Results 1 to 16 of 16

Thread: Focus-stacking & HDR

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Guam
    Posts
    76
    Real Name
    Tyler Bowne

    Focus-stacking & HDR

    Ok, so, I use lightroom, and shoot a 6D Canon. I was wondering

    A. Is there an add-on, or peripheral that will allow me to stack? Or a cheap alternative way to focus stack.
    B. What do you guys find as pleasant subjects for this type of photography?
    C. The in camera HDR is pretty ineffective, and comes out fairly tacky. Should i worry about developing this skill-set, as a worthy "tool in the bag", or am i better off moving on?

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Lake Ambulalakaw, Mt. Pulag, Benguet
    Posts
    1,026
    Real Name
    Victor Nimitz

    Re: Focus-stacking & HDR


  3. #3

    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Cottingham
    Posts
    106
    Real Name
    Nigel

    Re: Focus-stacking & HDR

    +1 to Helicon software - works really well. There are other, free pieces of software I think, just Google it. As far as HDR goes, if you want to make maximum use of the files you'll need to use additional software. Photoshop has this built in but you can also use Industry standards such as Photomatix (which also has a plug in for Photoshop). Take a look at some tutorials as well to get best use.

  4. #4
    Shadowman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    WNY
    Posts
    30,668
    Real Name
    John

    Re: Focus-stacking & HDR

    Quote Originally Posted by bowneracing99 View Post
    Ok, so, I use lightroom, and shoot a 6D Canon. I was wondering

    A. Is there an add-on, or peripheral that will allow me to stack? Or a cheap alternative way to focus stack.
    B. What do you guys find as pleasant subjects for this type of photography?
    C. The in camera HDR is pretty ineffective, and comes out fairly tacky. Should i worry about developing this skill-set, as a worthy "tool in the bag", or am i better off moving on?
    A) Adobe Elements has Photomerge which is labeled as a psuedo HDR technique, FDRTools has a free version of HDR processing.
    B) It's never pleasant, it usually involves dark shadowy areas, midtones, and exceedingly bright highlight areas. I've seen it used on night scenes with a brightly lit store front, almost any scene where there is reflected light, and interior/exterior day light shots with visible window/dark passages.
    C) No, but it's fun to try when you have the time.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Guam
    Posts
    76
    Real Name
    Tyler Bowne

    Re: Focus-stacking & HDR

    Thanks, checking into the software now! And thanks to John for the honesty. Are you speaking on behalf of solely hdr or f-stacking as well?

  6. #6
    Shadowman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    WNY
    Posts
    30,668
    Real Name
    John

    Re: Focus-stacking & HDR

    Quote Originally Posted by bowneracing99 View Post
    Thanks, checking into the software now! And thanks to John for the honesty. Are you speaking on behalf of solely hdr or f-stacking as well?
    A bit of both, hdr from the processing aspect (too much/too little) and focus stacking from the capture aspect (lighting and point of focus) but only when it involves macro images.

  7. #7
    Wayland's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Saddleworth
    Posts
    482
    Real Name
    Wayland ( aka. Gary Waidson )

    Re: Focus-stacking & HDR

    It depends what you want to do.

    I don't have any experience of focus stacking so cannot help you there but I do use techniques to capture a high dynamic range in landscape quite a lot. I also know what that camera can produce.

    LightRoom 4 is able to produce remarkable results from single frame RAW captures that until recently would only have been possible using double rendering.

    As far as multi frame HDR goes I see an awful lot of "out of the can" shots out there that look like they have everything turned up to 11.

    Some people seem to like that effect but for me at least I find that more realistic results can usually be produced in PhotoShop using manual blending methods.

    Horses for courses.

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Guam
    Posts
    76
    Real Name
    Tyler Bowne

    Re: Focus-stacking & HDR

    Thanks! That seemed to be my problem, it was too much, or unnoticeable. Also lightroom seems to be able to do a lot more with raw files from this camera when compared to files from my Xti, and it seems more inconspicuous if i put a graduated filter or something on it than the smaller xti files...

  9. #9
    James G's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Birmingham UK
    Posts
    1,331
    Real Name
    James Edwards

    Re: Focus-stacking & HDR

    Tyler, I think that the point with stacking is that you need to be able to control how you capture the stack. Options are manual focus rails or tethered control of the camera. I opted for tethered control because once set up I did not need to touch the camera to move the focus. vs automated
    CS6 will stack images, and Helicon Focus is the 'market leader' for stacking software.
    I've trialled, but not purchased, Helicon Stacking software. I also downloaded a free stacking program, Combine ZP and found that it does an excellent job and generates stacked images from tiff/jgeg or Raw capture. Given the price of Helicon, I've decided to stick with the freeware.
    I did retain the 'trial' version Helicon Remote, which was installed with the Stacking software, but also downloaded an Android (app) version of Helicon Remote which is now on my Nexus 7 tablet. Being able to control the capture of a stack via the tablet tethered to the camera, (laptop was too clunky), has been easy.
    I'm currently using the trial version which limits me to jpeg captures only at present. I am going to pay the $48 to activate the unrestricted version on my tablet.

    Apart from the 'obvious' flower candidates, I have used the software in the field to photograph fungi 'in situ'. (eg Stag Horn's which are only a few mm in size), I've also used it to photograph insects, (arachnids & beetles), with moderate success.

    As regards HDR I would not use in camera, I shoot bracketed Raw and then use CS6. (Used Photomatix years ago, but prefer CS6 since I want fairly naturalistic images'.

    cheers, James

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Guam
    Posts
    76
    Real Name
    Tyler Bowne

    Re: Focus-stacking & HDR

    Thanks, so it may be worth it to start tethering my camera for this. And awesome find with the freeware!

    Thanks
    Bowne

  11. #11

    Re: Focus-stacking & HDR

    I have found that Helicon is the more expensive tool in the focus stacking world. I use ZerenneStacker with finer results. The real secret to focus stacking is how precisely one stacks the images. Also I have found that Helicon Remote, a partner tool from the same company, can be balky an unreliable on a laptop. Has anyone also
    found this to be the case?

  12. #12
    DanK's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    New England
    Posts
    3,935
    Real Name
    Dan

    Re: Focus-stacking & HDR

    I'm not sure whether you are asking about focus stacking or HDR--or both. They are not the same thing. Focus stacking usually refers to combining images with different focal points, for greater DOF. HDR is one technique for combining images for greater dynamic range.

    I do a great deal of focus stacking because I shoot a lot of macro. I use Zerene for it, which has a number of features that I think makes it the best option--a choice of stacking algorithms and a very useful retouching tool for eliminating some of the mess that focus stacking sometimes generates. Most of the macro photographers I know also use it. If you have Photoshop, it will do it as well, although more slowly and without the bells and whistles of Zerene.

    Options are manual focus rails or tethered control of the camera
    They can be helpful, but you don't need either of these unless you shoot at very high magnifications. I have never shot tethered and have never used a rail. What is essential is two things: keeping the shots well aligned, and some way (a rail is one) of making very small adjustments in focus. I do the latter by hand. Works fine at the level of magnification I do (usually 1:2 to 2:1). I'll post below an image that is a Zerene composite of over 20 images. the only special equipment was a tripod and a geared head (Monfrotto), which makes small movements for aiming the camera much easier to control.

    Re HDR: I'm in the minority that does not like it. I find the exaggerated colors, etc., very artificial and unpleasant. I use exposure fusion instead, which picks properly exposed pixels from multiple images but does not do tone-mapping. Google it. I believe some HDR software offers this option as well. I use LR enfuse, a lightroom plugin, for this, and it works very well.

    Focus-stacking & HDR

  13. #13

    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Guam
    Posts
    76
    Real Name
    Tyler Bowne

    Re: Focus-stacking & HDR

    I was referring to both, great advice with the exposure fusion! I'm looking into it as we speak.

  14. #14
    Glenn NK's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Victoria BC
    Posts
    1,510

    Re: Focus-stacking & HDR

    Quote Originally Posted by Wayland View Post
    LightRoom 4 is able to produce remarkable results from single frame RAW captures that until recently would only have been possible using double rendering.
    I think this point may not be well known. LR4 seems to be able to recover some shadows/highlights that previously could not be recovered. I was quite pleasantly surprised at the difference between LR3 and LR4, and have resorted to reprocessing many images.

    On the topic of focus stacking, I use Zerene, but lately am trying the following: Where I once used larger apertures to flur the BG (f/2.8 to f/4), I'm experimenting with values in the range of f/11. Of course this introduces some oftentimes ugly backgrounds in the field. By using the adjustment brush on the BG, and adjusting the sliders for the brushed areas, the BG can be softened/blurred, and the colouration can be changed.

    This of course only applies to macros, not landscapes (the OP's question).

    I've never tried focus stacking landscapes (many do), but one concern might be parallax shifting when the focus distance is changed (it can be a problem with macro stacking).

    Glenn
    Last edited by Glenn NK; 12th April 2013 at 04:22 PM.

  15. #15
    DanK's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    New England
    Posts
    3,935
    Real Name
    Dan

    Re: Focus-stacking & HDR

    Glenn,

    Where I once used larger apertures to flur the BG (f/2.8 to f/4), I'm experimenting with values in the range of f/11. Of course this introduces some oftentimes ugly backgrounds in the field. By using the adjustment brush on the BG, and adjusting the sliders for the brushed areas, the BG can be softened/blurred
    This is the same issue I am working on, but I have been going in the opposite direction--I have been using f/8-f/11 and have been thinking about using images with wider apertures to get more blurred backgrounds. However, I have been able to do what you describe. In the image below, I used Zerene's retouching brush to paint from a top slice onto the background on the left, blurring it.

    Dan

    Focus-stacking & HDR

  16. #16

    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Guam
    Posts
    76
    Real Name
    Tyler Bowne

    Re: Focus-stacking & HDR

    I really like how that came out!

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •