Macro Focus-stacking technique

Discussion in 'Photography' started by Reef Maniac, 19 Sep 2009.

  1. Reef Maniac

    Reef Maniac

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    As most of you keen DSLR photographers would know, a photo's depth of field (DOF) becomes severely limited as one gets closer to the subject being photographed, especially when doing macro photography. After acquiring my Canon 100mm f2.8 macro lens a few weeks ago, I came to realize just how limiting the DOF can be.

    This morning, while Google-surfing, I stumbled on an absolutely brilliant technique called focus stacking. This basically entails taking a series of photos of the same image, keeping everything the same, except for the point of focus. By changing the point of focus from the closest point of the image to the furthest point of the image in a number of "slices", and then combining (stacking...) the "slices" using a suitable program afterwards, one can end up having the whole macro image in focus.

    Here are three photo-stacks which I've made this morning (bear in mind that I'm still learning this technique, and that the pumps were left on in the tank, so there was some unwanted subject movement which does show up in the two coral photos...):

    1094ab4c79a2a8d0.jpg

    1094ab4c806658a0.jpg

    1094ab4c83edb971.jpg

    1094ab4c86996443.jpg

    1094ab4c88899296.jpg

    1094ab4c8ad3a71e.jpg

    Hennie
     
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  3. Tony

    Tony

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    Sorry for the late reply but it's a nice technique. I suppose a good tripod and no hangover are required. I can see the difference between the before and after shots
     
  4. OP
    Reef Maniac

    Reef Maniac

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    Yes on both counts :)

    I forgot to mention in the original post, the program to do the manipulation is called CombineZP (earlier version was called CombineZM), and it is ABSOLUTELY FREE :thumbup: and really easy to use :slayer: I can really recommend this technique and software to anyone who is interested in macro photography.

    The same software can also be used to combine two or more under-exposed or noisy shots to correct the exposure, or to improve the noise characteristics of the photo.

    Hennie
     
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    Reef Maniac

    Reef Maniac

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    Here's an example:

    I severely under-exposed this photo:

    1094ab53384b5f9f.jpg

    I then made two copies of the same photo, renaming them "b" and "c", and then combined all three photos using the program, and here's the result:

    1094ab534029a261.jpg

    As you can see, much better, although still not perfect - I guess that another two copies would have made it much better...

    Hennie
     
  6. Tony

    Tony

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    Nice thanks Hennie
     
  7. seank

    seank

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    Thanks Hennie, very interesting
     
  8. Bob the (reef)builder

    Bob the (reef)builder

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    That is very cool. Great to see a way out of some of my frustrations.
     
  9. crispin

    crispin

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