Wednesday, June 6, 2012

How To – Focus Stacking

“Focus stacking  is a digital image processing technique which combines multiple images taken at different focus distances to give a resulting image with a greater depth of field(DOF) than any of the individual source images. Focus stacking can be used in any situation where individual images have a very shallow depth of field macro photography and optical microscopy are two typical examples”
NCC can help you to make series of photos with different focus, this technique works only  with static, not moving subjects and constant light condition.
This tutorial works with Nikon cameras with live view and NCC version 0.7.136 or higher. I don’t find any good example in my house so i used a starfish The goal is to make a well focused full image, like this (not big deal just for example):

Lets start :
Step 1: After we start the application we need to start a new session (1) and add a name for it (2) and a folder name where the application save the taken photos.

Step 2: Start live view, after moving the object in right position, and using autofocus(1) to focus to most distant focus point(1).

Step 3:  Fine tuning the distant focus point using live view zoom(1) and focus buttons (2), after that locking that point using left site lock button (3), this operation prevent use to lose the distant focus point.
Step 4: Locking the closest focus point using same method like in step 3.

Step 5: Using preview button (1), we can check if all images will be focused well. The focus step value depend on lenses DOF, theoretically between 10-75 i use 30 for this images. If everything is right using start button (2) to capture series of photos this may take some time.

There are more possibility free or paid  to combine this photos, take a look on wiki I build in application two possibility to hep to combine this image, if you use and have installed in default location the CombineZ, select all photos using right click, after that using same right click after pressing start in dialog after selecting menu, and wait and wait, the time for operation to complete depend on number of photos, this can be 10 or 20 minutes

The result can be see in the start of this post.
More beautiful photos can be done using a macro lenses, like bugs or very tiny electronic parts. If somebody succeed using this tutorial pls post a link to his result, if i made any mistake or do you have any suggestions let me know.


  1. Hello, where to install CombineZP it work ?
    thank you

    1. Hi,
      The default install path for CombineZP should: c:\Program Files\Alan Hadley\CombineZP

  2. Great tutorial but it doesn't seem to be self contained. For the benefit of idiots like me what 'mode' does the camera need to be in to achieve this wonderful functionality. 'P' mode as it is at the start of your tutorial or 'M' as it is at the end of your tutorial?


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