This section is a step by step getting started guide.
Do not connect a camera until its drivers have been installed. Drivers are best installed from a Windows user account which has administrative privileges. The drivers can be obtained in three ways, depending on the camera:
1. Drivers delivered on a CDROM provided with the camera. These might not be the latest version, so consider option 2.
3. Microsoft supported webcams (which work with DirectShow) may download a driver automatically once the camera is plugged in. This certainly works, for example, with the Microsoft LifeCam under Windows 10. However, earlier versions of Windows require the LifeCam drivers to be downloaded from Microsoft.
Once the camera drivers are installed, restart Windows, plug in the camera and check via Control Panel > Devices to see if the device (camera) is working properly.
The download and installation of SharpCap is described here.
Download SharpCap from http://www.sharpcap.co.uk/downloads . The single
download is suitable for both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of
Navigate to the folder where SharpCap has been loaded. Double
click on the file SharpcapInstall-version-number.exe
Supply an administrator account name and password if requested and
When the Installation Successfully
Completed message appears, click Close.
5. SharpCap is now installed.
Consider carrying out the initial testing from inside with the telescope and camera pointing at an object such as a tree, chimney, lamp or mast. Choose a large object.
Connect the camera to the telescope.
Connect the camera to the PC.
Start SharpCap. From the main menu, select Cameras.
Ensure the camera is selected (ticked) – in this example, the
camera is a Microsoft
LifeCam. If the camera name appears twice, select
the highest one on the list.
This is SharpCap’s Main Screen.
Key areas are:
Capture Display Area – the image the camera sees is displayed here.
Quick Capture Button – will start a video capture to a new file.
Snapshot Button – will capture a single frame to a PNG file.
Exposure – controls the camera exposure.
If focusing of the telescope cannot be reached, try removing diagonals or adding extensions.
Try the Snapshot
button. A Notification Bar
will appear directly below the Tool Bar.
Click the highlighted link to go directly to the folder holding the
This folder (SharpCap
Captures\YYY-MM-DD) which is on the desktop, will
contain 2 files. One is the image, the other is a text file
containing the camera settings.
The camera settings file looks like this:
Try the Quick
Capture button. At the bottom-right of the main
screen, a progress bar should appear.
When this video capture has completed, click the link in the
Bar. The capture folder should contain a video
file and a camera settings file. Double click the video to
21. If all the above has worked, the SharpCap and camera installation has been successfully tested.
This section describes the complete removal of SharpCap and all its ancillary settings. This action might be required to perform a clean install with all old settings removed. This work is best carried out with an account with administrator privileges
Uninstall SharpCap – either from Control Panel or via the Start button, go to Programs and Features, highlight SharpCap and Uninstall. [Note: there may be multiple versions to choose from.]
See the Appendix for additional (non-essential) clean-up actions.