Astronomy Image Stacking Software Mac

Astronomy Image Stacking Software Mac Average ratng: 4,6/5 1321 reviews

Deep Sky Stacker Tutorial

Sequence Generator Pro - image capture suite for astrophotography. SharpCap 2 - Flexible image capturing software, records in raw, uncompressed files. FireCapture - Simple image capturing software that re-sizes video resolution automatically & has auto align & dark frame reduction features. Winjupos - planetary processing software for.

Professional Astronomy Telescope Control Software for Mac. Version 8 includes a 36,000 object, up-to-date, cross-referenced database built from various source catalogs. Starry Night 8 supports all telescopes that are supported by Ascom. Plus, connect SkyFi 3 with Starry Night too. Simple post-stacking processes to quickly view the final result. Saving the resulting image to a TIFF or FITS file (16 or 32 bit) After a shooting night you give all your pictures (light frames, darks frames, offset/bias frames, flat frames) to DeepSkyStacker and you go to bed.

I have been using DeepSkyStacker to get the most out of my astrophotography images since I began shooting through a telescope in 2011. This useful and easy-to-use freeware tool simplifies the pre-processing steps of creating a beautiful deep sky image.

The concept of stacking in astrophotography is simple, by combining multiple images together, the signal-to-noise ratio can improve.

With so much time and effort going into the acquisition stages of astrophotography, it would be a shame not to achieve the best possible results when stacking your images. In this post, I will explain the DeepSkyStacker settings I use to stack and register all of my astrophotography images.

If you haven’t already done so, download DeepSkyStacker for free. The version I currently use to stack and register my astrophotography images is DeepSkyStacker 4.2.3.

I have used DeepSkyStacker to align, calibrate and integrate every deep-sky astrophotography image I have ever taken. It is well worth your time to learn how to use this free software successfully, as you will enjoy it for years to come.

Over the past 8 years, I’ve stacked images created using a DSLR camera, dedicated astronomy camera, and CCD Camera. Whether you are stacking .RAW image files from my Canon DSLR, or .FIT files from a CCD camera (or dedicated CMOS), the right settings can be the difference between a good image, and a great one.

Integration is the key to great astrophotography image. This is the reason why amateur astrophotographers spend multiple nights collecting pictures on a single deep sky target. Calibration is another vitally important component of the process, as this removes unwanted elements from your image that would otherwise spoil the picture.

For an in-depth, step-by-step guide to DeepSkyStacker and Adobe Photoshop, please consider downloading my premium image processing guide.

Page 35 of my premium image processing guide.

Main Features

For many amateur astrophotographers, DeepSkyStacker (DSS) is an integral part of their image processing workflow. For myself, I find that DeepSkyStacker does an exceptional job of registering astrophotography images taken using a variety of methods. This includes everything from untracked DSLR and camera lens shots to deep sky astrophotography through a telescope.

DSS can register images of everything from a wide-angle Milky Way panorama to a deep sky emission nebula. Most of my experience with this software has been on a Windows 10 PC, stacking Canon RAW files from a DSLR. To run Deep Sky Stacker on a Mac computer, a workaround such as using a virtual machine is necessary.

Let’s take a look at the main features of this software:

  • Registration of picture sets
  • Creation and use of offsets, flats and dark frames
  • Native use of RAW files from most DSLR
  • Multiple Stacking methods including average, median, kappa-sigma clipping and more
  • Preview of all pictures including RAW and FIT file types
  • Simple and intuitive user interface

DSS offers some advanced features I have not yet put into practice myself, such as comet stacking. The steps outlined on this page are most useful for beginners using a DSLR camera to capture their images. The official website offers some great resources for understanding how the process works.

If you want to review the statistics of your images and stack them as they are captured, you can try using DeepSkyStacker Live.

It’s important to remember that DeepSkyStacker was meant to integrate and calibrate your data into a useful intermediate file. It does not include the robust image processing tools of an application like Adobe Photoshop.

All of the images that run through the pre-processing stages in DSS are then brought into Adobe Photoshop for final image processing. The image below shows a stacked image before and after processing in Photoshop.

See the difference post-processing makes?

When you have successfully created your intermediate file in DeepSkyStacker, you can process it much further. Read my Photoshop image processing tutorial for a basic walkthrough of the process. Or, download my premium processing guide for an in-depth look at all of the techniques I use to process astrophotography images.

Tutorial (Deep Sky Images)

There are several applications available to register, calibrate, and stack astrophotography images including Astro Pixel Processor, and PixInsight. However, DeepSkyStacker is completely free and continues to receive new updates from the developer (version 4.2.2 was published in August 2019).

The software may seem confusing at first, but the good news, generally the default settings work best.

I regularly capture images on the same deep-sky object over multiple nights to increase the signal-to-noise ratio. I shoot through heavy light pollution in my backyard, which means I need to capture up to 4x or more the amount of exposure time someone living under dark skies would (see this article for a better understanding of this calculation).

I have experimented with many different combinations of options for stacking DSLR raw files, and have found that most of the default settings work best. DSS includes a handy “recommended settings” tab, that will highlight helpful settings to use based on your image data.

File Preparation Before Stacking

If you follow my astrophotography tutorials, you will have captured light frames, dark frames, flat frames and offset/bias frames during each of your imaging sessions. These support files (calibration frames) will go a long way towards improving your final image. I recommend capturing new calibration files for each night of imaging unless you are certain that your master files match your light frames.

Only stack your best images

Before opening the files in Deep Sky Stacker, I pre-qualify the images I want to stack. I use a RAW image preview application called Adobe Bridge to review and organize my images. Any photos with football-shaped stars from hiccups in autoguiding are tossed in the recycling bin. The same goes for frames with airplanes, satellites or passing clouds.

You can also use the scoring feature built into DeepSkyStacker for a calculated interpretation of your image data.

Using the Score Feature

After registering your pictures in DeepSkyStacker, it will provide a score for each of your light frames. The values of the score will vary widely depending on the imaging equipment used. There is no benchmark number to achieve.

This is handy when stacking your final picture, as you may want to only include the light frames with the highest score in your final stack. Instead of clicking Check all as you did when registering the files, click Check above a threshold.

If you have prescreened your images already, you will likely stack most of the images you registered anyway!

Remember, the scores will only appear after you register the picture files. Once you have selected a minimum score value, DeepSkyStacker will only stack your best light frames into the final image. I recommend choosing a minimum score value that will use at least 70-80% of your light frames, as you want to use as much integration time as possible for the best signal-to-noise ratio.

Stacking FIT files (CCD or Dedicated CMOS)

If you are transitioning from a DSLR camera to a dedicated astronomy camera, one of the first hurdles to overcome is the new file type the camera produces. It’s called “FITS”. Stacking FIT files in DeepSkyStacker presented a bigger learning curve than I anticipated.

I’ve had most of my success using trial and error. For example, I was able to produce an image with the correct color balance using a dedicated astronomy camera with an RGGB Bayer pattern. I discovered this during my Markarian’s Chain imaging session, by using a specific color adjustment setting.

You can adjust the RAW/FITS Digital Development Process Settings to make sure that you have the correct Bayer Pattern Filter for your specific camera selected. For most color dedicated astronomy cameras (including the ZWO ASI294MC Pro camera I use), the correct setting is Generic RGGB.

These files can be hard to preview, due to the fact that they need to be debayered first. For this file type, I inspect and remove poor quality frames within DeepSkyStacker itself. This method can be a bit tedious, but a necessary step to ensure your final image only includes the best data.

Keep Your Image Sets Organized

Organize your images into 4 folders. Lights, Darks, Flats and Offset/Bias.

In the Main Group:

Open Picture Files

Select all of your light frames from your first night of imaging. Since you have already reviewed and approved all of the images in this folder, this is simply a matter of selecting every RAW file in your light frame folder.

Dark Files

Select the dark frames you captured from the same imaging session. The images need to be the same exposure length, ISO and temperature as your light frames. These can be easily captured with the lens cap on your camera. I recommend using a minimum of 15 dark files or more.

I believe that dark calibration frames are a must for DSLR astrophotography. In my experience, they reduce a significant amount of noise in the final image through dark frame subtraction.

Flat frames

Flat frames require a little more effort than dark frames but can be collected in a very short amount of time. Stretch a white t-shirt over the objective of your telescope, and smooth out all of the folds.

Point your telescope towards the blue dawn sky (or an evenly-lit artificial light source), and capture a number of shots with your DSLR set to AV mode. 15 flat files can make a significant improvement to your final image. They remove artifacts such as dust and correct vignetting and gradients in your image.


Offset/bias files are quick and simple to capture with your DSLR camera. Just take about 15 exposures with the lens cap on your DLSR. These exposures need to be the fastest possible shutter speed using the same ISO as your light frames. (On the Canon 450D, that’s a 1/4000 second exposure)

How to Combine Images from Multiple Nights

Use the tabs to group your image sets

Once you’ve got your picture files (lights) and all of your support files loaded into the main group, it’s time to load up your files from night 2. Click on the small Group 1 tab at the bottom left of the screen, and repeat the process for opening files from imaging night 2.

Remember, you can stack different variations of exposures together in Deep Sky Stacker. This means a range of ISO sensitivity and exposure length.

Some imaging sessions may include all 3 supports files to complement the light frames, some may not. This is fine. After all of the image files have been loaded into their respective categories, it is time to register and stack the frames into a single file. Finally, make sure to click “‘check all“, to make sure that all of the frames you have loaded are selected.

Before we click Register and Stack images, let’s take a look at the current default settings.

Accessing the Register and Stacking settings is accessible by clicking “Settings…” under the options tab.

The default settings for registering is set to a 10% star detection threshold. In my experience, the default value of 10% has worked very well for stacking images captured using my 12MP Canon EOS Rebel DSLR. If you decrease the star detection threshold, DSS will detect fainter stars. The number of stars in a given light frame is displayed in the lower half of the screen.

With a light frame selected, look for the #Starscategory.

The following checkboxes should be checked before moving hitting “OK”, and letting DSS begin its process.

  • Register already registered pictures
  • Automatic detection of hot pixels
  • Stack after registering

The DeepSkyStacker website states that the automatic detection of hot pixels only works if using Super-pixel, Bayer Drizzle, bilinear and AHD interpolation modes. However, I leave this box checked regardless and hot-pixels and stacking errors have never been an issue.

Stacking Parameters

Unless you are experiencing errors in the stacking process, leave all of the values in the stacking parameter dialogue box unchanged. Yes, this sounds like a conveniently simple option, but default values are usually set for a reason.

If you want, go ahead and click on the different modes in the “Result” tab. The program will show you a preview of the final composure created using Mosiac and Intersection modes. I prefer to use Adobe Photoshop for the final framing and cropping of the image.

As for the stacking parameters of the light and dark frames, Kappa-Sigma clipping and Median work well in the Light, Dark, Flat and Bias/Offset categories. I do not use any additional features such as the detection and cleaning of hot pixels in the Cosmetic tab.

One setting I do change, however, is the output location folder of the Autosave.tif file. I prefer that these images populate in a specific folder of my choice rather than mixed in with a folder of light frames.

Depending on the quality of and amount of light frames available, I usually select the best 80-90% of pictures and stack them.

Ready to Stack?

You’ve got all of your lights, darks, flats and offset/bias frames loaded. The default settings are currently selected, and the ever-comforting green bar is displayed (confirming your use of all support files) But wait, if only there was a way to confirm all of the files are as they should be.

The Stacking Steps Window

Before you run DSS, be sure to check and see if there are any warnings in the dialogue window. In the case above, there was a single Flat frame with a miss-matched ISO speed. These warnings are useful for catching little mistakes in your file organization that can potentially make a big impact on your image.

At this point, you can remove or add any frames based on the information that DSS has provided.

If all looks well, and there are no more warning messages in the Stacking Steps window, you can proceed to run the register and stacking process. I enjoy the information preview about the estimated total exposure time.

Deep Sky Stacker Tutorial (Video)

In the video tutorial below, I walk through some of the basic settings used in DeepSkyStacker. I then bring the image into Adobe Photoshop for further image processing.

When DSS has completed its process of registering and stacking all of the image frames together, a preview of the constructed Autosave.tif file is displayed onscreen. Based on the design of this software, you would think that the next logical step would be to make adjustments in the RGB/K Levels, Luminance, and Saturation area.

If you plan on processing your image in Adobe Photoshop, I recommend leaving these settings as they are.

Balancing levels, curve adjustments, and boosting saturation are all staples of an Astrophotography processing workflow in Adobe Photoshop. Photoshop offers many more options and a higher level of control than Deep Sky Stacker for such edits.

What about the Recommended Settings option?

DeepSkyStacker has a “Recommended Settings” option that offers suggestions based on the image files submitted. Some of the recommendations include changing the stacking mode used such as “Use Median Combination Method”.

I have tested both the recommended settings and the default settings and found the default to produce better results.

If you are determined to see the subtle differences in the final stacked image, you can go through the entire process using the default Deep Sky Stacker settings vs. the recommended settings. I found that the recommended settings had varying results, with fuzzier more washed-out stars than the original stack.

I prefer to try both stacking methods and compare the results on a per-image basis. You may find that the stacking modes suggested by DSS improve your image.

Below: The Andromeda Galaxy stacked in DeepSkyStacker. Final processing in Adobe Photoshop.

To view the techniques I use in Adobe Photoshop to finish the image, watch my image processing tutorial video featuring the Soul Nebula. There is a link in the description to download the RAW data and process the image yourself.

Stacking wide-angle Camera Lens Images

Although I mostly use DSS for deep sky images, it is also very useful to stack wide-angle astrophotos through a camera lens as well. The same signal-to-noise benefits can be achieved by stacking multiple images together.

You may experience a number of issues when attempting to register and stack images that include terrestrial elements such as trees or any other terrestrial landscape. If you are using a star trackerto compensate for the apparent rotation of the night sky, the ground will blur. If you are using a stationary tripod (non-tracking), it’s the sky that is moving between each frame.

The photo below was captured using an iOptron SkyGuider Pro to track the night sky, with a DSLR camera and wide-angle lens mounted on top. As you can see, the rooftop of my neighbor’s house is blurred, because DSS registered the images with the moving sky.

An excessive amount of movement between the night sky and the foreground (over time) can make stacking images like this difficult. One solution is to photograph the night sky and foreground separately and combine the images together in Photoshop later.

Recommended Settings and Tips

For my wide-angle shots, I use a modified Canon DSLR with a light pollution filter. The settings I recommend below will work well for a modified DSLR shooting through moderate to heavy pollution. Those shooting with a stock DSLR may have to experiment with these settings to produce a pleasing result.

White Balance Settings

If you are using a modded DSLR, make sure to leave the white balance checkboxes unchecked. Using an auto white balance or the “camera white balance” with a modified camera will produce odd results. I would also suggest checking off the “set the black point to 0″ option.

This should provide you with a final image with a background sky that is much easier to correct in post-processing. Gradient Xterminator does a great job of correcting gradients in wide-angle shots of the night sky.

Recommended Settings

As for DeepSkyStacker’s recommended settings, the graphic below shows you which ones I like to use on a wide-angle starry sky photo. One of the important settings is to use Per Channel background calibration – as the RGB background calibration does a poor job of producing correct colors in my experience.

Scenarios and recommended settings:

  • Scenario: You are processing long exposure and possibly good SNR images
  • Recommendation: Use AHD debayering

Image Stacking Software Mac

  • Scenario: If you are using a modded DSLR
  • Recommendation:Reset all white-balance settings
  • Scenario: If you are processing narrowband images (especially Ha)
  • Recommendation: Use super-pixel mode
  • Scenario: You are stacking (x amount) of light frames
  • Recommendation: Use Sigma-Clipping combination method
  • Scenario: You are creating a master dark from 31 dark frame(s)
  • Recommendation: Use Sigma-Clipping combination method
  • Scenario: If the resulting images look too gray
  • Recommendation: Use Per Channel Median combination method
  • Scenario: If the color balance in the resulting images is hard to fix in post-processing
  • Recommendation: Use RGB background calibration

Astronomy Image Stacking Software Mac Download

What to do if DeepSkyStacker Crashes

I have experienced this issue many times while attempting to register and stack both RAW image files from a DSLR and .FIT from a CCD camera. It can be a frustrating experience, especially if you have left your computer to let DSS do its thing. You come back 20 minutes later to view your stacked image, and instead, find an error message saying “This program has stopped working” or any number of other error messages.

I have found that the following steps can decrease your chances of producing an error using DSS:

1. Don’t run other applications while stacking

I am a multitasker. Usually, I have 5-6 windows open at a time from my Google Chrome browser to Adobe Photoshop. This all uses RAM on your machine, which DSS uses to process your image. Give DeepSkyStacker your full RAW capacity to use during its process.

2. Pay attention to the options you’ve selected

Certain options, such as “superpixel mode” are very demanding on your system and have been known to crash. Take a screenshot of your settings used before stacking, so you can compare results and try another stacking parameter next time.

3. Try stacking fewer images

The more frames you stack, the more time and resources DSS will pull from your machine. Try being more selective with the images you plan to register, and only include the absolute best images.

4. Try an external hard drive

You can tell DSS to utilize the space available on an external hard drive to render your images. The temporary files can require up to 100GB of space or more depending on the number of images in the set. This destination is selected under Settings > Stacking Settings > Temporary Files Folder.

I hope you were able to learn something new about DeepSkyStacker following my tutorial. It’s one of the few applications that hasn’t changed very much since I began using it in 2011, and it continues to deliver consistent results.

Alternatives to DeepSkyStacker

Everyone prefers to process and stack their astrophotography images in their own way. DeepSkyStacker isn’t the only software available to calibrate and stack your image frames. Here is a list of alternatives to DeepSkyStacker:

Related Software:

Related Posts:

Last Updated: 23rd October 2015

A common approach to astrophotography has become the use of Digital SLR cameras (DSLR). These are relatively cheap, can be used for astronomy and ordinary terrestrial photography, and produce surprisingly good astronomy images so have become quite popular.

There’s a few basic steps required for getting started in DSLR astrophotography. I would summarise them as:
1. Buy a camera
2. Buy a tripod, telescope or other tracking platform
3. Acquire a piece of software to help take long exposure photographs
4. Acquire a piece of software to process (including stack) the photographs you take.

The question often arises from the above of what piece of software to use for stacking and processing the resulting images that you take using your camera. Or, also often the case, people don’t realise that there is software available to make this easy. So here I am going to list a few options, hopefully making it easier for anyone who finds this page.

If you know of programs which are suitable for DSLR astrophotography image processing that are not on this list please let me know, also let me know if information here needs updating. Thank you.

Software suitable for stacking and/or processing astrophotography DSLR images:

Deep Sky Stacker

This is a free and very capable piece of software for aligning, combining and performing post processing of astrophotographs from digital SLR cameras. The best thing about this software is that it’s free, and amazingly capable for something that is free.

This software will read a wide variety of file formats including Canon RAW format, and process them. I have had some issues with processing canon RAW files with respect to getting good colour balance post-stacking so often choose to first convert the RAW files to TIF before processing. This may simply be a lack of experience on my part, as I do not use this software often.

The registering capabilities of Deep Sky Stacker are very good but do not match the capabilities of RegiStar or PixInsight when it comes to getting a good alignment of frames. There are often cases I find DSS will not correctly align frames where as RegiStar and PixInsight will.

I don’t tend to like the post-processing capabilities of Deep Sky Stacker so tend to finish my use of DSS at the point it has stacked the “Autosave.tif” and take that file in to PhotoShop from there to perform post-processing.

Deep Sky Stacker’s biggest advantage is probably it’s ease of use (very intuitive and easy to use interface) and it’s flexibility with it supporting all major file formats and handling various scenarios covering most astrophotography needs.

Find Deep Sky Stacker here:

Starry Landscape Stacker

This is an Apple/Mac program and a great option for those who do not use Windows. It is effectively a good alternative to Deep Sky Stacker for those who use Apple PC’s.

Find Starry Landscape Stacker here:


PixInsight is an advanced astrophotography image processing piece of software. I now have some experience using PixInsight for processing CCD images from an SBIG ST8-XME camera and RAW CR2 files from a Canon 6D DSLR and can certainly see the potential of the software.

If you ant a one-stop-shop for astrophotography image processing and you are happy to spend the $250 on PixInsight, there’s a very good chance you need none of the other pieces of software listed on this page. Having said that, you will be up for a steep learning curve.

PixInsight operates in a very different way to other software. They even seem to put buttons on dialogue boxes around the opposite way to what is most common just to confuse the user. The difference in how processing is done and the user interface in PixInsight makes the learning curve very steep and troubling at first. There are video tutorials online which are almost essential for getting an understanding of how to use the software before you lose your hair trying, but once concerned it is proving to be very powerful. It took me a few attempts coming back to PixInsight over a few months before I became familiar enough with it and stopped hitting brick walls to be able to process FIT and DSLR images with some confidence.

Functions such as applying a LinearFit across LRGB frames, and the Dynamic Background Extraction function on any image to flatten image backgrounds are particularly useful and relatively easy to use once you understand the basics of the PixInsight user interface.

Where other processing software has failed to produce a good result of DSLR images (software such as using DSS, RegiStar and Photoshop) PixInsight has excelled and brought out more detail in images than I realised existed in the raw data.

There is no doubt to my knowledge that PixInsight is the most advanced piece of software for stacking astrophotography deep sky images. It’s set of processes and plugins is both extensive and powerful. The catch is only in it’s usability and how patient you must be to work through its steep learning curve to achieve good results.

I would suggest if you are going to use PixInsight, start with DSS and understand the basics of astrophotography image processing before you begin the daunting process of understanding how to use PixInsight. Also, if you have easy to align good quality images then you will likely get a very good result from DSS in a much quicker time frame than PixInsight which will require you to perform more steps.

If you want to process DSLR images with PixInsight you will need a beefy machine to run it on. It will easily consume all of my 16 gigabytes of RAM on my Core i7 64bit windows machine when processing a stack of 20 DSLR images. Programs such as RegiStar work in a significantly smaller footprint.

PixInsight is available as 45 day free trial.

Find PixInsight here:


StarStaX is a multi-platform image stacking software. From their website:

StarStaX is a fast multi-platform image stacking and blending software, which allows to merge a series of photos into a single image using different blending modes. It is developed primarily for

Star Trail Photography where the relative motion of the stars in consecutive images creates structures looking like star trails. Besides star trails, it can be of great use in more general image blending tasks, such as noise reduction or synthetic exposure enlargement.

Photo Stacking Software

StarStaX has advanced features such as interactive gap-filling and can create an image sequence of the blending process which can easily be converted into great looking time-lapse videos.

StarStaX is currently under development. The current version 0.70 was released on December 16, 2014. StarStaX is available as a free download for Mac OS X, Windows and Linux.

Find StarStaX here:


CCDStack is one of a suit of products made by CCDWare aligned to advanced usage of telescopes.

I have used CCDStack a reasonable amount now for processing images from my ST8-XME astronomy camera and find it very usable and relatively powerful. I like features such as being able to see what data is being rejected by a sigma function on light frames and doing this very quickly and easily compared to PixInsight which shows you no preview before processing the full stack. This makes it very easy to tweak stacking parameters for a good result and apply different filtering to individual frames (such as when a satellite passes through a frame, applying harsher exclusion to that frame).

CCDStack will easily in only a handful of steps register your frames, normalise (apply weighting to) frames, apply data rejection to frames and combine frames in to a stack using weighting determined by the normalisation.

I found CCDStack to be a good and logical step up from CCDSoft. It is usable and has intuitive and useful functionality. The program seems relatively light weight also, working efficiently with a large number of files.

I have not tried CCDStack for DSLR images. It does apparently open CR2 RAW files (amongst other formats) however in my quick attempt it did not open CR2 files from my Canon 6D (I’m unsure why).

Find CCDStacker here:

Astro Pixel Processor

Astro Pixel Processor is a complete image processing software package:

Astronomy Image Stacking Software Mac Free

TBA on details – I’m still testing this one!


I primarily use MaximDL for image reduction, as it’s image reduction process is very painless. Provide it with a directory of all your reduction .FIT files and it will nicely sort them in to a database of reduction groups to be applied to any image you open. Open the .FIT needing to be calibrated/reduced and it will apply the appropriate reduction frames without you choosing reduction files of the correct temperature, binning, etc. This is significantly easier than any of the other packages which all require you to do more manual work with reduction frames. The benefits of MaximDL’s reduction frame handling for .FIT files may or may not be transferred to use of DSLR raw files – I have not tried reduction of DSLR images in Maxim.

MaximDL’ stacking seems fair however I haven’t had need to use it for alignment and stacking. I also haven’t tried MaximDL for large images such as DSLR, with the largest I typically use in Maxim being those from my SBIG ST8-XME.

Find MaximDSLR here:


Astronomy Image Stacking Software

This is a fantastic piece of software for aligning and combining individual astrophotographs from digital SLR cameras. It works very efficiently with large files, is amazingly capable in aligning photographs and has quite good stacking algorithms built in as a bonus.

This software is primarily intended for simply the registering (aligning) of frames such that they can be combined. This piece of software is so good that you can combine old film images with new digital images, or digital images from different cameras with different focal lengths and all sorts. It will also easily handles field rotation (fixed tripod shots are OK) and pretty much any other distortion.

The problems I have with this software is that it does not read Canon RAW files, so conversion to some other format such as TIF is required first, that it does not handle reduction of the images which leaves you needing another piece of software (like PhotoShop) to do that manually first, and that when combining frames in to a stack it does not provide any weighting of frames or sigma exclusion of noise in frames leaving this piece of software primarily useful for registering frames and saving those registered frames, not stacking them.

RegiStar’s excellence at registering frames comes with a price, and in this case that’s about US$159.

The version of RegiStar that I am familiar with is 1.0, and it hasn’t been updated for some time (2004). This means it’s not up to date with current file types (RAW) but doesn’t detract from it’s excellent ability to align TIF images. Increasingly, as time ticks on and no further updates are published, you would be wise considering an alternative piece of software which is updated more regularly, such as PixInsight.

Find RegiStar here:


I cannot say much about ImagePlus as I have not used it for DSLR image processing. However many people do and it comes highly recommended. You can find out plenty of information about it around the web.

Find ImagePlus here:

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