What's new in SharpCap this week... 25th April 2022

All the latest news about new features and improvements to SharpCap
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What's new in SharpCap this week... 25th April 2022


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Hi folks,

this week's big changes are all focused around focus... Focus scanning and autofocus are considerably enhanced to try to make it easier to get autofocus working in a 'one click' manner.

Here's what's changed

* Less unnecessary focuser movements - if the focuser has been set up with backlash compensation or overshoot movements then a number of movement steps that are designed to clear backlash during the scan or other automated focuser movements are skipped.

* A new 'Connect Focuser' button in the focus score graph area - this appears if you have an ASCOM focuser configured but not connected and is a convenience to allow you to easily connect.

* Improved fitting of the best focus curve to the measured data points - in particular an issue that could cause the curve to fit badly when there were many more measurements on one side of best focus than the other has been fixed.

* New option for focus scanning - 'Move to best focus position when scanning completes'. If the scan completes and SharpCap has identified the best focus position then the move to that position is automatic, rather than requiring a second button press. Note that this is currently turned *off* by default.

* Another new option - 'Smart Scanning'. Smart Scanning is enabled by default and will adapt the focus scan in the following ways:

-- If the number of movement steps runs out and the graph indicates that best focus is being approach or has just been passed then extra movement steps are added (up to a total of 2.5 times the original set amount)

-- If the graph indicates that focus is getting worse after a few steps in the scan, the scan will move back a calculated amount to try to put it on the other side of best focus then continue scanning. This only applies if the focuser in use has backlash compensation or overshoot movement configured

-- If using FWHM focus and the graph indicates that there may be a large number of steps needed before best focus (more than 10), the step size may be automatically increased to improve the speed of the focus procedure

* One feature has been removed - the 'Goto best Score' button. This button used to re-run the focus scan and stop when the best score found by the first scan was reached. The idea behind it was to deal with focusers that were not moving reproducably to the same position for the same value, but seems to not get used for that purpose - instead it gets used by mistake when people intend to go back to the best focus position.

Overall, the changes above mean that one-click autofocus is now possible from the focus score graphs, and is much more likely to succeed in a single operation due to the adaptations made by the smart scanning.

Note that enabling smart scanning also affects autofocus carried out using the sequencer.


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