This is probably the last post on Focus Stacking with the sole purpose of getting to understand the process and what it will do. I had this little test set up in my light-box. This is a rubber pad with some plastic cap rings. The total distance is roughly 15 inches. The calculated DOF is roughly 5 inches.
This is the best of the combined images with the DOF entirely in the center of the shot.
As expected, the fore and background are out of focus.
I processed the 9 images using both Helicon Focus and Photoshop. To be fair, I'm not real sure why I'm posting bot, because I really can't tell the difference between products. What I can say is both are much more pleasing than the shot above.
From Helicon Focus:
Photoshop has an extra step or two in the workflow - and I'm guessing HF does the same in the background.
So it looks like in the decision on which program to go with will not have to do with the final product. Both work well.