Helicon Focus output sharpness questions

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Helicon Focus output sharpness questions

Unread postby Guest-Doug » 16.02.2009 19:10

Thanks for taking the time to look at my question!

I experimented with the trial version of Helicon Focus (HF) and found it very appealing. But… I have found that the sharpness of the final HF merged images is less than the original sharpness. Could you review my workflow and tell me if my sharpness results are expected?

I shot the original images with my Canon 1DsM3, and heavily overlapped them. I did a bit of pre-processing of the RAWs with ACR, and I created TIF output.
By using TIFs (not RAW) my goal was to use the same image in HF as what I would look at as a base image in CS4. When I looked at the HF output (after saving from HF) in CS4 and compared it to my original TIFs, I noticed that the HF output was less sharp over the entire image. I tried different scenarios in HF, and obtained the sharpest result with settings of Radius=1 and Smoothing=1. After seeing this result, I used the HF retouching tool to work on an area, and I found that by pulling from my original TIF, I was able to regain the original’s sharpness. I was hoping to study this effect more by looking at a layer output but I see (from the forum) that it is no longer offered. I was thinking that I might see the masks used to blend the images not being fully black… a bit from one image and a bit from another.
I feel compelled to mention that I am extremely picky, as I create large prints (to a maximum of about 40"x50") and any reduction in sharpness is noticeable - especially to today's print buyer whose standard viewing distance seems limited only by the length of his or her nose. :D
I would appreciate any advice you can offer.



rewriting of my question

Unread postby Guest-Doug » 17.02.2009 13:39

After re-reading my post I see that is isn't very clear. So, I will attempt a more straight forward version. Sorry about that!

I do a lot of landscape photography in which I use the multi focal technique to increase depth of field. I have downloaded the trial version of Helicon Focus to try with my images and in testing it found the following:

1) The composite images that I have created with Photoshop are sharper than the ones I have created with Helicon Focus.
2) If I use the Helicon Focus retouching tool on the composite image I am able to regain the original's sharpness.
3) When I print at 24x36 or larger the lack of sharpness is noticeable.

My field workflow is:
- shoot with a Canon 1DSM3
- shoot with a lot of overlap between images.

My computer workflow is:
- I change all my RAW images to Uncompressed 16bit TIFs to prepare them for multi focal processing.
- I am using Radius=1 and Smoothing=1 in Helicon Focus. I have tried other settings of these parameters but these settings produced the best output for my images.

Is there something else that I should be trying in Helicon Focus? Or is this slight lack of sharpness due to the merging of data from multiple images (planes)?
Please understand that I believe that Helicon Focus is an incredible tool and that the sharpness issue is very small but because I print very large I need the sharpest image that I can produce.

Thanks for your help!

User avatar
Dan Kozub
Posts: 1157
Joined: 24.03.2004 18:14

Unread postby Dan Kozub » 17.02.2009 15:14


Right now we are experimenting on this issue. Current version of Helicon Focus often mixed two adjacent planes and this results in loss of sharpness. We are fixing this in the coming version. Please wait for about a week. I would appreciate your feedback. If you contact me at dankozub at helicon.com.ua, I would be able to give you beta version to test.



Unread postby Guest-Doug » 17.02.2009 19:23

That's great news! I sent an email to you per your suggestion.


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