Focus Stacking Software Freeware Mac

Series of images demonstrating a six-image focus bracket of a Tachinid fly. First two images illustrate typical DOF of a single image at f/10 while the third image is the composite of six images.
Focus stacking (for extended depth of field) in bright fieldlight microscopy. This example is of a diatommicrofossil in diatomaceous earth. Top left are the three source images captured at three different focus distances. Top right are the three masks used to obtain the contributions of their respective images to the final 'focus stacked' image (black is no contribution, white is full contribution). Bottom is the final 'focus stacked' image.

Focus stacking (also known as focal plane merging and z-stacking[1] or focus blending) is a digital image processing technique which combines multiple images taken at different focus distances to give a resulting image with a greater depth of field (DOF) than any of the individual source images.[2][3] Focus stacking can be used in any situation where individual images have a very shallow depth of field; macro photography and optical microscopy are two typical examples. Focus stacking can also be useful in landscape photography.

Focus stacking offers flexibility: since it is a computational technique, images with several different depths of field can be generated in post-processing and compared for best artistic merit or scientific clarity. Focus stacking also allows generation of images physically impossible with normal imaging equipment; images with nonplanar focus regions can be generated. Alternative techniques for generating images with increased or flexible depth of field include wavefront coding and light-field cameras.

Image stacking software programs are frequently used by photomicrographers to improve the depth of field of their. I have been using the Helicon Focus software stacking program for about three years now, (Lite Ver 5.1.29). Other popular stacking programs include CombineZP and Zerene. Web references and pricing for these are. Focus stacking, image processing, 3D, and more. Tick in 3D, for cross-viewing (top) and parallel eyes (bottom) Click for larger view Tips & News Sorry, incorrect. The software will run correctly on older and smaller machines, but processing will take longer and you may be limited to something less than the full resolution of your camera. For Windows and Linux, separate installers are available for 32-bit and 64-bit versions. For Macintosh, the same application bundle runs in all environments. Canon EOS Utility is camera support software that comes bundled with every Canon DSLR. One thing it can do is to control auto-focus lenses so that you can shoot a focus stack very precisely through a graphical user interface on your computer. The function is simple to use but not obvious. This tutorial is intended to be a recipe and quick-start. Helicon Focus is another trusted software that many photographers use for focus stacking. In fact, as the name might imply, it’s a software built for that exact purpose. German landscape photographer Felix Inden is one of many who regularly uses Helicon for images that are too complex for Photoshop to handle.


The starting point for focus stacking is a series of images captured at different focus distances; in each image different areas of the sample will be in focus. While none of these images has the sample entirely in focus they collectively contain all the data required to generate an image which has all parts of the sample in focus. In-focus regions of each image may be detected automatically, for example via edge detection or Fourier analysis, or selected manually. The in-focus patches are then blended together to generate the final image.

This processing is also called z-stacking, focal plane merging (or zedification in French).[4][5]

Focus Stacking Software Freeware Mac Cleaner

Video example of how focus stacking is applied to images

In photography[edit]

Getting sufficient depth of field can be particularly challenging in macro photography, because depth of field is smaller (shallower) for objects nearer the camera, so if a small object fills the frame, it is often so close that its entire depth cannot be in focus at once. Depth of field is normally increased by stopping down aperture (using a larger f-number), but beyond a certain point, stopping down causes blurring due to diffraction, which counteracts the benefit of being in focus. It also reduces the luminosity of the image. Focus stacking allows the depth of field of images taken at the sharpest aperture to be effectively increased. The images at right illustrate the increase in DOF that can be achieved by combining multiple exposures.

Stacked image of the Curiosity Rovers first sampling hole in Mount Sharp. The hole is 1.6 centimetres (0.63 in) wide and 6.7 centimetres (2.6 in) deep.

The Mars Science Laboratory mission has a device called Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI), which can take photos that can later be focus stacked.[6]

In microscopy[edit]

In microscopy high numerical apertures are desirable to capture as much light as possible from a small sample. A high numerical aperture (equivalent to a low f number) gives a very shallow depth of field. Higher magnification objective lenses generally have shallower depth of field; a 100× objective lens with a numerical aperture of around 1.4 has a depth of field of approximately 1 μm. When observing a sample directly the limitations of the shallow depth of field are easy to circumvent by focusing up and down through the sample; to effectively present microscopy data of a complex 3D structure in 2D, focus stacking is a very useful technique.

Atomic resolution scanning transmission electron microscopy encounters similar difficulties, where specimen features are much larger than the depth of field. By taking a through-focal series, the depth of focus can be reconstructed to create a single image entirely in focus.[7]

Software / Application[edit]

Focus stacking software
NamePrimary authorApplication typePlatformLicense
Adobe Photoshop[8] CS4, CS5, CS6AdobeDesktopWindows, Mac OS XProprietary
Affinity Photo 'Focus Merge'SerifDesktopWindows, Mac OS XProprietary
Aphelion with Multifocus extensionADCISDesktopWindowsProprietary, 30-day trial
Amira / Avizo 'Image Stack Projection'[9]ThermofisherDesktopWindows, Mac OS X, LinuxProprietary
CamRangerCamRangerDesktop / MobileiOS, Android, Mac OS X, WindowsProprietary
Chasys Draw IESJohn Paul ChachaDesktopWindowsProprietary
CombineZAlan HadleyDesktopWindowsGPL
Enfuse (combined with align_image_stack or similar)Andrew Mihal and hugin development teamDesktopMultiplatformGPL
Focus StackerAlexander Boltnev, Olga KacherDesktopMac OS XProprietary
Focus Stacking Online[10]Focus Stacking OnlineWeb applicationAllCC BY-ND 4.0
Shutter Stream Product Photography SoftwareIconasysDesktopWindows, Mac OS XProprietary
Helicon FocusDanylo KozubDesktopWindows, Mac OS XProprietary, 30-day trial
ImageJ with Extended Depth of Field PluginAlex Prudencio, Jesse Berent, Daniel SageDesktopUnix, Linux, Windows, Mac OS 9 and Mac OS XPublic domain
MacroFusion[11]Dariusz DumaDesktopLinuxGPL
PicolayHeribert CypionkaDesktopWindowsFreeware
QuickPHOTO with Deep Focus extensionPromicraDesktopWindowsProprietary, 30-day trial
Zerene StackerRik LittlefieldDesktopWindows, Mac OS X, LinuxProprietary, 30-day trial



  • Pepper mill, stack of 28 frames

  • Stacked image of 3 × 2.5 mm electric wires

  • Shaver head, stack of 36 frames, retouched

  • Macrolepiota procera, stack of 15 frames

  • Stacked image of the inner ridge of an orchid blossom

  • Stacked image of two Arecaceae viewed through a hole in a tree trunk

    ( Bittorrent for mac 64 bit. ( Related articles.

  • Pellet, stack of 32 frames

  • Alluaudia comosa, stack of 10 frames

  • Mold on Litchi chinensis, stack of 20 frames

  • Skull, stack of 6 frames



Focus stacking software freeware mac downloads
  • Software creates from the sharpest areas in a stack of sections.

See also[edit]

  • High dynamic range imaging (HDR)
  • Shift-and-add for stacking astrophotos


  1. ^'Malin Space Science Systems - Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) Instrument Description'. Retrieved 2012-12-10.
  2. ^Johnson, Dave (2008). How to Do Everything: Digital Camera (5th ed.). McGraw-Hill Osborne Media. p. 336. ISBN978-0-07-149580-6. There are a number of programs that allow you to get the equivalent of infinite depth of field in your photos, with sharp focus from the foreground all the way back to the rear. How is this possible? By taking multiple photos of the same scene and stacking them afterwards into a composite that features only the sharpest bits of each image. One of the best is Helicon Focus.
  3. ^Ray 2002, 231–232
  4. ^'Afficher le sujet - Proposition d'un terme français pour 'focus stacking' • Le Naturaliste'. (in French). Retrieved 2012-10-05.
  5. ^'Malin Space Science Systems - Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) Instrument Description'. Retrieved 2012-10-05.
  6. ^'MSL Science Corner: Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI)'. Retrieved 2012-10-05.
  7. ^Hovden, Robert; Xin, Huolin L.; Muller, David A. (2010). 'Extended Depth of Field for High-Resolution Scanning Transmission Electron Microscopy'. Microscopy and Microanalysis. 17 (1): 75–80. arXiv:1010.4500. Bibcode:2011MiMic.17..75H. doi:10.1017/S1431927610094171. PMID21122192.
  8. ^'Focus Stacking Made Easy with Photoshop'. Retrieved 2013-07-01.
  9. ^'Avizo User Guide, Module 'Image Stack Projection''. 2018-03-30.
  10. ^'Focus stacking online - free online focus stacking application'. Retrieved 2020-02-22.
  11. ^'GUI to Combine Photos to Get Deeper DOF or HDR'. Retrieved 2017-10-19.
  • Ray, Sidney. 2002. Applied Photographic Optics. 3rd ed. Oxford: Focal Press. ISBN0-240-51540-4.

External links[edit]

  • Which cameras have built-in focus stacking?, Nov. 2019.
  • Media related to Focus stacking at Wikimedia Commons
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