There’s plenty of choice in terms of software for processing of deep sky pictures, few free unfortunately, many paid and with disparate and in this post I will try to elencarveli. As far as we are concerned, as you can see from our pictures, and like many others we do not just use one software to generate the final image, but we have two/three software in cascade, one after the other to get good detail but also a clean image, without excess noise.
But it must be said also that it is often thought, mistakenly, that the software do even “miracles” that I see many photographers rush into buying the most expensive and popular software on the market, and as often happens then you remain disappointed, because they really are important are the shots, ben chased and fuocheggiati well, not to mention that a foolish use of software however powerful it may be it is more difficult to learn and often produces the ugliest pictures a simple processing with free software. Not to mention as far as we are concerned, that satisfaction learning processing step by step, without relying on features or plugins that promise something, when in fact it is only trained eye in the processing procedure, our suggestion is to learn from the freeware, then, once produced beautiful images to the limit of functionality of the software, possibly consider purchasing commercial software. We will not take into account in this post then Actions/Photoshop Script that is often ineffective and sometimes removing signal while placing the belle best image.
We start from free software for excellence in astrophotography that is:
- Deepskystacker (freeware)
Operating System: Windows
This software frequently updated lately, but his last update dates back to January 2014, in its release 3.3.4 and is an excellent compromise in terms of size on disk and functionality, it allows both the registering (the calculation of the stars and parameters for each shot), the alignment of the shots and the stacking of all the shots into a single image , what we need to produce our final image.
Also provides color and gamma calibration, in order to streachare the image and get a good detail, however is there to say that the appearance of the final calibration is not free from flaws, and as far as I’m concerned I realized that compared to other software, produces a bit of unwanted noise, well after all is free software that offers a “complete package” but nothing will stop you as we do to use other software for streaching and calibration. Finally, there is the functionality Deepskystacker Live which allows you to use the software even picking up if you use your computer, which automatically combines the shots to give an idea of the final result, however, is not up to much useful and the latter function and is not used much.
- Iris (freeware)
Operating System: Windows
It comes as the subtitle of a software processing of pictures, did not resume feature, but only for final processing, alignment and stacking, but unfortunately also in fact updates, absconded some programmers, the latest release is June 2010 5.59, however the components have been updated to read raw files from the latest cameras in September 2014 while maintaining the same release. For this reason it is not software that we recommend but rather in vogue among the most old school astroimagers, in our opinion among the freeware is superior especially in terms of ease of use its competitor deepskystacker.
- Startools (payware-$ 45)
Operating System: Windows/Mac OSX/Linux
This is a raw image processing software combined (stacked), is not in alignment/stacking capabilities nor shooting, however its functionality, i.e. that of development, is admirably, introducing interesting features that not all software have, from the HDR, the removal of the stars, to the increase in detail using wavelets, not to mention that the software has a rather low and affordable price , that is repaid by the capabilities of the same! RECOMAND:) as well as use it with profit and customer satisfaction.
- Nebulosity (payware-95$)
Operating System: Windows/Mac OSX
From the same software house of the “famous” PHD guiding, Nebulosity is a great product that offers both shooting capabilities, including support of many CCD cameras, and the astrofotografici shots. The price is not very high, especially for the features it offers, however we can say that it’s not very popular among the astroimagers, maybe because it’s not particularly intuitive to use, but certainly more than other software that I will mention later, especially in the part of processing, but also because it actually is to release 4.0 and there are frequent updates, however in his favor there is no excessive cost and Macintosh compatibility , that we don’t have on freeware software.
- Maxim DL (payware-from $ 199 to $ 599 basic pro suite)
Operating System: Windows
It is one of the most famous and used software and differs in the various versions are available by type of use, for those who want to shoot High res version Basic planetary provides support for most Planetary rooms, while for use with DSLR, you need the most expensive version to $ 399, but with version Pro suite, you have the support of CCD cameras but also to manage all the features of a true Observatory, from the control of the dome, to the various sensors. It’s probably the astronomy software all in one more interesting and powerful, however the interface is quite tricky, and the price not really affordable. Don’t recommend it when used with Sunrooms DSLR definitely, why if the software costs as the recovery room, in our opinion is an excess, albeit with all the great features of the case!
- Pixinsight (payware-220 euro + 60 euro worldwide tax)
Operating System: Windows/Mac OSX/Linux/FreeBSD
It is probably the most popular and powerful software on the market, as well as MaxIm DL, but unlike her I mean post deals solely with astro images processing, and has a strong community that follows him, but also a large number of tutorials, given the multiple functionalities. We tried it ourselves, not liking however the complexity of use which unfortunately does not allow to use it casually without having attended at least several tutorials, and this is the weak point in our opinion of this software complexity. Not to mention the price that we consider excessive for use with DSLR, costs as much as a used but good quality digital camera and frankly it seems excessive. Also if you happen to take a look at the internet, often in elaborate Pixinsight astroimages images almost fumettate because of excessive antinoise applied, and this is because newbies with good financial dowry are thrown into astrophotography thinking that the software produces miracles, but it is not so because like everything requires a certain technique that only time and many elaborations can give. So we do not think it makes sense to buy, definitely not a beginner, and because of the expense and because other software as compelling as MaxIm DL we mentioned in prefedenza include shooting features for around the same price. A feature but do not find in other software for processing of astroimages, is the so-called “annotation” photos, as it is called Pixinsight, that this is basically the Plate-Solving of or with annotations on dso, stars and constellations from astronomy catalogs on the internet. But to do that you can also avoid purchasing this software you download a freeware which has among its functions just the platesolving, and which is called built Unimap, you can download it from this link: http://larryo.org/astronomy/software/unimap/
Hope you got an overview and useful advice, good processing! 🙂