Fujifilm GFX : Focus Bracketing Is Not Just for Close-Ups
For years we’ve seen focus stacking with macro photography. Tiny screws that require 400 shots to be captured and stitched together to get one image with sharpness from front to back.
The Fujifilm GFX100 / GFX100S / GFX50S II offers focus bracketing in-camera for any lens you can mount and use autofocus functions with. I have been using it for a few years now, and I must say, it is a game changer for landscapes, even with wide-angle lenses. Focus bracketing is built into the Fujifilm GFX100 / GFX100S / GFX50S II. When set up properly in Auto or Manual, it will shoot an image from your closest point and calculate how many shots it will do until it reaches infinity. The longer the lens, the more shots you will need to achieve focus from the foreground to infinity.
Let’s get started.
1. Press the DRIVE button to display drive mode options.
2. Press the focus stick (focus lever) up or down to highlight Bracketing.
3. Press the focus stick left or right to highlight the focus bracketing settings.
4. Press MENU/OK to select.
5. Take pictures.
MANUAL OR AUTO
SHOOTING SETTING > FOCUS BKT SETTING
In Auto mode, the camera calculates FRAMES and STEP automatically.
1. SHOOTING SETTING In the shooting menu, highlight FOCUS BKT SETTING, and press MENU/OK.
2. Select AUTO and choose an INTERVAL.
The view through the lens will be displayed.
3. Focus on the nearest end of the subject and press MENU/OK.
The selected focus distance appears as A on the focus distance indicator.
4. Focus on the farthest end of the subject and press DISP/BACK. The selected focus distance (B) and focus range (A to B) appear on the focus distance indicator.
5. Take photographs.
The camera will calculate values for FRAMES and STEP automatically. The number of frames will appear in the display.
In Manual mode, you choose the following.
FRAMES : the number of shots.
STEP : the amount of focus shift between each shot.
INTERVAL : the delay/ time between shots.
Once the shots are captured, we are ready to stack the various images in Helicon Focus. I like to bring my Fuji RAW files into Capture 23 first. This allows me to get great color and details because of the applied camera profile. Helicon and Capture One teamed up a few years ago and developed a really effective workflow from Capture 23 to Helicon Focus. One tip I will share is that I find the images I want to stack and I tag them with the same color tag in Capture One. This makes it easy to quickly identify the images you will be selecting in Capture 23 to stack focus.
I group my images together, usually marked with a color tag, and right click to Edit with Stack in Helicon Focus. This will take your original RAW file and process it in Capture 23. It will then load that series of images into Helicon Focus and prepare to stack all the series into one file. I think it works very well and makes the workflow much faster and easier.
Once the images are prepared for batch processing in Capture 23, you can select the Format, ICC profiles, and any scaling options before you process all the images.. After processing the images, it will launch Helicon Focus software and load all selected images. This image was captured with the Fuji GFX100s and 45mm-100mm AF lens. I simply selected the starting point in the lower portion of the ground, and it automatically calculates how many images it would require; in this image, at 100mm on the zoom, it calculated nine shots. Click Edit Variants to start the process. The Fuji camera will shoot, change focus, shoot, and change focus until all the images have been captured.
Helicon Focus will load the images and check them off to start the Focus Stack. You will select a Render Option at the bottom or the icons at the top of the program. As it renders the images, you will see the mask being created to select the focus part of the image, and it will build the stacked image.
You will know it has completed rendering when you see a single sharp image on the right. The image on the left is the frame being rendered at that time.
The last step is you will need to save the image. You will be able to rename and change the location of the file you are saving. While working in Helicon Focus, I found an Animation feature in the menu. This loads all the images in the stack and animates the focus bracketing. Pretty cool. I have saved this animation file from this stack in Helicon for your review.
Tethered shooting with a Fujifilm camera and using Focus Bracketing is not supported in Capture One, but it works flawlessly if you set up the Focus Bracket on the camera and shoot the image into Capture One. Maybe one-day, Capture One will integrate the ability to set up focus bracketing in the software so it can all be done remotely. This would be very helpful for studio-type work and other applications where a tethered workflow is preferred.
By Chris Snipes
Thanks for the read! If you have any questions, or interest in a photographic system upgrade, feel free to reach out.Chris Snipes