The Process of Focus Stacking Large Format Film

Large format photography is a very different way of approaching the process of creating images, but it can reward you with images absolutely bursting with detail. Adding in a technique like focus stacking can bring out all the more detail, and this great video explores that process.

Coming to you from Ben Horne, this neat video shows the process of combining a digital and large format film workflow to focus-stack a subject. One of the great things about large format is the ability to tilt the focus plane with any lens to increase depth of field, but in this case, Horne reached the limits of that technique and to ensure edge-to-edge sharpness, had to resort to focus stacking, in which he took multiple exposures with the same framing but different focal points, scanned them, then used Photoshop to combine the various component images. Large format photography is capable of remarkable levels of detail, so when combined with focus stacking, the results can be really incredible to behold. It is a pretty unique and unusual process that takes a lot of careful technique, but the results are well worth the effort. Check out the video above to go behind the scenes with Horne.

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5 Comments

zeissiez lee's picture

Large format is much better than medium format for landscape photography because of tilt capability of large format system

Timothy Gasper's picture

Yes absolutely correct. Although, I get great results with the Fuji GX680, but its tilt/shift/rise are limited. Still, it is very nice, but I really like the 4x5 due to its more extensive capabilities.

zeissiez lee's picture

The Fuji GX680 system is a nice system, with a good range of great lenses. They are available in extremely affordable prices in used market. Hard to beat for studio application.

Pablo Jeffs's picture

OMG! Large format and focus stacking together, sounds like a tons of details. Glad to read this.

David Greenberg's picture

Thank you, Ben! Very informative and inspiring.

(a) What file size were your three scans?
(b) Did you bump into a PS limit in post?
(c) What resolution did you end up with?