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Thread started 21 Jan 2013 (Monday) 15:58
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Focus Stacking

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Jan 26, 2013 15:54 as a reply to  @ post 15536921 |  #16

That video is a good start to the easy way to get something quick and learn.

A couple of things that bugged me that I would like to point out...

1. Use something a little more sturdy than a gorilla pod. The manfrotto tripods with the sideways option and get right down to the ground and hold more steady. Like the 180xProB.
2. F22 is going to bring in some heavy loss in image quality. He should have mentioned this and recommended trying wider apertures as you get more experience.
3. If you go to the part right after he runs the image blending, you can see his layer masks for the three shots. You should never have choppy bits of masks from the foreground layer showing in the sky. This is where photoshop ALWAYS fails and fails miserably. You really have to fine tune the layer masks manually before merging them.

Tom ­ Reichner
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Jan 26, 2013 16:33 |  #17

ejenner wrote in post #15534760 (external link)
Really you do need special software unless you have a $40k cine lens. This is because the effective FL changes slightly as you focus at different distances, so each image needs to be scaled to match a master image. It is actually also a little-talked about point that does slightly affect the final image quality, but its minor compared to the benefits.

I use Helicon focus, but I hear that zerene stacker (http://zerenesystems.c​om/cms/stacker (external link)) is now a popular solution. The freeware might also be a good way to get started.

I think both non-freeware programs have 30day free trials, so you could have 2 months of trying it out. PS has something, but I don't think it has all the features you'd really want, I could be wrong, but is seems most people who really do a lot of focus stacking use other software (I don't have PS, so maybe it works just fine for landscapes).

And then for Macro, if you are doing anything where you don't want to hook up the camera to a computer, you really want Magic Lantern to drive the stacking. Personally I don't think I've gone to 90 shots, but I've certainly done 40-60 and 90 isn't outrageous, especially if you are using an MP-E 65. I can't see how it would be possible by hand.

So, yes it does really require some extra 'commitment'.

For those using PS, elements or similar, but don't want to focus stack, you might also consider aperture stacking - shoot at various apertures (say f8, f11 and f16) and blend in PP to get the best of each. The blending is usually fairly straightforward and the images line up perfectly, but obviously doesn't have the benefits of focus stacking. The shots could also be blended automatically by focus stacking software.

Thank you so much for your reply.

It all does sound extremely complicated.
I'm really not very computer literate at all - I haven't even been able to figure out how to use Elements, or Lightroom, for basic photo edits (iPhoto seems so much simper - nothing to have to figure out).
So, based on what you have explained, I think I will have to leave the fancy focus-stacking method to others for the time being.

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Jan 27, 2013 16:11 |  #18
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I tried it yesterday. The example is not worth showing, but it worked. I made 5 frames and loaded them in CS6. Came out very good.

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Jan 28, 2013 07:34 as a reply to  @ Fg7uuui's post |  #19

Took a series of stacking shots over the weekend. Camera on my utmost sturdy manfrotto, IS off.

Attempted the stack today, looks like a horribly over zealous HDR photo. Too ashamed to show here.

I guess it was because the subject, the flowers, were affected by the breeze or winds.

Will try again

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Focus Stacking
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