SharpCap 2.7 is now released

SharpCap 2.7 adds a number of new features, particularly to the live stacking feature that was already in 2.6. Improvements to Live Stacking include:

  • Alignment and derotation added – note: must be able to at least 3 stars in each frame for this to work
  • FWHM measurement and filtering on FWHM score
  • Flexible levels adjustment on the histogram tab
  • Log of stacking info/events
  • Make Test Camera available in released code for experimentation with these features
  • Much improved handling of reading dark frames – will convert bit depth and 3/4 colour planes as required
  • Add options to save stack as a dark or as viewed (ie including histogram adjustments)
  • Now supports alignment in 16 bit modes

In addition to the live stacking improvements, there are a couple of other significant new features:

  • Dark subtraction available for all Astro cameras – look in preprocessing controls. Note that this doesn’t include webcams (but you can use dark subtraction for webcams within live stacking). Also, don’t select dark subtraction both at the camera level and within live stacking. It won’t end well…
  • Focuser position line drawn on focus score graphs if you have an ASCOM focuser selected. This helps you spot the focuser position where you achieved the best focus. Maybe this will form the basis of an autofocus feature in a future version.

Finally, there are the usual improvements to camera support. This time the big news is the addition of support for Celestron/Imaging Source cameras. Once again a big thank you to F1 Telescopes who were kind enough to arrange various sample Celestron cameras for me to work with – without which this would have been impossible.

Additionally, there are improvements to the support for the following cameras

  • QHY cameras – new SDK integrated which will work with a much wider range of QHY cameras. Support for upcoming QHY5III cameras added. Support for QHY ColdMOS cameras coming soon. Thanks to QHY for help and sample cameras to improve SharpCap.
  • Altair cameras – new SDK, updates to support upcoming new camera models and bug fixes. Thanks to Altair Astro for providing access to production cameras and development models.
  • ZWO cameras – again, new SDK, bug fixes and changes to support new and upcoming models including ASI***COOL cameras. Thanks to ZWO for providing help, feedback and access to cameras to test and develop with.
  • Basler cameras – updated to a new version of the Pylon SDK (5.0) and fixed a number of issues arising from some Basler cameras having slightly different names for controls like Gain and Exposure (sigh…). Also there is a new experimental option for Basler cameras, which updates a lot of the Basler code to be in line with the more recently supported cameras. I hope to add LX support to this experimental option in SharpCap 2.8 and then withdraw the old Basler camera code.

One more thing worth noting is that SharpCap 2.7 is going to be the last version of SharpCap that will work on WindowsXP. SharpCap 2.8 will require Windows 7 (well, it might run on Vista, but I’m making no promises and nobody uses Vista anyway…)

Finally, a bit thank you to everyone who uses and enjoys SharpCap, particularly those who take the time to report a bug, get in touch, like SharpCap on facebook or otherwise contribute. I’ve fixed dozens of bugs while developing 2.7 as a direct result of bug reports, so keep those coming!

This installer can be found on the downloads page.