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Focus stacking images


perkyjude 3 46 11 England
14 Nov 2012 8:31AM
Help --- I am desperate to find a user friendly, free way, to focus stack. I have elements 9 but it does not seem to do it... although I may have missed something. I downloaded a free trial of Helicon which is fabulous and very easy to use but will cost quite a bit for the full version... any ideas? The photos I am trying to take are with a macro lens, but I need to stack them to increase the dof. I did a trial one with Helicon and results are fabulous but they watermark all your trial versions. Thankyou so much - Jude ♥

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Pete e2
13 18.5k 96 England
14 Nov 2012 8:54AM
You could try CombineZP . It's a bit of a crude looking interface but may do what you require and is free Smile Click the CombineZP.msi link to download and then click the file to load the program onto the computer, ignoring the warnings by saying Yes to install.
mikehit e2
5 6.8k 11 United Kingdom
14 Nov 2012 8:55AM
There is a free programme called CombineZP which seems pretty good from what I have seen so far.
MacroMeister 2 62 4 United Kingdom
14 Nov 2012 11:12AM
I use Helicon, The Lite version is good enough (I use it) and it's not too expensive at 19 a year. I have tried using my Photoshop CS6 for stacking. It's OK if you take the shots very carefully, but it doesn't handle discrepancies as well as Helicon does. I'd go for Helicon.

This one was stacked with Helicon. sample shot

Helicon site
oldblokeh 3 845 United Kingdom
14 Nov 2012 11:23AM
+1 for combineZP, especially for the price Wink

As Pete said, the UI is not that brilliant, and sometimes you have to try the different stacking methods to see which works best for a particular image.

Here's one of mine done with CombineZP
perkyjude 3 46 11 England
14 Nov 2012 12:04PM
I can't seem to download combine zp without a tonne of rubbish coming with it... anyone got a clean link? I have spent an hour removing all the pop up spam stuff that downloads with it... grr.
oldblokeh 3 845 United Kingdom
14 Nov 2012 12:39PM
There are clean link -- I got my copy from one, but I'm behind a pernickety proxy at the moment. I'll look when I get home.
Pete e2
13 18.5k 96 England
14 Nov 2012 12:49PM

Quote:I can't seem to download combine zp without a tonne of rubbish coming with it... anyone got a clean link? I have spent an hour removing all the pop up spam stuff that downloads with it... grr.

That link I gave takes you straight to the owner's page. And the first link at the top of the page instantly selects download of just that program? Not sure what happened for you?
Ade_Osman e2
11 4.5k 36 England
14 Nov 2012 12:52PM
You could try Zerene Stacker it's what I use and after much trial and error I found it to be the best program for the job. As I remember you can download a free 30 day evaluation copy, might be worth a look even if the program is a little on the pricey side, but cheaper than Helicon I think?

Ade
perkyjude 3 46 11 England
14 Nov 2012 2:26PM
Zerene is cheaper..... it is 56, vrs 86 for Helicon. Do any of the elements programs have a focus stacker??

Pete - I have managed to get Combinezp without the attachments... but for some reason it is not recognising my file formats when I search for the photos to add - they are Nef.
Pete e2
13 18.5k 96 England
14 Nov 2012 2:32PM

Quote:but for some reason it is not recognising my file formats when I search for the photos to add - they are Nef.

It may not support RAW...if so you'd need to convert to JPEG before processing
oldblokeh 3 845 United Kingdom
14 Nov 2012 2:36PM

Quote:but for some reason it is not recognising my file formats when I search for the photos to add - they are Nef.
It may not support RAW...if so you'd need to convert to JPEG before processing



What I do is:

1. Make adjustments to levels etc to the whole batch using Lightroom.
2. Export whole batch as TIFF files. I find that there are fewer JPEG artifacts this way.
3. Feed the TIFFs into CombineZP
perkyjude 3 46 11 England
14 Nov 2012 2:43PM
Ahhh, thankyou. I will try that this evening. I have to collect the girls from school now so my freedom is temporarily on hold... freedom to do what I like will resume at 8pm...lol
Pete e2
13 18.5k 96 England
14 Nov 2012 3:06PM
off topic ...but I just had a quick click over to your blog...thanks for putting ePHOTOzine at the top Smile It's very much appreciated.

You could add a small bit of code to that link so if anyone ever joins from following your link and becomes a member of e2 you get a percentage back for the recommendation. All you need to do is change the link url. Details here: ePHOTOzine affiliate scheme
perkyjude 3 46 11 England
14 Nov 2012 4:19PM
Thanks Pete.

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