Macro Focus Stacking

Started Apr 8, 2013 | Discussions thread
rgolub Senior Member • Posts: 2,061
Re: Macro Focus Stacking

Purists will tell you to use a focus rail instead of the focus ring.  It does make a difference at time - mostly with 'larger' shots (big flowers, more closeups than true macro) or if you rig the shot to use lots of slices.

However, many times it's a toss up - the magnification change is very, very small with small camera movements and the software can compensate for it.  Moving a focus rail entails moving more mass (the entire camera / lens / rail) and so really requires a steady tripod.  That's not always possible outside of a studio.  Soft ground / snow / smaller tripod (because you are carrying one 5 miles in) makes it impossible to keep the system absolutely stable.

Furthermore, moving the rail automatically is a much more involved process than moving the focus ring.  There is a device that puts a small motor on a focusing rail, but it's expensive and clumsy and needs a 12 volt battery.  I'm carrying enough in the field, thankyouverymuch, not to want to drag a car battery as well.  With an iPad mini and a , I've got a 600 gram device that does hands off focus stacking in the field with incredible results.  Just the jostling of the system as you manually turn the lens can cause image degradation.  Doing it hands off is much better from a number of angles.  Less movement, less mud on the clothes, less back strain from hunching down.  Using an automatic system by controlling the focus ring also allows you to create software that controls the rest of the camera simultaneously (like the Helicon Focus Andriod app and the CamRanger) - very slick.

Say goodbye to your spare cash....

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