ToupSky Cameras Quick
ToupSky Cameras Quick-guide
ToupSky is a capture and processing software offered by Touptek, the original manufacturer of the
Toupcamera series. These are video cameras that offer live image capture for planetary imaging and deep-sky
long exposures as well. They include an unique feature that reduces image noise.
ToupSky software features at a glance:
Connects and controls the camera;
Captures video and long-exposure images (Trigger mode not available for CGMOS);
Processes and adjusts captured images;
Unique dark field correction;
Intuitive and easy to use.
Getting started
Press the ToupSky logo
to start the software. On the left part of the screen there are several drop-down
tabs (inside the red box below) – figure 1. These tabs allow to control the camera. Click drop down button
to expand the tabs. Click
tab. Select camera. Below EXCCD00300KMA camera is available for
control – figure 2.
As soon as the camera is selected it will start to capture
video automatically. Remove the rubber lid from the
camera to expose it’s sensor to light. The screen will
change from black to white or grey shades.
Expand the
tab.
There are two available capture modes.


Video Mode
Trigger Mode
Video Mode. It is used to capture video sequences up to
5000ms (5 seconds). This is especially useful for focusing
and also planetary imaging. Videos can be saved in .AVI
or .SER video file format and then be cut into individual
frames for imaging processing (alignment and stacking).
Trigger Mode. It is used to capture video and long
exposures. This is the most powerful feature of this
capture mode and we recommend to use this not only for deep-sky objects
but also for planetary imaging.
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Video Mode
Video Mode> Auto Exposure
Auto Exposure
Auto Exposure will be selected by default. It adjusts the
Exposure Time and Gain levels automatically based on
the available light as sensed by the camera. The obtained
image will be balanced. This is especially interesting for
focusing. With Auto Exposure the user does not need to
worry about initial image adjustments.
Video Mode> Gain
Gain
the Gain tab adjusts the sensitivity of the camera’s
sensor. A standard 1.00 Gain is the camera’s default
Gain, i.e., its normal sensitivity. Gain should be increased
if object’s light is not sufficient and when longer
exposure time is not available or desirable.
Important: Increasing Gain introduces noise to the
image.
Video Mode> Exposure Time
Exposure Time
It is the time in ms (milliseconds) that the camera’s sensor captures light from the object. The longer the
Exposure Time the brighter the object will look on the screen. For dim objects longer Exposure Time is
required. Longer Exposure Time also generate noise (white pixels in the image for monochrome cameras).
In Video Mode Exposure Time can be set from 1ms to 5000ms. 1 second = 1000ms.
Video Mode> Exposure
Exposure Window
It’s the green window that overlays the camera frame. It is
used in conjunction with Exposure Target.
Video Mode> Exposure Target
Exposure Target
The green Exposure rectangle defines an area where the
brightness levels are measured. These levels are compared
to the Exposure Target level. By increasing the Exposure
Target level one also increases the brightness level of the
image.
Video Mode> Snap
Snap
By clicking Snap a single image frame (Snapshot) is
captured with the selected Exposure Time and Gain sets. A
new image tab is open
- figure 5. It is the basic
manual command to capture images.
Video Mode> Record
Record
Records a video and saves it to the computer’s hard disc.
Reproduction of part or all of the contents of this document in any form is expressly prohibited other than for individual use only. All text, images and labels are property of Nimax Gmbh.
Click
button. A new dialog box will open. Choose
a video file name and write it on position 1. Browse the
directory for the video file on 2.
Click Next to continue. Choose a suitable video file
format.
There are two available file types .SER or .AVI.
Select the desired file format and click Next.
Check box Time Limit (Minutes) to interrupt video
capture after the desired time in minutes.
Reproduction of part or all of the contents of this document in any form is expressly prohibited other than for individual use only. All text, images and labels are property of Nimax Gmbh.
Trigger Mode
Trigger Mode> Exposure Time
Exposure Time
works as in Video Mode. Exposure Time is more clearly set.
This useful for long exposures.
Trigger Mode> Single
Single
Works as Snap in Video Mode but it does not open a new
image tab.
Trigger Mode> Loop
Loop
Takes exposures continuously in a Loop. This especially
interesting for achieving precise focusing or to centre an
object in the field of view.
Trigger Mode> Record
Record
records a video – similar to Video Mode.
Trigger Mode> Sequence
Sequence
creates a Sequence of images with same Exposure Time. Opens an image tab for each new image of the
Sequence. User needs to set a number of images for the Sequence from 1 to desired number. Press
interrupt Sequence.
to
Important: When using Single, Loop or Sequence the time left to complete the command will show on the
screen (right bottom) as Time Left. It only show for Exposure Time of 5 seconds or above.
Trigger Mode> Options
Options
edits Sequence options:
“Show in window” only displays captured
images on screen but does not save.
“Save to disk” saves captured images on
selected Directory (Folder). For each image a
prefix is required to which a name format is
added.“Directory” Folder to which the
captured images will be added to.
“Name Format” choose from different name
formats. E.g. nnnn adds a 4 number suffix to
the name of the file.
“File Prefix” the root name of the images
“File Type” allows to choose between
different image formats to record .BMP, .JPG,
.PNG or .TIFF. Click OK to start Sequence.
Color balance
Only available for colour cameras. It allows to adjust the individual Red, Green and Blue Channels for better
colour balance. Click
to get default adjustment values.
Reproduction of part or all of the contents of this document in any form is expressly prohibited other than for individual use only. All text, images and labels are property of Nimax Gmbh.
Color adjustment
Adjusts Hue, Saturation, Brightness, Contrast and Gamma. Click
to get default adjustment values.
Frame Rate
Higher our lower image (frame) streaming through the USB cable depend on the computer’s ability to deal
with the amount of data being transferred from the camera. For planetary imaging higher frame rate is
desired. Adjust frame rate as needed. If live video is no longer available it means the computer cannot deal
with the amount of data being sent and the frame rate should be slightly decrease.
Flip
Mirrors the image in either Vertical or Horizontal. This is especially interesting to correct side-up planetary or
deep-sky images.
Region of
Interest (ROI)
Instead of using all
camera’s sensor’s surface
one can create a ROI
(Region of interest). Only
that selected portion of the
camera’s sensor’s surface
will be used to capture
image thus making the
original image looking
smaller. This has the
advantage of increasing frame rate (speed) and it is especially interesting for planetary imaging where only the
planet’s disc is of interest. Click
to define the ROI. The area of capture will now be cropped. To get
back to full frame size please click
.
Histogram
The Histogram displays the dynamics of the image, i.e. its spectral
content. 8 Bit cameras have 256 levels or Grey (from 0…255). Click
to get automatic Histogram adjustment. The two
magenta lines will be adjusted to the limit of the available spectral
information. You can also adjust it manually. For colour cameras
each channel can be also individually adjusted. Click
to
get to default values.
Dark field correction
It is one of the most important features of this software. Dark field
correction is used to reduce camera’s noise. When enabled the
Dark field correction reduces considerably the image’s noise
making it easier to capture clear images.
Video Mode> Dark Field Correction
Cover the telescope so no light reaches the camera’s sensor. Select
the number of Dark Frames to be used to create the Dark Field
Correction – use Quantity on the right. The more the better. We
recommend at least 10 Dark Frames, ideal is 20 Dark Frames.
Reproduction of part or all of the contents of this document in any form is expressly prohibited other than for individual use only. All text, images and labels are property of Nimax Gmbh.
Click
to start the capture. After the set of Dark Frames is captured click check box
Dark Field Correction will start to work immediately.
. The
Trigger Mode> Dark Field Correction
In Trigger Mode tab click
. While Loop is running and after choosing number of Dark Frames to create
the Dark Field Correction (see how above) click
. After the set of Dark Frames is captured click check
box
. The Dark field correction will start to work immediately.
A Dark Field is composed of several Dark Frames (a dark frame is when the telescope is covered and no light
reached the camera). For each Exposure Time a convenient matching Dark Field must be created. For
example using 10 second Exposure Time requires a Dark Field Correction with the same 10 second exposure.
If Exposure Time is increased to 60 seconds than a new Dark Field Correction with several Dark Frames of 60
seconds must be created. This is of extreme importance for the Dark Field Correction to work properly.
Cooling
Some ToupTek cameras have active cooling available. A cooled camera produces less electronic noise and thus
clearer, artefact free images. To enable active cooling (when available) click TEC/On and set desired
temperature (Cº). Fan controls the cooling fan to increase cooling capacity.
Parameters
Allows to import/export parameters to be used later. Basically saves all existing settings.
Reproduction of part or all of the contents of this document in any form is expressly prohibited other than for individual use only. All text, images and labels are property of Nimax Gmbh.
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