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How to use focus stacking on A7RV

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I am not able to successfully use focus stacking. I set the lens to Manual focus. I set the camera to AF-S. I go to focus bracketing and when I try to set the parameters it states 'Invalid with this lens. If this lens has a AF/MF switch perform the action from the lens'. If I change to autofocus I can then successfully set the parameters in Focus stacking and the camera will operate but I do not get a successful outcome as the lens focussing is all over the place.

What am I doing wrong?

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  • 3 weeks later...

The point of focus stacking is that the camera takes a series of images with progressive changes of focus depth, then those images are assembled into the finished image.

Putting the lens into MF completely disables the camera’s ability to move the focus - what were you trying to achieve by doing that?

With the lens in AF, you take what is called a “focus bracket” - this is important: the camera does NOT assemble the finished image - it captures the raw (or RAW!) material for it. I’d recommend having the camera on a tripod. You move the lens to the near point of focus and choose the parameters of the bracket - how big a step to use and the maximum number of shots to take. Yes, the focus in all those shots will be different - that’s what is supposed to happen - each image in turn is focussed further and further away.

Then you take the shots onto a computer and run a program. I think a recent version of Sony’s software will do it, but there are a number of other programs for merging the images into a focus stacked image - I have been told PhotoShop can do it, but apparently the serious focus stackers use specialist software, like Helicon Focus. The software takes the sharpest parts of each shot and merges them.

I hope that explains the process in brief. There are lots of tutorials on how to do it, both manually (moving the focus yourself - really tedious - some people shoot over 100 images in a bracket!) and with a camera that can shoot a focus bracket for you, then assembling the focus bracket into a finished image with everything in focus.

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