Stacking comparisons

A forum to ask questions, post setups, and generally discuss anything having to do with photomacrography and photomicroscopy.

Moderators: Chris S., Pau, rjlittlefield, ChrisR

Post Reply
gpmatthews
Posts: 1040
Joined: Thu Aug 03, 2006 10:54 am
Location: Horsham, W. Sussex, UK
Contact:

Stacking comparisons

Post by gpmatthews »

Each image below is generated from the same stack of images:

Microscope: Zeiss Standard GFL
Objective: Leitz 40/0.7 NPL ICT Fluotar
Substage: Leitz ICT
Ocular: Watson x8 Compensating
Stack of 92 images
DIC

I had my attention drawn to another stacking program, Syncroscopy Auto-Montage (see http://www.synoptics.co.uk/syncroscopy/default.asp) and wanted to do some comparisons. The Auto-Montage images below are screenshots from the demo version. I find Actinoptychus to be a good test object for stacking.

Image
Helicon Focus


Image
Auto-Montage with patch size of 10, blend mode

Image
Auto-Montage with patch size of 22, blend mode

Each picture has been slightly rebalanced for colour, but is otherwise unretouched.

I'd be interested to know whether anyone else has tried this software, and what their impressions are. My own impressions, having tried it on a number of images and with different settings, is that it appears rather prone to blotchy halo formation or else contouring/"tidemarking" than Helicon. It also seems more tricky to optimise than Helicon, so I'm not sure I've got the best from it.
Graham

Though we lean upon the same balustrade, the colours of the mountain are different.

rjlittlefield
Site Admin
Posts: 20748
Joined: Tue Aug 01, 2006 8:34 am
Location: Richland, Washington State, USA
Contact:

Post by rjlittlefield »

Your results are consistent with mine, which I have passed along to Syncroscopy. They might be interested to hear of your work also. Competitive aspects and all that, you know...

--Rik

Charles Krebs
Posts: 5857
Joined: Tue Aug 01, 2006 8:02 pm
Location: Issaquah, WA USA
Contact:

Post by Charles Krebs »

Graham... I too have tried it and found the results from Helicon generally much better. This is fortunate :wink: because if it were clearly better I afraid I might have had to come up with a big bundle of cash!

Neil Fitzgerald
Posts: 7
Joined: Thu Aug 03, 2006 3:22 pm
Location: New Zealand
Contact:

Post by Neil Fitzgerald »

Hi,
Nice to see this comparison. I used Automontage a lot a few years ago. Near the end of that work I found Helicon and a quick play with the trail version brought me to the exact same conclusion as above here. We had already spent the big coin so admitting we had probably wasted a lot of money wasn't easy.
If there have been more recent comparisons, or if there are other options now I'm interested to hear.
Thanks.
Neil.

augusthouse
Posts: 1195
Joined: Sat Sep 16, 2006 1:39 am
Location: New South Wales Australia

Post by augusthouse »

Hi Neil,
Just following up on your post in regard to Focus Stacking Software.

At present, the members are using Helicon Focus v4.47, CombineZM (latest edition CombineZP) and a new player doing things an old way TuFuse Pro.

All have their good and bad points - there are no point and shoot solutions. Some perform better with certain types of subjects and shooting conditions than others; but as has been demonstrated on the forum, all three have significant merit when attempting to produce images that would have been impossible or basically impractical to attempt otherwise.

There are a few other programs out there that I am aware of; but at the moment they are still out there for all intended purposes and usually contain focus stacking as an additional utility rather than the core function.

Links below to the three programs mentioned.

Helicon Focus:
http://www.heliconsoft.com/heliconfocus.html

CombineZP and CombineZM links and info.
http://hadleyweb.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/CZM/News.htm
http://www.hadleyweb.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/CZP/News.htm

TuFuse Pro:
http://www.tawbaware.com/tufusepro.htm


Craig

*edit: added CombineZP latest news link
Last edited by augusthouse on Wed Jul 30, 2008 12:33 am, edited 1 time in total.
To use a classic quote from 'Antz' - "I almost know exactly what I'm doing!"

rovebeetle
Posts: 308
Joined: Thu May 22, 2008 4:21 am
Location: Vienna, Austria
Contact:

Post by rovebeetle »

rjlittlefield wrote:Your results are consistent with mine, which I have passed along to Syncroscopy. They might be interested to hear of your work also. Competitive aspects and all that, you know...

--Rik
At that price tag, they'd better listen really well.

I have worked with Automontage for years, because at the time my institute bought it (more than 3 years ago) there was no real competition.

I seriously consider installing Helicon and the other companions on my home PC and stack the images shot at the institute at home, also because the institute PC is a lame snail compared to my home PC.

Cheers
Harry

dmillard
Posts: 591
Joined: Tue Oct 24, 2006 7:37 pm
Location: Austin, Texas

Post by dmillard »

augusthouse wrote:
At present, the members are using Helicon Focus v4.47, CombineZM (latest edition CombineZP) and a new player doing things an old way TuFuse Pro.
But members who are Mac users are currently restricted to using Helicon Focus v3.6.1, and PhotoAcute Studio :(

P_T
Posts: 461
Joined: Sat Jul 19, 2008 1:13 am
Location: Sydney, Australia

Post by P_T »

If you're using the Intel Mac, why don't you use Bootcamp to dual boot with Windows?

Craig, am I right in assuming that CZP is better than CZM?

lauriek
Posts: 2402
Joined: Sun Nov 25, 2007 6:57 am
Location: South East UK
Contact:

Post by lauriek »

CZP does everything CZM does PLUS some pyramid stacking algorithms (a-la Tufuse).

augusthouse
Posts: 1195
Joined: Sat Sep 16, 2006 1:39 am
Location: New South Wales Australia

Post by augusthouse »

David,
Thanks for the reminder regarding Macs.

I have a G4 (Tiger) myself (MS PC is the main workhorse) though, I have been considering - on and off - about upgrading to an Intel Mac.

On the Mac - HF 3.6.1 and PhotoAcute Studio. How do you find the Mac version of PhotoAcute Studio? Do you use it for stacking or mainly for its other features? I've been playing around with it on the PC.

P_T,
CombineZP is the next generation of CombineZM and has some additional features. I don't know if 'better' is the word (more of an extended version), but if definitely has added functionality as Laurie indicated.

Craig
To use a classic quote from 'Antz' - "I almost know exactly what I'm doing!"

dmillard
Posts: 591
Joined: Tue Oct 24, 2006 7:37 pm
Location: Austin, Texas

Post by dmillard »

P_T wrote:If you're using the Intel Mac, why don't you use Bootcamp to dual boot with Windows?
Thanks PT, BootCamp (or Parallels) would both be excellent solutions for an Intel Mac - I'm using an older PowerMac G5, and the Windows emulators that are available don't work as well, so I may need to eventually upgrade to take advantage of newer software.

P_T
Posts: 461
Joined: Sat Jul 19, 2008 1:13 am
Location: Sydney, Australia

Post by P_T »

Thanks for that bit of info. I also checked out Lauriek's stack comparison using that fly and looks like the extra functionality does make it work better.

Speaking of which, when are you going to restart that stack comparison Lauriek? This microscopic comparison is nice and all but to someone clueless about micro organism, all the artifacts in the image might as well be the specimen. Besides, that fly with all the hair would really push the capability of the softwares.

Craig,
You really surprised me there for a second. I thought "How the hell does he know my name?!?" then I realised you were talking to dmillard. :lol:

dmillard
Posts: 591
Joined: Tue Oct 24, 2006 7:37 pm
Location: Austin, Texas

Post by dmillard »

augusthouse wrote:David,
On the Mac - HF 3.6.1 and PhotoAcute Studio. How do you find the Mac version of PhotoAcute Studio? Do you use it for stacking or mainly for its other features? I've been playing around with it on the PC.

Craig
I've just done a quick and easy comparison, nothing rigorous or quantifiable. The results seemed to be very similar, and HF was much faster.

microcollector
Posts: 261
Joined: Wed Mar 14, 2007 7:19 pm
Location: Port Orchard, Washington

Post by microcollector »

The most recent version of Helicon Focus is 4.5 and it fixes a bug in the dust map among other changes.

Doug
micro minerals - the the unseen beauty of the mineral kingdom
Canon T5i with Canon 70 - 200 mm f4L zoom as tube lens set at 200mm, StacK Shot rail, and Mitutoyo 5X or 10X M plan apo objectives.

My Mindat Mineral Photos
http://www.mindat.org/user-362.html#2

augusthouse
Posts: 1195
Joined: Sat Sep 16, 2006 1:39 am
Location: New South Wales Australia

Post by augusthouse »

Thanks Doug.....downloading

4.5 for the PC
3.79 for the Mac

Craig
To use a classic quote from 'Antz' - "I almost know exactly what I'm doing!"

Post Reply