Focus Stacking app for Z series

Started Feb 7, 2020 | Discussions thread
sirhawkeye64 Veteran Member • Posts: 6,431
Re: Focus Stacking app for Z series

Russell Proulx wrote:

I use focus stacking in the studio and previously used Helicon Remote with my D800E and other Nikon bodies. Unfortunately that utility has not yet been updated to support the Z7 and other Z series cameras. Today I discovered that ControlMyNikon from Tetherscript released version 5.5 on Jan. 26 and it supports all the current Z bodies. The focus stacking works fine though does not offer the same level of automation as Helicon Remote and you need to manually set the focus step value and number of steps from the start. But it does work well and eliminates the need to touch the camera body and offers all the advantages of working tethered in Live View. I still process the resulting images with Helicon Focus 7 which I find does a much better job than Photoshop.

For regular tethering needs I still prefer Nikon Camera Control Pro2. But that's probably because I'm just used to using it (old habits etc..). ControlMyNikon works fine as a tethering app with Live View and offers many features that CCPro2 lacks (such as triggering options and stacking .. and more.) and is MUCH less expensive @ under $50 (CAN$) for 3 licenses vs CCPro2 @ over $225 (CAN$).

Now I can do focus stacking with the Z7 and FINALLY sell my D800E which I kept only because of that need

PS: the Z7 monitor needs to be on for the apps Live View focus tool and magnified views to work properly, and if you want to shoot S or M Raw that option needs to be set in the camera.

I personally just focus stack in post. Take a few images and then merge in Photoshop (which actually can automate the process too). And since I already pay the $10 per month for PS and LR, it's not costing me anything extra. Plus it's one less thing I have to worry about. I take multiple shots in camera and keep track (I created cards with "start focus stack" and "end focus stack" that I take pictures of to mark the starting/end frames).

It's maybe a little more work, but honestly it saves time and fuss with not having to deal with other programs.  If you're careful when moving the focus point (as to not move the camera or change the FL), this can be an easier and less stressful way IMO than trying to use automation programs and tools.

 sirhawkeye64's gear list:sirhawkeye64's gear list
Nikon Z7 Nikon Z6 II Nikon Z7 II GoPro Hero8 Black Nikon Z 50mm F1.8 +11 more
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