Focus Stacking - How to (NEF, TIFF, DNG)

Last week I wanted to try out the focus stacking function of my Nikon D850. I took 1290 photos of 44 objects. My first idea was, to develop the images first in PL2.2 and then export them to TIFF for the stacking process in Helicon Focus.

But that would have meant 0.4 TB of hard disc space!

So I decided to go the other way.

I opened and stacked the Nikon RAW files (*.NEF) in Helicon Focus and now wanted to save the results for further editing and beautification. But in which format?

PL2.2 did not open any TIFF file. Because of CMYK.
PL2.2 did not even show any DNG file in the folder (Adobe RAW-in-DNG-out-modus).
So the only possibility was the good, old JPG format. That worked, but I could not use any of the wonderful Elite features, like Prime Noise Reduction.

Any idea, how I could solve this problem better?

Focus stacking directly in PL2.x would be great.

Hi Ralf,

What do you mean by; Because of CMYK. ?

John M

Hi John!

The TIFF file is shown in the list of files, but with a white exclamation mark and the text “This photo can not be processed because Photo Lab does not support CMYK images”.

With all kinds od TIFF files I tried out.


Well, CMYK is not supported by PL but Adobe converted DNGs should be. @Ralf_Brinkmann could you please provide me with one RAW and one Adobe DNG converted samples?

Please, upload them on the server under your name instead of ‘support ticket number’ and let me know when ready.

Thank you,
Svetlana G.

Good morning Svetlana!

I have uploaded two files. The first one is the first in a stacking series of one object and the second one is the stacked result image exported with the Adobe RAW-in-DNG-out-Codec of Helicon Focus. This file is not visible in PL2.2 when I open the folder.

DSC_0036 Orchideen.NEF
DSC_0036 Orchideen.dng

Thank you, investigating…

Hello @Ralf_Brinkmann,

in Adobe dng converter, did you use lossy compression option ?
We don’t support them. So if yes can you try with unchecking lossy compression option ? It’s in “Changes preferences”


Hi Marie!

I did not say, that I used the Adobe DNG Converter. I said, that I used the RAW-in-DNG-out-Modus (codec) of Helicon Focus. Have a look here, I don’t understand everything:

You can download a fully-functional trial version and try yourself:

Let me know if you need image files for testing. I can send you.

Hello Ralf,

To create a DNG with this program we need at least one more image. Could you, please, provide us?

Thank you,
Svetlana G.

Good morning Svetlana!


Thank you! Testing this new software…

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