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Is anyone using SharpCap for planetary imaging?

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#1 Ballyhoo

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Posted 01 August 2021 - 08:04 PM

I am asking because I am very familiar with this package and although I downloaded FC I dread learning it.        



#2 Stricnine

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Posted 01 August 2021 - 08:09 PM

I am asking because I am very familiar with this package and although I downloaded FC I dread learning it.        

Yes, I suppose it requires some exploration/intelligence, but it's not as difficult as your making it out to be in your mind.


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#3 RNSpeed

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Posted 01 August 2021 - 08:30 PM

I do; I use Sharpcap for planetary as  well as for DSO



#4 illbefrankwithyou

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Posted 01 August 2021 - 08:51 PM

+1 for sharpcap here. I find it very intuitive versus Firecapture, personally.

#5 Toddeo

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Posted 01 August 2021 - 08:59 PM

I only use SharpCap. For some reason Firecapture just doe's not work out. Sharpcap is pretty simple.



#6 descott12

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Posted 01 August 2021 - 09:07 PM

sharpcap works great for planetary

#7 SkyHunter1

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Posted 01 August 2021 - 09:22 PM

I use Sharpcap for planetary imaging. FC is also very good, but moved to SC some time ago when I briefly used it for DSO imaging as well as planetary. SC is very easy to use. You'll be fine :) A program has to be intuitive for me to use it al all.

 

Regards,

Skyhunter1



#8 Ballyhoo

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Posted 01 August 2021 - 10:59 PM

Great responses all thanks!

 

Any recommendations  for some basic settings to look out for? I would like to image Jupiter at FL about 2000. Not sure which gain, exp and file type. I presue I will get the exp by trial and error and it will be very low, like 1/100 seconds?  



#9 illbefrankwithyou

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Posted 01 August 2021 - 11:38 PM

That’s going to be very dependent on your equipment. But generally recording as fast as a frame rate as possible, and keeping the histogram at 50-70%. Experimenting with gain and exposure settings will get more comfortable the more you use it. Record in RAW and have sharpcap write to an AVI. Jupiter is very bright, and you are better off under exposing than over exposing.

Good luck and clear skies!



Great responses all thanks!

Any recommendations for some basic settings to look out for? I would like to image Jupiter at FL about 2000. Not sure which gain, exp and file type. I presue I will get the exp by trial and error and it will be very low, like 1/100 seconds?



#10 Ballyhoo

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Posted 01 August 2021 - 11:42 PM

also do you do calib frames?



#11 mayhem13

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Posted 02 August 2021 - 09:56 AM

I haven’t calibrated.....I keep the settings as simple for the fastest capture as possible to maximize frame rate. 

 

It it would be an interesting comparison of SC and FC side by side with the same settings, cameras and computer to see which is less bloated......maybe I’ll give it a whirl once these **** clouds move outta here.



#12 GSBass

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Posted 02 August 2021 - 10:14 AM

Basic pointers,

1 yes, keep your frame rate as high as possible

2 put extra weight on keeping exposure time low and compensate using higher gain

3 take 6-to 10,000 frames to give you enough frames to counteract your use of higher gain

4 plan on stacking at least 1500 to 2000 frames…. Same reasons as 2 and 3 above

5 underexpose …. 50% of histogram may look a little dark on screen but it’s plenty to give you a good base for post processing

6 somewhere around 5ms is ideal for lunar, just adjust gain to compensate

7 Astrosurface is **** awesome for stacking and wavlets, highly recomended

8 sharpcap rules…. Take advantage of the new planet stabilization feature for focusing… but turn it off before capture

9 leave all camera settings at default except, exposure,gain, RGb levels and usb traffic

10 as far as FPS goes… anything close to 100 is fine, over that is gravy…. But good gravy, you can get by with less but we are talking lucky Imaging so make your self as lucky as possible

 

hope that helps

Great responses all thanks!

 

Any recommendations  for some basic settings to look out for? I would like to image Jupiter at FL about 2000. Not sure which gain, exp and file type. I presue I will get the exp by trial and error and it will be very low, like 1/100 seconds?  


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#13 unimatrix0

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Posted 02 August 2021 - 12:18 PM

That’s going to be very dependent on your equipment. But generally recording as fast as a frame rate as possible, and keeping the histogram at 50-70%. Experimenting with gain and exposure settings will get more comfortable the more you use it. Record in RAW and have sharpcap write to an AVI. Jupiter is very bright, and you are better off under exposing than over exposing.

Good luck and clear skies!


 

I'm having trouble with Sharpcap used as planetary, but I may have found my issue (planetary stabilization on vs off) 
Question.  Why record as .AVI  instead of .Ser in Sharpcap? 



#14 GSBass

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Posted 02 August 2021 - 12:39 PM

Yeah, planetary stabilization needs to be turned off before capture to avoid weird framing results, avi is just an option for some that use programs that don’t play nice with ser…. But ser is the best, stick with it unless you need avi

I'm having trouble with Sharpcap used as planetary, but I may have found my issue (planetary stabilization on vs off) 
Question.  Why record as .AVI  instead of .Ser in Sharpcap? 



#15 Ballyhoo

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Posted 02 August 2021 - 04:13 PM

well my ASI1600mm is just 23 frames a second and my ASI294mm is 16 /sec...   I think I may need to buy a dedicated planetary camera. I am guessing there are some threads on that topic.



#16 GSBass

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Posted 02 August 2021 - 05:02 PM

Yes, the qhy462c or zwo462 are the current winners, player one released one with a imx464 which is a 4 megapixel chip but otherwise identical to the 462…. I have both , you won’t go wrong either way and all three can be had for under 300 u.s.. I imagine you could crop your current cams to increase frame rate but it’s nice to be up around 100 for planetary and lunar

well my ASI1600mm is just 23 frames a second and my ASI294mm is 16 /sec...   I think I may need to buy a dedicated planetary camera. I am guessing there are some threads on that topic.


Edited by GSBass, 02 August 2021 - 05:03 PM.


#17 Kokatha man

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Posted 02 August 2021 - 08:07 PM

...whatever software you use, you will get nothing more (or less) using .ser over .avi capture files..!!!



#18 GSBass

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Posted 02 August 2021 - 08:15 PM

I agree the output is no different but feel some programs I use handle ser files more smoothly….. but honestly only tried avi a couple of times before ser became my default, only reason I would want to save in avi is if I were planning on sharing the video file with someone… it’s just more likely they may have a player that will play it…. But not all avi players are created equal so even that is a crap shoot

...whatever software you use, you will get nothing more (or less) using .ser over .avi capture files..!!!



#19 jgraham

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Posted 02 August 2021 - 10:23 PM

+1

 

I use SharpCap for planetary and deepsky imaging. I really like the feature set this program offers and I have found it to be very simple to use.



#20 wbobrowski

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Posted 17 October 2021 - 09:57 AM

I'm just getting into astrophotography with my 16 year old Celestron 114GT to which I've just now added the Svbony SV305 camera and have learned so much! You can see my Jupiter results in my image gallery (after only two or three imaging sessions). This is what I've learned about planetary imaging using Sharpcap:
1. Get your frame rate (fps) as high as possible but know that this influenced by many factors including:
     -USB port speed

     -color space (monochrome, 24-bit color or 12/16-bit RAW)

     -exposure time per frame (keep below 30ms to avoid detail 'smear' due to air turbulence, jerky tracking, etc.)

     -Set Gain to no more than 60-70% level (this will introduce artificial noise which will be reduced in post-processing due to averaging of thousands of frames but will increase frame rate to desired levels).

     -Reduce the frame size to as small as possible to minimize wasted 'black background' which will increase your frame rate as well!

    -Plan on post-processing no more than the best 50% frames so your video file should contain at a minimum 1000-2000 frames within no more than 1 minute total time. I've been capturing 500-3000 frames within 20 seconds to 1 minute. I see many posts where folks are capturing 10,000 - 30,000 frames!
    -My output file type is set to .SER by default and non of my softwares (PIPP, Autostakkert, Registax) has an issue. This has been recommended elsewhere.
    -I tend to pre-process first using PIPP (not required!) since I can adjust all my setting (Gain, Gamma, Equalization settings, Cropping) then hit "Preview" to see the results and readjust as necessary before outputting to AVI format. Sometimes I've even re-processed the processed AVI file again in PIPP and it *seemed* to improve planetary stabilization but I can't be sure of that but it didn't hurt!).

     -I then process the AVI file in Autostakkert for stacking into TIFF output using best 50% of frames (I've tried a variety of settings and always go back to 50%). Unlike PIPP, I cannot adjust gain, gamma and see a preview).

     -I then process the TIFF output in Registax6 & use the wavelets to bring out as much detail as my 114GT scope will allow.

Here is an excellent step-by-step tutorial I found, particularly with respect to wavelet processing:
http://docs.sharpcap...howtos/jupiter/

 


Edited by wbobrowski, 17 October 2021 - 10:22 AM.


#21 Tulloch

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Posted 17 October 2021 - 05:06 PM

I'm just getting into astrophotography with my 16 year old Celestron 114GT to which I've just now added the Svbony SV305 camera and have learned so much! You can see my Jupiter results in my image gallery (after only two or three imaging sessions). This is what I've learned about planetary imaging using Sharpcap:
1. Get your frame rate (fps) as high as possible but know that this influenced by many factors including:
     -USB port speed

     -color space (monochrome, 24-bit color or 12/16-bit RAW)

     -exposure time per frame (keep below 30ms to avoid detail 'smear' due to air turbulence, jerky tracking, etc.)

     -Set Gain to no more than 60-70% level (this will introduce artificial noise which will be reduced in post-processing due to averaging of thousands of frames but will increase frame rate to desired levels).

     -Reduce the frame size to as small as possible to minimize wasted 'black background' which will increase your frame rate as well!

    -Plan on post-processing no more than the best 50% frames so your video file should contain at a minimum 1000-2000 frames within no more than 1 minute total time. I've been capturing 500-3000 frames within 20 seconds to 1 minute. I see many posts where folks are capturing 10,000 - 30,000 frames!
    -My output file type is set to .SER by default and non of my softwares (PIPP, Autostakkert, Registax) has an issue. This has been recommended elsewhere.
    -I tend to pre-process first using PIPP (not required!) since I can adjust all my setting (Gain, Gamma, Equalization settings, Cropping) then hit "Preview" to see the results and readjust as necessary before outputting to AVI format. Sometimes I've even re-processed the processed AVI file again in PIPP and it *seemed* to improve planetary stabilization but I can't be sure of that but it didn't hurt!).

     -I then process the AVI file in Autostakkert for stacking into TIFF output using best 50% of frames (I've tried a variety of settings and always go back to 50%). Unlike PIPP, I cannot adjust gain, gamma and see a preview).

     -I then process the TIFF output in Registax6 & use the wavelets to bring out as much detail as my 114GT scope will allow.

Here is an excellent step-by-step tutorial I found, particularly with respect to wavelet processing:
http://docs.sharpcap...howtos/jupiter/

 

Capture in 8-bit raw mode - there is no advantage to capturing at higher bit depths, only disadvantages due to reduced framerate.

 

You can capture for a total of 3 minutes on Jupiter, 5 minutes on Saturn with no loss in quality caused by the planet's rotation.


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#22 Kokatha man

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Posted 17 October 2021 - 06:29 PM

You can capture for a total of 3 minutes on Jupiter, 5 minutes on Saturn with no loss in quality caused by the planet's rotation.

Following the beginning of my crusade in GSBass' thread re the "Chinese Whispers Effect" I'm now taking aim at Andrew (Tulloch) for something he constantly says about the length of Saturn captures..! lol.gif

 

Saturn can quite safely be captured for 6 minutes without any diminution in the resolution of the image outcome for f/l's of 6 metres or even slightly more - we have been successfully using that sort of image scale & 6 minute captures (a single colour capture or the total for r, g & b filters) for many years, eliciting high-resolution images that may be evidenced on our website!

 

I don't have any problems with some people needing to determine their own appreciation of imaging parameters...but when I see misinformation, particularly the far more silly stuff lately that I've noticed some people are actually believing, I feel compelled to make some comments! grin.gif

 

Andrew, this is minor btw compared to some of the guff I've read here on CN lately by people who are really quite inexperienced: your comments - although incorrect as far as Saturn is concerned - are "small beer" as far as this goes...but particularly when starting out, any constraints to getting the best outcome by capturing as much data as possible isn't helpful. wink.gif



#23 Tulloch

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Posted 17 October 2021 - 07:12 PM

Following the beginning of my crusade in GSBass' thread re the "Chinese Whispers Effect" I'm now taking aim at Andrew (Tulloch) for something he constantly says about the length of Saturn captures..! lol.gif

 

Saturn can quite safely be captured for 6 minutes without any diminution in the resolution of the image outcome for f/l's of 6 metres or even slightly more - we have been successfully using that sort of image scale & 6 minute captures (a single colour capture or the total for r, g & b filters) for many years, eliciting high-resolution images that may be evidenced on our website!

 

I don't have any problems with some people needing to determine their own appreciation of imaging parameters...but when I see misinformation, particularly the far more silly stuff lately that I've noticed some people are actually believing, I feel compelled to make some comments! grin.gif

 

Andrew, this is minor btw compared to some of the guff I've read here on CN lately by people who are really quite inexperienced: your comments - although incorrect as far as Saturn is concerned - are "small beer" as far as this goes...but particularly when starting out, any constraints to getting the best outcome by capturing as much data as possible isn't helpful. wink.gif

Well, when I was starting out you were promoting 5 minute captures for Saturn - I guess that advice kinda stuck with me.

https://www.cloudyni...iter/?p=9699382

 

Whatever it is, it's certainly longer than 1 minute.

 

I also have to be more careful than others when it comes to capture durations, I can get up to 3 degrees field rotation over 5 minutes ...


Edited by Tulloch, 17 October 2021 - 07:28 PM.


#24 Kokatha man

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Posted 17 October 2021 - 07:53 PM

<"Think about it - it is never <"independent on (sic) image scale"> Kevin...image scale determines apparent rotational speed & thus capture duration: I vary our capture timespans for Jove from anywhere between 150" (usually around opposition & maximum apparent diameter) & 210 seconds around the time Jove is much smaller therein at the end of the imaging season. (about now for instance)

When Mars is down to around 5" in diameter I've regularly captured for a total of 10 or more minutes - remembering that Mars doesn't rotate anywhere near as fast as (say) Jove in comparison - & these days we tend to stick at 5 minute captures for Saturn regardless of the apparent diameter...because although we used to employ 6 minute "standards" for Saturn, nowadays you can collect almost 100,000 frames in total over 5 minutes - so what's the point in going any longer..?

 

But perhaps I should lift my game & strive for better detail in my image outcomes by bowing to Mother Rumour..?">

 

You are conveniently overlooking the totality of my post in that thread with your "you were promoting 5 minute captures for Saturn" comment Andrew: there was a context to my comments that anyone should be able to easily discern.....although that too is something perhaps a bridge too far for some! grin.gif

 

Despite your attempt to portray inconsistencies by me in this matter grin.gif  it is good to be able to confirm that I have been consistent in my debunking of fallacies.....my current "Chinese Whispers" was hitherto "Mother Rumour" for aforementioned furphies, along with other current gems such as by going faster than very low fps it is simply adding bad frames to good - & other pearls..!

 

Incidentally, the ASI462MC colour camera captures in our current thread were actually 400" for Saturn. smile.gif

 

 



#25 Kokatha man

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Posted 17 October 2021 - 07:59 PM

ps: Couldn't help notice Jim's latest post in the "Jokes" thread which I always read to stay grounded on CN..! lol.gif

 

<"Have you noticed? All the instruments searching for intelligent life are pointing away from Earth....">


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