X100V astrophotography: Noise or Stars?

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Keithpictures
Keithpictures Contributing Member • Posts: 818
X100V astrophotography: Noise or Stars?

Had my X100V in upstate New York over the summer, and tried out a photo of the stars.

1/60s - not even slow at all. f2, ISO 8000.

I think I even handheld this shot, as 1/60 is my limit. And that's an ISO I avoid in general (of course), so I must've cranked it just to try this out.

This is not a genre I know well, and this is purely a shot for fun, but it's lead me to really wonder: are these all stars? Or is it noise? (And does it even matter?)

full-res JPG

I'd love some advice on optimum export settings.. This full-res JPG is too dark (not enough stars visible) when viewed small, but looks pretty good when viewed at full size. Since I generally export for instagram (short end set to 1080px usually), I'm playing around with the settings for an ideal at small size.

When I raise the exposure (or whites, or highlights), more visible noise shows up at 100%, but it looks good at Instagram-size. I keep playing with degrees of visible noise vs more bright dots in the sky; it's funny to me how easily some noise passes as starlight.

Lots more noise in the corners... I can add vignetting, but I wonder if that's the best.

Maybe something between that and this..

Anyway, I know these aren't fantastic night-sky shots; I'm not aiming for too much. Just clearly defined white dots on the black canvas. I'm interested in improving for next time and curious people's thoughts on this topic. Obviously a tripod would help immensely, but I wonder if it's possible to finagle decent results without one (since I generally don't travel with one). Would be happy to share the RAW file somehow for those interested; not sure how to do that.

Keith

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