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Keith Mullin's picture

First Experiment with Focus Stacking

I'm trying out photo stacking with macro photos. This is one of my first experiments, I think the 4th attempt with this setup. Overall I'm pretty happy with the result but I'm a tad disappointed that the near face of the ring isn't as sharp as I would like. Anyone have any tips for improving?

Setup:
Sony A7R3
Canon FD 135mm f/2.5 (set at f/16)
40(ish)mm of extension tubes
ISO 400
1/50sec shutter (silent shutter mode)
Edelkrone Slider

My first instinct is that the shutter speed was a tad too low and was possibly picking up some small vibrations from the slider or something. Second instinct is that the lens itself just isn't that sharp (haven't had a lot of experience with this one).

Any other thoughts?

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10 Comments

Broken Canon Art & Photography's picture

Q: What edge is your lens focusing on as this could be a factor into why the front of the ring is slightly blurred. lastly, Try this same picture with a different camera but nearly the same lens setup. I can promises you'll see a big difference from the Sony camera to a Canon or Nikon setup. Oh btw, having a Canon Lens doesn't make it a Canon picture, the Sony's software overrides the storage of this image and can cause some static lens to sensor issues.

Keith Mullin's picture

This is a focus stack, so, it was focused on many different points throughout the process, this image is a composite of 60 individual shots.

Can you elaborate as to why I would see a drastically different result from a different camera system?

I never said this was a canon picture, why would you think it was?

Gion-Andri Derungs's picture

Nice result and I like that ring!

Have you had SteadyShot on? If you use adapted lenses, you may have to set the focus length manually, so it can work correctly. You should find it in the menu Tab 2, Page 4, SteadyShot Settings (A7R3). Maybe that helps.

You can raise the shutter speed as well, but that means you have to compensate by ISO or aperture.

Just a few thoughts about it. :)

Keith Mullin's picture

Thank you. The ring is my wedding ring, and the gears turn as the two outside rings rotate, I have wasted countless hours playing with it.

You might be on to something with the Steady Shot. I have it set to a custom button since I use almost exclusively adapted lenses. I probably forgot to turn it off (and it was likely set to the wrong focal length anyway), as the camera was locked down to a motorized slider and would have no need of the Steady Shot for this.

If I was going to do this again with a higher shutter speed I'd just add more light since this was all controlled lighting.

Gion-Andri Derungs's picture

Pretty cool design of that ring. Something unique I think!

If you can control the light, then it should not be a problem to get a faster shutter. I don't know your slider, but maybe you can add a pause after moving for a second and then take the picture.

But again, the result you got is really good.

Keith Mullin's picture

The company that makes the ring is Kinnect Design. I saw an ad for it while shopping for a wedding ring online and had to have it.

I was going to use sunlight originally, but it was a cloudy afternoon and the light was inconsistent, so I set up some continuous LED's. Wish I had some nice powerful strobes but...

The slider is full on motion control designed for timelapse, hyperlapse, and video work. It will even trigger the camera, but the cable for that was misplaced by a rental customer and the replacement isn't in yet. So next time the slider itself with trigger the camera between moves.

Thanks for liking what I've done here, I am always hyper critical of my own work (aren't we all).

mike turtle's picture

I always use flash for macro stacking. I use a cheap ring flash but others use two small flashguns. Because the light to subject distance is so small big powerful flashguns aren't needed. Some diffusion is needed between the light and the subject, just a dome of tissue or plastic. The exposure with a close flash is very short indeed. The other thing I noticed is that if you are doing a stack you don't need to use f16, you will get sharper picture with the lens at around f4 and more steps in the stack.

Keith Mullin's picture

Thanks Mike. I do have a pair of speedlights I will probably use in the future, I didn't have them with me when I had the opportunity to do this one. Do you think it better to do diffusion or bounce the light using umbrellas or white cards?

On the lens I did avoid stopping it all the way down as I know that wide open or stopped all the way down does not yield the best images. I'll probably have to do some experimenting to find that sweet spot on any given lens.

I'm hopping to have another chance today with the slider, but this time having the right control cable.

mike turtle's picture

Diffusion not bounce. On mine the flash is 4 inches from the subject but the diffusion 'dome' is 1 and a half inches away. If you don't have enough diffusion you get sparkles, bright highlights all over the subject, I am though, mostly photographing hairy insects, it would matter less on a metallic subject like your ring.

William Banik's picture

F/16 on a Sony A7R3 is way to small. I suspect the image may not be as sharp as you like due to diffraction blur. One of the main benefits of stacking is using larger aperture, thus avoiding diffraction limitations of the lens. Using a larger aperture, say f/4 or f/5.6, would also allow you to increase the shutter speed.