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Thread: Medium format macro options

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    Medium format macro options

    Hi all -

    I'm looking to get into shooting macro product photography. Specifically, watches.

    I've never shot with flash before, so have a lot to learn there, but what I'm initially considering is what camera/lens options I should be looking at.

    My desire is to be able to shoot watch faces and movements at close to 1:1 magnification, with large prints the end game.

    Preference is very much to get everything right "in camera" - so this means tilt rather than focus stacking (if I have to focus stack to get the depth of a watch movement all in focus then that would be OK, but I want to be able to get the plane of the face of the watch in focus in one shot).

    Backs are IQ180 and P45+ Achromatic.

    Cameras and lenses I have options.

    I have a Fuji GX680 III and a couple of lenses (135mm and 210mm). Shot a couple of tests (not close to 1:1) with the 135 today and pretty happy with the initial results.

    Alternatively, I have my ALPA kit - FPS/Max/TC, most of the Rodies and the Schneider 120mm, and the FPS tilt adapter, along with a whole bunch of the ALPA adapters that I guess could be used for macro work rather than my usual need of getting infinity focus!

    What I realise from today's play with the Fuji is that I'm going to need extension rails for that to get to 1:1. And I am assuming maybe a different lens.

    I would very much appreciate any thoughts/guidance as to which of the two systems I currently have would be best suited for this requirement, and what I need to get to the end goal. I'd rather work with what I have, rather than having to go out and spend lots of money!

    Kind regards,


    Gerald.

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    Re: Medium format macro options

    I would look at a monorail camera from Linhof (cs679) or Arca Swiss. Those should give you the extension and you can you use your back. You would just need a lens. But since they use a simple lens board, the lens is rather a straight forward purchase. You may even find an adapter for your Alpa lenses for the monorail.

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    Re: Medium format macro options

    Which 120 Schneider do you have?

    120N
    120M
    120ASPH

    If you have the M or the ASPH this is what I'd suggest.

    You will, almost surely, have to DOF stack if you're going 1:1 at 80mp. No matter how thin you think the DOF will be - it will be thinner. The issue accelerates quickly as you go from 1:4 to 1:2 to 1:1. Especially once you account for the effective aperture (as you know with your background, but others may not be aware of, diffraction kicks in based on the effective aperture, not the marked aperture of the lens). Movements can help reduce the number of frames you'll need to stack though.

    Effective aperture and extreme macro article - in this article I'm talking about higher magnification like 5:1 where you're talking about 1:1. But still of interest.
    Doug Peterson , Digital Transitions | Email
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    Re: Medium format macro options

    Quote Originally Posted by Shashin View Post
    I would look at a monorail camera from Linhof (cs679) or Arca Swiss. Those should give you the extension and you can you use your back. You would just need a lens. But since they use a simple lens board, the lens is rather a straight forward purchase. You may even find an adapter for your Alpa lenses for the monorail.
    This is a big advantage of the Arca Tech/View camera system. It's fully interchangable such that a 120ASPH used on an RM3Di can be moved, without hassle, to a M monolith or Universalis. As far as I'm aware no one makes an adapter for the Alpa proprietary mount. It would only need to be light tight and tight on the parallel tolerances though, so I suppose custom machining would be possible at commensurate one-off pricing. You'd need to take care to check that the depth/neck of the lens mount wasn't going to vignette the image circle as it does on a few of Alpa's lens mounts.

    That said, he may not need rail extension since he has several Alpa adapters. He just needs 240mm of extension and the native lens mount likely gives 120mm. How many adapters do you have Gerald? In this case Alpa's requirement to have several adapters to make various lenses compatible with tilt might come in handy!
    Doug Peterson , Digital Transitions | Email
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    Re: Medium format macro options

    Quote Originally Posted by Shashin View Post
    I would look at a monorail camera from Linhof (cs679) or Arca Swiss. Those should give you the extension and you can you use your back. You would just need a lens. But since they use a simple lens board, the lens is rather a straight forward purchase. You may even find an adapter for your Alpa lenses for the monorail.
    Hi Shashin -

    I'd rather not have to go to another system to do this. However, having said that I am hoping to have access to a quite extraordinary collection of watches next year that maybe would warrant splashing out on another option.

    Specifically, what is it about the options you suggest that would make them a better choice over what I already have access to?

    Kind regards,


    Gerald.

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    Re: Medium format macro options

    Quote Originally Posted by dougpeterson View Post
    Which 120 Schneider do you have?

    120N
    120M
    120ASPH

    If you have the M or the ASPH this is what I'd suggest.

    You will, almost surely, have to DOF stack if you're going 1:1 at 80mp. No matter how thin you think the DOF will be - it will be thinner. Especially once you account for the effective aperture (as you know with your background, but others may not be aware of, diffraction kicks in based on the effective aperture, not the marked aperture of the lens). Movements can help reduce the number of frames you'll need to stack though.

    Effective aperture and extreme macro article - in this article I'm talking about higher magnification like 5:1 where you're talking about 1:1. But still of interest.
    I own the old 120N, and access to the new one (through work).

    As an aside, the reason why I'm looking at up to 1:1 and not worried about going further, is that typically watches are between 35mm and 42mm diameter. I don't really want to be getting into stitching for this. Lugs and crowns will add to this, but 1:1 is the ballpark.

    I'll definitely check out the article - thanks.

    Kind regards,


    Gerald.

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    Re: Medium format macro options

    I guess if I as just exploring this, I would try to get a medium-format macro lens that can do 1:1 and mount it to your FPS. The manual Pentax A series 120mm macro is about $500 and really sharp. You will not have tilts, but then you could do stacking--stacking is really easy and the applications to do that like Helicon Focus are cheap. Alternatively, use small apertures, yes, diffraction is greater, but you can really counter that with unsharp masking. Or a combination of small aperture and stacking.

    For your Fuji (or Alpa) (and people are going to rail against this idea, but probably have never tried it) you could try supplementary lenses, AKA close-up filters. These filters come in diopters which is ratio of a focal length of a meter. With your camera focused at infinity, a +1 lens puts focus at 1m, +2 at 0.5m, +3 at 0.3m. There are some real advantage to these lenses (filters) in that your set aperture at any given magnification is actually brighter and you are getting less diffraction. However, I have never tried them with tilt, so I am not sure if it is ideal for that, but you still have small apertures and stacking. These filters are inexpensive. Both Hasselblad and Pentax made nice "filters."

    Oddly enough, smaller sensors are better suited for macro as they do not need as much magnification.

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    Re: Medium format macro options

    Gerald,

    I currently shoot macro with my Max. I used Arca Swiss cameras throughout my career when I shot products in the studio, but sold off the last AS camera I had, the ML2 in December after making a decision towards retirement. Today when I shoot MF macro, I use a Max, a Schneider 120M, and multiple ALPA macro adapters. Getting to 1:1 on an ALPA requires a lot of macro adapters (more than I own), so I shoot and crop.

    Since the ALPA Schneider 120M is placed in a helical mount with 17 mm of travel and then in a 34 SB mount, getting to the 240mm requirement for 1:1 would require multiple macro adapters (expensive). If you have two ALPA bodies you could mount them on a rail and custom fit a bellows, and I have thought about doing that, but for the projects I am currently working on my current setup is working fine.

    I too recommend focus stacking as there really is no other way to get the DOF as it becomes paper thin at high magnification. I currently use Helicon Focus (HF), and have used Zerene Stacker in the past. The reason my switch to HF was at upgrade time their UI looked better. Focus stacking is not hard, but for the watches, you will have to remove their batteries if they have second hands (blur motion).

    I currently have a lightly used Schneider 120M that I used with my ML2 if you are interested in buying this wonderful macro lens used for your FPS.

    Kind regards,
    Darr
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    Darlene Almeda, photoscapes.com

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    Re: Medium format macro options

    Thanks for all the advice folks.

    A couple have mentioned that you need 240mm of extensions for 1:1 with the 120mm. Noob question - is that how this works? You need double the focal length of the lens to get to 1:1 ratio?

    Re the focus stacking options - I've played with HF in the past and it's really cool. My preference however is to get as much right in camera as possible - as mentioned, I want to get the focal plane set along the face of the watch which is why I'm only looking at options that can tilt. If I then need to focus stack due to the depth of the face or movement, then happy to do it for that.

    One other option I have that I forgot about - I do have an old (MF) Mamiya 120mm f/4 macro which goes to 1:1.

    I guess I could go Back>FPS>FPS tilt/swing adapter>Mamiya lens adapter>Mamiya 120mm.

    I'll try that option this evening.

    (Darr - these watches don't have batteries - you could buy two IQ280's for the same price as that watch in my first post!)


    Kind regards,


    Gerald.
    Last edited by gerald.d; 9th November 2014 at 01:34.

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    Re: Medium format macro options

    Another not so expensive tilt and macro option is the one I use now - basic 45 studio camera ( I use Cambo SCX) with standard bellows (not bag bellows), macro lens is preferable, but I still don't have one, I use Rodenstock Apo sironar digital 105, 135, which are not expensive and still good, and Mamiya back adapter from Kapture group called Live videop adapter.
    Darlene, how much is 120M, I maybe interested . You can PM me. Thanks!

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    Re: Medium format macro options

    Magnification and a few other equations are cited in the article I linked to earlier...

    Magnification = [Extension - Focal Length] / [Focal Length]

    Macro Extreme (technicals) | Doug Peterson
    Doug Peterson , Digital Transitions | Email
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    Re: Medium format macro options

    Not sure if it has the image circle for this, but why not the Canon MP E 65 on the FPS?

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    Re: Medium format macro options

    Quote Originally Posted by synn View Post
    Not sure if it has the image circle for this, but why not the Canon MP E 65 on the FPS?
    I only want to go to 1:1 maximum, so not really much point is there?

    (also no idea on the image circle of that lens)

    Kind regards,

    Gerald.

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    Re: Medium format macro options

    Hi Gerald, I have some experience shooting both watches and jewellery at the magnifications you describe on MF digi and film for several outdoor and POS campaigns for a large Australian jewellery chainstore.
    Doug's advice is, as usual, spot-on. You will definitely need to stack to pull in even the thickness of a watch movement at 80MP, that's a given.
    I have both the short and long extension rails for the GX180 and to the best of my recollection, the 125 will not get to 1:1 with the long rail and the extended bellows(you will need this to get to the end of the long rail). In any event, the Fuji's lenses aren't up to par this close up, certainly not against the other lenses you already have. BTW, ALPA's tests are suggesting that some of the newer non-macro lenses are performing superbly at macro distances. Check with them for specifics.
    Given that you are going to have to focus stack regardless, may I suggest that, for practical on-set reasons, you consider 120mm as a minimum focal-length. Even at this you will find your watches so close to the lens that you will start to have difficulty lighting without your lens/camera throwing shadows and reflections where you don't want them..
    The technical problems re lenses, diffraction etc are in fact the easiest to solve. Lighting will be your biggest challenge to finesse.
    All the best with the project.
    Cheers,
    Siebel
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    Re: Medium format macro options

    Hi Bryan -

    120mm range does sound about right. I had a play with the old Mamiya earlier today, and was pretty impressed by the quality given I think it cost me around $250.

    1:1 on the Mamiya 120mm leaves quite a bit of distance between the front lens element and the subject, so I don't think there are any major concerns there for lighting when I get around to that.

    Still very much in the experimental stages here - no lights (below was a 32 second exposure!), no table, no way to easily move the camera and/or watch. I'm mainly just trying out options to see how viable they might be (basically, I recognise there is plenty wrong with these test pics).

    At a magnification of roughly 0.85 (watch case is 42mm diameter):

    Full frame


    1:1 crops




    Not too bad on the DoF there - I'm guessing 3-4 exposures max should be sufficient. Again to stress - I recognise that focus stacking will be required for deep movements and/or dials, but the ideal scenario is to get the focal plane along the face of the watch so that focus stacking can be kept to a minimum.

    BTW - focusing is an absolute PITA. Going forward I'll definitely use live view on the IQ250 to focus, then swap it out for the IQ180 for the shot. Sounds a bit daft, but I'm not sure there's any other viable way to go about it.

    Kind regards,

    Gerald.

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    Re: Medium format macro options

    It is cool seeing the motion in the movement. It kind of wants me to make really long exposures to show all the moving parts. Horological gear trail photography.

    What will be a PITA is "cleaning" all that dust off in Pshop. That is the great thing about macro, even the cleanest looking stuff will be dirty if you start looking close enough. Hopefully none of these watch will have been worn. My watch looks disgusting when I use it for microscope training.

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    Re: Medium format macro options

    Most people who do this regularly have the camera mounted on some kind of micro-drive rail. It is generally easier to move the camera minute amounts than shift focus on the lens. There is usually too much backlash in the helical or monorail system to have the control necessary. I used to use the tool head micro drive from a precision lathe to move my camera, which was mounted on an extra heavy version of the Cambo UBS camera stand. I could easily move the camera just 1/1000th of an inch at a time, so I would shoot a frame, check it on my main monitor, then make fine adjustments. This was with both my P25 and later with the P45+. If you are looking for superb micro-adjustable platforms, a company called Schneeberger makes excelent ones. Most of the contraptions marketed for macro photography aren't fine enough.
    Something that Doug has mentioned should be kept in mind, namely that DOF is at effective aperture, not lens marked aperture. If I have my theory straight, at 1:1, you are 2-stops down, so when you have set f5.6, you are in fact at f11 and with the IQ180 diffraction limit starts to kick in soon after.
    Cheers
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    Re: Medium format macro options

    Diffraction is really overstated. It does not take a lot of work with unsharp masking to mitigate its effects.

    As for micro drives being required for focusing, I have not found that to be true with objects as large as a watch. Both my Pentax macro and Linhof focusers are fine enough.

    Rails do have the advantage that you are not changing magnification when you shift focus--using the rear standard to focus on a view camera is also a preferred method over focusing the lens. But to mount your camera on a focusing rail is not that difficult. You just want to make sure the motion is large enough for your sample. If you have a source for secondhand lab equipment, you might get a good deal. Manually stacking is not that hard. We have manually stacked images with mechanical focusers at 100:1--our microscopes are now motorized, but that just makes them faster, not better.

    Basically, I would start making stacks and see how it works for you. Some people have harder times with this than others, but it is pretty straight forward and does not require any special equipment. I would also play with processing--I know lots of photographers that use one setting for their unsharp mask for everything, but there is a reason it is adjustable.

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    Re: Medium format macro options

    Quote Originally Posted by gerald.d View Post

    BTW - focusing is an absolute PITA. Going forward I'll definitely use live view on the IQ250 to focus, then swap it out for the IQ180 for the shot. Sounds a bit daft, but I'm not sure there's any other viable way to go about it.

    Kind regards,

    Gerald.
    Gerald,

    That is exactly what I used to do but have become so impressed with the files out of my Leaf that I have put my 180 on the shelf. Tilt or swing is very easy with the much improved live view. I have also found it extremely difficult to see any difference between files from my 180 compared to my 150 all the way out to 40 inches which is a usual print size for me. Print with both and see for yourself.....

    Regards,

    Victor

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    Re: Medium format macro options

    This is obviously extreme (f/32 at 1:1 (and I am not suggest you shoot at f/32)) and a web-size image, but you can actually stop down and end up with a sharp image. I don't like stacking either.


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    Re: Medium format macro options

    In light of this thread and my time at Alpa this past week, I am going to provide some information here about a very exciting and upcoming macro solution. The information concerns a prototype product, but it’s not too far out, perhaps early next year. I thought of just starting a new thread centered on this solution, but since it is not finished enough to post product images, I'll just tag it to the existing macro thread already started for now.

    This solution will not be for everyone, but then again an Alpa solution is not for everyone anyway. What I have seen in this thread and what I have seen with clients who require depth of field at high magnification is that medium format digital solutions are being utilized with an assortment of techniques and contributing products, but I’m not aware of any solution that pulls it all together in an optimal manner.

    Tp address this, Alpa will announce a solution soon, and here are some of the details:

    This solution can work extremely well for macro photography but particularly pushes into micro photography. The summary of what this will do is to couple the excellent Alpa products with high megapixel count digital backs, an amazing set of lenses, and a motorized support structure that automates and synchronizes capture with the steps for stacking.

    The problem I see for optimizing depth of field on small objects is that yes, you can try adding some tilt to a lens to expand a the focus depth, but this is often not enough for small objects and at a point, can have some destructive effects on the image quality. You also are weighing the chosen aperture, but for micro or macro past 1-1 you’ll be forced to shoot quite open anyway, which deters the depth of field. Or yes, you could expand upon this by performing a stacking routine, but this is a manual process, subject to inconsistency and randomness. It takes time and more importantly, occupies your time during the process.

    I do not have photos I can share of the entire solution, as there will be some changes to the prototype that we saw, but I can tell you that the solution is a marriage of:

    *Alpa FPS Camera (maybe good news, Gerald?)
    *Alpa software solution
    *Variety of FPS compatible lenses (but for Micro photography, Linos Inspec Lenses)
    *Alpa Motorized Stepping Platform

    The combination of this solution will allow you to set the near and far measurements for the subject, the number of steps for the total capture count (and of course the distance for each step), and automate the step sequence, but most importantly, automate the captures to synchronize with the automated motorized steps. And this is all performed with high megapixel digital backs with these amazing lenses.

    The FPS Camera is a great fit for this application, given the advanced capability it has for programming a variety of automated capture sequence scenarios.

    You should see the MTF curves for the Lino Inspec lenses - I’m not that into the MTF data as much as I am the actual field results - but the charts for these lenses are amazing - and so are the results. They have zero chromatic aberration and even the focus falloff, should you decide you want any, is quite nice. MTF chart is below for the 105mm/5.6, which is what we used during our testing last week. Keep in mind this chart is the performance at f/5.6 and 3X!

    While this offers a supreme solution for precision quality, consistent results for extreme macro, or micro photography, the fact that the captures are automatically synchronized with the motorized sequence of steps, and performed with equipment of incredible quality - the camera, lens, and sensor - means that even someone producing standard macro distance captures will experience a quality not matched by any other current solution I am aware of.

    Some samples of our practice runs last week - not perfect, but they’re unsharpened beyond defaults and still are quite impressive. I believe this image file was comprised of 300 captures.


    Steve Hendrix
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    Re: Medium format macro options

    Thanks Steve -

    I've been looking forward to learning more about this solution.

    Any idea on ballpark cost for the software/lens/motorized stepping platform? Just ballpark so that I know whether it's going to be a viable option or not!

    Kind regards,

    Gerald.

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    Re: Medium format macro options

    Since you already use Alpa, maybe consider the Alpa/Novoflex bellows announced at Photokina?



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    Re: Medium format macro options

    Steve, the macro system sounds neat. My company made a microscope XYZ montage system that, as I recall, Fuji's med division sold in Japan as "the beautiful image system". This applied high NA objectives (small FOV, thin DOF) and automation to image thick sections. The laser scanners did better (and much quicker) with fluorescence, but the luminescence and brightfield images were lovely with our system. Seeing micro detail over large areas is one of those transformational experiences - if you are into that sort of thing.

    The market that we could never address was gross pathology coming in at about 1:8-2:1 for MF sensors - often used for documenting small solid tumors and other excised material. Lighting for solid bodies was not our thing. Your group should have great expertise there so I expect you are considering an entry. I will follow with interest.

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    Senior Member Steve Hendrix's Avatar
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    Re: Medium format macro options

    Quote Originally Posted by f8orbust View Post
    Since you already use Alpa, maybe consider the Alpa/Novoflex bellows announced at Photokina?




    Indeed, this could be a very helpful solution for macro, but also for Alpa users who want to extend their lenses into a view camera system.

    But to be clear, on the Alpa news, the killer app for me is the ability to synchronize the steps and the captures automatically.


    Steve Hendrix
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    Re: Medium format macro options

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Hendrix View Post
    But to be clear, on the Alpa news, the killer app for me is the ability to synchronize the steps and the captures automatically.
    I'm guessing this will work something along the lines of StackShot ?

    But probably not with the $550 price tag

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    Re: Medium format macro options

    Quote Originally Posted by f8orbust View Post
    I'm guessing this will work something along the lines of StackShot ?

    But probably not with the $550 price tag

    Oh I'm pretty sure the price will be different. And if something like CamRanger supported MFD solutions, maybe that would be something. Again - this system isn't for everybody, but if someone wants to combine MFDB's with a great array of optics and Alpa quality solutions, this is the ticket. Or I should say, the ticket is on the way soon...


    Steve Hendrix
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    Re: Medium format macro options

    Hi,

    I have not made tests with MFD yet, but I have a Stackshot and it works great.
    I have this far only tested in Sony Alphas, but function would be identical on MFD.

    The way I tested I focused on close and far points using the remote control and given the number of steps. Than I just walk away and let controller do the magic. You obviously need a camera that can be remotely controlled.

    Focusing using live view is probably the most comfortable solution, if feasible.

    The reason I didn't use it yet on MFD is that I need to make control cable for the blad and I have been to lazy with the soldering iron. I have a V-series blad.

    I did my stacking in Zerene Stacker.

    There may be better solutions around, but the Stackshot is very affordable and it works.

    Best regards
    Erik

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    Re: Medium format macro options

    Steve, does this solution work for all the lens mounts the FPS supports?

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    Re: Medium format macro options

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Hendrix View Post
    And if something like CamRanger supported MFD solutions, maybe that would be something...
    Just to clarify for anyone unfamiliar with CamRanger vs. StackShot. CamRanger works by refocussing AF lenses on compatible SLRs; StackShot works by physically moving the camera a set distance (down to 2µm), just like the Alpa solution by the sounds of it, and is thus an ideal solution for anyone looking to shoot an automated sequence of stackable images using MF. There is a Mamiya 645AF cable available from StackShot, so using a 645AF + the great 120mm/f4 macro lens sounds like a nice (and economical) solution capable of first class results. Also, StackShot can be controlled via CamRanger + CamRanger's PT hub on an iPad, iPhone, Android, Mac, or PC. Video here.

    Triggering the camera can be done directly from StackShot (or CamRanger + PT hub) or in tandem with software like HeliconSoft or ZereneStacker; the great benefit of the latter is that the images are fed in and processed on the fly. Set it going, go make a cup of tea, and when you come back your stacked image is ready.

    It's also possible to set StackShot up so you can fire the shutter manually (e.g. if you're using a lens with a copal shutter), but naturally that could be a bit tedious if taking more than a few images.
    Last edited by f8orbust; 18th November 2014 at 08:23.

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    Re: Medium format macro options

    Quote Originally Posted by synn View Post
    Steve, does this solution work for all the lens mounts the FPS supports?

    Yes, it would. And that would remain one of the advantages over the Mamiya camera on a Stackshot (thanks for letting me know about that, F8, I was not familiar with it).


    Steve Hendrix
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    Re: Medium format macro options

    Since the FPS can control AF, it would be nice if Alpa introduced CamRangeresque ability directly into the FPS firmware - i.e. i) focus near > set, ii) focus far > set, iii) tell the camera how many shots to take between the two and let it do the rest.

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    Re: Medium format macro options

    Quote Originally Posted by f8orbust View Post
    Since the FPS can control AF, it would be nice if Alpa introduced CamRangeresque ability directly into the FPS firmware - i.e. i) focus near > set, ii) focus far > set, iii) tell the camera how many shots to take between the two and let it do the rest.

    That is exactly what I described in the initial post I made, though not with AF. I suppose this could potentially be enabled as well, though I'm not clear on the advantages of auto focus in this application.


    Steve Hendrix
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    Digital Cam: • Phase One | Leaf | Leica | Sinar • Authorized Reseller
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    Re: Medium format macro options

    Hi Steve,

    There is a discussion on the Zerene Stacker homepage on advantages of focusing the lens vs. moving the assembly.

    stacker:docs:troubleshooting:ringversusrail [Zerene Stacker]

    Best regards
    Erik


    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Hendrix View Post
    That is exactly what I described in the initial post I made, though not with AF. I suppose this could potentially be enabled as well, though I'm not clear on the advantages of auto focus in this application.


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    Re: Medium format macro options

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Hendrix View Post
    That is exactly what I described in the initial post I made...
    Don't want to split hairs, but to be fair it wasn't. You talked about a solution that moves the entire camera in order to move the plane of focus. The advantage of this is obvious - you can use lenses that don't autofocus. The disadvantage is obvious as well - the camera has to move and be moved. Given that the FPS can focus lenses with AF (e.g. the superb Canon 180/3.5L), I was simply suggesting that they make use of this feature for focus stacking. It could then also be used for focus stacking in other areas - e.g. when shooting landscape. Other obvious advantages include no additional hardware required (e.g. platform with stepping-motor) and no additional cost. In other words...

    Last edited by f8orbust; 18th November 2014 at 15:15.
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    Re: Medium format macro options

    OK, so in anticipation of the new ALPA system coming out, I thought I'd dip my toe into the stacking water and got a StackShot to keep me entertained until the new year.

    Here's the first effort (25 image stack)



    Click here for the full resolution tiled image.

    Kind regards,


    Gerald.
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    Re: Medium format macro options

    Nice shot Gerald - which software are you using to do the stacking ?

    The reason I ask is that there appears to be ghosting around the metal strap lug to the top-right - probably one of those instances where you might want to manually clone from the source file that shows this area in best sharpness (if your software allows you).

    Any change of a photo of your setup?

    Jim

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    Re: Medium format macro options

    Quote Originally Posted by f8orbust View Post
    Nice shot Gerald - which software are you using to do the stacking ?

    The reason I ask is that there appears to be ghosting around the metal strap lug to the top-right - probably one of those instances where you might want to manually clone from the source file that shows this area in best sharpness (if your software allows you).

    Any change of a photo of your setup?

    Jim
    Hi Jim -

    Thanks. Yup - there are quite a few issues with this image. I'm just starting to get my head around the process (this was taken about half an hour after unpacking the StackShot and I've not even got around to reading the manual for it or Zerene Stacker - which I'm also using for the first time - yet). I'm really just starting out here - just some very quick retouching on a couple of areas I spotted.

    It's interesting learning what new (to me) image deficiencies to look out for, how to spot them, and what to do to fix them. I need to retrain my eyes for this!

    Apologies I didn't take a photo of the set-up. FPS with Mamiya 120/4 macro (manual focus version) and IQ180. 1:1.2 magnification (or is it quoted the other way around? - less than 1:1 magnification I mean). Indoors, just the ceiling lights in the room (sun had set), 3 second exposures at f/8 and ISO35.

    Kind regards,

    Gerald

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    Re: Medium format macro options

    Excellent for first try Gerald.
    Nice to see you have safely returned from the 830 meter-high selfie!

    Kind regards,
    Darr
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    Re: Medium format macro options

    Here's the set-up (such as it is!) -


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    Re: Medium format macro options

    Wanted to share this, because of the recent interest in macro with MF gear. Thanks to Jeff Hirsch at FotoCare, I was able to secure a set of pre-production Alpa/Novoflex adapters (actually it was my wife ). As has already been pointed out by Steve, these fit the Novoflex BalPro T/S bellows. This bellows allow ±15° tilt (or swing) on both the front and back standard, and about 20cm extension. And also allows 26mm lateral shifts (front and back). With the SK120ASPH, you can get certainly get 1:1 magnification, probably even beyound that - I'm estimating ~1:0.8 based on the extension I used, so bigger than life size. Notice that there is no Alpa camera in use here, just the IQ140 back and the lens in Alpa mount. It is actually interesting to note it's possible to get infinity focus with this contraption, if you omit the standard 34mm adapter for the SK120ASPH. So kind of a general viewcamera :-). However, I would probably never use it this way, a bit bulky outside the studio.



    This Victorian Naval Medal below is 36mm diameter, about the size of a watch, Gerald . The challenge has always been to get everyhting in focus, including the naming on the rim and the text on the clasp. For the shot I used close to full tilt front and back (~15° forward on the front and ~15° backwards on the back - I also used the 17mm Alpa 5° tilt adapter for fine-tuning, ~2° front tilt). So all in all ~32° tilt total. With macro you need a lot more tilt than with normal shooting :-). All evalualted with live view on the IQ140 back, it's not really very easy with live view, but after a while you get the hang of it. The secret is to not make too many changes all at once, but you need to move your 100% view-window as well as focus - because a small change in focus moves the view-window as well. I'm sure it would be much easier with the IQ250/150/Credo50. I tried the tethered session with live view in C1-8, but it was not convenient for me to control focus and look at the MacBook sceeen at the same time. I probably need to work on a better set up.



    In the past I had to do the focus stacking routine to get everything in in focus - which works, but it's always better to get it right when you shoot it. I'm pretty pleased with the results so far, not perfect - but close to what I want. Of course this is nothing fancy, just to show what can be done withe Novoflex T/S bellows and the Alpa adapters.

    Cheers, -Peter
    Alpa TC • STC | IQ140 | 24XL • 35XL • 120N-ASPH
    www.peterlomdahl.com
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    Re: Medium format macro options

    Very impressive Peter - thanks for sharing!

    Kind regards,


    Gerald.

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    Re: Medium format macro options

    Quote Originally Posted by ErikKaffehr View Post
    There is a discussion on the Zerene Stacker homepage on advantages of focusing the lens vs. moving the assembly.
    That's a nice article, and a good 5 min read for anyone contemplating shooting macro. I think it's worth repeating their findings here:


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    Re: Medium format macro options

    Well, could you macro shooters help me out! Today I take my macro pictures with a Fuji APS-C system, Pro X-2 with Fuji 60mm macro, 1,4 extender and 11mm tube. I shoot macro of shrimp, about 1" long in aquarium. I am not able to stack as these shrimp move about and flick their antenna way to fast. My settings are ISO 100, 250/sec. f 11-8 with a strobe w. soft box on top and another strobe beside and behind the lens. Now I like to move up to MF digital for more detail and other effects. I do not need a camera with all bells as my setting is what I always use. Most of the cameras like Fuji GXF, Hasselblad and Phase One are to expensive for me. Lens could be 120mm but I have no knowledge of digital backs and so on.

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    Re: Medium format macro options

    Gigas, you find the discontinued Pentax 645D and the manual focus Pentax A 120mm f/4 Macro very good value that has many of the features you find in most current DSLRs. Whether this is better than you setup, see the comments I made in the thread you started.

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    Re: Medium format macro options

    What kind of effects do you want to achieve by switching to MF? Other than gaining more MP, you only have negatives by using old CCD sensors/camera platform. Less DOF, poor live-view, etc. working at macro scale.

    Since you can't focus stack due to live subject you might be better off with Nikon D810, Canon 5DS-R (with its MP-E lens), or Sony A7rii. You would get more MP, good live-view, and while less DOF then APS-C, still more than MF I think.

    Not trying to dismiss MF for this work, but having a hard time justifying why you would want to use it for a small macro subject that moves... quickly! Maybe you want faster flash sync with leaf lenses?

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