Starry Landscape Stacker
By Ralph Hill
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Starry Landscape Stacker makes it possible to produce landscape photographs taken at night that have both low noise and stars rendered as points. It does this by compositing several images taken in rapid succession, shifting the sky as needed to align the stars.
What's New in Version 1.4.2
- Fixed a problem in the image classifier that would cause some light frames with large bright areas to be classified as dark.
Indispensible Tool for Landscape Astrophotography
I’ve used Starry Landscape Stacker since its earliest iterations and it has been continuously improved. The latest version is excellent. The developer has added many requested features, improved processing and accuracy to the point that SLS has become indispensible for my landscape astrophotography workflow. I have tried and used many other programs built for astrophotography exposure stacking and nothing comes close to the results (and speed) of SLS, particularly for photographers using wide angle lenses where rectilinear distortion can hinder many other programs from successful re-alignment and stacking of exposures. For wide angle landscapes of the night sky, it’s perfect.
SLS has a very simple and nearly self-explanatory interface. There are three steps: 'Find Stars', 'Find Sky' and 'Align and Save'. It’s setup to accept 16-bit tiffs exported straight from RAW files. It automatically recognizes light, dark, flat and custom mask frames and allows re-assignment if miscategorized. Automatic star recognition is generally pretty good and it’s simple to manually edit the tolerance for recognizing stars and to edit the auto-mask creation with the simple brush tools provided. Some basic keyboard shortcuts mimick photoshop for ease of use (spacebar for hand tool, square brackets for brush size, etc.). I’d like to see more of these shortcuts added in the future (Maybe command+/command- for zoom in/zoom out or command+spacebar for magnifying tool. I wish I could double click the brightness/contrast/overlay opacity sliders to “reset” them back to default. “E” for eraser and “B” for brush would be helpful too.)
As of this writing, there is absolutely nothing that matches SLS in speed and ease of use on any platform.