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Focus stacking comparisons – a technical post

I have tried using 4 different pieces of focus stacking software using the same 30-image stack, namely: Photoshop, Photoshop Elements with the Elements+ plug-in, Affinity 2, and Helicon Focus. With Helicon Focus (the only one with different settings) I have used the 3 different stacking methods each using 2 different settings giving a total of 9 software combination.

This has proved to be quite insightful and to show the differences I am showing 2 different crops of the resultant stacked image (which is the same butterfly image mentioned in the previous post – a dead one found in the garden shed). The caption identifies the software used and for Helicon the settings used.

So here are the first 9 resultant images of the ‘head’ crop. Note the amount of blur of the background around the hairs on the head:

Photoshop
Photoshop Elements with Elements+
Affinity 2
Helicon Method A settings 8,4
Helicon Method A settings 1,1
Helicon Method B settings 8,4
Helicon Method B settings 1,1
Helicon Method C settings -,4
Helicon Method C settings -,1

And here are the resultant 9 crops of the body:

Photoshop
Photoshop Elements with Elements+
Affinity 2
Helicon Method A settings 8,4
Helicon Method A settings 1,1
Helicon Method B settings 8,4
Helicon Method B settings 1,1
Helicon Method C settings -,4
Helicon Method C settings -,1

Here is a slider comparison between Photoshop (left) and Helicon Method C setting -,1 for the head shot:

And below this slider comparison is between Photoshop Elements+ (left) and Helicon Method C setting -,1 for the body shot: