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FORUMS Photo Sharing & Visual Enjoyment Astronomy & Celestial
Thread started 11 Apr 2017 (Tuesday) 13:40
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Need suggestions Tethering camera and stacking software

 
Panamaszr12
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Apr 11, 2017 13:40 |  #1

I'm looking into seeing if this is possible. My goal is to use a dslr tethered to my laptop so I can stack a small group of images let's say 30 second video shoot. Then to render it as fast as possible. I'm trying to get around mirage in the daytime for terrestrial views.
I haven't decided on a dslr but looking at canon eos. Options so far d20, d40, d60, xt, xti, xsi. Decision to be based on future recommendations.
Current telescope celestron 6se
Any advice would be great.




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MalVeauX
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Post has been last edited 8 months ago by MalVeauX. 2 edits done in total.
Apr 11, 2017 14:17 |  #2

Heya,

I use BackYardEOS with a T4i/7D and do video and long exposure still images with a C6. Works great. You will want a Canon with real Live View though, so start looking for a used T3i (600D), that's the ideal old one to go for, for this.

Take the 30 second video and drop it into Autostakkert!2 and you're good to go.

If you use a USB3 camera instead of a dSLR, you can explore the world of Live Stacking, where it takes images and stacks them real time for you to view.

Very best,


My Flickr (external link) :: My Astrobin (external link) :: Canon 17-40L For Sale! $380!

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Celestron
Cream of the Crop
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Apr 11, 2017 14:25 |  #3

All those cameras you mentioned are discontinued lines from Canon . You might still be able to buy some of them like on ebay or amazon or a few places on the web but just remember they are old . Also too I don't think any of those cameras take video so if you want to take a 30-sec video you need a video cam or camera that is capable for video . Still images yes it can be done but i don't know if there is a software that retrieves your camera images instantly on your computer . Besides if 30-secs is your goal then planets and individual stars will be about all you can do but if your wanting deep space objects like nebulaes or galaxies or star clusters you really are looking at about 30-sec/frame for any object and even then about 200 thirty second images to stack and make a good image . Is your scope on a tracking mount ? If not you cannot get anything cause in a 6" scope objects will move fast enough to just cause a blurred or star trail image . So you might go back and check out cameras again and get something more updated or new . CHeck out the cameras at Canon and you can see at least what is still under production . Cameras like the XT and XTi and XSi are all Rebel lines from Canon which this line Canon makes a certain amount of different ones for this line and every year when they come out with a new Rebel line the camera on the end usually gets dropped and classified as discontinued .

https://www.usa.canon.​com ...oducts/list/cameras​/dslr/ (external link)




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Panamaszr12
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Apr 11, 2017 22:03 as a reply to MalVeauX's post |  #4

I'm new to cameras and am on a steady diet of over the top learning curve. Lol anyways so seeing on how my budget is vary limited I have to look at older cameras. With my research I see the canon xti or xsi or ti1 fit my budget on eBay. They all have live view.
Now I'll look at your suggestion for BackYardEOS. See I'm looking to do something quiet different. We do 600 yard shooting competitions, and before 10am I can see bullet holes, but as the mirage comes on its difficult at best. So I want to experiment to see if I can stack a small set of images, if I can see holes. Yup maybe wishful thinking but I love difficult challenges.
Thanks for your help.




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andicus
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Apr 11, 2017 22:15 as a reply to Panamaszr12's post |  #5

Just as a heads-up... The Canon XTi does NOT have live view.


Canon EOS 7D, EOS Digital Rebel XTi / EOS 400D / Kiss Digital X | Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM, EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM, EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS |

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TCampbell
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Joined Apr 2012
Apr 12, 2017 00:17 |  #6

Not all Canon DSLR's have it... but the 60D has a 640x480 "crop" mode. Of the video modes, most cameras use the full sensor. For planetary imaging this is a bit of waste since the planets tend to be small and only occupy the center of the sensor. The "crop" mode only uses the center of the sensor and this makes for smaller files, faster frame rates, and faster processing.

There are some dedicated astrophotography imaging cameras that are popular (the ZWO ASI 1600MC comes to mind) but I don't know what your budget allows.




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Panamaszr12
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Post has been edited 8 months ago by Panamaszr12.
Apr 12, 2017 02:28 as a reply to andicus's post |  #7

Thanks for the heads up, ugh see I'm on disability and extra $$$ aren't easy to come by. I did find a link for canon that gives me the models that support live view in video.
I have possabliy found a T1i and according to canon it supports live view. Any comments on this for a camera are welcome.




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Celestron
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Post has been last edited 8 months ago by Celestron. 3 edits done in total.
Apr 12, 2017 08:39 |  #8

Panamaszr12 wrote in post #18325624 (external link)
We do 600 yard shooting competitions, and before 10am I can see bullet holes, but as the mirage comes on its difficult at best. So I want to experiment to see if I can stack a small set of images, if I can see holes. Yup maybe wishful thinking but I love difficult challenges.
Thanks for your help.

If your wanting this for this type sports why do you want to mess with a camera ? Why don't you try getting a set of binocs or a refractor telescope or a Spotting Scope made for hunting ? There are lots of Spotting Scopes on ebay for decent prices .

http://www.ebay.com ....html?_nkw=spotting​+scope (external link)

This might help you understand spotting scopes also .

http://www.opticsplane​t.com ...tting-scope-features.html (external link)

https://consumerfiles.​com ...e-spotting-scope-reviews/ (external link)




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MalVeauX
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Apr 12, 2017 08:52 |  #9

Hrm, yea, this is an expensive "experiment" especially if this is on a fixed income and needs to be budgeted. A small sensor USB camera would do the job, rather than fooling with a dSLR on a C6 (1500mm F10) scope.

A lot of folk use spotting scopes with M43 digital cameras on them for things like this. Smaller. Lighter weight. No laptop required to tether to.

Very best,


My Flickr (external link) :: My Astrobin (external link) :: Canon 17-40L For Sale! $380!

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TCampbell
Senior Member
Joined Apr 2012
Apr 12, 2017 10:13 as a reply to Panamaszr12's post |  #10

The ideal features for a camera that can do 'planetary' imaging are different than the needs for 'deep sky' objects.

Deep sky objects require several very long exposures (e.g. often 5-10 minute long exposures but they could be as short as 30 seconds to 2 minutes). Such long exposures will have many stars in them and the stacking software uses the star positions to 'register' (align) each frame.

For as distant and as small as these objects may seem, they're "large" compared to planets. Most deep-sky objects are anywhere from a few degrees across to at least several arc-minutes across.

The free software that does the stacking is called Deep Sky Stacker. It doesn't do tethering or the image acquisition (it does not control the camera) but once the images are imported, it will stack them.

For planets, it's a bit different... planets are "bright" compared to deep sky objects, but planets are also "small".

Jupiter is currently very bright and at it's largest (the opposition of Jupiter was just last Friday. Opposition is the point when the Earth is between Jupiter and the Sun -- which generally means we're the closest we'll be Jupiter all year and that also means it's the largest and brightest that we'll see Jupiter all year.)

And yet... Jupiter is a mere 44 arc-seconds (angular size) from edge to edge.

That tiny size means that only a tiny area on your camera sensor has the image of the planet and the rest of the camera frame is basically wasted data that won't be used.

There's a program called PIPP (Planetary Image Pre-Processor) which was written by a gentleman who noticed that all that extra data (having full-size frames even though we're only interested in the tiny piece of frame that has our planet) was really bogging down the stacking process. PIPP is able to help you crop the video so that it can speed up the stacking process (it also does format conversions and other handy tasks).

Planetary imaging typically involves recording many frames of video (preferably at a high frame rate). The planets are bright enough that you generally won't see background stars in the same frame (the stars would have required much longer exposures -- so long that the planet would have been over-exposed.)

Having these video frames, the stacking software typically asks you to skim through and find examples of some of the clearest frames (the atmosphere is bit like imaging through water -- it'll distort the images in most frames but a few frames may be steady). The software then looks for other similar quality frames and uses just the best frames for processing (the rest are ignored.)

Since there are generally no stars, we can't use stars as reference points to register each frame. Instead the planet's disk is used for alignment with planet features (points of contrast on the object) being used to help out.

I use a tethering cable that cost less than $10 on Amazon (the "tether tools" brand cable is around $35-40) and having both and comparing the two side by side, I could identify no difference in quality -- the tether tools brand cable is orange.

In terms of software... one of the most popular programs for image acquisition (camera control) is something called Backyard EOS. For Nikon owners it's a program called Backyard NIK (warning to Nikon owners... D3xxx series cameras are not supported last I checked. It requires a D5xxx series or above due to Nikon SDK issues.) These programs require Windows (does not run on Mac - but it would run in a virtual machine (and I've used it that way using VMware Fusion on my Mac.)

The software allows you to control the camera remotely from your computer but it also allows you to control the imaging runs (whether planetary or deep-sky object). It also coordinates with other software. Deep-sky object imaging generally requires auto-guiding and the software does interact with PHD (which really does stand for "push here dummy") auto-guiding software. This way if you've enabled "dithering" for your image capture (nudges the telescope very fractionally between each frame so that any pattern noise or stuck pixels will not show up in the same spot in each frame and can more easily be cleaned up in the stacking process) will only perform the nudge when the camera shutter is closed (thus not smearing your images.) But the capture software and guide-software must "talk" to make this work.

Once the planetary data is captured (video data), the most popular programs for doing planetary processing are AutoStakkert and Registax. Auto-Stakkert is mostly *just* about the stacking. Registax does stacking but offers more in the way of post processing tools that AutoStakkert lacks. This might lead one to conclude that Registax is 'better' (because it does more) but I find a number of planetary images prefer AutoStakkert just to do the "stacking" and then turn to Registax for some post-processing (and then often pull the image into other programs such as WinJUPOS ... and ultimately into PhotoShop, etc. for some final finish work.)


You don't technically "need" any special software to do astrophotography image capture... but it is more convenient than manually operating the camera.


If you're planning to do planetary image capture, I'd seek out a Canon model that supports the "crop" mode video capture.

I know the 60D (and 60Da) as well as the Canon T2i (aka 550D) support this feature. MOST OTHER MODELS DO NOT! The T2i, T3i, T4i, T5i, 60D, 60Da, and 7D all used the same Canon 18 megapixel sensor (but the firmware is different). The quality of image capture will generally be about the same. While camera "body" features are a bit nicer as you get to higher end bodies, the sensors make little difference. So there isn't much point in spending too much money here. The 60Da is a special case... it was optimized for astrophotography and has a different filter which makes the camera significantly more sensitive to full spectrum light (in particular the Hydrogen alpha wavelength which is extremely common in deep-sky emission nebulae but most cameras struggle to capture it.)

Camera "sensors" are sensitive to full-spectrum light, but human eyeballs are NOT equally sensitive to all wavelengths in the visible spectrum. Our eyes are most sensitive to the greens in the middle of the spectrum and significantly less sensitive to the reds near the long wavelength end. So camera sensor filters are designed to trim the light transmission designed to mimic the sensitivity of the human eye so that the photos we take will resemble what our eyes could see. For astrophotography, imagers prefer to remove those filters are replace them will full-spectrum filters so that they aren't limiting the amount of light the camera can collect (thus getting more data in shorter exposure times.)




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MalVeauX
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Post has been edited 8 months ago by MalVeauX.
Apr 12, 2017 11:15 |  #11

Note,

He's not looking to shoot astro.

He's just looking to image/view a target with bullet holes at 600 yards, terrestrial work, and the heat haze mid-day is killing the view from that far with heat turbulence.

++++++++++++

Honestly the easier way to tackle this is with a remote camera, doing video, like a simple "game camera" setup near the firing range target, but out of line of fire. Then connect to it via WiFi. Trying to see and image through heat haze is going to be an exercise in frustration and futility.

Very best,


My Flickr (external link) :: My Astrobin (external link) :: Canon 17-40L For Sale! $380!

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Celestron
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Apr 12, 2017 11:18 as a reply to MalVeauX's post |  #12

:D :D :D




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Panamaszr12
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Apr 12, 2017 12:33 as a reply to Celestron's post |  #13

We do shoots every month and there are people with spotting scopes from $50 to $2000 and we all have the same issue seeing 6mm bullet holes at 600 yards. People come to me because my c6 out performs them all. Now I want to up my game and use stacking software to overcome mirage as best as possible.
Yes it cost $$$ but like my scope I can use it for celestrial viewing, and a camera I can use for family events, not to mention resale if it doesn't work out. At the moment I found a T1i for $200 like new with extras and that fits my budget.
Not to mention if I could develop a way to see bullet holes better I could even make some $ spotting for people, and at the same time being able to enhance my celestrial viewing.




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MalVeauX
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Apr 12, 2017 12:57 |  #14

Heya,

Just a note, trying to stack through turbulent air (this mirage you speak of?), will result in an average approximation based on the data you collect. The bullet holes will not be precisely where they really are, but an average of their location based on their shimmering location that changes through the heat turbulence.

Your scope performs better because of the larger aperture (6 inches).

A wifi camera at the target however will blow all these options away.

Very best,


My Flickr (external link) :: My Astrobin (external link) :: Canon 17-40L For Sale! $380!

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Panamaszr12
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Hatchling
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Apr 12, 2017 13:34 as a reply to TCampbell's post |  #15

I don't know if this is your arena but I'm looking to hack the T1i with magic lantern, as it appears it would solve a lot of the issues with exposure time, and maybe even the cropping. I'm just looking into it now to get the full rundown.
Also I just struck a deal for the camera for $150. It was used by this persons wife, and was hardly used at all. So it's like new with filters, bag, cables, software, battery & charger, as well as sd card. How is that for a deal.




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Need suggestions Tethering camera and stacking software
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