Lovely images David! Interesting to also see your signature block ... not only do we seem to agree on the benefits / compromises between 294 and 224 and strengths and weaknesses ... but lo and behold same scopes selections. Well, I've sold those combos but I most certainly started out very happily with those combo's.
Biggen, when deciding on either of those scopes ... dont forget to check with FOV calculators first ... just to check FOV, F ratio (faster is faster shots necessary on AltAz), etc.
I don't have a video on SharpCap as for ages I've used other software. But, I can say for sure many people struggle learning it. The tip / easy way is to do the following ....
* Setup the scope about an hour or two before it gets dark. Being daylight you can use sharpcap to set gamma, exposure time and gain to AUTO, meaning you only have to worry about finding the focus point of the camera, and learn color balance.
* Point the scope at something way out on the horizon, with a few colors in the scene. IE green grass/tree, brown tree trunk, blue sky. IE to be able to find the infinity focal point of the camera, and to learn the color balance process.
* Sharpcap view probably won't show anything at first ... set those gamma, exp time and gain to AUTO and first focus the camera.
* When you have focus, measure (tape measure) or cut a 'template' (card or plastic) which will be the length between the camera front and the focus tube. You'll end up using this in the dark when you take out your eyepieces after doing your alignment process ... slip the camera in and use the tape/template to adjust the focuser to that where the camera should be close to correct focus.
* BUT stay doing the following steps also in the day after you have found focus ... the colors in the image from the camera may be a bit 'odd'. Even if they look correct ... open up the sharpcap menu where you find the RGB (Red Green Blue) color sliders. Learn what they do to the image as you move them to adjust the colors. Color balance becomes important to know about when you eventually get to looking at stuff in the dark!
* Then look for a 'histogram' button on the sharpcap top menu bar ... just to the right hand side of the Zoom field on the menu bar and it looks like a green curve with horizontal and vertical chart axis.
* Click the histogram button and a histogram chart will open up within the sharpcap menu on the right hand side.
* You'll see a white curve (the overall white balance), as well as a button to turn on the Red Green and Blue curves ... as white light is made up of those three primary colours. My version of sharpcap is old and maybe new ones you dont have to turn on the RGB curves ... dunno?
* Again move the Red Green Blue sliders around and see how the RGB curves move. Notice by moving the sliders around, that when you use them to align the peaks of the RGB curves over the top of each other ... so R peak overlies G peak overlies B peak ... that the view in sharpcap will show fairly natural looking green grass, siding color, roof color and blue sky color. This process of aligning the color peaks is one of the main ways we color balance the images we shoot in the dark. It is very important to learn to use.
* So now you have easily learnt the focus point of the camera, and how to easily color balance, by now it should be getting dark in your neighbourhood. This is where you uncheck the auto exposure and gain and gamma buttons. Your aim is to learn how to adjust the gain and exposure using the sliders so that the image of that far away scene stays pretty bright..
* You should be able to keep adjusting those sliders for gain and exposure and keep the distant scene showing in sharpcap right up to when it is getting pretty dark! That's the aim!
* So now you have learnt enough to be able to use the mounts GoTo and goto some bright target objects ... and start with just single frames. Do NOT worry about stacking to start with. Your aim is to try to get the brightest/contrasty single images. Why? Stacking needs / works best with nice bright contrast single image. Otherwise you often get stacking failures.
* Also download and read Hitens excellent Beginners SharpCap guide ... search on cloudynights for it. Good read for you. It tells you more about all the individual controls and settings for the night and how to stack.
Edited by Howie1, 18 February 2019 - 09:55 PM.