I've been "Focus Stacking" for a couple of years now using two programs from Helicon, Helicon Remote and Helicon Focus. I use Remote to take the stacks via a 10' USB 3x connection to my laptop which transfers RAW (CR2) files to my laptop and opens Helicon Focus to do its thing. It's quite powerful and packed with features, but it's fairly expensive, so I wouldn't expect anything less.
With that being said, back to the topic. Since I seldom use all of DPP4, I just found the Depth Compositing tool and gave it a go. I started with some stacks taken with the EOS 7D mark II, which didn't work because only certain Canon cameras are supported. When all else fails, read the DPP4 maunual. It turns out that my EOS 5D mark IV is supported, so I loaded a 19 shot stack taken with that camera and an EF 100mm f/2.8L macro lens. One gripe I have with DPP4 is that you can't embed your RAW recipe in a saved RAW file, at least i can't find a way to do it, and if I needed adjustments in my stacks, it was either reshoot or adjust in DPP4 and convert to tiff in DPP4 and rerun the stack as tiff's in Helicon as opposed to simply editing my RAW files, saving them, then using Helicon Focus to stack the edited RAW files. With this feature now in DPP4, I can edit one RAW image then copy the recipe and paste it to the others, then process the stack with edited RAW files 🙂
I'm impressed with the outcome, but the "touchup" tool is a little clunky. You don't get a lot of options through the process, but I am happy so far and will only use Helicon Remote to get the initial shots. I'm assuming that other Canon users who have "in camera" stacking as an option will like it also.
The attached image was taken with an EOS 5D mark IV and EF 100mm f/2.8L IS USM lens, stacked in DPP4, converted and saved as tff, then resized and converted to jpg for posting (just to save space). the tiff's are stunning.
Thanks for the timely reply Newton. As I'm shooting in a lab environment I've spent substantial effort on getting the staging, lighting, and focus dialed in so I don't have any work to do on the raw files. I use raw because it gets me the finest resolution in the finished image when using the DPP4 software. Using the RF 100 lens I can resolve to 50 microns on the finished image. I'm trying to make contact with someone on Canon's DPP4 Software team to see if a graphics accelerator board could be used to speed up the process. The i7 CPU I'm using is a turbo processor and runs at 4GHz while stacking. In tests I've run it doesn't come anywhere near maxing out my 16Gb RAM memory and the SSD drive works faster than setting up a RAM drive. If a graphics board can't be implemented I'll probably try going to an i9 or X processor. Again, thanks for your response.
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