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. 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. 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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