There are quite a few reviews written by some really great astronomers. Here’s a few words from a newbie that tosses a bunch of equipment into the back yard and hopes for the best!
First, a little about me.
I started astrophotography in early 2015 with a DSLR and a $200 goto reflector and found that I really enjoy the challenges of this fascinating hobby. I was intrigued by the ability to automate processes and started upgrading equipment so I could make it more efficient. Staying up all night just doesn’t mix well with a demanding day job and working a small farm. For me to be able to do any astrophotography at all, my system was going to have to be quick to set up and automated.
After many months of acquiring hardware, I started looking at software packages to manage my growing pile of equipment. With no actual experience with any of the currently popular packages to guide my thoughts (beyond what I read in forums and what-not), I compared the capabilities and cost and decided to go with Prism. This is one decision that I’ve never regretted for a second! Not only has it done a great job managing my hardware, I’ve learned a lot about astrophotography from Prism. One simple example of this is in taking Flat frames. Everyone knows how important these are to good images, but after letting Prism take my Flats, I learned how poor a job I was doing. My images are greatly improved just because of this one little feature
I’ve used Prism for about a year now, and my knowledge has grown tremendously, much I’ll attribute simply to using this software. I’ll have to admit to being quite ignorant of astronomy in general, but with Prism’s help I can manage to operate at a level far above my knowledge
Pro’s of using Prism:
All-encompassing astrophotography package. I haven’t yet found a desirable feature that Prism doesn’t have already built in. The biggest benefit to this is that everything works together in a very cohesive environment. We’ve all heard the saying ‘Jack of all trades, master of none’. Prism is one example where this saying just doesn’t fit. Of the features I’ve used so far, I’ve not seen a better alternative. Also, using multiple software packages for different hardware gets the job done, but has huge limitations when it comes to coordinating a whole night of imaging.
Stability. Rarely are there software issues. Most of the problems I’ve encountered are caused by Windows or a problem between the chair and the keyboard, not Prism (no surprise there!)
Support. When I couldn’t figure it out, support was always right there to help me. They have a wealth of knowledge, have always been quick and pleasant to work with, and have even gone beyond the scope of the software to offer guidance on proper hardware usage. They developers take a lot of pride in creating a good product and any issues found are fixed extremely fast
Smart. The features of Prism make it very apparent that it was written as a tool to manage all the assorted paraphernalia for astrophotography that is in use today. One of the best parts is, because it can manage all aspects, it can manage everything in a very cohesive manner. This just isn’t feasible when trying to juggle several different apps
Highly Technical. I’m extremely underqualified to have much to say about the vast array of analytical capabilities in Prism. I can only hope to grow up one day and understand and make use of half of the features!
I’ve thought about this for quite a while and just can’t come up with any! I considered mentioning the learning curve here, but honestly don’t believe it would be any more difficult than learning any of the other similar packages. Considering that you may have to deal with multiple apps, and try to configure them to work together, Prism probably comes out ahead on this too.