Is stacking worth it?
I've gotten A LOT of questions recently about whether I do stacking for my shots, outside of deep sky object imaging I do not. If I'm shooting a lens 50mm and wider I don't do any stacking, IMO it's just not worth the time spent acquiring the exposures. Last night I decided to a stacked shot, I did 2 vertical panels with my D800E and Sigma Art 50mm lens, each panel a stack of 13 exposures, each exposure 2 minutes at ISO 800 and f2.8. Then I did 2 foreground shots. I also did flat frame calibration, plus debayering, registering, and integration in PixInsight (basically a hell of a lot of work). After the integration I did a channel separation followed by a LinearFit of the blue and red channels to the green channel. After that I did the histogram stretch and saved each panel as a tiff to stitch together in PTGui.
After stitching the foreground and sky shots (separately) in PTGui I opened them in Photoshop, did my mostly routine editing workflow on each and then merged them as layers.
Altogether it took my about 4 hours just for the editing, over an hour to acquire all the shots last night. One of the main reasons I am not a fan of stacking shots is because it ultimately leads to a tremendous amount of "over editing", people think they can then go on to crush the shot with extreme editing and when the foreground is blended back in it looks like shit. I tried to not go beyond my normal editing for the sky, but even still it doesn't blend very well/natural with the foreground. I applied A LOT of very advanced techniques for this shot that I guarantee 99% of nightscape photographers do not use, the final result is good, but is it worth it? When using a tracking mount like I do for nightscapes, I don't think stacking is worth it.