Processing this to get an even background was difficult, even with flats and darks, so I thought I would give another small object a try once I got back home. Last night I shot NGC 1501, a small planetary nebula and found I had the same problems with the background, but eventually I think I came up with an ok result. LRGB, 27 second subs, Lum channel - 180 subs, RGB channels - 85 subs each.
Neither are great and neither are up to being hung on anyone's wall, but its all about learning, and over the past few months I think I have done just that. . .
I dont know if the small object difficulty is due to me being on an alt-az mount still and limited to 30 second or less subexposures (I suspect it does play a great part of it), or some other reason, but with the ccd camera I am using (Meade DSI II Pro), and my CPC800 I have a very narrow FOV so small objects are about all I can do in there. I do have an Orion EON 80ED that I use for imaging as well and get a larger FOV, not to mention my Nikon D40 that has a significantly larger chip than the DSI II Pro does, but it's results are not ideal either thanks to chromatic aberrations and other issues.
I suppose no camera will ever be perfect, and it does indeed seem like processing is the main limiting factor in astrophotography, so as the New Year starts I will continue to collect photons and in my spare time work on processing and reprocessing objects until small objects dont cause as much processing frustrations and I continue to roam the skies for more of them to shoot.