Panasonic Lumix cameras & Post Focus

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chris_ma
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Post by chris_ma »

Interesting, and thank for the details!
Did certain lenses work better then others in your experience?
Chris

TheDocAUS
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Post by TheDocAUS »

I have used the Olympus 60mm macro, Olympus 30mm macro and the Panasonic 45mm macro lens.

Apart from the obvious range of each lens differing, they all perform well. The overall process when using Post Focus is very close.

I tend to use the Olympus 30mm more as it is 1.25X (2.5X 35 mm equivalent).

TheDocAUS
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Re: Panasonic Lumix cameras & Post Focus

Post by TheDocAUS »

I have chosen post focus because it allows me to achieve good shots, quickly in the field. It does come at a cost; the quality is not as good as using a macro rail. Post processing is even more important to maximise image quality.

Depending on the subject, I use Helicon Focus and Zerene to image stack. I still occasionally have softness in a stacked image.

I have also noticed that post focus does not always record the video from front to back, which may also impact image quality. I cannot change that because the process is automated.

Recently I have used the Stablise mode in Topaz Sharpen AI with good results. Using this method I can sharpen the image and improve IQ in one step. It has been effective is removing some softness.

rjlittlefield
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Re: Panasonic Lumix cameras & Post Focus

Post by rjlittlefield »

TheDocAUS wrote:
Sat Aug 22, 2020 2:40 pm
I have also noticed that post focus does not always record the video from front to back, which may also impact image quality. I cannot change that because the process is automated.
When you're using Zerene Stacker, there's a fairly convenient trick that often works around this issue.

The trick is this: after you've processed the stack at least once, so that all the images have been aligned against each other, do a File > "Re-order input files" > "Sort by Scale". If the files were originally not in strict focus order, chances are they will be in strict focus order after the sort is done. Then you can do another Stack operation to take advantage of the improved ordering. This will not matter with PMax, but it can make big improvements with DMap.

To understand how the trick works, first note that with most optics, the image changes size along with focus. Depending on the lens, the image might get smaller or larger as focus moves back, but it's probably only going to do one of those, and it will do it consistently and by a large enough amount to be reliably determined by the computational alignment process. Fortunately, the alignment process can usually determine scale accurately even when the images are initially out of order, and then sorting by the recovered scale puts them back into order again.

I see this is not addressed by the FAQs at zerenesystems.com, so I'll go fix that oversight.

The nice thing about "Sort by Scale" is that it doesn't require much thinking or mouse-clicking. The alternative is to figure out by eye what the focus order was, then manually add files into the stacking software one at a time or in appropriate groups to get the correct ordering. I've also seen people rename their image files so as to be in focus order.

--Rik

TheDocAUS
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Joined: Thu Jul 19, 2018 10:44 pm
Location: Sydney

Re: Panasonic Lumix cameras & Post Focus

Post by TheDocAUS »

Thanks for the tip Rik. I will bear that in mind next time I see it happen.

TheDocAUS
Posts: 99
Joined: Thu Jul 19, 2018 10:44 pm
Location: Sydney

Re: Panasonic Lumix cameras & Post Focus

Post by TheDocAUS »

Short story
My Post Focus workflow has been revised. I now use Method A in Helicon Focus to stack the frames extracted from the 6K video, then I put the stacked image through Topaz Sharpen AI, giving even better results than before.

Long story

When version 2 of the Panasonic G9 firmware was released, the Post Focus feature did not take the 6K video at focus points from front to back. The focus points were mixed up, so when the frames were extracted they were not necessarily taken from from to back. Helicon Focus would protest at the frames being out of order.

Changing from Method C to Method A in Helicon helped greatly, but using Method A gave a softer stacked image. However, around that time Topaz Sharpened AI was improved and running the stacked image through Sharpen AI with images stacked using Method A gave excellent results. Better than the earlier methodology.

As my images are taken in field, even a gentle breeze can impact the frames in the video. So Sharpen AI has helped greatly.

Helicon Focus use to extract 8 bit JPG frames from the 6K video, but in version 7.7.0 the program now extracts 10 or 12 bit TIFs to stack. This has improved the quality even further.

You will need a fast graphic card so the PC is not slowed to a crawl. My RTX4000 workstation card works really well with Helicon and Sharpen AI, using OpenCL.

Zerene Stacker runs faster as well (I use both Zerene and Helicon).

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