dinsdag 24 februari 2009

Focus Stacking

One of the things wich intrigue me a lot is "focus stacking". It is a technique to solve the age old problem of limited depth of field in macro technique. In maco photography the depth of field is often extremely thin and when using large apertures and shooting objects from an angle there are always parts of the subject wich will be unsharp.

This is not always an issue as limited depth of field can provide us with gorgeous shots where for instance only the eyes of your subject are within focus. However in macro photography it is often a golden rule to get as much sharp as possible (preferebly with a soft background). The only things left to do are making sure your subject is absolutely parallel to the sensor or.....you've guessed it.....focus stacking. Ofcourse another option is to set you F-number to F32, but then you will loose that smooth backdrop.

Here's an example of a subject i photographed from an angle showing what happens when you shoot at F9 to get a soft background and as you can see due to the length of the subject you loose a lot of sharpness and detail in the further parts of this subject.

Now when i start photographing the middle and lower section of the subject in 3 more frames as shown here below we have a set to start focus stacking. Ofcourse you can stack even more images but i will start by using these 4.

The final result of stacking these images is this:

As you can clearly see the sharpness in this subject has improved a lot and a photograph comes to life wich is technically not possible but looks very good!

There are several focus stacking programs available such as CombineZM, Helocon Focus, or as i have used Photo Acute.

Give focus stacking a try and you will see that it will give you some excellent results!

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