Focus stacking

Now that I’ve been doing a lot more processing of digital photos, it is pretty apparent that the ability to take a zillion photos at once is really changing getting around the dynamic range and optical limitations. Here are some of the tricks that you can do with your computer, but also many vendors are doing this in camera as well either with a cameraphone with in a existing camera.

  • HDR (taking multiple exposures and combining them) typically with Photomatix Pro (although I’ve experimented with the open source Luminance HDR). This means that in high contrast settings where there is lots of light and dark, if you have a pretty still subject, then you can combine exposures either with HDR or with image fusion. Pretty cool. On the iPhone, you can use the built in HDR which is pretty good or use HDR Pro (costs $1-5, I forget). HDR Pro is cool because it first analyzes the scene and then decides how many images to take to bracket. With an Magiclantern loaded into a Canon 5D2 (or related camera), it does a similar thing doing auto bracketing based on the scene or just shoot 5 shots at +/- 1/2 EV.
  • Panoramas. This is a really nice feature and the free Hugin does an incredible job of blending images (it also does exposure bracketing and focus stacking, see below). On iPhones, there is the built-in panorama, but if you want a true full 3-D image, try 360 Panorama to make a really amazing 360 degree vertical *and* horizontal view of your position in the world!
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