Fine focus image stacking software
Brunel Microscopes are UK distributors for the unique Helicon Focus imaging software. The problem with photomicrography whether or not it is high power or low power stereomicroscopy is the relatively limited depth of focus. Helicon software is the answer. Put simply, you take a series of digital images throughout the depth of the specimen, import them as a series into the Helicon software and the multiple images can be consolidated into a single image restoring the depth of focus.
Helicon Focus really is an effective and easy to use software program. Its effect is probably best shown by the pictures above looking down a gun barrel. The first two pictures are images focused on the two extremes of the subject. In between these there can be any number of pictures (in this case 24 images) focused on a series of points between them. Helicon Focus automatically consolidates all the images into one in the third picture. It works in the same way for a series of photomicrographs.
These are images of some blue crystalline material magnified x100, again the first two images show the extremes of focus and there were 13 others in between focused at steps throughout the object. The third photograph shows the consolidated series, producing an image showing the full depth of focus.
There are three versions of this very useful software, with the professional versions allowing a much greater degree of image manipulation.
Helicon Focus -
• Automatically adjusts and resizes images
• Processes an unlimited number of images in the stack
• No limitation on image resolution
• Supports “dust map” to automatically remove black specks
• Automatically adjusts the brightness of adjacent images
• Reads and writes RAW, Tiff, JPEG, BMP etc.
• Export of animated stacks.
Helicon Focus -
• Includes all the features of the Lite version
• Generates opacity maps for further use in Photoshop
• Adds text and scale to images
• Retouching brush to clone from aligned source images to the resulting image.
• Export of 3D model of the object to Helicon 3D viewer.
Helicon Focus Pro x64 (premium version)
• Windows platform: Uses Helicon Processing Server to overcome 3Gb address space limitation for Windows 32 bit applications. Using this technique Helicon Focus is able to get additional 3Gb of the address space on 32 bit OS and all available RAM on 64 bit OS.
• Mac OS platform: Currently x64 license for Mac adds multiprocessor support to the Pro license
All three versions of Focus have excellent adjustment features, including automatic lateral movement of the stack to accommodate images taken from stereomicroscopes .
Low power stereos have diverging optical paths, and it is common for one of these optical paths to be diverted via a prism to the third eyetube in a trinocular head. The result is that serial images taken through the depth of focus move laterally one to another down the angle of the optical path.
Helicon Focus solves the problem very simply and effectively.
This is highly recommended software for those undertaking digital photomicrography.
If you are not sure which version is for you, then start with the Helicon Focus Lite which contains most things that are needed for microscopists to obtain images that are in focus throughout the depth of your specimens. You can always upgrade later if you need more flexibility. Remember the prices quoted for all licenses are ‘lifetime’ not annual.
Focus Lite -
Focus Pro -
Focus Pro x64 -
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