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14 Nov 2018
Glad to announce of release of INDI Library v1.7.5 on 2018-11-14. A few drivers were added in this release as we continue to improve & stabilize existing drivers.
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TOPIC: Manual Focusing

Manual Focusing 1 year 10 months ago #13299

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I know INDI/Ekos is focuses on remote operations, more or less. But I'm trying to implement it as a replacement for my existing setup with the idea of being able to operate the scope without having to sit right next to it - so kinda remote, but local.

Anyway, I don't have a motorized focuser on either of the scopes I use. I typically use a mask, zoom in on a bright star and focus manually. I use Astrophotogaphy Tool, so by zoom I mean I put the Canon on Live View and hit the zoom button so I'm looking at a 10x live view. It's pretty easy to use a mask at that point to focus.

When I tried using Ekos for the first time, i immediately ran into a focusing dilemma. In live view in Ekos, I couldn't zoom in to see my mask spikes well enough to focus manually. I ended up disconnecting the camera from INDI, focusing with APT and then restarting INDI so I could use the camera.

Is there a method for manually focusing a scope when using Ekos that's workable that I haven't identified? I would like to be able to click on a star in the live view frame, zoom in on it and then use a focusing mask to nail down the focus manually.

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Manual Focusing 1 year 10 months ago #13301

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u2pilotjt wrote: click on a star in the live view frame, zoom in on it and then use a focusing mask to nail down the focus manually.


That would be nice indeed, but how does this APT work? Does it use the Live View Stream to zoom in? I dont know the details,you can capture somehow this live stream from a canon with gphoto and ekos already does it but to my knowlegde this steam has a very low resolution. I just wonder if it would be sufficient to zoom in a 720?x? pixels stream and use that pixelated image to focus.

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Manual Focusing 1 year 10 months ago #13303

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I can only tell you what I see at the user end but I'm sure we can find out the technical details somehow.

The live stream is taking images at about 10 frames per second or so. I guess when you zoom, it's digitally zooming the image on the screen. As I understand it, at 5x zoom on the live stream the pixel ratio between the camera sensor and the computer screen is 1:1. At 10x zoom, a bright star is very easy to focus using a Bahtinov Mask. APT even has a very slick Bahtinov Aid focusing tool built in that helps nail it down. The resolution is more than sufficient for that purpose.

APT will do auto focus similar to what Ekos will do if there's a motorized focuser there (including the auto focus on a DLSR lens). You can see a screen shot of the Bahtinov Aid on the APT web page at www.ideiki.com/astro/Screenshots.aspx

I'm not trying to suggest that Ekos should mimic what APT does. I just found it so difficult to manually focus my scope using just Ekos' live stream that I'm wondering if there's a way to do it better/easier that I don't know yet or if Ekos can be tweaked to make it easier. I suppose I could operate the scope using INDI and take photos using APT, but I would have to have my laptop connected directly to the camera and Ekos wouldn't have access to it for what it needs to do.

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Manual Focusing 1 year 10 months ago #13307

Ok so you just need to zoom within the live preview window for the DSLR?

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Jasem Mutlaq
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Manual Focusing 1 year 10 months ago #13309

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It certainly seems like that's what's happening on the screen. I don't know if the screen is simply being zoomed or if the incoming signal is being digitally zoomed (or even if that makes sense). It looks like the resolution when zoomed is better than I would expect it to be if the screen is simply being magnified.

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Manual Focusing 1 year 10 months ago #13310

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u2pilotjt wrote: It certainly seems like that's what's happening on the screen. I don't know if the screen is simply being zoomed or if the incoming signal is being digitally zoomed (or even if that makes sense). It looks like the resolution when zoomed is better than I would expect it to be if the screen is simply being magnified.


I looked at the APT forums and it seems that the zoom is a hardware zoom and a function of the the camera; it's not a software zoom specifically. I don't have a clue about how it's done but he does say that he's limited to 5X and 10X on a DSLR. Unfortunately, I have no clue beyond that. On an un-zoomed live view, you can click on a spot on the screen and it will make that the ROI and then you can zoom 5x or 10x on that spot.

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Manual Focusing 1 year 3 months ago #18104

Don't see reply to your question yet: yes, zoom (x5, x10) in the live view window would be useful for manual focusing with a DSLR.
It would be a nice feature for DSLR users.

Ferrante

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Manual Focusing 1 year 3 months ago #18117

I don't have a motorized focuser, and use a Canon DSLR too (650D).

What I do, is connect everything, start Ekos, then click on the LiveView button on the camera itself, and do the focusing with 10X, then lock the focuser.

That is all that is needed, no need for software to focus.

P.S. I tried LiveView from within Ekos, and it works for the first them, then the camera's INDI driver will die, and I have to restart INDI after manually killing the old INDI drivers. So using LiveView from Ekos does not work for me.

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Manual Focusing 1 year 3 months ago #18122

Hi Kbahey,
I do the same: manual focus on the camera live view screen at 10x. But it is not an optimal solution for me.
After focusing I have to plug the USB cable and start indi again as it has to recognize the camera. When I'm focusing more then once during the night I have to sync the scope again.

Btw live view in ekos crashes on my pc too. What I have learnt is that you must not scroll the mouse wheel on the live view window nor close it with the top right X (I use Mint). More or less you don't touch anything and it works fine. If you want to close the live view window push the 'live view' button next to 'preview'in the main ekos window.
But as we said there's not the zoom option so it's not useful .

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Manual Focusing 1 year 3 months ago #18132

fenriques wrote: Hi Kbahey,
After focusing I have to plug the USB cable and start indi again as it has to recognize the camera.


I plug the USB, start INDI, then click on the LiveView button on the camera, and using the LCD on the camera, I complete my focusing.

I never have to stop INDI to focus. Don't know why you have to.
The following user(s) said Thank You: fenriques

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Manual Focusing 1 year 3 months ago #18147

you're right, it works without disconnecting the cable!
When i first test it, it did not so I assumed full control was taken by the usb cable over the camera.
Thanks, you saved me a lot of struggle.

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Manual Focusing 7 months 4 weeks ago #24307

I wonder if alternatively to using a focus mask something could be set up in EKOS so you could take advantage of the FWHM focusing routine used for autofocus to see your manual adjustments plotted on the graph so that you would know where the best focus position is?

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