse!

 

One of the reasons I'd buy the A7S II or A7R II again if I needed another.  But my current full spectrum A7S and A7R II are great astro-imaging cameras!

 

As Wei-Hao said, "No matter what lenses and what focal lengths you use, stars won't be totally eaten.  I believe many stars will survive, especially the brighter ones, although perhaps with strongly altered core profile.  The star eater won't show up clearly in videos.  Only in carefully taken still images plus side-by-side comparisons with/without star eater in action, you start to feel the camera is not up to the $$$ you invested."

 

And if you aren't a pixel peeper and want to spend valuable imaging time chasing a problem that is NOT readily apparent, you won't see the "star-eater" problem.  I haven't!

 

bwa

 

Good for you? I've seen plenty of examples, not even on a pixel peeping level, of the star eater problem destroying detail and stars in widefield shots. It is readily apparent, I don't understand why people (mostly Sony owners) keep saying it isn't. Go look at the now 10+ page thread on the Sony community forums, plenty of examples there (both star, such as city lights, and non-star destruction). 



#53 t_image

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Posted 09 May 2017 - 09:59 PM

Good for you? I've seen plenty of examples, not even on a pixel peeping level, of the star eater problem destroying detail and stars in widefield shots. It is readily apparent, I don't understand why people (mostly Sony owners) keep saying it isn't. Go look at the now 10+ page thread on the Sony community forums, plenty of examples there (both star, such as city lights, and non-star destruction).

This is jut as much a psychological phenomenon as an equipment situation.

If you're familiar with bwallan's work you wouldn't be so quick to dismiss his point that he is perfectly fine without having his day ruined by what the camera does to some data.

It's absurd to think cameras don't have issues.

There are always trade-offs. People should evaluate whether a tool meets one's requirements or not.

But people don't have to project their narrow requirement onto every other person and be hateful if you don't agree that Sony is the great Satan.

Some may be skillful enough to work around issues, or maybe they should just use another tool for the job.

I own a few a7s's, but all this playing the helpless victim and complaining about buyer's remorse among posters really doesn't win any of my sympathy or respect.

Welcome to life. It's tiring to see people expect to always be coddled when in reality the equipment that is available to consumers nowadays would have been unimaginable a few years ago.

And guess what, in a few years these issues won't matter.BeatingADeadHorse.gif

 

In the past, some clever people figured out that you can stack images to reduce noise and increase signal. Now those work-arounds are expected processing in AP.

There are already methodologies that reduce the effect of the filtering algorithm.

Some will persevere and use the equipment,

and some will just waste their time complaining on forums.....nonono.gif

 

 

 



#54 whwang

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Posted 09 May 2017 - 09:59 PM

Good for you? I've seen plenty of examples, not even on a pixel peeping level, of the star eater problem destroying detail and stars in widefield shots. It is readily apparent, I don't understand why people (mostly Sony owners) keep saying it isn't. Go look at the now 10+ page thread on the Sony community forums, plenty of examples there (both star, such as city lights, and non-star destruction). 

 

I think there is nothing wrong if one wants to just focus on taking pictures without worrying about certain "minor" aspects.

 

What we are doing here is, telling people to avoid Sony, and then with less (or much less) amount of effort in imaging, one can get better results.  There is nothing wrong with this either.

 

The point is to make all information available to everyone.  Then which route to pick is totally up to each individual.



#55 erictheastrojunkie

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Posted 09 May 2017 - 11:15 PM

 

Good for you? I've seen plenty of examples, not even on a pixel peeping level, of the star eater problem destroying detail and stars in widefield shots. It is readily apparent, I don't understand why people (mostly Sony owners) keep saying it isn't. Go look at the now 10+ page thread on the Sony community forums, plenty of examples there (both star, such as city lights, and non-star destruction).

This is jut as much a psychological phenomenon as an equipment situation.

If you're familiar with bwallan's work you wouldn't be so quick to dismiss his point that he is perfectly fine without having his day ruined by what the camera does to some data.

It's absurd to think cameras don't have issues.

There are always trade-offs. People should evaluate whether a tool meets one's requirements or not.

But people don't have to project their narrow requirement onto every other person and be hateful if you don't agree that Sony is the great Satan.

Some may be skillful enough to work around issues, or maybe they should just use another tool for the job.

I own a few a7s's, but all this playing the helpless victim and complaining about buyer's remorse among posters really doesn't win any of my sympathy or respect.

Welcome to life. It's tiring to see people expect to always be coddled when in reality the equipment that is available to consumers nowadays would have been unimaginable a few years ago.

And guess what, in a few years these issues won't matter.BeatingADeadHorse.gif

 

In the past, some clever people figured out that you can stack images to reduce noise and increase signal. Now those work-arounds are expected processing in AP.

There are already methodologies that reduce the effect of the filtering algorithm.

Some will persevere and use the equipment,

and some will just waste their time complaining on forums.....nonono.gif

 

Lol, psychological? No, the effects this problem has on images is quite obvious, I'm sure you don't need to be reminded of the many examples of the image quality degradation, but maybe just to jog your memory:

 

http://www.sonyalpha.../#disqus_thread

 

or the MANY real world examples here that are brutally obvious:

http://community.son...p/626738#M10560

 

If you're fine with this kind of stuff, so be it, but I completely fail to see how something like this falls in a "narrow requirement" when trying to decide on VERY expensive equipment for a VERY specific purpose. We're not talking about a little bit of read noise increase, or something like a bit of amp glow, or high ISO noise. No, we're talking about astrophotography, as in taking pictures of the the night sky and the things in the night sky, which includes stars and other features of small scale. When those things are being degraded because of forced software implementation I don't understand how anyone can defend it as "all cameras have problems". You're right, all cameras have varying degrees of issues which shape people's choices as to which camera to buy and use, but this is off the scale, this is beyond anything else currently in the astrophotography community. People wonder why so many flocked to Canon after Nikon's infamous star eater problems, it had a big effect back then and it should have a big effect now with Sony. In no way shape or form should anyone consider buying one of these cameras with this firmware, why would anyone willingly buy a product that does this kind of thing to images in such a specific niche photography? Especially one that costs so much money. 

 

In the days/weeks/months/years to come I'm sure Sony will implement a correction and much like the Nikon star eater problems it'll blow over, but it's in everyone's best interest to make as much noise about this as QUICKLY as possible to force Sony to implement a fix. The best way to ensure a fix is quickly implemented is to make sure Sony's bottom line is affected. You think they give a rats **** about such a niche community? We encompass but a fraction of the consumer photography base. But you raise hell on the internet, whip up a storm, and make sure everyone knows about this and people WILL reconsider buying those products even if astrophotography is not their main purpose for buying them. I don't really understand why anyone would say "just let it go, stop beating a dead horse over this topic". Why? Why let it go? Why not make this the single biggest issue in the astrophotography community so we can FORCE Sony to make positive changes for us? I've off and on considered switching to Sony, but I won't spend a nickle on their products when they are selling something that openly and knowingly produces reduced quality results because of poor software. The day will come when it's fixed and perhaps that day I'll consider switching again, but certainly not today. Until then I'll keep trudging along with my perfectly good D800E. 



#56 erictheastrojunkie

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Posted 09 May 2017 - 11:31 PM

It's like if you bought a Ferrari 458, that Ferrari is an incredible machine and cost quite a bit money, not everyone is going to buy a Ferrari 458 for one reason or another and actually it's a fairly niche community that does own and use them. Now let's say that Ferrari produces 570 horsepower, but once it gets to 125 miles per hour it all of a sudden produces only 400 horsepower. Not everyone is going to drive their Ferrari at 125mph and 400hp is still a lot of power, so the detrimental problem isn't going to cripple the machine, but why on earth would you buy an expensive Ferrari that produces 400hp after 125mph or faster instead of 570? 



#57 whwang

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Posted 09 May 2017 - 11:36 PM

Let the result speak for itself.

 

Consider how much an A7X camera costs, and the following images.  If you can accept that's the return of your investment, go ahead.  There is no right or wrong.

 

star_eater.jpg



#58 bwallan

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Posted 10 May 2017 - 01:05 AM

Let the result speak for itself.

 

Consider how much an A7X camera costs, and the following images.  If you can accept that's the return of your investment, go ahead.  There is no right or wrong.

 

star_eater.jpg

I can see why you don't like your A7S!  I've never seen anything nearly this bad off mine.

 

bwa



#59 whwang

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Posted 10 May 2017 - 02:11 AM

 

I can see why you don't like your A7S!  I've never seen anything nearly this bad off mine.

 

bwa

 

 

Then you are really lucky.  Sorry I didn't make one thing clear.  It is A7R, not A7S.  The smaller pixels of A7R should in principle make stars bigger (in terms of number of pixels a star occupies), and therefore the star eater effect should be the weakest on A7R.  I speculate that it will be only worse on A7 and A7S because of their larger pixels.  However, I can't make a side-by-side comparison as I don't have an A7S.  So this is just my speculation.  

 

Cheers,

Wei-Hao



#60 bwallan

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Posted 10 May 2017 - 12:31 PM

I can see why you don't like your A7S!  I've never seen anything nearly this bad off mine.

 

bwa

Then you are really lucky.  Sorry I didn't make one thing clear.  It is A7R, not A7S.  The smaller pixels of A7R should in principle make stars bigger (in terms of number of pixels a star occupies), and therefore the star eater effect should be the weakest on A7R.  I speculate that it will be only worse on A7 and A7S because of their larger pixels.  However, I can't make a side-by-side comparison as I don't have an A7S.  So this is just my speculation.  

 

Cheers,

Wei-Hao

The next relatively clear night I'll rerun my tests from 2015 with both the A7S and A7R II (I've since sold my A7R so can't repeat the test with it).  I didn't see any impact from the "star-eater" in 2015 but we'll see if things have changed?

 

BTW, what lens/telescope did you use for your tests?

 

Also, can you post a single sub containing the full EXIF from each of your test stacks, in particular those shot in BULB mode.

 

bwa



#61 t_image

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Posted 10 May 2017 - 08:22 PM

"but I completely fail to see how something like this falls in a "narrow requirement" when trying to decide on VERY expensive equipment for a VERY specific purpose."

You do realize the Sony cameras aren't sold as astro cameras that are often mono with filter wheels and active coolers, yes?

If you were

"buying VERY expensive equipment for a VERY specific purpose"

wouldn't it make the most sense to buy the equipment built and sold for such VERY specific purpose?

 

People wonder why so many flocked to Canon after Nikon's infamous star eater problems, it had a big effect back then and it should have a big effect now with Sony.

Remind me of the actual numbers of people you quantify as "so many," or are you just randomly guessing to make your point?

 

The best way to ensure a fix is quickly implemented is to make sure Sony's bottom line is affected. You think they give a rats **** about such a niche community? We encompass but a fraction of the consumer photography base. But you raise hell on the internet, whip up a storm, and make sure everyone knows about this and people WILL reconsider buying those products even if astrophotography is not their main purpose for buying them.

Your statement is self-defeating.
This "beating of a dead horse" is trying to inflate a thread on CN.
If you really want to "whip up a storm" and "make sure EVERYONE KNOWS,"
create a viral youtube video or have a youtube channel with 1 million followers and say something about it.

If Sony doesn't care about a small niche, then it probably has business intelligence reasons behind "not caring."

Ergo there will be no economic harm done if you convince everyone on CN not to buy a Sony....
Anyways, the purchase of Nikons and every Sony-sensor based astro camera goes straight into Sony's pockets anyways.....

Why? Why let it go? Why not make this the single biggest issue in the astrophotography community so we can FORCE Sony to make positive changes for us?

Well, that would make since if you were trying to get S&T and Astronomy magazine and astroleague and others involved....Maybe a CN article on the matter.
But just adding a post to a thread on CN fits my point of beating a dead horse.BeatingADeadHorse.gif

My point is not that one should drop the matter.
My point is that if the approach I mentioned is putting me off,
when as a Sony owner I'd like to see the issue disappear,
then I don't think it's the best approach.....

I've off and on considered switching to Sony, but I won't spend a nickle on their products when they are selling something that openly and knowingly produces reduced quality results because of poor software. The day will come when it's fixed and perhaps that day I'll consider switching again, but certainly not today. Until then I'll keep trudging along with my perfectly good D800E.

This statement sounds kind of foolish considering the sensor inside your D800E is made and sold to Nikon by Sony. Your purchase and mentioning just reinforces Sony's continued success, not downfall.

Additionally, people refusing to buy Sony just means you won't have access to the features the cameras do offer that no other cameras can accomplish as far as realtime lowlight low noise images and video...Your loss.....



#62 whwang

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Posted 10 May 2017 - 09:26 PM

The next relatively clear night I'll rerun my tests from 2015 with both the A7S and A7R II (I've since sold my A7R so can't repeat the test with it).  I didn't see any impact from the "star-eater" in 2015 but we'll see if things have changed?

 

BTW, what lens/telescope did you use for your tests?

 

Also, can you post a single sub containing the full EXIF from each of your test stacks, in particular those shot in BULB mode.

 

bwa

 

 

3min:

https://www.dropbox....SC0070.ARW?dl=0

 

30sec:

https://www.dropbox....C00820.ARW?dl=0

 

The lens is Sigma 50/1.4. Aperture is F4 for both cases.

 

I am interested in how A7R2 performs.  If Sony can fix the problem, A7R2 will definitely be in my list for this or 2018 Christmas.  Be careful about the firmware version in your A7R2.  Newer version eats stars on exposures longer than 4 sec, not 30 sec.  So if you use 30 sec B vs M mode, you will see no difference, as both are affected by the star eater.



#63 bwallan

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Posted 11 May 2017 - 03:01 PM

The next relatively clear night I'll rerun my tests from 2015 with both the A7S and A7R II (I've since sold my A7R so can't repeat the test with it).  I didn't see any impact from the "star-eater" in 2015 but we'll see if things have changed?

 

BTW, what lens/telescope did you use for your tests?

 

Also, can you post a single sub containing the full EXIF from each of your test stacks, in particular those shot in BULB mode.

 

bwa

3min:

https://www.dropbox....SC0070.ARW?dl=0

 

30sec:

https://www.dropbox....C00820.ARW?dl=0

 

The lens is Sigma 50/1.4. Aperture is F4 for both cases.

 

I am interested in how A7R2 performs.  If Sony can fix the problem, A7R2 will definitely be in my list for this or 2018 Christmas.  Be careful about the firmware version in your A7R2.  Newer version eats stars on exposures longer than 4 sec, not 30 sec.  So if you use 30 sec B vs M mode, you will see no difference, as both are affected by the star eater.

I upgrade firmware when it's released, so my A7R II is the most recent version.  The reason; a lot of camera app upgrades won't load with out-of-date firmware.

 

I seldom shoot astrophotography with a wide camera lens.  A 50mm lens on the A7S and A7R II yields 35 and 19 arcsec/pixel, respectively, which is WAY above the 1.5-2.5 ASPP I normally use for astro-imaging; may be the reason I've never seen the star-eater problem?  Also, at large arcsec/pixel values some debayering algorithms can fail to properly handle point sources...



#64 whwang

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Posted 11 May 2017 - 07:13 PM

The debayer algorithm and the HPS algorithm (star eater) do not care about how many arcsec a pixel is.  They only care about how many pixels a star occupy.  Good camera lenses of focal lengths shorter than 200mm often give finer stars (relative to the pixel) than telescopes.  So images taken with lenses are more prone to star eater.  What's the optics you often use?



#65 bwallan

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Posted 11 May 2017 - 07:47 PM

The debayer algorithm and the HPS algorithm (star eater) do not care about how many arcsec a pixel is.  They only care about how many pixels a star occupy.  Good camera lenses of focal lengths shorter than 200mm often give finer stars (relative to the pixel) than telescopes.  So images taken with lenses are more prone to star eater.  What's the optics you often use?

I normally use a telescope in the 450-1600mm focal length range and dither subs.

 

If I do shoot with a 14-50mm lens, I postprocess to reduce stars so I guess the star-eater is sort of a benefit to my way of shooting.  Never thought of it this way until just now...  

 

I guess I consider stars that occupy less than a single pixel to be irrelevant!?  For instance, if I'm shooting the Milky Way, it isn't the stars I'm after.  It is the dust lanes, nebulosity, significant stars, large features that I'm after; I view the smaller stars as background "noise" that detract from the things I'm after.  Just my way of doing wide-field astro-imaging...

 

bwa



#66 whwang

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Posted 11 May 2017 - 09:39 PM

From longer than 600mm or so, seeing starts to play a role in determining the size of stars on the focal plane.  This means that even the theoretically sharpest optics can't give you single-pixel stars, as long as there is atmosphere.  There, you will be quite safe from the star-eater disaster, especially at the >1000mm long focal length end.  This is for A7R2.  For A7S, it will require a longer focal length to be completely safe.

 

I thought about the same things you mentioned, but I ended up with different conclusions.  I also very often reduce star sizes in post processing.  The main tool I use is Photoshop's minimum filter.  What this does is to keep the bright cores of stars and shrink their outer part.  This is the opposite of the star-eater algorithm, which removes the bright cores.  From a distance or with reduced sizes, the images processed with the regular star shrinking and the star-eater algorithms would look similar: less stars and more nebulas.  When looked at 100%, the difference will be clear.  Just like the examples I showed previously, the stars in the star-eaten image would look very unnatural, especially after you see what the original image should be.

 

My main goal is also to capture the nebulas and Milky Way, just like you. However, there are circumstances where my images would be viewed on 5K or 8K displays, or printed to wall size.  So although I don't really care about the stars, I don't want them to look weird.  And even if I want the stars to go away, I want to control how this happens.  I don't want the stars to disappear in the first place and give me no opportunity to say no.

 

Cheers,

Wei-Hao



#67 sharkmelley

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Posted 11 May 2017 - 11:39 PM

For the avoidance of doubt, let me clarify that the star eater algorithm doesn't only remove single pixel stars.  In fact, any star that is completely contained within a 2x2 block of pixels in the undebayered raw will be deleted completely. 

 

For a star slightly larger than a 2x2 block, the dimmer parts of it survive and this often leads to stars with the central peak removed, leading to an obvious hole in the star and the remaining portion displays in very weird colours - pinks, purples, yellows etc.  This is very obvious from the animated gif on Ian Norman's blog: http://www.lonelyspe...letter-to-sony/

 

As the star size continues to increase, the effect is that the brightness of the central peak area is reduced to the same as the outer ring and the star colour is less affected. 

 

Once a certain size is reached then the star is well sampled and the algorithm has little effect.  

 

The more sophisticated algorithm used by Nikon still removes single pixel stars but leaves anything larger more or less intact.

 

Mark



#68 sharkmelley

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Posted 12 May 2017 - 01:45 PM

 

I am interested in how A7R2 performs.  If Sony can fix the problem, A7R2 will definitely be in my list for this or 2018 Christmas.  

 

Be aware that if the star eater issue is fixed, it's not the only limitation for deep sky astroimaging. 

 

The A7R2 also has a left/right split sensor just like the A7S.  I've seen a A7R2 raw file where it was relatively easy to highlight the strange horizontal banding anomalies on the left side of the image.  These anomalies are unique to each individual sensor and some sensors hardly show it at all.  On the Sony A7S it is mainly a problem when calibrating with flat frames and I can overcome the issue by imaging at ISO 10000.  I'm guessing it might be similar on the A7R2.

 

Mark


Edited by sharkmelley, 12 May 2017 - 02:02 PM.


#69 joelin

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Posted 13 May 2017 - 01:56 AM

since we're on the topic of star eaters, i took a photo using my A7S at 180mm...30 sec bulb on the left, regular 30 sec on the right...yes the star eater is apparent

however why are the star colors not matching?

 

the star colors are also quite varied...how is that possible?

2z7hf2h.jpg



#70 whwang

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Posted 13 May 2017 - 02:46 AM

That means the HPS algorithm is applied before the deBayer process. With the brightest pixels missing, deBayer can easily produce wrong/weird colors.



#71 sharkmelley

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Posted 13 May 2017 - 07:29 AM

since we're on the topic of star eaters, i took a photo using my A7S at 180mm...30 sec bulb on the left, regular 30 sec on the right...yes the star eater is apparent

however why are the star colors not matching?

 

the star colors are also quite varied...how is that possible?

 

Wei-Hao is correct.  You can see the before and after effect on stars and their colours in the synthetic result I created here:

https://www.dpreview.../thread/3941364

 

Mark


Edited by sharkmelley, 13 May 2017 - 07:29 AM.


#72 nampramos

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Posted 15 May 2017 - 07:18 AM

One question: from which firmware did Sony introduce this so called "star eater monster" laugh.gif

 

I read the entire thread and could not find an answer to that.

 

I have an A7S Mark I with FW 1.10 and would like to know which FW I can load on it.

 

Thanks!


Edited by nampramos, 15 May 2017 - 07:22 AM.


#73 sharkmelley

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Posted 15 May 2017 - 12:58 PM

One question: from which firmware did Sony introduce this so called "star eater monster" laugh.gif

 

I read the entire thread and could not find an answer to that.

 

I have an A7S Mark I with FW 1.10 and would like to know which FW I can load on it.

 

Thanks!

I'm running the A7S with firmware version 3.10 and the star eater is only in bulb mode.   Version 3.20 is available but there is no way I'm going to risk updating it, just in case.

 

Mark



#74 nampramos

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Posted 15 May 2017 - 01:02 PM

Thank you!

 

Anyone happen to have v3.10 that could send me?

 

Or anyone running v3.20 that can confirm if this happens or not?



#75 mmalik

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Posted 15 May 2017 - 01:10 PM

Download from here...




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