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Sharpcap 4.0 released

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#1 GSBass

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Posted 08 July 2021 - 10:29 AM

Just in case you didn’t see this,….4.0 is in the wild, just downloaded without issue, looks like a worthy upgrade…. Also keeping an eye on Astrosurface, redshift release is suppose to be imminent with emphasis on dso stacking and field rotation for those like dslr owners that like to do this manually…. Might also be useful for those of us that like to reprocess the robotic imager output by Stellina,Vespera and evoscope


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#2 GSBass

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Posted 08 July 2021 - 10:43 AM

One unadvertised feature in 4.0 is if you have a camera that has both low gain and high gain settings, 4.0 will recognize this when you are doing a sensor analysis and save it to the brain…..3.2 only had the ability to save one or the other

——

edit…. So you run sensor analysis twice, one at 16bit low gain and then at 16bit high gain, Sharp cap will then recognize what mode you are in when you select brain in histogram and give you the correct recommendations…. This should go a long way in helping you understand the best one to use for your camera…. Not sure which cameras use this but my qhy 485c does


Edited by GSBass, 08 July 2021 - 10:49 AM.

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#3 alphatripleplus

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Posted 08 July 2021 - 10:11 PM

Thanks for the info - I had been wondering when 4.0 would finally make it out of beta.smile.gif


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#4 Tfer

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Posted 09 July 2021 - 12:37 AM

Just downloaded it. It recognized my Pro license without entering anything.

Looking forward to using it!
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#5 alphatripleplus

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Posted 09 July 2021 - 06:17 AM

I think the sequencer is going to be very helpful for some people using SharpCap.



#6 Clouzot

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Posted 09 July 2021 - 08:12 AM

Tested it yesterday (I had tested early betas but they were way too unstable). I like the new star detection feature (used in various star-dependent tools, especially the Livestack), a complete no-brainer. I didn't have to set it, it worked out of the box.

 

I don't think the background subtraction is of any use, though. It's a good idea from a conceptual standpoint, but it compresses the histogram so much that you can't even see the bump anymore. Color balancing is then impossible as even the slightest nudge of one of the RVB sliders yields a huge jump in the final image.

 

M16 with the same capture settings

Normal, just darks + flats
bgsub1.jpg

With background subtraction on:

bgsub2.jpg


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#7 Tfer

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Posted 09 July 2021 - 05:46 PM

Tested it yesterday (I had tested early betas but they were way too unstable). I like the new star detection feature (used in various star-dependent tools, especially the Livestack), a complete no-brainer. I didn't have to set it, it worked out of the box.

 

I don't think the background subtraction is of any use, though. It's a good idea from a conceptual standpoint, but it compresses the histogram so much that you can't even see the bump anymore. Color balancing is then impossible as even the slightest nudge of one of the RVB sliders yields a huge jump in the final image.

 

M16 with the same capture settings

Normal, just darks + flats
attachicon.gifbgsub1.jpg

With background subtraction on:

attachicon.gifbgsub2.jpg

I’m on the SharpCap forum, and just put in a question to Robin regarding a possible Live Stack Dynamic Histogram, where moving either the black or white point sliders, would resize the histogram panel, making full use of the available screen real estate, and allowing finer movements within it. 


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#8 Cey42

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Posted 09 July 2021 - 09:56 PM

I had tried background subtraction on earlier betas and had the same issue. I like the feature in concept but I think it needs a little more work because it becomes too tight to adjust the histogram.

 

 

Now, I just love the new polar alignment tool. So much faster and better. I like that it uses the display stretch histogram. It means I can start even earlier doing my polar alignment.

 

 

I really need to try out the new sequencer.


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#9 GSBass

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Posted 10 July 2021 - 06:47 AM

The sequencer was a pretty big lift for Robin to execute …..I know he has been working on it along time, Sharpcap has many features I can not use with my current system, telescope and focuser control, polar align etc….but it excels in its core for just reliably taking great photos,  Robin has successfully blurred the line between fully automated imagers and old school equipment as far as the ease of imaging…. There is a learning curve and obviously extra steps for set up and post processing but it’s not hard and it’s pretty fun. Even after my Vespera arrives I have no doubt I’ll be using sharpcap to image other stuff while the robot does it’s thing



#10 GSBass

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Posted 10 July 2021 - 07:06 AM

Have not tried it yet but if the background subtraction is something that can be toggled, it just hits me as a last step once you know exactly what your expecting it to do….. you can kinda look at both photos and see what adjustments to the first image would be to improve the filter effect of the 2nd….. I’m sure Robin will implement the histogram fix if it’s not too hard but I can see using the subtraction filter for pure eaa visual as is… just wouldn’t use it if I were saving for post processing

Tested it yesterday (I had tested early betas but they were way too unstable). I like the new star detection feature (used in various star-dependent tools, especially the Livestack), a complete no-brainer. I didn't have to set it, it worked out of the box.

 

I don't think the background subtraction is of any use, though. It's a good idea from a conceptual standpoint, but it compresses the histogram so much that you can't even see the bump anymore. Color balancing is then impossible as even the slightest nudge of one of the RVB sliders yields a huge jump in the final image.

 

M16 with the same capture settings

Normal, just darks + flats
attachicon.gifbgsub1.jpg

With background subtraction on:

attachicon.gifbgsub2.jpg



#11 alphatripleplus

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Posted 10 July 2021 - 08:04 AM

 

 

Now, I just love the new polar alignment tool. So much faster and better. I like that it uses the display stretch histogram. It means I can start even earlier doing my polar alignment.

 

 

 

That sounds interesting - anything that allows earlier polar alignment is helpful. I can sometimes start the PA routine earlier with vsn 3.2 if I use shorter exposures, but it sounds like Robin may have improved on this. Can't wait to try it out.



#12 Clouzot

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Posted 10 July 2021 - 09:47 AM

Have not tried it yet but if the background subtraction is something that can be toggled, it just hits me as a last step once you know exactly what your expecting it to do….. you can kinda look at both photos and see what adjustments to the first image would be to improve the filter effect of the 2nd….. I’m sure Robin will implement the histogram fix if it’s not too hard but I can see using the subtraction filter for pure eaa visual as is… just wouldn’t use it if I were saving for post processing

It can certainly be toggled, as it's a preprocessing option, just like darks and flats. Individual subs are saved without this processing.

Alas, I didn't save my subs, and Robin asked for test files so I'll certainly shoot a couple images tonight.

 

The more I think of it, the more I suspect it's due to the very short EAA-style subs I'm using from my polluted location (8 or 15s at f/7 is not much, by AP standards at least). This means the signal is distributed across a very narrow brightness range, and once the background subtraction feature removes the offset, there's very little signal left to play with. I don't know exactly how the feature works but it may perhaps be a bit less harsh than what is currently implemented.

 

As a side note, using the Folder Monitor camera feature, I just replayed and "livestacked" longer (30s) subs I had saved from a prior EAA session. While the remaining signal was still quite narrow in the histogram, it was a bit less so. I could color balance easily then. I don't know if it's kosher to post screenshots of livestacked replays of EEA sessions, but when in doubt...


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#13 GSBass

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Posted 10 July 2021 - 07:26 PM

Please continue to post about this as you learn more, I find it interesting…. Almost everything I’ve done so far has been with post processing, astrophotography in mind so that’s why I don’t post images in this forum either…. But I can see the value of nailing down using the subtraction feature simply because almost all my exposures have a very bright background …. Whether that’s due to light pollution or simply over exposing to bring out the image I can’t say…. But any filter that works to blacken the sky while retaining the image would be a win for me

It can certainly be toggled, as it's a preprocessing option, just like darks and flats. Individual subs are saved without this processing.

Alas, I didn't save my subs, and Robin asked for test files so I'll certainly shoot a couple images tonight.

 

The more I think of it, the more I suspect it's due to the very short EAA-style subs I'm using from my polluted location (8 or 15s at f/7 is not much, by AP standards at least). This means the signal is distributed across a very narrow brightness range, and once the background subtraction feature removes the offset, there's very little signal left to play with. I don't know exactly how the feature works but it may perhaps be a bit less harsh than what is currently implemented.

 

As a side note, using the Folder Monitor camera feature, I just replayed and "livestacked" longer (30s) subs I had saved from a prior EAA session. While the remaining signal was still quite narrow in the histogram, it was a bit less so. I could color balance easily then. I don't know if it's kosher to post screenshots of livestacked replays of EEA sessions, but when in doubt...



#14 alphatripleplus

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Posted 17 July 2021 - 07:24 AM

In reviewing the new features in SharpCap 4.0, I think another significant change is the ability to do unguided dithering with an ASCOM controlled mount - no need to use a guiding program like PHD2. Dithering (or random occasional movements of the scope) is a tool typically used by AP imagers to reduce pattern noise in exposures, but pattern noise is still an issue for EAA exposures; I find pattern noise to be  noticeable in some of my EAA narrowband H-alpha captures, for example. Until the release of SharpCap 4.0, you had to use something like PHD2 to dither, even if your exposures were short enough not to really need guiding.

 

It will be interesting to hear from EAA users of 4.0 how much of an impact unguided dithering makes; I hope to try it down the road.


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#15 astrohamp

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Posted 17 July 2021 - 07:48 AM

Thanks 'Clouzot' for your evaluation of "Background Subtraction" as I had started a thread asking if folks had been using it.  I hope to try it out for myself soon when/if weather cooperates. Hopefully it will have favorable impact on EAA images.


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#16 Jeff Lee

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Posted 17 July 2021 - 08:52 AM

Was excited to download 4 yesterday. I was lucky and got the "lifetime" version not so much that I wanted it but I wanted to support SharpCap and as it turns out, incredible bargin.

 

I've been doing Astronomy seriously since 1996 (got my USA rubber coated C90 and toted it from Mexico to Hawaii and many places in Oregon) and can say that SkyTools v4 and SharpCap V4 are such amazing programs I can think of any thing else (besides AScom) I need to have a control system of my dreams.

 

I am going to a Bortle 1 sky with the club in September and will be doing part EAA / visual and using the C8 and ES102 at the same time. Between then and now I will have to do a comparison of the sequence in SkyTools and SC v4 to see which one is easier to use. My plan is to use both scopes on the AZ-EQ (the ES102 with the .8 reducer gives me such a wide view that if I use the C8 as the alignment scope I can just switch between the two cameas and the object is in both views at 50% in SharpCap. Maybe the natural way is to use the sequence in SkyTools during visual and SharpCap during EAA. 

 

Who would have ever believed that SharpCap at its low price would have evolved into such a powerful program. Without it I'd never gotten into EAA in the first place. 


Edited by Jeff Lee, 17 July 2021 - 08:52 AM.

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#17 Tfer

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Posted 17 July 2021 - 11:32 AM

Another tweak I love; in the scope controls, I flipped the azimuth buttons. No more mirror image - left is left, and right is right.


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#18 alphatripleplus

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Posted 17 July 2021 - 11:52 AM

For anyone interested, Robin also mentions on the SharpCap website that he may be bringing back the  life time (permanent) license later this year, and that there has been an increase in the cost of the annual subscription when you next renew.


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#19 GSBass

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Posted 17 July 2021 - 12:20 PM

How much was the lifetime? It’s no biggie to just renew but curious

For anyone interested, Robin also mentions on the SharpCap website that he may be bringing back the  life time (permanent) license later this year, and that there has been an increase in the cost of the annual subscription when you next renew.



#20 Tfer

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Posted 17 July 2021 - 01:05 PM

For anyone interested, Robin also mentions on the SharpCap website that he may be bringing back the  life time (permanent) license later this year, and that there has been an increase in the cost of the annual subscription when you next renew.

I’m more than willing to pay for it.

 

I got my first camera to image Mars last year (a NexImage 5), and I was torn between SharpCap and FireCapture as the software, once I outgrew the included one.  I stayed with SharpCap, because of the interface.

 

In the end, that might have been one of the best decisions I have made, regarding astronomy.



#21 alphatripleplus

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Posted 17 July 2021 - 04:20 PM

I couldn't remember the exact cost of the lifetime license back in 2018, but according to this  CN topic it was a bargain at £80 ( roughly $112) at the time.


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#22 roelb

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Posted 20 July 2021 - 06:19 PM

Back in 2018 April I paid 40 GBP for a SharpCap Pro 5 Year License.



#23 SanjeevJoshi

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Posted 23 July 2021 - 10:32 PM

I would gladly pay for a perpetual license so that I can use the program for some years even if the development stops.


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#24 unimatrix0

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Posted 26 July 2021 - 02:01 PM

I really like the new polar alignment features, like increasing/decreasing camera sensitivity and the software has a better filter on figuring out pixels vs stars. Also after starting the polar alignment, those adjustments still can be made. 

For example, I managed to polar align on a partly cloudy evening, with clouds floating across my telescope. Not a typical thing to do I know, but when I know it's gonna clear up later, it's good to be done with the polar alignment as early as possible and not to be messing with the mount late in the night. 

One thing I find confusing is still the deep-sky sequencer. I end up messing up some options and the whole thing is just feels over complicated. 

There should be an option for a  simple-sequencer , I don't need all that automation, beside starting/stopping the imaging and parking my mount. 

Since I was using the beta 4.0..I don't know i it's changed, but I want to see the subs I'm taking when the sequencer is running. I just couldn't get a visual on what images it was taking, beside the little pop up window showing me the count down on the subs, while I couldn't even access the main screen control or anything. 



#25 GSBass

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Posted 28 July 2021 - 06:11 PM

Just a note from this mornings session, I turned on the planet stabilization feature, it actually was very helpful focusing, however note that if you leave it on it will capture the ser with the planet centered, so if you have it framed to capture moons etc then that part of the image will be cut off as pictured. No biggie, just remember to cut it back off after focusing…. As far as any advantage of capturing with it on… I did not note any improvement or degradation

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