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Thread: Anyone else using Helicon Focus?

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    Anyone else using Helicon Focus?

    I've been playing with this software today for the first time and I'm very impressed. (Unfortunately, it can't deal with motion caused by wind!)

    This pic is composed of four separate shots from about 18 inches to near infinity, and while you won't see it in this little Jpeg, the foreground and the outhouse are both sharp - and all points in between. Any blur in this composite is from the wind. I'll do this again with no wind tomorrow. Each exposure was 1/1000 sec at f8, iso 320.
    Bill
    Last edited by Bill Caulfeild-Browne; 12th July 2009 at 17:23.

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    Re: Anyone else using Helicon Focus?

    Not yet..it is a time thing for me - but results posted as in above are compelling for tripod mounted landscapes and still life thats for sure! If I had an auto focus lens for my Hy6 - the auto focus bracketing would make stacked sequences even easier!

    bwt - I love this shot, lovely feel and ambience.

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    Re: Anyone else using Helicon Focus?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Caulfeild-Browne View Post
    I've been playing with this software today for the first time and I'm very impressed. (Unfortunately, it can't deal with motion caused by wind!)

    This pic is composed of four separate shots from about 18 inches to near infinity, and while you won't see it in this little Jpeg, the foreground and the outhouse are both sharp - and all points in between. Any blur in this composite is from the wind. I'll do this again with no wind tomorrow. Each exposure was 1/1000 sec at f8, iso 320.
    Bill
    I purchased Helicon Focus a couple of weeks ago when MacUpdate was offering a 50% discount on the Pro X64 version. I'd been thinking about buying it for months (with the intention of using it, as Peter suggested, for still life pictures). Coincidentally, the MacUpdate offer came the day after I'd read Joseph Holmes' article about Helicon Focus so I couldn't resist.

    Unfortunately I've been preoccupied with work and family matters and haven't had a chance to play. But it's at the top of my to-do list. And, as soon as I have a satisfactory result, I'll post it to this thread.

    Out of interest, how did you decide on making just four shots from 18 inches to near infinity? And were the middle two shots evenly spaced -- in terms of distance -- between the near and far shots?

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Anyone else using Helicon Focus?

    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

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    Subscriber Member Jonathon Delacour's Avatar
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    Re: Anyone else using Helicon Focus?

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    Thanks for this, Guy. Your explanation in that thread answered my questions:

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    The real trick here i found out is finding clear focusing points to focus on and do at least 4 shots. To me AF would be worthless since the AF on most systems is the center part of the image and you can't move the camera when doing these. Actually more focusing points are better and honestly it takes nothing to do in the field with manual focusing which is surely the best way since you can visually see what points you want and not much in the processing. In C1 make all adjustments to one image and copy them, apply them to the rest and process than bring them in Helicon program and hit ONE button than save the results.

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    Re: Anyone else using Helicon Focus?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jonathon Delacour View Post
    I purchased Helicon Focus a couple of weeks ago when MacUpdate was offering a 50% discount on the Pro X64 version. I'd been thinking about buying it for months (with the intention of using it, as Peter suggested, for still life pictures). Coincidentally, the MacUpdate offer came the day after I'd read Joseph Holmes' article about Helicon Focus so I couldn't resist.

    Unfortunately I've been preoccupied with work and family matters and haven't had a chance to play. But it's at the top of my to-do list. And, as soon as I have a satisfactory result, I'll post it to this thread.

    Out of interest, how did you decide on making just four shots from 18 inches to near infinity? And were the middle two shots evenly spaced -- in terms of distance -- between the near and far shots?
    I simply chose flowers that I wanted to be sharp! Sounds silly, I know, but I focussed on the closest first, then the zone about 3 feet behind, then 15 feet then infinity. I chose flower heads that "dominated" their zone.

    I did more today that I'll post tomorrow.

    Bill

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    Re: Anyone else using Helicon Focus?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Caulfeild-Browne View Post
    I simply chose flowers that I wanted to be sharp! Sounds silly, I know, but I focussed on the closest first, then the zone about 3 feet behind, then 15 feet then infinity. I chose flower heads that "dominated" their zone.

    I did more today that I'll post tomorrow.

    Bill
    Not silly at all since it mirrors Guy's suggestion to find "clear focusing points to focus on and do at least 4 shots". I look forward to seeing some more results.

    Also, my promise to post my Helicon-focused shots to this thread must have been a Freudian slip since I shoot Nikon. I guess I'll have to post them in the Image Processing forum.

    It occurs to me that I must be gulping down the Sony Kool-Aid as fast as you guys can pour it.

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    Re: Anyone else using Helicon Focus?

    I didnt see teh Sony forum placement of the topic - does that mean that helicon focus is irrelevant to non Sony shooters - i think not -

    re autofocus..

    I dont understand the point being made. if it references the Sinar auto-focus bracketing capability, it is a criticism that just doesnt stand up to analysis....

    but since I consider myself to be the harshest critic of teh gear I own - I wont say anything that makes me sound like a fan boy...

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    Re: Anyone else using Helicon Focus?

    Well, testing with wind-blown flowers was not highly successful (see first shot in this thread), so I tried again with some rocks. Although it was still quite windy, I did not observe any movement on their part.

    Four shots with ZA 24-70 at about 35 mm, F4. Focus on nearest rock, then first black one, then furthest black one and finally the trees. Again the jpeg is inadequate to judge by, but on my cinema screen at 100% full pixel-peeping mode, it's very crisp indeed. A similar "control" shot at f16 just doesn't cut it, though the corners are sharper.

    Normally I'd shoot this at about f8 but I used f4 to be a bit extreme for testing purposes.
    Last edited by Bill Caulfeild-Browne; 12th July 2009 at 17:23.

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    Re: Anyone else using Helicon Focus?

    Quote Originally Posted by PeterA View Post
    I didnt see teh Sony forum placement of the topic - does that mean that helicon focus is irrelevant to non Sony shooters - i think not -

    re autofocus..

    I dont understand the point being made. if it references the Sinar auto-focus bracketing capability, it is a criticism that just doesnt stand up to analysis....

    but since I consider myself to be the harshest critic of teh gear I own - I wont say anything that makes me sound like a fan boy...
    Peter

    It is not irrelevant at all. I use with both my D3 Nikon and the Hassy H3DII-39 with great results. It is just sensational for landscapes of almost any kind since you don't have to do all the usual shenanigans to get proper focus from at your feet to the mountains in the distance. I love it and appreciate what it can do for my type of shooting.

    Woody

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    Subscriber Member Georg Baumann's Avatar
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    Re: Anyone else using Helicon Focus?

    Hi Bill,

    thanks for the reminder! I always mean tot give that a shot, but somehow it slipped nder the radar again.

    From a practical point of view, I am a little puzzled on the excution. Assuming a tripod. you focussed on the rock in front as a first step.... what I don't get are the following steps. Focus on first black etc.

    I mean you have to move the camera on the tripod, even just by touching it would probably cause a slight misalignment, right?

    How does that work in practise? How do you make sure the camera is still 100% using the same frame?

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    Subscriber Member Georg Baumann's Avatar
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    Re: Anyone else using Helicon Focus?

    P.S. just spotted.... 4.1 does not work with OSX 10.5.7 yet

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    Subscriber Member Georg Baumann's Avatar
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    Re: Anyone else using Helicon Focus?

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post



    .... here goes another 250 bucks....

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    Re: Anyone else using Helicon Focus?

    Quote Originally Posted by Georg Baumann View Post
    P.S. just spotted.... 4.1 does not work with OSX 10.5.7 yet
    Where did you "spot" this? I upgraded to 10.5.7 and Helicon 4.1 is working fine....
    Bill

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    Re: Anyone else using Helicon Focus?

    Quote Originally Posted by Georg Baumann View Post
    Hi Bill,

    thanks for the reminder! I always mean tot give that a shot, but somehow it slipped nder the radar again.

    From a practical point of view, I am a little puzzled on the excution. Assuming a tripod. you focussed on the rock in front as a first step.... what I don't get are the following steps. Focus on first black etc.

    I mean you have to move the camera on the tripod, even just by touching it would probably cause a slight misalignment, right?

    How does that work in practise? How do you make sure the camera is still 100% using the same frame?

    This may already have been answered in Guy's post - but touching the tripod slightly doesn't matter - presumably Helicon finds edges and lines them up. It also resizes the closer shots because of course the image is a tad bigger the closer you focus.

    Bill

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    Subscriber Member Georg Baumann's Avatar
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    Re: Anyone else using Helicon Focus?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Caulfeild-Browne View Post
    Where did you "spot" this? I upgraded to 10.5.7 and Helicon 4.1 is working fine....
    Bill
    Hi Bill,

    http://www.heliconsoft.com/heliconfocus_downloads.html

    Warning: Helicon Focus 4.1 does not work under Mac OS 10.5.7, but Helicon Focus 4.0.5 does work fine. We do our best to fix this bug ASAP
    Do you use helicon with your phase one as well?
    Last edited by Georg Baumann; 14th May 2009 at 15:32.

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    Re: Anyone else using Helicon Focus?

    Yes, I do use it for my Phase files - more, in fact, than for the Sony because medium format has less DOF.

    My Helicon 4.1 was installed before I updated the OS to 10.5.7. Maybe that's why it still works....?

    Bill

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    Re: Anyone else using Helicon Focus?

    OK - I'm wrong! (For the first time, I think.)

    Helicon does NOT work with 10.5.7. I forgot that I had not updated my MacPro (just my MacBook Pro) which is why it is still working!

    Bill

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    Subscriber Member Georg Baumann's Avatar
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    Re: Anyone else using Helicon Focus?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Caulfeild-Browne View Post
    OK - I'm wrong! (For the first time, I think.)
    I love that confidence in people.

    Yes, I do use it for my Phase files
    I should be shooting with a phamiya soon, this is the first time for me and I really look forward to it. Yes, I too want Helicon mostly for phase files. This program is astonishing. I plan to use C1 for the basics, then import to LR and take it from there.

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    Re: Anyone else using Helicon Focus?

    Quote Originally Posted by Georg Baumann View Post
    I love that confidence in people.

    I should be shooting with a phamiya soon, this is the first time for me and I really look forward to it. Yes, I too want Helicon mostly for phase files. This program is astonishing. I plan to use C1 for the basics, then import to LR and take it from there.
    The more I use C1, the more I prefer it to LR for everything except healing and the gradient tool. I love the Color Editor and the lens corrections tools - much better than LR.

    I still use LR for cataloguing, slide shows and web pages - until I learn how to do the latter in C1.

    Bill

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    Subscriber Member Georg Baumann's Avatar
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    Re: Anyone else using Helicon Focus?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Caulfeild-Browne View Post
    The more I use C1, the more I prefer it to LR for everything except healing and the gradient tool. I love the Color Editor and the lens corrections tools - much better than LR.

    I still use LR for cataloguing, slide shows and web pages - until I learn how to do the latter in C1.

    Bill
    Hi Bill,

    I am not sure for myself what is best practise for a future workflow with phase files. I am new to C1, but I think that the output options in Lightroom might surpass C1 soon. I think of softproofing and printing, which in certain cases could eliminate the need to use photoshop alltogether.

    I was talking to Michael Reichmann about that two days ago and by coincidence he is working on an article that describes his approach on the matter, which is close to my gut feeling how I would go along. He appears to do the basics in C1 and then bring all over to LR. The article should be published on LuLa in a week or so. Michael is pretty much a pragmatist and it will be interesting to see his conclusions.

    At the end I think it still is a case of individual needs and preferences. LR so far has the best approach to me to become the only package needed for 80% of work, and I like this a lot.

    Sure the lense correction database is a huge plus as are other aspects of C1 at a glance. I have the opportunity to ask all those questions to phase one next week and see what their take is.

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Anyone else using Helicon Focus?

    Hmmm working in 10.5.7 this is version 4.1
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

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    Re: Anyone else using Helicon Focus?

    Anyone try Panorama mode.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

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    Re: Anyone else using Helicon Focus?

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    Hmmm working in 10.5.7 this is version 4.1
    I seem to think that you cannot use Helicon with 10.5.7 on a Power PC Mac.
    Seems like the intels are OK.

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    Re: Anyone else using Helicon Focus?

    Combine ZM is a free PC focus stacking software.
    It does not support 16-bit files, but in many images
    I preferred it's output to Helicon's.
    * Note, have not played with Helicon for several months *
    Two examples with a Mamiya_Phase are in the Medium Format, Fun with MF Images,
    Page 34, the truck door is from 3 frames, and the other was 4 frames.

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