Jump to content
You must now use your email address to sign in [click for more info] ×

Focus AND Exposure Stacking

Recommended Posts

Hello folks!  I purchased a new-to-me used camera a few months back and decided to take it out today to practice some exposure stacking.  I like to do landscapes and such, so I figured this would be a great little test.

I was very pleased with the results I got from Affinity 2 using the HDR Merge function.  Here's one of my favorites from today:

Then I read about focus stacking - and for landscapes, this sounds like something I should really embrace!  Nice, blurry backgrounds can work, but some of these I want more in-focus than a large aperture can create.

Then I got thinking - what about combining focus stacking with exposure stacking?  This is certainly more complicated than just exposure stacking, but I think it could create some really great photos.

So my main question is - if I'm going to do this, which should I combine first and how might I go about doing this?  Should I merge the exposures first, then merge the focus, then merge the result of those two processes or something else?

Thanks for your help!

Casper Mountain 2.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hello @CybrSlydr, and welcome to the forums. Thinking about this from first principles I can think of no good reason to perform the two merges in a particular order. It will very much depend on how the exposure distribution relates to the focus distribution: are your more distant components more or less exposed than the nearer components?

This is a case of 'Try it and see' and, of course, report your findings back here.


Windows 10, Affinity Photo 1.10.5 Designer 1.10.5 and Publisher 1.10.5 (mainly Photo), now ex-Adobe CC

CPU: AMD A6-3670. RAM: 16 GB DDR3 @ 666MHz, Graphics: 2047MB NVIDIA GeForce GT 630

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks John - I wanted to make sure I wasn't overlooking something in the process and degrading quality or destroying data doing it one way rather than another.

I'm thinking I just go with a standard +/- 2.0 Ev with 3 shots (Auto exposure bracket mode in my camera) and pick... 3 or 4 focus points.  Do the exposure bracket for each of the 3 or 4 focus points.  Then I HDR merge each set so I end up with the 3 or 4 HDR photos with each having a different focal point.  Then perform the focus stack merge and see what I get.

Need to get my sensor cleaned first though.  lol

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here's my first attempt at the focus and exposure bracket merge.

Took four sets of three +/- 2.0Ev bracketed photos on four different focus points on the pistol in RAW. I then merged the exposure stacks into four separate photos, exported those HDR images as TIFFs, and then focus merged those four photos into a single photo as a JPEG. I think it said this single JPEG is over 40MB before I cropped it to this size. Taken with my A7R IVa and Sigma 24-70 f/2.8 (photos taken at f/8) on a tripod.

Appears to be some artifacting/haloing on the rear-edges of the image such as the beaver tail and hammer/slide/rear sight. Otherwise, I'm pretty impressed with the quality.image.thumb.jpeg.cf0f24dac72566c729c76db24b9d10f0.jpeg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...

Important Information

Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Guidelines | We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.