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Astro Capture for Android

Astrophotography Software Smartphone AP
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#1 astrocapture

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Posted 08 February 2024 - 12:28 PM

Hello all,

 

The official ZWO Android app (ASICap) is now discontinued, so I just released Astro Capture, an unofficial, free and new Android app to capture RAW images from ZWO ASI devices.

 

You can find the app here: https://play.google....ft.astrocapture

 

At this time the app is tested with the ASI178MM and Android 9 only, new features will be added over time.

Feel free to give it a try and let me know what you think and if your configuration works fine.

 

Cheers


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#2 KuiperBeltKing

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Posted 08 February 2024 - 12:55 PM

It does not appear in the Play Store on my Android 9 phone. You may need to whitelist it to appear on more devices.



#3 Xeroid

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Posted 08 February 2024 - 03:01 PM

I'm glad your doing this as I find use of an Android tablet to quickly get "focus" helps with EAA!

 

Please keep working on it!!

 

Edit: I just installed on my Android tablet from the link, Play Stor recognized my username and equipment.


Edited by Xeroid, 08 February 2024 - 04:36 PM.


#4 astrocapture

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Posted 08 February 2024 - 03:07 PM

It does not appear in the Play Store on my Android 9 phone. You may need to whitelist it to appear on more devices.

Hello, it was released today so may take some time to appear worldwide. I installed the app successfully from the link on my devices, have you tried from the link?



#5 astrocapture

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Posted 08 February 2024 - 03:09 PM

I'm glad your doing this as I find use of an Android tablet to quickly get "focus" helps with EAA!

 

Please keep working on it!!

If I'm not wrong the original app was not supporting 16 bit raw, so we already have some enhancements. Many features are still missing, if you need something specific please write it so I can prioritize the development.



#6 astrocapture

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Posted 09 February 2024 - 03:11 PM

Today a new update was rolled out with:

- Performance improvements
- Android 13 compatibility
- Remote shutter
- Zoom and Pan


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#7 Xeroid

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Posted 10 February 2024 - 11:48 AM

astrocapture:

 

FYI

 

I installed the latest update on my Lenovo P11+ tablet (6 GB RAM ) Android v12 with a ASI178MC plugged in, the app starts then shuts down immediately. 

 

The camera and cable are good as no issues with another Android imaging app.



#8 astrocapture

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Posted 10 February 2024 - 01:02 PM

Hello,

 

Sorry but I don't have an ASI178MC to test the app, it's tested on the 178MM only.

I tried it on the Lenovo P10 and the 178MM and is working fine.

 

Is your camera supporting the RAW8 format?

 

I will try to add some logging feature so we can analyze what went wrong maybe



#9 Xeroid

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Posted 10 February 2024 - 02:28 PM

astrocapture:

 

Thanks for reply and info.

 

Yes, my ASI178MC does support RAW8. I just checked and it uses the same Sony sensor as the ASI178MM.

 

Logging may certainly help to identify source of this behavior...


Edited by Xeroid, 10 February 2024 - 02:42 PM.


#10 astrocapture

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Posted 11 February 2024 - 06:15 AM

Hello,

 

The 178MC sensor is the color version of the 178MM. The sensor is very similar, but not the same.

 

I released v1.5 today:

- Custom Gain control

- Images are now saved to Pictures\AstroCapture

- Logs are saved to Pictures\AstroCapture\log.txt

 

To be saved, logs need the Storage Write permission that is requested at app startup.

Please let me know if anything is logged.

 

Any testing with other cameras is appreciated too.



#11 Xeroid

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Posted 11 February 2024 - 11:45 AM

astrocapture,

 

You did it, upgraded app now runs.

 

I did a brief daylight test using ASI178MC and ASI294MC and was able to view the images, adjust exposure/gain and save the *.tiff image on my tablet.

 

No log.txt was found in the Pictures\AstroCapture folder.

 

Well done!


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#12 astrocapture

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Posted 11 February 2024 - 02:05 PM

You are welcome, let me know if you have any feature request.



#13 astrocapture

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Posted 11 February 2024 - 04:46 PM

Version 1.6 released, what's new:

- Multiple frames (1, 10, 50, 100, 1000)
- HDR (+/- 1, 3, 5 stop)
- Timelapse (delay) interval

 

Note 1: Some smartphone may not support the maximum resolution / bit depth because of low USB bandwidth. It's recommended to use lower settings in these cases.

 

Note 2: Landscape orientation is recommended to display all controls


Edited by astrocapture, 11 February 2024 - 04:52 PM.

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#14 astrocapture

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Posted 12 February 2024 - 07:54 PM

I found out some USB connectivity issues on some old smartphones. The ZWO ASI camera is requesting quite a bit of current at power on. On some smartphones this may trigger an USB shutdown due to the excessive current spike. A quick solution is to connect the USB cable to the smartphone first, so the capacitance of the cable is charged, and then connect the cable to the camera.



#15 Xeroid

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Posted 17 February 2024 - 01:04 PM

astrocapture,

 

The update works well, I like the Frames feature for saving images, but what or where is the "HDR" you previously mentioned?



#16 astrocapture

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Posted 17 February 2024 - 06:23 PM

Hello Xeroid,

 

Hope you updated to v2.1 (this app is moving fast and I'm not tracking all improvements in this thread).

 

Under the same "1 Frame" menu you can find HDR 1 stop, 3 stop and 5 stop.

This is the same HDR "nomenclature" that you can find on Sony camera.

 

Note: Pictures are not merged in-app, but only collected for a better user control.

 

In the app HDR means that 3 images are taken at the specified exposure intervals.

 

For example if you are shooting at 1/10s:

 

HDR 1 stop takes photo at:

-1 stop: 1/20s

0 stop:   1/10s

+1 stop: 1/5s

 

HDR 3 stop takes photo at:

-3 stop: 1/80s

0 stop:   1/10s

+3 stop: 0.8s

 

and so on..

 

It's a very powerful feature to improve (in post processing) the dynamic range of a still scene that's not available on official apps.


Edited by astrocapture, 17 February 2024 - 06:52 PM.

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#17 Xeroid

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Posted 17 February 2024 - 09:53 PM

astrocapture,

 

Thanks for the reply on HDR, sounds really amazing and will try it. Nights still very cloudy here with SNOW....ugh!



#18 Xeroid

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Posted 19 February 2024 - 10:53 AM

astrocapture,

 

I updated to v2.1 and when I change capture resolution, the screen image does not update to the new setting. I am using a ASI294MC. 



#19 astrocapture

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Posted 19 February 2024 - 11:33 AM

Hello,

 

This may happens if the resolution is too high for your smartphone connection and all frames are dropped, so you never see new frames. Please ensure that Binning x Resolution is < Max Resolution.

 

Resolutions higher than Full-HD likely requires a smartphone with USB 3.0. You can try RAW8 and BIN1 to reduce a bit the bandwidth required. You can also try a different resolution to see if works better (when Width*Height is a multiple of 1024 is better for USB bandwidth)

 

Connecting the camera directly to the smartphone without hub/adapter/etc.. but with a direct USB-C cable may help too.

 

 

Here some performance test of two old USB 2.0 devices:

 

Test conditions:

Camera: Zwo ASI 178MM
Format:   Raw8
Exposure: 1/100
Binning:  Bin1

 

Resolution Fps1 Fps2
640x480  18 19
1024x768 10 10
1280x720 9 9
1360x768 9 9
1600x900 7 -
1920x1080 6 5
2048x1536 - 3
2560x1440 - 3
3096x2080 - 2

 

Fps1 = Lenovo Tab M10 FHD Plus
Fps2 = Huawei P10

 

Lenovo Tab M10 can't go higher than 1920x1080, while the Huawei P10 can go up to the maximum resolution, but won't work at 1600x900. As you can see, an USB 3.0 smartphone is suggested in both cases over the Full HD resolution to avoid a very slow frame rate.


Edited by astrocapture, 19 February 2024 - 05:55 PM.


#20 antarex

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Posted 01 March 2024 - 11:56 PM

Compliments!
I would like information on the app.
1) Will other options be added such as ROI, 12 bit (ser and fit), etc...?
2) Progressively, will compatibility be extended to all ASI models, including USB 2.0 ones like the old 120 MM?
3) Do you plan to make the app compatible with any webcam/USB camera, or will it remain usable only via ASI cameras?


Edited by antarex, 01 March 2024 - 11:58 PM.


#21 artik

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Posted 02 March 2024 - 09:51 AM

Hello all,

 

The official ZWO Android app (ASICap) is now discontinued

 

Can you point to an official announcement?

 

As long as there is SDK from ZWO for Android it isn't really a problem. There are alternatives for ASI Cap already in Google Play store.  (And not ASI ZWO only)


Edited by artik, 02 March 2024 - 09:55 AM.


#22 astrocapture

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Posted 02 March 2024 - 12:31 PM

Compliments!
I would like information on the app.
1) Will other options be added such as ROI, 12 bit (ser and fit), etc...?
2) Progressively, will compatibility be extended to all ASI models, including USB 2.0 ones like the old 120 MM?
3) Do you plan to make the app compatible with any webcam/USB camera, or will it remain usable only via ASI cameras?

Hello @antarex

 

You are welcome to ask questions. The philosophy behind Astro Capture is to keep it community driven.

 

1a) ROI is not currently implemented, but is a great idea. I'll add it to the feature backlog.

1b) 8/16 bit images are already supported, if your sensor is 12 bit then choose 16 bit to save all the data.

1c) Ser / Fit formats are not supported yet. Images are saved as standard 8/16 bit TIFF files that are better supported by 3rd party softwares and other non-astronomical apps.

1d) Ser video recording requires a tablet / smartphone with USB 3 and a fast memory to keep a decent framerate and such devices are not very common yet.

2) Device support is actually determined by the official Zwo Sdk for Android. If a Zwo device is not supported, there are no chances to have it working.

3a) The app is designed to support additional Sdk from other brands, but at this time Zwo only is providing an Android Sdk. What camera would you like to use with the app?

3b) Generic webcam/USB cameras can be easily used by other apps, I don't think the effort to support them is worth at this time.

 

Thanks again for your questions, let me know if you have any other suggestion or concern.


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#23 astrocapture

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Posted 02 March 2024 - 12:58 PM

Can you point to an official announcement?

 

As long as there is SDK from ZWO for Android it isn't really a problem. There are alternatives for ASI Cap already in Google Play store.  (And not ASI ZWO only)

Hello @artik,

 

SDK and ASI Cap for Android are both discontinued. I received this information directly from Simon Lewis (ZWO USA Support) when I asked support for a link to download ASI Cap.

Please let me know if you get a different response or if they changed their mind.

 

ASI Cap is retired and not available anymore on the Play Store. The Android SDK is still available for download, but not updated anymore.

 

I'm aware of the app OpenLiveStacker that's very astro-focused, but is missing some AstroCapture features and UI is a bit different. I strongly believe that having more choices is always better.

If OpenLiveStacker developers need help or advices I would be happy to share my experience with them of course.

 

AstroCapture, despite the name, is born to use the Astro camera for scientific applications or as a regular photographic camera. Can be used for astro photography also of course, but the processing need to be done on the computer (and this is not always bad).

 

I don't know any other apps for Android.

 

Thank you anyway for your questions that brought many interesting points



#24 artik

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Posted 02 March 2024 - 01:32 PM

Hello @artik,

 

SDK and ASI Cap for Android are both discontinued. I received this information directly from Simon Lewis (ZWO USA Support) when I asked support for a link to download ASI Cap.

Please let me know if you get a different response or if they changed their mind.

 

ASI Cap is retired and not available anymore on the Play Store. The Android SDK is still available for download, but not updated anymore.

That is worrying. 

 

I don't care about ASICap - also it is for long time out of store. I actually got support and updated drivers from ASI about 1/2 a year ago that sorted out problem for ASI120MC on some devices.

 

 

I'm aware of the app OpenLiveStacker that's very astro-focused, but is missing some AstroCapture features and UI is a bit different. I strongly believe that having more choices is always better.

If OpenLiveStacker developers need help or advices I would be happy to share my experience with them of course.

 

AstroCapture, despite the name, is born to use the Astro camera for scientific applications or as a regular photographic camera. Can be used for astro photography also of course, but the processing need to be done on the computer (and this is not always bad).

 

 

Of course!

 

If you do so - make sure that you support raw16, because ASICap didn't support 16 bit output.



#25 astrocapture

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Posted 02 March 2024 - 03:08 PM

Hello @artik,

 

Raw16 is a core feature of AstroCapture and is already implemented and available for download from the Play Store.

 

There are many other unique features available. I suggest you to try the HDR braketing to greatly enhance the dynamic range for example.


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