Panasonic Lumix cameras & Post Focus

Have questions about the equipment used for macro- or micro- photography? Post those questions in this forum.

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Photomicro
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Post by Photomicro »

Thanks to Michael and David for starting this thread, and following up on it.

As a fairly long-time user of the Olympus M4/3 cameras and latterly focus stacking on the EM5-II (though the method I use is called focus bracketing in the menu) with the 30mm macro, this is of great interest to me.

Because of the way that system works, in setting the gap between 1-10 on an arbitrary scale, you have to think about what f number to set, and how many frames to take, in addition to this number. I have learnt to use the '1' setting (smallest gap) and choose an f number that gives a suitable shutter speed, then often overestimate the number of frames. As others have stated, you can always delete those that go past the area of interest when sorting them for stacking in your s/w.

This an example;

https://www.flickr.com/photos/66189529@ ... datetaken/

What is desirable about this 'video' method, is that presumably this is done for you.

It all goes to show that there is often more than one way to do something. I realise that with the stackshot/wemacro route you can calculate your settings prior to shooting, this is not always viable in the field.

I look forward to following this thread further.
regards, Mike.

Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like bananas.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/66189529@N08/

TheDocAUS
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Post by TheDocAUS »

Mike

The advantages of Post Focus and its 6K video include:

• Speed in the field. The camera works out where to focus and how many focus points there are to cover in the video;
• Changing what is in focus after taking the video, in camera or in the office;
• Checking the photo stack in the field to see if it was successful;
• 18 meg jpg from the camera in the field, or a 50meg image using Helicon in the office; and
• More usable stacks. I seem to have more keepers as the time frame is about 2 seconds, reducing sequences lost to wind movement when operating manually.

The main con is no RAW images, only jpg.
Last edited by TheDocAUS on Sun Oct 28, 2018 10:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Lou Jost
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Post by Lou Jost »

"As others have stated, you can always delete those that go past the area of interest when sorting them for stacking in your s/w."
Don't forget that there is a live view of the stacking capture, so you can just press the shutter to stop the capture process when you see that the focus has left your area of interest. No need to set the number of frames. Leave it set to a high number.

The aperture you set is taken into account when the camera chooses its step size, so no need to worry about that either. "1" or "2" are generally good choices.

TheDocAUS
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Post by TheDocAUS »

Based on some testing today, the Raynox 150 works well with the Olympus 30mm macro on the Panasonic G9 using the Post Focus feature. Post Focus works as it should.

The Raynox 250 not so. With the Raynox 250 it maybe my technique or the Post Focus is struggling with the level of magnification, I need to do more testing. That combination gives around 6.25x (at 35mm). For what I am doing I do not need that magnification in the field.

I used a tripod in testing, but next time it will be a broom stick. I want to know the minimum equipment I need to get decent images in the field.

I found today the remote trigger (with a cord) was getting in the way. I will now try the wifi feature on the camera, when using the tripod next.

TheDocAUS
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Post by TheDocAUS »

Some more testing today using a broom stock for support and hands free with no support.

Most of the images taken with the broom stick came out, some loss of sharpness and not as many keepers.

I would say hands free was a failure overall. I did get images that stacked but they were not sharp, too much movement. In the next post I will summarise my finding on technique.

TheDocAUS
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THE RESULTS

Post by TheDocAUS »

For me, I found the best in field technique when using the Post Focus feature on a Panasonic G9 is:

1. Tripod mount the camera, you get close to 100% keepers with incredible sharpness;

2. You get a slight improvement in colour when using a small LED mounted on the camera flash shoe, like the Sokani X21, Aputure AL-MX LED Panel or Lume Cube. Less so on overcast days because of the diffusion;

3. The Raynox 150 works well with the Post Focus feature using a 30mm Olympus Macro lens, the Raynox 250 not so good;

4. A wired camera remote just got in the way and showed no improvement in the number of keepers or levels of sharpness; compared to pressing the shutter button with the camera tripod mounted;

5. A monopod or broom stick will get results but the number of keepers drops. Both come a distant second to a tripod. A monopod is better than a broom stick (as a monopod stops vertical movement better than a broom stick used as a support);

6. A monopod is more flexible than a tripod, lighter and quicker to set up. Over time you maybe be able improve your technique to get more keepers I suspect;

7. Hands free does not really work. I was often faced with a choice between a stable handhold which made it hard to get the shot, or getting the shot but poor camera stability resulting in soft stacks.

Post Focus has changed the way I stack images in the field. It allows high quality stacks to be taken fast allowing more images in less time. It increases productivity by at least 10-fold.

Helicon Focus can extract the 6K video frames and then stack the frames fast. Method C in Helcion works best for me. You cannot process stacks in RAW but the quality remains high after stacking. The increase in speed outweighs the minor loss in image quality, for me.

I have also asked for some batch features for 4K and 6K videos to be added to Helicon Focus. That will speed up post processing even more.


Michael

TheDocAUS
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Post by TheDocAUS »

A short update. You can use handheld Post Focus stacking if you turn on IBIS (duh). Images are soft compared to tripod mounted stacks, but doable if no other options are available.

It seems the G9 Post Focus feature likes the number 15. The 6K videos always has a multiple of 15, often 30 and 45 frames. The closer you are to the subject, the more frames in the video.

If you are really close (lens 2cm or less than an inch away from the subject) and the subject has depth the frames can skyrocket. So far, the most is 330 frames. Over 200 frames is rare.

I have made some other observations, but need to more time to work out the details. There are limits to the technology, when close to the subject. The AF system does not appear to pick up all focus points in the frame impacting the stack – I have an idea of why.

palea
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Post by palea »

TheDocAUS wrote:That combination [Olympus 30mm with Raynox 250] gives around 6.25x (at 35mm).
Hi Michael, interesting optical solution. It's comfortably beyond what the thin lens model below predicts for the accessible range of magnifications and working distances.
Image
To the extent this model is skillful, it suggests some of the challenge might be steepness of the magnification gradient as focus changes. I'm curious if that's in the direction of your ideas or not. I don't have a Raynox 250 so can't directly validate the model but it's close to values I've measured with lower diopters on the u43 lenses I have and is consistent with posts here and the calculators at extreme-macro.co.uk.

As something of an aside, if you're wondering how the zooms produce upward curves with magnification increasing as focus distance increases the answer is focus breathing. Since lenses aren't documented with sufficient detail the model makes some guesses. It's probable the actual trajectories differ and what I've found in practice suggests magnification is more stable with focus distances in actual (thick rather than idealized as thin) macro lenses and diopters. I'm not sure about upward curves but what testing I have done suggests flat is desirable in that it produces stable object size as the focus bracket progresses. This seems to ease alignment and help somewhat in retaining input megapixels in stacked outputs.

Overall, my sense is that while Raynox indicates the 250 for use with lenses of 75+mm equivalent, it's really best suited to ~75+mm physical. That's awkward with the current selection of native u43 mount lenses. It might be possible to get a Panasonic body to post focus the Canon EF 100mm or another EF mount macro through an autofocus adapter. But I've been unable to locate any report from someone who's tried it. The Olympus 30mm breathes to 23.5mm at 1.25x so it's some distance from either form of the 75mm recommendation at close focus. The Panasonic 30mm macro is similar and the Panasonic-Leica 45mm is marginal as it's 37.5mm at 1x.
TheDocAUS wrote:The 6K videos always has a multiple of 15, often 30 and 45 frames.
My experience is 4k post focus on bodies earlier than the G9 also yields multiples of 15 frames. 30-45 frames sounds like low magnification, small aperture, or both, though. With the Panasonic-Leica 45mm I routinely get around 300 frames from post focus when approaching 1x at f/2.8 to f/4. That lens's unaided near focus limit is 150mm, so 150 - 62.5 - 19.25 = 68 mm working distance at 1x. So no need, necessarily, to approach a 2 cm distance to push up frame count.
TheDocAUS wrote:You can use handheld Post Focus stacking if you turn on IBIS
Yep. The Haseloff Lab's doing it for liverworts. I've also stacked handheld with just the OIS on the 45mm. As you've found, either approach is stressful of software frame alignment abilities unless well braced. Like you, I prefer to work from a tripod where possible. I've also used rocks or put the camera on a nodal slide and pressed that to the ground on occasion.
Last edited by palea on Sat Dec 22, 2018 10:54 am, edited 2 times in total.

TheDocAUS
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Post by TheDocAUS »

Thanks for the information. I have no adapter for say EF lens, but I do have a 100mm EF macro lens. Add to me ToDo list.

At present I am not using the Raynox 2.5x. I am using the Oly 30mm, the Panasonic 30mm and sometimes the Oly 60mm. Post Focus has become a bit of an obsession.

30 and 45 frames are most common when focusing at distance from the subject, the closer you are the more frames you get. Most rmes when close to object and the object has more depth to it. My subjects are mostly barks and leaves.

I will get around to the Raynoxes again, but I am getting decent results without them.

Great link I enjoyed looking at the macro set up.

I recently bought Sunwayfoto GH-PRO Geared Head, works great with Post Focus. Can also be used for landscape shots.

What do you think of the Panasonic for post focus use?

palea
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Post by palea »

Up to 1x I think post focus is the bomb for obtaining stacks in the field. I'd like to use it to 2.5x but it seems the optics aren't really there. Whilst the long focus range of macro lenses mitigates diopters' reduction in focus distances the thin lens model suggests the window is fairly narrow at 1.5x and close to closed at 2x. I've demonstrated post focus at 1.4x with the 100-300mm II and, whilst the 1500mm minimum focus distance forces magnification to be stable, the 27mm slab depth from close to far focus has proved restrictive. The model suggests the EF 100mm macro and Raynox 250 might offer a fairly practical 1.5x with a 32mm slab. Better, but a substantial part of the advantage I see in the 100 over the 100-300 is it's a more compact rig that's easier to obtain a collar for.

In comparison, the Laowa 60mm 2x focuses from 185mm to infinity. So the optical possibility exists should anyone ever decide to add autofocus on it.

I've looked into extension tubes and teleconverters as well but haven't identified any arrangements which look particularly promising. Not unlike substack slabbing, one can post focus a long tele in a sequence of slabs and then stack the slabs. For my fieldwork it's rare this would be feasible, though.

That's convenient having the EF 100mm macro. For EF to u43 adapters Kipon seems the only one with autofocus and without some form of speed booster. There is a v1 followed by a v2 in 2017 and multiple firmware releases so I've found it difficult to get a clear sense of what to expect in practice (Kipon also offers a non-autofocus and the Baveyes speed boosting variant).

TheDocAUS
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Post by TheDocAUS »

Thanks again. I will look at Kipon.

Any observations on the Panasonic/Leica 45mm macro lens? The only one I don't own ;)

I agree Post Focus is the way to go with in field stacking - a huge advance. So easy, so fast, so flexible.

I would love to see a new 2X macro lens, giving 4X at 35mm. Even if it meant a bigger lens.

Interesting to see how others are using the PF tech, each seems to have a slightly different approach. Which adds to the knowledge base.

palea
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Post by palea »

Panasonic tends to price Leica bits aggressively and the 45mm's no exception. Seems like the market responds by pricing used ones close to the Olympus 60mm. So, if you've a pre-IBIS Panasonic body and don't mind buying used, up to 1x it's an open tradeoff of OIS versus 20+mm more working distance and the 190-400mm option on the focus limiter. Beyond 1x the 60 probably takes diopters a bit more effectively. I use the 45mm handheld enough to find the OIS worthwhile and its working distance has been sufficient. With either of the 30mms there wouldn't be enough working distance to avoid hassles and I use f/2.8 often enough to get 1/30 for post focus that the f/3.5 of the Olympus 30mm would be noticeable.

Optically, my copy of the 45mm is nothing special. At low magnification other lenses provide preferable pixel peeping. It improves at higher magnifications but it hardly matters for fieldwork as everything's DoF limited and 4k post focus doesn't tax the optics. Someone who routinely does planar close up work could probably comment more eruditely. Robustness to flare and veiling glare is fairly average. Specular highlights are fine.

TL;DR it does the job.

TheDocAUS
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Post by TheDocAUS »

Proof you can get outstanding images hand held using Post Focus on the G9: https://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/62090097

Looks like I need to work on my hand-held technique - a lot.

gardenersassistant
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Post by gardenersassistant »

TheDocAUS wrote:Proof you can get outstanding images hand held using Post Focus on the G9: https://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/62090097

Looks like I need to work on my hand-held technique - a lot.
No you don't. :) These were "tripod assisted" - tripod used somewhat like a monopod, i.e. with hands on the camera. For rather obscure reasons I decided to keep that post very short (I tend to write rather too much for many people's taste.) I've only used this tripod assisted approach in the last couple of sessions - prior to that it was almost all hand-held (4K, with G80 and FZ330). I haven't done any like for like (hand-held vs tripod assisted) comparisons so I can't say for sure that those are any better than they would have been hand-held.
Nick

https://www.flickr.com/photos/gardeners ... ollections

Rework and reposts of my images posted in this forum are always welcome, especially if they come with an explanation of what you did and how you did it.

gardenersassistant
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Post by gardenersassistant »

Cactusdave wrote:
• I am still messing up saving the jpg in camera. I can see the stacked image in camera, but not on the card once I remove the card from the camera. I must be missing a step.
Have you managed to solve this? If not maybe a question on a G9 users' forum, or direct to Panasonic support?
David
In photo viewing mode, if you are using the view that uses the right hand part of the screen to show details of the image, use the Display button to move to one of the other views. Then press Up on the rear wheel. Then press the F1 button and choose either Auto Merging (merge everything from front to back) or range merging (you choose where to place the near and far boundaries of the in-focus area). When ready (having chosen the front and rear if appropriate) press the Menu/Set button and choose Yes from the “Merge chosen focus points...” dialog box. Wait … and wait some more … and a JPEG will be saved to the card.
Nick

https://www.flickr.com/photos/gardeners ... ollections

Rework and reposts of my images posted in this forum are always welcome, especially if they come with an explanation of what you did and how you did it.

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