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How to use Sharpcap with a DSLR, Part II, jpg files

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#1 Rickster

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Posted 26 May 2019 - 10:49 PM

As you may recall, I posted a how to use an ASCOM driver to link Canon DSLRs to Sharpcap.  The problem is that the ASCOM driver is not fully developed and has limited functionality.  For example, it only works with RAW files and doesn't work with jpg.  It also has slow download speeds because it has to convert the RAW files to FITS files. 

 

But guess what, Sharpcap already has a built in feature for accepting jpg files from DSLRs.  And it is fast.

 

Here is how.

 

Basically, this is like using Astrotoaster.  You use EOS Utility to control the camera and download the images to a monitor folder.  And you set up Sharpcap to monitor that folder and automatically process the images as they come in.  It is easy and works great. 

 

First, click the little file folder symbol in EOS Utility and set up a download folder (just like you would for Astrotoaster).  Write it down or remember it.  If you set it up to generate a dated folder, then you will need to take a test shot to make the camera generate the new folder (that is the way I do it).

 

In the Main toolbar at the top left of the Sharpcap page, click on "Camera" and select "Folder Monitor Camera."

 

This will open a "Camera Controls" section in the right hand tool bar.  Click "Browse" and select the download folder that you created.  Then click the "All In Folder" button.  Immediately below will be what looks like video controls.  Click the "Play" arrow.  You may want to read the instructions for these controls (search help for monitor).

 

Alright, you are ready to go.  Set your sub-exposure length, ISO and such in EOSU.  Then click on the Stopwatch button.  Click the "Remote Interval Shooting" checkbox.  Type in a shooting interval that is a few seconds longer than your sub-exposure length.  Then type in the number of shots that you want to take.  Click "Start." 

 

Your camera will begin taking exposures and downloading them.  SC will immediately pick them up and process them as if they came from an Astrocam.  You can now use any of the tools, such as everybody's favorite, polar align.

 

Oh, if you want to do RAWs, you will need to use the ASCOM driver instead.  https://www.cloudyni...ap-with-a-dslr/


Edited by Rickster, 26 May 2019 - 10:49 PM.

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#2 Rickster

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Posted 26 May 2019 - 10:56 PM

I should mention that this method will work with any brand of camera that has an app to automatically download files as they are taken.


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#3 Jeff Lee

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Posted 27 May 2019 - 10:14 AM

Works well with my Panasonic cameras, the watch folder. Big plus you you dial in your exposure in the cameras software and SC gets images as good as your camera can produce. As said JPEG only.


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#4 Howie1

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Posted 02 February 2020 - 08:49 PM

IF you have problems getting the "Folder Monitor Camera" option working. Read this.

 

I've had an issue where it does not pick up files from the watched folder. Sometimes it may show the first image which comes in from the camera - but no others. Sometimes if I tell SharpCap to browse to another folder to monitor and then switch back to the original - it may show there are new files in there but still not show them.  I found another on the SharpCap forum who had the same issue. His only solution was to make the camera save images to a different folder, and then manually cut and paste them from that folder into the correct folder monitored by SharpCap.

 

I wanted to automate this.

 

* I tell my camera to save its images to a folder I called "SharpcapFromCamera". With my camera software I only have to do this once then it keeps that setting next time I open it.
* I open SharpCap and as per ricks post use Camera > Folder Monitor Camera option and in the VCR style button settings I browse to a different folder which I called "SharpcapMonitor" and click Open All Files. Once this is done sharpcap also keeps that folder path next time I start sharpcap.
* I double click to start a desktop icon I created, which is a batch file that automatically moves any files saved in the "SharpcapFromCamera" folder to the "SharpcapMonitor" folder. SharpCap then processes them correctly as per ricks post. Including PA and Live Stack.

 

The batch file is easily created. Just copy the script below into Notepad and save. Then change the Notepad files extension from ".txt" to ".bat"
I saved the batch file to my desktop, but it can be anywhere on your system and from there you can create a desktop shortcut to where-ever you saved it.

 

Script to copy is below ... change the filenames, paths, and loop timeframe from 2 seconds to whatever you want.

 

@echo off
:loop
REM Nav to the folder we have set SharpCap to watch for incoming images. (Change this to your folder path)
cd C:\Users\MacbookWin7\Documents\SharpcapMonitor
REM MOVE files from the folder where we set the camera to save its images. (Change this to your folder path and type of files you want - *.jpg or *.fits or *.tiff etc)
move C:\Users\MacbookWin7\Documents\SharpcapFromCamera\*.jpg
REM We repeat this automatically every 2 seconds
timeout /t 2
goto loop

 

cheers



#5 tjbonner2002

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Posted 30 May 2020 - 02:54 PM

For those of you who have made this technique work, how long of a lens did you use? When using the polar alignment tool I thought that SharpCap required a fairly small field of view in order to plate solve. Do I need to use a zoom lens or can it solve wide angle also?

 

Thanks,

Joe



#6 Rickster

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Posted 30 May 2020 - 11:06 PM

Hi Joe.  Welcome to the forum.  In my experience, !00mm to 250mm is the optimum.  But I have successfully used focal lengths ranging from 25mm to 1800mm.



#7 Jeff Lee

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Posted 31 May 2020 - 08:40 AM

I use my M43 cameras with all my scopes and on both mounts (Gx8/G9 - each has a different tether program). You can select the parameters you want in the jpeg in  the camera (size, color, other stuff) and let it run. On my laptop I can run two versions of SharpCap or send one cameras output to a folder on my desktop using Remote Desktop if I am using large JPEGS so processing doesn't slow down.



#8 tjbonner2002

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Posted 07 June 2020 - 07:51 AM

Thanks. I’m still waiting for skies to clear so I can give it a try. 
 

Joe



#9 gatorengineer

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Posted 08 June 2020 - 08:03 PM

Would be interested to see what an image looks like to Compare against some pretty good cell phone shots... I have an a7r2 and this might be something it could be good at.

#10 Rickster

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Posted 09 June 2020 - 09:54 AM

Your A7 would work great, provided that there is an app for remotely controlling and automatically downloading A7 pics to a folder on your computer (like EOS Utility does for Canon DSLRs).  Not sure what you mean by comparison with cell phone shots (unless you know of a way to get cell phone shots into Sharpcap).  I trust that your A7 can smoke a cell phone any day.



#11 Flyman9495

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Posted 21 June 2020 - 10:18 AM

Howie 1 

Sorry, I understand what your saying , but don't know if there's commas etc in the script.

any chance of just writing it out without the explanations. Eg

 

@echo off

REM Nav xxx 

cd C: xxx

REM Move xxx *.jpeg

Move C:xxx *.jpeg

REM

timeout / 2

goto loop

 

where xxx is file path etc. Is this correct as I,m thinking the capitals , /  :  all have to be in the correct place.

cheers mate




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