Focus Stacking with Helicon Focus
I have had a few half hearted attempts at focus stocking using Adobe Photoshop, the results pretty poor. I decided to try out Helicon Softs – Helicon Focus. I purchased the Helicon Focus Lite version for approximately £22.00.
I took some test images and did not use any focusing rail, instead I adjusted the focus at small increments, giving me 10 images to play with.
After launching the software, it was a simple case of opening up the images, (Helicon Focus lets you open raw files direct). I set view to vertical split view so I could see what was happening during the process. Opting for Method A, I pressed Render and set Helicon doing its stuff.
A couple of minutes later and I had my first stacked image, I was not hoping for much but was pleasantly surprised at the quality and depth of the resulting image. The result was not perfect, but considering this was a quick out of the box try out of the software, the image was acceptable, actually more than acceptable.
I had also taken a couple of images, where the focusing on each was not great, but stacking just two images in Helicon actually improved the image, and rescued the focus of the image.
You can export the stack into a 3D model. The Helicon 3D viewer in the lite version has some text over the image, but still gives a good idea of what can be achieved.
You can try out Helicon Focus for free, with a 30 day trial available form the HeliconSoft website.
The software interface is basic, and east to use without having to know too much about what the software is doing. I look forward to experimenting more with this software and putting in some time and effort with some better imagery, and maybe also trying out the Helicon Remote to give me a live view on a laptop to help with somoe of those focusing issues.