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First Focus Stack using automated Rail

I tried to do the real stack using the automated setup. Below is the picture of the final image. Because of the shallow depth of field, I had to do a stack of 64 images to cover the scene. This is next to impossible to do manually. To put things in perspective of the magnification, I have added a hair as well in the frame.


For the setup, I have used a reversed 50mm lens and three extension tubes. I also used a flash with diffuser triggered wirelessly. Below is the equipments used for the shoot. Tripod is not shown.



Workflow:
Typical workflow is like this.

  • Setup the camera on rail and on tripod in turn
  • Setup the subject. Put the camera in liveview. Get your composition correct by focusing at appropriate loccasion. 
  • Setup the flash. Take a trial shot. Get the exposure correct. Try to keep the flash power minimum so that the recycle time is the minimum.

  • Now it is ready to setup the stack.
  • Move the camera to each extreme from commander using buttons A and D. Identify the start and end locations and setup using buttons #B and #C.
  • Identify the step size between each step by ensuring some overlap of depth-of-field. Press button #0 to specify this.
  • Now at home page, you can see how many steps are needed for the full stack.
  • Now we are ready to start the stack.
  • Swich off the liveview.
  • Press buttons #* to start the stack.
  •  The camera will automatically move to first step, take a photo, move to next step, take photo, until it reaches the last step.
  • At any time in between, you can interrupt the sequence by pressing any key.
  • If you want to start from the interrupted location, go to the position and press #D.
For such large stacks, it's almost impossible to do it manually. The whole thing was done in 30 minutes.

I'm trying to make a demo video of this. Will share it once ready.


I would like to credit Sergey for the inspiration. Thanks Sergey for sharing the details.

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