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Old 4th of February 2010 (Thu)   #1
dicklaxt
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Default Which Focus Stacking Software???

I know next to nothing,,,,,,,,,,really all I know is that the results are something I want to be able to get to/do. My computer skills are minimal,,,,,,,,,,,I need instructions like ,Put Tab "A" in Slot "B" so that assembled Pkg "C" doesn't come apart if you blow on it,now thats kind of basic, but thats the way it is.

Now with that having been said,where do I start?Which software program is the easiest to work with and are there any free trial periods available with it.
I have a daughter who is a guru that I can call for help 24/7 but I would rather not if you know what I mean,who wants their kids telling them what to do even tho she is 50 years old ,,,,,,,,,,we tend to argue.

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Old 4th of February 2010 (Thu)   #2
bltefft
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Default Re: Which Focus Stacking Software???

I use CombineZP, which is free, and Zenene Stacker, which costs about $90, after a 30 day trial (I'm still on the 30 day trail.) I'm still not sure if ZS is $90 better than CZP.

Check out http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fJiEw4VCcYU for a good howto lesson on focus stacking.

Hack
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Old 5th of February 2010 (Fri)   #3
LordV
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Default Re: Which Focus Stacking Software???

Think zerene stacker is easier to use and does give better results than combinezp but all stacking progs need good slice shots fed into them.

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Old 5th of February 2010 (Fri)   #4
dicklaxt
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Default Re: Which Focus Stacking Software???

Good slice shots ?,define please,,,,,,,,,,,, and what is there about Zerene that makes it more user friendly.

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Old 5th of February 2010 (Fri)   #5
LordV
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Default Re: Which Focus Stacking Software???

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Originally Posted by dicklaxt View Post
Good slice shots ?,define please,,,,,,,,,,,, and what is there about Zerene that makes it more user friendly.

dick
Sorry the shot sequences used in a focus stack are often called slices.

I just found the interface of zerene a lot easier to work out than the combine series. It's also much better at auto-aligning the shots (including rotational movement), better at preserving low contrast detail (which does have the unfortunate side effect of stacking sensor spots), and better at not getting halos around high contrast edges. Got to have some advantages if you have to pay for it !
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Last edited by LordV : 5th of February 2010 (Fri) at 07:20.
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Old 5th of February 2010 (Fri)   #6
dicklaxt
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Default Re: Which Focus Stacking Software???

Thanx

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Old 5th of February 2010 (Fri)   #7
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Default Re: Which Focus Stacking Software???

Dick, I just bought a license for ZS. It is a little more user friendly and what Brian said about the lack of the halo effect is good in ZS.

As for slices, I put my camera on a tripod and the focus sharply on the part of my subject that is closest to me. Then, I focus on a part just a little farther away. I keep doing this routine until I get to focus on the farthest part of the subject. Each pic is a slice. I may take me 6-10 slices to move from the front of the subject to the rear.

I put all the slices in a folder, start the stacking program, select all the slices I want to stack and run the program. It is a basically that simple.

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Old 5th of February 2010 (Fri)   #8
dicklaxt
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Default Re: Which Focus Stacking Software???

In my practice effort with this stacking ,,,I downloaded ZM and am now going to concentrate on reading any and all Tutorials I can find..........

The bugs have to cooperate too don't they,LOL

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Old 5th of February 2010 (Fri)   #9
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Default Re: Which Focus Stacking Software???

Dick, CZM will give you a good idea of what this is about.

As far as stacking goes, I think a moving subject will not stack worth a flip - I could be wrong, as I'm also very new to this. I had read about using "kill" jars to kill an insect and then doing your slices. But someone said they've never killed the insects they stack. I took a college college course, Entomology, and for it, I had to put together an insect collection, classifying them down to Family - so, I know about making and using killing jars. In that class, the professor told us to kill the insect and then put it in the freezer. That way, later, you can handle them without breaking off parts. I guess one could kill the insect and then pose it on a flower.

Now, in bright sunlight, taking a photo of an insect using a tiny aperture, tripod and long exposure may be the way some take the great pics I've seen - I don't think they're stacked.

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Last edited by bltefft : 5th of February 2010 (Fri) at 18:01.
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Old 5th of February 2010 (Fri)   #10
dicklaxt
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Default Re: Which Focus Stacking Software???

Do the slices have to be stacked in any particular order or is it a random lay of events?

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Old 5th of February 2010 (Fri)   #11
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Default Re: Which Focus Stacking Software???

Yes, it is my understanding that there is an order. I always lead with the slice that is nearest. But I have heard others lead with the one that is farthest.

I've never done it first one way and then the other way to see if one really is better.

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Old 6th of February 2010 (Sat)   #12
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Default Re: Which Focus Stacking Software???

Quote:
Originally Posted by dicklaxt View Post
Do the slices have to be stacked in any particular order or is it a random lay of events?

dick
Stacking progs do work better if the stack is in focus order either front to back or Vice versa. You tend to get less stacking border if back to front.
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Old 6th of February 2010 (Sat)   #13
dicklaxt
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Default Re: Which Focus Stacking Software???

Thanks both,one other thing is this done with RAW or JPEG format or can it be done with either or what is reccommended,I guess thats 3 questions

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Old 6th of February 2010 (Sat)   #14
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Default Re: Which Focus Stacking Software???

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Thanks both,one other thing is this done with RAW or JPEG format or can it be done with either or what is reccommended,I guess thats 3 questions

dick
I imagine it can done with either. However, being the rookie that I am, I only use JPEG. I've never even fooled around with RAW.

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Old 6th of February 2010 (Sat)   #15
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Default Re: Which Focus Stacking Software???

Helicon is very easy and the only one I know that works with a Mac.
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