The past few days I've been working with PIPP, AutoStakkert and RegiStax on the Jupiter data capture video that Steve (WarmWeatherGuy) provided me. This was a first for me with these softwares so my initial learning curve has been steep, but now I can find my way around for the basic functions.
PIPP is much more than a file converter. It can centre the object of interest in each frame, change the aspect ratio, extract portion of a file, etc. Not too difficult to use and handy!
I found AutoStakkert more difficult to use. I watched tutorials especially the ones by Steve available at http://planetaryimagingtutorials.com/. I kept it simple and finally made it to the end.
I found RegiStax even more difficult and not particularly user friendly for someone new to astro imaging. I watched even more tutorials than for AutoStakkert to the point of suffering from acute Information Overload! So again I kept it simple and made it to the end. WOW! I was blown away by the finished image. Either it was a beginner's luck or the raw data was so good that even a beginner could do it or AS and RS are so well automated that they compensate for the user's missteps or...
Steve's (avi) video is 120 seconds long for 12 000 frames. I decided to use PIPP to extract the first 20 sec (2000 frames). I captured a frame from the original 120 sec file and one from the 20 sec extract file, located à 00:00:10 in both cases. When viewed side by side they looked identical, switching from one to the other, full-screen image didn't change. PIPP really extracted the exact same frames.
So I processed the 20 sec file with AS and RS using the same settings I used for the 120 sec original file and compared both finished image. I could not visually see a difference. That surprised me because I thought that capturing 120 sec of raw data would deliver a visibly better signal/noise ratio than a 20 sec capture. If it isn't delivering a better finished image than why would people invest serious money to buy a gem with rock solid tracking to make longer planetary captures...
Am I missing something?