All the questions we often get asked about NCTech products and services in one easy to find location.

How do I turn on ISTAR?

To start iSTAR, simply press the touch screen at the four corners, starting with upper left.

Does iSTAR Fusion record video?

iSTAR Fusion does not have the capability to record video.

How much does iSTAR weigh?

iSTAR weighs 1.41Kg

What size is iSTAR?

iSTAR® measures 10cm x 10cm x 11cm

What file formats can I output to?

iSTAR can output to both JPEG and PNG.

How long does the battery last for?

The battery in iSTAR lasts for around 6 hours during normal activity.

What is the size of the final panorama?

The final panorama is 10,000 x 5,000 pixels which equates to 50 megapixels.

Can I preview a live 360 panorama?

Sure! You can preview the panorama either using the preview option on the iSTAR’s touchscreen or via a touch tablet device over WiFi using the iSTAR viewer software.

What kind of sensor does iStar use (CCD or CMOS)?

iSTAR uses a CMOS sensor.

Does the ISTAR have GPS? What about a compass?

No. iSTAR does not come with a built in GPS. But it does have a digital compass.

You can however supply an external GPS feed into iSTAR via the USB port. Simply ensure the GPS device you are using can supply a 4800 Baud NMEA data stream.

Here’s an example of an external GPS device that we use ourselves to geotag our iSTAR images: http://goo.gl/F9vvMa

Does iSTAR use a global or rolling shutter?

iSTAR uses an electronic rolling shutter.

How long does the battery last on standby?

The iSTAR battery has a standby time of around 48 hours from a full charge. During this time you may either re‐charge the battery using the supplied mains charger or you can remove the battery and charge using the optional external charger.

We have some additional information on battery charging here: http://support.shop.nctechimaging.com/entries/22979467

Does the ISTAR capture the Zenith area?

iSTAR was specifically designed so it captures the full zenith area without requiring an additional upwards pointing lens.

Does the unit have an event out?

The iSTAR was built with the ability to use its USB A / Micro USB B to connect to external devices such as IMU, external GPS and others.  Future updates will include more options such as this.  The SDK also lets you have full control of the camera from your own PC over Ethernet, allowing you to do anything you require to the images as they are created.

Is the ISTAR IP rated?

Yes — iSTAR has an IP64 rating.

Here’s a link to identify IP ratings: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IP_Code

Are there any lens distortion profiles that can be used to “defish” the images?

Our software includes full calibration profiles for all 4 lenses and sensors so your images are stitched automatically. You can of course process the images in 3rd party stitching applications if you prefer.

Are the individual RAW images from the 4 cameras stored or just the finished pano?

Both the individual images and the optionally stitched pano are stored by iSTAR

Does the iSTAR support HDR?

Of course. Both iSTAR Fusion and Pulsar offer up to 9 multiple exposures.

iSTAR can generate an instant blended image using auto exposure fusion or you can process the source images using a 3rd party HDR application like Autopano Giga from Kolor: http://www.kolor.com/autopano/

How long does it take to capture a panorama?

iSTAR is fast. How fast? Assuming you are capturing a single exposure panorama in a reasonably well lit environment, time to capture is about 3–5 seconds. Once the panorama is captured iSTAR then processes the 4 source images and saves to SD or external drive. The time to save depends on where you are saving the file e.g. if it’s to the internal SD card then processing time is around 30–60 seconds.

But remember — as soon as the panorama is captured you can pick up iSTAR and move to the next location! So normally within 5 secs you can be moving on to the next scene!

For more information about mobile and streaming capture, check out our Mobile Capture section.

Do I need extra stitching software?

No. We supply you with our iSTAR Immersive Studio that will automatically stitch and process the images for you. But of course if you want you can also stitch using any of the many 3rd party stitching programs as well.

Can you program (store settings) for the sequence of the HDR capture and can these settings be predefined?

By default iSTAR automatically computes an optimal bracketing sequence for a given HDR range. This gives a very good balance and tonal range during the exposure fusion process. You will also be able to define your own exposure sequence using our external iSTAR camera software.

What is the workflow for HDR? Does it need some postprocessing or does the iSTAR output the HDR panorama?

iSTAR uses by default “Exposure Fusion” to create a single blended JPEG panorama. If you prefer, you can save the individual exposures as separate panoramas which you would then post process using third party software.

Related Links:

Can I control the iSTAR remotely?

We offer two options to control iSTAR remotely:

  • Basic operation over WiFi direct to iSTAR from SmartPhone, Laptop etc
  • Full control via WiFi or ethernet from Windows PC, laptop or touch tablet via iSTAR Remote Control software

Is it possible to operate shutters by an ‘External trigger signal’? and if so, what is the lead time?

Yes, image capture can be triggered externally and remotely.  “Lead time” really depends on the triggering method used.

How to connect to WiFi SSID?

If you boot iSTAR with WiFI DISABLED, then try to search for a WiFi network you may find the unit does not display all available SSIDs.

Here is how to connect to a WiFi SSID:

  1. Enter Wifi Settings Menu
  2. Click Wifi enabled
  3. Click back to Network settings
  4. Click Wifi Settings Menu again
You should now see the list of available SSIDs

How to connect iSTAR to an Android device?

Please complete the following steps to connect your iSTAR to an Android device:

- Setup a local wifi hotspot on the android device
— Connect to the android SSID from iSTAR using the “AP mode” wifi option on iSTAR
— Note the IP Address assigned to iSTAR by the android device
— Enter the IP address of iSTAR into the Android browser

How do I connect to iSTAR WiFi using an iOS device?

To connect to the iSTAR using an iOS device, please carry out the following steps:

  • Turn on iSTAR, access network settings and turn on AdHoc Mode. Return to the main menu to validate. You will hear a short audio sound indicating successful validation.
  • Access your iOS device and look for available networks to connect to
  • You should see your iSTAR serial number appear as a connection for example: iSTAR‐2510. Connect to this
  • When prompted to enter a password enter iSTAR. Please note that the i is in lower case and the remaining characters are upper case
  • If the connection is successful, you will hear a small audio sound coming from the iSTAR indicating a connection and the WiFi symbol located in the top row of the screen should turn green.
  • You are now connected. To test, access a web browser on iOS(such as Chrome) and type 10.15.1.1 in the url and search. You should now be presented with the iSTAR application allowing you to remotely capture images.

How do I connect to iSTAR WiFi using Windows 7?

To connect to the iSTAR using Windows 7, please carry out the following steps:

  • Turn on iSTAR, access network settings and turn on AdHoc Mode. Return to the main menu to validate. You will hear a short audio sound indicating successful validation.
  • On your Windows 7 system, access the networks available icon located on the bottom right hand corner of your desktop. You should now see your iSTAR serial number appear as a connection for example: iSTAR‐2510. Connect to this
  • When prompted to enter a password enter iSTAR. Please note that the i is in lower case and the remaining characters are upper case
  • If the connection is successful, you will hear a small audio sound coming from the iSTAR indicating a connection and the WiFi symbol located in the top row of the screen should turn green. If you move your mouse over the networks icon in the bottom corner of your windows system, it should display iSTAR‐2510.
  • You are now connected. To test, access a web browser on such as Chrome and type 10.15.1.1 in the url and search. You should now be presented with the iSTAR application allowing you to remotely capture images.

What operating systems are supported?

At launch we will be supporting Windows Vista, 7 and 8. Soon to follow will be support for OSX.

How do I connect a laptop to the ISTAR?

You can connect to iSTAR via WiFi or gigabit ethernet. The fastest connection for data transfer of course is via gigabit ethernet.

How do I update the firmware?

The firmware update process for iSTAR is very straightforward. When new firmware is available and advised for you unit, simply download the firmware update from our downloads section, copy the update file to the iSTAR’s SD card and insert the card into iSTAR.

When iSTAR next boots on power up, it will detect the firmware update on the SD card and the firmware will update automatically.

Can 5cm high letters be recognisable from the iSTAR captured pictures if they are taken from 50m away?

This sample iSTAR image shows the resolution capabilities of iSTAR:

sample

Is iSTAR capable of saving panoramas in OpenEXR format?

At present, iSTAR can capture a range of up to 9 exposures (depending on product model) which can then be processed using Exposure Fusion to a single JPEG 8 bit panorama.

You can if you prefer process the source fisheye images in a 3rd party stitching application like AutoPano Giga from Kolor or PTGUI, both of which support the export to 16 bit HDR formats like .exr and .hdr

How do I know if I am using the correct calibration file?

After starting Immersive Studio for the first time, you need to tell the program what calibration file you want it to use. To do this:
  1. Click the options button on the main menu of Immersive studio
  2. You will see that a default.nctcc file is currently selected
  3. To use your own calibration file which will look like NCT‐IS100XX.nctcc, simply click  “Import camera calibration”
  4. Search for and select the calibration file for your iSTAR unit and press open in the bottom right corner of the pop up box
  5. You will now be able to select your file from the drop down menu provided. Select your file, and then click  the main menu button
  6. You will now be able to begin processing your images.

What does red battery flashing icon mean?

If you leave your iSTAR unit to charge for a long period of time (more than the standard 3–4 hours) it is possible that if you then attempt to turn the unit on you may see a flashing red battery icon on the touch screen display. This may appear to indicate the battery has not charged correctly.
However, if you hear ten audible beeps coming from the unit at the same time, this means that your battery is in fact simply “overcharged”. To resolve this issue, please conduct the following steps:
  1. Disconnect your iSTAR unit from the mains power supply
  2. Turn the on/off switch to on but do not start the unit from the touchscreen
  3. Leave the unit with the on/of switch ON for around one hour
  4. If you have an iSTAR unit without an on/off switch, disconnect the mains power supply and leave it for an hour
  5. After one hour, use the touch screen to start the unit

Does iSTAR software have the ability to display on Google maps the location of the pictures taken and display the picture itself when the specific location is selected?

No. That would require specific Google Maps 3rd party integration which you can certainly do but the solutions are not directly supported by NCTech. Here’s some links to tutorials no how to embed panoramas into Google Maps:

When you create a panorama using iSTAR’s built in method — is it possible to keep each individual pictures for each lens in addition to the panorama?

Yes, iSTAR saves both the original source images as well as the stitched panorama.

Does NCTech provide any API/middleware to integrate to other GIS for display on maps?

Using the SDK available with Pulsar you will have full access to the GPS capabilities of iSTAR to directly integrate to other GIS systems. In addition, each iSTAR image is Geotagged in the EXIF data so you can also access that information for manual integration to other GIS systems.

What kind of tripod do I need for iSTAR?

iSTAR has a ¼” thread base so just about any tripod that has this size of thread will be fine for iSTAR. We have included a pin locator specifically for the Manfrotto 200PL Plate adapter.

By attaching the plate to the base of iSTAR you can easily and quickly connect to a number of Manfrotto pan/tilt and ball heads.

What warranty does NCTech offer?

Each iSTAR comes with a one year warranty. There is an optional 2 year extension warranty available which provides a full 3 years coverage.

For more details about the extended warranty option, please contact sales.

Does NCTech provide training courses?

iSTAR is a very easy to use product and you will probably be able to start using iSTAR right out of the box with just the Quick Start Guide for reference.

For companies and individuals who would like a full training package, please contact sales for more details.