In-camera Focus Stacking (E-M5 Mk.II)

jk4u59

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Hello all,

although I have my E-M5II since more than one year, it's only now that I can start using the in-camera Focus Stacking feature, because up to now none of my lenses was supported. Now that I purchased the M.Zuiko 60mm f/2.8 macro lens I can eventually see the feature enabled in the Bracketing menu and do my tests.

I see I have to practice a lot with the feature to learn how to tune it properly, but I already noticed that the camera always stores not only the final result, but also all the 8 original images used to produce the final one. I find this a bit useless (I'd like to get only the FS output), moreover I have to spot which of the images has only the JPG format (I selected in the configuration menu to have both RAW and JPG), because that's just the one I want.

Does anyone of you guys know if there's a menu option to discard all the intermediate products and save only the final resulting image?

Thanks in advance!
 

Growltiger

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No there isn't. The image you want is the final image written to the card, so easy to find.
 

Bushboy

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No there is not.
I find it easiest to delete the unwanted pics immediately after taking them.
In playback, press the info button you get to choose 3 or 4 different levels of info, choose 1 that shows the layer icon. That is the stacked pic.
Member Abel has a program that will overwrite the camera software and allow stacking with any autofocus lens.
 

Bushboy

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Disable RAW, shoot in a jpeg only.
Unless you want a whole bunch of RAWs choking up your computer.
 

Bushboy

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I find it easier to set a custom function for focus stacking on. Function button 1 or 2.
I find best results come from differential 5
f2.8, but probably you shoot different subjects so likely be different. F2.8 gives a nicely separated background if that’s your thing.
 
Last edited:

jk4u59

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Hi Bushboy,

plenty of things and good hints... check my comments inline:

No there is not.
I find it easiest to delete the unwanted pics immediately after taking them.
In playback, press the info button you get to choose 3 or 4 different levels of info, choose 1 that shows the layer icon. That is the stacked pic.
Member Abel has a program that will overwrite the camera software and allow stacking with any autofocus lens.

I think I've mixed things up with the Sigma dp1 quattro, that I bought a couple of months ago and has a very different man-machine interface (much poorer than Olympus, too...): that camera has a special feature (SFD - Super Fine Detail) that works in a similar way, shooting a bracketing sequence of 7 images to build up one single 40 MPx JPG, particularly sharp. That camera only stores on SD card the final result. Well, I hoped OMD cameras could do the same.... no problem, I'll follow your advices.

I know there's a patched FW version that removes all the checks on the lens used, allowing to use the Focus Stacking with any lens, but... up to now I didn't trust in loading it: burning a FW is one of the most risky operations with devices, so I'm still thinking twice... and more, before attempting such things! Maybe in a future. Did you personally and successfully loaded and run this patched FW?


Disable RAW, shoot in a jpeg only.
Unless you want a whole bunch of RAWs choking up your computer.

Ha ha! I fear you're right! My 1TB SSD is going to be filled up with huge RAW files! By the way, Sigma dp1 quattro outputs its X3F files (Sigma's RAW) sizing not less than 55 MB each... that can raise up to 350 MB in special cases! Overwhelming, I must admit...


I find it easier to set a custom function for focus stacking on. Function button 1 or 2.
I find best results come from differential 5
f2.8, but probably you shoot different subjects so likely be different. F2.8 gives a nicely separated background if that’s your thing.

That's really interesting: I fear I'll have to do lots of trial-and-error tests to get accustomed with the "diffferential" values that best match the magnification I'm using. My assumption was to use closer aperture values (e.g. 5.6 or 8) to get more depth of field, that in macrophotography is never enough. I see you think differently... I think I'll try, thanks for the hints!
 

Bushboy

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Yeah the in camera stacking settings are quite different to everyday settings. Once I had mine set up for stacking I saved it all as a myset, then assigned a function button to the myset. Only 1 press of a button then...
No, I have not burned Abels firmware hack to my cameras. That’s crazy!!! Lol.
I would, but I’m useless at that stuff!
Oh yeah, the M5ii can also do the huge file thing too...
I tried it, but couldn’t see the point.
 

Bushboy

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No can beat me at accidentally deleting the pic. Done it a hundred times and more!
 

Vermont3133

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Just on the firmware hack:
https://www.mu-43.com/threads/modified-firmware-looking-for-users.99804/
The thread is over two years old, 18 pages long and I can't remember reading anything about the hack that would concern me. Rather the opposite!
I've loaded it onto two EM5 ii s with zero problems and great results.
As I understand it the hack is nothing more than one software tickle.
But I guess there is nothing without risks [even legit. FW upgrades can have unexpected consequences] so it's for each person to decide.

An easy way to pick the focus stacked image is by the frame size.
The stacking will crop the entire image a bit.
Because of this one needs to be a bit careful when composing...making sure everything wanted is well within the viewed frame.
 
Last edited:

jk4u59

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Hello all,

although I have my E-M5II since more than one year, it's only now that I can start using the in-camera Focus Stacking feature, because up to now none of my lenses was supported. Now that I purchased the M.Zuiko 60mm f/2.8 macro lens I can eventually see the feature enabled in the Bracketing menu and do my tests.

I see I have to practice a lot with the feature to learn how to tune it properly, but I already noticed that the camera always stores not only the final result, but also all the 8 original images used to produce the final one. I find this a bit useless (I'd like to get only the FS output), moreover I have to spot which of the images has only the JPG format (I selected in the configuration menu to have both RAW and JPG), because that's just the one I want.

Does anyone of you guys know if there's a menu option to discard all the intermediate products and save only the final resulting image?

Thanks in advance!
Hi,

some days ago I wrote about how to manage the in-camera FS outputs... today instead I'll ask your opinion on the feature itself: I mean, from the various tests I've done up to now (always with the M.Zuiko 60mm f/2.8 macro lens, the only one among my lenses that is currently supported by my E-M5 II body), I see it works well, once gained some experience on how to set the "Differential" parameter according with the magnification required. But... all the good tests were done using a tripod. When I tried to shot freehand, also using the flash, the results were bad and out of focus.

So my questions are:
  • is it possible to get good shots using in-camera Focus Stacking in freehand mode?
  • does this limitation apply to macro images only, or the same difficulty can be experienced also doing e.g. panorama shootings?
Thanks
 

jk4u59

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Hi,

some days ago I wrote about how to manage the in-camera FS outputs... this time instead I'll ask your opinion on the feature itself: I mean, from the various tests I've done up to now (always with the M.Zuiko 60mm f/2.8 macro lens, the only one among my lenses that is currently supported by my E-M5 II body), I see it works well, once gained some experience on how to set the "Differential" parameter according with the magnification required. But... all the good tests were done using a tripod. When I tried to shot freehand, also using the flash, the results were bad and out of focus.

So my questions are:
  • is it really possible to get good shots using in-camera Focus Stacking in freehand mode?
  • does this limitation apply to macro images only, or the same difficulty can be experienced also doing e.g. freehand panorama shootings?
Thanks to those who want to share their own experiences!
Ivan
 

Bushboy

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Yes it is.
You have not supplied us with enough information regarding the subject, iso, shutter speed, etc, to make informed decisions to help much.
The 8 shot bracket needs to happen quickly, not slowly. Using flash slows the process considerably.
 

RAH

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  • does this limitation apply to macro images only, or the same difficulty can be experienced also doing e.g. freehand panorama shootings?
I'm not sure what you mean when you say "freehand panorama shootings," related to in-camera focus stacking. Do you just mean shooting a wide landscape with a foreground object in focus and also a rear object? Or do you mean making a true pano shot where you pan the camera horizontally (usually) and take a series of shots?

I don't see how focus stacking could be used for a true pano. But I DO think you could handhold a regular wide landscape shot, subject to any advice @Bushboy comes up with.
 

jk4u59

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I'm not sure what you mean when you say "freehand panorama shootings," related to in-camera focus stacking. Do you just mean shooting a wide landscape with a foreground object in focus and also a rear object? Or do you mean making a true pano shot where you pan the camera horizontally (usually) and take a series of shots?

I don't see how focus stacking could be used for a true pano. But I DO think you could handhold a regular wide landscape shot, subject to any advice @Bushboy comes up with.
I'm sorry, perhaps my English is not enough to explain precisely what I mean (also, in Italian the translation of both terms "landscape" and "panorama" is identical): I'm asking whether is really possible to get good Focus Stacking pictures when one doesn't use any stable support like a tripod, but keeps the camera in his/her hands. This in either cases, a typical macro shot or also a landscape photography.

With "panorama shooting" I just mean the first definition you wrote: shooting a wide landscape that also has something in foreground (usually aside, like a tree or rocks). For what concerns those panoramic images made by merging together several shifted shots, I agree with you: Focus Stacking doesn't help in any way.

And, yes, Focus Stacking can be used for landscape photos as well: I remember I saw one episode of a serie of Olympus-sponsored short videos, with two young guys that in every episode spoke about a typical feature of OM-D cameras (like Focus Stacking, Live Comp, Art filter and so on...). They show how Focus Stacking usage is not only effective with macro, but made an example with an otherwise "difficult" landscape photo: a big villa in background with a lot of flowers in foreground, so close to the camera that also using an high f/ number would not gave enough help to have all the scene in focus. Instead, a proper set of "differential" parameter of the FS feature gave an image all in focus.
Only, I didn't remember if the guy demonstrating the feature was holding its camera in hand or used a tripod, and up to now I had no chances to do a similar test by myself.
 

jk4u59

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Yes it is.
You have not supplied us with enough information regarding the subject, iso, shutter speed, etc, to make informed decisions to help much.
The 8 shot bracket needs to happen quickly, not slowly. Using flash slows the process considerably.
Yes, very probably you're perfectly right: a few sequences made at home with not that much light cannot be considered a valid test: in a normal daylight the camera would produce a fast burst of shots, and if the hands' grip is normally stable, the Focus Stacking process can easily give a successfull result.

Also, thinking twice, it's normal that using flash gets things worser, not better! The recharging times cause unavoidable movements of the camera if held by hands only! Better to avoid such cases.

Thanks for the hints!
 

Growltiger

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It works well handheld. Remember to focus on the most important point, as the camera will take that photo then two closer then five further away.
If you don't want the background sharp, use a wide aperture.

Here is a photo 1/15, f/4, no stacking:
31 Croc 15 f4.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


Exactly the same setting, handheld stacking:
32 Croc 15 f4 stack.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
 

jk4u59

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It works well handheld. Remember to focus on the most important point, as the camera will take that photo then two closer then five further away.
If you don't want the background sharp, use a wide aperture.
"...2 before the focused point, then 5 after": VEERY useful to know! I didn't find it in the manual. Many thanks!
 

mawz

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1. Yes, but you have to be really still, or partially supported. The E-M5II's IBIS is not up to free handing image stacks most of the time. This would be extremely challenging at macro distances for even the absolute best configuration for handholding multiple shots (E-M1III+12-100)
2. Macro only, I do Pano's and HDR's handheld all the time with the E-M5II handheld. They're much less challenging to stitch.
 

jk4u59

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1. Yes, but you have to be really still, or partially supported. The E-M5II's IBIS is not up to free handing image stacks most of the time. This would be extremely challenging at macro distances for even the absolute best configuration for handholding multiple shots (E-M1III+12-100)
2. Macro only, I do Pano's and HDR's handheld all the time with the E-M5II handheld. They're much less challenging to stitch.
Thank you for the information! I keep on asking since I have a very few time and chances to test it by myself...

A couple of questions:
  1. I guess "IBIS" is the image stabilization system, but what precisely stands for this acronym?
  2. You spoke about E-M5II's IBIS. But, has for example the E-M5III stabilisation system better performances, as far as you know?
Thanks again
 
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