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Solar Eclipse Maestro on Apple silicon

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#1 CharlieSz

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Posted 08 February 2024 - 01:21 PM

Does anyone know if there is a version of Solar Eclipse Maestro that runs on Apple silicon (M1 or M2)?

 

I've used it on my 2014 MacBook Air a number of times and it's a very slick hands-off way of  photographing the eclipse while observing it. I've recently upgraded to a new MacBook Air with an M2 and I don't think SEM will run on it. The latest rev I can find is 2019 for Intel and a universal binary that covers the Motorola chips.

 

Ideally, I'd like to run it on the new machine because of battery issues on the old one. And, it would be nice to be able to run my Canon R6 off it as well.

 

My old machine with an external battery connection will be my backup but it would be nice to use my new hardware.



#2 banjo1000

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Posted 08 February 2024 - 02:51 PM

Charlie,

Have you considered buying a new battery for your older Mac? After market batteries on Amazon are less expensive, usually last a year before they wilt.  So say the reviews and my own experience. If they die right away, they can be exchanged.

 

I don't believe there are plans to upgrade SEM for M1/M2.

Joe


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#3 CharlieSz

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Posted 08 February 2024 - 03:02 PM

Charlie,

Have you considered buying a new battery for your older Mac? After market batteries on Amazon are less expensive, usually last a year before they wilt.  So say the reviews and my own experience. If they die right away, they can be exchanged.

 

I don't believe there are plans to upgrade SEM for M1/M2.

Joe

 

 

 

Good point. I hadn't thought of battery replacement. That feels like a major project with MacBooks.

 

The battery lasts about 2 hours on a zoom call so I'm thinking maybe the same or a bit more with the screen turned down and the camera off. I plugged it into a portable power pack with an inverter for other eclipses and had shore power for 2017.

 

If there's no new version, I'll likely go the powerpack + inverter route. It's fairly simple and reliable.

 

Charlie



#4 RossMacMan

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Posted 08 February 2024 - 05:08 PM

Sadly it looks like Solar Eclipse Maestro hit a dead end in development with some significant incompatibilities that arose with some of its dependencies and newer versions of MacOS.  It was a great tool to help me to capture totality with my woefully inadequate setup while keeping my hands off cameras and enjoying my first ever experience in the shadow.

 

There are apparently a few alternatives I'm starting to look into - CaptureEclipse being one of them that looks like it has some promise.  I haven't tested it yet, though; was just starting to look.  It's available in the App Store, which is handy.

*EDIT - one big difference I noticed with CaptureEclipse is camera compatibility.  It's not a problem for me because I shoot Canon, but I'm not sure about other brands.


Edited by RossMacMan, 08 February 2024 - 05:16 PM.

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#5 FXM

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Posted 08 February 2024 - 06:20 PM

Greetings, I have 3 2010 MacBooks running Snow Leopard. I upgraded the HD to solid state and maxed the memory. I setup the one computer with everything and then cloned the drives for the other two computers. Also have Garmin 18xx for setup at site. Used these MacBooks for the TSE in 2017. Did buy new batteries for all 3 but was running on AC power at the time.

 

For this TSE will have a propane generator for where we are staying.

 

Have one Nikon D7500 and the rest will be the Nikon D7000s I used before.



#6 CharlieSz

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Posted 09 February 2024 - 12:12 PM

Thanks RossMacMan. I hadn't heard of Capture Eclipse and will take a look. I shoot Canon so it should be OK.

 

It's a shame about SEM but I understand that development for new OSs (and new CPUs!) can be a problem for an individual.



#7 racunniff

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Posted 09 February 2024 - 12:33 PM

I used CaptureEclipse for the annular eclipse in October and it worked well (I used an EOS R5). You do need to practice with your specific filter and exposure settings - the filter I used did not exactly correspond with any of the precanned selections.

 

I did have a little trouble with the C2/C3 timing but that may have been operator error.

 

I don't know how well it will do with corona / prominence photos, of course. But I've looked at its script generated and it seems "reasonable."


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#8 RossMacMan

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Posted 10 February 2024 - 12:38 AM

Having my first play with CaptureEclipse tonight and I have some things to think about. Note - it's written by Rob Hawley who I imagine is on the forums (I'm a newbie around here).  Everything I'm saying here or any point in the future (or that anyone says about it, for that matter) should be understood as personal experience/opinion.  In some of his content, he's said that he wrote this program to use himself since SEM ceased development.  That he's gone to the trouble of publishing it freely on the App Store is extremely generous and I appreciate it tremendously.  It's more application than I have time or talent to write (although if I could find some Canon SDK Python 3.x wrapper for Intel Mac, I'd probably already be writing my own scripts).

  1. It seems it doesn't like my little Canon M5 (I get an error message about the memory card being locked, although it isn't locked).  Looking at the docs, it appears this and any M-series from before the M50 is unsupported.  It appears this is due to Canon not supporting these cameras in their SDK.  Not great - I think to myself "Maybe I should get a used M6ii for the SDK support and extra resolution.  Canon's dropped the M mount, they must be cheap nowadays."  Goes to Ebay.  Sees prices.  Closes Ebay.  Reconsiders all my camera body assignments.
  2. While playing around with the script generator with the simulated camera I got a crash which gives me cold prickly feelings when thinking about running this during an eclipse.
  3. Exposure control - according to Mr. Hawley's website docs, he removed the ability to tweak the recommended exposures at different phases in the most recent release.  It appears the EV for each phase/event is pretty well hard-coded into the tool. I wonder if it's possible to hack the .xml file for the script, but I suspect this will cause issues with overlapping events if you were to mess with it during totality.
  4. Only one camera.  Back in 2017 I only had one camera running.  This year I'd like to have 20.  Okay, maybe not 20, but 4 isn't out of the question if I can automate them.
  5. Sequences for Corona are locked in. I liked the more direct control I recall having with Solar Eclipse Maestro back when I used it in 2017.  My initial impression is that there are more soft bumpers with CaptureEclipse than there were with SEM, which has its benefits and drawbacks.  I tend to be more of a "let me try it and if it breaks, that's on me" sort of person.
  6. I think the "burst delay" setting has the potential to be problematic.  I've found shooting timelapses with intervalometers that the recovery time from the end of one frame to the start of the next often depends on the shutter speed (e.g. for SS under 0.5s, the delay might be very short, while for longer SS it suddenly jumps up to more than half a second).
  7. For some reason when I change the % change between partial eclipse frames setting to be <5%, the label for all the partial eclipse photos say that they're for 100%

I may end up using CaptureEclipse.  I'm digging a little into the Canon SDK; perhaps I could wrap it up for Python on Mac.  It's just been quite a long time since I went through that process with C++ code (more than 10 years ago when I was finishing up my graduate studies).


Edited by RossMacMan, 10 February 2024 - 01:18 AM.




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