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Variable Serial Cable Shutter Control

Ron Hillstromb



 First -  I know that BYE is designed and programmed for nighttime , long exposure Astrophotography.  I find it easy to use and feature filled.  I have been a user since it was early Version 2.XX.

  Second - I appreciate the effort the Design and Programming team put into making it useable for photographing the 2017 Eclipse.  A lot of effort was put into it and I used it with excellent results.  I even bought a second copy of BYE so I could use two cameras at the same time on separate computers with USB shutter triggering.  I could not synchronize the setup to take the photos at the exact same time of fast enough.

  I am preparing for the 2023 Annular Eclipse and the 2024 Total Eclipse.  I have built serial cables for shutter control and tested them using two cameras as Master and Slave.  I have stepped out of bounds a little by using a single serial cable and a Y cable to trigger two cameras in this configuration.  In tests it works fine in single frame use with synchronized operation but when I use the setup while taking Exposure bracketing shots with 3 shots there is a problem.  More often than not  all shots in the bracketing sequence do not complete in one or both cameras.

  My requested feature, if possible:

  I would like the ability to set the time the shutter is open or the serial cable holds the contact in milliseconds, 1 to 999 ms would be great but steps of 5 or 10 ms in the 1 to 999 ms would be acceptable.

Additional information:

  I also own Eclipse Orchestrator which has this feature but with my camera setup, controls them one at a time in sequence  I have used the adjustment to be able to use bracketed exposures but only with one camera at a time and not synchronized.  I will exploring this option further in time.

  I plan to use more than two cameras using the same serial cable and taking as many as 7 bracketed exposures with BYE, if possible. 


  There should be plenty of time to consider this and implementing, if possible


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Have you thought about setting the exposures individually instead of trying to use bracketing?

I like the idea of BYE being able to do short, high-precision exposures via a shutter release cable, but recognize that high-precision timing with Windows can be tricky. Still, as you say, others claim to have done it.

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Hi Rick,


    I did that for the 2017 Eclipse.  I ran Bye on 2 computers, one connected to a 7D and the other connected to a 7D Mk II, both on the same mount.  My hope was that I could use files from both computers to improve the final images by stacking.  It didn't quite work out.  My imaging plan for this set up was primarily to image Totality from just before the beginning to  just after the end.  I got shots and some were good and several were not so good.  I used recommendations for the plan from several sources including Espenak and Xavier Jubier, to build the script.  I did go a few shots too far but that happens for a first time effort.  Now I am wiser, maybe, and will not try for earth shine or some of the  other longer exposures if there are clouds in the sky.  Part of my problems came from the fact there were thin clouds that caused more illumination of the sky and washed out the longer exposures.  I plan to use Aperture Bracketing to hopefully salvage some shots that suffered from over and under exposure.

  I had a tripod mounted 50D that was on an intervalometer using a 24mm+- lens with a FOV covering the Eclipse start to end.  I did use Aperture bracketing for that.  It did work better.  There were some clouds at the site I was at so when processing I could select the best  of the 3 shots to use for the all-eclipse sky final image.  The intervalometer has a 'bulb' setting and I used that set to 1 second to enable the hold down of the shutter unattended.  But I had 10 minute intervals for that setup. 

I also used Aperture bracketing with my 60Da on a SN6 manually triggered for shots of opportunity.  That worked out fine also for selecting the best images. 

  For my next Eclipse, the Annular in 2023, I hope to have a script to test out but not taking off the filters after C2 until C3.  The goal of using Aperture Bracketing will be put in that plan in preparation for the 2024 Eclipse.

  I do have other options which you are familiar with owning Eclipse Orchestrator which includes using multiple computers with that software using identical scripts. It has the capability of increasing the shutter hold down to allow Shutter aperture.  I have several old  laptop and net top computers to implement that plan.  BYE worked so well in the test for single exposure and the serial shutter trigger I saw it as a simple way to implement my plan.

  I will be out, if the sky will allow, on 11 November trying to get some images of the Mercury transit.  I will probably try BYE with several plans in one script to see how it works.  Aperture Bracketing will not be a part of that effort.

All of this really depends on me being on this side of the grass in 2023 and/or 2024.

I hope this sheds some light on my feature request.



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