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Backyardnikon

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#1 drknapper

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Posted 14 January 2020 - 12:05 PM

I've been using a Nikon D5300 and a remote shutter release for my astrophotos.  But this winter it's been very cold and I'm looking for something to help me program my photos and let me go back inside.  I have an enclosed observatory but it's not heated.  I'm not looking for anything with bells and whistles, just something that will let me set up a series of photos at a set exposure and ISO.  I've been looking at BackyardNikon and think it's pretty easy to use and doesn't cost much.  Will this work easily and what cable do I need?


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#2 AgilityGuy

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Posted 14 January 2020 - 12:23 PM

It's a great program. It's not the type of program that allows you to start things and go to bed but it's very simple and it works.  You'll likely only need a UBS cable to run the camera from the computer.  The program is a bit finicky about the length of USB cable between the camera and the computer.  If the cable is any longer than about 4' you should look into using an active extension cable.  And if a USB hub is put in the mix a powered hub doesn't hurt either.  I remote into my PC next to my mount using my Mac inside eliminating the need to run outside during the exposures.


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#3 drknapper

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Posted 14 January 2020 - 01:12 PM

What do you mean.  Do you have to sit by your scope while you take photos, in other words you can't set it to take 20 6 minute photos, leave and come back in 2 hours?



#4 scadvice

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Posted 14 January 2020 - 01:44 PM

I do with Backyard. Once I'm setup and running I go in the house , take a nap,read or whatever and check it every hour or so. Even every two hours. If your close enough to the setup you could use Team Viewer with a inside computer to check . I'm imaging about 375 feet away so that T.V. will not work (yet I'm working on it). 


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#5 AgilityGuy

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Posted 14 January 2020 - 02:13 PM

What do you mean.  Do you have to sit by your scope while you take photos, in other words you can't set it to take 20 6 minute photos, leave and come back in 2 hours?

No need to watch things at all!  Should have made it a bit clearer.  Other programs like Sequence Generator Pro will stage an imaging run (or several) and have the programming ability to park the scope (among other things like run automated focusers, filter wheels, etc.) at the end of the imaging run.  Backyard Nikon will run your sequence, however long, and that's it.  You'll need to intervene for parking unless you have another program to set the horizons or other instructions for the mount after the imaging run is complete.  I'll often set BYN to image for several hours and run back into the house watch TV, catch a nap (set an alarm!), or whatever a person does in the middle of the night.  The program provides the estimated time of completion for the imaging period so you have an idea when you'll need to go out again. I use the remote computer to look at things as the run progresses, more out of curiosity I guess.

 

BYN also allows convenient framing features, live focusing (and it will interface with an electronic focuser if you have one), ability to plate solve along with programs as Astrotortilla in addition to several other features.  It's a great program. 


Edited by AgilityGuy, 14 January 2020 - 02:15 PM.

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#6 khobar

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Posted 14 January 2020 - 02:20 PM

My wife and I use BYN and it works very nicely. I especially like the focus module. But I would suggest you consider a Raspberry Pi4 running StellarmateOS ($49) or Astroberry ($0). If you have supported gear (and the D5300 is supported, but I'm thinking the mount, etc.) you can set things up and monitor remotely. Might not be your cup of tea, but it is worth checking out.


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#7 drknapper

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Posted 14 January 2020 - 02:47 PM

OK, I have several cables.  Obviously one end of the cable is a USB connection, what is the other end.  My 5300 has four ports. One cable hooks up to download photos into my computer, one hooks my remote shutter release, one is for audio, and the other is HDMI (never used it or the audio).  Which one will I use to control all functions of the camera including shutter?



#8 drknapper

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Posted 14 January 2020 - 03:05 PM

Sorry, One more thing, is the cost a one time fee, do you get automatic upgrades, and is it download off the net only?



#9 scadvice

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Posted 14 January 2020 - 03:43 PM

yes one time fee.



#10 Ranger Tim

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Posted 14 January 2020 - 04:43 PM

If you don't want to spend much money and don't want to involve the computer, pick up one of these for less than $20.

 

D5300 intervalometer

 

There are lots of them made. This one I have no experience with, but they all work okay. This is the cheapest way to get reliable timed exposures. It is also nice to have when shooting at a remote site with less complicated controls.

 

The computer based options are many. I use the Stellarmate/Raspberry Pi solution to have it wirelessly transmitted inside the house when at home. I use the above intervalometer when in the field.



#11 erictheastrojunkie

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Posted 14 January 2020 - 06:39 PM

BYN works well with the D5300, never had any issues, I ultimately migrated to SGP because (as mentioned) the software can tell your mount to park after an imaging run (or if there is an issue with guiding, like clouds). SGP has a lot of the same features and also allows for framing automation via plate solving. Ultimately you can't go wrong with either, SGP just a few extra bells and whistles to make the imaging experience start to finish easier (with a steeper up front learning curve). 



#12 drknapper

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Posted 14 January 2020 - 06:44 PM

I have one of these but how do I set my camera to take a 4 minute bulb photo?



#13 KLWalsh

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Posted 14 January 2020 - 06:44 PM

I’m a huge fan of BYN. I use it with a D810a and a D5100.
The USB cable that came with the D810a was sufficient for BYN, but for the D5100 I needed a couple extra cables - which were readily available through the Shoestring Astronomy website. The Shoestring website has all the info you need to figure out which cables to buy.
The cables aren’t inexpensive, but neither are they outrageously expensive. They are certainly worth the cost since they allow you to fully automate your photo session using BYN, including dithering with PHD2.
On cold winter nights and on mosquito-y summer nights, that’s happiness.
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#14 Ranger Tim

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Posted 14 January 2020 - 08:40 PM

A simple remote shutter release is not the same as an intervalometer. The device is programmable and triggers the shutter to open and close. Set the camera to manual, bulb, and press the go button for the programmed exposure on the Intervalometer. These are not made by Nikon - at least the cheap ones that I use...

 

Or just tether USB adapter to a computer and use BYN or some other software. Both are valid, one is super cheap. Supporting BYN is a great idea too.



#15 MikiSJ

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Posted 14 January 2020 - 10:39 PM

...I especially like the focus module. 

I downloaded the trial version of BYN last night and got my D5300 to do a Bulb sequence with a Nikon lens attached.

 

Where is the focus module? Can I do a focus without an automatic focuser.


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#16 scadvice

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Posted 14 January 2020 - 11:07 PM

Watch this loooog video it's well worth it for both Nikon and Canon. You will know everything you need to know about the software.

 

https://www.youtube....h?v=z3gkw8bx7Aw


Edited by scadvice, 15 January 2020 - 12:49 PM.

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#17 dayglow

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Posted 14 January 2020 - 11:42 PM

Use the USB cable that is for downloading photos.  You can extend it by several feet with a normal USB extender.  I have been doing this on both of my D5300's for a few years. 

 

BYN has worked well for me.

 

-- David F.


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#18 erictheastrojunkie

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Posted 15 January 2020 - 09:32 AM

I have one of these but how do I set my camera to take a 4 minute bulb photo?

You use this cable:

https://www.amazon.c...e?ie=UTF8&psc=1

 

Connect your D5300 to your computer, set the camera to manual, bulb mode and the software does the rest. You put the exposure length you want into the software. Alternatively you can buy an intervalometer and set it to 4 minutes, then you don't need the software.



#19 guyroch

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Posted 15 January 2020 - 10:09 AM

I downloaded the trial version of BYN last night and got my D5300 to do a Bulb sequence with a Nikon lens attached.

 

Where is the focus module? Can I do a focus without an automatic focuser.

That would be the 3rd button from the top left; it's called "Frame & Focus".  All the controls for focusing are inside that window, including live FWHM feedback.  You do not need an automated focuser, you can use those functions and adjust focus manually.  Once you get good focus move on to the "Imaging" mode (2nd button from the top left) and program your imaging session, click start, drink beer.

 

Guylain


Edited by guyroch, 15 January 2020 - 03:43 PM.

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#20 khobar

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Posted 15 January 2020 - 11:21 AM

I downloaded the trial version of BYN last night and got my D5300 to do a Bulb sequence with a Nikon lens attached.

 

Where is the focus module? Can I do a focus without an automatic focuser.

Also, a Bahtinov mask is your friend - they are not expensive, and work really well with BYN's focus module.

 

You say you have an observatory - will this camera be attached to a tracking mount? I've used BYN's focus module by centering a star, attach the Bahtinov mask, click "5X", and then adjust focus until the lines cross the star symmetrically (if you don't already know, you'll understand as soon as you see it). Easy peasy.

 

As for cables - the D5300 requires just one USB cable for camera control with BYN. And, of course, power for the camera. 



#21 jerryyyyy

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Posted 06 August 2020 - 06:12 PM

Hi,

 

I have a D800 attached to the top of my main scope to additional imaging and was using the free DigiCamControl to collect images but that software just went SOUTH.  Get driver errors... reinstalled on a separate machine and continue to get errors...dumped it for BYNikon and this software just seems to work.  $50 is cheap if it works.

 

One questions, it seems to just have the bulb exposure.  Is this controlled at the Camera?  In DigiCamControl you could turn bulb on and off and expose at a fraction of a second, say 1/6400 for Bias frames... How you do that with this software????

 

Cheers,

 

JY

 

PS Using an Astronomiks HA filter and seems to work well... a lot of preliminary images here is you are amused:

 

https://www.astrobin...qlt4/E/?nc=user



#22 AgilityGuy

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Posted 06 August 2020 - 07:03 PM

BYN will do all of that. The exposure control is in the project planning box on the lower right. It will run bulb exposures and/or fraction of a second exposures.  Pick your ISO, exposure, number of exposures.  Really handy as you can name the files for what they are including flats, lights, darks, etc.  


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#23 jgraham

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Posted 06 August 2020 - 09:15 PM

When set to Bulb the exposure is controlled by BYN. This is the primary mode for deepsky imaging. There's also a drop-down menu that you can use to access the camera's exposure settings.

I previously used Backyard EOS to control my Canon cameras. I liked it so much that I ordered Backyard Nikon and had it installed before my D5300 arrived. Love it!
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#24 jerryyyyy

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Posted 06 August 2020 - 09:21 PM

Thanks, I found it.  Trying the run right now.  I am collecting wide angle (50mm lens) hydrogen alpha images along the Milky Way plane.  Was working ok with the other software, but was pretty buggy.  Hopefully this is more reliable. 

 

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

 

Of course after this praise I get problems... it downloaded a couple darks ok this PM now it is just running in circles after the first Light Image saying... BUSY... switched out the USB and used new computer and same problems... is there any official support for this software????... well I looked that up and there are a lot of problems with the downloads... especially if you used the hacked firmware, which is like a necessity for astrophotography....

 

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

 

DigicamController worked for about a month and now does not... sounds hardware but have changed out cables and computers... sigh...


Edited by jerryyyyy, 06 August 2020 - 11:04 PM.


#25 AgilityGuy

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Posted 06 August 2020 - 10:00 PM

Something to check, especially since you’re using a USB3 cable with the D800.  The program is quite finicky about cable length. I use a 4 foot cable through the mount connected to an active USB cable to the computer.  Using a long (greater than 6 feet I believe) non active cable can create the problem you’re seeing. 




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