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DSLR image stacking questions

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#1 Jasel

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Posted 18 June 2013 - 10:12 AM

I've been using my Canon T3i attached to my Starmax 127 - no guiding. I have managed to get some great shots of the moon and sun, but I'm not sure whether I was lucky or not.

I've had my best luck by stacking jpg files by pre-processing them in PIPP, final stacking in Autostakkert2. The jpg's come out as 3200x3200. Raw files seemed larger than Autostakkert can handle else I would try.

The jpg's have worked in the past but Autostakkert is now freezing during the stacking process.

I'm assuming it's blowing up due to hard drive space or memory on my PC. I might try running autostakkert on a different drive with more space but not sure if this will affect performance.

And now the questions:

For image stacking what do you use? RAW, jpg or something else? If jpg, do you use the largest?
If RAW, how do you stack them?

If someone can point me in the right direction I would appreciate it.

#2 WillCarney

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Posted 18 June 2013 - 10:30 AM

jpg has lousy compression. It's better to use tiff or bmp. I'm not familiar with Autostakkert2. I use Deep Sky Stacker or Nebulosity3 for stacking. William

#3 Jasel

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Posted 18 June 2013 - 10:35 AM

Thanks, I should have mentioned that I mostly do planetary stuff. I'm assuming you convert your raw to tiff or bmp using software?

#4 shawnhar

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Posted 18 June 2013 - 10:40 AM

For sun moon and planets most people use video rather than a bunch of single exposures.
I use EOS Movie Record, then put that in Autostakkert.

#5 mmalik

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Posted 18 June 2013 - 10:41 AM

There are trial versions of PixInsight and ImagesPlus you can try; RAW is the way to go. Simple answer for guiding is that DSOs require longer exposure, hence need guiding. Planetary imaging is mainly the domain of movie crop mode and guiding is not needed since images are taken out of a movie sequence. Stacking and other instructions here.... Ask more questions as you get going. Hope this helps. Regards

#6 WillCarney

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Posted 18 June 2013 - 10:43 AM

I'm assuming you convert your raw to tiff or bmp using software?


Yes. Most astro programs don't handle raw Canon or Nikon images but do bmp, tiff and others. William

#7 Jasel

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Posted 18 June 2013 - 11:59 AM

Thanks everybody for all the info and feedback.

I think without tracking I could only get away with 5 second vids especially with the sun and moon being so huge without a focal reducer. That's why I do images.

Both PixInsight and ImagesPlus I've heard are great, however money is short so I'm working on basically no budge. My scope cost $80 and the camera was a combined xmas present to give you an idea of how I'm rolling here lol.

So without guiding, or a drive, I'm basically up a creek eh?

#8 mmalik

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Posted 18 June 2013 - 12:11 PM

For video you don't need guiding. Thx

#9 mmalik

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Posted 18 June 2013 - 12:13 PM

Eval/trial software will not cost you anything and will get you by for the short time and will be a good learning experience. Thx

#10 Jasel

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Posted 18 June 2013 - 12:27 PM

I have to hand guide the scope, would that not affect video quality for stacking?

Your right on the software, but I like to have the funds while trying the software in case I do like it! Wifey doesn't like spontaneous purchases... ;-)

#11 mmalik

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Posted 18 June 2013 - 04:07 PM

I have to hand guide the scope, would that not affect video quality for stacking?


If you are moving the scope to center the object after long pauses then you still have lot of good data to stack. Even if you didn't move the scope at all and let the object pass from one end of the field to the other, you sill will have enough video data to stack. Ironically, sometimes just one frame out of hundreds can be better/sharper than many stacked, an example here...; there is also a video sample posted here... of the same if you would like to play with. Thx

#12 piaras

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Posted 18 June 2013 - 04:09 PM

Wifey doesn't like spontaneous purchases... ;-)


It is not spontaneous! You have been discussing for at least 3 posts! :cool:

#13 Tom and Beth

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Posted 18 June 2013 - 09:47 PM

:funny:

That should be enough in debth analysis

#14 ohata0

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Posted 19 June 2013 - 02:03 AM

if you're going to be doing a lot of planetary where most of the image is being cropped out, consider the switch to video.

using eos movie record (free) to get 5x live view video recording really helps a lot. I only have a photo tripod, so i have to align my 7D the planet travels the length of the sensor. after taking several movie clips, i crop and center using pipp, then stack that using registax.

here's an image of saturn i got using the c90 and 3x barlow.

single images mostly looked kinda like this.

note: the "image" was from a still image from an earlier session. 5x liveview comes close to (but not quite) 1:1.

if you're already using PIPP to center and crop images though, i don't really see how adding more images (video frames) would make autostakkert run better.

if you haven't tried it already, try centering and cropping your images for planetary in PIPP...the smaller dimensions (and file sizes) should help make it more manageable in autostakkert.

...unless you're doing moon/sun shots, where you wouldn't crop as much out (assuming you have a long enough focal length).

if that doesn't work, maybe try stacking it in smaller batches? try to figure out how many you managed to stack reliably, and then separate them in batches less than that...then maybe stack those stacked images together and compare all of them against one another.

#15 Jasel

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Posted 19 June 2013 - 11:54 AM

Thanks mmalik. I'm going to try some video tonight, hopefully of Saturn, if not the moon. I have actually noticed that my best image has been better than all of them stacked a few times and couldn't figure out why. Thanks for explaining that.

lol piaras, I'll try that...then duck and run...

ohata0 - my focal length needs reduced as the Sun or Moon takes up pretty much the whole aperature. Using PIPP, if I take 400 hand guided shots I end up with 70 - 100 good shots. I'll try breaking them up, or at least take the best 20 to try and stack them.

I'll post my best shots of the moon and sun, and hopefully in a day or two post a comparison vs video. I'll try and document my process as good as i can so any tips or tricks can be thrown at me.

#16 mmalik

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Posted 19 June 2013 - 11:59 AM

Magnification is another secret of planetary imaging besides movie crop; I use this...; without significant magnification, planetary imaging is not very rewarding. Good luck

#17 Jasel

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Posted 19 June 2013 - 11:59 AM

Moon:

Attached Files



#18 Jasel

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Posted 19 June 2013 - 11:59 AM

Sun:

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#19 Jasel

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Posted 20 June 2013 - 12:01 PM

mmalik - sorry I didn't see your post. I do have a 2x barlow. The only problem is I have difficulty finding anything in it when the camera is hooked up. This is just me being a newb or course! I tried using a bright star to focus on, then switching over, but even finding the bright star is a pain.

So taking video of the sun yesterday I found the video could only fit about 3/4 of the sun in it. So if I want full disc, and to use video a focal reducer is my only choice.

I tried Saturn last night but my camera battery died while trying to get Saturn through the 2x barlow. I might try again tonight.

All and all I think a focal reducer is my best for stacking images and/or video of the sun and moon. Distance objects are a learning curve I hope to fix soon with more experience.

#20 Tonk

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Posted 21 June 2013 - 05:02 AM

So if I want full disc, and to use video a focal reducer is my only choice


A lot of folks solve this by building mosaics - its not hard to do either






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