Marcia Byrd wrote:
Has anyone used the Helicon Focus? It is used for automatic focus stacking via a lens attachment combined with their software program. Looks interesting but does it really work?
"Helicon Focus" is a computer image editing software used to combine a series of images taken at different focus points into a single image with greater depth of field than is possible optically.
Some cameras now have built in ability to do focus bracketing, where the camera shifts focus slightly for a series of shots that will be later post-processed with the above software. Before buying any of the following, check your camera's capabilities in this regard.
"Helicon Remote" is a software that can be used to control select Canon and Nikon DSLRs and will make the cameras do focus bracketing as described above. The software resides on a computer or other device, to which the camera will be tethered. An autofocus lens must be used.
"Helicon Remote Beta" is same as Helicon Remote with a few newer camera models added (including some Sony, Canon and Nikon mirrorless), although in some cases there may be limited functionality. This version is in development to be a future version of Helicon Remote.
"Helicon FB Tube" is a physical device that's fitted between lens and camera both to allow the lens to focus closer and to provide incremental focus bracketing. The device is controlled by computer, tablet or smart phone. It is currently available only in Canon EF mount and Nikon F mount (both DSLR lens mounting systems, which might be possible to adapt to some mirrorless camera systems). This device also requires a lens with autofocus capabilities.
Helicon Remote and Helicon FB Tube essentially do the same thing... Remote is software, while FB Tube is hardware and software. They ARE NOT designed to work together. Which you would need depends upon the camera and lens you're using. Check the HeliconSoft website for compatibility and/or contact them for recommendations.
If I recall correctly, HeliconSoft (the company that offers all the above) at one time offered a motorized, computer-controlled focusing rail device for use on a tripod. That could be programmed with image count and focus intervals for various focus stacking needs. AFAIK, this has been discontinued. But, it also might have been made and sold by a different company (gettin' old... the memory ain't what it used to be!) A mechanical device such as this can be used with virtually any camera and lens (and lens accessory, such as macro extension tubes), including manual focus.