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Automation of darks



I have an idea for a new feature in BackyardEOS, although it may actually be more appropriate to have a new application to do this.


Like many others, I am trying to build a dark library, so I don’t have to waste precious clear-sky time on generating darks.  Getting darks with the right temperatures is always a problem, so what I do is the following.


We’ll assume for the following that the best temperature to match between lights and darks is the internal camera temperature.  I realize this is not truly the “sensor temperature”, but please open another thread if you want to argue this point.  As far as I’m concerned, it’s the best temperature we have for matching.


Of course, we cannot directly control the camera temperature with DSLRs, but what I do is set a delay between my images that will result in darks of the desired temperature.  For example, the other night I took lights of 120 seconds at 800 ISO with an average camera temperature of 97F.  Ideally, to do the darks during the day I need somewhere where the ambient temperature is slightly above the ambient temperature when I took lights.


What I do is take a few darks (120 seconds, 800 ISO) to hopefully reach a steady-state condition.  At this point, I hope that the camera temperature is above the desired temperature, 97F.  I then take a few darks with a 30-second delay between shots.  I then adjust this delay time to achieve my desired 97F condition.  If the temperature is above 97F, I increase the delay, if it’s less, I decrease it.  This is why I need an ambient temperature above the lights’ ambient – I obviously can’t decrease the delay to less than zero.  I’m actually taking 97F darks as I write this, after following this process.  Once you get the proper delay locked in, it’s very easy to take as many darks as you want.


It strikes me that this process could be automated.  The application could automatically adjust the delay, just as I do.  In fact, you could even ask for a series of darks of varying durations, temperatures, and even ISOs, and it could all be automated.  This would be a huge help in generating dark libraries.  I’d be willing to pay for such an application, and I’m sure others would too.  For someone who is already familiar with how to control EOS cameras, it seems to me it would be pretty easy to develop.

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I did, although the more I think of it, it would really require a different application. I can imagine setting up a table where I enter how many of each dark condition I want, and it would automatically adjust the delay to get these images, throwing away images which are generated before getting the desired condition and saving the good ones. It would be a much simpler application than BackyardEOS, although it would use many of the same tools. Anyway, I throw the idea out there. I'll continue to do it manually.

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