qDSLR Dashboard v3.5.1

Last update: 20180419
This help file is specific for the XP version of qDD with USB connected Nikon Df camera.
Other versions, camera models, and contexts may display some different features, settings, and layouts.
Feel free to save and modify this web page for your specific setup.

Quick Instructions for Focus Stacking

  • Autofocus focus-stacking requires an autofocus lens.

  • Click on the "Focus Stack" button in the LiveView Section of the Camera Properties Screen. Toggle the little button in the lower right corner to bring up the appropriate right side menu.
  • Set the ending focus point (the focus point furthest from the camera) : either by moving the focus box over the image in LiveView and then clicking the Auto Focus button or by pressing the foward/backwards arrow buttons at the bottom of the Focus Stack screen. Press and hold down the little button labeled "1" on the Focus Stack Screen until it turns red. This stores the end focus point.
  • Set the starting focus point: Do NOT use the focus box and the "AF" button to set the starting point (doing so will erase the two storable focus points). Use only the foward/backwards arrow buttons to select the starting focus point. Press and hold down the little button labeled "2" on the Focus Stack Screen until it turns red.
  • Click on the "None" button on the Focus Stack Screen. This will display a popup window. Select the "1" button (end point). Leave the as "Current".
  • Using the "+" and "-" buttons, set the "Frame Count" until you see the desired "Focus Step" size on the Focus Stack screen. I think I've read somewhere that a focus step size of 10 was the considered a minimum setting that you should use for some autofocus lenses; anything less would not change the focus. Experiment with your lens to find its minium focus step size.

  • Set the time delay between each photo in the stack. If you are using a strobe flash, set the delay long enough to allow your flash's battery enough time to recharge.
  • Click on the Shutter Release button to start the autofocus stacking.

    Note: the direction of focus stacking can be changed by swapping the "start" and "end" focus points or changing the stacking direction with the button.

    My personal inclination is to set the "1" point to the nearest point, the "2" point to furthest point, then set the "Start focal point" to "FP1" the "End focal point to "FP2", and the direction to "Infinity". I'm not sure why, but the first image in the stack usually comes out slightly overexposed (too bright), so I discard it. Both small .jpg and .NEF (raw) are produced (this is necessary?). The .NEF format images are all selected in File Explorer and "Open With..." using Nikon's "View NX2" software. The .NEF are cropped and perhaps brightness is changed, but not much else. Nikon's View NX-2 software applies the changes to all images at the same time. They are then converted ("Convert Files") to .TIFF. The .TIFF are then stacked with Combine ZP or some other stacker. The focus stacked result might be converted to .jpg for reduced size if necessary. The stack images are discarded if their disk space is needed.

    Autofocus Stacker
    Note the white plastic bottle shroud clamped around the focus ring (another white plastic diffuser is glued onto the old Braun flash unit)
    This is my little invention to attempt to add a depth clue back into the stacked image so it doesn't look too flat after focus stacking (which removes an undesired depth clue).
    As the focus ring turns, the slit in the shroud allows more (or less) light to reach the specimen with each focus step.
    Great idea I thought; with one fatal flaw: the manual focus ring doesn't move with autofocus. Mice and men...
    Maybe MoCo can be used...
    Another possible depth clue would be a slight change of color for each stack frame: people tend to perceive more distant objects as being "bluer".

       Bumble Bee 1 focus staked with qDSLR and Combine ZP
       Bumble Bee 2

    Without AF, you can still get good results by focusing manually and using qDSLR to remote control the camera creating a small stack (<10 shots)
    with a higher magnification non-AF lens.
       Bumble Bee 3
       Mixite crystal group

    A lot of 3D is lost by focus stacking, creating a flattened 2D image:
       Dietrichite 1
    The easy solution is to focus stack only a small part of the whole view leaving the more distant parts out-of-focus.
       Dietrichite 2
    Some focus-stacking software might allow for a variable amount of focus for various depth layers.
    Consider adding other depth cues (besides focus) like exposure, shadows, HDR,...

    WeMacro Focus Stacker
    This focus stacker comes with software that controls the motorized rail and the camera shutter. The Windows XP version of the WeMacro software is compatible with the XP version of qDD. The two software complement each other. Both of these programs can be used to set up a non-autofocus focus-stacking run. Use qDD's LiveView while using WeMacro to move the camera to determine the the focus range. WeMacro supports Nikon's MUP shutter release by allowing you to make 2 camera triggers for each stack image. The first trigger raises the mirror, the second drops the shutter after a delay. There is another delay which allows time for the flash to recharge. Turn off LiveView to run the WeMacro. While WeMacro is making its run, each image will appear in qDD's display. After the run, the images are downloaded from the qDD image gallery as usual. In this manner the WeMacro rail's focus-stacking software is just an alternative to qDD's autofocus focus-stacking operation.

    These are amateur first images made using the WeMacro rail and qDSLRdashboard (cooperatively). High-resolution (low micron) stacks need a lot of preparation such as: elimination of all vibrations and stray light, mounting the sample securely, orienting the specimen exactly, illuminating the specimen without reflecting light into the objective obliquely, ...
       Yellow Tiger Butterfly Wing Scales 1
       Yellow Tiger Butterfly Wing Scales 2

    Arduino-controlled Stacker
    This "Frankenstein" focus stacker is used only for the very smallest microscopic specimens. It is highly exaggerated with 3 bellows and 3 extension tubes. I would like to interface it to the qDSLRdashboard using MoCo Bus; maybe with the AVR SDK? It uses an Arduino Uno compatible microcontroller and Adafruit Motor Shield v2, to move the small stepper-motorized stage.

       2mm Azurite crystal group

    
          "A big letdown! I was in Paris, I went to the Louvre.
           Let me tell ya' -- I don't know what the big deal is.
           It's just one out-of-focus sculpture after another. 
           Rooms and rooms of fuzzy paintings. Even the Mona Lisa,
           just like all the rest, all indistinct and BLURRY!"
               -John Belushi, SNL, Everything's Blurry, S3E14
    


  • Screens
    Connection

    Camera Control

    LiveView

    Camera Control
    Camera Properties

    LiveView
    Camera Properties

    Connections Menu
    USB Connection

    Network Connection

    Nikon Wireless

    Canon Wireless

    Sony Wireless

    Image Gallery

    Depth of Field Calculator

    Rule 600 Star Trail

    NMX MocoBus Moton Controller

    Interval Controller

    Application Settings

    On/Off

    Camera Control Screen

    Left Menu
    Live View Screen

    Capture

    Auto Focus

    Exposure Delay

    Capture Delay Time Settings

    Nikon Mode

    Right Menu
    Connection Menu

    Camera Properties Screen

    Capture History Screen

    Image Gallery Screen

    Last Capture Screen

    LR Time Lapse Screen

    Interval Timer

    Custom Bracketing Screen

    Sky Stack Screen

    Camera Orientation Screen

    Depth of Field Calculator

    Rule 600 Star Trail Calc

    Audio Initiated Capture Settings

    LiveView Screen

    Alternate Right Menu
    Focus Stack

    LiveView Zoom Plus

    LiveView Zoom Pct

    LiveView Zoom Minus

    LiveView Ghost Image

    LiveView Histogram

    Bright Live View

    Crosshairs

    Crop

    Grid

    Aspect Ratio

    Flip

    Center Zoom

    Camera Properties Screen (with LiveView Activated)

    Camera
    LiveView Screen

    Nikon Mode

    Exposure Program Mode

    Exposure Operation Mode

    Exposure Delay
    Exposure
    Shutter Speed

    Aperture

    ISO

    Exposure Compensation

    Auto ISO
    Focus & Metering
    AF Mode

    AF Area Mode

    Exposure Metering Mode
    Image
    Image Size

    Image Quality Mode

    Image Comments

    JPEG Compression

    RAW Compression

    RAW Compression Bit Mode

    Color Space

    Capture Area

    White Balance

    White Balance Preset

    White Balance Color Temperature

    Nikon White Balance Fine Tune

    Active D-Lighting

    Active Picture Control

    Long Exposure Noise Reduction

    High ISO Noise Reduction

    Auto Distortion Correction

    Recording Destination
    Liveview
    AF Mode

    Area Mode

    Zoom

    Exposure Preview

    Focus Stack
    Liveview Display
    Ghost Image

    Crosshair Mode

    Center Zoom Mode

    Bright Live View

    Aspect Ratio

    Grid Mode

    Flip Mode

    Histogram Mode
    Liveview Filters
    Off

    Gray

    Invert

    Focus Peak

    Laplacian

    Sepia

    Contour

    Sobel

    Canny

    FAST

    Color
    Bracketing & HDR
    Bracketing Screen

    Bracketing Type

    Bracketing Order

    AE Bracketing Step

    AE Bracketing Pattern

    Unknown

    Unknown

    WB Bracketing Pattern

    Unknown

    Unknown

    HDR Mode

    HDR EV

    HDR Smoothing
    Flash
    Flash Mode

    Flash Sync Speed

    Flash Shutter Speed

    Focus Stack Screen

    Focus Stacking Screen
    Focus Direction

    Interval Delay

    Back 3

    Back 2

    Back 1

    Fore 1

    Fore 2

    Fore 3

    Start Focus Point

    End Focus Point

    Image Gallery Screen

    Image Gallery Screen
    Selection Button

    Refresh Button

    Download Button

    Delete Button

    View All Button

    View JPG Button

    View Raw Button


    Screen Snapshots

    Connection Screen
    Camera Control Screen
    Live View Screen
    Exposure Delay
    Capture Delay Time
    Camera Properties Menu (Connection Screen)
    Camera Properties Menu (LiveView Screen)
    
    Capture History Screen
    Image Gallery Screen
    Last Capture Screen
    
    Connection Menu
    Time Lapse Screen
    Interval Timer
    Custom Bracketing Screen
    Sky Stack Screen
    Camera Orientation Screen
    Depth of Field Calculator
    Rule 600 Star Trail Calc
    Audio Initiated Capture Settings
    
    Exposure Program Mode
    Exposure Operation Mode
    AF Mode
    AF Area Mode
    Exposure Metering Mode
    
    Image Size
    Image Quality Mode
    Image Comments
    JPEG Compression
    RAW Compression
    RAW Compression Bit Mode
    Color Space
    White Balance
    White Balance Preset
    White Balance Color Temperature
    Nikon White Balance Fine Tune
    Active D-Lighting
    Active Picture Control
    Long Exposure Noise Reduction
    High ISO Noise Reduction
    Audio Distortion Correction
    Recording Destination
    
    LV AF Mode
    LV Area Mode
    LV Zoom
    LV Exposure Preview
    LV Focus Stack
    
    LV Display Ghost Image
    LV Display Crosshair Mode
    LV Display Center Zoom Mode
    LV Display Aspect Ratio
    LV Display Grid Mode
    LV Display Flip Mode
    LV Display Histogram Mode
    
    Bracketing Screen
    Bracketing Type
    Bracketing Order
    AE Bracketing Step
    AE Bracketing Pattern
    WB Bracketing Pattern
    HDR Mode
    HDR EV
    HDR Smoothing
    
    Flash Mode
    Flash Sync Mode
    Flash Shutter Speed
    Alternate Right Menu (Liveview)
    
    Application Settings
    MoCo - MOtor COntrol Screen
    Application On/Off Switch
    Interval Controller Screen
    Capture Area
    
    Shutter Speed
    Aperture
    ISO
    Exposure Compensation
    Auto ISO
    
     
    
    

    Connection Screen

    Camera Control Screen

    Live View Screen

    Exposure Delay

    Capture Delay Time

    Camera Control Screen Camera Properties Menu

    LiveView Camera Properties Screen


    Right Menu

    Capture History Screen

    Image Gallery Screen

    Last Capture Screen


    General

    Connection Menu

    Time Lapse Screen

    Interval Timer

    Custom Bracketing Screen

    Sky Stack Screen

    Camera Orientation Screen

    Depth of Field Calculator

    Rule 600 Star Trail Calc

    Audio Initiated Capture Settings


    Camera

    Exposure Program Mode

    Exposure Operation Mode


    

    Focus & Metering

    AF Mode

    AF Area Mode

    Exposure Metering Mode


    Image

    Image Size

    Image Quality Mode

    Image Comments

    JPEG Compression

    RAW Compression

    RAW Compression Bit Mode

    Color Space

    White Balance

    White Balance Preset

    White Balance Color Temperature

    Nikon White Balance Fine Tune

    Active D-Lighting

    Active Picture Control

    Long Exposure Noise Reduction

    High ISO Noise Reduction

    Auto Distortion Correction

    Recording Destination


    Liveview

    LV AF Mode

    LV Area Mode

    LV Zoom

    LV Exposure Preview

    LV Focus Stack


    Liveview Display

    LV Display Ghost Image

    LV Display Crosshair Mode

    LV Display Center Zoom Mode

    LV Display Aspect Ratio

    LV Display Grid Mode

    LV Display Flip Mode

    LV Display Histogram Mode


    Bracketing & HDR

    Bracketing Screen

    Bracketing Type

    Bracketing Order

    AE Bracketing Step

    AE Bracketing Pattern

    WB Bracketing Pattern

    HDR Mode

    HDR EV

    HDR Smoothing


    Flash

    Flash Mode

    Flash Sync Speed

    Flash Shutter Speed


    LiveView Alternate Right Menu

    Alternate Right Menu


    Application Settings

    Application Settings

    MOtor COntrol Screen

    MOCO Screen

    Application On/Off Switch

    Application On/Off Switch

    Interval Controller

    Interval Controller Screen

    Capture Area

    Capture Area


    Shutter Speed

    Shutter Speed

    Aperture

    Aperture

    ISO

    ISO

    Exposure Compensation

    Exposure Compensation

    Auto ISO

    Auto ISO

    Image Gallery Selection Menu

    Image Gallery Selection Menu


    qDD Documentation @ dslrdashboard.info

    Connection Screen
    Connection Screen Buttonws
    Application Settings
    
    Camera Control Screen
    Left Side Buttons
    Right Side Buttons
    Bottom Area
    LiveView
    Camera Properties
    Capture History
    
    LRTimeLapse
    
    Image Gallery
    Image Gallery Buttons
    
    Image Viewer
    
    DDServer
    TP-Link MR3040 OpenWrt flash
    TP-Link MR3040 Firmware Upgrade
    DDServer Package Updater
    
    Windows  Install WinUSB driver
    
    

    Astrophotography Rule 600