INDI can control any camera supported by GPhoto library using the gphoto driver. This includes most DSLRs cameras. Make sure the OS does not mount the camera as a disk-drive as this would prevent the driver from communicating with the camera.
INDI should be able to support any camera supported by libgphoto2, including Canon, Nikon, and Sony DSLRs. Once you connect, you will be provided with a standard set of controls supported by INDI, as well as full exposure to all parameters supported by libgphoto. You must set your camera to Manual/Bulb mode in order to get full control via INDI. This can be done by turing the rotatory controls until they point at BULB or MANUAL mode.
On the first time you use the driver, you must set the required CCD Information specific to your DSLR model.
Under Ubuntu, you can install the driver via:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:mutlaqja/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install indi-gphoto
The gphoto driver provides you with an option to compress incoming streams and images. The compression option enables you to balance between network load vs. CPU load.
If compression is enabled, network load is reduced (If your camera is not remote, network load is negligible), but CPU load is increased. If compression is disabled, network load is increased, but CPU load is decreased. The compression is disabled by default.
External Shutter Release
If your camera uses an external shutter release cable, make sure to indicate the port of the shutter release USB cable (usually /dev/ttyUSB0) in the Main Control tab of the GPhoto driver before connecting to the camera.
Additionaly, users may employ DSUSB/DSUSB2 from Shoestring Astronomy in order to control the shutter. Before you connect, the port field must be set to DSUSB.
By default, the transfer format is set to FITS. Images from the camera can be transferred in native (e.g. CR2, NEF..etc) without converting to FITS first. This can reduce latency and CPU usage on the server. Furthermore, FITS images can be larger in size compared to native formats such as RAW/JPEG. The FITS images are transferred as Bayered frames and it is the clients responsiblity to debayer the image upon reception.
Raw images from the camera will be in whatever mode your camera is set to (normally either RAW or JPEG). When using RAW images, it is the client software's responsibility to convert these to a usable format via libraw or equivalent. You cannot use RAW+JPG mode it is not supported by the driver, you must pick a single format.
To retain Image Format settings between sessions, set the desired Image Format then save the driver configuration under the Options tab
The image info tab contains information on the resolution of the CCD (Maximum Width & Height) in addition to the pixel size in microns. Make sure that the information in this tab is correct and update it accordingly. By default, all values are set to zero, please update it to fit your CCD chip specification. The resolution value will change automatically after each exposure in case the image resolution is changed due to selecting a differently sized image from the drop down list.
Some clients like KStars will ask you to specify the maximum resolution of your camera and would limit the camera's image to this specific size.
Since GPhoto tends to produce different image sizes for CR2 vs. FITS image. it is critical to use only one method when imaging. You cannot take CR2 flats and mix them with FITS Lights. All images in a session must be all CR2 or all FITS.
GPhoto driver supports mirror lock in order to reduce mechanical vibrations. It's currently implemented only for Canon DSLR. You must Enable Mirror Lock feature in your camera before you can use this feature in the driver.
To enable it in your camera (usually in the last tab, Custom Functions, called Mirror Lockup). Then set the serial port for shooter, and open the gphoto camera as usual. When a serial port is set, now a new setting appears on connection: "Mirror lock", with a default value of 0.
Set it to a reasonable value (2 seconds will do). Now when shooting, you'll hear two "clicks" from your camera instead of the usual one: the first pulls up the mirror, the second (after the number of seconds you specified) opens the shutter and starts the exposure.
You can opt to save all captured images to the local storage. This is the local storage of the device running the INDI GPhoto driver and not the SD Card. Settings for saving to SD card is also available. Under Options tab you can select the Upload mode:
- Client: Upload image to client (default).
- Local: Store image locally, never send to client.
- Both: Store image locally and send it to client as well.
GPhoto driver support live video preview mode if supported by your camera. KStars is the only client currently that supports live preview mode. To Enable, click on the Enable Preview in the driver's main control tab.
If supported by your camera, you can control Focus I and /Focus Out with speed settings under the Focus tab of the GPhoto driver. You can autofocus with any client that supports INDI auto-focusing.
Once you're connected, you can capture images as FITS or RAW from the camera. When using Ekos, you can configure what DSLR format is set to in capture module. Ekos automatically switches format to FITS when using Focus, Guide, and Align modules.
When using the driver for the first time, you must set the CCD Information specific to your DSLR model. Initially, all parameters are set to zero as shown below.
Fill and set the required parameters. For example, for Canon 600d. The following values were used. Please note that Bits Per Pixel is always set to multiples of 8 regardless of the DSLR's bit depth. This is because FITS format are transferred in multiples of 8.
After setting the parameters, you should save the parameters to the DSLR's configuration file so that they are loaded in future sessions.
INDI will detect any extra options that your device may support and if found, INDI shall construct dynamic controls (knobs & switches) to control these features.
Nikon is officially supported under GPhoto but the level of features supported is less than that of Canon cameras. For bulb exposures to work, you must set Capture Target to SD Card. By default it is set to Internal RAM which is problematic in Nikon cameras. Please save configuration after setting capture target to SD Card.
In case the camera fails to connect or capture, please make sure of the following: