Lumix G9 Focus Stacking for Landscapes


Hey there it’s Marlene Hielema from
ImageMaven.com and in this video I’m going to talk about focus stacking
specifically for landscape photos using the Lumix G9. Welcome back subscribers and if you’re
new here thanks for checking me out. You need to know that my overarching goal in
my photography, and hopefully yours is to get things right “in” the camera. Figure
out how to use your camera properly so you spend less time fixing stuff in
editing. Heck if you can get it right in the camera you have more time to get out
and about to be creative and to take better pictures. That’s what I want for
you. So what is focus stacking? Well focus stacking is a technique that landscape
photographers use to get maximum depth of field in their photos. So what they do
is; they take several photos at different focus points in the scene, and combine
them after the fact using software. So they have to bring all those photos into
the computer and use something like Photoshop to put them together. But with
a Lumix camera that has 6k and 4k photo modes, you can actually do all of that in
the camera. Now when you take a photo using post focus or focus stacking it’s
the same setting on the camera. In 4k or 6k mode it actually takes a video file.
After your shot is taken you go into the back of the camera and you choose the
focal points that you want the photo to use, and it will combine them right in
the camera. You do not have to go into Photoshop to do any of this. I went out
yesterday and shot a few landscape photos. Now just so you know it’s kind of
snowy around here still, so they’re not stellar photos, but it does demonstrate
the technique. Alright, let’s have a look at the back of the camera and I’ll show
you how to do this. So before you begin your post focus, focus stacking shooting
you have to get into the right mode. So you go into the Drive mode here, and you
can see there’s 6K and that’s the 6K 4K burst modes. But you go to the one
right beside it and that is the Focus Stacking and Post Focus mode. So that’s
your first step. Okay the next step we go into the back of the camera, and you
can see here that we have Post Focus and you can choose the size 4k or 6k size.
I’ll use the 6k size in here. And all you got to do is push the shutter button and
you’re going to notice that it recorded in Post Focus. It went by pretty quickly
because, well I’m shooting a flat surface here. Alright let’s check out a photo
that I did shoot in Post Focus mode here. So you can tell that it’s the video file
because it has this symbol up here. First off let’s click that symbol there
to get into the playback mode. And right now I have Focus Peaking on, so
everything that’s in focus is in blue. To take focus peaking off, you just hit
PEAK. Focus peaking has two different settings, high and low, and then now it’s
off. So you can just cycle through focus peaking like that. So if we click on the
photo those are the areas that are in focus in our video file. So every frame
it focused on a different area. You can also cycle through using the cursor here
and go through your photo, all those corners of your photo, and see what’s in
focus and it will bring those in focus. I don’t know if you can see it, but focus
on the background trees and those came into focus. I’m going to go over to the
fence post and that’s in focus so you can see that different areas of the
frame have been shot at different focus points. Alright so if you want to save a
photo that’s in focus let’s say we want that fence post in focus you hit this
symbol down here in the bottom right corner and it will save that image and
you hit YES. So right now I just made a 6k photo file from that video. So I
extracted one frame from the video. But let’s say we want to do something
else. Let’s do some range merging. Let’s say I want to have more than one focus
point export, it and merge together. So let’s say I want these in focus and I’m
clicking around the screen and whatever’s green, whatever shows up green,
that’s what’s going to be merged in my photo. So when I’m happy with my areas
that I’ve selected I hit Menu/Set and hit YES. Now depending on how
era’s you have chosen it will take a little bit longer, or more or less time.
The photo that generated from that has the foreground areas and the areas that
I selected in green those are now in focus. And actually let’s zoom in and
double-check, yep the trees aren’t particularly in focus in this shot, but
the fence post and the fence itself is and some of the other foreground details.
So there’s our main video file, our 6k video file, so let’s do something else
with this. So let’s go up here and let’s do an Auto Merge. So hit Fn1 then Auto
Merging. So Auto will take everything that’s in focus and stack it. So this is
where this comes in and saves you a lot of time. You don’t have to do this in
Photoshop. It will take everything that’s in focus in this series of frames and
put them all together in one file. It’s not taking just the areas we selected
like last time it’s taking every area. So in theory our trees in the background
should also be in focus. So let’s zoom in, and sure enough, the trees in the
background of this shot are also in focus and so are the foreground elements
like the fence post. All right now keep in mind I shot this at really shallow
depth of field F 3.2 and we have a huge distance from foreground to background
so it’s doing a really good job of stacking that focus. Let’s try a photo
that has a bit more extreme focusing on it. Let’s play with this one a minute. You
can see that I have really close foreground content here, and I have
background content. So there’s quite a huge difference in the distance and the
focus in this image. So let’s choose some photos, but actually let’s check peaking
while we’re at it. So you can see the background and see how this area is
totally out of focus when we select the background and vice versa.
Let’s range merge. We want to have this in focus and this
in focus. So everything that I’ve touched is going to be in focus, in the green areas. If you want to take things out, you just click it again, if you’ve got too much.
Like if I accidentally put that background in and I don’t want it, I can
take it off. So you can see that whatever’s in green is going to be in
focus and wherever you click is going to have like a harder darker line around it.
But I don’t want that and that. I want this up here and this foreground area to
be in focus. Whoops that’s a bit too much. Okay so then I’m gonna use that. Menu/Set. So that’s selectively choosing what we want in focus. Now this is a 6k file so
it takes a little while to do all that stuff but it’s all being done in the
camera. Alright so there’s our photo that we just got from this image. Now let’s
zoom in and you can see that the background is out of focus and the
foreground is really in focus sharply. Now let’s try to get everything in focus
so we have background and foreground in focus in the same shot.
So let’s hit Fn1. We’re going to do Auto merging so last time we did Range
Merging this time we’re going to do Auto Merging. Everything that’s in focus is
going to be put into one photo now. It’s all going to be combined in the camera. Okay so here’s our fully merged photo let’s take a look. Now I don’t know about you, but I
see a little problem here. You see this haloing? Because this photo had such a
difference in foreground and background focus, it had really shallow depth of
field, so the foreground was really blurry. And you can see in here, we have a
little halo around these thistles. Because of the extreme depth of field in
this scene it’s not really a suitable subject for automatically merging. You’re
much better off manually merging this type of scene. So if we zoom out a bit
and we check one of these photos that was done individually, so this is the
individual photo of the foreground, there’s no gray halos around here
because this part was totally sharply in focus and the background completely out
of focus. Okay so in this case the focus point was on the foreground so we didn’t
have this problem with our depth of field. Because in the background we don’t
care if it goes blurry but when you have it in the foreground it does cause a bit
of problem. So you can see how everything in the picture is in focus but we have
this issue with this haloing. A couple of final tips before you go out and shoot your focus stacking landscape photos is you want to probably take a tripod
unlike myself that was my bad. Shoot with a tripod. Try not to choose a day where
it’s really windy especially if you have foreground objects like I did with that
thistle photo. You want to have things that don’t move. And you want to have a
tripod. So you don’t want your camera to move or your subject to move. Also if you
want more information on post focus in the macro settings like if you want to
use close-ups you can do some really cool shallow depth of field stuff using
post focus as well I have another video. Check it out. I will put it in the link
at the end of the video. Thanks for watching and please if you have any
questions let me know in the comments below this video. And just so you know
this video came out of one of the questions that one of you asked me and I
won’t embarrass you by saying your name out loud but you know who you are.
Check out all my other Lumix G9 videos and all my other beginners to
photography videos because you know what I want to help you to take better
pictures. That’s my goal [Music]

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