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Helicon Focus 2

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If you havent read my original post on Helicon Focus visit the link. If you have looked over the post I commend you for your ongoing attention or something like that...

I was unimpressed with my first attempt at a stacked image for DOF (depth of field) using Helicon Focus. The first time is never the best, just ask a married couple. Anyway, I shot the original gambit of images at f2.8, again look at the link if you want to see those shots, giving very little DOF and missing small sections of the coral. The missed parts diminished the overall look of the composite with blurry patches. This could probably be fixed by taking more images, apparently 10-15 is not enough at f2.8. Or, you could do what I did and stop down. I stopped down from f2.8 to f5.6 for the first set of shots below. That is one stop smaller (half the aperture size) and thus doubles your shutter speed to compensate for the loss of light. F5.6 gave a better DOF but in the composite had a great deal of artifacting around the rim/background of the coral. I removed it in photoshop.

Here is the coral at f5.6 with the focal point at the front edge

The next set of images is at f8. That is 1 stop smaller than f5.6 and two stops smaller than f2.8, so the shutter speed is doubled twice(the initial shutter speed is doubled and then that speed is doubled again) from what it was at f2.8. Confused? Good, if you followed that I would have been scared. Anyway, at f8 I still found some artifacts around the outer edge/background. I again removed this with photoshop. The blue/purple line (the artifact) was less apparent in the f8 image.

A single image shot at f8 with the focus point at the front of the coral

The final set of images I took were at f11. That is 3 stops smaller than f2.8 and requires a much longer shutter speed doubling 3x. This composite had the least amount of artifacting around the rim and I could have left what little there was but in the name of consistency I blacked out this background as well. However I found that at f11 the image seems a bit muddied IMO.

here is a single shot at f11...

Notice at f11 very little of the coral is in sharp focus. One could keep stopping down but eventually one wouldn't have enough light and the coral still would not all be in total focus.

I think the best results were found at f8 with a sizable image stack(more than 10 shots).

As you can tell the difference between single images and a stacked image processed with Helicon Focus for DOF is immense! If you are serious about making pristine images of your coral Helicon Focus is your program.

I think, I remember my f stops correctly but if they are not full step feel free to let me know...2.8-5.6-8-11-16...If they are not full step the shutter speed changes would differ as well. God I haven't thought about that in forever, anyway...

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Updated 02-18-2010 at 11:03 AM by PhotoJohn

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  1. CarmieJo's Avatar
    That is great!