• Michael says:

    Hi Dan, As a macro shooter I was happily surprised when Fuji added focus stacking on my X-T2. I had great fun with my XF80mm F/2.8 Macro lens and experimenting with focus stacking, like as you nicely described it, until my lens stopped working and now I have been two weeks out waiting on Fuji repair department.

  • Dan says:

    Ugh… I hope you get your lens back soon, Michael! I do know this, modern lenses are really complicated and extremely precise inside, which means that even a simple lens repair can end up taking the better part of a day, because it has to be completely recalibrated. Given that time frame on a single lens, even a handful of lens repairs can really slow turnaround time. Rest assured, the Fuji repair guys know what they’re doing and I know they’re working as fast as they can. I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you!

  • Walter Frei says:

    Hi Dan
    Many thanks for this article (and of course the exellent X-ebooks) a One question left for me: do you recommend jpeg- frames because of the big number of frames and the big amount of Megapixels?

  • Hi Dan, great post, easy to understand. Two ‘comments’ I think that “starters” who begins with stacking has to know:
    first set the aut. stabilizer off by using a tripod, and the aut. sharpness off. In the past I used a slider by photo stacking for “close-up” and gives me great result. By using the stacking technics of Fuji we don’t need it.

    I am a serious amateur photographer, age 71 start using Fuji from the moment the X-Pro 1 (and XT-1/XT-2) came out. Have various lenses but not the beautiful macro 80mm (a wish). More or less a year ago I start blogging “Fred’s Foto”( Presenting nature and som actual pictures with a short story (sorry, only in Dutch).

  • Dan says:

    Walter- Yes. Unless you have a very powerful computer, it’s probably best to shoot JPEGs when using this technique. Loading 30-40 RAW files into PS will no doubt put a huge load on your system.

  • Lew Hann says:

    Thanks for the info Dan. This is a wonderful new feature and one I am anxious to try out. A question: For those of us who are not shooting macro subjects, ie, landscape and similar situations, what are the number of steps recommended. With the relatively large DOF of f5.6 to f11 at these distances, I would think that 5 to 10 steps would easily suffice. Your thoughts?

  • Dan says:

    Lew, since we don’t have any official charts or specific distance information from Fuji, there’s no hard way to determine this. While using a larger number f/stop would probably mean you could get away by using smaller steps, especially with non-macro subjects, I think the best way to figure this out is to experiment on your own and see what works.

    You can always do a quick and dirty test by setting the camera up, and doing a quick burst while looking through the viewfinder. You should be able to see the focus distances change as you shoot the series, and you can inspect for your distances between the first and last photos. Just remember to delete your test images so they don’t clutter your card or computer.

  • Tone says:

    Hi Dan,
    great to read on the subject with a certain time distance from the appearance of FW 4.0 (4.1). You emphasized some points that I already forgot and some others that so far I haven’t paid much (enough) attention.

    I have some comments and a question.

    Regarding the number of frames taken you do not mention that the camera stops taking shots once the infinity is reached. So the number of frames taken is a game of the preset parameter FRAMES or of the minimum number of shots needed to reach infinity at the given lens DOF and of the parameter STEP, whichever comes first. At the moment I am not sure what an infinity would be in the macro but for landscape I think is quite obvious.

    Consequently in FOCUS BRACKETING we have the special situation regarding the number of shots taken. While the bracketing method gives a predefined number of shots per shutter click, at FOCUS BRACKETING the number od shots varies depending on the steps it takes the camera to reach infinity. Anything from 1 to 999 is possible. I find is very hard to structure the groups of focus bracketing shots that belong to a particular shutter click. If the motive, setting, etc, do not change drastically between consecutive shutter clicks and make sufficient visual difference – than it is very hard to determine which shots to take in batch for post processing.

    In this respect, could you please recommend some “best practice” to make life easier in post processing of focus bracketing images?

    Kind regards,

  • Dan says:

    Tone, thanks for your comment. You’re right, “infinity” in a landscape photo is a clearly defined concept, whereas in a macro photo, depending on how you compose, infinity may not even come into play. With this in mind, you may not need to shoot such a large series when focus bracketing on a landscape scene. Again, this depends on how you compose.

    Regarding how to make life easier when shooting a large series of images, I have a very simple technique to separate my batches. After I shoot a particular group, I put my hand in front of the lens, switch the Drive Dial to S and shoot one photo of my blurry palm. This lets me easily identify where each series begins and ends when I’m browsing through a few hundred photos on my computer.

    Hope that helps. -Dan

  • […] You also have the new FOCUS BRACKETING feature, which was introduced earlier this year. (I explain how to use this feature in detail here.) […]

  • Sverre Kolrud says:

    Excellent tutorial. I just got a X-T2, which I upgraded to 4.20 firmware, including the focus bracketing feature, so now I am ready to experiment with focus stacking, thanks to your clarification of this feature.

  • John Fiott says:

    That is brilliant. And it gives me a host of spin off ideas, such as using a small plastic board and a felt tipped pen to write comments on and take a photo of that at the end of a series.

  • kfir einav says:

    this is very helpful, thank you so much for taking the time to do this article. really saved me a lot of time

  • MARK says:


  • Dan says:

    Mark, you don’t need a special program to do stacking, aside from what I talked about in this post. If you follow these steps, you’ll be able to use Focus Bracketing to create a stacked image like the examples I show above. -Dan

  • Mike says:

    Great article! Keep up the good work!

  • Great article.

    I used to shoot Nikon Dx with the 105 Nikon Micro lens with great result. Lots of times freehand while moving the camera into focus, with pretty great results quite frequently. Really not so hard as it may sound.

    Now that I switched to Fuji (presently X-T20, hoping for a X-h2 as a second Fuji-body) I shoot macro with third party lenses with manual focus only. I don’t feel there is a real need for auto-focus in macro shooting. I intend to do some focus-bracketing by using my tripod-head that enables quite some welcome sliding for macro focus-stacking. A future Miops slider will even add more options. My reason for X-h2 as a follow up is the benefit of IBIS for manual lenses.

  • Scott says:

    I have used the focus stacking on both macro and landscape with my xt2. It works great.

  • Ken M. says:

    Hi Dan
    Thank-you for another great article. I enjoy macro photography and have used the focus bracketing feature with mixed results. Your tips will hopefully improve my future attempts. I discovered a focus stacking article on the Fuji website, see below. In my case the two points that were most helpful in the Fuji article were the explanation of what a “step” meant, and that once your lens reaches “infinity” the focus bracketing stops regardless of how many steps have been programmed.


  • Jorge Moro says:

    I have a small issue…. I am shooting (now) with the GFXr50. Focus stacking sounds wonderful, but I think my iMac is going to choke on the raws… Should I convert to JPEG first (not that they are that much smaller…)? I’m curious

  • Dan says:

    Yes, I would go ahead and shoot JPEG. You’ll still get excellent quality without having to process every single image in your series, and the files will be significantly smaller.

  • Dan Richman says:

    Isn’t it necessary to be in S focus mode (single-shot AF), with smallest square focus point on the point closest to the camera, for focus bracketing to work? You seem to suggest the focus mode can be M (manual).

  • Dan says:

    Yes Dan, you can have the AF switch set to M and still adjust down to the smallest focus point. Of course, it’s kind of a moot point, because if you’re using Manual focus, you won’t really be depending on the focus points, you’ll be using your eyes, or the focus peaking to fine tune.

  • Mac says:

    What is the distance per step ?. Does it vary with the lens or the initial focus point

  • Dan says:

    Unfortunately, there is no documentation that specifies what each step is. My guess it that it varies by distance and the steps are calculated specifically for each situation, based on initial shooting distance. For example, if you’re shooting a macro very close, then the steps need to be very close together. However, if you’re shooting at subject that’s 20 feet away, then the steps don’t need to be so close. They’ll be spaced out in inches, instead of fractions of an inch for a close subject. Does that make sense?

  • Bruce Hyman says:

    i’d love one clarification – once i have set the distance for my first image (i prefer focus peaking/manual focus for this), should the body be left in M, S, or C for the series?

  • Dan says:

    Bruce, you can leave the camera’s AF selectors switch set to S and the focus bracketing will work as specified.

  • >


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    Terry Bourk

    I have read you new book “Behind the Landscape.” I could not “put it down” meaning that I kept at it because each photo you presented/analyzed was interesting and informative. I am trying to develop an eye for composition (both the scene and the light).

    Thank you! The examples you present and the suggestions are very helpful. Purple Mountains, McKinley River and Wonder Lake are fascinating.

    Roger Sinclair

    You have done it again! Another triumph.

    Your generosity to share, the clarity of thought and concise explanation thereof is brilliant. Perhaps I should also mention the beautiful photos and the talent necessary to produce them.

    Thank you, Dan.