oacapture 1.4.0 released

Just in time for the end of the winter, oacapture 1.4.0 is here.

In the main this release is to improve the handling of video modes and simplify the UI a little, though there is also an update to the ASI SDK for support of more recent cameras and there are always bugfixes.

Binary downloads (DMG files for OSX, .deb and .rpm files for Linux) from the downloads page. Source is available from github.

oacapture 1.3.0 released

Just in time for Christmas, oacapture 1.3.0 is now available to download.

Major changes for this release include:

  • The latest ZWO SDK for ASI cameras and updates so the application has more knowledge of newer cameras.
  • Support for the QHY IMG132E. Mostly just to see if I could do it
  • Improved handling for the QHY5-II and QHY5L-II
  • Support for turning camera controls on and off where available

If you have a Touptek, Altair or Mallincam camera on Linux and the vendor-supplied application is installed in the default location then oacapture should be able to use that to support the same cameras, which is a bit neater than previous attempts to handle these cameras. For Altair I’d recommend using the most recent beta release of their software. I’m still working on finding a neat way to do this on OSX.

There are also numerous other small enhancements and bugfixes.

Binary downloads (DMG files for OSX, .deb and .rpm files for Linux) from the downloads page. Source is available from github.

oacapture 1.2.0 released

The new release of oacapture is finally available.

In the main this is a bugfix release, but there are some notable changes too. The ASI SDK version has been updated to the 0.6.0901 release and the ffmpeg libraries to version 3. Translations to Spanish have also been added.

The handling of camera controls has been completely reworked to fit better with the functionality of IIDC and GigE cameras, but unfortunately that does mean that existing camera settings will be lost.

Support for more FITS headers has also been added. Almost eighty outstanding issues have been cleared with this version (but don’t worry, there are plenty more 🙂

Sources have now been moved to github, so please create an issue there for any problems.

Binary downloads are on the downloads page. Where else?

oacapture-1.1.0 released

It’s been a long time coming, but v1.1.0 is finally here. There are quite a few changes, though many of them won’t be visible to the casual observer. For instance, the build system has been made more robust and internal copies of libraries updated to fix a few problems on systems with older libraries. The more obvious bugfixes and enhancements include:

  • RPM and DEB format binary packages for Linux
  • Use the latest version of the ASI SDK (0.6.0504)
  • Support for PNG output
  • Enable building against Qt5
  • Increase usbfs memory available for ASI cameras
  • The default position of the controls is now to the right of the preview pane
  • FITS output is enabled for 8-bit RGB frames
  • TIFF format output should be allowed for colour cameras
  • 16-bit greyscale UVC cameras should be supported
  • A problem with the exposure time setting in the text file is fixed
  • A problem with slow exposures of over 999ms has been fixed
  • The “hide controls” option has been removed as the window splitter handle now supports this function

Remember on Linux that you need to add your user to the “users” group before many USB cameras will work. Linux users will also need to install the DEB/RPM files for libasicamera (which is a packaged version of the ASI SDK) and libuvc. These are also available on the downloads page.

My intention is to put the sources on Github shortly. If possible, please report issues on the Github issues tracker as it will enable me to keep track of things more easily.

oacapture 1.0.0 released

This is a little rushed as I want to get it out before taking a break, but it’s time for the 1.0.0 release. I think we’re at that point now. So, what’s changed?

The bad news is that things have become fairly hairy with the build tree, even compared with previous releases. This is partly to incorporate new libraries for cameras based on Touptek hardware and partly because a bleeding edge release of libdc1394 is required to support some of the newer Point Grey IIDC-over-USB cameras. The build works for me, but it might be really quite painful on other systems.

Changes include…

  • Implementation of a GPS-based camera control and timer mechanism to timestamp (FITS) files. This uses some bespoke hardware that hopefully I’ll be able to talk more about later, but the intention is to be able to accurately timestamp images for occultations
  • Allow sub-millisecond exposure times
  • ASI camera library update (to the May 2016 release)
  • Add support for Touptek cameras
  • Update support for newer ZWO cameras
  • Enable the ASI2 interface
  • Allow UtVideo codec to be disabled
  • Load the shared library for the Point Grey GigE cameras at runtime, so a single executable should work fine whether you have the library or not
  • Ditto with the Touptek cameras
  • Fix “directory not writable” error with FITS/TIFF files
  • Fix problem with 16-bit SER file format
  • Allow capture to MOV and TIFF files from raw colour if the output data is demosaicked

And there are a few other bugfixes too.

The ASI2 interface I’m not entirely happy with. It probably should still be considered experimental at this stage. Neither would I describe the Toupcam support as “complete” as there are one or two areas I’m not entirely happy about because the documentation isn’t 100% clear. I’m (still) waiting for a response from Touptek support on those. It’s pretty much there though.

Building releases is a slow process, so I’ve initially uploaded the OSX release and the sources. I’ll add binaries for Linux systems as I get them built. This may take a little while as the installation is getting rather more complex now.

oaCapture 0.9.0 release

Well, it’s been a very long time coming… Sometimes life has other plans.

Partly this is because I have been waiting, waiting and waiting some more for Apple to release an update for El Capitan which fixed some of the problems introduced by the re-write of the USB layer in OSX 10.11. The latest release (10.11.4) appears to have massively increased the stability of the USB layer. If you want to try El Capitan then you probably need to have patched to at least that release.

Otherwise, what have we got? The main reasons for releasing now are to include the latest ASI SDK with support for all the new cameras and to provide improved support for El Capitan which has been a problem until now. There are also various bugfixes, lots of tidying up, some development work which is not yet complete, an update to the included libusb code (required for support on El Capitan), improvements to TIFF and FITS handling. I believe the OSX binaries should once again run on all versions from Snow Leopard on.

Testing has now expanded to fill an inordinate amount of time compared to coding. I’m going to have to do something to change that. For this release I’ve dropped the 32-bit builds (though I can do these on demand if required). I’ve also dropped builds for older Linux releases (same applies). I need to do a little work to get a Raspbian build to complete as well, so no binaries are currently available for that. I don’t think it’s much work, so I can prioritise that if people are clamouring for it.

Going forward I think I’m going to arbitrarily designate a release as 1.0.0 fairly soon. At that point I’ll be looking to put all the code in a public repository, preferably with some sort of bug-tracker, and make a “release candidate” distribution before each major update so hopefully others can join in with the thrill of testing 🙂

oaCapture on El Capitan

There appear to be some problems with oaCapture on El Capitan. I’m still trying to run these to ground. I know this affects the ZWO cameras, but I haven’t tested any others yet. It looks as though Apple have fiddled with the USB layer a fair bit between Yosemite and El Capitan and code that works on all 64-bit systems from Snow Leopard to Yosemite is now broken 🙁

At the moment I’m afraid I don’t have an ETA for fixing this. Some workarounds for part of the problem have been added to libusb, but they don’t completely resolve the issues. I’m continuing to work on it.

oaCapture 0.8.0 release

Second release in a month! (By the skin of my teeth 🙂

That does mean there aren’t too many new features in this one. The main changes are partial support for the Celestron Neximage cameras and potentially Imaging Source USB2 CMOS cameras, support for the cooler controls in ZWO ASI cameras and support for Point Grey GigE cameras. There are also bugfixes for the ARM7 build, Point Grey IIDC cameras, the limit selection box not functioning intuitively on OSX and a few others.

I have tested the Neximage Burst C on Linux and OSX. On Linux it appears to work fine. On my (non-unibody) Mac Mini it appears to work fine on both Snow Leopard and Yosemite. However, on my 13″ 2013 Macbook Pro it appears to lock up the USB subsystem completely which requires a reboot to restore it regardless of which OSX release is used. I thought this was a hardware compatibility problem, but booting the MBP into Linux allows the camera to work happily, so it looks like some strange issue with OSX on my MBP. There do seem to be a number of reports of people experiencing hangs with USB devices on the 2013 13″ MBP, so it may just be my model. I would suggest however that if you’re going to give this camera a try on OSX, make sure all other applications are closed first and be prepared to have to turn off the power to recover the machine if it hangs.

The Burst M is untested but I believe it should work as well as the Burst C. The Neximage 5 may work with restricted functionality or may not work at all. Other Neximage cameras are not supported by this release.

The Imaging Source USB2 CMOS cameras (DFK22, DFK42, DFK72 and their mono counterparts) may work as the Neximage cameras are based on some of these models, with the same caveats for OSX.

ZWO cooler support is obviously not properly tested as the production cameras are not yet available.

At the moment Point Grey GigE cameras are supported using their Flycapture2 SDK. I can’t distribute this, so anyone wishing to use it will need to download and install the latest version themselves. You’ll then either need to build from source (the build system will find the libraries and use them if they’re present) or I can perhaps make binaries available that are linked against the necessary shared objects. I believe mono cameras should work, but colour cameras are not tested.

Feedback on which of these cameras work or don’t and particularly which Apple hardware the Celestron/Imaging Source cameras work on will be gratefully received.

Downloads from the page linked above.

oaCapture 0.7.0 release

“Famous last words”. Integrating support for the new ASI cameras turned out to be somewhat more tricky than I envisaged. In the end I managed to pin down a couple of bugs, one in oaCapture and one in the ZWO SDK and now we’ve got those fixed it looks like it works fairly well, so here it is.

Besides support for the new cameras the only other significant changes in this release are the addition of flags to put the gain and exposure values into the name for the capture files. Gain will be substituted for either “%G” or “%GAIN” and “%EXPMS” or “%x” will use the exposure time in milliseconds. “%EXPS” or “%X” does the same but in seconds.

See the links above for downloads.

Current plans for the next release include some sort of support for the Celestron Neximage cameras and the Imaging Source CMOS camera models as well as fixing a few niggly UI bugs.