We are a group of photography enthusiasts who are passionate about anything of photography, in particulary, water drop photography, high speed photography, and macro photography.
Our passion about photography does not stop at photographying the world, we are actively inventing, building tools to further ultilize modern technologies to explore and advance photographical techniques.
Focus stacking is a powerful method to extend depth of field by taking a series of images at different focal plane and use computer software to pick the sharpest part of each image for the final result. One way to acquire such series of images is by moving the camera towards or away from the subject (or by moving subject towards or away from the camera) so that different part of the subject will be in focus in each image. Then by applying computer algorithm, these images will be combined into one sharp image.
In order to move the camera (or the subject for that matter) and automate the process of image captures, an automated rail system is preferred method. However, current products on the market are extremely expensive and many macro photographers have to do it manually which is a tedious work to do. Besides expensive rail system, good stacking software are either expensive (but really good) or difficult to use (though free).
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If you are into macro photography, which normally means having close to 1:1 magnification, sometimes it can be prohibitive as macro lenses are very expensive, costing thousands of dollars. However, with a cheap manual extension tube, a good prime with focal length of 50mm (or less) can be very effective and with excellent results.
This video show how to convert a standard 50mm lens into a macro lens using manual extension tube. It is better to use a prime (or zoom) lens with focal length between 28mm to 50mm. Shorter focal length lenses normally have short working distance, ie, distance from lens to subject, as you increase the length of extension tube. Longer focal length lenses can be used, too, but they require longer extension tubes to achieve similar magnification.
One aspect of the video is to deal with the fact that Canon auto lenses keep aperture wide open when it is dismounted normally. The trick to set the right aperture is to press and hold the DOF preview button and then dismount the lens. Note this trick COULD be RISKY so please be cautioned, though so far, it has been done many times with many lenses without harm to camera nor lenses.