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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Macro Talk 
Thread started 15 Feb 2018 (Thursday) 07:12
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Hand held image stacking

 
fordmondeo
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Feb 15, 2018 07:12 |  #1

Hello.

I have been holding off on buying an MPE-65 for years now as it's a specialist lens.

In short, I have the 100L macro and struggle to get sufficient DOF even with that, the MPE-65 at greater than 1X magnification has even less.
So, I'm reading here about people creating stacks hand held. Anyone want to share the technique?


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gjl711
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Feb 15, 2018 08:22 |  #2

Hand stacking with the MPE is going to be near impossible. I've done so with the 100 macro but forget about stacks greater than a few frames. Stacking a flower to get greater DOF is one thing, hand stacking at minimum focus distance even with the 100mm is difficult to say the least.

What I have done in certain situations where there is a lot of light so flash is not needed is to put the camera in rapid fire mode, frame the image and focus, and let it rip while rocking in. You'll get a few frames a few millimeters apart for the stack.

One question though, why the aversion to using a tripod and focus rail?


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davholla
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Feb 15, 2018 08:22 |  #3

Here is a video - saying that I find this technique quite tricky
https://www.youtube.co​m/watch?v=8W_9m0nBFCk (external link)

I just make sure that it is supported and go back slowly. I use a flash as that way I can use e.g f 7 so, if the stack is stopped I can still get a half decent photo.




  
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LordV
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Feb 15, 2018 09:42 |  #4

Easiest way to do this with the MPE-65 is if the subject is on a hard surface that you can rest your hand on. You can then rest the lens on the hand on the surface and get fine control of focus and focus increments by moving the camera forward (or backwards). Some what harder is to hold part of the plant the flower or insect is on and again rest the lens on the same hand. With a lot of practice you can get used to shooting at 5:1 like this.
I do a lot of focus stacking and very rarely use a tripod and never a focus rail.

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Feb 15, 2018 10:11 |  #5

I have a lot of respect for those who can do hand-held focus stacking with the 65mm MPE. I have had little luck myself - the 65mm is just a hard lens to use. It's hard to find the subject at 1:1 let alone at higher magnifications, and it is easy to disturb the scene with the diffuser sticking out. There certainly are possibilities depending on the situation - I have to practice more.

For hand-held shooting I almost always use the 100mm L instead. With a 20mm extension tube I can get to around 1.2X max, not too bad. And I can find the critter much more easily because I can start quite far out and 'zoom' in. There is more working distance with the 100 and that helps. Even so, hand-held stacking is hard with this rig too.

When I do hand-held stacking, I have to do manual editing of the image to fix problems.


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racketman
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Post edited 6 months ago by racketman.
     
Feb 15, 2018 15:07 |  #6

with your 100L you can get DOF by shooting at high speed while adjusting focus (Hyper focus stack).

this was 7 shots at f5 taken at 7fps

IMAGE: https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3895/18218379184_87f9520b3a_b.jpg
IMAGE LINK: https://flic.kr/p/tKTX​pW  (external link) 2015-06-15 Crab spider with damsel prey (external link) by tobyjug5 (external link), on Flickr

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Feb 15, 2018 15:12 |  #7

racketman wrote in post #18564590 (external link)
with your 100L you can get DOF by shooting at high speed while adjusting focus (Hyper focus stack).

this was 7 shots at f5 taken at 7fps
QUOTED IMAGE
IMAGE LINK: https://flic.kr/p/tKTX​pW  (external link) 2015-06-15 Crab spider with damsel prey (external link) by tobyjug5 (external link), on Flickr

That's a great shot!


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davholla
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Feb 15, 2018 15:53 |  #8

racketman wrote in post #18564590 (external link)
with your 100L you can get DOF by shooting at high speed while adjusting focus (Hyper focus stack).

this was 7 shots at f5 taken at 7fps
QUOTED IMAGE
IMAGE LINK: https://flic.kr/p/tKTX​pW  (external link) 2015-06-15 Crab spider with damsel prey (external link) by tobyjug5 (external link), on Flickr

Do you do that with raw or jpeg? Also do you use flash?




  
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fordmondeo
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Feb 16, 2018 01:26 |  #9

gjl711 wrote in post #18564287 (external link)
Hand stacking with the MPE is going to be near impossible. I've done so with the 100 macro but forget about stacks greater than a few frames. Stacking a flower to get greater DOF is one thing, hand stacking at minimum focus distance even with the 100mm is difficult to say the least.

What I have done in certain situations where there is a lot of light so flash is not needed is to put the camera in rapid fire mode, frame the image and focus, and let it rip while rocking in. You'll get a few frames a few millimeters apart for the stack.

One question though, why the aversion to using a tripod and focus rail?

I'm old and creaky.
I find tripods heavy and unwieldy plus I'd have to use focus shift as opposed to moving the camera.
Without investing in a quality geared head I find it frustrating setting the head only to have it move when locking.

Also, a lot of the time, bugs are in inaccessible places where tripods are just a pain.


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racketman
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Feb 18, 2018 07:24 as a reply to  @ davholla's post |  #10

RAW or Jpeg, only done it with natural light, not a big fan of flash and stacking is often the only reasonable way to use available light.


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Dalantech
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Mar 06, 2018 07:50 |  #11

If your only concern is depth, and not detail, then you can look for "magic angles" that make the most out of what little depth is in a scene. I've been shooting single frames above 1x for years and rarely do I run into a situation where having more depth would have made an image better. I took this one at F11 and 3x, and there are many more examples in my Flickr gallery:

IMAGE: https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4714/26003836938_52b1e258f6_z.jpg
IMAGE LINK: https://flic.kr/p/FBSs​Lb  (external link) Mason Bee VII (external link) by John Kimbler (external link), on Flickr

All technique just comes down to muscle memory and mechanics -skill, but not talent. If I can do it anyone can.

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Pigpen101
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Aug 11, 2018 17:51 as a reply to  @ Dalantech's post |  #12

These handheld, stacked images are amazing! I just don't see how you guys can get that close to a subject without scaring them off!!??




  
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Michael456
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Aug 13, 2018 01:11 |  #13

Pigpen101 wrote in post #18682371 (external link)
These handheld, stacked images are amazing! I just don't see how you guys can get that close to a subject without scaring them off!!??

Insects don't like fast/sudden movements. If you can avoid that (i.e. if you approach them slowly and carefully) then most insects will let you get as close as you want.




  
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Hand held image stacking
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