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Mozzytheboy
Mozzytheboy e2 Member 3550 forum postsMozzytheboy vcard United Kingdom3 Constructive Critique Points
20 Oct 2013 - 7:50 PM

I've tried a couple of others under free trial for image stacking but just can't justify the cost. I've yet to try PE but some recent articles in photographic mags have praised it.

Wondered if anyone has it and considers it good, bad or indifferent?

Mozzy

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20 Oct 2013 - 7:50 PM

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Gundog
Gundog  1624 forum posts Scotland
20 Oct 2013 - 8:42 PM

Hi Mozzy,

I don't rate the full-blown Photomatix against other similar programs (although the latest version I have on my machine currently is 4.2.6 - there may be later improvements), so I doubt if the "lite" version will be much cop.

But, before we go on, I take it you know that it is an HDR "blending" program, rather than a "stacking" one. (The difference is semantic rather than anything else.)

If not, and if it is focus stacking that you are after, I'd recommend CombineZP as worth a look.

.

Last Modified By Gundog at 20 Oct 2013 - 8:47 PM Helpful Post! This post was flagged as helpful
Mozzytheboy
Mozzytheboy e2 Member 3550 forum postsMozzytheboy vcard United Kingdom3 Constructive Critique Points
20 Oct 2013 - 8:45 PM

Ahhhhh, I didn't know that! Off to look at CZP then. Big thank you of course.

Mozzy

Mozzytheboy
Mozzytheboy e2 Member 3550 forum postsMozzytheboy vcard United Kingdom3 Constructive Critique Points
20 Oct 2013 - 8:55 PM

Reviews are fair to pretty good but it seems it is for windows 'only.' Yes I saw the reference to the fact it 'might' work on an Apple machine. As I only process on the MAC I need it on that machine. My fault though, I should have said.

Mozzy

Ade_Osman
Ade_Osman e2 Member 114484 forum postsAde_Osman vcard England36 Constructive Critique Points
21 Oct 2013 - 5:14 AM

Take it from a stacking devotee, Zerene Stacker is the way to go and will work with all most operating systems.....I've tried most stacking programs and this is what I use the most, it's especially good handling large stacks in excess of 80+ images with magnifications above and beyond x3.

Take a look HERE for reviews and comparisons of this and other stacking software.

Helpful Post! This post was flagged as helpful
Gundog
Gundog  1624 forum posts Scotland
21 Oct 2013 - 9:46 AM

Lots of good articles on that site, Ade.

Grin

ade_mcfade
ade_mcfade  1014740 forum posts England216 Constructive Critique Points
21 Oct 2013 - 10:04 AM

what kinda stuff do you stack Ade?

any examples - quite curious.... may have a go, got Heliopan on the Tab and never really used it

Ade_Osman
Ade_Osman e2 Member 114484 forum postsAde_Osman vcard England36 Constructive Critique Points
21 Oct 2013 - 10:44 AM


Quote: what kinda stuff do you stack Ade?

Mostly insect close ups mate, but I mean close ups! Tongue Best have a look at my P/F to see the kinda stuff I'm on about Wink

AlanJ
AlanJ e2 Member 1395 forum postsAlanJ vcard England
21 Oct 2013 - 1:26 PM

Just had a look at a youtube presentation of stacking (in this case the example was a fob watch which of course does not move) and can't understand how it's possible to take the required number of shots at say an insect which will be moving about unless you kill it first!!

Some cracking shots in your PF Ade
Alan

Ade_Osman
Ade_Osman e2 Member 114484 forum postsAde_Osman vcard England36 Constructive Critique Points
21 Oct 2013 - 6:12 PM


Quote: Just had a look at a youtube presentation of stacking (in this case the example was a fob watch which of course does not move) and can't understand how it's possible to take the required number of shots at say an insect which will be moving about unless you kill it first!!

It's not easy and you do have to work fast, so preparation is the key and most of my stacking work gets done in what one might call a studio enviroment. However most moths (my speciality) and other insects can be safely chilled down to a point using a fridge whereby they go into a physical torpor, some folk in the past have questioned the ethics behind doing this but it's something that's a natural process and something as insects they can cope with. A fuller explanation can be found on EPZ HERE.

I do sometimes euthanize or use anesthetics on insects, but this is rare and I only ever do it with species such as horseflies or things like wasps and hornets which can for me at least be dangerous to handle. A daft as it sounds I'm a macro photographer that loves taking images of our little critters and yet I sometimes suffer with anaphylactic shock with things like wasp stings and/or horsefly bites, so I have to be careful on occasion BlushBlushBlush

The ethics of what I do when euthanizing or using anesthetics on insects has been questioned before on EPZ and whilst I only use the method occasionally and I don't wish to get into any kind of argument or debate about it again. But nobody bats an eyelid if you were to swat a bothersome fly or drive your car down the motorway at 70 mph in the summer only for the front end to look like some kind of miniature abattoir with it absolutely covered in all kinds of dead insect life........A good source of specimens BTW Wink

Having said all this I rarely kill specimens, there's no need if you think outside the box a little and generally everything I shoot gets returned to the wild unharmed albeit a little sleepy Wink It's really isn't necessary if you have the right knowledge and study your quarry as I do making regular contributions to such organisations asThe Royal Entomological Society and others! Grin

Hope this answers your query satisfactorily, if you'd like more info, please ask, I don't have any secrets.....Regards.....Ade

Nick_w
Nick_w e2 Member 73823 forum postsNick_w vcard England99 Constructive Critique Points
21 Oct 2013 - 7:11 PM

I've trialled a few, but this is by far the best to date.

This is an example.

The photoshop CS5 version is very poor (IMHO), Combine ZP is free and OK'ish but not in the same league as Helicon.

Last Modified By Nick_w at 21 Oct 2013 - 7:13 PM
Ade_Osman
Ade_Osman e2 Member 114484 forum postsAde_Osman vcard England36 Constructive Critique Points
21 Oct 2013 - 7:47 PM


Quote: This is an example.

Looks like an antique version of my studio a little Wink

I have Helicon Focus myself and whilst it is very good and does the job well it's main failing IMHO is it's speed when handling large stacks (60+) from using lenses such as the MP-E 65mm. However for small stacks up to 15-20 images it works well. It doesn't have any alignment functionality or built in retouching facilities either, fine if you don't mind doing even more processing in PS etc.....Zerene Stacker seems to process things far more quickly with better results especially keeping the halo-ing effects to a minimum and the retouching facilities are a God send as when learned correctly are cinch to use. I've tried using PS/PSP for processing stacks and whilst you can get reasonable results, things get mighty tricky when you start playing a large amount of layers/images

Both programs work well and have their strong points and weaknesses, but a word of warning to anybody considering trying them out, you do need a fairly well specced up PC especially if processing large stacks, 8-16GB RAM being the order of the day. I think it all depends on exactly what kind of stacks you're trying to create which should dictate your final decision with Helicon being good for the kinda images Nick demonstrates above and Zerene being better for high magnification images such as this one below. Both programs offer trial versions with limited functionality so I think it's a case of try them and see which you get on best with.

lrg-9649-1361535657.jpg
40 image stack using a Canon EF MP-E 65mm Macro @ x2 magnification

Nick_w
Nick_w e2 Member 73823 forum postsNick_w vcard England99 Constructive Critique Points
21 Oct 2013 - 7:56 PM

That's excellent Ade. I've never really tried true macro, so I can't comment on the number in the stack you mention. Mine tend to be half a dozen. If I were getting results like the image above I'd be over the moon. Zerenes not a package I've tried, if I did a lot of macro work I would certainly give it a trial. I've had a quick look at the website, does it process RAWs as well as JPEG's?

What I would say is the one I linked to has infinitely more detail in the full size file, it lost a lot compressing to 1000px.

Last Modified By Nick_w at 21 Oct 2013 - 8:03 PM
Ade_Osman
Ade_Osman e2 Member 114484 forum postsAde_Osman vcard England36 Constructive Critique Points
21 Oct 2013 - 8:03 PM


Quote: does it process RAWs as well as JPEG's?

Unfortunately not, however I normally batch convert all my RAW files over to non compressed TIFF's and work with those as these seem to give the best results, hence the need for large amounts of RAM Smile


Quote: What I would say is the one I linked to has infinitely more detail in the full size file, it lost a lot compressing to 1000px.

Agree entirely, I see from the Darter image above that there seems to be a little JPEG artifacting going on in the eye, which isn't at all apparent in the full sized version.....Ho Hum Sad

Last Modified By Ade_Osman at 21 Oct 2013 - 8:05 PM
Mozzytheboy
Mozzytheboy e2 Member 3550 forum postsMozzytheboy vcard United Kingdom3 Constructive Critique Points
21 Oct 2013 - 8:22 PM


Quote: does it process RAWs as well as JPEG's?

Unfortunately not, however I normally batch convert all my RAW files over to non compressed TIFF's and work with those as these seem to give the best results, hence the need for large amounts of RAM Smile

What I would say is the one I linked to has infinitely more detail in the full size file, it lost a lot compressing to 1000px.

Agree entirely, I see from the Darter image above that there seems to be a little JPEG artifacting going on in the eye, which isn't at all apparent in the full sized version.....Ho Hum Sad

Well fancy that Ade! 'Some artifarting going on in the eye;' That is such a bummer when that happens Smile What hope is there for us I say?

BlushBlushWink

Mozzy

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