16-shot pixel shift shooting -- Unusable gimmic?

Started 5 months ago | Discussions thread
Beatsy Senior Member • Posts: 1,135
Re: 16-shot pixel shift shooting -- Unusable gimmic?

I wouldn't say it's a gimmick, but pixel shift *is* only useful in very controlled (studio) settings IMO.

The key to success, (as in getting repeatably improved results with it), is stability and no subject movement. You need a very stable setup that's free from vibration, especially if working at high magnifications. My first test was done using a Sony 90mm G macro at near 1:1 on a rail and optical bench like this (archive shot because this setup changes near-daily). The rail is on the left.

Test subject was a silicon chip wafer placed face on to the lens. Full frame FoV was this (just a converted RAW here, not pixel shifted).

I shot a single ARW, a 4-shot pixel shift and 16-shot version and overlaid them to show the differences. A crop of one die is 42Mb - so here's a 100% crop from the centre. You should be able to figure out what's what from the partial labels. Top left one says "240MP..." and the other two images were upscaled to the same size as the 240Mpix one for compositing).

As you can see - definite improvements in sharpness, colour and resolution. In controlled conditions.

I rarely use the 16-shot shift, but the 4-shot version is fantastic for getting better colour resolution (and therefore better resolution in general) in a photomicrography setting. I use it very often there.

Edit: Forgot to say that I see no point using pixel-shift for landscape or handheld. Too many things to fail and they nearly always do. Much easier to take a nine-shot pano with a longer FL lens (on a pano head, preferably) and get the resolution that way.

 Beatsy's gear list:Beatsy's gear list
Sony a7R II Sony a9 Sony a7R IV Sony a1 Canon MP-E 65mm f/2.5 1-5x Macro +16 more
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