Image stacking

Started Jan 17, 2013 | Discussions thread
Stephen Barrett
Regular MemberPosts: 456Gear list
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Re: Image stacking
In reply to filibuster, Jan 26, 2013

Thank you, filibuster, for a very interesting thread.
I began playing with Zerene Stacker earlier this month:
http://zerenesystems.com/cms/stacker
The website says: Zerene Stacker is a “focus stacking” program designed specifically for challenging macro subjects and discerning photographers. Of course it works great with simpler subjects, close-ups, and landscapes also!
I have been using the program primarily for focus stacking and am quite impressed with it:
http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/post/50610701
and
http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/post/50636595
and
http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/thread/3370456?page=5
Last night, I tried the program for stacking moon photos and the results look promising:
http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/post/50731608

Low-Light ​Stacking

This evening, I tried using the program for stacking low-light images, with my SX30 set first at ISO 800, then ISO 1600, then ISO 5000 (low-light "SCN" mode).  Stacking two photos at ISO 800 made a definite improvement, but most of my hand-held shots were blurred.
The ISO 5000 shots were not blurred but they were grainy-looking and there was a loss of colour.  I tried stacking all 11 of 11 shots, but the graininess and loss of colour remained.  My results at ISO 1600 were much better.
Some of my ISO 1600 shots were blurred too, but a lower proportion than at ISO 800.  I discarded 5 of 14 shots and stacked the remaining 9.  Here are one of the best single shots at ISO 1600 and the result of stacking 9:



Photo 1: One of the best single  low-light shots at ISO 1600



Photo 2: 9 Stacked Shots using Zerene Stacker

All of the shots were hand-held SX30 (M1 size) in Av mode at f/5.8, full optical zoom (35x, f=150.5 mm).  Zerene Stacker was used in the PMax mode, taking under a minute to align and stack the photos.  There was no post-processing, just a resizing of the scale to 50%.   I would be interested if anybody can comment on how well Zerene Stacker compares with other stacking software.

 Stephen Barrett's gear list:Stephen Barrett's gear list
Canon PowerShot SX30 IS +3 more
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