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Homework: Download and Stack my Data!

Single MW raw image

This is just like school: you have homework.

I’ve recently written an article discussing whether or not stacking (integrating, combining, reducing) multiple exposures is worth the trouble.

The short answer is: yes.

The long answer is in the article.

However, you may need to try it out to make up your mind. So, I’m going to help you! During a trip to the Kalahari Basin, on the border of South Africa and Namibia, I decided it would be a good idea to shoot some (11) static tripod, shorter-exposure, high-ISO Milky Way images specifically with the intention to share with you the raw data. It was HOT…43C during the day. So, these may be particularly noisy.

The data

Above is a single image, straight off the camera, completely unedited. Scary stuff.

All exposures were shot with a Canon 5D Mark III on a static tripod.

  • Lens: Canon f2.8 L2 24-70mm, at 24mm and f2.8
  • ISO: 6400
  • Exposure length: 15 seconds
  • Long-exposure noise reduction: off
  • High ISO noise reduction: on, at highest setting (three bars)
  • White balance: 4250 Kelvin
  • It was HOT — so there is significant thermal noise

So, download my data (all 11 images, 300+MB), and get to stacking (playing) with it!

If you just want a single raw image, you can get one here: download a single raw image

The rules

Share your results with me! Let me know in the comments and/or on social networking.

It’s the rules.


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About the author

Cory Schmitz

Co-founder of PhotographingSpace.com, co-owner of several telescopes and mounts, too many cameras, and not enough hard drives, Cory is an American expat living in South Africa with his wife, Tanja Schmitz.

An avid astrophotographer for timelapse, deep-space imaging, lunar, planetary, and star trail imagery, he is an all-around jack-of-most-trades for night-sky photography.

He is also an internationally published and commissioned astrophotographer, where his photos have been used in multiple online and print publications.


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