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Focus stacking attempt
Posted By: simon_199, 10-10-2015, 11:35 AM

Hello,

i wanted to share my recent experience. I rediscovered this accessory, the "Panagor auto macro converter"
PANAGOR AUTO MACRO CONVERTER reviews - Pentax Camera Accessory Review Database
that is probably also sold with other names.

Since i acquired my macro lenses i hardly used it, until a couple of days ago i tried to put the DFA 50mm macro on it, and to my surprise i discovered that the combination of the teleconverter fully extended provides roughly a 3:1 reproduction ratio with a very decent working distance of 2-3cm , not much less than the macro lens used alone.

I arranged a quick and dirty tabletop setup with my tripod, a diffused powerful led light, a cable release and tested the combination with some pretty decent results. I also noticed that the depth of field provided was broader than i expected, shooting with the DFA at f5.6 provided the best sharpness, with a very rapid decrease at other fstops.

Came back after lunch and found a common fly dead on my desk...decided to try a focus stack.

It's interesting that if you operate on the focusing ring of the teleconverter, with the macro lens at 1:1, the focus plane shifts without almost any change in magnification (on the contrary, when i tried to do focus stacking with the DFA alone, the magnification varied substantially, i guess it depends on the optical design and the way it achieves focusing).

So i think this system can be a nice alternative to dedicated macro rails if you are on a budget, and can get your conventional 1:1 lens into extreme macro territory with little effort. It is rather short, probably around 50mm, and if i am not mistaken with an hollow extension tube of the same length one should achieve "only" 2:1 magnification with a 50mm lens capable of 1:1 .


The results ?


This is a focus stack of 25 shots taken at f5.6 and stacked with the trial version of Zerene Stacker...tried to use the open source combination enfuse+align_image_stack but the result was orders of magnitude worse. In the past i had obtained very good result from enfuse but i was stacking 3-4 shots max.

Of course i've seen much better shots around, but i dare to say i'm pretty impressed by the output. I encourage you to look at full res for the best view
...and to consider this inexpensive piece of equipment as a possible answer to the ever recurring question : "How do i go beyond 1:1 ? "




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10-10-2015, 01:33 PM   #2
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Quite impressive! I find that Zerene Stacker usually does a great job.
10-10-2015, 02:23 PM   #3
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AAAargh, I was not prepared for that extreme closeup when I scrolled down. Nearly had a heart attack.
That is to say, great work
10-10-2015, 02:44 PM   #4
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Indeed the close-up can be a little bit frightening, i should have put a warning in the title :P

Thanks for the appreciation !

10-10-2015, 05:39 PM   #5
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Nice! I tried the trial Zerene and was impressed.
10-10-2015, 10:27 PM   #6
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That's one evil looking fly! Nice work.
10-10-2015, 10:29 PM   #7
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Nicely done!
10-11-2015, 11:56 AM   #8
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Dude, I am impressed and now want to try the technique.

10-12-2015, 07:04 AM   #9
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I experimented with various software on the same stack of images. Actually there are lots of free pieces of software capable of doing the stacking and/or alignment, for example

Enfuse, ImageJ (Fiji which is just imagej packaged with a lot of plugins), Picolay, CombineZP to name a few...also tried Helicon Focus which is a commercial software with a free trial period like Zerene stacker.


The best to me all things considered is Zerene by a very large margin, it's impressively fast, has an intuitive interface, offers very handy features...but it has a price tag :P

I tried different techniques and combinations using all this software, including doing sub-stacks with different settings...and got mixed result.

However...i have found that Fiji (imagej) is very handy for aligning as it has a nice feature to display , and is also reasonably fast. I then used CombineZP, in particular the "Pyramid maximum contrast" method to stack the aligned frames. From what i have read, it should be very similar to the Pyramid algorithm in Zerene stacker.

I think the result of this combination are almost on par with the first attempt, you can download full res here. Notice that the overall result is a little bit different because i also re-processed the input files.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/135666165@N03/shares/hbJhqF
12-28-2017, 08:52 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by simon_199 Quote
Hello,

i wanted to share my recent experience. I rediscovered this accessory, the "Panagor auto macro converter"
PANAGOR AUTO MACRO CONVERTER reviews - Pentax Camera Accessory Review Database
that is probably also sold with other names.

Since i acquired my macro lenses i hardly used it, until a couple of days ago i tried to put the DFA 50mm macro on it, and to my surprise i discovered that the combination of the teleconverter fully extended provides roughly a 3:1 reproduction ratio with a very decent working distance of 2-3cm , not much less than the macro lens used alone.

I arranged a quick and dirty tabletop setup with my tripod, a diffused powerful led light, a cable release and tested the combination with some pretty decent results. I also noticed that the depth of field provided was broader than i expected, shooting with the DFA at f5.6 provided the best sharpness, with a very rapid decrease at other fstops.

Came back after lunch and found a common fly dead on my desk...decided to try a focus stack.

It's interesting that if you operate on the focusing ring of the teleconverter, with the macro lens at 1:1, the focus plane shifts without almost any change in magnification (on the contrary, when i tried to do focus stacking with the DFA alone, the magnification varied substantially, i guess it depends on the optical design and the way it achieves focusing).

So i think this system can be a nice alternative to dedicated macro rails if you are on a budget, and can get your conventional 1:1 lens into extreme macro territory with little effort. It is rather short, probably around 50mm, and if i am not mistaken with an hollow extension tube of the same length one should achieve "only" 2:1 magnification with a 50mm lens capable of 1:1 .


The results ?


This is a focus stack of 25 shots taken at f5.6 and stacked with the trial version of Zerene Stacker...tried to use the open source combination enfuse+align_image_stack but the result was orders of magnitude worse. In the past i had obtained very good result from enfuse but i was stacking 3-4 shots max.

Of course i've seen much better shots around, but i dare to say i'm pretty impressed by the output. I encourage you to look at full res for the best view
...and to consider this inexpensive piece of equipment as a possible answer to the ever recurring question : "How do i go beyond 1:1 ? "



That's some really impressive detail!

Adam
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