First off I want to say that I am really loving SGPro! I’m still in the trial period and am yet to actually try it out under the stars, but testing has gone well so I’ve no reason (so far!) to assume that it won’t work. Once I’ve had a single successful night I will be purchasing the full package for sure.
Something’s bothering me though. Flats! With my current setup, and the long waits (~35 secs or so) between each flat due to the download time, it takes about 17.5 mins to capture 30 Flats. Each flat is only 1 sec long, so that’s 17.5 mins to capture 30 secs of data! Correct me if I’m wrong here, but isn’t that insane? I presume other DSLR users are in a similar boat, so how come this is not more of an issue?
I’ve obviously had to find a workaround, as an additional 16 mins at the end of each session is just too much in my book (I could be mostly packed up in that time, or captured another couple of lights). I’ve done some testing and now know the exact % brightness to set my Ipad to, such that a 1 sec exposure leads to a Mean ADU of just under 8,000, which I understand is what one needs to aim for with any 14bit camera, such as my Nikon D5300. I was able to confirm this with the Flats Calibration Wizard. I chose this method as I wanted to be able to use a standard exposure time, such as 1 sec, as opposed to something non-standard like say 0.28, that way I wouldn’t be tied to using SGPro for capturing them. So now what I plan to do is, at the end of capturing my lights (usually 8 min exposures) I will add an event to do a single 1 sec exposure to reset the camera from Bulb to 1” so I won’t need to scroll through them myself manually on the camera, thus risking nudging the optical train too much. Then shut down SGPro, disconnect the camera’s USB cable and shut the camera down. Then insert the memory card, power up the camera, and then use the Nikon’s built-in intervalometer setting in the menu to take the 30 1sec exposures that I need (with an interval of 1 sec between each one). This way I can knock them out in about a minute, instead of 17.5! The only downside that I can see, is that I need to touch the camera for the power cycle and memory card insertion, but I don’t see that as being too big of a deal.
And all of this just because we can’t access the memory card from within SGPro. Surely something can be done about this, right? I can think of at least one other Astro program that gives access to a DSLR’s memory card, so why can’t SGPro?
Ps – Is my workaround really necessary, or am I missing something obvious here? Also, I presume there will be no difference (consistency wise) between the Raw flat files I create on the memory card and the Raw Lights that SGPro creates?