Astroart

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Users of Starlight Xpress' CCD cams are not left out in the cold by CCDSoft's lack of drivers for their cameras. There's no need to stick with the simple (and simplistic) software that ships with the Starlight cameras. Astroart is very reasonably priced ($185) and full-featured. Like CCDSoft, there's little the dedicated imager can't do with Astroart, from taking pretty pictures to conducting serious scientific pursuits such as astrometry and photometry. The biggest plus for this camera control and image processing program, however? It will work with just about any imaging/guiding camera, from humble Meade DSIs to ritzy FLI and Apogee big-chippers.

Potential Astroart problems and dislikes are few. This is a mature and stable program. The downsides? The somewhat cluttered user interface is not perfect, and it is easier to "relearn" CCDSoft than Astroart after weeks of cloudy skies. Plus, some users may not like the basic design thrust of the program. It's really more of an image processing application that can control cameras than a camera control program that can do processing. That is probably the inevitable result of one of the program's strengths, its "generic" nature. Finally, it supports a slew of different camera models via "plug-in" drivers, which makes Astroart's camera control facilities feel a bit like an afterthought.

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