Something really new this time – for the first time ever SharpCap’s camera support goes beyond simple webcams. SharpCap 1.3 adds support for a whole range of Basler cameras. So far I’ve been working with the Basler Ace cameras (http://www.baslerweb.com/beitraege/beitrag_en_99200.html) but since Basler provides a unified SDK for their whole camera range it should work with other models like the Scout, Aviator or Pilot.
What’s so good about the Basler cameras? How about high frame rates – up to 100fps on some models, and the connection via gigabit ethernet means you don’t have to sacrifice quality as the frame rate rises. Not enough? 12 bit pixel depth – that’s an extra factor of 16 in dynamic range over your 8 bit depth webcam. Add tiny size and the convenience of running a single ethernet cable to the camera (which can use power over ethernet) and you’ve got a compelling planetary camera. But we’re not done yet – maximum exposure is currently between 1 and 10s, depending on model, so the cameras are pushing into the LX webcam range.
At this point I have to say a big thank you to Dan over at www.xagyl.com. Dan was kind enough to provide me with a sample Ace camera for development and testing purposes. Dan is distributing the Basler cameras to Astronomers in the US and Canada – so you know where to look if you want to buy one. I know that Dan has some more Astronomical ideas up his sleeve, so keep an eye on his web site.
For more info see the Basler Cameras page.
For those of you who don’t have a Basler camera, there are still some exciting new features in 1.3…
- New scheduled capture feature – run a sequence of captures unattended
- Improved exposure control for LX modified webcams
- Improved handling of capture profiles (better IU too)
- Improved crash reporting if something goes wrong
- Various bug fixes