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Taking a few landscape shots and was wondering how you would make both the front and back of the photos sharper. Came across Focus Stacking but my biggest concern right now is the quality of the photo...

I assumed this would help but again am curious about the disadvantages of using this method.

A couple that I 'infer' are disadvantages include:

  1. Loss of movement? (ghosts, shadows, water blurry, etc)
  2. Lighting across photos would be different?
  3. Some areas (depending how you stack them) might come out blurry?

Again not sure about the ones I've inferred and if their are any others.

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2 Answers 2

up vote 3 down vote accepted

You are right about the disadvantages of focus stacking, also, the process of taking pictures for focus stacking (taking multiple pictures at different focus ring positions and getting every bit of the picture sharp in at least one picture) can be a bit technically challenging.

That is why traditionally landscape photographers solve this issue by using a small aperture, slow shutter speed (to compensate for the aperture) and hyperfocal distance focusing - its much simpler then focus stacking.

The "hyperfocal distance" is a distance (from the camera's sensor) that if you focus farther than it everything from half the focus distance all the way to infinity will be in focus, for small apertures the hyperfocal distance is quite short and you can get everything in focus with a single exposure.

The hyperfocal distance is calculated based on the aperture value and focal length, every depth of field calculator I've even seen also tells you the hyperfocal distance.

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Thanks, now to study "hyperfocal distance" –  Nate-Wilkins Sep 29 '12 at 20:32
@Nate - I wrote about the hyperfocal distance on my blog some time ago - usefulphototips.com/2012/03/21/… –  Nir Sep 30 '12 at 9:25
Ok, I'll take a look at it! Thanks again –  Nate-Wilkins Sep 30 '12 at 13:12

IMO focus stacking isn't very useful for landscape photography, it's more useful in macro photography, but for landscapes there are better ways to get good focus. check out this online depth of field calculator to get an idea about DOF in different settings.

Anyways, about your question, I must say it's possible to get a good result in focus stacking if you do it manually in Photoshop. I believe those disadvantages that you mentioned are just dependent on editing techniques and users skills.

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So if you do it correctly it could be helpful. Thanks! –  Nate-Wilkins Sep 29 '12 at 20:32

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