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05-08-2022, 12:37 AM - 3 Likes   #1
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Shooting the moon with K-3 III 4k video as base for stacking images

There currently is a lengthy article in the German magazine "c't Fotografie" about how to shoot the moon using 4k video as base material rather than photos:
Detailstarke Mondbilder dank Videostacking | c't Fotografie | Heise Magazine (paywall)
The article is based on using a Pentax K-3 III and a cheap 150 EUR (used) manual zoom lens.

On his own web space (no paywall) the author has some images as well:
https://sternbilder.space/Der_Mond.html
It is all written in German, but Google should be able to help.

He proposes shooting a 4k video of 15-20 seconds, which generates the images that then are stacked later.

He references Fitsworks, Registax and Astrostakkert as (free for personal use) stacking tools.
https://www.astronomie.be/registax/
https://www.fitswork.de/software/index.php
https://www.autostakkert.com/

For preprocessing he proposes PIPP: PIPP Planetary Imaging PreProcessor

For a 150 EUR lens and based off 4k video the results look fine to me: https://www.heise.de/select/ct-foto/2022/3/2202806362147280321/df2203_ssi_00...10_digital.png

Here is a nice English tutorial (non video based) as well: https://stargazerslounge.com/topic/184192-full-disc-lunar-imaging-with-a-dslr/


Last edited by beholder3; 05-08-2022 at 12:45 AM.
05-08-2022, 02:45 AM   #2
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Thank you. The resulting photo https://www.heise.de/select/ct-foto/2022/3/2202806362147280321/df2203_ssi_00...10_digital.png is fascinating IMHO for a work based upon 4 Mpx shots (4K video). Unless I miss something obvious, this suggests me that the quality of the 4K video mode is superb.
I will be genuinely interested to read the forthcoming discussion.
05-08-2022, 03:09 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by beholder3 Quote
There currently is a lengthy article in the German magazine "c't Fotografie" about how to shoot the moon using 4k video as base material rather than photos:
Detailstarke Mondbilder dank Videostacking | c't Fotografie | Heise Magazine (paywall)
The article is based on using a Pentax K-3 III and a cheap 150 EUR (used) manual zoom lens.

On his own web space (no paywall) the author has some images as well:
https://sternbilder.space/Der_Mond.html
It is all written in German, but Google should be able to help.

He proposes shooting a 4k video of 15-20 seconds, which generates the images that then are stacked later.

He references Fitsworks, Registax and Astrostakkert as (free for personal use) stacking tools.
https://www.astronomie.be/registax/
https://www.fitswork.de/software/index.php
https://www.autostakkert.com/

For preprocessing he proposes PIPP: PIPP Planetary Imaging PreProcessor

For a 150 EUR lens and based off 4k video the results look fine to me: https://www.heise.de/select/ct-foto/2022/3/2202806362147280321/df2203_ssi_00...10_digital.png

Here is a nice English tutorial (non video based) as well: Full Disc Lunar Imaging with a DSLR - Imaging - Tips, Tricks and Techniques - Stargazers Lounge
Thank you very much. The website sternbilder.space is interesting. This guy is shooting also with Pentax/Astrotracer and delivers an introduction about it!

https://sternbilder.space/Astrotracer.html
05-08-2022, 07:06 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by hcc Quote
a work based upon 4 Mpx shots (4K video).
4K video is roughly 8 Mp, not 4 (3840 x 2160)
But otherwise, agreed

05-08-2022, 10:07 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by hcc Quote
Thank you. The resulting photo https://www.heise.de/select/ct-foto/2022/3/2202806362147280321/df2203_ssi_00...10_digital.png is fascinating IMHO for a work based upon 4 Mpx shots (4K video). Unless I miss something obvious, this suggests me that the quality of the 4K video mode is superb.
I will be genuinely interested to read the forthcoming discussion.
This shows the efficiency of stacking.

And in forum tech discussions we often forget that our eyes only resolve around 6-7 MPx at standard viewing distance (= the field of view of the FA 43 ltd).
So the 8 Mpx of a 4k video is plenty enough.

With video producing all those stackable images the output is great. And it is quick to do.
05-08-2022, 12:02 PM   #6
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Usually, this technique is used with a lot of magnification (e.g. obtaining images of the ISS or planets) and is used to improve sharpness of an object whose single image quality would otherwise be degraded by atmospherics. If one shoots 4K images of the moon and stacks them, noise will be reduced and some details can be better enhanced, but the resolution won't exceed 4K.
05-08-2022, 01:26 PM   #7
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Using 1000-1300 mm on an APSC camera to me sounds like considerable magnification.

05-08-2022, 03:50 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by beholder3 Quote
Using 1000-1300 mm on an APSC camera to me sounds like considerable magnification.
That's correct, and this would be a good use for the technique where small lunar details are to be recorded.

It just sounded like the conversation might be wandering towards getting 8K (or higher) resolution out of a 4K photo using this technique. Although it's technically possible to increase resolution beyond the sensor resolution using several "dithered" exposures, what is being described is not it. This technique strives to get better resolution (approaching the limit of the sensor) when optical conditions are not optimum, but it normally won't exceed sensor + lens resolution.

That said, 4K video lends itself to the technique very well.

Last edited by Bob 256; 05-08-2022 at 03:55 PM.
05-09-2022, 12:18 PM   #9
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I've wanted to try this at some point but haven't had a camera that could do reasonable night video (the K-3 was very sub par) until recently. Hopefully this week I can get out and see what the big SMC A*400/2.8 + SMC A 2X-L can do in video mode. I have used a lot of the programs mentioned but my recent work flow for moon shots is usually RawTherapee (Raw development)->PIPP (binning, sorting, and coarse alignment)->Image Magic (batch upscaling)->Hugin (for fine alignment)->enfuse (for stacking)->RawTherapee (for final adjustments).I did manage this on my first time out with the K-3iii and that lens and teleconverter.
05-14-2022, 05:10 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Bob 256 Quote
It just sounded like the conversation might be wandering towards getting 8K (or higher) resolution out of a 4K photo using this technique.
I actually assume that increased pixelcount for 8k (or photo pixelcounts) simply do not - or very, very little - improve resolution in this topic area.

The seeing / air movements and such likely make the images so "soft" that the benefit of simple increased pixelcount is negligible.
05-14-2022, 07:21 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by beholder3 Quote
I actually assume that increased pixelcount for 8k (or photo pixelcounts) simply do not - or very, very little - improve resolution in this topic area.

The seeing / air movements and such likely make the images so "soft" that the benefit of simple increased pixelcount is negligible.
Correct. I think the term "open magnification" applies.

In astronomy, the resolution (and hence the allowed magnification) is related to objective size, and increasing this serves no purpose beyond certain limits (other than more light gathering). Because of this, smaller telescopes like 8-12 inches can have the actual resolving power of much larger instruments. A backyard telescope can perform as well as the Palomar (Hale) telescope in terms of resolution for bright objects (under the some circumstances). This wouldn't be true if it weren't for the atmosphere. It helps in a photographer's case because the principle extends to the much smaller objectives on most camera lenses, and in some cases, the camera's resolution far exceeds what the lens/seeing conditions can deliver.
05-18-2022, 11:50 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by beholder3 Quote
The seeing / air movements and such likely make the images so "soft" that the benefit of simple increased pixelcount is negligible.
This is where stacking and binning images comes in. Basically one shoots a big pile of shots either in video mode or stills mode and feeds that into a program like PIPP, AutoStakkert! or some other program that will go through and order the images of the planet, sun, or moon from best to worst. They all basically use the same algorithm or set of algorithms. So you may start out with 1000-3000 pictures or frames of the object and then you feed that into a program like PIPP which goes and sorts them and assigns a quality value to each. From there you take the best 50%, 25%, whatever % or only pick shots with a quality score above some value and stack those. I will usually upscale things 2x before stacking and feed those 2x upscaled images into Hugin to do a very fine alignment and get remapped images. Then from there you actually do the actual combination of your best shots from the pile and for that I usually use hugin_stacker from the command line with a mode of median or avg. This results in a somewhat soft image from the atmospheric distortion but with enough images you can do a lot of sharpening using wavelet edits to bring out a lot of detail that was faint or softened away. For this I use the wavelet editing tools in RawTherapee but others like using the wavelet editing in RegiStax (the only really useful thing in the tool anymore as the stacking portion is better done with other tools now). This method also helps drive down noise when you have to shoot at high ISO because you don't have your 800mm setup on a tracking mount that can support it and are shooting the eclipsed moon in totality.
05-21-2022, 12:24 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by MossyRocks Quote
This is where stacking and binning images comes in. Basically one shoots a big pile of shots either in video mode or stills mode and feeds that into a program like PIPP, AutoStakkert! or some other program that will go through and order the images of the planet, sun, or moon from best to worst. They all basically use the same algorithm or set of algorithms. So you may start out with 1000-3000 pictures or frames of the object and then you feed that into a program like PIPP which goes and sorts them and assigns a quality value to each. From there you take the best 50%, 25%, whatever % or only pick shots with a quality score above some value and stack those. I will usually upscale things 2x before stacking and feed those 2x upscaled images into Hugin to do a very fine alignment and get remapped images. Then from there you actually do the actual combination of your best shots from the pile and for that I usually use hugin_stacker from the command line with a mode of median or avg. This results in a somewhat soft image from the atmospheric distortion but with enough images you can do a lot of sharpening using wavelet edits to bring out a lot of detail that was faint or softened away. For this I use the wavelet editing tools in RawTherapee but others like using the wavelet editing in RegiStax (the only really useful thing in the tool anymore as the stacking portion is better done with other tools now). This method also helps drive down noise when you have to shoot at high ISO because you don't have your 800mm setup on a tracking mount that can support it and are shooting the eclipsed moon in totality.
Right. And starting off with video is - I think - a smart idea since it generates a lot of base images in a short time (also with less stress for mechanical shutters).

With the moon being bright enough exposure times are less of an issue.
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