Cricket

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Simonl
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Location: Nottingham
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Cricket

Post by Simonl »

Nikon D300
Sigma 105mm Macro Lens
133mm extension tubes
Manfotto Focusing rail
Nikon SB-800 + SB-600 + SB-200 Flashes
Taken in light tent at f8
82 photos stcked using Helicon Focus
Just getting used to demo of Helicon focus - seems quicker than combineZM - but not sure about results yet. Seems a little soft.

Helicon Settings - M=A_R=5_S=4

Image

jmlphoto
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Post by jmlphoto »

creepy
Jordan L. photo southern california.

rjlittlefield
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Re: Cricket

Post by rjlittlefield »

Simonl wrote:Nikon D300
Sigma 105mm Macro Lens
133mm extension tubes
Manfotto Focusing rail
Nikon SB-800 + SB-600 + SB-200 Flashes
Taken in light tent at f8
82 photos stcked using Helicon Focus
Just getting used to demo of Helicon focus - seems quicker than combineZM - but not sure about results yet. Seems a little soft.

Helicon Settings - M=A_R=5_S=4
Great lighting. This is a very deep stack -- most people don't have the courage (?) to shoot end-on and try to get both head and abdomen in sharp focus.

Regarding the sharpness, check your individual frames against the composite at actual pixels. That will tell whether the problem is in the shooting or the computing. If that Sigma 105 is the same model I have, it's not terribly sharp to start with. There's a subjective effect that in a single picture, the details look sharp because they're surrounded by blur, where in the stacked result, the same details don't look so sharp because they're surrounded by other similar details. So a lens that works fine for single-shot work may not be so good for stacking.

Another thing that might help is to play around to determine optimum aperture. I'm not very optimistic in this case because with my Sigma 105, f/8 is about as good as it gets. There is also the painful tradeoff between resolution and number of frames required -- even if the lens gets sharper when you open it up, you might not want to do that because the lesser DOF per frame will make the stack deeper.

And finally, don't forget that it's fair game to sharpen in post-processing. There is no shame in using filters like unsharp mask to help compensate for a lens whose details are soft from diffraction and aberrations.

Your observation about speed of Helicon Focus versus CombineZM is correct. If you actually put a stopwatch on them, you'll find that CZ typically takes several times longer.

There are other tradeoffs in flexibility, image quality, and ease of retouching, and these play differently for different kinds of subjects. This cricket with strong overlap but a simple smooth outline may need quite different treatment from a different subject with say strong overlapping bristles.

I notice that this image has quite a bit of halo. You might want to play around with the new Method B in Helicon Focus to see if that goes away. Some people also have success with Method A by tweaking the R and S parameters.

This is looking good -- keep clicking! :D

--Rik

Simonl
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Location: Nottingham
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Post by Simonl »

Wow, thanks for the indepth answer - much appreciated. Will run the stack again trying method B.

As for my lens - have you any knowledge of the Nikkor 105 for stack work?
I also have a 50mm 1.8 lens which I could try reverse mounting - but think I'm probably better off using extension tubes and shooting through less glass.

Once again, thanks for your time, knowledge and experience.

Regards

Simon

Dread
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Post by Dread »

I love it, this is a great photo! What Manfrotto focusing rail do you have? I haven't had much luck in my own search, but the local shop does deal with Manfrotto.

Simonl
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Location: Nottingham
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Post by Simonl »

Thanks

Using a Manfrotto 454 focus rail. Seems to do the job pretty well.

lauriek
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Post by lauriek »

Interesting shot! So much DOF I found it slightly confusing to start with!!)

I'd quite like to see a different stack of this, have you tried one with the head, or the front 1/3 of the cricket in focus and the rear out of focus? (I suspect you'd want all of those rear legs OOF)??

FYI A reversed 50/1.8 on a heap of extension works really nicely on it's own (Sweet spot usually at around f5.6)...

The only thing I would say about the 105mm lens (or rather /any/ 105mm lens) - is that to get serious magnification you generally want a shorter lens, this is because to get magnification you add extension, and you can use a lot less extension with shorter focal length lenses;

Magnification = Extension / Focal Length.

So for a 105mm lens, at 1:1 will have roughly 105mm of internal extension, to get to 2:1 you have to add another 105mm of extension. Whereas if you were to add that same 105mm of extension to say a 35mm lens, then you get 3:1. (These numbers are not exact due to complicated stuff to do with 'fixed focal length' lenses changing focal lengths at extremes of magnification - I think a lot of '105mm' macro lenses are actually nearer to 90mm when focused at 1:1)

So it's probably fine for stacking generally, but you will struggle to get to extreme magnification with it (A bellows will give you 200mm-ish of extension, which will take you to around 3:1 but past 3:1 is going to be a problem)

Having said all that, the Sigma 105mm is now pretty high on my (long) photographic gear wishlist, it looks like an ideal lens for outdoor bug macro work, a lot more working distance than my 35mm macro lens!!! ;)

Harold Gough
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Post by Harold Gough »

Simonl wrote:Thanks

Using a Manfrotto 454 focus rail. Seems to do the job pretty well.
That's encouraging news for me. When a UK dealer was moving premises, about three years ago, they gave a huge discount on some Manfrotto items. I bought the 454 rail but had somewhat moved away from macro at that time. I am now returning, having obtained more lenses and specialised flash guns. I will be using it for positioning, not for stacking but maybe someday...

The other item was a medium format tripod ballhead (#268), recommended for its function but not for its weight.

Harold
My images are a medium for sharing some of my experiences: they are not me.

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