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Old Nov 12, 2012, 02:56 PM   #126
DodgeV83
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psonice View Post
Yeah, sorry! Things aren't going exactly smoothly the last few weeks!

I found a really 'small' (but also pretty critical) bug in Camera Boost that turned out to be incredibly hard to fix, because that app works right at the very limits of what the CPU + GPU can do and getting the fix to work within the tiny bit of remaining performance was near impossible. Managed it in the end, and that app is now submitted to apple so done and dusted.

I've also taken a much-needed week off. Went to Istanbul, took about a million photos with the iphone 5 - and I have to say, despite the specs saying it's the same as the 4S, it's actually a major upgrade! I also took 2 "real" cameras with me, and the iphone 5 significantly outperformed both. The only times I ended up using the cameras was when I needed zoom.

Now, I'm kind of back to work on nightcap, but because of the building work we've had done here (and various snags and delays) I've got no heating. It's currently 10ºC... indoors. I'm a whole lot less productive typing with gloves on ;(

The heating should hopefully be fixed today at least, but then I have a minor operation on Friday to remove a small (and totally harmless) lump from my ankle which is pressing on a nerve, so I need to get all the heavy work done in the house that I won't be able to do next week.

On the plus side, it's looking like next week i'll be warm and comfortable and free of distracting building work Hopefully I can get NightCap 3 fully complete and tested by the end of next week, and we'll be good for release a week or so later.

Interesting point about the noise reduction too by the way, I've not noticed that. Going to go experiment, see how it works and if it can be used somehow
Bi-weekly annoying message time

Anything I can do to help? To have access to two iPhone 5's and an iPhone 4 if you need someone to test! Personally, if the app is sufficiently updated, I would be willing to pay again. NightCap 2 perhaps?
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Old Nov 15, 2012, 02:15 PM   #127
iNaranjo
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I hope NightCap 3 will be ready soon!

Personaly I look foward every day for an updated of this amazing app, and really looking foward the day I can use my headphones volume buttom to shot the Nightcam as steady as is needed to take long exposure pics.

I would like to offer my help to the developer as Spanish translator (Translating the app labels, app manual, and even the description on app store in Spanish)

Thank you very much!

(I would pay again the same amount for an update with just the volume shutter... )
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Old Nov 18, 2012, 11:47 PM   #128
Qaanol
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Oh hey it turns out monkeybusiness1 is totally right all I needed was flash to take better pics of the stars so I’m going back to the stock camera app and I’ll just use flash toward the sky at night.





Well not quite.

I did, however, just discover StarStaX, which is a free OS X program to merge a stack of images. It does not align them, so you can get star trails, and it runs quite fast.

Tonight I took a set of 36 NightCap 1-second exposures through my telephoto lens pointed at the Pleiades. I manually aligned them in the Gimp since the stars moved a good 2-3 pixels every frame. I still have yet to find a fast and reliable (and free or cheap) batch aligning tool.

Anyway, here is the result-in-progress of the pictures I took (I just did some quick touch-up work with an Automator script and a tiny bit in Preview, so I could substantially improve the result by giving it my full Gimp treatment.) First, a partly-processed version, where you can see the remaining noise in the dark areas. Second, a more-processed version where much of the noise has been eliminated and most of the stars made brighter, although a number of very faint stars have been lost too.

Thumb resize.
The Pleiades enhancement in progress

Thumb resize.
The Pleiades enhanced image

And here are, respectively, one of the original frames straight out of NightCap, what came out of merging the frames, so you can see what my enhancements started with:

Thumb resize.
The Pleiades one of 36 NightCap frames

Thumb resize.
The Pleiades merged with StarStaX

The bottom line is, I couldn’t get the lens perfectly focused, because NightCap has neither an “enhance preview” nor a “zoom preview” option. But nonetheless the images captured a fair number of extremely faint stars.
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Old Nov 19, 2012, 05:50 PM   #129
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To me, I want the start trails...they are unique for every scene and allows for creative composition with other juxtaposed landscapes. Can you elaborate how I can get GOOD start trails with just the iPhone?
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Old Nov 20, 2012, 07:57 PM   #130
Qaanol
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lokerd View Post
To me, I want the start trails...they are unique for every scene and allows for creative composition with other juxtaposed landscapes. Can you elaborate how I can get GOOD start trails with just the iPhone?
I’m using a beta of NightCap 2.2, which has features not present in the released 2.1. Specifically, I can’t remember if 2.1 has “Burst mode”, but I think not.

Nevertheless, I’ll detail my procedure here so it will be available once the next release of NightCap is made.

1. Set burst mode to unlimited photos, and the interval between shots to the duration you prefer.

2. Lock focus. I do this indoors, because in my experience the iPhone does not properly focus on stars at night. What I do is point the iPhone down a long well-lit hallway, tap on screen to set the focus point at the end of the hallway, wait for the box to go green, then lock focus.

3. Lock exposure and white balance when lens is covered, at maximum brightness (1s/ISO 800 on my 4s running 5.0.1.)

4. Mount iPhone on tripod, or find some other way to keep it still while facing the sky, and press the shutter button.

5. Wait for lots of pictures to be taken.

6. Import pictures to Mac. I use the built-in Image Capture program.

7. Open StarStaX, import the pictures, start processing, and save in your preferred format. I use png with compression set for smallest file size.

8. Make a back-up copy of the merged image.

9. Blur the image slightly and drop the gamma to brighten it. I use an Automator script with blur radius 0.01 and gamma to 0. Or make any other enhancements you want. The Levels settings in Gimp are often helpful.
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Old Dec 19, 2012, 05:59 PM   #131
DodgeV83
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psonice View Post
Yeah, sorry! Things aren't going exactly smoothly the last few weeks!

I found a really 'small' (but also pretty critical) bug in Camera Boost that turned out to be incredibly hard to fix, because that app works right at the very limits of what the CPU + GPU can do and getting the fix to work within the tiny bit of remaining performance was near impossible. Managed it in the end, and that app is now submitted to apple so done and dusted.

I've also taken a much-needed week off. Went to Istanbul, took about a million photos with the iphone 5 - and I have to say, despite the specs saying it's the same as the 4S, it's actually a major upgrade! I also took 2 "real" cameras with me, and the iphone 5 significantly outperformed both. The only times I ended up using the cameras was when I needed zoom.

Now, I'm kind of back to work on nightcap, but because of the building work we've had done here (and various snags and delays) I've got no heating. It's currently 10ºC... indoors. I'm a whole lot less productive typing with gloves on ;(

The heating should hopefully be fixed today at least, but then I have a minor operation on Friday to remove a small (and totally harmless) lump from my ankle which is pressing on a nerve, so I need to get all the heavy work done in the house that I won't be able to do next week.

On the plus side, it's looking like next week i'll be warm and comfortable and free of distracting building work Hopefully I can get NightCap 3 fully complete and tested by the end of next week, and we'll be good for release a week or so later.

Interesting point about the noise reduction too by the way, I've not noticed that. Going to go experiment, see how it works and if it can be used somehow
Just got the update, IT'S GREAT!

THANKS!!!

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Old Dec 20, 2012, 05:04 AM   #132
psonice
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Hi guys, sorry for the lack of posting lately, I've been crazy busy lately. Starting to wind down for xmas now, no more 18 hour days for a while

So yes, NightCap 3 is *finally* done and available on the store: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/nigh...4195?ls=1&mt=8

Quote:
Originally Posted by iNaranjo View Post
Personaly I look foward every day for an updated of this amazing app, and really looking foward the day I can use my headphones volume buttom to shot the Nightcam as steady as is needed to take long exposure pics.

I would like to offer my help to the developer as Spanish translator (Translating the app labels, app manual, and even the description on app store in Spanish)
Volume shutter support is regularly requested, but I've not had much luck persuading Apple to allow it previously. I think I know what I need to do now, but I can't risk adding it in the next version as it could mean delays if I'm wrong, and there are a few bugs that need fixing quickly. Once it's stable and I don't mind waiting though, I'll add it back in and try again.

Quote:
Originally Posted by monkeybusiness1 View Post
just use flash
Classic example of why that doesn't always work: http://interealtime.com/wp-content/u...t-1024x576.png

1. The thing I'm photographing is too far away, the flash won't work, at best you'll see the flash reflected in some shiny surfaces.. white spots on a black background

2. It was a little foggy. The flash just lights up the fog as you can see, it ends up looking more like a blizzard than a nice atmospheric misty scene...

But yes, if you're in clear weather and shooting something within a couple of meters, the flash would definitely work.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DodgeV83 View Post
Just got the update, IT'S GREAT!

THANKS!!!

Glad you like it
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Old Dec 20, 2012, 06:00 AM   #133
Antoni Nygaard
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just bought it on the iphone 4S but crashes every time i take a picture. on IOS 6.0.1 will try on the iphone 5
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Old Dec 20, 2012, 06:04 AM   #134
psonice
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Originally Posted by Antoni Nygaard View Post
just bought it on the iphone 4S but crashes every time i take a picture. on IOS 6.0.1 will try on the iphone 5
I've had a couple of reports of this, but can't reproduce it (my 4S is also on 6.0.1). Please let me know if you can think of anything else that might give me a clue as to where the problem is, and if you don't mind getting the crash logs from your phone (they would be *very* helpful), drop me a line at chris@interealtime.com saying what operating system you use on your computer and I'll tell you how to find the files.
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Old Dec 20, 2012, 08:23 AM   #135
psonice
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Antoni Nygaard View Post
just bought it on the iphone 4S but crashes every time i take a picture. on IOS 6.0.1 will try on the iphone 5
Have you got it set to TIFF output? If so, try JPEG - we've had one report of it crashing with TIFF specifically (although again we can't reproduce it with identical hardware and software - frustrating!).
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Old Dec 20, 2012, 10:56 AM   #136
iNaranjo
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It happens to me several times but I just switch off the tiff option and set it HQ JPG and working perfectly.

I have iPhone 5 + IOS 6.0.1

Thank you!
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Old Dec 20, 2012, 11:07 AM   #137
psonice
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Ok, I see the issue now. This is a crazy one. If I build the app and run it on my phones, it works perfectly - but the same code built for the app store (i.e. the version I send to apple) crashes. Because of that this never happens in the versions I use for testing.

It's going to be very hard to fix too. The normal process is to run the app and use the debugger to check what is happening, but with this one if I do that it doesn't crash, so there's no bug to fix! Weird.

Expect an update as soon as I can get it out (apple close for a week or so over xmas, which will delay it a little unfortunately).

But for now, just leave TIFF mode turned off. Sorry about that, it wasn't something I could have anticipated, and thanks for your patience!
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Old Dec 20, 2012, 04:19 PM   #138
Antoni Nygaard
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psonice View Post
Have you got it set to TIFF output? If so, try JPEG - we've had one report of it crashing with TIFF specifically (although again we can't reproduce it with identical hardware and software - frustrating!).
Yep i used tiff, I will use the JPEG instead until it's fixed. thx
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Old Dec 20, 2012, 04:50 PM   #139
psonice
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Aaaaand it's fixed. I've fixed the issue with the Geo-tagging button too, plus a couple of minor bits that should make the iphone 5 a bit more stable. The 5 has some 'quirks' by the way (technical info for those interested):

- If it goes past 1/3s (i.e. you have to enable 'max exposure range') and high ISO mode is enabled and active (i.e. you're shooting at 1s, 3200 ISO) and then you point the camera at a bright light, the camera firmware itself sometimes hangs up. I don't know what really happens, but the camera powers down! (I've just added some extra code to detect this and reset the camera - whatever it is, it's in Apple's camera control software).

- Sometimes it just "gets confused". I've seen this happen when I point it into a dark place occasionally. The exposure time starts to rise, and then it either just stops (with a very dark image) or it rapidly switches between say 1/12 and 1/14s.

Really weird, but luckily rare! If I then move the camera so something with a little light is visible on screen, it goes back to normal instantly. I'm not sure what effect this will have on star shots - hopefully the stars will be enough for it to lock in and work normally, but if not just point it briefly at something bright enough to show up on screen and it should be OK.

- There seems to be some EV adjustment or something going on too. Sometimes the image brightness changes without exposure or ISO changing.
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Old Dec 21, 2012, 04:17 PM   #140
Qaanol
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So far 3.0 is working great. I have not had a chance to really put it through its paces yet, but it seems to be working just like the previous beta I had.

Here is a picture I took a couple weeks ago, before the current version of NightCap came out. First is a single frame straight from NightCap (which appears upside-down for reasons that are not entirely clear. On my computer it appears rotated 90°. Probably some exif thing.)

Then comes that same frame but brightened. I took 72 pictures like that, brightened them all (yay Automator!) then merged them with ImageFuser (ugh, had to do it in small batches then combine the intermediate results). The outcome of that is third, and fourth is that last one brightened and adjusted.

The last picture is a crop of just the Pleiades from the 4th picture, shrunk to 50% size. These were all taken using an 8x lens, with the iPhone on a tripod. Click to view full-size:

Thumb resize.
Single frame straight from NightCap


Thumb resize.
Single frame with gamma adjusted


Thumb resize.
72 NightCap frames merged in ImageFuser


Thumb resize.
Merged image with gamma adjusted


Thumb resize.
Cropped and shrunk to 50% from previous

Quote:
Originally Posted by psonice View Post
Aaaaand it's fixed. I've fixed the issue with the Geo-tagging button too, plus a couple of minor bits that should make the iphone 5 a bit more stable. The 5 has some 'quirks' by the way (technical info for those interested):
You fixed the crash-on-saving-TIFF for the next version? That would be excellent, because I still get those crashes every time in the current version (4S with 5.0.1).

Also, regarding geotagging, every other camera app I have (ActionShot, AutoStitch, Camera, HDR Fusion, i3DSteroid, PhotoSynth, Pro HDR, ProCamera, SlowShutter, and TrueHDR) works with Location Services disabled. They all save to the camera roll just fine without needing to know where the phone is. In fact, all the photo editing apps I have even let me load pictures from the camera roll without any Location Services.

I don’t use geotagging, if I ever want to use it I know how to enable Location Services, and I’d much rather leave Location Services off when I don’t want it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by psonice View Post
- Sometimes it just "gets confused". I've seen this happen when I point it into a dark place occasionally. The exposure time starts to rise, and then it either just stops (with a very dark image) or it rapidly switches between say 1/12 and 1/14s.
I’ll keep an eye out for this. Haven’t seen it yet.
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Old Dec 21, 2012, 04:58 PM   #141
darky90
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Ok all these photos convinced me to buy.
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Old Dec 28, 2012, 10:12 AM   #142
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The developers responsiveness in this thread convinced me to buy!
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Old Dec 28, 2012, 11:02 AM   #143
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I got it free from this forum I think way way back but still not into it. I just use the camera by itself and then edit in Photoshop or another app.

I have no need for what this app does I guess.
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Old Dec 29, 2012, 03:46 AM   #144
Qaanol
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Here is another picture I took, again using my 8× zoom lens, showing Jupiter, three of its moons, and three stars beyond.


A picture straight out of NightCap. I took 8 like this.


Result of merging 8 NightCap exposures in ImageFuser.


Brightened by lowering gamma and raising black point in Preview.

These thumbnail images are cropped. Click to see full size.

To the lower left of Jupiter are Europa (within the glare of the planet,) and Ganymede (at the edge of the glare.) To the upper right, about as distant as Ganymede, is Callisto.

At the time of this picture, Io was in the direction of Callisto, but much closer to Jupiter even than Europa.

There are also three stars visible in the thumbnails. In the top right is HD 28137, in the bottom left is HR 1370, and near the bottom slightly-left-of-center is V1141 Tau.
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Old Jan 4, 2013, 03:05 PM   #145
Qaanol
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All right, NightCap 3.0.1 is out and I can attest the Tiff bug is fixed. I just downloaded the new version and it's working great.

The OS memory leak is still there, so my 4s resets the camera focus and exposure after every Tiff picture. (I can still take lots of Jpegs in a row though.)

I look forward to trying and comparing Tiff results to the other formats. If it's as good as I hope I might only need a single picture instead of numerous Jpegs to merge.

I just moved to a city though, so I'm not sure when I'll get a chance to photograph stars again. One thing I intend to try is setting the camera to 1s exposure at perhaps 64 ISO (maybe 100 or 200) so the planets don't get so much flaring. I'm not sure if that would still pick up stars though. I'd probably line up the shot at 800 ISO then set the ISO where I want.

In any case, NightCap v3.0.1 seems great so far.
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Old Jun 2, 2013, 05:25 AM   #146
lokerd
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Is there anyway to lock the manual setting or allow Manual to be the default? It is really frustrating to have to change to manual every time the app is used. I know you explained why you set it this way, to keep novice from starting out in manual. But for the majority of us, having to manually change to manual everytime is a real deal killer. It is tricky to do, and time consuming.

I want it to stay locked in on manual 1 second between uses.

Any chance of this?

Thanks!
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Old Sep 29, 2013, 04:09 AM   #147
Orka
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Well, iOS 7 is out.
Is this app going to be updated? It's been 9 month since last update.
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Old Sep 29, 2013, 05:24 AM   #148
psonice
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Well, iOS 7 is out.
Is this app going to be updated? It's been 9 month since last update.
It should work fine on iOS 7, except on the 5S.

That said, yes I'm updating it properly for 7. There are a couple of issues delaying the update a bit unfortunately:
  1. Apple changed the thing I use to view photos pretty recently - in the photo viewer there's now a new button, which is supposed to open a thumbnail view, but actually tries to load every photo in your library at high res which crashes the device. There's no way to load thumbnails, and no way to remove that button, so I'm writing a whole new photo viewer. Hopefully that'll mean some cool new stuff gets added, but it'll take a bit more time to finish this bit.
  2. It's broken on the 5S. No idea why, and I can't test it until I can get a 5S myself. I couldn't get one on launch day, but I ordered one the minute it went live. Hopefully it gets delivered on Wednesday, then I can fix it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lokerd View Post
Is there anyway to lock the manual setting or allow Manual to be the default? It is really frustrating to have to change to manual every time the app is used. I know you explained why you set it this way, to keep novice from starting out in manual. But for the majority of us, having to manually change to manual everytime is a real deal killer. It is tricky to do, and time consuming.

I want it to stay locked in on manual 1 second between uses.

Any chance of this?

Thanks!
I'll take another look, but it'll need a separate locking system rather than just remembering the last setting. If the setting stuck between uses, I can only say my mail box would be very, very full!
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Old Oct 3, 2013, 03:34 PM   #149
lokerd
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I'll take another look, but it'll need a separate locking system rather than just remembering the last setting. If the setting stuck between uses, I can only say my mail box would be very, very full!
ANYTHING!!! I love this app. But it is constantly needing to be reset. And on the 4s, since a prior upgrade to NightCap, the app has gotten really slow and almost useless. It is very sluggish.

I really don't know why anybody would want it to take anything other than the slowest shutter possible to get the lowest ISO possible. So, for me, anything other than 1 second is useless. Really.

I can understand people not knowing better (probably the same people who complained of the star trails of the iPad backdrop being scratches), but definitely let us either CHANGE the setting permanently in settings, or lock the setting for good. I don't know enough about programing, but isn't there a way to put into the settings to start in manual, or something?

Thanks for being there!!
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Old Oct 22, 2013, 09:10 AM   #150
Orka
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Thanks for update, Psonice!
Btw, do you think iPhone 5s cam is much better than iPhone 5 cam?
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