Wow! Ya'll Gotta See This (Photography Related)

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grande man

Bonafied Grande Nut
Are you interested in better model railroad pics? Many of us love to take pics, but are hamstrung with a point and shoot type camera. This type equipment produces pics that lack depth of field, part of the pic is focused the rest isn't. This can be a frustrating situation for someone that can't justify a $1000 camera.

We'll now there's a cheap solution. I read about it on another forum and thought I'd share it here at home. ;) It's a program called Helicon Focus 3.10. It's available for a free 30 day trial here http://www.heliconfocus.com/pages/index.php?focus_downloads.

To try the program out, I snapped 5 pics of a scene using different focus points for each frame. It took me about 4 minutes to produce a finished, focused pic using the program. Keep in mind, this is just a test pic. I didn't use any any external lighting other than what's normally on in the layout area. It also represents the Achille's tendon type shot for a point and shoot. Here's the progression:

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And the grand (grande?:D ) finale. What you see isn't digitally altered like we're accustomed to. It's just an in-focus pic of what's really there.
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How's that for cool? I'm absolutely stoked!!!
 
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Russian

Saskatoon railfan
I always thought Photoshop could do something like that, but never figured it out...
 

Larry

Long Winded Old Fart
On my camera I have a program for taking portraits. You can almost get the same effect. It blocks out the scene behind the object you are focusing on.
It couldn't do the reverse on the camera. U would need that web program for that. Any of you-all that has a portrait icon on your camera, try it if you haven't already. LOL

Larry
 
D

dthurman

Guest
There is a big discussion on the Helicon software at the N Scale atlas forums, they posted some pict that are tremdous.

Photoshop can do that, but the amount of time to make it happen is better spent on just using the Helicon. Eric, does it do JPG's or just RAW's?
 

grande man

Bonafied Grande Nut
Dave, I'm running JPEG's thru it, no sweat.

There is a little technique involved. I'm setting up a scene by initially focusing on the closest item using the camera's center focus feature. I then turn the camera to get the angle I want and shoot the first pic. A second center focus shot is then taken (remember, I changed the camera angle). Next, I take shots at .5, 1,3, and 7 meter focus settings without moving the camera.

Here's a shot of the SW in the yard.
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In this veiw, the tremendous depth can be seen. There are some focus issues with this pic on the locos themselves, but it's a good example of what the program can do (and a good example of why I need to practice some more ;) ).
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grande man

Bonafied Grande Nut
modelbob said:
Wow, that's really cool!
Yep, check this one out. Not bad for a $150 camera!

I've been working on a technique to get the best from the camera/program all afternoon.

PS: No more Athearn RTRs on the point, not enough detail (yet anyway).
 

hminky

Member
That is amazing software. Every picture I have seen using the software looks real. It is incredible that depth of field is the key to making photo realism. I showed your pictures to my wife. She doesn't know what components in the pictures defines them as models; the KD's, oversized handrails, etc.. She thought they were from the real world. This will require a jump in modeling.

Just a thought
Harold
 

JeffShultz

Stay off the tracks!
Okay, I've got a P&S autofocus... how do I shoot successive shots to get the needed different parts in focus?
 

grande man

Bonafied Grande Nut
JeffShultz said:
Okay, I've got a P&S autofocus... how do I shoot successive shots to get the needed different parts in focus?

I've been using the camera's center focus to get a first shot focus. Then, the camera is moved (while holding the initial focus) to get the angle I want and the first exposure is made. A second center focus shot is taken (remember, the angle changed, so now the focus will be different). From that point I take shots at .5M, 1M, 3M fixed focus. The important thing is the camera CANNOT MOVE during this sequence.
 

JeffShultz

Stay off the tracks!
Then, the camera is moved (while holding the initial focus) to get the angle I want and the first exposure is made. A second center focus shot is taken (remember, the angle changed, so now the focus will be different). From that point I take shots at .5M, 1M, 3M fixed focus. The important thing is the camera CANNOT MOVE during this sequence.
You want to reconcile your first and last sentences here?
 
D

dthurman

Guest
Jeff, does your camera allow manual focus? Also I seem to remember someone on the Atals N forums talking about how you can get the initial focus, were you press the button partway to get the first focus, then they somehow got the focus deeper in the shot. You may want to do a search at Atlas N scale forums for Helicon. They did a real indepth look and explination. I think there are some point and shoot questions in there.
 

grande man

Bonafied Grande Nut
JeffShultz said:
You want to reconcile your first and last sentences here?

:D :D :D I'll give it a try.

For some time now, I've taken pics by initially focusing on what I wanted to be in perfect focus, then (while holding that initial focus) moving the camera to get the angle I want. On my camera (Sony), the button is pushed halfway down to auto focus and the rest of the way to shoot the pic. Once I get the focus I'm after, the camera is moved while holding that initial setting. Then the button is fully depressed to take the pic.

Once the first exposure is taken, the camera cannot be moved.

Clear as mud?
 




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