Review - NightCap Pro v7 App
for iPhone Astrophotography
Posted: 6 August 2015
For some basics on using NightCap Pro for astrophotography, read the previous page of this review, as what follows here only discusses some of what's new in version 7.
As discussed on the previous page, using NightCap Pro for iPhone astrophotography, whether it is for wide-field photographs of the night sky or images done through a telescope, brings basic astrophotography to millions of iPhone users. Version 7 added two unique features to what was already an amazing iOS app: "artificial intelligence" (AI) tips and Apple Watch support. The NCP AI provides useful tips on how the photograph you are about to take might be improved. The tips include accurate suggestions about adjusting the exposure or mounting the iPhone on a tripod. As a beta tester for NightCap Pro, once I received my Apple Watch from Apple I was excited to try out the Apple Watch support, and that's what I'll discuss here.
Once NCP v7 is installed on the Apple Watch, whenever NCP is open on the iPhone you can see a "live view" in the NCP WatchOS app of what the iPhone camera is seeing (similar to the capability provided by Apple's Camera app). You can use the live view to show others what the iPhone is seeing or confirm that the object in the telescope is what you expected (for remote operations). If the Watch display dims, the app will reconnect once you wake the display. You can also start/stop exposures and videos by tapping the shutter button on the Watch screen. While I prefer to use the iPhone Earbuds/Mic cord volume control as a remote shutter release for NCP, if you don't have the cord available, using the Watch as a remote shutter release is a great stand-in. Once you take a photo from the Watch, you will see a confirming image on the Watch:
Doing a firm press on the Watch screen brings up this menu, allowing you to control some of the NCP settings on the iPhone:
What follows are some example NCP v7 astrophotography images done with an Apple iPhone 5s, with some corresponding Apple Watch screen captures to give you an idea of how the NCP "live view" looks on the Watch. The telescope used for these images was a Meade 8" LX200-ACF.
M11 Wild Duck Star Cluster, 77X (Long Exposure, Noise Reduction, ISO 8000, 1/2sec, 1 minute exposure):
M22 globular cluster, 77X (Long Exposure, Light boost, ISO 8000, 1/2sec, 1 minute exposure):
M27 Dumbbell Nebula, 77X (Long Exposure, Light boost, ISO 8000, 1/2sec, 1 minute exposure):
M57 Ring Nebula, 77X (Long Exposure, Light boost, ISO 8000, 1/2sec, 1 minute exposure):
M17 Swan Nebula, 77X (Long Exposure, Light boost, ISO 8000, 1/2sec, 1 minute exposure):
These handheld NightCap Pro v7 photos of the night sky further demonstrate the usefulness of the app:
Leo, Venus, and Jupiter:
Mouseover or tap on image for labels
Moon, Venus, and Jupiter:
Mouseover or tap on image for labels
Sagittarius and Scorpius, Milky Way (faintly), and Saturn (Long Exposure, Noise Reduction, 1/2sec, ISO 2000, 2 minute exposure):
NightCap Pro continues to be an incredible iPhone app for doing astrophotography of stars, the Milky Way, brighter Deep Sky Objects (DSOs), and even the faint Zodiacal Light and some faint DSOs, or indeed for any types of low-light photography.
If the iPhone is your only camera and you want to take photographs of the night sky, you need NightCap Pro. If you have a telescope and the iPhone is your only camera, NightCap Pro should definitely be your app of choice for telescopic imaging. If the iPhone is not your only camera, you will still find NightCap Pro an incredibly useful app to have for those situations where your other camera (or a dedicated astro-imager) is not available. And you'll be able to impress your friends with just what Apple's iPhone camera can photograph. The addition of the AI and Apple Watch support enhances how you will use NightCap Pro for astrophotography.
Go back to Page 1 of "Review - NightCap Pro App for iPhone Astrophotography".
Copyright ©2015 Michael L. Weasner / firstname.lastname@example.org
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