I am interested by focus stacking software and I heard about Helicon Focus.

This one is very good and compatible with OS X but it is with a license cost, after the trial period there will be a text on the calculated pictures.

In the free domain there is Combine ZP but it runs only on Windows platform.

I am looking for such a software without license cost and running on Mac OS X.

5 Answers 5


Hugin is a free panorama stitcher that also includes Focus Stacking - it runs on Linux, Windows & Mac so no problems there. Facilities include alignment correction, so that if you are not using a tripod you can still stack without problems.

To quote the manual:

Although Hugin is essentially a panorama stitcher, like other GUI front-ends[*] it has a range of advanced features:

Among the Hugin workflow options, it is possible to correct exposure[], Vignetting and White balance[] between photos; generate HDR, exposure fused[] or focus stacked[] output from bracketed photos; or use 16bit and HDR input data natively.

Photos can be digital or scanned, and taken with any kind of camera. A full range of lenses are supported, from simple cameraphones to obscure fisheye[*] lenses. Hugin supports various output projections including a range of spherical, cartographic, and camera projections.

Hugin supports panoramas taken with multiple rows of photos, with or without bracketing. Bracketed photos can be handheld, taken using a DSLR bracketing function, or as consecutive panoramas shot at different EV exposure levels. Hugin can produce successful panoramas shot with cameras that always shoot using auto-exposure and auto-whitebalance.

hugin also supports the use of masks which means that you can exclude parts of images you don't want to appear in your panoramas, or include parts of image you specifically want to appear in your panoramas.


Enfuse is an open-source command line utility that can accomplish focus stacking, although it more typically is used for exposure fusing. The underlying algorithm selects pixels out of a stack of images based upon specific selection criteria. The main three criteria are exposure, contrast, and saturation. If you weight exposure as the main selection criteria, you get exposure fusing. If you select contrast as the main selection criteria, you get focus stacking. You will also want to select hard masking.

However, enfuse only does the fusing of the stack. It does not do alignment of the stack. For that, you will need a separate tool, such as align_image_stack, which is included in the panotools open source project.

In addition, there are many GUI front-ends that can invoke both command line tools together for you to perform either focus stacking or exposure fusion. Two of the most popular would be the panorama stitching package, Hugin, and the Lightroom plugin, Lr/Enfuse. You could also use Hugin simply to align the images and then run enfuse via the EnfuseGUI frontend.

See also: http://blog.patdavid.net/2013/01/focus-stacking-macro-photos-enfuse.html


Focus stacker available at the Apple app store works well and has a one off purchase cost which is very reasonable. I have stacked in excess of 100 files, but for much larger stacks I use blocking, that is stacking about 100 files at a time then stacking theses stacks. I run this on a 10yr. old iMac running High Sierra it's slow but it works. You just have to go and have several cups of coffee, don't sit watching it.

  • The OP explicitly ask for gratis software. Additionally, could you provide a link to your proposal?
    – Alejandro
    Dec 30, 2020 at 16:45

Enfuse works quite well, when your shots are already properly aligned (eg. taken with automation with camera on a stable tripod). IIRC, this is also the actual backend that's used by Hugin. It is invoked from the command line (terminal).


Focus stacking online is a web application which can focus stack images without a license fee. All it requires is a browser access. I tested it with a smartphone and a mac os. Worked well.

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