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That is really excellent info John and Bob. I think this thread could become an excellent resource about equipment and technique as well as really inspiring pictures. 
 

 I am taking it very easy at the moment as I have Covid-19  so might not be contributing new photos for a little while as I am a bit low on energy. At the time Bob and I were arguing about government approaches two weeks back 😊, it was already developing as a mild dry cough but nothing much else until about Tuesday of last week (the17th) when  it started to get a bit more evident: upper chest pain, dry cough, shortness of breath,  I have kept it quiet on the forum as I didn’t want to be getting asked about it too much or become a centre of attention, which would be inevitable at this early stage of the pandemic. I have been hoping someone else might declare first but so far that doesn’t seem to have happened. Anyway it has not turned into anything really nasty although it is lingering a bit and I am tired. However, I am cautiously optimistic that I am approaching the edge of the woods now but treating it with respect. I figured I should mention it somewhere but don’t want to turn this thread into another Covid thread as there are enough of those already. 
 

So having said that let’s keep this thread on topic 😊

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27 minutes ago, M.Chapman said:

Main problem I find is when foreground features obscure increasing amounts of background features as the lens gets closer.

I'm completely out of my depth here, but in theory would it be better if the lens could be clamped in position and the camera (sensor) moves back or forwards as focus is changed? I'm wondering if there is a parallel here with using a shift lens to do a panoramic in an interior, with a view camera the lens would stay in the same place and the back would be shifted left and right which is more or less impractical with a shift lens when obviously the body is mounted to the tripod.

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30 minutes ago, MDM said:

I am taking it very easy at the moment as I have Covid-19

I wondered if I'd read that correctly in one of your previous comments, look after yourself and get well soon.

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6 minutes ago, Harry Harrison said:

I wondered if I'd read that correctly in one of your previous comments, look after yourself and get well soon.


Cheers Harry. I made a subtle reference above in this thread last night but I think that is all. I don’t really know if I should have said anything but figured I would have to sooner or later.  The good thing is that assuming I continue to improve then I will have it out of the way and don’t have to live in fear. 
 

9 minutes ago, Harry Harrison said:

I'm completely out of my depth here, but in theory would it be better if the lens could be clamped in position and the camera (sensor) moves back or forwards as focus is changed? I'm wondering if there is a parallel here with using a shift lens to do a panoramic in an interior, with a view camera the lens would stay in the same place and the back would be shifted left and right which is more or less impractical with a shift lens when obviously the body is mounted to the tripod.

 

Stick around and you will no longer be out of your depth at all as you can learn from these guys. I am looking forward to hearing an£ seeing lots more. 

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13 minutes ago, MDM said:

The good thing is that assuming I continue to improve then I will have it out of the way and don’t have to live in fear. 

 

Be careful. There's also a nasty cough and cold about, you may not have Covid-19.... Whichever, I wish you a speedy recovery

 

Mark

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Continued....

 

With a DSLR without the built in and very effective focus bracketing of the Olympus models focus stacking gets a bit harder.  I've used various different techniques for these type of shots.

 

For landscape and close up on my Canon 80D I use live view combined with a stable tripod and a remote release.  The touchscreen is then used to progressively set the focus point furtherback into the shot, starting with the closest point to the lens and finishing with the furthest point of interest.  Each shot is triggered remotely to reduce camera movement.  The touchscreen is sensitive enough to minimise camera movement between each focus move.  The Auto align layers in PS seems to be able to handle minimal camera movements so there is a little bit of leeway.

 

Hand held macro is a little lot more difficult.  I've managed two or three shots stacks by using manual focus and gradually moving the lens forward between each shot but the success rate with my shaky hands is low.  A monopod really helps to steady the camera but it's a long way from perfect. This is about the best I've managed.

 

Three shots stacked of a garden hoverfly, Helophilus pendulus, at rest on a leaf .

 

stacked-image-of-a-garden-hoverfly-helophilus-pendulus-at-rest-on-EJDN7K.jpg

 

For more studio based DSLR shots I have a focusing rail (Velbon) which can be used to progressively inch the camera and lens forward in small increments. This also reduces some of the ghosting problems mentioned in another post.  The main advantage in studio shots is the ability to finely adjust the focal plane to progress through the stack and use flash between each adjustment.  Working out the distance between each image in the stack is a bit trial and error.  The really dedicated focus stackers use motor driven rigs to generate hundreds of images in a stack.  I'm definitely not up to that level.

 

Stacking with the Olympus in studio work can also be done this way or by using the focus bracketing function with continuous lighting.  My current continuous lighting of twin 500W daylight fluorescents through softboxes can produce reasonable results but I think I'll move over to LED panels for more control (and cheaper running costs).

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With all the bad news about I'm always so happy to see how often people are spending their time helping each other. Happy thoughts help -- and also lots of rest and plenty of fluids! Take care of yourself.

 

Paulette

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1 hour ago, Harry Harrison said:

...but in theory would it be better if the lens could be clamped in position and the camera (sensor) moves back or forwards as focus is changed?

 

Possibly, but in the case of the watch image that might change the magnification quite a bit, although the stacking software I've used does handle this.

 

It seems there are 3 options

 

1) Move camera and lens as one (no change to lens focus setting)

2) Fixed camera position and adjust lens focus

3) Fix lens position and move camera (sensor).

 

I've no idea which is best..

 

Mark

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1 minute ago, M.Chapman said:

1) Move camera and lens as one (no change to lens focus setting)

Thanks, I've long had a macro focusing slide, now I know what to use it for!

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, M.Chapman said:

 

Be careful. There's also a nasty cough and cold about, you may not have Covid-19.... Whichever, I wish you a speedy recovery

 

Mark

 

OK Mark 😀. I can understand your healthy scepticism and I better answer that. I have not been tested but the symptoms are exactly what I have seen described for many people who have been tested. This is nothing like a cold or anything like any cough I have ever had and I have had lots in my time. There is no head cold at all. The cough is incredibly dry (almost no phlegm), the pain is across the upper chest with a burning feeling and the lungs feel like they are being compressed from the top which causes the shortness of breath. This tends to get worse as the day wears on, accompanied by increased tiredness. 

 

If this is not Covid-19, then I would be extremely worried about my prospects for survival in the near future if I was to get the real thing but I'm not. The principle of Occam's razor makes me close to 100% certain of what this is, as the symptoms are very distinctive. My wife has very similar but milder symptoms. As she is a teacher she may be able to get one of these antibody tests that are supposed to be coming shortly to tell if someone has had the disease. If she can get that soon then it will be absolutely definitive. 

 

My son is a 4th year med student and he is convinced as well. In fact he has it as well completely independently as has his girlfriend and several other people in their circle. The fact is that it is out of the bag and there are likely to be millions infected in the UK already.

 

Anyway enough of that. Let's focus on the focus stacking from here on 😀

Edited by MDM

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7 minutes ago, M.Chapman said:

 

Possibly, but in the case of the watch image that might change the magnification quite a bit, although the stacking software I've used does handle this.

 

It seems there are 3 options

 

1) Move camera and lens as one (no change to lens focus setting)

2) Fixed camera position and adjust lens focus

3) Fix lens position and move camera (sensor).

 

I've no idea which is best..

 

Mark

 

From my limited experience the easist thing is to let the camera do everything automatically if there is that facility as in John's Olympus and the NIkon D850 and some (all?) of the Nikon Z series. Bob says that is not much use for true macro but it works well for reasonably close shots as well as landscape scale stuff. So that is a version of 2. An alternative version is to change the focus manually as you take several shots (not necessarily manual focus of course.

 

I have no experience with 1 as yet but that is what these rails can do and they can be automatic or motor driven. 

 

It will be intersting to compile a list of what people actually use in due course.

 

 

 

 

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Absolutely extraordinary results, reassuringly Heath Robinson look to the setup, but not to the results of course. There's another article about him here, as well as what appear to be other interesting features (requires free registration):

 

https://lectureinprogress.com/journal/levon-biss

 

He's clearly a very focused individual in every sense.

 

 

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30 minutes ago, Harry Harrison said:

I can't help thinking that there's an element of this when it comes to focus stacking.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f19hF7-nT8g

 


🤣  That is why an automatic method might be preferable. 
 

Thinking about the the audience (canned laughter?) in the video, I won’t be too surprised if they start to accompany me everywhere by the time we are out of this isolation thing. 

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22 hours ago, MDM said:

Versions of Photoshop since CS4 can be used for focus stacking so special software is not essential. I did a bit of experimenting back in January as well as checking out some software reviews and Helicon Focus gets the vote so I decided to invest in it. There is a trial version available as well.

 

Thanks MDM. I look forward to experimenting with focus stacking in the future. Amazing to see the sample shots posted here. Also, hope you get well soon!

 

20 hours ago, NYCat said:

You can change the "zooms" to "comp" in the address to get a larger image. Or it may be changing the "comp" to "zooms". Anyway, just make it the other one before you hit "enter" or "submit" or whatever it is.

 

Thanks Paulette, now I know what to do!

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11 minutes ago, MDM said:

That is why an automatic method might be preferable

Incidentally it seems he uses something called ZereneStacker https://zerenesystems.com/cms/stacker a little pricy perhaps but then his requirements are about as high end as high end can be.

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51 minutes ago, Sally R said:

 

Thanks MDM. I look forward to experimenting with focus stacking in the future. Amazing to see the sample shots posted here. Also, hope you get well soon!

 

 

Thanks Sally. 

 

47 minutes ago, Harry Harrison said:

Incidentally it seems he uses something called ZereneStacker https://zerenesystems.com/cms/stacker a little pricy perhaps but then his requirements are about as high end as high end can be.

 

Yes the software side is very important. From what I have read there are 3 main options: Photoshop, Zerene Stacker and Helicon Focus. I did a bit of reading and the consensus was that Helicon Focus is the best and quite a lot cheaper than Zerene Stacker. So I did a trial of Helicon Focus and then bought it as it does stuff that Photoshop can't do and is a lot faster. I will add more detail in due course. 

 

 

 

 

 

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This blokes work is the pinnacle of ultra macro photography. if you check out his website you can zoom in and in on the subject, absolutely fascinating. he also uses the stackshot as pointed out here  https://www.cognisys-inc.com/store/stackshot-macro-rail-package.html in a previous post. 

It can get quite expensive if you really want to get into it.

 

I use Zerene stacker as at the time of purchase I found it gave better results, that may have changed over the years though.

 

Hope you and the wife recover soon without any complications Michael. 

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Just now, LawrensonPhoto said:

Thanks, I was trying to think of this guys name to post it up. Extraordinary levels of detail in his images.

 

I was thinking that we had discussed his methods here a couple of years ago, but couldn't find it, at least not searching for levon biss, or oxford museum.

 

wim

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4 hours ago, BobD said:

This blokes work is the pinnacle of ultra macro photography. if you check out his website you can zoom in and in on the subject, absolutely fascinating. he also uses the stackshot as pointed out here  https://www.cognisys-inc.com/store/stackshot-macro-rail-package.html in a previous post. 

It can get quite expensive if you really want to get into it.

 

I use Zerene stacker as at the time of purchase I found it gave better results, that may have changed over the years though.

 

Hope you and the wife recover soon without any complications Michael. 

 

Cheers Bob. Proceeding slowly towards the edge of the woods with cautious optimism and taking it easy. 😀

 

I think the review that convinced me to go with Helicon was an article by Simon Stafford who writes for Nikon Owner Mag. He wrote a couple of very good articles about the focus stack (focus shift in Nikon speak) feature on the D850 which got me interested. The fact it can work on raw files and output a DNG is a big plus although this is recent I think and it is also a lot cheaper than Zerene. I might download a trial of Zerene at some point to check it out but I don't think I will be buying it. 

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Posted (edited)
49 minutes ago, MDM said:

 

Cheers Bob. Proceeding slowly towards the edge of the woods with cautious optimism and taking it easy. 😀

 

I think the review that convinced me to go with Helicon was an article by Simon Stafford who writes for Nikon Owner Mag. He wrote a couple of very good articles about the focus stack (focus shift in Nikon speak) feature on the D850 which got me interested. The fact it can work on raw files and output a DNG is a big plus although this is recent I think and it is also a lot cheaper than Zerene. I might download a trial of Zerene at some point to check it out but I don't think I will be buying it. 

 

Actually its not that much cheaper if you intend to use it for the long term.

The Helicon licence is only for a year. ( lifetime is considerably more) where as Zerene is lifetime anyhow.

 

Edit: I will download the Helicon trial and compare them side by side.

Edited by BobD

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I've been looking at the pricing for the Zyrene software. Which version does everybody use? The extra $200 seems a little extravagant for a very occasional stock submission.

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49 minutes ago, Russell said:

I've been looking at the pricing for the Zyrene software. Which version does everybody use? The extra $200 seems a little extravagant for a very occasional stock submission.

 

 

Zerene personal edition licence states.

Personal Edition cannot be used to support any other corporate, organizational, or government activity, including funded research and documentation of scientific collections, or in connection with any other activity that produces income or other tangible reward greater than the cost of a Professional Edition license.

 

If you are using it for occasional submissions and bearing in mind the nett licence fees nowadays  you would be lucky to exceed the $289 pro licence.

The few images I have here haven't produced that in 10 years.

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