Dp3 Merrill Macro Focus Issues: Am I a dingus?

Started 3 months ago | Questions
16GreenBeans
16GreenBeans New Member • Posts: 15
Dp3 Merrill Macro Focus Issues: Am I a dingus?

Hey there,

I have a dp3 Merrill and absolutely love taking close up macro photos with it due to the high level of detail it provides. One rather annoying quirk I keep running into however is a strong falloff in focus near the far edges and/or corners of my photos.

For example, here at both the right and left ends of the image:

And here at the top right corner and bottom third of this photo below:

These photos were taken of a flat surface with the camera both on a tripod and aligned to not be on an angle. Despite this, almost every macro photo I take seems to have rather unpredictably spotty focus.

I am no pro photographer by any means, so Is this due to me just not using the proper settings or procedure when doing close-up photography? Does anyone know how I can address these issues in focus?

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Sigma DP3 Merrill
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brendanpaxton
brendanpaxton Forum Member • Posts: 68
Re: Dp3 Merrill Macro Focus Issues: Am I a dingus?
1

16GreenBeans wrote:

Hey there,

I have a dp3 Merrill and absolutely love taking close up macro photos with it due to the high level of detail it provides. One rather annoying quirk I keep running into however is a strong falloff in focus near the far edges and/or corners of my photos.

For example, here at both the right and left ends of the image:

And here at the top right corner and bottom third of this photo below:

These photos were taken of a flat surface with the camera both on a tripod and aligned to not be on an angle. Despite this, almost every macro photo I take seems to have rather unpredictably spotty focus.

I am no pro photographer by any means, so Is this due to me just not using the proper settings or procedure when doing close-up photography? Does anyone know how I can address these issues in focus?

I don't think this is user error, unless you miscalculated the surface being flat and at perfect angle. This is a typical issue you see with lenses (usually cheaper lenses), and usually at larger apertures, and also usually with wide angle lenses (edge distortion). Surprising to see at 50mm.

Since the lens is fixed on that camera, I would suggest trying different apertures on the same frame/subject to find the sweet spot of edge-to-edge image clarity. Each lens really has its own sweet spot on edge-to-edge clarity and it's never where you'd think it would be. Some lenses are sharpest at f/4, some at f/22.

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atom14
atom14 Senior Member • Posts: 2,896
Re: Dp3 Merrill Macro Focus Issues: Am I a dingus?

No, I don't think so. The focus on these does sure look off - and patchy. Sweet spots - a vagary at best - notwithstanding, that should not be happening at your f/7~8 aperture.

I don't have the camera, but others here can weigh in with advice. I suspect it's crook.

atom14.

16GreenBeans
OP 16GreenBeans New Member • Posts: 15
Re: Dp3 Merrill Macro Focus Issues: Am I a dingus?

brendanpaxton wrote:

I don't think this is user error, unless you miscalculated the surface being flat and at perfect angle. This is a typical issue you see with lenses (usually cheaper lenses), and usually at larger apertures, and also usually with wide angle lenses (edge distortion). Surprising to see at 50mm.

Since the lens is fixed on that camera, I would suggest trying different apertures on the same frame/subject to find the sweet spot of edge-to-edge image clarity. Each lens really has its own sweet spot on edge-to-edge clarity and it's never where you'd think it would be. Some lenses are sharpest at f/4, some at f/22.

Hey Brendan,

Miscalculating the angle could certainly could be the case. I took some additional macro shots to test focus and there does seem to be consistent fuzzy corners and the occasional fuzzy edge.

Here with all four corners.

And here at the top two corners, as well as the left edge.

I will certainly give your idea of running through the apertures a shot.

Best,

GB.

16GreenBeans
OP 16GreenBeans New Member • Posts: 15
Re: Dp3 Merrill Macro Focus Issues: Am I a dingus?

atom14 wrote:

No, I don't think so. The focus on these does sure look off - and patchy. Sweet spots - a vagary at best - notwithstanding, that should not be happening at your f/7~8 aperture.

I don't have the camera, but others here can weigh in with advice. I suspect it's crook.

atom14.

Hey Atom,

That could also very well be the answer as I am not the best when it comes to precision.

I took some additional test shots, showing repeat corner focus issues, in my reply to Brendan's post. I will continue to experiment just in case a solution reveals itself.

Best,

GB.

brendanpaxton
brendanpaxton Forum Member • Posts: 68
Re: Dp3 Merrill Macro Focus Issues: Am I a dingus?

atom14 wrote:

No, I don't think so. The focus on these does sure look off - and patchy. Sweet spots - a vagary at best - notwithstanding, that should not be happening at your f/7~8 aperture.

I don't have the camera, but others here can weigh in with advice. I suspect it's crook.

atom14.

Here's just a quick example I found of a 50mm lens comparison re: edge clarity performance w/aperture. (Skip to 10:25) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H_lpIwauRPI

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Tom Schum
Tom Schum Forum Pro • Posts: 12,308
Re: Dp3 Merrill Macro Focus Issues: Am I a dingus?
2

Are you using a magnifying lens on the front of your DP3M?

Hoya 58mm HMC Close-Up Filter Set II (+1, +2, and +4) A-58CUS-II (bhphotovideo.com)

Maybe the image would be more evenly focused with one of these on the front? Just a thought.

Sorry I could not find the spec for filter thread for the DP3M, not even on Sigma USA. But, you could buy an adapter ring to use the above 58mm lens set. There are quite a few similar lens sets available at B&H.

I used to have a DP3M but never used it for macro.

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DavidWright2010 Veteran Member • Posts: 3,141
This is not a good test image

16GreenBeans wrote:

brendanpaxton wrote:

I don't think this is user error, unless you miscalculated the surface being flat and at perfect angle. This is a typical issue you see with lenses (usually cheaper lenses), and usually at larger apertures, and also usually with wide angle lenses (edge distortion). Surprising to see at 50mm.

Since the lens is fixed on that camera, I would suggest trying different apertures on the same frame/subject to find the sweet spot of edge-to-edge image clarity. Each lens really has its own sweet spot on edge-to-edge clarity and it's never where you'd think it would be. Some lenses are sharpest at f/4, some at f/22.

Hey Brendan,

Miscalculating the angle could certainly could be the case. I took some additional macro shots to test focus and there does seem to be consistent fuzzy corners and the occasional fuzzy edge.

Here with all four corners.

And here at the top two corners, as well as the left edge.

I will certainly give your idea of running through the apertures a shot.

Best,

GB.

exposure of 0.6 seconds? Anything could go wrong. And it looks blurred all over.

David

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brendanpaxton
brendanpaxton Forum Member • Posts: 68
Re: This is not a good test image

DavidWright2010 wrote:

16GreenBeans wrote:

brendanpaxton wrote:

I don't think this is user error, unless you miscalculated the surface being flat and at perfect angle. This is a typical issue you see with lenses (usually cheaper lenses), and usually at larger apertures, and also usually with wide angle lenses (edge distortion). Surprising to see at 50mm.

Since the lens is fixed on that camera, I would suggest trying different apertures on the same frame/subject to find the sweet spot of edge-to-edge image clarity. Each lens really has its own sweet spot on edge-to-edge clarity and it's never where you'd think it would be. Some lenses are sharpest at f/4, some at f/22.

Hey Brendan,

Miscalculating the angle could certainly could be the case. I took some additional macro shots to test focus and there does seem to be consistent fuzzy corners and the occasional fuzzy edge.

Here with all four corners.

And here at the top two corners, as well as the left edge.

I will certainly give your idea of running through the apertures a shot.

Best,

GB.

exposure of 0.6 seconds? Anything could go wrong. And it looks blurred all over.

David

Nothing wrong with 0.6 sec, We were told the camera is on a tripod (and there is clearly no motion blur in the image).

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brendanpaxton
brendanpaxton Forum Member • Posts: 68
Re: Dp3 Merrill Macro Focus Issues: Am I a dingus?

Tom Schum wrote:

Are you using a magnifying lens on the front of your DP3M?

Hoya 58mm HMC Close-Up Filter Set II (+1, +2, and +4) A-58CUS-II (bhphotovideo.com)

Maybe the image would be more evenly focused with one of these on the front? Just a thought.

Sorry I could not find the spec for filter thread for the DP3M, not even on Sigma USA. But, you could buy an adapter ring to use the above 58mm lens set. There are quite a few similar lens sets available at B&H.

I used to have a DP3M but never used it for macro.

I second this - I didn't look up the minimum focus distance on the DP3 - 8.9". So they did leave out the details of how they were getting the macros.

@OP - any additional lensing elements added to your lens will result in poor performance like this, especially magnifying elements. Even flat, simple UV filters can mess with clarity.

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rick decker
MOD rick decker Forum Pro • Posts: 18,145
Re: Dp3 Merrill Macro Focus Issues: Am I a dingus?

The first test I would run is to get a hard-cover book with a cover that has textual detail including a variety of sizes.  Possibly a box that is flat enough.  See how the text looks across the frame.  The closer you are to minimum focus the more likely you are to see soft corners/edges.  I know that my DP3M at minimal distance, which I do not use in real life, has soft corners at times.

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DavidWright2010 Veteran Member • Posts: 3,141
Re: This is not a good test image

brendanpaxton wrote:

DavidWright2010 wrote:

16GreenBeans wrote:

brendanpaxton wrote:

I don't think this is user error, unless you miscalculated the surface being flat and at perfect angle. This is a typical issue you see with lenses (usually cheaper lenses), and usually at larger apertures, and also usually with wide angle lenses (edge distortion). Surprising to see at 50mm.

Since the lens is fixed on that camera, I would suggest trying different apertures on the same frame/subject to find the sweet spot of edge-to-edge image clarity. Each lens really has its own sweet spot on edge-to-edge clarity and it's never where you'd think it would be. Some lenses are sharpest at f/4, some at f/22.

Hey Brendan,

Miscalculating the angle could certainly could be the case. I took some additional macro shots to test focus and there does seem to be consistent fuzzy corners and the occasional fuzzy edge.

Here with all four corners.

And here at the top two corners, as well as the left edge.

I will certainly give your idea of running through the apertures a shot.

Best,

GB.

exposure of 0.6 seconds? Anything could go wrong. And it looks blurred all over.

David

Nothing wrong with 0.6 sec, We were told the camera is on a tripod (and there is clearly no motion blur in the image).

Here's a 400% crop from the center .It certainly looks blurry to me:

David

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D Cox Forum Pro • Posts: 30,237
Re: Dp3 Merrill Macro Focus Issues: Am I a dingus?

Stop down more. I generally use f/11, f/13 or f/16 for macro on the DP3M.

Check your alignment more carefully. A copy stand is easier to level than a tripod. I use a spirit level that's about 3 inches (75mm) long.

Is your subject really flat ? Are you using a close-up lens ?

Don Cox

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D Cox Forum Pro • Posts: 30,237
Re: Dp3 Merrill Macro Focus Issues: Am I a dingus?

brendanpaxton wrote:

Tom Schum wrote:

Are you using a magnifying lens on the front of your DP3M?

Hoya 58mm HMC Close-Up Filter Set II (+1, +2, and +4) A-58CUS-II (bhphotovideo.com)

Maybe the image would be more evenly focused with one of these on the front? Just a thought.

Sorry I could not find the spec for filter thread for the DP3M, not even on Sigma USA. But, you could buy an adapter ring to use the above 58mm lens set. There are quite a few similar lens sets available at B&H.

I used to have a DP3M but never used it for macro.

I second this - I didn't look up the minimum focus distance on the DP3 - 8.9". So they did leave out the details of how they were getting the macros.

@OP - any additional lensing elements added to your lens will result in poor performance like this, especially magnifying elements. Even flat, simple UV filters can mess with clarity.

The Raynox 150 and 250 give good results on the DP3M. Other close up lenses vary -- I have a Marumi that's OK. But the DP3M focusses quite closely on its own.

Don Cox

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D Cox Forum Pro • Posts: 30,237
Re: Dp3 Merrill Macro Focus Issues: Am I a dingus?

Tom Schum wrote:

Are you using a magnifying lens on the front of your DP3M?

Hoya 58mm HMC Close-Up Filter Set II (+1, +2, and +4) A-58CUS-II (bhphotovideo.com)

Maybe the image would be more evenly focused with one of these on the front? Just a thought.

I think those Hoya lenses are single-element, so they will not give critically sharp images. There is likely to be chromatic aberration.

Sorry I could not find the spec for filter thread for the DP3M, not even on Sigma USA. But, you could buy an adapter ring to use the above 58mm lens set. There are quite a few similar lens sets available at B&H.

It's 52mm.

I used to have a DP3M but never used it for macro.

Don

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brendanpaxton
brendanpaxton Forum Member • Posts: 68
Re: This is not a good test image

DavidWright2010 wrote:

brendanpaxton wrote:

DavidWright2010 wrote:

exposure of 0.6 seconds? Anything could go wrong. And it looks blurred all over.

David

Nothing wrong with 0.6 sec, We were told the camera is on a tripod (and there is clearly no motion blur in the image).

Here's a 400% crop from the center .It certainly looks blurry to me:

David

Anything will look blurry at 400% crop.  But this is a good example to show there's no motion blur, as each thread is ghosting in different directions. Check the bottom of the image, it's pretty sharp. It's a lens issue, not a shutter speed issue.

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xpatUSA
xpatUSA Forum Pro • Posts: 20,719
Re: This is not a good test image

brendanpaxton wrote:

DavidWright2010 wrote:

brendanpaxton wrote:

DavidWright2010 wrote:

exposure of 0.6 seconds? Anything could go wrong. And it looks blurred all over.

David

Nothing wrong with 0.6 sec, We were told the camera is on a tripod (and there is clearly no motion blur in the image).

Here's a 400% crop from the center .It certainly looks blurry to me:

David

Anything will look blurry at 400% crop.

I disagree.

David's zoom above is not smoothed; therefore the blur is in the capture and was not caused by the 400% zoom.

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brendanpaxton
brendanpaxton Forum Member • Posts: 68
Re: This is not a good test image

xpatUSA wrote:

brendanpaxton wrote:

DavidWright2010 wrote:

brendanpaxton wrote:

DavidWright2010 wrote:

exposure of 0.6 seconds? Anything could go wrong. And it looks blurred all over.

David

Nothing wrong with 0.6 sec, We were told the camera is on a tripod (and there is clearly no motion blur in the image).

Here's a 400% crop from the center .It certainly looks blurry to me:

David

Anything will look blurry at 400% crop.

I disagree.

David's zoom above is not smoothed; therefore the blur is in the capture and was not caused by the 400% zoom.

Creating pixels out of thin air where there were none (zooming to 4x the data's resolution, i.e. upscaling by 4x) requires extrapolation of data. The result will always appear blurred. Blurring (i.e. averaging of neighboring points) is inherent to any interpolation or extrapolation process.

The OP's image is sharp in the bottom of the frame. And there is no >>motion<< blur in the image.

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DavidWright2010 Veteran Member • Posts: 3,141
Re: This is not a good test image

brendanpaxton wrote:

Anything will look blurry at 400% crop. But this is a good example to show there's no motion blur, as each thread is ghosting in different directions. Check the bottom of the image, it's pretty sharp. It's a lens issue, not a shutter speed issue.

As Ted pointed out, you misunderstood my example. There was no resampling, and at 400% I would expect to see pixels, like in this 400% crop of a flower bud:

(This is the 100% crop:)

The OP's image has plenty of fibers in it, I'd expect to see  them 1 pixel wide, but they aren't.

Right now I'm leaning toward operator error,, but as I said originally, a 0,6 sec exposure is not the way to test  that.

David

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16GreenBeans
OP 16GreenBeans New Member • Posts: 15
Re: Dp3 Merrill Macro Focus Issues: Am I a dingus?

rick decker wrote:

The first test I would run is to get a hard-cover book with a cover that has textual detail including a variety of sizes. Possibly a box that is flat enough. See how the text looks across the frame. The closer you are to minimum focus the more likely you are to see soft corners/edges. I know that my DP3M at minimal distance, which I do not use in real life, has soft corners at times.

Hey Rick,

I followed out your idea for a test using two hardcover books I had lying around with good textured covers.

For note, I am not using any macro/close up lens filters and am only using a tripod with a built in spirit level. This test was done with each book flat against a wall.

Here at the righthand corners and bottom left corner.

And here at each corner as well.

From your own personal experience, the constant presence of soft corners may unfortunately be the case with my Merrill as well.

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