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The Cameras are Coming, the Cameras are Coming!
Richard S. Wright Jr.'s Blog

I feel like Paul Revere announcing a coming invasion, and to some extent it's true. Cross platform X2 camera support is about to explode.

In the last couple of months, we've been to AIC (Advanced Imaging Conference), and the SWAP (Southwest Astrophotography) seminar, coupled with the Arizona Science and Astronomy Expo (ASAE). I bet you think we go to these things to meet our customers, and sell stuff... well of course we do... but it's also so we can talk to other vendors, make deals, see what they are up to, etc. etc.

Before I go on, I have to get something off my chest. I do not work for SBIG. SBIG and Software Bisque are not the same company. SBIG does not own Software Bisque. Software Bisque does not own SBIG. Not that I'm feeling self conscious or anything, but if I had $1 for every time someone said oh, this is Richard Wright, he works for SBIG, I could buy...well at least a nice meal. It is true that SBIG mentored Software Bisque to some extent in the early years when Software Bisque got into the imaging business, and started making the Paramount mount. We worked closely together, and still do. We DO want to support other cameras, however, in the Camera Add On, our cross platform imaging pipeline. I came late to the game, and started via the DSLR route. I took the blue pill however, and my first CCD was not a red SBIG camera, but a blue QSI. Kevin Nelson at QSI, as well as Tom Bisque, mentored me a good bit on the CCD journey, and I'll always owe them a great debt of gratitude. But I don't work for QSI either... I'm just say'n is all.

So, boy do I like to image. Boy, do I like to image on a Mac, and now that I have a few X2 camera plug-ins under my belt, I seem to have achieved camera control critical mass. Cross platform (Windows _and_ Mac) camera support is now shipping and solid for SBIG (thanks to Matt), and Canon DSLR's (my first X2 plugin). My next X2 foray was porting the QSI Windows X2 plug-in to the Mac, then I got the SSAG from Orion up and going on both platforms. Meanwhile FLI and Evan Warkentine have risen to the challenge of getting FLI going across operating systems as well. Lets' review the Camera Add On's Mac camera support right now:

  • SBIG
  • QSI
  • FLI
  • Canon
  • Orion (SSAG)
  • Starlight Xpress SX Lodestar

That's a nice handful of cameras available to the Mac crowd. I've recently forged good relationships with Starlight Xpress, QHYCCD, ATIK, and Apogee (Apogee X2 is already on Windows), The Starlight Xpress Lodestar support has been out a while now, and after a preliminary trip/stumble, I've checked in a very stable Starlight Xpress X2 plugin that should work across platforms, and across their camera lines (not just Lodestar... I really needed two cameras to get this working correctly). In the labs, I have QHYCCD and ATIK cameras taking images, cooling, etc. already. The plug-ins are coming along very nicely. Finally Apogee has promised some support so that we can get X2 up and going on the Mac for their cameras as well.

Within a few months, we are going to have Windows and Mac support for every major camera vendor via X2, and I know of at least one other camera vendor who is making their own X2 plug-in. On Windows, I think the Camera Add On is a very competitive alternative to some of the other imaging suites, and on the Mac there really isn't anything that compares to the level of integration you can get between TheSkyX and your imaging tools.... arguably, this is true on Windows as well, but I'll try and not turn this into too blatant of an advertisement.<g>

Best of all, the Winter imaging season is arriving in Florida, and I can actually use these cameras to take images of something other than the wall on the other side of the room! My primary responsibility is still mobile products, but I don't mind at all becoming the resident camera expert. It's an interesting view across the different vendors too, and they all have their quirks, pro's and cons, and these shift depending on the environment and application of the cameras. I plan to investigate these myself from my backyard, and my dark sky site. The question is, will my mobile side and my imaging side ever produce offspring? Time will tell....

Meanwhile, release the photons!

Richard


Posted 11-22-2013 8:34 AM by Richard Wright
Filed under: ,

Comments

Greg Elton wrote re: The Cameras are Coming, the Cameras are Coming!
on 11-30-2013 4:17 AM

Hi Richard

Is there any plans to support Nikon especially the d800 for Windows

Kind Regards Greg

Richard Wright wrote re: The Cameras are Coming, the Cameras are Coming!
on 12-01-2013 7:30 AM

Not currently now. Nikon has a lot of catching up to do in the Astronomical community. Part of the problem is they do not (or at least didn't) have a universal SDK for controlling their cameras. An X2 camera plug-in developers guide will be out shortly. Hopefully a Nikon fan will take this cause up for that community.

jsardina wrote re: The Cameras are Coming, the Cameras are Coming!
on 03-03-2014 12:55 PM

Hello Richard,

Will the Pro support the Mallincam Extreme X2 if not is this something you may consider.

Joe

jmcg wrote re: The Cameras are Coming, the Cameras are Coming!
on 03-04-2014 1:23 AM

Hello Richard.

The QHY cameras and the focuser Seletek, can run on Mac? I've read the post you have on the QHY tests, but also for Mac or Windows only? The community of Mac users, we are really excited about this project that you are undertaking.

Regards from Spain,

José Manuel

Wayne Hixson wrote re: The Cameras are Coming, the Cameras are Coming!
on 03-27-2014 3:30 PM

Any developments ongoing for X2 for focusers?

PAULO COSTA wrote re: The Cameras are Coming, the Cameras are Coming!
on 04-21-2014 8:17 PM

Hi Richard, I also want to know which focuser should I get for the Mac. I am building my set up around the Mac compatibility as I haven't used Windows for ages. I already bought a SBIG and TheSky X Pro with the Camera add on and the TPoint. Now I'm focusing (no pun intended) on the focuser. According to your list the only option for a Celestron CPC 1100 with a SBIG STF 8300 seems to be the Optec Part #19711 C11 FastFOCUS Secondary Mirror Focusing System, but even this I am not sure that will work, besides costing $1.2K. Would you have any other suggestion? Focusers that work on ASCOM are already compatible?

   

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