Helicon FB Tube

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Medisco s.r.o. is authorized reseller of Helicon FB Tube by Helicon Soft.

Helicon FB Tube is an extension tube with integrated electronic microcontroller designed to enable automated focus bracketing in single or continuous shooting modes. Mounted on the camera in the same way as a usual macro extension tube, Helicon FB Tube automatically shifts the focus by one step with each shot thus producing a stack of images of unlimited length that can be rendered into a fully-focused image.

Helicon FB Tube needs no additional hardware apart from conventional cameras and lenses. Its functionality allows to completely replace macro rails normally used for focus bracketing. Helicon FB Tube has no optics and does not affect image quality.

Helicon FB Tube settings are configured through an additional application for Android or iOS.

Helicon FB Tube2

Contents:

  1. Helicon FB Tube set
  2. Mounting and detaching Helicon FB Tube
  3. Camera and lens settings
  4. Configuring Helicon FB Tube settings
  5. Firmware update
  6. Handling Cautions
  7. LED signals

 

1. Helicon FB Tube set

 

Helicon FB Tube Set contains the Helicon FB Tube, the transmitter and the connection cable.

  • Helicon FB Tube
    • IR Receiver – IR port to get configuration information
    • LED Indicator – Red/Green light to show status of the tube
  • Protective Caps – protect the tube from dust
  • IR Transmitter – connects to 3.5 mm audio port of a smartphone and sends commands to IR Receiver on the tube.
  • Extension cable – can be connected between smartphone and IR Transmitter

 

2. Mounting and detaching Helicon FB Tube

 

Helicon FB Tube has the same mount as the lens. Detach the lens from camera, attach Helicon FB Tube, then attach lens to Helicon FB Tube. Make sure that both the tube and the lens is locked properly.

 

3. Camera and lens settings

The general algorithm of using Helicon FB Tube on both Canon and Nikon cameras is as follows:

  • Adjust the camera settings
  • Configure the Helicon FB Tube using the Configuration utility
  • Shoot the stack
Nikon Canon: Method 1 Canon: Method 2 Canon:
Method 3
Manual focusing Using camera AF Manual focusing Manual on some 3rd party and low-end Canon lenses
Lens AF Switch AF AF M AF
Camera focusing mode M One Shot AF n/a AI Servo
Camera drive mode Burst mode Continuous Continuous Continuous
'Block focusing commands' option in the Configuration Utility n/a unchecked unchecked checked

After all the adjustments have been made, press the shutter button and hold it down to shoot a series of shots. Focus will shift by a configured step after each frame.

4. Configuring Helicon FB Tube settings

 

When used for the first time Helicon FB Tube settings are to be configured.

Configuration process includes setting of the step by which the focus will be shifted after each shot and the shooting direction (towards camera or towards infinity) in the Configuration Utility. The step is measured in arbitrary units.

To configure the Helicon FB Tube please follow these steps:

  • Download and install Configuration Utility for Android or iOS. Or search for 'Helicon FB Tube' in Google Play or App Store
  • Insert IR Transmitter (or connect the transmitter via the extension cable) into the 3.5 mm headphones output of your device
  • Set IR Transmitter close to the receiver on Helicon FB Tube. For reliable transmission the distance should not exceed 5 mm
  • Set the required parameters (camera, lens, aperture) in the Configuration Utility
  • Press the Send button. The configuration is considered to be successful if the LED indicator blinks green
  • Once it’s done press the Stop button in the configuration utility.

Nikon:

Helicon FB Tube stores separate set of parameters for the 5 most recently used lenses. If you’re using one of the five most recently used lenses, there’s no need to configure the Helicon FB Tube again, unless you need to change the configuration parameters.

5. Firmware Update:

In order to update firmware in the Helicon FB Tube please follow these steps:

  • Run the Configuration Utility
  • Go to Settings\Update firmware to check the list of available firmware versions with descriptions (eg, fixed errors, supported cameras etc.)
  • Select the latest firmware version, position IR Transmitter as for configuration and press Send button
  • Wait for 2-3 minutes. Configuration Utility sends firmware split into several blocks. Helicon FB Tube blinks with green LED when new block is received
  • Wait till green LED is constantly green which means that firmware is updated.
  • Restart Helicon FB Tube: turn off the camera and take the battery out for several seconds, then turn the camera on.

If LED indicator does not blink at all – please check that the media volume level on your device is set to its maximum. Also please make sure that the transmitter and the receiver are brought close and kept aligned.

 

6. Handling Cautions

  • Make sure that the rear end of the lens is covered with the cap every time it is taken off the camera in order to avoid soiling and scratching.
  • Make sure that the Helicon FB Tube is protected with caps in order to prevent dusting and damaging of contacts.
  • Do not apply excessive force to the lens or the camera. This may damage the tube.
  • Be cautious with heavy lenses. Use lens mount to minimize load on the tube mount.

 

7. LED Signals

 

When camera is shooting a stack green - focusing command sent to lens red - error
When configuring tube with Utility double green - new configuration applied red - transmission error
When updating firmware with Utility green - new block of firmware received
continuous green - firmware updated
red - error
When turning the camera on green - firmware started

Downloads

In order to configure Helicon FB Tube please install the Configuration Utility on your Android or iOS device.

Android

Please download the Helicon FB Tube Configuration Utility from Google Play.

iOS

Helicon FB Tube Configuration Utility fro iOS devices is available on the App Store.