I started imaging with a DSLR and BackyardEOS. Then like a lot of us I bought a cold camera and had to start over at controlling the camera. I picked APT and it’s a great program but with my longer focus 910mm refractor and local temperature changes I found myself spending more time focusing than I wanted. I was too dependent on the temperature drop of any particular night or a number of filter changes because APT didn't yet have Auto Focus.
I bought SGP (Sequence Generator Pro) because… well… everybody did and it had the auto focus. Before I got into learning SGP I started hearing about the N.I.N.A. program that also had auto focus. As it was free so I saw no reason not to try both out at the same time and finish with the one I liked the best.
SGP has a whole bunch of You Tube video’s on how to use it. NINA didn't have so many. However, when I got into the videos, I had a very difficult time understanding those for SGP. SGP is a very powerful program but I was struggling with it so much I couldn’t get over that first hump of a learning curve into understanding it’s flow. With all the updates and so forth it seemed that over time the ones with the basics were out of date and a bit fragmented in the information they provided making it very hard for me to put it all together. I ended up breaking from trying it and started looking at NINA.
NINA on the other hand was so new that the few videos available were close enough to the current revisions when I watched them I was able to link it all together. Particularly because Cuiv, The Lazy Geek on You Tube also started producing a whole series of NINA videos at that same time. Cuiv is a contributor to the development of the program. NINA's originator is Stefan Berg.
To learn some of NINA I started out just using just the auto focus at first and switching back to APT to control everything else. A bit counter intuitive perhaps but it worked quite well for me even though doing so gained me little or nothing time wise. Then I started using the plate solving and adding in more of it’s features as I learned. Pretty soon I was no longer using APT.
Automatic meridian flip kind of threw me at first. I never used it in APT or tried to understand it in SGP so I can’t fairly compare the three methods. With NINA the mount actually is set just to make sure it tracks past the meridian enough so the mount control knows to slew back to the Eastside when given a slew command. Or optionally if you cannot go far enough past the meridian or need to stop because of tripod or pier interference you can. It just waits long enough for the object in the sky to get far enough to the West side to allow NINA to do a slew command and move the mount back to the East side again without the mount having a conflict with the slew command and the mount not moving. You set your mount to no meridian flip and just to stop as a safety feature out a little further past your normal flip point in case something like a laptop computer failure. Actually it’s a quite simple solution and method.
I'm beginning to sound like a salesman for NINA... fortunately I can't be accused of that because it's free! IMHO it has the big three...Free...Easy to learn...and just plain works.
Edited by scadvice, 30 June 2020 - 03:37 PM.