Z6 Focus Shift Step Width Testing

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I stack using Affinty photo, which does a great job, albeit very slow, especially on my MBP.
Have you seen the list of Software available in the Wiki article? Who is going to volunteer to try them all to find the best. Zerene users will argue that they have the best and Helicon users will say that they have the best. I argued that Photoshop SAY they can do it so I wanted to use that but then I tried Helicon and was smitten. :)

DG
 
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There appear to be excellent reasons to get an Olympus just for this purpose but I am locked into my Nikon System and I am too old to go changing brands just for that reason.......

DG
 
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Zerene users will argue that they have the best and Helicon users will say that they have the best.
For the record, I have Photoshop CC and Helicon Focus, and though Helicon Focus is clearly better than Photoshop CC, I have no idea if it's the best. I test drove Zerene and Helicon Focus on a minimal basis and didn't detect any difference in effectiveness or efficiency.
 
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That is another variable, as is the three different "Methods" available in Helicon. I have found on at least two occasions that Method C worked better than either method A or B. Each Method has variables which can be used to get an optimum result AFTER deciding how many images, what f stop etc
I agree, method C seems to work on more difficult stacks.

I have also set the step size too high with the aperture too open, to the point that I can step over in-focus slices. At least it looks like that is happening.
 
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UPDATE

Showing the difference in DOF at the same Step Width (6) between the 105mm f2.8 VR and the 60mm f2.8. Both are 10 image stacks.

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I gotta jump in here... Being obsessive compulsive in my macro photography.

I use a D850 with Nikon's focus shift (no not the lens disease focus shift) and a Nikkor 105mm F2.8 macro lens. I have tested the lens with Reikan's "FoCal" software to determine my lens is the sharpest at f8. So f8 is what I use.

To choose the focus shift step size I go by the maximum: "More is Better..." but also guided by my mother's darkroom admonition: "Had it good, made it better... wreaked it..." So the closer i am to the subject the smaller the step size. but in general i range between 2-4 Landscapes i tend to go around 5-6

My procedure is to set up the shot and take a first image at f32 as a backup and reference for fixing stacking errors. I then take a shot focused at the most interesting bit at f8. I then bring this image into "RawDigger" software to analyze the image. i want the histogram as far to the right as possible without any of the channels saturating. When shooting flowers, saturation happens in the red channel at a much lower exposure than you would expect. If the red channel is saturated you will have no detail in the red parts of the image.

Finally, when i have the exposure right, i then focus to the closest part of the image i want sharp, then focus a bit closer to make sure i haven't missed anything. I then shoot a stack of around 40 to 60 images. Once this is done I open up live view and make sure the lens is focused beyond what i want sharp. If not I shoot another stack from this focus point.

I then stack in Zerene cause i like the program better than the other one. (personal preference) But more on software some other day.

Cheer,
alexis and Georgie Beagle

" watching mom shoot a macro makes me wish i was watching paint dry..." - Georgie Beagle
 
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If anyone is looking for alternative software, there is also Franzis Focus projects. I've not used the latest version, but I do have Ver 3 Professional. If you subscribe, you will get discount offers of the various software packages. I ended up with the package when they were offering it for free a few years ago. I've not seen any of their packages that cheap since, however they do offer some good discounts from time to time.

https://www.projects-software.com/focus
 
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