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08-22-2017, 08:46 AM   #1
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Astrotracer

Hi there,
I think one should have been asked in astrophotography section but can’t post there as I am not this group member (yet).
Anyway would appreciate any help and advice.
I Have been using O-GPS1 on my K5II for some time now and really like it even if still quite faraway from mastering it. Its tiny and does nice job when calibrated properly, handy little thing for nightscapes or astro. The only biggest issue I see is playing with noise reduction. From what I understand the best results are achieved by image stacking plsu some dark(white,grey) frames.
As it is moving sensor only it resets its position every shot which make shooting proper stack well…let’s say quite difficult. I’ve tried just 6 shots for this purpose the other night at 1m40s and during this really short session stars “moved” significantly to the point it would have to be badly cropped for alignment and pros are using stacks of 20,40 and more shots.
Adjusting camera position manually every couple minutes might work better or worse when shoot really wide still far from being perfect. So I am wondering what could be done in NR department here  :
Lower the ISO by getting brighter lens ? I shoot sigma 10-20/4, or 17-50/2.8 so far (planning on using my 55-300 and 150-500 as well at some point)
Get proper tracker like iOptron or Vixen Polarie this would make stacking session a breeze (I think I will need some sort of timing sequencer or whatever it is called as staring at the phone timer for hours using remote does not look like fun, I would rather lay down and enjoy the sky )
Any other really good ways of handling noise? I always do the postprocess PS denoising even using plugins like Topaz will and results are quite weak comparing to properly stacked images.
Any advice of Astrotracer users on handling noise will be appreciated.
I have a small budget at the moment that will let me buy vixen or maybe brighter lens not both
I think I should go with tracker so I could use all my lenses for astro, unless there are ways, tricks to shot stacks or denoise images I should still learn and master (I am quite new to astro so I might be missing something).
Many thanks!

08-22-2017, 09:14 AM   #2
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If you can get it then get this: iOptron SmartEQ Pro Equatorial Mount Kit with Hard Case 3200-HC along with this Orion 1/4"-20 Adapter for Orion Telescope Mounts | OPT Telescopes and this https://www.amazon.com/Neewer-Shutter-Release-Remote-Control/dp/B003Q9RERY/r...QKGPR6NY4E4BDM and you will be good to go. Stack in DSS 3.3.6 or Sequator, then process in Photoshop.
08-22-2017, 01:05 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by trigg Quote
As it is moving sensor only it resets its position every shot which make shooting proper stack well…let’s say quite difficult. I’ve tried just 6 shots for this purpose the other night at 1m40s and during this really short session stars “moved” significantly to the point it would have to be badly cropped for alignment and pros are using stacks of 20,40 and more shots.
Sure, but pros are using equatorial mounts and telescopes... That said, any half decent stacking software should have no problem to do the stacking even if the stars moved significantly between the shots. This is one the reason for using them: they can perfectly align stars between shots...

QuoteOriginally posted by trigg Quote
Adjusting camera position manually every couple minutes might work better or worse when shoot really wide still far from being perfect. So I am wondering what could be done in NR department here  :
This is a way to do it. But you can also limit yourself to what the Astrotracer can give you. If you need better, it's time to spend on more advanced gear for astrophotography...

QuoteOriginally posted by trigg Quote
Lower the ISO by getting brighter lens ? I shoot sigma 10-20/4, or 17-50/2.8 so far (planning on using my 55-300 and 150-500 as well at some point)
This also would help. But, IMHO, it would make more sense to invest the money in proper gear - like an equatorial mount- unless you plan to also use the lens for general photographjy.

QuoteOriginally posted by trigg Quote
Any advice of Astrotracer users on handling noise will be appreciated.
It depends on what you're trying to do... What kind of pictures are you trying to make ? Maybe you're just trying to overdo it...
08-22-2017, 02:25 PM   #4
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Your main complaint/question seems to be the noise problem. Perhaps simply trying some post processing would help more than new gear. There are a number of techniques shown on YouTube
astrophotography post processing lightroom - YouTube

08-22-2017, 03:06 PM   #5
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Come on over to the Astrophotography user group here. Hundreds of years of collective experience to draw on there.
08-24-2017, 02:31 AM   #6
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Thanks guys for all the replies,

Its not like I am struggling with postprocess noise reduction (using CR, PS build in tools or plugins and I like imagenomic noiseware even better than topaz ), Its just the fact that image stacking seems to be far superior to these techniques (otherwise no one would torture themselves spending half of the night taking 40+ same frames if they could do the same job in 15 minutes playing with Photoshop ). On the other hand I like astrotracer very much - it is a game changer comparing to just a tripod and camera, but what I love most about it, is its size and weight. I rarely shoot from my backyard, usually am in the wild hitting trails sometimes for couple days where every gram in your backpack counts and you really need to carry a ton of stuff plus all the photography gear. I am just in the process of expanding my photography hobby a bit further from landscapes/sunsets into the starscapes/astro area, which is quite new for me. That's why I wanted to consult you guys with "Hundreds of years of collective experience" as mentioned above before taking next step.

I was thinking and came with an new to me idea (that probably is common practice anyway ) to reverse the logic and instead of taking longest exposure and lowest ISO possible actually push the ISO to thousands area (3200, 6400?) take a serie of rather short exposures lets say 30s max and let DSS handle the noise. Pentaxes are performing quite well in high ISO anyway- this should allow a stack of at least 10-15 shots to be taken in between 5 and 10 minutes so there is more material for DSS to work with even if there is more noise at each frame as well. As long as the noise is more or less random final result should be still better than simply denoising in post, and the time window reduced to 5 minutes wont let sky to "move" to far... Just thinking out loud how to combine astrotracer with image stacking.

If taking a proper star tracking solution will be a proper step up worth the price this may a be the way ? I am aiming for as small devices as possible with best size/performance ratio I can squeeze into my limited hobby budget. That's why i was considering vixen polarie, iOptron skytracker (pro?) and now i got on my radar this little toy as well: Skywatcher Star Adventurer Mini - which seems to be the smallest of all three while still performing quite well ? any thoughts on that? Is it worth moving to any of them from astrotracer? If so which one to choose ?

Many thanks !

Last edited by trigg; 08-24-2017 at 01:15 PM.
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