Amazing sharp flower stack at 12 ft working distance

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LVF
Posts: 66
Joined: Sun Apr 23, 2017 4:17 pm
Location: Sequim, Washington

Amazing sharp flower stack at 12 ft working distance

Post by LVF »

To continue my learning how to perform photo stacking using Photoshop CS6, I decided to try and stack photos of my wife's Mothers Day bouquet of flowers.

I photographed the flowers with the Nikkor 300mm f/4E PF lens mounted on a Nikon D500 camera. The bouquet of flowers was 12 inches wide, so I had to place the front of the 300mm lens 12 feet from the flowers to have all of the flowers in view.

I mounted the camera on a tripod and used live view to manually focus the flowers. I turned the lens focus ring clockwise in small increments to take 8 photos of the flowers, starting with the front of the bouquet. I use the Nikon MC-36 cable release to fire the shutter, but waited a few seconds after turning the lens to reduce vibration. The camera was set at ISO 800, shutter speed at 1/100 second, and the lens at f/4.

Here is the first photo showing the front green flower just about in focus:

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Here is the next to last photo showing the top orange Gerbera Daisy just about going out of focus:

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Here is the final stack of 8 photos processed in Photoshop CS6:

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The final stack is looking very good. This stack was taken 12 feet from the flowers yet, at closer view, I see some inner flower structure in some of the flowers. Lets take a closer view.

Here is a 2 times magnification of the right side of the bouquet:

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Sure enough, I see the banana-like florets of the daisies. Lets take a closer look.

Here is a 4 times magnification of the daisies:

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Here is another view at 4 times magnification:

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And another view at 4 times magnification:

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Those banana-like rods around the center disk of the daisies are the trans florets. And around those are the ray florets.

This stack was taken 12 feet from in front of the 300mm f/4E PF lens!

I have to put on my reading glasses and hold these daisies 6 inches from my eyes to clearly see the individual florets. Yet, this lens clearly shows each floret at 12 feet, and the Nikon D500 camera sensor, which is 12 feet 8 inches from the daisies, records each floret! Just amazing!

Just for the heck of it, here are a couple of 8 times magnifications:

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All of these magnifications were produced by cropping the original stacked photo in Photoshop CS6, then increasing the cropped image back to the stacked photo original size.

I do not believe I should do any more increased magnifications, otherwise, the photos might be getting pixelated. At 8 times magnification the long side of the photo is 696 pixels, and these are increased back to 5568 pixels. A 16 times mag. it would be 348 pixels, that would be to much.

Leon
Last edited by LVF on Thu May 18, 2017 8:29 am, edited 1 time in total.

billjanes1
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Joined: Fri Dec 30, 2016 1:59 pm
Location: Lake Forest, IL, USA

Re: Amazing sharp flower stack at 12 ft working distance

Post by billjanes1 »

LVF wrote:To continue my learning how to perform photo stacking using Photoshop CS6, I decided to try and stack photos of my wife's Memorial Day bouquet of flowers.

I photographed the flowers with the Nikkor 300mm f/4E PF lens mounted on a Nikon D500 camera. The bouquet of flowers was 12 inches wide, so I had to place the front of the 300mm lens 12 feet from the flowers to have all of the flowers in view.

Leon
Your telephoto lens appears quite sharp at close focusing distances, which is not always the case with long lenses. The stack turned out quite well. For focus stacking, a long lens has some advantages, since changes in perspective and magnification are minimized as compared to shorter focal lengths.

Zerene Stacker is the preferred stacking program on this forum, but Photoshop works quite well with non-challenging stacks.

Bill

JohnyM
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Joined: Tue Dec 24, 2013 7:02 am

Post by JohnyM »

I very much like your results and that amazing working distance! But i also think You've oversharpened with too big radius OR used too much noise reduction hence those artefacts when you crop close. I find that in case of my camera, absolute max iso i want for stack is 200.

Also background is very distracting, as it have some weird in focus areas. I like to retouch background with last frame of stack or use gaussian blur mask to get rid of it. It's time consuming, but effect is worth it.
With gaussian blur i usually do this 2 times. First slight blur, so i can brush over subject. Then stronger blur, so i can get nice creamy background, and noise transition from subject to background ain't that obvious.

LVF
Posts: 66
Joined: Sun Apr 23, 2017 4:17 pm
Location: Sequim, Washington

Billjanes and JohnyM

Post by LVF »

In regards to the background. It was a black photographic fabric backdrop. What you are seeing on the left of the flowers is a fold in the fabric that I did not see due to concentrating on the bouquet of flowers. So the Ott Lamp I used to illuminate the flowers was shinning off the fold. At this point in learning stacking, I am not worried about the background.

The reason I used ISO 800 is because the Ott Lamp I was using to illuminate the flowers, was not bright enough to use ISO 100, my preferred ISO. The Nikon D500 camera is really excellent at higher ISO's than 800, so I was not worried about the little noise present at ISO 800 since it cleans up nicely in Camera Raw.

I did what little noise reduction in Camera Raw was required. I did some luminance reduction and color reduction; what little noise there was on the petals cleaned up very nicely.

The sharpening was done in Camera Raw CS6 at 100% view with a radius of 1.0. I sharpen at 100% to the point that there were no halos around the petals and the flowers look good at 100%. I did not sharpen for 400% and 800% view.

I believe I am making a mistake showing magnification of the stacked photos. I thought members would be interested in seeing how sharp this lens is with the Nikon D500 camera. But I have been critiqued only on the magnified views and not the actual photo itself. So I will stop showing the magnified views.

Billjanes, I did not realize that this forum prefers only Zerene Stacker photos and not photos stacked by other programs. Therefore, I will not post anymore stacks until I learn Zerene Stacker.

A member of Nikonians, which I am a member, suggested that I post here because he thought your members would be interested in knowing how sharp this lens is at 4, 6, and 12 feet working distance.

I am off to learn Zerene Stacker.

Leon

rjlittlefield
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Re: Billjanes and JohnyM

Post by rjlittlefield »

LVF wrote:Billjanes, I did not realize that this forum prefers only Zerene Stacker photos and not photos stacked by other programs. Therefore, I will not post anymore stacks until I learn Zerene Stacker.
Your interpretation of Bill's comment is not correct. Images from all stacking programs are welcome here.

I believe that Bill's point was only to emphasize what we have discussed elsewhere, that Photoshop works well in some cases, not so well in others, and that in case of difficulties it is a good idea to try one of the specialist stacking programs.

--Rik

billjanes1
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Joined: Fri Dec 30, 2016 1:59 pm
Location: Lake Forest, IL, USA

Re: Billjanes and JohnyM

Post by billjanes1 »

LVF wrote: Billjanes, I did not realize that this forum prefers only Zerene Stacker photos and not photos stacked by other programs. Therefore, I will not post anymore stacks until I learn Zerene Stacker.

I am off to learn Zerene Stacker.

Leon
Leon,

I am sorry that I gave you the wrong impression and am glad that Rik clarified the issue. By preferred, I meant that the majority of the high end posters on this forum seem to be using Zerene and others use Helicon Focus. Both are excellent and have free trial versions. When you start to see artifacts that are not easily corrected in your Photoshop stacks or are interested in getting into stacking in a big way, it is time to try one of the specialist programs as Rik suggests.

Helicon is quite fast, whereas Zerine is often preferred for deep stacks.

Bill

rjlittlefield
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Re: Billjanes and JohnyM

Post by rjlittlefield »

LVF wrote:I believe I am making a mistake showing magnification of the stacked photos. I thought members would be interested in seeing how sharp this lens is with the Nikon D500 camera. But I have been critiqued only on the magnified views and not the actual photo itself. So I will stop showing the magnified views.
If you want people to take you seriously about sharpness, then you have to show a closer view than the entire image downsized to fit 1024 pixels.

But the closer views that you've been showing are not the right approach.

The best way to make the argument is to show us actual pixels.

When we say "actual pixels", or sometimes "100% crop", what we mean is equivalent to cropping a piece of the original image to (say) 1024 pixels wide, then uploading that piece to the forum, to be displayed without any resizing.

Until this thread, it has not been clear to me what your various "magnified" views really are.

Now, because of discussion in this thread, I realize that your "8 times magnifications" actually consist of 696 pixels wide in your original image, resized larger to display as 1024 pixels in the forum.

We might describe that as a "roughly 150% view" (because 1024/696=147.1%), but most likely we would never show that view at all because enlarging images by non-integer ratios always introduces strange effects.

For future postings, I recommend showing "actual pixels", as described above.

--Rik

LVF
Posts: 66
Joined: Sun Apr 23, 2017 4:17 pm
Location: Sequim, Washington

rik

Post by LVF »

Thank you for your explanation. I will be careful with future posting. The sun is finally out here in Sequim, Washington, so I will go outside and photograph my flowering rodies.

Leon

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