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Focus Stacking

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So I'm late to the game as usual. 

Today I picked up a macro lens for the Oly M43 and decided that it was time to try and learn more about focus stacking.

I set up the camera on the tripod and focused on the front edge of an orchid's naughty bits and came up with this ...


Sharp and all that shit, but @ f2.8 there was almost no DOF. I could have stretched the DOF a bit by going to a smaller aperture, but long before it got to the DOF I wanted it would have been too soft from diffraction limitations.

I set up the camera to take 25 shots (starting with the above) and stepping the focus in a *bit* with each one till it got to shot 25.

Shot 25 ...



I stacked all 25 shots into one frame using 'Photomerge' (Photoshop) then blended the layers together using only the bits that were in focus and came up with ...


Damn. It's about time I added this to my bag of tricks.


Addendum - there's no reason you couldn't do this with even a manual focus lens. You don't need your camera to do it for you - it just takes a *whack* less fucking around.

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7 hours ago, KZero said:

Wow, that's an interesting technique!  Very nice final result.

Thanks Kenny. 

I agree that the technique is interesting. I'll bet some research would show tha folks have been doing this almost as long as digital photography has been mainstream. I can't believe that it's taken me this long to get around to it.


Hmmm.... Yes I can. :facepalm:


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Very nice!  I've tried focus stacking a few times, and I ended up with varied results.  It is obviously something that I need a lot more practice with, but it would definitely enhance my results.  

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Thanks much.

I tried stacking once a few years back, and got frustrated with the attempts then, largely because of continually losing my place and not overlapping the slices enough.

Even with the in-camera focus bracketing on the Oly I had to take the 'shot' about five times to find a first & last frame that gave me the depth I wanted and still had all frames overlapping enough for P-shop to do a decent job on blending. Like anything else it will take more attempts before I can nail it more than I don't. 

The orchid in this thread wasn't just an example of me finally getting one close to right, but (for me) an example of why I'd use the technique. I've been trying to get that shot for years by simply mucking about with aperture and never even got close before. Shot was way too soft from diffraction long before the depth of field was even 1/2 of what I wanted.


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