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Old 21st May 2010, 03:04   #11
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Default Re: Helicon Focus

Oh, sorry, I guess I should have made that clear. I was referring to the CombineZM.

While we're here, in other circles people are saying you're to use manual focus with this system. Not so. I rely solely on the auto focus feature that my Canon Powershot A710is provides in manual settings. Just be sure to have different focus points each time, more in the closer objects than in the further distance in the field, and do try very hard to ensure accurate alignment each time. Varying the central aiming mark by more than about a degree imparts more weirdness in the rendered product, even to the extent of it all looking horrible.

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Old 21st May 2010, 06:11   #12
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Default Re: Helicon Focus

A few words about using the combineZM program. I have chosen a photo taken about 3 years ago on my layout during construction.

If you look at photograph 3 focus is maintained from the nearest wagon which is approximately 50mm from the lens to the yellow building at the back of the scene which is 5 metres away. Contrast this with the unmanipulated photograph 1 where only the locomotive is in focus. So that's the good news. Unfortunately these types of programs tend to enhance the artifacts that occur in all digital cameras. In addition sometimes large areas of solid colour may appear blotchy. If this is a problem try shifting your camera slightly or alter your lighting, otherwise a few minutes work with your photo editor will fix this. These effects can be seen in the greatly enlarged photograph 2. Note the purple artifact line between the wooden frame of the bins and the sky. Also the yellow green splotches on the wooden bin uprights and the blotchy tank.

So how did I take this photograph?
First lets talk about camera requirements, you don't need anything particularly sophisticated, the main requirements are a macro mode and a manual focus feature and thats about it. I used a older Sony point and shoot 4 megapixel model S85 for this photograph.
Your layout needs to be well lit, as flash is not great for model photographs.
Mine is lit by a continuous row of fluorescent tubes and I don't need any supplementary lighting other than to provide shadow detail if required. Under these conditions normal exposure is 1/50 sec @ f2.1. I just used the camera's automatic feature to set this.

To set the scene, Coal Creek is located on a baseboard 5metres long and 750mm wide. The township of Coal Creek is located at one end of the baseboard, the coal bins at the other, with a yard in between.

Because the final photograph is a composite made from several exposures the camera must be fixed in one position, normally this would mean the use of a tripod, however, for realism I like to get the lens as close as possible to the ground surface so in this case I simply Bluetacked the camera to the layout, if this is not possible Blutack the camera to a heavy metal plate.
The next thing to do is decide the number of photographs required. There is no hard and fast rule here, but don't be stingy, for this scene I took 18 photographs, over half of them in the first 300mm, as focus and depth of field is more critical here. This is about the minimum required. I used the camera in macro mode for the first 250mm closest to the camera, and as the camera had no fixed manual focus points in this region I had to use Auto focus. Fortunately there were no obstructions in this area to confuse the camera, however I did have to provide something for the camera to focus on for each individual picture. I used a bit of card as a target which I removed once the focus was locked and before exposing the picture. See photograph 4. I like to use something with printing on it as a target as you can actually visually check that focus is correct before making the exposure.
Beyond the 300mm zone I had to go out of macro mode and because of the clutter of buildings and rolling stock I had to go into the manual focus mode. I simply took the remaining pictures using the camera's preset focus points. In this case it was 0.3, 0.5, 0.8,1.0, 1.5, 2.0, 3.0, and 5.0 metres. As the layout is only 5 metres long there is no reason to focus further out, in fact if you do so you may confuse the software and get a less than satisfactory result.


Photo 2


Photo 4
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Old 21st May 2010, 08:54   #13
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Default Re: Helicon Focus

Nice work! I heard from a friend who looked up some forum chat elsewhere on CZM, and he tells me that the maximum it will stack is seven images. However, the discussion was for an older version if I understand him properly.

Anyway, not knowing better, I combined seven images for this one rendered by CombineZM. First two exposures was with the Macro setting, first at 7" and then at 12", switched to normal mode and then took five successive images with objects at 20", 40", 70", 90", and the last was near 115" (to the backdrop of the hills and forest). From camera lens front surface to the far wall, high, would be about 9' 6".

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Old 21st May 2010, 09:09   #14
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Default Re: Helicon Focus

Whats the trackplan from your layout tutaenui? It dosen't have to be the best I just want to see it, thats all.
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Old 21st May 2010, 12:54   #15
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Default Re: Helicon Focus

Very good results guy's and that's a sneaky add for Fly Buys you have there. That should get you a discount or something.

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Old 24th March 2011, 19:39   #16
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Default Re: Helicon Focus

Hi everyone,
I'm calling for you help as I got a strange problem while using Helicon Focus. Though images are correctly downloaded from the camera and correctly shown in the prewiew during "process" every shot is slightly turned clockwise resultin in a distorted final picture.
Is it possibly due to wrong settings or something else?
Thanks in advance
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