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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Macro Talk 
Thread started 10 Jan 2018 (Wednesday) 10:12
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Helicon FB Tube reviews?

 
neophyte52
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Jan 10, 2018 10:12 |  #1

I’ve just started dabbling in macro work, and came across the FB tube on the Helicon site (I also employ stacking for landscapes, so find their software useful). This almost looks like a “too good to be true “ gadget, but also potentially complicated to actually use. Haven’t been able to find any reviews online. Has anyone used this?


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Dalantech
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Post edited 4 months ago by Dalantech. (2 edits in all)
     
Jan 10, 2018 10:52 |  #2

Looks pretty interesting (external link) but I wish there was more info on the site about it. It seems to be a device that attaches between the lens and camera like an extension tube but can it change the distance between the lens and camera for a focus stack?!

Looks like it can change the focus point of the lens (external link) in steps that can be configured. I've never heard of anything like it before. Here is a review of sorts (external link) -Google is your friend ;)

Last edit, I hope: The example images that I've found have not been true macro images, with the exception of one. Not sure how small of a step a lens motor can make, and that's how the tube works (by shifting the focus point in between frames).


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Dalantech
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Jan 10, 2018 11:12 |  #3

Found a complete overview. (external link)


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neophyte52
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Jan 10, 2018 13:37 as a reply to  @ Dalantech's post |  #4

Thanks!


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Dalantech
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Jan 19, 2018 07:31 |  #5

There are several compositions stuck in my head that just won't work in a single frame. Since the Helicon FB fits my style of shooting (hand held) I took the plunge and ordered one with the pro Helicon Focus software. My goal is to shoot close to 3x with the EF-S 60mm at F8. So the Helicon FB + two 25mm extension tubes. I'll report back if it works or not.


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racketman
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Post edited 4 months ago by racketman.
     
Jan 19, 2018 19:14 |  #6

Looks interesting, thanks for heads up. The built in focus stacking feature of my Olympus mirrorless works very well with adjustable graduation and I imagine this will too.


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nardes
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Jan 29, 2018 03:46 |  #7

Just a warning to potential buyers from Australia. I placed an order for the Helicon FB (yet to be delivered) and when I received the Invoice from “DR MyCommerce Ireland Ltd” I was charged 10% GST on the order.

  • “Helicon” appears to be located in the Ukraine.
  • “DR MyCommerce Ireland Ltd” appears to be located in Ireland.
  • I am definitely located in Australia.

At the time I placed the order, overseas goods purchased from Australia by an Australian Resident (me), to be delivered to Australia for use in Australia (by me), do not attract an Australian GST amount of 10%, provided the total value of the order is less than Au $1,000.

From the Australian Tax Office website at:

https://www.ato.gov.au …low-value-imported-goods/ (external link)

"The Federal Parliament has passed law that will extend goods and services tax (GST) to low value imports of physical goods imported by consumers from 1 July 2018."

On the DR MyCommerce Invoice (which shows my Australian Address and is billed in Au$) the Helicon FB is listed as Au $272.99, so clearly the goods are under the Au $1,000 threshold. Yet, they also added a 10% GST charge of Au $27.30.

So far, in my querying of this, DR MyCommerce Ireland Ltd have referred me to Helicon whilst Helicon have referred me to DR MyCommerce Ireland Ltd; a game of ping pong or pass the buck it seems.

It looks like I will have to lodge a claim through PayPal to resolve what appears to be fraudulent behaviour if someone in the supply chain is collecting 10% GST on behalf of the Australian Government on an order for goods which I believe should be exempt from GST.

Regards

Dennis



  
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nardes
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Jan 29, 2018 17:27 |  #8

I am pleased to say that the folks at Helicon have now owned the issue, triggering a process which has reimbursed my PayPal account with the 10% GST that I believe was incorrectly applied.:-)

I have been purchasing goods and SW on-line (as a resident in Australia) for over 10 years and have never experienced this problem before.:-(

All the overseas organisations/merchant​s that I have previously purchased from have never charged a 10% GST when the order has been less that the Au $1,000 threshold. I’m at a loss as to why this has happened now with SWREG (aka DR MyCommerce Ireland Ltd) when it appears that the Australian Government does not have a requirement for GST to be collected.-?

Thanks to the folks at Helicon for stepping up to the plate.:-)

Cheers

Dennis

nardes wrote in post #18551512 (external link)
Just a warning to potential buyers from Australia. I placed an order for the Helicon FB (yet to be delivered) and when I received the Invoice from “DR MyCommerce Ireland Ltd” I was charged 10% GST on the order.

  • “Helicon” appears to be located in the Ukraine.
  • “DR MyCommerce Ireland Ltd” appears to be located in Ireland.
  • I am definitely located in Australia.

At the time I placed the order, overseas goods purchased from Australia by an Australian Resident (me), to be delivered to Australia for use in Australia (by me), do not attract an Australian GST amount of 10%, provided the total value of the order is less than Au $1,000.

From the Australian Tax Office website at:

https://www.ato.gov.au …low-value-imported-goods/ (external link)

"The Federal Parliament has passed law that will extend goods and services tax (GST) to low value imports of physical goods imported by consumers from 1 July 2018."

On the DR MyCommerce Invoice (which shows my Australian Address and is billed in Au$) the Helicon FB is listed as Au $272.99, so clearly the goods are under the Au $1,000 threshold. Yet, they also added a 10% GST charge of Au $27.30.

So far, in my querying of this, DR MyCommerce Ireland Ltd have referred me to Helicon whilst Helicon have referred me to DR MyCommerce Ireland Ltd; a game of ping pong or pass the buck it seems.

It looks like I will have to lodge a claim through PayPal to resolve what appears to be fraudulent behaviour if someone in the supply chain is collecting 10% GST on behalf of the Australian Government on an order for goods which I believe should be exempt from GST.

Regards

Dennis




  
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DesolateMirror
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Jan 30, 2018 13:26 |  #9

It is an interesting gadget, I'm not sure how fast it can refocus for each shot though. There's some other options depending on what you're shooting.

You can handhold the camera and instead of using the lens to change focus, use continuous shooting mode (hopefully with a decent FPS) and move the whole camera slightly to adjust where the focus is toward/away whatever the subject is. People have used this technique for stacking macro images with some success. The downsides are that it's not super accurate if you're using a high magnification and most flashes won't recycle quickly enough with your camera FPS, and you need a fairly steady hand.

If you're shooting a static subject there are a lot more options. A basic macro slide rail is probably the cheapest. It depends on what magnification you're using how accurate you will need the rail slider to be. 1x to 2x can get away with fairly coarse adjustments. This is a fairly common one https://www.bhphotovid​eo.com …DER_Super_Mag_S​lider.html (external link) - though you can find other versions on ebay for a lot cheaper but the build quality is a gamble.

There's also the automated stacking rails like wemacro and stackshot if you really want to get in there.

If you don't mind playing around with Magic Lantern it has an option for stacking that changes the lens focus, takes a shot, repeat until whatever you've set. It's free but isn't compatible with all cameras and a lot of people don't want to go through the risk of installing it on their camera.




  
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Dalantech
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Jan 31, 2018 02:59 |  #10

DesolateMirror wrote in post #18552569 (external link)
It is an interesting gadget, I'm not sure how fast it can refocus for each shot though.

That would depend on the lens, the tube just sends the necessary signals to tell the lens how much and in what direction to change the focus. In the videos I've seen of it the lens managed to keep up with the camera, even for some really large shifts in focus. The question for me, and I'll find out when I get it, is if the Canon EF-S 60mm can make really minor adjustments to focus based on the signals it's getting from the Helicon FB.


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neophyte52
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Feb 06, 2018 08:30 |  #11

Nardes & Dalantech, I'll await your reviews once you've rec'd the tube. I shoot entirely in the field, so the rails aren't as convenient a solution for me. I find that my best results have come from just nudging the focus ring manually for each successive shot (I shoot most everything on a tripod), but in sub-zero weather, the fingers lose their feel pretty quickly, so I hope that I hear good reports on this!

Thanks for your input, all.


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SteB
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Feb 06, 2018 09:41 |  #12

Just thought I'd mention that I got the DSLR controller app for my Android phone, and that does focus bracketing on my Canon DSLRs. I've not fully tried it out yet, just on a couple of inanimate objects, and it seems to work okay. I've just got to work out the settings for the increments, which will have to be trial and error. You can either use it wirelessly if your DSLR has WiFi, or via a USB cord, where it can be used on any Canon DSLR. I only mentioned this because I found it whilst trying to find user experience of the Helicon FB tube.




  
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nardes
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Post edited 3 months ago by nardes.
     
Feb 07, 2018 03:22 |  #13

Just received my Helicon FB Unit and it looks like a well-made piece of kit, it fitted nicely and felt solid. I then downloaded the iOS App on my iPad and configured the FB Unit as described.:-)

It was all quite nicely explained and illustrated in the included User Guide, simple to follow and everything worked 1st time.:-D

On the iPad I configured the Unit for my Canon 7D Mk II and Canon 100mm F2.8L Macro lens.

I then set up on the breakfast bar for image #1 under a fluoro light and although I had configured the Unit at F11, I forgot to set the lens to F11 so I shot my first series at F2.8. DOH! However, the result wasn’t too shabby for 12 shots.

For the 2nd series, I used a hand held, off-camera Canon Speedlite EX 600 RT (powered by an external Canon CPE4 Battery Pack) with a Canon ST-E3-RT Speedlite Transmitter on the 7D.

I shot 45 frames at 1/200 sec, F11, ISO400 and the OCF fired for each exposure without missing a shot.

Cheers

Dennis

EDIT: Drive was Low Speed Continuous Shooting, Mode was Manual Exposure.


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nardes
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Feb 07, 2018 03:24 |  #14

Just for info, here is a quick snap of the set up and a combined image of the 1st and last shot (#1 and #45) where the canon Speedlite was used.

Cheers

Dennis


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nardes
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Feb 07, 2018 18:23 |  #15

Here is my first in the field test of the Helicon FB Unit and so far, it has done a remarkable job. I used the Align and Blend functions in PS CC to cater for unwanted camera movement from hand holding and several missed frames (flash not firing). The Speedlite needs to be very close to the subject to maximise the ability to keep up with the Low Speed Continuous Shooting Mode.

Basics details:

  • Hand held.
  • ISO100, 1/250 sec, F11.
  • Off-camera flash, Canon Speedlite EX 600 RT (using the external Canon Compact Battery Pack CP-E4).
  • Low Speed Continuous Shooting.


The Speedlite initially missed every 2nd shot and then began to miss a couple of shots at a time the longer I kept the shutter pressed. I bailed out after some 15 or 16 shots and managed to find 7 illuminated frames from which I made this stack.

As the camera was hand held, I did not use Helicon Focus to stack the frames as I am unsure if Helicon Focus can take into account some quite significant movement between frames – need to improve my hand-holding stability.

So, I opened the 7 files in PS CC and used Edit Align to Align them followed by a 2048x1536 crop of the common overlapping area. I then ran the Auto Blend function in PS CC and it did quite a tidy job.

All in all, I am quite pleased with the outcome from this initial in the field test given that I was hand holding and did not have the full series of illuminated frames due to the Speedlite not being able to keep up.

I am very pleased with my purchase of the Helicon FB and look forward to more play time with it as I better master the skills and set up requirements to allow the unit to work to its full potential.

Cheers

Dennis


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Helicon FB Tube reviews?
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