In general I've been disappointed with the quality of some, many really, of the stacked macro photos I've taken. The main difficulty being changing the focus by minute amounts between shots. Last week I spotted an article on the DIYPhotography web site which explained a system for automatically moving the photographic subject for each shot. I though to myself I could do something like that so I have been in Heath Robinson mode for the past three days and came up with this:
Canon 350D, cheap Chinese bellows, s/h Super Takumar 1:2 55mm lens.
On the piece of wood:
Stripped computer DVD player keeping the stepper motor and laser carrier. (Sprig of Heather mounted in pink Blu Tack) On the right - relay to fire the camera.
Breadboard with Arduino Nano (left) pulsing a stepper motor driver (centre) and the camera relay.
On the right the 5V regulated power supply.
This photo of one heather flower is built from 59 stacked photos processed with CombineZP.
As I have the Arduino Nano programmed at the moment it moves the subject one step, waits for vibration to settle, fires the camera, waits one second and then repeats the process. This it does 25 or 50 times depending on the position of one of the switches. If more photos are needed I push the reset button to carry the process on again. On my calculation each step is 0.15mm.
This time I am pleased with the result though it takes CombineZP quite a while to process all the shots - worth the wait though.
After thinking about increasing the sharpness of the resulting stacked photo I took a series in RAW. CombineZP doesn't accept RAW so I converted them all to BMP which CombineZP can work with. It was much faster processing the 69 shots in this stack and with a bit of processing in PaintshopPro to add more contrast this was the result: Full frame with no cropping. I also increased the time from moving the subject to taking the shot to 1.5 seconds to allow vibrations to settle down.
I think I will be satisfied with that, for now.
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