After a night with almost 2 hours on M106, my data looked terrible. Lacking a lot of detail and still with plenty of background noise. Included equipment below. I did 200 x 30" subs at unity gain. This was the recommended sub based on my equipment / sky (Bortle 7) using a spreadsheet I found here on the forums. So I started reading more and watching more tutorial videos. I tried SharpCap Smart Histo which wanted max gain and 90" subs. Seemed like too much. Read Jon Rista's posts about trying to get median background to an optimal level. Plugged my numbers into the formula and started taking test shots. To reach above minimum median value I need max gain and 180" subs. Does that sound right? I went ahead and let the plan run on APT with those numbers but it seems extreme (the gain that is). For reference with my camera, unity gain is 565 with a max of 2000.
I'm shooting OSC via Altair 269C cooled camera through Meade 8" f/10 ACF SCT. I am guiding with 0.1-0.2 pixel error and dithering every other shot. The recommended median ADU was 1100 by the formula with a minimum of 800. I'm aiming around 900-1k. I assume my scope's f/10 has something to do with it. I have a reducer on the way so f/6.3 should be easier to reach the ADU. Does this method sound right? Or should I go back to stacking a lot of <30 sec subs at unity gain? Feels like quality will suffer but I won't know until I have time to look at the data in a couple days.
Thanks in advance.