GORDON ! Thanks your information .
Standing up the mountain high,Looking down the window street,People all over the world (10X50 binocula
I received a G3 for Christmas but have only been able to try it out over the last 2 weeks or so. Initially because of having to connect up an additional power lead for the cooler, I tried using the camera without the cooler switched on. Although relatively new to astrophotography I found it a breeze to get the camera set up on my somewhat basic Celestron Powerseeker 127. Even when well out of focus you could see that you had a star in the field of view. Once I achieved focus I marked the focuser with a felt pen to ease quick focusing in the future. I also used a home made Bahtinov mask to firm up the focusing.
Because I have a poor quality EQ1 mount with motor which naturally struggles I have always been limited in the amount of exposure time I could accomplish. However, the sensitivity of the G3 even without a cooler meant that in most of work that I have done to date which has concentrated on taking images of Jupiter's moons and a few shots of the Orion Nebula the exposure times have been in the order of 3s or less. Most of the images I take are from by yard in Las Vegas and light pollution certainly has an impact when taking longer exposures.
I bought the monochrome version because I wanted to try and develop some skills in combining L,R,G,B images. Although the provided software (once updated) appears relatively stable I have found processing the images using Nebulosity or Maxim much more robust.
However, after the first two weeks of relative happiness. I ran into problem last Saturday when for the first time I used the cooler. Everything seemed fine for the first 5 minutes with the cooler noticeably reducing the temperature of the sensor. However after 5 minutes the fan started to behave erratically and a worrying burning smell became apparent. Although I disconnected the cooler as soon as possible it hasn't worked since and is now in the process of being shipped back to Orion - for repair or replacement.
I have attached my first stab at creating an LRGB image from the G3 using a stack of 11x3s for each channel. Although there is apparent star elongation and the colors are no way near representative I was quite pleased with the effort.
I've been trying to get a decent color image out of my Starshoot G3 Color camera for some time now, and I've been in communication with Orion. I've tested the "new" software, and I've discovered some issues with it. I've decided to share my findings on this post to see if anyone else has been having the same problems. First, I'm running the camera and software on a PC with either Windows 7 or XP. For bench tests I'm using an RGB color swatch target, fully exposed without clipping on the CCD according to the histogram display. My color rendering reference system is an Olympus Stylus 500 camera. All tests were performed at 1x1 binning.
The first issue I noted was complete lack of color in the "color RGB" image. The image has a cyan tint, but otherwise is monochrome. Orion has admitted this is a software bug and has told me they are looking into it.
With regard to the RAW FITS image format, acquiring an image then processing it into a CMYG FITS image using the suggested color settings that came with the software currently posted on Orion's web site resulted in a color image with a proper red channel, but with the blue and green channels apparently reversed. Screen display of the colored 16 bit FITS image, of exported 16 bit color TIFF images and of exported 8 bit JPEG images all appear to have green swapped with blue. In order to test this hypothesis, I produced a color 16bit TIFF image of the test target, extracted the R, G and B channel data, swapped the G and B channels, then reconstructed an image using the swapped channel data. The result was a correctly rendered color image!
So, I conclude that the Starshoot G3 Color software is swapping blue and green data when converting its RAW FITS to color. It explains why my astrophotos seem to lack blue and have too much green.
Posting here, I'm seeking confirmation of these findings. Have any of you tested the accuracy of color rendering of your G3 color cameras?
Orion tech support acknowledged a bug indeed exists in their StarShoot G3 Color camera software that swaps green for blue when rendering a RAW image into a color FIT image. They are working on this, and should soon be releasing a third software version on their web site that contains a patch to correct this problem.
Thanks to Rich and the tech support staff at Orion for following up on this issue so quickly.
i just signed up on this forum to look for answers about the g3 i bought last week. i'm having all the troubles outlined here. vertical banding, exceptions, blah blah blah. i'm totally new to ccd imaging but the orion video makes this look so easy. funny thing...when i called orion today, i spoke to a guy named Rich, who said he didn't know much about the camera, not having done much imaging with it.
First off sorry for the frustration. This madness with this particular cameras software has been going on since its release. I cant believe it's still going on well over half way through 2012. Orion should suck it up and recall this camera and stop selling them until they fix it. I have a lot of nice Orion products, but this one is a shame for the folks trying out the hobby. Did you read the reviews for this product on their web site?
Scopes: Meade 4.5" Newt, C10N, C9.25, 102mm apo and my old trusty refractors. 50 & 80 mm guide scopes.
Cameras: OSC V2 CCD, SBIG STF-8300M, Atik 320E (Mono), SSAG
Filters: Extra Narrowband S-II 7nm, Hydrogen-Alpha 7nm, Astrodon Tru-Balance O-III 5nm. Astrodon Tru-Balance LRGB Gen. 2
Mounts: CG-5, CGEM DX
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i did read the reviews. one of them made no sense and the rest praised the camera and damned the software, while mentioning that updates had been issued. if the rich i talked to yesterday was the same rich mentioned in a post further up this thread, then i think it brings to mind the word "disingenuous." i left a voice mail for a call back, but nothing today. i've spent over 3k at orion in the last year and couple of months. a little customer service would be nice. good thing they have a good return policy.
nope, it's not working, as far as i can tell. i pointed the scope at spica, focused the ep, then flipped the mirror and tried looping with the camera. tried 1 sec to 6 sec exposure. all i got on the computer was gray. i ran the focuser in and out while the camera was looping. nothing. i'm using it on an orion 80mm eon. twice the program crashed and windows closed it. hope i can get someone on the phone who cares.
i had a conversation with john from orion customer service and he assured me they will do what it takes to get this product working for me. he sent me a link to the software update so i deleted everything i had previously installed and reinstalled everything. a little while ago i took my eon 80 with the camera outside and pointed it at polaris. it's a bugger trying to focus, i'm going to have to work on that. i ran a sequence of 11 16 second exposures and it didn't work. so i set the delay between exposures from the default of 0 to two seconds, hit the button and walked away.
i wound up with 11 out of focus pictures and i ran the calibrate, color, combine, align and stack procedure and got the unexpected exception message at align and stack. i exported as a tiff and it wouldn't open in photoshop elements, so i had to go into the box that makes elements the default opener of tiffs, and it opened. ugly picture, but at least i'm making progress.
and thank god that star turned out to be polaris. i can't see the dipper through the cherry tree right now and i was afraid it was kocab. but it stayed stationary through all this, otherwise what was the point of building the deck in all this hot weather.
Orion issued me a software update that solved the color rendering problem after I worked with Rich and sent in test images using color stripes to demonstrate the nature of the color rendering problems. Using the updated software they sent me that solved this difficulty, my camera has worked nearly flawlessly for me on my Toshiba netbook computer under Windows 7 Starter. I have produced some fine images with it by stacking 20 x 30 second exposures acquired using the automatic acquisition feature in the Orion software. The software could use better automation (it's tedious to do the color rendering by hand). If you don't have the latest version of Orion's software that repairs the color swap, no amount of color manipulation will avail you - your blues will always look green and your greens look blue, though reds always look okay (was probably why Orion missed this difficulty in the beginning, as most emission nebulosities are mainly red). However, when the camera works properly it really is a honey - it has all of the properties that bigger StarShoot brothers have - just with a smaller format CCD and without the >$1,500 price tag.
The noise problems (e.g., banding in the image) may be related to insufficient amperage present at the computer's USB port. Not all USB ports are the same - some computer manufacturer provide designated "high power" ports for use with the more power-hungry USB devices like external drives. Some manufacturers make the ports switchable, so the user can decide whether or not to make the port a high power port. If the computer is very old, it may not support high power USB ports at all, in which case an auxiliary power supply needs to be used for the port (usually via use of a port replicator with an independent transformer to power it). Make sure that you are using a high power port on the computer to support the camera, or the lack of current will create noise in the image (horizontal banding). You won't get any other warning that this is the case - so if you have "banding" problems, try a different USB port or a different computer for a test. Also the port should be a USB 2.0 port - I've got the camera to work on USB 1.0, but I don't recommend trying it in the field. By the way, mild vertical light bands on extremely bright stars can be an artifact caused by the design of the color CCD chip itself.
Software problems can be caused by many issues - OS platform issues, memory allocation issues (like insufficient memory) and other software that interfere with the camera communications to name a few. I've operated the G3 camera under Windows XP and Windows 7 Starter without major difficulties, though on occasion I've had the automatic acquisition fail to read a downloaded image, which stops the acquisition process. I have to re-start it manually, but the software picks up where it halted and continues to number the subsequently acquired images serially so nothing but a little time gets lost. It's an annoying bug, but appears only very sporadically.
I've not experienced a failure to align and stack, except where I've made the error of not color-converting all of the images in the stack. Then the program won't operate - it won't tell you what's wrong, it just quits. Probably ought to have better error-handling routines, but the main problem was me, not it. Another difficulty seems to be if the displacement of stars in the stack images is severe enough between frames, it also causes a fault. I try to choose the middle frame in the stack for alignment reference as opposed to the first frame (the default); that seems to largely solve that problem. By the way, when it works properly I notice that the software will both X-Y displace as well as rotate the image to align when it works properly - I've used it to stack images acquired using an Orion TeleTrack AZ-G altazmuth mount, which causes image rotation, and the software successfully de-rotated the images to create the stack! So, when it works, the software works really well for a "freebie".
Again, if the software seems "buggy", try running it on a different computer platform and see if it works under a different software and firmware matrix. Also, make sure you have plenty of RAM to spare for the software. Operating it alongside software for controlling your scope might not leave enough RAM with some small webbook computers.
I'd like to know which other of the "commercial" software out there will support the G3 - it's always nice to have a backup plan. Orion does provide an ASCOM driver, but that doesn't appear to work with "Starry Night" or with "3CCDTools" camera ASCOM interfaces. About my only gripe left with Orion is that their software manual is WAY too simplistic!! They should provide a good "how-to" software manual with EXAMPLES to explain the innumerable buttons and switches provided in their software - if this camera is intended for a novice, you can bet he or she won't be an expert in astronomical image processing!