I had a first play with HeliconSoft.com’s Helicon Remote tool this evening. This software allows you to automate the taking of stack photographs with a compatable Camera and Auto-Focus Lens attached to a PC. In the software you define the start and end points of the stack. Then using the tool you select the aperture that you want to shoot at, in my case F2.8 on my Canon 100mm Lens. The program then calculates the optimum number of shots needed to get the two points of focus to stack correctly together. When happy with your selection, it’s then time to tell the Helicon Remote to start shooting and grab a cup of tea whilst the camera takes its shots.
I experimented with some coins in a simple light tent and the camera mounted on a sturdy tripod. The software calculated that from front to back the it need 53 images to get a good stack. Upon review of the final results I discarded the last 3 as they seemed to me to be out of focus, but I am very impressed with this first try.
Here’s the start and end shots that I used in the stack.
And the last (50th).
Being linked in with Helicon Focus it’s then a matter of sending the images into that part of the software and stacking them together. Here’s the final stack result (slight levels and colour tweak later in CS5).
Definitely something I’m going to be experimenting with in future, after all, who now needs to manually focus and stack in the lab!