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I'm looking for advise on using software. Right now I am using Nebulosity but am looking for something that will automate my focusing (I cannot do this with Nebulosity). From what I am seeing on the net I can use FocusMax with the Moonlight but I need to use CCDSoft or Maxim DL. CCDSoft is less expensive for what I would need it for but Maxim seems to give you more bang for the buck. I'd like to hear those who use these programs their thoughts.

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CCDsoft seems easier to use, but I like Maxim better. Maxim guiding is simpler and more controllable, and you can load up on all sorts of subs in maxim, like you can expose each filter multiple times with different exposures.. ccdsoft is a pain to do that. I do that sometimes just to see how the subs are doing, sort of figure out a new ota or camera.

Cool, I think I am leaning to Maxim. I just downloaded the trial version and the interface "seems" intuitive, but all I did was connect the QSI to it and play with the temp and filter wheel settings. I'm sure there are many layers to discover. I was also able to load FocusMax and play with that with everything set up in the living room. Too bad CCDSoft does not have trial periods...

CCDsoft is much simpler but Maxim is probably better. I was thinking of going with the SkyX pro camera control.

I've never used CCDsoft, but have used MaxIm since I got it with the QSI camera. At first I used it for guiding, but found that PHD works better for me. I agree with Charles that MaxIm is great for automating complex sequences of capture. I also find it to be very good (and fast) at calibration and stacking. There are some quirky behaviors (IMHO), but over all, very easy to use.

I have been using FocusMax also and sure wish there was an alternative that worked as well. MaxIm's own auto-focus facility does NOT work as well, but Fmax is just weird.

PhD over maxim for guiding, huh. Focusmax is a little odd at times, I agree. Important to find the perfect star or else that program sucks. I like CCDsofts @focus thing. Wish there were one program to just handle it all perfectly and easily but somehow that seems impossible. Overall I'll use Maxim... and that's from a person who was using CCDsoft exclusively.

The big issue with MaxIm guiding is that it stops while downloading the image from the QSI camera. With the Atlas mount I was using at that time this meant that it was sure to be well off position when the next exposure started (regardless of settling delays, etc.). Now that I have the Mach1 mount it probably wouldn't be a problem, but PHD is great and using it is consistent with my long-held belief, based on 30 years of observation, that the more you pay for software the less useful it is!

interesting. Did not know it stopped like that. on my paramount it seems to work fine, but admittedly I need to lower the sensitivity of it to like 20%.

I'd use PhD but usually I have CCDautopilot managing everything and it doesn't recognize PhD for whatever reason.

Well, MaxIm doesn't "recognize" PHD either. That is, I can't do automatic dithering in this configuration, but otherwise, it just runs independently. Both MaxIm and PHD are connected to the AP driver for the mount, so MaxIm "sees" the guiding corrections applied, but doesn't know (or care) where they came from.

I still use PhD to this day with Maxim. I just like PhD, it's friendly, configurable if you want to do so, and just....works.

Maxim DL - camera, wheel, (and connects to the mount, but only so I can manually choose focus stars)
FMax - focusing
PhD - guiding

Pretty simple combo, the above.

Cool, this is kind of what I'm gearing up to do. Maxim seems to be something that you can grow into as well as we all get deeper and deeper into this :)

I'd use PhD but usually I have CCDautopilot managing everything and it doesn't recognize PhD for whatever reason.

What exactly does CCDAutopilot do. It looks like a way to control everything from one source (using CCDSoft or Maim) but isn't that what Maxim does anyway??

CCDap is an executive program, manages all the other programs in a nice easy to define way. It's intuitive, etc. Very nice program.

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