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Sequencing exposure speed for eclipse shooting


ABPiecka

Question

I have been working/practicing on techniques for shooting the up coming solar eclipse and BYN would be great for setting sequences for various exposures. I am hoping to get about 30-50 exposures of various shutter speeds ( 1/4000sec to 2 sec ) during the approx 2 minutes of total eclipse.  However....it does not appear that BYN can download the exposures fast enough to do this.   Am I not seeing the appropriate settings or is it inherent in BYN to take about 9 sec to complete the download procedure?  I have the High ISO etc off on the camera and tried downloading to a hard as well as the camera card ( done separately )

I can do it manually but it would be nice to be able watch the eclipse and not have to fiddle with changing manual setting during the event.  I am planning to use two cameras which makes it even more complicated. 

Not complaining just wondering if I'm missing something.

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Appreciate the reply.

 I was thinking it could be the large D800E file size causing the problem. I did try JPEG but it didn't seem to make much if any difference but the files are still large.  I will try my D7000 and also the D3X ( 6 Mp) and see what happens. Will also look into the DSUSB cabling.  May also try the 800E set to  DX format to see if the cuts the file size and download time to a reasonable rate.

This is why I am starting to debug the process now rather than the night before the eclipse. Makes me a little nervous when you only have 90 to 120 seconds and it's over never to come back in my area in my life time.   Assume a few more bugs will appear in my tentative thought process before it is finalized.

 

Thanks again. :)

 

Al

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Here is my equipment and setup for a hypothetical total eclipse plan ( at totality):

 

Camera:  Nikon D800E,  USB3  blue plug  cable provided by Nikon,   Long exposure NR, High ISO NR , Mup, AF  all off, Raw capture

 

Computer:

HP Pavilion 15 Notebook   quad core  3 usb3 ports  ( I don't know how to verify the system is working at USB3 speed or being downgraded to 2 ) running Win 8.1

Program:

BYN 1.0.3 Premium Version

 

test plan:

"Eclipse Test" saved and loaded

Raw capture

cable support USB

Save to PC

 

exposure sequence

Manual 

2@ 1/4000       iso 400 ( all the same below )

2@1000

2@1/500

2@1/100

2@1/2

2@1 sec

2@2 sec

 

total theoretical elapsed exposure time from start of FIRST exposure to  START of LAST( 14)  exposure  < 8 sec if no delay at all which I know is not realistic.

 

actual elapsed time for above as determine with stop watch  1.34.17 min

 

If this is what I should expect I'm fine with that because it will be great for anything else I can possibly think of doing  but according to your reply I must be missing something. 

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Guylain said that the download time is dependent only on the USB transfer rate.  But it is also dependent on the amount of data being transferred. Your latest post is the first post where you mentioned what camera you are using. The D800E has a 36 megapixel sensor.  The lossless raw image files can be over 74 megabytes in size. I would not be alarmed if the download took take 5-7 seconds even on USB 3.0.

 

Have you considered using a camera with a smaller sensor for your solar eclipse imaging?

 

According to the documentaion for Eclipse Orchestrator, they recommend using a DSUSB cable for shutter control even if the camera supports long exposures shutter control via USB. I cannot vouch for this but they say that it allows the camera to buffer exposures and improves the capture rate.  It may be worth a try.

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This is why I am starting to debug the process now rather than the night before the eclipse.

Are you practicing for the Aug 21, 2017 Total Eclipse??  Or are you practicing for one occurring in SE Asia or Southern Africa in 2016??

 

Keep in mind that by August 2017, Guylain will probably have delivered about 4-5 NEW Versions of BYN (possibly invalidating some of your Practice Efforts)...   :D

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Looking at Aug 21, 2017.

 

I understand there may be new versions, new cameras,  etc  out by then  but by solving my problems  with what I have now makes it easier, in my opinion, for me to  solve other issues that will undoubtably come up later.... plus will give me at least one option to use IF there are no new versions that address these issues.....also may give Guylain et al some ideas if they feel so  inclined to tackle. As I said it is not a game stopper but I enjoy trying to work it out.

 

I did try the same sequence with the D3 vs D800E and the D3 cut about 20 seconds off the task. ( 1.14 min vs 1.34 ) I think the D3 is using USB2 or maybe even 1 so the slower transfer probably negates the smaller D3 file size.  But is getting close to being useable for one unattended camera.  I still need to look at the DSUSB.

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While I don't shoot Nikon, rather Canon, I decided to Time test your Sample Exposure Sequence while using three sets of Variables:

  1. Image File Size (RAW+Large-Smooth-JPEG vs RAW vs Large-Smooth-JPEG)
  2. Storage Location (Download to PC vs Write to SD Card)
  3. Canon 60D vs 550D (both Digic-4 and 18MP)

Measured File Sizes:

  • RAW = 18MP CR2 (60D: 18-23MB;  550D: 18-19MB)
  • sRAW = 5.4MP CR2 (60D: 4-9MP;  550D: N/A)
  • LSJPG = 18MP JPG High Quality  (60D:  2-6MB;  550D: 1-2MB)

 

Timings:

 

Canon 60D (could only SaveTo=PC - longstanding SDK/Firmware Issue blocks SaveTo=Card):

  • RAW+LSJPG SaveTo: PC  99sec
  • RAW SaveTo: PC  82sec
  • sRAW SaveTo: PC  80sec
  • LSJPG SaveTo: PC  70sec
 
Canon 550D (T2i):
  • RAW+LSJPG SaveTo: PC 92sec
  • RAW SaveTo: PC 78sec
  • LSJPG SaveTo: PC 61sec
  • RAW+LSJPG SaveTo: Camera 37sec
  • RAW SaveTo: Camera 34sec
  • LSJPG SaveTo: Camera 34sec
 

The longest Test Sequence duration is 99sec while the shortest is 34sec.  

 

Perhaps you should perform similar Timing Tests with your D3 set to DX-mode RAW and SaveTo: Camera...  

 

You might even consider what Image Processing you intend to perform post-capture, and whether there is sufficient Speed-Gain if you Capture JPG-only...

 

Then, I'd assemble your Scope and Camera and Solar Filters, and see what DX-mode does to the FOV for your setup.  And, maybe, what IQ you lose if you do shoot JPG-only...

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I appreciate you taking the time to do this testing and suggestions.  I did plan on playing with a full moon to see what FOV would work to capture a nice  corona during totality.  I will be using my Williams Optics 81 and maybe a 2.5x Powermate with one of the cameras. Would also like to use another camera with some lens combination as a backup. That will come later. I will also be using my Lunt Dual inline Filter 80Ha with a Starlight Xpress for other than totality. 

 

I ran several similar tests and was able to get down to 58 sec. But for some reason that I don't currently understand while I can set the capture plan to write to camera I am not getting any exposures written to the SD cards..

 

when I go into the Settings module-- Download Folder the D3  and SD cards are listed in the drop down but grayed out. Need to work on that.

 

Anyway having fun. :wacko:   

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Do not mistake the actual image download with some post download process.

 

The actual download only takes a second or 2 on most computer and then the image is sent to the background worker for post download process.  During that time the next image is taken.

 

The actual download time is 100% related to your camera/computer usb connection.  Data is data and it needs to go on the wire... so if you have a usb 1.1 connection versus a usb 2.0 is will take longer to do the actual download... however, once the image is sent to the background working usb speed is irrelevant.

 

Hope this makes sense.

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I'd thought that you'd provided details of the Background Worker Task NOT actually working as an Asynchronous Task when the Exposure Setting is Less-than-30-Sec.

 

I just performed a Test using my 60D and 1/30th sec Manual Exposures, and indeed it appeared that the average delay between Exposures was 5-6sec (this on my high-powered Desktop PC and same whether USB2 or USB3 port).  Every Exposure resulted in an updated Image displayed in the Image Center BEFORE the next Shutter Fire was performed.

 

The Log File also shows the Background Worker invoked and completed its EXIF Write between Shutter Fire actions.

 

My test was intended to see whether SaveTo=CARD would reduce the Delay by Not Invoking the Download, but that test was defeated by an ongoing Issue with Canon 60D SDK and SaveTo=CARD.

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I'd thought that you'd provided details of the Background Worker Task NOT actually working as an Asynchronous Task when the Exposure Setting is Less-than-30-Sec.

 

I just performed a Test using my 60D and 1/30th sec Manual Exposures, and indeed it appeared that the average delay between Exposures was 5-6sec (this on my high-powered Desktop PC and same whether USB2 or USB3 port).  Every Exposure resulted in an updated Image displayed in the Image Center BEFORE the next Shutter Fire was performed.

 

The Log File also shows the Background Worker invoked and completed its EXIF Write between Shutter Fire actions.

 

My test was intended to see whether SaveTo=CARD would reduce the Delay by Not Invoking the Download, but that test was defeated by an ongoing Issue with Canon 60D SDK and SaveTo=CARD.

 

This was changed in 3.1.x where all post process download is all handled by the background worker.  This way no images are queued and if you have at least a dual core laptop there is nothing but benefits having is done this way.  

 

The background worker is 100% asynchronous and does not slow down taking the next image unless you are taking preview images instead of the "start capture plan"

 

Capture plan images are always sent to the background worker process

Preview images are never sent to the background worker.  

 

Regards,

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Not being a programer this is a little over my head but you mentioned this is corrected in 3.1x.......I believe you are talking about BYEOS.  Is this also true for BYN which I am using?

 

Sorry... yes, my comment was for BackyardEOS 3.1.x... but the comment also applies to BackyardNIKON 1.0.x regarding how the background worker is used/invoked.

 

Hope this makes sense.

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