E-M1 Focus Stacking first experiments

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by banj911, Nov 26, 2015.

  1. banj911

    banj911 Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Aug 12, 2014
    QLD Australia
    So, as a keen macro shooter I was very keen to give the Focus Stacking feature a go.
    Of the following photos, (originals available at flickr), the flower and spider shots were hand held and the others tripod assisted. Lots more experimenting to be done but so far I'm really happy. Clearly where there are specular highlights as in the spider web or strong light on the flower, the results can be interesting but the others show very promising results.
    It took a little while to get it working as I was mistakenly activating exposure bracketing!
    There also seems to be a lower limit to the shutter speed which can limit the use of smaller aperture settings. All the following photos are straight from the camera, no editing at all.

    23253579191_ce66b18ccc_h.jpg PB260213 by Bennet Duhig, on Flickr

    22709042293_dd22c5303d_h.jpg PB260176 by Bennet Duhig, on Flickr

    22707779284_e41b06f98a_h.jpg PB260230 by Bennet Duhig, on Flickr

    23336056095_843130d937_h.jpg PB260275 by Bennet Duhig, on Flickr

    23336028705_f070b63383_h.jpg PB260284 by Bennet Duhig, on Flickr

    22968058819_9946a6d6b4_h.jpg PB260320 by Bennet Duhig, on Flickr

    22968031819_8c70550f10_h.jpg PB260338 by Bennet Duhig, on Flickr

    22708790993_064122ac38_h.jpg PB260398 by Bennet Duhig, on Flickr

    23227581822_5f38378a57_h.jpg PB260425 by Bennet Duhig, on Flickr
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  2. Growltiger

    Growltiger Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 26, 2014
    Those are really good, thanks.

    Do you think you could show us some both with and without focus stacking, so we can see what difference it made? (And tell us the aperture). Thanks.
  3. banj911

    banj911 Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Aug 12, 2014
    QLD Australia

    Sure, here is one from the last image, shot at f3.2. As you can see, the depth of field is very small. For me, this is a bit of a game changer and very clever!

    23049384100_166ae8fe42_o.jpg PB260417 by Bennet Duhig, on Flickr
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  4. pake

    pake Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Oct 14, 2010
    Well it certainly looks promising! Too bad my E-M5 can't do tricks like that...
  5. Vandy

    Vandy Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 8, 2015
    Thats' petty cool, I like the before and after comparison.
  6. Growltiger

    Growltiger Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 26, 2014
    Thanks - that is a very convincing demonstration.
  7. pdk42

    pdk42 One of the "Eh?" team

    Jan 11, 2013
    Leamington Spa, UK
    Stunning shots - thanks for posting. I'm just playing about with the new feature now and it looks very powerful and well implemented. However, it would be nice to be able to set the front/back limits and then the number of shots across the range. It's a bit of trial and error to have to set the number of shots and the increment. I guess that would be pretty messy to implement though so I can see why they've done it as they have.
  8. Lcrunyon

    Lcrunyon Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jun 4, 2014
    Yeah, definitely going to take some exploring to get the hang of it.
  9. Dave in Wales

    Dave in Wales Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 5, 2011
    West Wales
    Great stuff, what is your opinion regarding hand-held vs tripod mounting.

    I've always preferred HH in the field for macro, a tripod just gets in the way and shots are not sponateous I find.
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  10. Ross the fiddler

    Ross the fiddler Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    At least with using Focus Stacking, if the Stacking merge is unsuccessful there are still the individual images & if saved as raw & JPEG then are still images that are possibly worth keeping.
  11. wjiang

    wjiang Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    I'm not an early morning person... been finding late afternoons too windy to try focus stacking anything outside.
  12. banj911

    banj911 Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Aug 12, 2014
    QLD Australia
    Thanks, I too have always hand held so the tripod thing is something I will need to get comfortable with if I choose to continue down this path. I have done most of my macro shooting with a flash which allowed for a greater depth of field in one shot so nearly all my macro stuff is taken at night. I think in the right conditions, of significant ambient, not direct sunlight, this technique allows for hand held shooting in the day time, as long as the subject stays still!

    My next challenge is to try the delayed exposures for flash stacking. The flash I have should be able to recycle in time, again, it's keeping the subject stationary that will determine the success of the results. Might have to try some dead critters first.
  13. kidrussell

    kidrussell Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 14, 2013
    Chagrin Falls, OH
    Yes, that is too bad, because I was looking forward to seeing what you could do with this tool. To say I am a fan of your macro work would be an understatement.
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  14. DaveEP

    DaveEP Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 20, 2014
    Am I the only one noticing the dark halos on the first and third shot? I must admit I like looking at awesome macro shots, but I never seem to get around to taking them.
  15. banj911

    banj911 Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Aug 12, 2014
    QLD Australia
    I think that has to do with the shots being hand held and not achieving perfect alignment.
  16. banj911

    banj911 Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Aug 12, 2014
    QLD Australia
    Another crack at in camera stacking, natural light, E-M1 and 60mm macro Negative.jpg
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  17. jdthebigj

    jdthebigj Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 28, 2012
    Fremont, CA
    Fantastic stuff. I've been thinking of taking a stab at the macro world but unable to find enough critters. Planning to visit nearby botanical garden after seeing your stuff
  18. Gerard

    Gerard Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    May 12, 2015
    Vleuten, Utrecht
    Fantastic stuff.
    Could this only be done with the Olympus 60mm macro ed to EM1.
    And what about legacy non-AF lenses?
  19. wjiang

    wjiang Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    I find f/4, 8 frames at a focus step of 3 is a good start for something like a flower.
    If you want automatic in-camera stacking to JPEG, then it's E-M1 with 60 macro, 12-40 or 40-150 PRO only. If you're willing to stack in post (which I prefer TBH because there's more flexibility with frames and RAW processing), any m4/3 AF lens with the E-M1, the Mk2 OM-Ds and PEN-F all do automatic focus bracketing.

    There's no way to do automatic focus of any kind with manual lenses obviously, but for really still subjects you can always do manual stacking the old fashioned way...
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  20. bremner

    bremner Mu-43 Regular Subscribing Member

    Feb 27, 2016
    Oh! That might be enough to convince me to get an E-M10 mk-ii instead of a mk i, if/when I get a second body.
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2016
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