Olympus UK E-System User Group
Olympus UK E-System User Group

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Old 4th January 2012
Swordfish Swordfish is offline
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Focus stacking help please

Have had a first crack at the focus stacking technique - example attached - however I'm looking for a bit of guidance from experienced users of this technique.

This image was from a stack of 15 shots using the 50mm macro at f5.6, with the camera being racked forward by approx 2mm for each frame. The stacking was done using Helicon5

The obvious problem is that between the start and end of the sequence the amount of movement of the camera gives rise to a natural variation in the size of the image. Although the software has made a decent fist of handling this, there is some obvious fringing and loss of sharpness at some points.

I prefer the use of a focus rack as I find this easier than trying to manually adjust focus of sequential frames using a fixed position for the camera. However might I be seeking the impossible, or am I missing something?

I wonder what experience others have had and how this problem is best overcome?



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Old 7th January 2012
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Graham_of_Rainham Graham_of_Rainham is offline
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Re: Focus stacking help please

I have had a few attempts at this, with vastly different techniques from the automatic focus bracketing of the E-500 to the use of the OM Bellows with focus rail.

Camera & Subject movement has the most effect on quality (as you have discovered)

Different focus systems affect image size in different ways, but the longer the focal length of the lens the less the effect is noticed.

My next attempt will be with the subject on a moving stage and a micrometer head incrementing the subject through the plane of focus.

I've only used Photoshop and layers so far with manual construction, but I may give these softwares a go.


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Old 7th January 2012
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peak4 peak4 is offline
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Re: Focus stacking help please

There's some quite interesting stuff on Wild About Britain of Macro Focus Stacking.

You will have to plough through the various articles yourselves. It seems the neatest way to do it is with software control on the camera's focussing from a laptop, but sadly that only works for Canon setups.
I acquired a rather fine video lens out of a surveillance camera a while ago. 16-160mm F1.8-F22. It is designed for a C mount, but obviously vignettes severely on 4/3. However I can screw a m4/3 mount directly to the rear, which acts like an extension tube and has the secondary effect of covering the whole sensor at the expense of losing infinity focus.
The only reason I mention it, is that since it was used in a remote housing, each of the aperture focus and zoom rings have an external nylon gear mounted to it for motorising the focus and zoom. I thought with a stepper motor I could then increment the focus ring for auto stacking.
A project for another day though.
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Old 7th January 2012
Jim Ford Jim Ford is offline
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Re: Focus stacking help please

I've just finished making an automated stacking rail, controlled by a microcontroller. I'll post images and a description in the next few days.

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