Depth of Field Preview feature ?

Started Jul 16, 2013 | Discussions thread
Leonard Migliore
Leonard Migliore Forum Pro • Posts: 16,220
Focus stacking

will222 wrote:

sshoihet wrote:

Macro work doesn't make up a huge part of what I shoot but I rarely shoot smaller than f/11 and focus stacking works well for the majority of what I do.

Could someone describe what focus stacking is, and what you use it for. What do you see in your subject that leads you to say, "this is a candidate for focus stacking" and what changes in the final image?

Also, is focus stacking different from focus bracketing?

When you shoot macro, you typically get very shallow depth of field. If your subject isn't flat, you can't get it all in focus. If you stop down to increase the depth of field, you lose sharpness from diffraction.

One way to get around this, at least for stuff that's not moving, is to take a number of pictures that are focused all the way from the back of the subject to the front. You can then combine these pictures (using Photoshop or any of a number of specialized programs) to create an image where everything is in focus. That's focus stacking. Here's an example:

Lens focused on single plane, f/3.5

So some of the image is sharp but most of it is out of focus. Since I'm interested in what the soldering looks like, it's not a useful picture.

Lens focused on single plane, f/16

Now if I stop down (it says f/16 but Canon doesn't report effective aperture like Nikon; it's more like f/45) the whole part is in focus but it's all fuzzy from diffraction.

10 stacked images, f/3.5

But if I take a bunch of pictures and move the camera 100 microns between shots, I can combine them in Photoshop and get everything sharp.

I'm not sure what focus bracketing is but it sounds like you take several pictures with different focus settings and picking the one you like.

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Leonard Migliore

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