#6. "RE: Focus Stacking - First (successful) Attempt" In response to In response to 5 Thu 01-Mar-12 04:12 AM by gpoole
Farmington Hills, US
Taking the images was a manual process. I used a focusing rail on my tripod and mounted the camera in the moveable clamp of the focusing rail. I positioned the tripod to get the image size I wanted. I adjusted the focusing rail to the middle of it's range and focused on the middle of my subject. Then I moved the focusing rail to it's farthest back position. I took an image, turned the knob on the focusing rail a fraction of a turn. This moved the camera and lens forward about 1/8". I took another image. I just repeated the process of tuning the knob slightly and taking images until I got to the other end of the rail. Equal spacing between images is not required, but moving less than the depth of field between images is necessary for good results
When I got home I processed all the images of a series with Capture NX2, using batch to apply the same processing to each. The images were saved as full resolution TIFs. Helicon Focus can work from the NEFs, but I wanted to make some levels adjustments before doing the stacking.
The TIFs were processed by Helicon Focus to build the composite image. There is no calibration necessary for HF. It just takes the series of images and creates the composite from the sharpest parts of each of the group of images. There are a couple of adjustments in HF that are sort of like sharpening parameters to fine tune the result. I used the default settings for all but the first, and followed the help file and decreased the values because of the fine detail of the first image.
I run Capture NX2 and Helicon Focus on my PCs. These stacks were done on a Window XP SP3 machine with a Intel Core 2 Quad CPU Q6600 @ 2.4 Ghz. This PC has 4GB of RAM. Each stack took 10-15 minutes to process. Helicon Focus is also available for a MAC.
Gary in SE Michigan, USA. Co-organizer of the Southern Michigan Chapter Nikonians membership - My most important photographic investment, after the camera. D4, D800e, D300, D90, F6, FM3a (black), FM2n (chrome) YashicaMat 124, Graflex Speed Graphic 4x5 My Nikonians Gallery & Our Chapter Gallery