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Helicon Focus
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Sep 13, 2021 13:45:01   #
Marcia Byrd Loc: Georgia
 
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?
Thanks,
Marcia

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Sep 13, 2021 14:08:07   #
uofmwoodie Loc: Bonita Springs, Fl
 
I have used it for 4 years, worth every cent. I do 75 % macro and do a lot of focus stacking. I also payed for the Helicon remote, that is a onetime payment. It is also great. My problem is I have not fully learned how to use and that is not because of the devise but my fault for not trying to use it more. My only complaint with Helicon is if you have a problem there is no calling for help. It is all through email. I like to talk with someone. But that one factor does not take anything away from the product. Feel free to drop me a line if you have any question.

Good luck

Bob

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Sep 13, 2021 14:26:33   #
jscorbin Loc: Woodinville, WA
 
A couple of years ago, I downloaded both Zerene and Helicon Focus in a one-month trial. Both did a better job on focus stacking and had more options to try for different situations than Photoshop did. For me, Helicon was easier to use than Zerene.

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Sep 13, 2021 14:37:12   #
pquiggle Loc: Monterey Bay California
 
Are you referring to the Helicon FB tube that goes between the camera and lens and automatically adjusts the focus to create the focus stack? I use it and it works great. Easy to set up and can create handheld stacks if you are reasonably steady.

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Sep 13, 2021 14:39:39   #
Robertl594 Loc: Michigan
 
Steve Perry has a great tutorial on focus stacking. I use both in camera focus shift and a Stack Shot CNC rail and rotary table. Works very well with Helicon

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Sep 13, 2021 17:17:17   #
Marcia Byrd Loc: Georgia
 
Thanks so much. I think I will try it. I really want to do more macro.

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Sep 14, 2021 07:14:57   #
Manglesphoto Loc: 70 miles south of St.Louis
 
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?
Thanks,
Marcia


I use Helicon Focus Software for some of my work, I use a D810 Nikon , w/ 200mm f4 Nikkor Micro and sometimes Nikon extension tubes, which I focus manually.
You can use the Helicon attachment which does focus automatically, However you must start with a good image.

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Sep 14, 2021 09:31:48   #
JBRIII
 
I wrote an email about this with a Canon 60D a week back and got no replies. I assume because no one had experience with that exact camera which was what I asking about. So my advice is that you may have have an interesting time with your specific camera and lens, just saying.
That said:
I did get it to work with a Canon 60D and 70D after several hours, both listed as user tested by one user I believe. I still don't know the exact problem I was having, may have been a setting in camera or just me (New to anything macro). I reset the 70D as one example. Be sure camera lens is not at the limit of its focus range or obviously (Now!) it can not move further. To test recommend setting up two bar code labels, one half inch behind other and focusing on one and then moving to infinity or camera (both options available), test patterns couls also be used, works well even for old eyes.
Order came quickly (week) despite warnings of delays, comes from Ukraine. They do answer email.
Good luck;
Jim

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Sep 14, 2021 10:59:44   #
SuperflyTNT Loc: Manassas VA
 
Go mirrorless! All of my mirrorless cameras, (Nikon, Olympus, Panasonic), have it built in. 😜🤪

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Sep 14, 2021 12:08:12   #
DWU2 Loc: Phoenix area
 
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?
Thanks,
Marcia


I use it - it works well. Recommended.

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Sep 14, 2021 12:11:35   #
jackm1943 Loc: Omaha, Nebraska
 
uofmwoodie wrote:
I have used it for 4 years, worth every cent. I do 75 % macro and do a lot of focus stacking. I also payed for the Helicon remote, that is a onetime payment. It is also great. My problem is I have not fully learned how to use and that is not because of the devise but my fault for not trying to use it more. My only complaint with Helicon is if you have a problem there is no calling for help. It is all through email. I like to talk with someone. But that one factor does not take anything away from the product. Feel free to drop me a line if you have any question.

Good luck

Bob
I have used it for 4 years, worth every cent. I do... (show quote)


Bob, can you tell me what the minimum incremental focus steps the Helicon FB tube is capable of. I've been thinking about purchasing this device but would need to know if it can do incremental steps of 0.05 mm or less.
Thanks, JackM

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Sep 14, 2021 12:57:04   #
amfoto1 Loc: San Jose, Calif. USA
 
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?
Thanks,
Marcia


FYI:

"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.

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Sep 14, 2021 14:12:42   #
Robertl594 Loc: Michigan
 
I use the below under certain circumstances. My Z7II and D850 have focus shift built in the camera, which is preferable.
https://cognisys-inc.com/motion-control/stackshot3x-pkgs/stackshot3x-vobj-kit.html
The programable control has great functionality. Great customer support as well.

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Sep 14, 2021 14:50:09   #
James May
 
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?
Thanks,
Marcia


Hi, I use it all the time .Much cheater to buy the one-time lifetime method.

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Sep 14, 2021 15:51:18   #
BigChicken
 
FB Tube isn't a rail so that metric doesn't apply. FB Tube rotates your focus ring same as your camera would with the newer top end cameras. You set a start focal point and a number of "steps" it should take to get to either infinity or max near focus (you choose which direction you want to go.) Each "step" is a shot.

It only works with auto focus lenses and you put the camera in manual mode. It doesn't work with all autofocus lenses. They have a list of lenses that have been verified. The list is short but appears to include the common lens used for macro. If a lens isn't on the list that doesn't mean it doesn't work with it, they just tested the common ones and look to the community to verify more.

I've used for handheld and on a test shot of a marigold processed with first attempt with Helicon Focus got a result that passed muster and delighted as long as you didn't pixel peep.

Understand it's a motorized extension ring, so your focal range will come in. Probably, wouldn't be useful on anything shorter than an 85.

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