[Taxacom] Stacking program for Nikon D90?

Arturo H. Ariño artarip at unav.es
Tue May 25 04:01:09 CDT 2010

I concur. Hadn't mentioned it as I was focusing on free software
(Automontage added for reference). Helicon Focus is a piece of cake, filling
the gap between free and (very) expensive packages. Actually, this is the
one we have licensed at our lab. Very good for relatively hassle-free
stacking, although it is less flexible than CombineZ.
However, I should insist in that a good stacking algorithm does about half
of the job: stacking. Some may have better Z mapping and stitching than
others, but all are time consuming in that you have to take the pics and
manage the stacks unless the package does that for you. For production work
(i.e. imaging an entire collection), an automated system that moves the z
plane and clicks under a programmable sequence (coupled with the renderer at
the end) makes a difference. With large objects, the control of the focus in
the SLR's objective may be enough with programs that can do it such as
Helicon, but for smaller specimens (or when using a stereomicroscope) that
control may not be fine enough and you need a coupled stage.
The problem, as usual, is the high price tag of such solution, be it
off-the-shelf or DIY. The later option carries an additional issue: Some
firewire cameras (such as some Zeiss Axio or Leicas) appear to be
notoriously difficult to handle outside their vendor-controlled software and


Dr. Arturo H. Ariño  <mailto:artarip at unav.es> artarip at unav.es

Prof., Theor. Ecology

Dept. Zoology & Ecology, University of Navarra

E-31080 Pamplona, Spain, EU

+34-948425600x6296 fax +34-948425649  <http://www.unav.es/unzyec/eng/>


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De: Vladimir Blagoderov [mailto:vblago at gmail.com] 
Enviado el: martes, 25 de mayo de 2010 4:18
Para: Arturo H. Ariño
CC: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu; releech at telusplanet.net
Asunto: Re: [Taxacom] Stacking program for Nikon D90?

>From all the programs I tried Helicon Focus does the best job, especially
with difficult specimens like hairy or spiny objects. Advantages are
excellent algorithms, intuitive interface, easy retouching options. Latest
version includes remote camera control which should work with Canon and
Nikon DSLRs. Disadvantages: difficult selection of photographs to process,
and clunky scales. Overall well worth money asked. 

Microscope suppliers license third-party algorithms or write their own. I
tested Nikon's, Leica's and Ziess's and Keyence's. Neither of them provides
quality of Helicon Focus. 



Dr. Vladimir Blagoderov
Department of Entomology
The Natural History Museum
Cromwell Road, London
Tel: +44 (0) 207 942 6629 (office)
Tel: +44 (0) 207 942 6895 (SBIL)
Fax: +44 (0) 207 942 5229

vlab at nhm.ac.uk
vblago at gmail.com

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