DSLR Focus Stacking Assistant Takes The Hard Work Out Of Macro Photography


Focus stacking makes for fantastic macro images, but the process can be tedious without the right tools. While some focus stacking rigs require the camera to be moved away from the subject in small increments, others choose to keep the camera stationary while focusing the lens before each shot.

Both methods produce great results, but you need a steady hand and a lot of patience to get the job done. [Oleg] uses the focus stacking technique relatively frequently, so he decided to automate the process in order to save himself some time. Using an Arduino and a USB host shield from Adafruit, he put together a focus stacking assistant for his Canon EOS camera.

The assistant allows him to set two focal points, leaving the Arduino and his camera with the task of taking pictures. The Arduino commands the camera to tweak the focal point ever so slightly between each image, resulting in an array of images ready for stacking.

He says that the process is a bit slow at the moment, but he’ll be cleaning up the code and building a Nikon-compatible unit in the weeks to come.

8 thoughts on “DSLR Focus Stacking Assistant Takes The Hard Work Out Of Macro Photography

      1. I posted a comment, but it hasn’t shown up yet.

        Magic Lantern is like CHDK, but for Canon DSLRs. Mostly the ones with movie abilities.

        It can do HDR and focus stacking and other stuff.

        Focus stacked HDR Panorama, done with ML: http://www.flickr.com/photos/avaviel/6200408295/in/pool-1676739@N21/

        Coding issues:

        Magic Lantern wiki:

        (Can someone moderate my comment?)

  1. Magic Lantern can also be used for this. It’s specific for certain DSLRs, like my 60D, 600D, 450D, and 50D but they are actively expanding the software.

    It’s great for HDR: From two to nine images for HDR, 0.5EV to 5EV. You can ‘stack’ processes such as timelapse to achieve timelapse HDR.

    Focus stacking has greatly improved too. I’ve been talking to [a1ex] and he’s taken quite a few of my suggestions. Focus stacking is a snap, with quite a wide range of stacking options: from 2 to 200 or so images, with a wide increment of focus changing.

    I’ve been making Focus stacked HDR Panoramas lately, and it’s only possible because of ML. Here is one of the Focus stacked HDR Panoramas: Covered Tree. Here is one of the HDR Panoramas made using ML: Vodka and Dress.

    Similar to CHDK it’s only installed on the card, with a few ways to boot into a ‘vanilla’ firmware. Instillation is easy, as it removing it: format the card. I’d say, however, it’s matured enough to be used in every day shooting.

    (p.s. I’m not the guy who made the software, I just love it and use it constantly.)

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