Christmas brought me two things: a Dell Venue 8 Pro Tablet and some time to experiment with my in-field tethering.
Before Christmas I thought I could achieve my goal of automatic in-field HDR and focus stacking captures by using AutoHotKeys and the EOS Utility. Although a little clunky and slow, all looked promising: and then I remembered SmartShooter (http://kuvacode.com/).
As the kuvacode website says: Smart Shooter allows you to fully control your camera from your PC, giving you freedom to explore and experiment to help take the perfect picture. In addition, it allows automatic download and display, which means you can fully evaluate your photos in seconds, and real time live view output will help you focus and compose the scene. Finally, and the key thing for me, it provides a scripting language (based on TCL) that lets you control your camera, allowing you to take multiple photos with varying settings just by clicking a single button.
Having tried out a demo version, to prove it all worked on my Venue 8 Pro, I spent a few days writing a script to achieve what I wanted. The script is written for a specific situation, namely my 24-105mm F/4L at the 24mm end. The script only needs one user input, how many brackets have been set on the 5DMkIII, ie 1, 3 or 5.
Having input the appropriate number of brackets, the script is fully automatic after that. If set, images will be downloaded to the Venue 8 Pro as well, or ‘just’ recorded on the camera’s card. The script moves the lens to 3, 5 and then 15ft, and at each focus distance takes the required number of (HDR) brackets, ie 1, 3 or 5.
I then ‘simply’ need to throw the HDR brackets at, say, Photomatix, then load the resultant tone mapped images into my focus stacking software (I use Helicon Focus or Zerene Stacker). The 24mm script will give me a tack sharp, HDR, image from 2.5ft to infinity.
Bottom line: for $50 (for SmartShooter) I now have a powerful scripting environment running on and 8in Windows 8.1 Tablet that is fully coupled to my 5DMkIII. I’m looking forward to some fun in 2014! Which will keep me going until the Magic Lantern script module is up and running on the 5DIII.
Happy New Year!