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01-20-2019, 08:12 AM - 8 Likes   #1
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Automated focus stacking

A little while before Christmas I posted a suggestion in the Product Suggestions and Feedback forum.that it would be useful to be able to nudge the focus backwards and forwards while tethered. I thought it would be useful for doing focus stacking. stevebrot kindly pointed out that the USB SDK does contain that ability. I modified the Ricoh sample to do it. I enter two parameters, step size and number of steps and the program takes a series of shots, stepping the focus ring as it goes. I then merge the shots using Zerene. The first picture is the finished stack and the following six images are the images taken at each step with the K1mk2 @ F5.6 with Sigma 70-300 in macro mode ISO 100 (which is sadly my only AF macro lens).

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01-20-2019, 08:35 AM   #2
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Very cool, I should really learn to do that.
01-20-2019, 09:32 AM - 3 Likes   #3
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A good time to mention Andreas' WiFi Commander for Pentax, v1.5 of which introduces some new features which can be very useful for [focus/exposure etc] stacking automation:

WiFi Commander for PENTAX v 1.5 is online! Discover the new features! - PentaxForums.com
01-20-2019, 09:50 AM   #4
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Unfortunately I don't think the function to adjust focus is available in the wireless SDK. But maybe someone knows different? I would certainly prefer to operate wirelessly from my Android tablet if possible.

01-20-2019, 10:03 AM   #5
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What program do you mean? Please, explain in details. I am very interested in the possibility to do focus stacking.
Please provide more details
Thank you.
01-20-2019, 10:29 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Medex Quote
What program do you mean? Please, explain in details. I am very interested in the possibility to do focus stacking.
Please provide more details
Thank you.
The Ricoh CLI (command line interface) sample program. The Linux version. Could only manage to compile the 32 bit version in a virtual Ubuntu environment but the resulting executable runs fine on my Opensuse workstation. I could post my code here if anyone wants to make their own copy.

I've got to go now. Back tomorrow.

Last edited by thepedant; 01-20-2019 at 10:56 AM.
01-20-2019, 10:35 AM   #7
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Awesome work!

Probably a stupid question, but what camera models would this work for?
01-20-2019, 11:35 AM - 1 Like   #8
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WiFi Commander

QuoteOriginally posted by rawr Quote
A good time to mention Andreas' WiFi Commander for Pentax, v1.5 of which introduces some new features which can be very useful for [focus/exposure etc] stacking automation:

WiFi Commander for PENTAX v 1.5 is online! Discover the new features! - PentaxForums.com
This app is very versatile in defining what parameters to use for sampling the various settings. Focus is only one of the parameters available. If is free and is much faster (2x or more) in downloading than Image Sync over WiFi. Works on Win 7-10 with Pentax cameras with native WiFi (K-1 back to K-70). Mac version promised.

RONC

01-20-2019, 12:33 PM   #9
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Great stuff
01-20-2019, 01:12 PM   #10
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Great example of focus stacking. I've played with it but definitely on my more serious "to do" list.
01-20-2019, 01:38 PM   #11
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Great work! A detail, but the thread title should be "automated focus bracketing", IMHO, since the shots are actually stacked in post...
01-20-2019, 10:49 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Doundounba Quote
A detail, but the thread title should be "automated focus bracketing", IMHO, since the shots are actually stacked in post...
Stacked is the correct terminology, whether stacked "in camera" or in post is irrelevant. All the photos are of the same exposure values, only the focal plane has shifted, in order to capture a larger DOF, typically used for macro/close up work. Bracketing is stacking photos with different exposure values, i.e. -2, 0, +2, in order to capture a larger dynamic range, typically used for landscape work.
01-21-2019, 02:06 AM - 2 Likes   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by BrianR Quote
what camera models would this work for?
### Supported Cameras

* PENTAX K-1 Mark II
* PENTAX KP
* PENTAX K-1
* PENTAX 645Z

This is what the documentation in the USB SDK says. Looking at the more advanced software that other people are working on in other forums, it would seem that other models may also have similar capabilities. Lots of reverse engineering going on too. I look forward to my K1 waking me up with a cup of tea one day.

Last edited by thepedant; 01-21-2019 at 06:39 AM.
01-21-2019, 06:30 AM - 1 Like   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by david94903 Quote
Stacked is the correct terminology, whether stacked "in camera" or in post is irrelevant. All the photos are of the same exposure values, only the focal plane has shifted, in order to capture a larger DOF, typically used for macro/close up work. Bracketing is stacking photos with different exposure values, i.e. -2, 0, +2, in order to capture a larger dynamic range, typically used for landscape work.
Hmmm, no. In this case, focus bracketing is what the camera does. Focus stacking is what Zerene does. You can bracket other things than exposure! Some cameras can actually do the stacking in-camera. It's useful to distinguish between focus bracketing and focus stacking as two different capabilities of camera bodies. Just as you distinguish between exposure bracketing and HDR.
01-21-2019, 10:55 AM   #15
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Focus bracketing should be available as a camera menu option.
I see no possible problem (at least in theory) that could prevent it.
At least, it should be available in tethered mode, from the Lightroom plugin.
Sorry if I'm wrong about anything. I originally checked after the K-1 was released, then paid no attention to the developments regarding tethered shooting.
As far as I understand, reading the previous posts, to this day the only way to do it is via command line, hacking/modifying the original Pentax (Linux only?) software.
I don't know if there are ports for another OS, like Windows or OS X. If not, it should be relatively easy.
A simple graphic interface should also be doable... but it seems that the only capable developer has chosen to dedicate his time to Wi-Fi control.
Maybe there are others...
I always thought that with AF cameras and macro lenses we already have all it's needed to replicate most of the functions of an electric programmable focusing rail.
All it's needed is a good tripod.
I guess that most forum members (myself included) know nothing about the possible focus bracketing options available to Pentax users.
Anybody out there willing to give a few basic info about possible options?
Any news about what's coming?
It's an interesting field.
I hope to be wrong, it seems that other brands have an edge under this regard.

Last edited by cyberjunkie; 01-25-2019 at 01:35 PM.
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