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Sony DSLR & DSS Live / Astrotoast?

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#1 dvb

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Posted 17 February 2019 - 02:03 PM

I have a Sony a7Riii that I would like to try with DSS Live or Astrotoaster - will those programs accept the Sony RAW files?  Tx

 



#2 dvb

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Posted 17 February 2019 - 03:39 PM

Looking at other threads in CN on DSS, it looks like compressed Sony .arw files work, or can be converted into .dng or tif to stack for stills, but not sure if that would work for Live stacking.  I would just download these programs and try, except I am using Mac and would have to buy a windows laptop to try.



#3 Dwight J

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Posted 17 February 2019 - 10:49 PM

Does the Sony camera save in jpeg?  For viewing Jpegs work just fine.


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#4 dvb

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Posted 18 February 2019 - 12:03 AM

Thanks Dwight.  Yes, it will save in jpeg.  I guess for live viewing, jpegs should be just fine. 



#5 Howie1

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Posted 18 February 2019 - 01:25 AM

+1 viewing in jpegs. I did this for years with Canon DSLR's for EAA. Its especially useful to shoot jpeg with modded cams when doing only EAA (rather than AP) as you just shoot a digital greyscale card to set a custom white balance. All jpegs coming out of the camera are then color balanced .... no need to adjust and tweak RGB curves in the astro software ... the heavy red hue which has to normally be tweaked out of RAW files from modded cameras is replaced with the jpeg/custom WB images which is nicely color balanced. 

 

There's some big threads under cloudynights from 2014, 2015 with all the info on getting EAA setup with A7S. Diff camera to the OP A7RII but its all about Sony and how to tether etc so it definitely can be done. There's been many a NSN broadcast with them too. Maybe the Sony guys will chime in here? Google "cloudynights eaa with sony a7s" to find the threads.

 

I never bought one as here in Australia they are $4,000+ body only! Ouch. I have borrowed one a few times and put what things we did to get it working down below. I've also used many of the ideas re LR auto processing and jpeg MSNR mentioned below with my Canon DSLR EAA. The reason I went with Canon over the Sony in the end was Canon's tethered camera control software has Liveview off the sensor which allows live planetary video feed at 5x and 10x zoom! Plus a modded 2nd hand Canon was $500 vs A7's at huge prices. The canon liveview will show the bright stars "live" so as you move the scope the stars move like in a video across the liveview to centre/frame/find the object. Very quick star hop to get to the object if not in the FOV. Of course platesolving in SharpCap fixes that problem much better now. LOL. Sony when I last looked did not have liveview in its camera control software. There's software from a variety of places including other stuff from Sony themselves which allow Sony liveview but usually it does not show the live image to reflect the ISO and exp time setting. Whereas Canons does. Brighten up using exp or iso and canons liveview brighten up. Maybe Sony and co have fixed that ... dunno?

 

Mac OS

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* Tether the Sony via USB and use Sony's Remote Camera Control software to control Exposure time, ISO and other things. There's no liveview for the Sony really worthwhile. IE still relies on taking shots to reflect the exp time and iso. 

* It does allow you to save the shots to a folder on your Mac.

* The above - save shots to a folder option - is important as Lightroom (lets call that LR) can be setup to automatically see new shots coming into a folder and automatically load them into LR and automatically apply any preset image adjustments so in one action - press the shutter - a few seconds after clicking the shutter the fully adjusted image can appear within LR viewer window on your Mac. LR has a fantastic denoise tool and other anti vignetting/ etc tools. It becomes a fully automated seamless process exactly the same as AstroToaster.

* LR will of course accept direct tethering in newer versions directly from Sony A7 lineup. However, back when I looked at this you could not control ISO and exp time from within LR so you still had to control that from some other app via IR and it was all too hard! LOL ... so its best to setup the tether from the camera to Remote Camera Control then tell it to save files in a folder which you have setup LR to automatically monitor and open new shots.

 * Stacking? .... the Gold Standard for accepting files from a folder and doing stacking of astro images is Astrotoaster (lets call that AT from now on). But it is Windows only. If you try (and I have tried several times since) to WINE wrap AT so it runs natively on Mac OS it cannot be done as it also requires full integration with DSS to work. Something about wrapping both those components together as one and to work together under WINE just has never worked for me or anyone else on the web (back when I looked at all this).

* Stacking part 2 .... However as the posts earlier in this thread which say jpegs are perfectly fine if doing EAA ...therefore you can use the Sony (and Canon BTW) in-camera 4 shot multi-shot noise reduction feature which only works when set to shoot jpegs! It shoots 4 frames at your set ISO and exp time and both stacks and derotates in-camera on the fly ... so at exp time of 10 secs (say) you have to wait 40 seconds but then the stacked image outputs to your folder on your Mac ... being the result of 4 images stacked it will halve the mount of noise or to put that another way double the SNR.

* Stacking part 3 ... You can of course run parallels or bootcamp your Mac and run all the above software ... IE Remote Camera Control (win version) and LR should you wish to or even AT/DSS if you want to do stacking!

 

Windows OS

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Windows its easy and less verbose for me to type (LOL) ... its the same as Stacking part 3 above .... run all the above software ... IE Remote Camera Control (win version) and LR should you wish to or even AT/DSS if you want to do stacking!


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#6 dvb

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Posted 19 February 2019 - 11:31 AM

Thanks, Howie, for all that information. 

 

The Live View on the Sony seems to work OK for me.  I've done a bit of still imaging with it and typically crank up the ISO (32000 +) to locate and frame the image then back down the ISO (1600) to capture. 

 

I have an old MacBook Pro that I had bootcamped with with Windows 8 (Uggh!), but if I get into this, I think I will treat myself to a new dedicated Windows laptop.  

 

If I were just doing asro imaging, I'd probably get a Canon, as there just seems to be more support offered for it, but I am enjoying the Sony for daytime photography.  I don't seem to be troubled by the Sony "Star Eater" problem, but I'm very much an intermediate hobbyist in this.  

 

I do have an old Mallincam set-up that hasn't seen much use lately, and which I expect to replace with AstroToaster. 



#7 Howie1

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Posted 19 February 2019 - 07:34 PM

Glad to hear there's a workable Sony Liveview now. Thanks for the info.

 

Which software is that working in? 



#8 dvb

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Posted 20 February 2019 - 07:19 PM

I’m kind of a minimalist. I was just referring to using the camera itself, with no software.


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#9 Howie1

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Posted 21 February 2019 - 06:23 AM

Ahh ... I did that too when using a Nikon Series 1 camera. Had to keep going up to the back of the camera if I needed to set ISO and exp time in the menu.

 

However .... I took my old bootcamped Macbook out running just on battery and wifi (no cables) in order to make it pretty minimalist. Rested in my lap whilst reclining in a camping chair. Used a Sandisk eyeFi memory card in the J1 Nikon. It would send the image to the laptop via wifi very reliably. The folder it saved the images to I setup Astrotoaster to monitor that folder. Used a cheap eBay Nikon IR remote to trip the shutter. So long as you had line of sight to the Camera on the end of the scope you could stay seated in the recliner chair and trip the shutter with the IR remote, and a few moments later 'see' it in astrotoaster. Worked a treat. 

 

You could try the same technique with the Sony ... IE get Eye-fi memory card to send the frames to your pc, and a cheap IR remote to trip the shutter on the Sony from the seated position.


Edited by Howie1, 21 February 2019 - 04:03 PM.

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