Focus Stacking app for Z series

Started Feb 7, 2020 | Discussions
Russell Proulx Contributing Member • Posts: 943
Focus Stacking app for Z series
1

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 $225 (CAN$).

https://www.tetherscript.com/controlmynikon-home/

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.

 Russell Proulx's gear list:Russell Proulx's gear list
Nikon D3S Nikon 1 V1 Nikon D800E Nikon Z7
Nikon D800E Nikon Z7
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ZapperVT Contributing Member • Posts: 929
Re: Focus Stacking app for Z series

Thanks for the information.  I've been wondering when focus stacking apps would support the Z series.

 ZapperVT's gear list:ZapperVT's gear list
Nikon Z7 Nikon Z50 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm F1.8G Nikon AF DX Fisheye-Nikkor 10.5mm f/2.8G ED Nikon AF-S DX Micro-Nikkor 85mm f/3.5G ED VR +15 more
marc123456 New Member • Posts: 2
Re: Focus Stacking app for Z series
3

digiCamControl (http://digicamcontrol.com/) is a FREE open source thetering software for Nikon Z series and other cameras/brands.

Supported cameras (including Z50, Z6, Z7) : http://digicamcontrol.com/cameras

FEATURES :

Control your camera

Control your camera settings remotely from your Windows PC via USB.Trigger image capture via release button on the camera or remotely from your computer.Handhold the camera, shoot, and have the resulting images displayed on the computer monitor.

Instant review

Review images right after photo is captured in full screen or display them instantly on the computer and view histogram and photo metadata. The image loading engine based on Image Magic, which provides a fast image loading even for raw with option to highlight over and underexposed areas in captured photos.

Advanced capture control

Shoot a series of bracketed shots with an arbitrary shutter speed, aperture or exposure value. Advanced interval meter to create a series of time-lapse images based on a highly customizable scheduler. Shooting triggered by motion detection for cameras which support live view.

Live view

Allows you to see the image live through the camera on your computer’s monitor before shooting. You can remotely autofocus or manually adjust the focus. Even zoom in and out so that you can confirm the focus is sharp. For better framing an overlay can be applied to the live image. You can also shoot a series of focus stacked images to connect into one ultimate DOF picture.

Multiple camera support

You can control multiple connected cameras at the same time, triggering photo capture in parallel, or one by one. To improve sync capture also external capture devices are supported like arduino based triggers or USB relays. For better camera management, settings can be synchronized between connected cameras.

High interoperability

The application can be controlled in multiple ways from an external application, using a simple remote application which can be executed with a simple command line argument. The web server function allows for remote control of application to preview captured photos via a web browser on a smartphone or tablet.

Astronomy module

A simple module to help long exposure photography with scripting support to automatize repeating tasks. For precise focusing it is used a special live view window where it is displayed the focused star size and controls to set live view brightness and magnification

Open source

The application is free to use under MIT license even in commercial applications. Moreover, you can download the source code and modify it for your needs.

Hope this help.

MOD TOF guy Forum Pro • Posts: 16,133
Re: Focus Stacking app for Z series

Thank you for the link. Free software is always good 

The Z6 II and Z7 II are not mentioned on the list of supported cameras. Any plan to add them later?

-- hide signature --

Thierry - posted as regular forum member

 TOF guy's gear list:TOF guy's gear list
Nikon D850 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 12-24mm f/4G ED-IF Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-120mm F4G ED VR +6 more
mrjpack Contributing Member • Posts: 895
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 $225 (CAN$).

https://www.tetherscript.com/controlmynikon-home/

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.

What is different about this instead of just setting the camera up to do it? Sorry, I haven’t don’t very much stacking but would like to do more in the future...

 mrjpack's gear list:mrjpack's gear list
Nikon D40 Nikon D90 Nikon D750 Nikon D850 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II +7 more
Flowchart
Flowchart Senior Member • Posts: 1,678
Re: Focus Stacking app for Z series

Deleted as I just realized you are talking about Helicon Remote and not Helicon Focus (this one works with the Z's)

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 $225 (CAN$).

https://www.tetherscript.com/controlmynikon-home/

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.

-- hide signature --

Knew very little about photography when I decided to buy the awesome Nikon D70; learned quickly that this expensive camera didn't make me a good photographer.
Http://KristerP.wordpress.com

OP Russell Proulx Contributing Member • Posts: 943
Re: Focus Stacking app for Z series
1

mrjpack wrote:

What is different about this instead of just setting the camera up to do it? Sorry, I haven’t don’t very much stacking but would like to do more in the future...

The biggest benefit is doing focus stacking while working tethered. Accessing (touching) any control on the camera and/or lens will risk moving it and throwing shooting sequences out of register so when they' stacked in layers in Photoshop they will need to be realigned and hope they still fit exactly. The built in focus stacking option is also not yet accessible (afaik) in Nikon Camera Control 2 utility nor other tethering software.

Note that Helicon Remote Beta version from Helicon Soft now fully supports the Z6, Z6 II, Z7, Z7 II, Z507.

https://www.heliconsoft.com/software-downloads/

 Russell Proulx's gear list:Russell Proulx's gear list
Nikon D3S Nikon 1 V1 Nikon D800E Nikon Z7
BobbyTee Regular Member • Posts: 177
Re: Focus Stacking app for Z series

marc123456,

Thanks for posting this! digiCamControl looks to be a very useful program. I would like to use it for focus stacking.

For the Z50, will it work using wifi?

If not, I will use the USB cable that came in the box with the camera...

Thanks again!

comoxbrit Contributing Member • Posts: 922
Re: Focus Stacking app for Z series
1

Affinity do a great job of focus stacking and they have a sale on right now of all their softwares.

-- hide signature --

www.derekvallintine.com

gjb526 New Member • Posts: 1
Re: Focus Stacking app for Z series

Just found your post today. I'm using a Z7 with ControlMyNikon (latest version). I've gone through all of their info on setting up the camera. I've got a good quality 6ft USB-C cable between my camera and laptop. Using FTZ with Nikon 105mm macro. Trying to do a 20 slice focus stack. "Preview" works fine and shows the range of focus changes. When I capture, all I get is 20 identical pictures. Any ideas?

Hooyat New Member • Posts: 11
Re: Focus Stacking app for Z series

I use Affinity Photo for focus stacking. Yes, the latest version supports Z6 ii and Z7 ii raw files.

Not free, but it is on sale. Superb set of features for its very low cost.

 Hooyat's gear list:Hooyat's gear list
Nikon Z6 II
sirhawkeye64 Veteran Member • Posts: 6,135
Re: Focus Stacking app for Z series
1

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 $225 (CAN$).

https://www.tetherscript.com/controlmynikon-home/

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
Fujifilm X-T20 Nikon Z7 Nikon Z5 Nikon Z7 II GoPro Hero8 Black +14 more
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