(Nancy Kaufman) #1

Helicon focus stack

Set focus range
Next, we set the nearest point that we want
in focus. The Helicon Remote app lets us
shift the focus in tiny increments with a set
of arrows, and has a zoomed in autofocus
view for extra precision. Click A to set the
nearest point, then shift the focus back
and click B to set the farthest point.

Download free trial

Helicon Focus is an excellent application that allows
you to shoot a focus stack (with the bundled Helicon
Remote app), then piece together the sharp parts
from each shot. After downloading the free 30-day
trial from Heliconsoft.com, open the Remote app
and attach your camera via a USB cable.

Choose increments
Now we can choose how many frames to
capture – a high number will mean more
incremental focus shifts. Or we can set this
to Auto and let the app calculate it, based
on the aperture and focus distance. Here,
Auto results in 40 shots. Hit Start Shooting
and sit back while the frames are captured.

Tether and compose

The Live View display will appear on your
computer screen. Now is a good time to
finalize the composition. Keep in mind the
edges of the frame will be cropped when the
images are stacked, so frame loosely. We
used a vertical orientation, as we’re going to
shift the camera to shoot a panorama.

Use a sliding plate
If you want to increase the resolution of your image for extra
detail, why not shoot a macro panorama? There are expen-
sive rail systems that can shift your camera position for you.
If you want a budget alternative, use a tripod head that has a
sliding plate, like the Benro gimbal here.
Shoot panoramic macros
Shift and repeat
After our first set of focus stack shots are
in the bag, we slide the tripod plate to shift
the camera position a few centimetres to
the right, then set off the focus stack again
to capture another 40 shots. Then, just re-
peat for further segments. If you don’t have
a sliding plate, try nudging the tripod, or
flower, to the side slightly.

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