Advanced JPeg Compressor v5

Although you can compress images in Photoshop and similar programmes youíre rather limited as to the choices of output produced. This software is ideal for this task and very easy to use. Compressing an image has several advantages, such as speedier download/upload times if you need to send a photo over the ether, and of couse such images take up far less room on your computerís hard drive. There is some loss of quality, and metafile data will be lost, but this is not likely to be a problem for general use, indeed a compressed image hardly looks any different from the raw image on your screen. You can specify how much compression to use and view/compare the results before saving. An image of around 1.2mb from the camera once compressed at 70% comes out at 400kb.

The cost of version 5 is around £17 and available from

Helicon Focus Lite v4.03

This software will appeal to people who use a compound microscope to take multiple images of their subject in order to ensure that the final image is sharp overall. Unlike dissecting instruments, compound microscopes have a very narrow depth of field. This software does a great job of taking sharp, in focus, areas of one image and combining them with those of another, or several, image/s, saving time and much tedious work doing the same thing manually in Photoshop.

Because the programme is small it takes seconds to load, and even when working with five or six images is fast - it took around twenty seconds to process the three images below to create the final version on the right. In Photoshop the same task would take 10 - 20 minutes.

Not surprisingly, a stack of images has to be similar for the programme to work properly, so itís best to take several shots of a small part of the genitalia before moving the slide and imaging the next stack. This will create a number of images which have to be combined in Photoshop. Although Helicon Focus comes with a few tools (such as a rotate image function) youíll still need to use Photoshop (or similar) for adjusting light, colour and contrast levels and for adding text.

Available for PC and Mac users, it costs around £70
. You can download a trial from