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5 Days Ago   #1
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Focus stacking for landscapes etc

I have a K-5 and a variety of mostly manual lenses and I am interested in focus stacking for outdoor scenes.

I have read about changing focus points between shots and about manually turning the focus but I expect there would be movement issues with both.

So I am considering making a motor mechanism to manually turn the focus ring between shots. Any comments please?

john

5 Days Ago   #2
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With a sturdy tripod and some care, there is no reason why manual focusing would cause significant movement. Anyway, aligning the images is a standard part of the focus stacking process.

What I'm not clear on is why would need focus stacking on landscapes?
4 Days Ago   #3
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To get very close foreground and distant background in focus in the same shot without having to really stop down.
4 Days Ago - 1 Like   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by John Hill Quote
So I am considering making a motor mechanism to manually turn the focus ring between shots. Any comments please?
Some dedicated extreme-macro photographers use a motor-driven system for stacking (moving the camera rather than the focus ring), but only because precise adjustments and up to many hundreds of exposures may be needed for a single stack. For landscapes you only need a handful of exposures, and as victormeldrew points out, if you are using stacking software the alignment is taken care of -- shooting handheld is very reasonable.

I've done some landscape stacks but quickly learned that I don't like the results, which I find artificial-looking. (Macro is another story.) YM, as they say, MV.



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QuoteOriginally posted by John Hill Quote
So I am considering making a motor mechanism to manually turn the focus ring between shots. Any comments please?
Not that a motor mechanism wouldn't be cool, but have you tried stacking by manually turning the ring by hand? I haven't had any issues manually turning the ring for closeups in the 1.5x magnification range, landscapes should be more tolerant. Some crazy people even handhold insect photos for stacking at much higher magnifications by moving their bodies forward and back.

I can't see it being a problem for landscapes unless you go out of your way to be ham handed.

Last edited by BrianR; 4 Days Ago at 10:34 AM.
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The topic of focus stacking will draw the attention of macro photogs, but if you're interested in stacking for landscapes, then I'd recommend having a look at Thomas Heaton's videos on that topic.


and

4 Days Ago - 1 Like   #7
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The main motivation of this idea is the actual making of the motorized device and seeing that no one has said it is a 'bad idea' I may go ahead with it!

thanks
John
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QuoteOriginally posted by John Hill Quote
The main motivation of this idea is the actual making of the motorized device and seeing that no one has said it is a 'bad idea' I may go ahead with it!
It's a great idea, just not necessarily needed for this application.

If you're looking for encouragement for your device, you've got it from me! I've been meaning to make a similar device for the zoom ring to get controlled and consistent zooming during exposures, so I'd love to see the finished product when you get there..

4 Days Ago   #9
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Hi Brian

This is a manual version of what I have in mind..









Trigger for shutter release and the front handle moves the focus, I assume you could do something similar with the zoom.
3 Days Ago - 1 Like   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by John Hill Quote
I have a K-5 and a variety of mostly manual lenses and I am interested in focus stacking for outdoor scenes.

I have read about changing focus points between shots and about manually turning the focus but I expect there would be movement issues with both.

So I am considering making a motor mechanism to manually turn the focus ring between shots. Any comments please?

john
Buy a solid tripod instead. I routinely do focus stacks of 15 it more images and have never had an issue with camera movement.
It is impossible to get away from minor magnification differences caused by refocusing, and it is preferable to use a focus rail rather than the focus ring if your work turns towards macro, but in general landscape photography, any decent stacking software will take minute alignment and magnification issues into account.
You don't have a bad idea, merely a useless one. You are looking for a solution to a problem that doesn't exist.

---------- Post added 02-13-19 at 08:41 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by victormeldrew Quote
With a sturdy tripod and some care, there is no reason why manual focusing would cause significant movement. Anyway, aligning the images is a standard part of the focus stacking process.

What I'm not clear on is why would need focus stacking on landscapes?
Unless one is using a view camera which allows altering the camera geometry to control depth of field, it can be very very impossible to get some sufficient depth of field even from an aps-c camera on a single exposure.
I can get more depth of field from my 4x5 than from my k3.

Last edited by Wheatfield; 3 Days Ago at 07:43 AM.
3 Days Ago   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wheatfield Quote
it can be very very impossible to get some sufficient depth of field even from an aps-c camera on a single exposure.
I can get more depth of field from my 4x5 than from my k3.
Is that like being very very dead?
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John Hill's manual focuser looks great. He did a fantastic job in putting it together.

You can also do an electronic/mechanical version by using a geared rubber belt and a stepper motor with a gear on its shaft to match the belt. The belt can wrap around your lens with a tensioning mechanism, and stepping the stepper motor will move the focus in fixed steps. It could also be adapted to an automatic system using a microcontroller like an Arduino or the like, controlling the shutter and focus steps, though you'd have to have some electronic skills for that level.
3 Days Ago   #13
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Hi John,
Here is a good blog post on the process of focus stacking
Processing Focus Stacks | Gerlach Nature Photography


Here is a gadget that automates the process:
Helicon FB Tube - Helicon Soft


Good luck!
3 Days Ago   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by timb64 Quote
Is that like being very very dead?
Thats a bit more dire, but along the same lines.

---------- Post added 02-13-19 at 05:00 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by Bob 256 Quote
John Hill's manual focuser looks great. He did a fantastic job in putting it together.

You can also do an electronic/mechanical version by using a geared rubber belt and a stepper motor with a gear on its shaft to match the belt. The belt can wrap around your lens with a tensioning mechanism, and stepping the stepper motor will move the focus in fixed steps. It could also be adapted to an automatic system using a microcontroller like an Arduino or the like, controlling the shutter and focus steps, though you'd have to have some electronic skills for that level.
The problem is that it isnít solving the problem at hand. The issue is not wanting to touch the equipment during focus stacks. All he has done is move the problem to a different piece of attached equipment.
I like the idea of something that will adjust focus automatically for stacks, but it is one of those things that is better done with the cameraís firmware. It is a feature I would like to see added.
At the same time, it isnít all that onerous to adjust focus manually.
3 Days Ago   #15
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Ahem, I don't care how hard it is to do manually or what some camera (other than my K-5 with heritage PK lenses) can do and I did say the principal motivation for this is make a practical device in my own shop with my own tools etc.

Thanks
John
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