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How can I use two cameras?

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#1 orlyandico

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Posted 14 August 2020 - 01:23 AM

I am putting together a side-by-side setup with an OSC and a mono camera. My idea is I'll use an L-Enhance on the OSC and perhaps an Ha filter on the mono and then combine them, so I get good resolution from the mono and color data from the OSC.

 

How can I run both of these cameras from one PC?



#2 sg6

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Posted 14 August 2020 - 01:57 AM

I suppose you should be able to but the PC would need I expect a lot of processing power.

Many cameras seem to be USB3 now and one clube had to get a separate laptop solely for each USB3 cameras when they upgraded. So 2 cameras on a PC would be a heavy load, and you will have additional processes running that also expect some processor time.

 

So my guess is that 2 cameras would not run successfully.



#3 the Elf

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Posted 14 August 2020 - 02:22 AM

Here is how a pro does it:

https://www.swagastr...ing-set-up.html



#4 happylimpet

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Posted 14 August 2020 - 03:34 AM

Should run fine. Operating cameras and downloading the occasional image doesnt put a heavy load on a computer, and neither does autoguiding.



#5 Ken Sturrock

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Posted 14 August 2020 - 03:42 AM

The "Captain Obvious" answer is that you mount the OTAs/cameras in a stiff and aligned manner.
 
Unless you're doing full-throttle USB3 lucky imaging, a reasonably fast computer should be able to handle the image acquisition for both cameras along with guiding on a third but synchronizing everything can be the challenge.
 
I don't know of any standard or popular dual/multi-camera solutions. Although a common idea, few people seem to bother with it. Some folks run two copies of software separately and just toss frames that are compromised by unsynchronized focusing or dithering. As one example, Voyager (IIRC the version that can manage arrays) can synchronize multiple cameras out of the box - I believe with multiple instances of the software. In my case, I played around with it on a dual refractor rig and got it to work well. I used two instances of SkyX Pro, on separate computers just out of convenience: A Macintosh and a Raspberry Pi. Both instances could be run on the same computer, though. The two instances were coordinated by some custom automation software. You can see a walk through, here, as part of a general SkyX introduction video I did for TAIC last year. A similar approach with SkyX was used on Dragonfly, but for many more cameras. In the end, for me and what I do, I decided that it was easier to just buy a bigger OTA.
 
In addition to Sara's system, linked above, check out a system by Peter Rejto (which uses software with a similar approach to what I did).
 
Let us know if you get something going.



#6 happylimpet

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Posted 14 August 2020 - 04:13 AM

I believe NINA (free) can also handle two instances and two cameras etc....


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#7 OldManSky

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Posted 14 August 2020 - 07:23 AM

I believe NINA (free) can also handle two instances and two cameras etc....

It can.  You run two instances of NINA, hook each one up to the camera you want to control.  The two instances can also talk to each other to synchronize dithering (when an exposure on one camera ends, and a dither is due, it will wait until the exposure on the other camera ends, do the dither, settle, then start both cameras exposing again).  The two instances will also synchronize meridian flips.



#8 buckeyestargazer

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Posted 14 August 2020 - 08:25 AM

I've been doing this for a few years now, mostly with 2 refractors but also an RC+refractor and recently a RASA8+refractor.  I love getting 2x the imaging done in a night.  You will have to work some kinks out to be sure, but it is rewarding.  The biggest obstacles are aligning the two scopes and differential flexure between the scopes.  



#9 Ken Sturrock

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Posted 14 August 2020 - 11:35 AM

Thanks for the reminder.

 

Nice hardware is nice hardware, but I feel software is probably more important and remains seriously underappreciated on CN. Software makes it all work.

 

NINA has evolved into a great piece of software - not because it's free but because it's a great piece of software...



#10 wxcloud

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Posted 14 August 2020 - 11:47 AM

Here is someone on YouTube doing side by side imaging. Has two related vids, might be what you are looking for

https://youtu.be/tw0s90z2F5Q

And synced dithering
https://youtu.be/KDH6maXanJw

Edited by wxcloud, 14 August 2020 - 11:47 AM.

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#11 nimitz69

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Posted 14 August 2020 - 11:57 AM

I am putting together a side-by-side setup with an OSC and a mono camera. My idea is I'll use an L-Enhance on the OSC and perhaps an Ha filter on the mono and then combine them, so I get good resolution from the mono and color data from the OSC.
 
How can I run both of these cameras from one PC?


What’s ‘better’ about the color data from an OSC vice the separate RGB filters from a mono that you would want to go through all that expense and hassle?

#12 TareqPhoto

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Posted 14 August 2020 - 01:34 PM

Thanks for this thread.



#13 orlyandico

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Posted 14 August 2020 - 02:15 PM

I already have the two cameras, might as well use them. And two cameras will capture twice as much data as one. Doing LRGB with a mono camera would take much longer, and I don't have the spendy filter wheel for my mono camera anyway.

 

They are old and slow (an Orion SSProv2 and an Apogee U8300) so I don't think the CPU load would be that great. They are also both massive cameras..

 

My question was really around software. I'm using two short refractors so differential flexure won't be a huge problem.  I have been using Nebulosity for ages but I don't know if you can run two instances on one PC (silly me - I can trivially check that).

 

Maybe time to check out Nina but am not sure if it will support my obsolete cameras.

 

EDIT: two copies of Nebulosity 4 work just fine, with about 8% CPU utilization.. on my 6-core i5-9600K desktop. I'm planning to buy a cheap obsolete Windows laptop for image capture as the astronomy software situation on MacOS is almost non-existent; Apogee drivers are 32-bit only (no joy for Catalina, and my MBP16 only runs Catalina..) and there's no driver for the unlamented Orion SSProv2.

 

What’s ‘better’ about the color data from an OSC vice the separate RGB filters from a mono that you would want to go through all that expense and hassle?


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