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Thread: Image Stacking for Macro

  1. #1
    Senior Member Swissblad's Avatar
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    Image Stacking for Macro

    I'll take the plunge and upload the 1st image for this new thread.
    Nikon FX, Sigma 150mm Macro, Novoflex macro slider, Helicon Focus SW.
    Image is composite of ≈35 - 40 single captures.
    Taken a while ago, so some details are hazy.
    I do recall wondering how this would work out, as the size and perspective appeared to be changing during the various captures....

    Serracenia Pitcher Plant Stack by SB Macro, on Flickr

    Unfortunately I cannot repeat as my Helicon Focus license has expired.

    Clicking on images reveals high res copy on Flickr.
    Last edited by Swissblad; 9th May 2020 at 09:08.
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    Senior Member Swissblad's Avatar
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    Re: Image Stacking for Macro

    PS merged stack of 8 images - does not always work as well as Helicon Focus - but does not require additional SW.
    Nikon D700, Sigma 150mm macro.

    Dahlia Stack Merged 1 by SB Macro, on Flickr

    Really have to love the colours of the D700 - my first Nikon FX - and I loved it....

    Clicking on images reveals high res copy on Flickr.
    Last edited by Swissblad; 9th May 2020 at 09:09.
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    Re: Image Stacking for Macro

    Thanks for starting the thread and the nice examples Swissblad.

    For people who haven't seen it here's the two posts in another thread that led to this separate thread:


    Quote Originally Posted by pegelli View Post
    I'm relatively new to focus stacking but I haven't found a method yet to always keep the size of the subject equal and avoid "shading" of certain areas in deeper/more complicated structures. If you move the camera on a macro rail (and don't change the focus on the lens) the subject size and perspective changes, if you change focus on the lens it changes the size of the subject (and sometimes also the perspective).
    Theoretically there must be a way to move the camera and the focus of the lens together to achieve a pure constant size but as soon as you move the camera the perspective changes, so that problem doesn't go away.
    I don't know if there is a method to avoid changing size and perspective at the same time, maybe with a tech cam and/or special lens but not with a "simple" full frame camera.
    My experience is that using a long lens and macro rail gives the least problems in Helicon focus (the program I use) but since my camera has no automated focus stacking it might be that those results aren't looking as good in my case because I find that making reliable small steps of manual focus on the lens is much harder to do than reliably move a macro rail in small constant steps.

    Sorry for this long story, don't want to derail this thread so if you (or others) want to discuss further or have any golden tips maybe we need to start a new thread discussing different focus stacking methods and the best way to capture the images.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack View Post
    This is for a sure a discussion worthy of its own thread. I've always found it very difficult to focus stack macro for this very reason, regardless of lens used -- at least back in the early days where I actually experimented with Helicon Focus... Most primes have to extend optically to focus closer -- this actually also increases the focal length of the lens and corresponding image magnification. I had a rail and attempted to use it a few times, and recall getting it to work once or twice, but seem to remember inconsistent results. IIRC, my best results were from a tele zoom with a diopter, since most zooms are internal focus and as such don't change focal as they focus closer -- or more accurately, they actually reduce focal length to focus closer lol. Regardless, if you have one where the the internal focal length reduction matches the focus extension, then image magnification remains reasonably constant as you shift focus.

    It's now in the Nikon forum but since I don't have a Nikon camera I'm assuming this thread will be brand agnostic and only concentrate on different stacking techniques and programs. Otherwise I can't show examples here
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    Re: Image Stacking for Macro

    Here's my first example, Sony A700 and Minolta 100/2.8 macro D

    12 images shifted ~2 mm per step on a Novoflex macro rail and combined in Helicon focus at it's default setting (method B, radius 8, smoothing 4)



    How do you guys determine the "steps" needed on the macro rail. My method at the moment is to take a dof calculator and take steps around 20 - 25% of the dof calculated. This seems to do the job but since I dreamed this up myself I'm sure there must be methods with a better basis.
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    Senior Member Swissblad's Avatar
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    Re: Image Stacking for Macro

    Another way of getting sufficient frames for a stack in a rapid manner is to shoot a 4K (soon 8k) video - a 1 second burst is normally sufficient - and then merge these with Helicon Focus.
    This is really helpful when photographing wild flowers outdoors.....as wind really is an issue.

    Video tomato stack by SB Macro, on Flickr

    I 1st came across this technique here.
    Last edited by Swissblad; 9th May 2020 at 09:10.
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    Re: Image Stacking for Macro

    Folks, and especially Swissblad as you initiated, I am totally fine with this thread being here and being brand agnostic. But am also happy to move it to the image processing forum where it may be better suited? Your call, let me know!
    Jack
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    Re: Image Stacking for Macro

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack View Post
    Folks, and especially Swissblad as you initiated, I am totally fine with this thread being here and being brand agnostic. But am also happy to move it to the image processing forum where it may be better suited? Your call, let me know!
    I'm easy Jack - but agree that it may be better suited to the image processing forum.


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    Re: Image Stacking for Macro

    Done!
    Jack
    home: www.getdpi.com

    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."
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    Re: Image Stacking for Macro

    Here's an example where I used the manual refocus method. I was out and about and didn't have my macro rail with me, so it was mainly born out of necessity.

    However with magnified view it was relatively easy to move the focus plane over the hat of this fly agaric but with other subjects I have not been so lucky (and hence not successful).



    Sony A7ii + Voigtländer APO Lanthar 65/2 macro, Helicon focus stack of 4 images at the default settings
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    Re: Image Stacking for Macro

    Quote Originally Posted by Swissblad View Post
    Another way of getting sufficient frames for a stack in a rapid manner is to shoot a 4K (soon 8k) video - a 1 second burst is normally sufficient - and then merge these with Helicon Focus.
    This is really helpful when photographing wild flowers outdoors.....as wind really is an issue.

    I 1st came across this technique here.
    Thanks Swissblad, I need to check out this method as it seems to achieve good results, but I'm such a noob at Video that I first need to find out how that works
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    Senior Member Swissblad's Avatar
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    Re: Image Stacking for Macro

    Quote Originally Posted by pegelli View Post
    Thanks Swissblad, I need to check out this method as it seems to achieve good results, but I'm such a noob at Video that I first need to find out how that works
    Hi Pieter,
    like you, I'm not a video expert - the downside is limited resolution - until 8K becomes available - and lack of RAW - unless you know how to play with various video modes.

    Have fun

    Interesting to see the word "Paddestoelen" again - childhood memories.
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    Re: Image Stacking for Macro

    Another attempt using PS to stack a series of 5-7 images.
    Nikon D800 with Sigma 150mm macro.

    Ophrys neglecta stack 2b by SB Macro, on Flickr


    One of the lovely small orchids littering the country side of Sardinia in early spring - Ophrys tenthredinifera subsp. neglecta.

    How I miss not being able to have gone this year!
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    Re: Image Stacking for Macro

    I like the orchid Swissblad, the way it pops out of the background looks very nice and detail is very good.


    Here's an attempt in our garden today, a Rhodondendron in 14 steps of 5 mm.
    If you look 1:1 of the stacked image you can see that the flower in front "shaded" some of the details right behind it (I see an unsharp halo around the outer petals). However at web presentation size it's hardly noticable.
    I left the furthest flower out of the sequence on purpose with the idea that I wanted something slightly unsharp as a transition to the unsharp leaves and branches in the background. Looking in hindsight I probably should have taken more frames further back and only decide when stacking which frames to include or exclude.


    A7Rii + M-Elmar 135/4 + 18 mm extension tube
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    Re: Image Stacking for Macro

    not perfect, but it's a start ...



    | gfx-50s | 45ex | gf50/3.5 | helicon focus - 15 steps @ f18 |
    Bart ...
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    Re: Image Stacking for Macro

    DSC01946 by Mr TTT, on Flickr
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    Re: Image Stacking for Macro

    @sergtum / Mr TTT, ^^ nice capture but is that a stacked image?
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    Re: Image Stacking for Macro

    Here a more technical thing . My "selfmade" minicubes . 60mm size .

    SONY A7II + OLYMPUS OM Auto-Macro 3,5/50mm + HELICON FOCUS . 7 images stacked .

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	MINICUBE60.@@.RET.jpg 
Views:	4 
Size:	222.6 KB 
ID:	149361
    Regards . Jürgen .
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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    Senior Member Swissblad's Avatar
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    Re: Image Stacking for Macro

    Quote Originally Posted by jotloob View Post
    Here a more technical thing . My "selfmade" minicubes . 60mm size .

    SONY A7II + OLYMPUS OM Auto-Macro 3,5/50mm + HELICON FOCUS . 7 images stacked .

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	MINICUBE60.@@.RET.jpg 
Views:	4 
Size:	222.6 KB 
ID:	149361
    Hi Jürgen

    Lovely image - any more details on the "self-made cubes"....intriguing.

    Gruess

    SB

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    Re: Image Stacking for Macro

    Hi Sinuhe

    You will find some details here . Have a look to Great Tripod & Head Thread

    #155 #159 and #170 .

    I hope this helps .Jürgen .
    Regards . Jürgen .
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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    Re: Image Stacking for Macro

    Hi Sinuhe . It should read : Post #155 , #159 , #170 .
    Regards . Jürgen .
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