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INDI Library v1.9.2 Released (14 Sep 2021)

Bimonthly Stable INDI Library release introduces new drivers and fixes for existing ones.

Fuji X-T3 observations - what I've learned so far

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  • Thank you received: 3
After trying to use my Fujifilm X-T3 under Ekos/Indi control I finally “succeeded”. What follows is a list of things I learned so far:

I control my system with a MacBook running Kstars talking with an Astroberry Raspberry Pi 4B (4GB with SSD boot) using Ethernet and VNC viewer. This controls the Fujifilm X-T3 main camera, an ASI120mm mono as the guider and a Skywatcher HEQ5 mount (as Eqmod).

The camera is set as follows:
1. Manual Focus
2. Electronic Shutter (ES) (not manual shutter) is required to allow external control of shutter speeds.
3. "B" setting on exposure dial – allows Ekos/Indi to set shutter speed. The list of permissible speeds is listed in the Kstars log file (Debug enabled) following the line:

[date & time DEBG][org.kde.kstars.indi] - Fuji DSLR Fujifilm X-T3: "[DEBUG] Finding exposure widget…

Using shutter speed settings NOT in the permissible list (Ekos Camera module has many available) results in the exposure sequence aborting and having to “reset”. There are 68 permissible shutter speeds according to the list. The long exposures are best set by manually entering the number of seconds as the Ekos drop down doesn’t show any valid times beyond 120 seconds. (past 120 secons only 240s, 480s and 900s (4, 8 and 15 minutes) are valid.
4. "A" setting on ISO dial. Ekos/Indi sets the ISO
5. Camera's PC Connection Mode set to "USB tether shooting auto"
6. When using camera with a Fuji XL lens installed (rather than on the telescope) I have the lens in manual aperture mode and image stabilization set off.
7. Camera is also set to fire with no camera lens attached ("Shoot without lens" = ON) This is the mode for using the camera on a telescope.

In the Ekos/Indi setup screens:

1. In the Indi Control Panel – Options screen, “Force Bulb” must be OFF for any function to take place.
2. To reduce time between exposures I have set the (laptop) Ekos Capture Module to “Save = Remotely”. This saves the image files on the Pi.
3. To make this work the Indi Control Panel – Options is set to “Upload = Local”. This keeps the ~53MB RAF files from downloading over the Ethernet (which takes typically 20-80 seconds, preventing the next exposure in the sequence from beginning. Make sure both settings are pointing to the same directory.
4. SD Card (Save/Delete) seems to always write the RAF file to the camera's SD card. The image files saved to the Pi use the file naming set in the Ekos Camera Module (File Setting) whereas the files on the SD card use the normal Fujifilm designations. (equates to two files of each exposure with different file names – not an issue as far as I’m concerned.)

5. Update on SD card: Setting "SD image" = Delete solved an issue I was having with large sequences ending up with duplicate images (but with "correct" filenames) and images with incorrect exposure times or ISO values. As mentioned in 4. above, the RAF file is saved to the camera SD card regardless of the setting. The bug reported at github.com/indilib/indi-3rdparty/issues/230 has the details. When I switched from save to delete my problem disappeared.

Other observations:

- I use a 12V powered USB 3 hub (prevents under-voltage errors on Pi) for the Fuji camera, the boot SSD and the mount. Hub plugs into a USB 3 port on the Pi
- Guide camera is USB 2 and connects directly to one of the Pi’s USB 2 ports. (plugging both cameras into the hub caused issues)
- The LED on back of camera:
Camera off and plugged into USB 3 = solid green
Camera plugged into USB 3 and power switched on = LED off
Exposure started = flashes alternately green and orange during normal operation
Exposure ended (saving file) = flashing orange
Exposure ended (awaiting next exposure start) = flashes alternately green and orange
Something is wrong = flashing green

Hopefully Fuji X-T series users will find this of some use. Please share anything you discover.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Jasem Mutlaq, Riccardo
Last edit: 6 months 2 weeks ago by David Swinnard. Reason: formatting changes
8 months 3 weeks ago #66619

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Thank you, should we add this to the DSLR documentation? Maybe a shorter version for Fuii users?
Jasem Mutlaq
Support INDI & Ekos; Get StellarMate Astrophotography Gadget.
How to Submit Logs when you have problems?
Add your observatory info
8 months 3 weeks ago #66628

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I have edited my initial post for clarity.
Last edit: 8 months 2 weeks ago by David Swinnard. Reason: To note edit of initial post.
8 months 2 weeks ago #66669

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I updated my original post to trim the verbiage and add a few details.

I'm hoping to hear from other Fujifilm owners working in similar directions.
8 months 2 weeks ago #66704

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I use a Fuji X-T4, a,d a PI4, actually everything listed by DaveSW are the same except for:


The camera is set as follows:

2. Manual shutter, I can use all exposure time I want, no issue

In the Ekos/Indi setup screens:

4. SD Card (Save/Delete) seems to never save the image ono the SD card

Other observations:

- I use a 12V powered USB 3 hub (prevents under-voltage errors on Pi) for the Guide Camera and mount on USB 2. Hub plugs into a USB 2 port on the Pi
- Camera X-T4 using a Tetherd Tool cable (USB A - USB C) on PI on USB 3 port


- The LED on back of camera 100% identical as for the X-T3
Camera off and plugged into USB 3 = solid green
Camera plugged into USB 3 and power switched on = LED off
Exposure started = flashes alternately green and orange during normal operation
Exposure ended (saving file) = flashing orange
Exposure ended (awaiting next exposure start) = flashes alternately green and orange
Something is wrong = flashing green
SW EQ3 Pro Synscan Goto (Modified)
Tecnosky 60/360 F/6
Fuji XT-4
QHYCCD 5II
QHYPolemaster
135mm Samyang
12mm Samyang
8 months 2 weeks ago #66784

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timopro, thanks for contributing to this list. Regarding the two items quoted above, can you elaborate a bit on them?

When you say "manual shutter" do you mean you are adjusting and triggering the camera yourself, without Ekos/Indi, using a cable release or intervalometer? Are you using the mechanical or electronic shutter?

Regarding the SD card (and by this I mean the SD card in the camera). Do you save images to both the camera's SD card and your system?
8 months 2 weeks ago #66804

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Dear all, DaveSw,


Q: When you say "manual shutter" do you mean you are adjusting and triggering the camera yourself, without Ekos/Indi, using a cable release or intervalometer? Are you using the mechanical or electronic shutter?
<strong>A: I mean in the camera setting, I setted the Shutter in "Mechanical Mode" MS</strong>

Q:Regarding the SD card (and by this I mean the SD card in the camera). Do you save images to both the camera's SD card and your system?
<strong>A: I save the images Locally on the PI (let say Remotly from the Laptop), I'm also be able to save them Locally on the Laptop but it take more time >50secs.</strong>
No Files are saved into the SD card, regardless the setting in Indi, for me it is ok.

My Setup is:

- Laptop Windows with Kstars-Ekos, wifi connected to the PI4
- RI4 Astroberry + a 256GB USB stick to store the taken photos
- Main Camera X-T4 connected directly on the PI4 USB-3 (Blue Port) File is Native (.raf)
- QHY5II and Mount connected through a Powered USB Hub on USB 2 (Black port)

Everything works pretty good, except the Live View, which will be very useful for Focusing.
Even if it is marked as woring in GPhoto website in my setup it is not working.
SW EQ3 Pro Synscan Goto (Modified)
Tecnosky 60/360 F/6
Fuji XT-4
QHYCCD 5II
QHYPolemaster
135mm Samyang
12mm Samyang
Last edit: 8 months 2 weeks ago by Timothy.
8 months 2 weeks ago #66839

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Dear all, Im looking to the live view with the X-T4 and I found that there is a strange behaviour , between Live view and capture , switching everything on and activate the live view before taking any pictures it works, so I can see the live view from my X-T4 camera, which is great, if Im stopping it, i have to close 2 tines the window, Im not anymore able to take any capture...so I have to complete reset everything......after resetting everything If O do the exact opposite Take a capture and later try the live view It doesn't work...seams something in the Driver or USB communication... I try to debugging it if I can..

Anyone else had similar issue?

Thanks
SW EQ3 Pro Synscan Goto (Modified)
Tecnosky 60/360 F/6
Fuji XT-4
QHYCCD 5II
QHYPolemaster
135mm Samyang
12mm Samyang
8 months 2 weeks ago #66933

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I haven't yet spent any time exploring Live View, but it is on my to-do list. I look forward to hearing your progress.

On the other hand I've been trying to sort out why I'm not getting all the images in a sequence written to my camera's SD card. Some show up on the card, others do not. (but they all seem to show up on the Pi (Ekos capture set to "Remotely" and Indi (Fuji_CCD) set to "Local".

I am also having an issue with Darks (shot using the Fuji). So far they have all be just copies of one of the last "Light" frames from the sequence before the Dark sequence. Not just more Lights, but the same light file saved over and over - the name of he file changes to match the sequence setting though.

I am going to create another post when I have all my observations done. (System is exposing sequences as I type this...)
8 months 2 weeks ago #66936

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I spent a lot of time trying to get either of my X-T3 or X-T4 to work with my RPi 4 running StellarMate a few months ago, but I was never able to do so reliably. Lots of communications issues, error exposing images, etc. I'm not running KStars on a PC, but on the Pi, so I have the images downloading only to the Pi (using a Local profile in Kstars). I've gotten a few sequences to work so far (Yay!), but I'm having two issues. The first is that it's taking about 68 seconds to download a file from my camera to the Pi using a USB3 port. That's weird. The second is that the first exposure often fails. The 2nd attempt usually works, but I thought I would at least mention it. Any ideas on why the download it taking so long?

Edit 1: I connected the camera to both USB3 ports on the Pi and saw the same download times. I connected on a USB2 port and saw the same download time as on the USB3 port. Perhaps my Pi has a port driver configuration problem and I'm not seeing the full bandwidth of the USB3 ports? I also tried 2 different USB cables and both produced the same download times.

Edit 2: In USB Card Reader Connection Mode, files from the X-T3 download to a PC through a USB 2 port in less than 1 second. Even faster through a USB 3.0 port.
Last edit: 8 months 1 week ago by Spencer Hochstetler. Reason: added more testing results
8 months 1 week ago #67260

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Spero, during my testing I had the same problems you mention. Here is what I did that worked for me:

1. Long download times. The ONLY way I found around this is to run Ekos on the laptop and talk to the Pi using a VNC viewer program with the following settings: In Ekos (on the laptop) under the Capture Module set: Save to "Remotely" AND in the Indi Control Panel in the Fuji camera's tab and under the Options tab, set Upload to "Local" AND under the Image Settings tab, set SD Image to "Delete".

Using these settings images are downloaded onto the Pi in the directory specified AND, despite the SD image set to Delete, the camera's internal SD card. Note the image save directory must match in both Ekos Capture Module and Indi Control Panel screens or a directory not found type error occurs.

The camera keeps using the file numbering scheme it always does while the files on the Pi are labelled as defined in Ekos. Downloading the images this way appears essentially instantaneous. Every other combination of settings I tried resulted in download times like you mention ~70 seconds in my case. Didn't matter whether I kept images on the Pi or had them sent back to the laptop. The best I could do was if I connected the two computers with Ethernet, and save images to the laptop, the download times dropped to ~23 seconds - still way too long.

Another benefit to having SD Image = Delete is that I no longer get missing or repeated images in long sequences. When set to "Save" after about 20ish exposures the camera buffers seem to overrun and images are not saved to the camera SD card (and sometimes the last image before the camera balks is saved to the Pi over and over again. These duplicate images, as saved to the Pi, are named correctly according to Ekos, but are in fact just duplicates of the final image before the camera choked.

2. First exposure attempt fails. I don't have an explanation for this but I quickly learned to do at least two test exposures each attempt. When everything is setup properly, the second exposure works if the first fails. (if it doesn't it means I've not set something properly - usually the camera has powered down...)

For the record, my system comprises a Pi 4 (4GB) booting Astrobrerry from a SSD. One USB 3 port on the Pi connects to a 12V powered USB 3 hub. My guide camera connects to the Pi through a USB 2 port. The Fuji X-T3, the mount (HEQ5) and the SSD all connect to one of the USB 3 ports on the hub. If I remember to turn it all on and change the settings in Ekos/Indi (as they don't always seem to "save" properly) I get things running reliably. I am shooting and saving RAW files (Fuji RAF)

You mention you are not running Ekos on a separate computer... you may not find the above useful but I thought I should mention what I find works for me. Perhaps you can find some clues...
8 months 1 week ago #67268

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Thanks Dave - I was avoiding the use of Kstars on a laptop because when I first was trying with it, it would inexplicably crash. Just go away. Done. Bad news for automation! :) But, I'll give it a go again. Who knows maybe some bugs have been squashed since then. Will update this thread after testing...
8 months 1 week ago #67270

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