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I've got a 100-ish image stack of the milky way. I always use Photoshop's stacking but sometimes it fails aligning the images or it requires too much swap space (~80GB range) on my primary drive which I currently don't have so I can't align.

I decided to give DeepSkyStacker a shot, using the recommended settings. I've saved the result file as a 32-bit float TIFF, and fired it up in Photoshop. After various tries of playing with Camera Raw settings, 32-bit to 16-bit "HDR" conversions, various exposure/level filters etc, this is the best I could get:

enter image description here

I am not happy with the results especially compared to the following photo which I took with the same camera, same lens, and about same number of stack frames, but aligned with Photoshop instead of DeepSkyStacker:

enter image description here

The first one is nowhere near the second one, both in terms of color saturation, sharpness, or overall resolution of the milky way itself. It seems that DeepSkyStacker brightens the stars too much at the first place that whatever I do with the 32-bit image (and I've worked with HDR images before, I'm quite familiar with tonemapping), I can't get milky way to stand out compared to the stars. I try to adjust levels/curves but it just gets even lower quality.

How can I get results like the second one using DeepSkyStacker? Am I doing something wrong in DSS alignment options, or am I doing something wrong with the 32-bit conversion in Photoshop?

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    You will need to try different setting in DSS, the defaults do tend to give subdued colours. Try different debayer methods. There are a lot of tutorials online if you look and DSS's help is reasonably good. Its a few years since I last used it myself so cannot remember the best settings. – James Screech Jul 5 '16 at 12:07
  • How did you manage to take the pictures?? – tatan Jul 9 '16 at 8:34
  • @tatan just as any astrophotographer: a fast lens, high ISO, and a stack of tens of photos. – Can Poyrazoğlu Jul 9 '16 at 9:47
  • what ISO you used? – Manoj Felix May 9 '17 at 10:51
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    Just to be sure it is nothing related to the photos themselves, you should preferably compare the same stack with the different applications. – Rolazaro Azeveires Jul 26 '17 at 20:27
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Change the star detection in DSS stacking parameter/settings. Change the number of stars by percent.

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