What is the best focus stacking software?

WestEndBoyWestEndBoy Posts: 1,456Member
edited May 2014 in General Discussions
OK, I have the AF Micro-Nikkor 200mm f/4D IF-ED, Kenko 10, 20 & 36mm and the TC-201 (The TC-201 will not auto-focus, but who cares, I am shooting macro). RRS focusing rails will be ordered soon. I do have Photoshop.

In your guys' opinions, what is the best focus stacking software? They have to be significantly better than Photoshop to be worth learning a new program.
Post edited by WestEndBoy on

Comments

  • Golf007sdGolf007sd Posts: 2,840Moderator
    D4 & D7000 | Nikon Holy Trinity Set + 105 2.8 Mico + 200 F2 VR II | 300 2.8G VR II, 10.5 Fish-eye, 24 & 50 1.4G, 35 & 85 1.8G, 18-200 3.5-5.6 VR I SB-400 & 700 | TC 1.4E III, 1.7 & 2.0E III, 1.7 | Sigma 35 & 50 1.4 DG HSM | RRS Ballhead & Tripods Gear | Gitzo Monopod | Lowepro Gear | HDR via Promote Control System |
  • michael66michael66 Posts: 231Member
    edited May 2014
    Golf, great! A non-Adobe way to do focus stacking. And then there is GIMP. Completely free and community supported.



    Post edited by michael66 on
  • ThomasHortonThomasHorton Posts: 323Member
    I use Enfuse which can be used as an add-on to Light Room.

    http://www.photographers-toolbox.com/products/lrenfuse.php

    You can do Exposure Stacking and Focus Stacking.
    Gear: Camera obscura with an optical device which transmits and refracts light.
  • proudgeekproudgeek Posts: 1,422Member
    edited May 2014
    I am using the prosumer version of Zerene. Very pleased. I feel like I'm getting pretty good results and haven't even begun to fully tap its capabilities.
    Post edited by proudgeek on
  • tganiatstganiats Posts: 131Member
    I use Helicon Focus, which is GREAT (and not).

    One thing, after viewing the GIMP video, Helicon Focus offers the advantage of being automated. Since I often stack dozens of images, the GIMP method would be, er, difficult.

    In addition, Helicon Focus has another program, Helicon Remote, which takes control of the camera, automating the process of focussing. All very cool.


    HOWEVER, artifacts develop...here are two images..

    My first ever stacking (17 images, focused by hand) of raindrops in a hibiscus
    Hibiscus after a rain #2

    A later image (12 images, focused with Helicon Remote) of some raspberries
    Raspberries 1


    Note both have areas that are blurred. Yes, Helicon Focus allows you to touch up the image, but this would be hard with the raspberry image (note the blurriness at the end of many of the little 'stems.')

    Anyone know if it is my technique or a limitation of Helicon Focus...or of stacking in general?

    Thanks
  • NSXTypeRNSXTypeR Posts: 1,943Member
    If anyone had a lot of money and is interested in an automated stacking rig, the people at Gigapixel has you covered.



    That bug is crazy cool.
    Nikon D7000/ Nikon D40/ Nikon FM2/ 18-135 AF-S/ 35mm 1.8 AF-S/ 105mm Macro AF-S/ 50mm 1.2 AI-S
  • proudgeekproudgeek Posts: 1,422Member
    I used to have a lot of money, until I got into photography. :)
  • BesoBeso Posts: 462Member
    @NSXTypeR Interesting video! Thanks for posting.
    Occasionally a decent image ...
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,363Moderator
    I have used Helicon Focus 6 and made the decision to use this from research which suggested the medium format folks use this. I have limited experience, but have had no problems with it. Easy as pie to use.

    The ball in the foreground is about two inches in front of the face which is about one inch high
    FocusStacking_1_ 02.18.14
    Msmoto, mod
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 5,827Moderator
    tganiats: Those stalks looked like they moved in the wind or heat or whatever which gave you some ghosting. Not a lot you can do at all about a subject that moves.
    Always learning.
  • Vipmediastar_JZVipmediastar_JZ Posts: 1,699Member
    I finally did some macro this weekend and I'm going to give one of these a try.

    Helicon has some great examples and if it is automated the better.
  • TriShooterTriShooter Posts: 214Member
    I have used Helicon Focus for some time as well, and been pleased with the results.
  • Fred_BFred_B Posts: 24Member
    My guess on the raspberry stems (if they aren't moving around) is focus breathing. One thing to try is stacking the group in the other direction (back to front or front to back). I've seen times when stacking in the other direction has helped with hair on bugs.

    I use Zerene to stack and Helicon's app for camera control.
  • tganiatstganiats Posts: 131Member
    @Fred_B: Interesting. I'll try it. Thanks.
  • louisboulelouisboule Posts: 1Member

    OK, I have the AF Micro-Nikkor 200mm f/4D IF-ED, Kenko 10, 20 & 36mm and the TC-201 (The TC-201 will not auto-focus, but who cares, I am shooting macro). RRS focusing rails will be ordered soon. I do have Photoshop.

    In your guys' opinions, what is the best focus stacking software? They have to be significantly better than Photoshop to be worth learning a new program.

    I like Altami Studio program, it's quite good and easy to use. There are video examples of working with multifocus
  • paulrpaulr Posts: 1,089Member
    PhaseOne give one years free licence with Helicon Focus. Mind you. you have to spend a few bucks first to buy the camera LOL
    Camera, Lens and Tripod and a few other Bits
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 5,827Moderator
    Please note that this is a 2014 thread. I think WestEndBoy has found his stacking software by now....
    Always learning.
  • KillerbobKillerbob Posts: 729Member
    I like Zerene, but I won't spend the money to buy a license. If there was a free alternative, I'd like to know, as I very rarely would use it...
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