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Unofficial SharpCap Quick Start Guide

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#51 Robrj

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Posted 07 June 2018 - 10:19 AM

Work has been busy and I have been focusing mostly on my languishing scientific imaging projects for the past few weeks. SharpCap continues to evolve quickly. If there is interest I can refresh the guide with recent changes.

I think an updated version would help, mostly in regards to the newer histogram controls.  I still send new people to your guide and they're probably downloading the latest version.

 

I think the guy who did the 2.9 manual for Robin is also working on an updated 3.1 manual.


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#52 khursh

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Posted 07 June 2018 - 10:34 AM

You are the MAN, Hiten. I would have languished in this hobby without your help. Thanks for all you have already done. 

 

What scientific efforts, if you don't mind my asking? 



#53 khursh

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Posted 07 June 2018 - 12:04 PM

OK, enough gushing. I would like a nice tutorial on the 'brain'. I haven't used it (not sure I need to), and feel like I am missing out on something. I pay for SharpCap and feel like I should be able to use all of it.



#54 roelb

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Posted 07 June 2018 - 12:34 PM

See the SharpCap website about using 'The Brain':

https://www.sharpcap...smart-histogram


Edited by roelb, 07 June 2018 - 04:46 PM.


#55 Astrojedi

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Posted 08 June 2018 - 08:02 AM

Thanks Kevin.

 

I am focused on Photometry for Exoplanet observing. Trying to get a few light curves under my belt before joining a pro-am collaboration. 

 

My guide is meant to get you started with EAA using SharpCap but is not meant to be a substitute for the user manual. I will look at the new features and see what make sense for inclusion. I think some of the Brain functionality may make sense. 

 

Appreciate the feedback.

 

Hiten


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#56 Astrojedi

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Posted 08 June 2018 - 08:03 AM

Rob, glad that you and other folks find it useful.


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#57 NaNuu

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Posted 09 June 2018 - 08:31 AM

Of course, there’s quite some interest! Thank you for that very helpful document!



#58 Kaikul

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Posted 23 October 2018 - 05:36 PM

Haven't been here awhile. But add my voice to the interested bunch. 



#59 Astrojedi

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Posted 14 February 2019 - 10:19 AM

Have received a few requests over the past couple of months. Work and family commitments keep getting in the way. Working on a version with much more content. Will post this spring.


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#60 mikenoname

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Posted 14 February 2019 - 07:38 PM

Thanks again Hiten for this great guide!


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#61 Ulmish

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Posted 14 February 2019 - 08:31 PM

Thanks Hiten, I sure appreciate the work you've done on previous versions, and look forward to the updated guide!


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#62 descott12

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Posted 15 February 2019 - 10:22 AM

See the SharpCap website about using 'The Brain':

https://www.sharpcap...smart-histogram

Maybe a read this wrong but the Brain seems more applicable to long-exposure AP rather than EAA. Is that true?



#63 DSO_Viewer

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Posted 15 February 2019 - 11:50 AM

Maybe a read this wrong but the Brain seems more applicable to long-exposure AP rather than EAA. Is that true?

No, I think that the brain is quite useful for for EAA to determine exposure length and if it is best to use 8 or 16 bit. I use my ASI224 and C11 at f/5 anywhere from 15 to 60 seconds subs and stack them on the fly using SC. The brain lets me know what gain is best to use for those exposure times.

 

Steve



#64 39.1N84.5W

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Posted 12 March 2019 - 05:46 PM

Something that Robin Glover recently said: for successful stacking try to get 50-100 stars as being recognized in the Alignment tab under the Smart Histogram. Too many or too few can cause ignored frames and unsuccessful stacking.  Increasing the Digital Gain goes a long way in boosting a low number of recognized stars, as well.

 

Robin Clark said to adjust the R and G color balance on the right column to somewhat match the B color balance in the Smart Histogram +before live stacking+.

 

So many Robins to keep track of. :)

 

Honestly, once it gets warm, I want to make a YouTube video on "EAA+294 for beginners in the city". I've learned so much that I want to record it... more for my brain... and maybe to help anyone that is struggling. Nothing wrong with Hiten's Quickguide! It's good to have a visual tutorial along with a printed one.


Edited by 39.1N84.5W, 13 March 2019 - 08:23 AM.

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#65 saguaro

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Posted 12 March 2019 - 11:05 PM

Something that Robin Clark recently said: for successful stacking try to get 50-100 stars as being recognized in the Alignment tab under the Smart Histogram. Too many or too few can cause ignored frames and unsuccessful stacking.  Increasing the Digital Gain goes a long way in boosting a low number of recognized stars, as well.

I’d love to take the credit for this but I think it was Robin Glover, SharpCap developer, who provided those tips.waytogo.gif



#66 Astrojedi

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Posted 08 August 2019 - 01:50 PM

Ok folks, here is an updated version of the SharpCap quickstart guide. I have updated it to reflect the new SharpCap interface and added a section on software binning. As always this is a work in progress and I will keep refining it and fixing errors as time permits.

 

It is now hosted on my website (which is still under construction - more like non-existent at this point in time) as the size is too large to attach here on CN.

 

https://liveastronom...g/SharpCap.html

 

As always all feedback is welcome. Enjoy.


Edited by Astrojedi, 08 August 2019 - 01:56 PM.

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#67 donstim

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Posted 08 August 2019 - 05:11 PM

Nice work.  One minor thing I noticed is that you left my favorite option out of your summary of the "saving captures" options.  I prefer to use "save with adjustments" because it can save the adjusted live stacked image as a 16-bit PNG file rather than the 8-bit file saved under "save exactly as seen."  I just make sure I do all my histogram and color balance adjustments in the live stacking window rather than in the small histogram on the right side.  I use the small histogram window to evaluate the effects of my histogram and color balance adjustments as it accurately reflects what is going on rather than the live stacking histogram even though the adjustments are actually being made in the live stacking window.

 

Also, I didn't quite follow what you said about choosing a color space:  "Don't be confused by the word "Mono." Does not mean that the image you see will be mono. It is just the output of the sensor."   My understanding is that it does mean the image will be monochrome as opposed to color, regardless of whether the camera's sensor is monochrome or color.  If it is a color sensor, the image will need to be de-bayered to produce a color image and then that is made monochrome.  Maybe I just misunderstood what you were trying to say?



#68 Astrojedi

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Posted 08 August 2019 - 05:28 PM

Don,

 

Thanks for the comments.

 

When I refer to 'saving the image on the live stacking tab' I mean save with adjustments / as seen. In both instances you cannot save the file as FITs as the data is non linear (technically you can but that is not the purpose of FITs). Also the "display only" adjustments on the right control panel cannot be saved when you do save the image on the live stacking tab as far as I am aware.

 

When you select Mono (which is what I recommend) the debayering is done by the ZWO driver. When you select a color space the debayering is done by the sensor and the output is 8 bit per channel - this is really meant for security cameras.



#69 donstim

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Posted 08 August 2019 - 06:02 PM

On pages 18-19, you specifically refer to "Save as viewed," "Save as 16bit stack," and "Save as RAW 32bit stack."  You do not refer to "Save with adjustments" at all.  As I explained, I specifically do not make any adjustments using the small histogram display or the color balance controls on the right control panel -- all the adjustments I make are thought the live stacking window, so all of these adjustments are saved when using "Save with adjustments."  You can view the effect of these adjustments on the small histogram display on the right side and indeed use this display to guide the adjustments you make with using the live stacking histogram and color balance controls.  The advantage of this technique is to be able to save the image as displayed in a 16 bit PNG file as opposed to making adjustments using the small histogram display and color balance controls on the right side and being limited to an 8 bit PNG file.

 

Yes, when you select MONO the debayering is done by the ZWO driver.  If you select RAW (I'm not talking about RBG), the debayering can be done later by the processing software.  As stated in the SharpCap manual, "Additionally, a file that is saved in RAW format can be debayered by appropriate processing software using a slower but higher quality algorithm than those typically used in camera drivers."  Is this incorrect?



#70 Astrojedi

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Posted 08 August 2019 - 06:13 PM

On pages 18-19, you specifically refer to "Save as viewed," "Save as 16bit stack," and "Save as RAW 32bit stack."  You do not refer to "Save with adjustments" at all.  As I explained, I specifically do not make any adjustments using the small histogram display or the color balance controls on the right control panel -- all the adjustments I make are thought the live stacking window, so all of these adjustments are saved when using "Save with adjustments."  You can view the effect of these adjustments on the small histogram display on the right side and indeed use this display to guide the adjustments you make with using the live stacking histogram and color balance controls.  The advantage of this technique is to be able to save the image as displayed in a 16 bit PNG file as opposed to making adjustments using the small histogram display and color balance controls on the right side and being limited to an 8 bit PNG file.

 

Yes, when you select MONO the debayering is done by the ZWO driver.  If you select RAW (I'm not talking about RBG), the debayering can be done later by the processing software.  As stated in the SharpCap manual, "Additionally, a file that is saved in RAW format can be debayered by appropriate processing software using a slower but higher quality algorithm than those typically used in camera drivers."  Is this incorrect?

 

For me "save with adjustments" is synonymous with "save as viewed". I will update the guide to clarify. Eitherways the display adjustments on the right control panel do not get saved. So, you have to use the histogram adjustments on the live stacking tab. I mention this in the guide.

 

If you want to post process the images select mono16 and save the frames as FITs.



#71 donstim

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Posted 08 August 2019 - 06:45 PM

I don't want to post-process individual images, just the stacked image. Therefore, I save choose RAW16 (or RAW8) and save with adjustments.  

 

"Save as exactly as seen" (no longer ("Save as viewed") does save the display adjustments made in the right panel.  The disadvantage (if it really is a disadvantage) is that it is saved as an 8-bit PNG file rather than a 16-bit PNG file.



#72 Astrojedi

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Posted 08 August 2019 - 06:51 PM

If you want to post process the stacked image then you should save as 16 bit stack - that will save a FITs file and keep the data linear. Saving with adjustments saves a stretched or non-linear version of the image as a result you have already lost some data.

 

This guide is targeted at EAA and as such I do not address post processing considerations in it.


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#73 donstim

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Posted 08 August 2019 - 07:00 PM

My points had nothing to do with whether post-processing would be done or what type of save should be made to best accommodate it.  In my previous post, I was simply responding to your comment about what I should do if I want to post process images.

 

My original comments stand, take them or leave them.  The SharpCap manual recommends using a RAW color space for color cameras, and your guide currently does not include the latest on "Save with adjustments" and "Save exactly as seen."

 

Those are minor nits on a well done effort, but I thought you might appreciate the feedback.


Edited by donstim, 08 August 2019 - 07:02 PM.


#74 Astrojedi

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Posted 08 August 2019 - 07:16 PM

Sure and I appreciate the feedback. My point to you was if you want to post process don't save with adjustments as you lose data & dynamic range by stretching and then saving the stretched image. 

 

I know that the SharpCap manual recommends RAW but keep in mind there is really no difference between RAW and Mono. The only difference is where the debayering happens. In RAW the debayring happens in SharpCap and in Mono it occurs in the ZWO driver. I prefer the ZWO driver. For EAA it makes little difference unless you feel the SharpCap debayer algorithm is better. There is some confusing & potentially incorrect language in the SharpCap manual so this is not always clear.


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#75 CraigRL

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Posted 08 August 2019 - 07:32 PM

Ok folks, here is an updated version of the SharpCap quickstart guide. I have updated it to reflect the new SharpCap interface and added a section on software binning. As always this is a work in progress and I will keep refining it and fixing errors as time permits.

 

It is now hosted on my website (which is still under construction - more like non-existent at this point in time) as the size is too large to attach here on CN.

 

https://liveastronom...g/SharpCap.html

 

As always all feedback is welcome. Enjoy.

Awesome, thanks so much for the updated guide!


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