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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Extreme Macro Focus Stacking Tutorial Part II - Calculations

This is the second part of tutorial on extreme macro focus stacking -- some basic calculation on various optical setups. Some important notes: When using infinite objectives, it is highly desirable to use a lens of which its focal length is just enough to avoid vignetting. Though this might reduce magnification and out of its design specification, the effective aperture will much larger (lower f number), thus help to avoid diffraction.

This is particularly important for APS-C sensors as diffraction will occur around f/11. Keep in mind, when using photographic lenses as tube lens, keep its aperture wide open and set focus to infinity. When extending or stacking lenses, the aperture of front lens should be set to as wide as possible so that effective aperture is large (lower f number), but some lenses start to have chromatic aberration at wide aperture, so there is balance between diffraction and chromatic aberration.

Whether reversed, extended, or stacked, the shorter the focal length of front lens (or the only lens), the easier to get higher magnification. When stacked, set both lenses to focus to infinity and keep the back lens wide open.