Initial report on CamRanger / StackShot combination

Have questions about the equipment used for macro- or micro- photography? Post those questions in this forum.

Moderators: Pau, rjlittlefield, ChrisR, Chris S.

Posts: 16
Joined: Wed Mar 20, 2013 6:51 am

Camranger speed

Post by VR8 »

Nikon D7000, 50mm 1.8 lens, camranger only at least 5 seconds between each shot, regardless of shutter speed. With all sharing and auto view off. If anyone else is using the camranger for stacking, without stackshot would love to hear if they can decrease the time between shots. Thanks!
Victor Rakmil

Posts: 1653
Joined: Tue Jul 08, 2008 1:33 pm
Location: near Portland, Maine, USA

Post by DQE »

Most flash units have fairly low limits on the max number of sequential flash exposures that can be taken without overheating. One should touch one's flash heads frequently to make sure they're not too warm from time to time. BTW, Quantum flash units are continuous duty and apparently have no overheating limits.

Here's the specs from the Canon MT-24 flash manual, page 39:

To prevent overheating and deterioration of the flash tubes, observe the following limits for continuous shooting with flash . If you reach the limit, allow
the MR-14EX to cool for at least 10 min.

(1) At 1/1 or 1/2 output: Max. 15 continuous flash shots.
(2) At 1/4 to 1/8 output: Max. 20 continuous flash shots.
(3) At 1/16, 1/32, or 1/64 output: Max. 40 continuous flash shots.

Performing a thought experiment for making a 10-exposure flash-exposed stack of a bug in the field, one wants the sequence to complete as soon as possible before the bug decides to move or fly away.

Yet it's hard to decide if 30 seconds is impossibly longer than say 10 seconds for some field macro bug photographs. In my experience, a bug that has decided to be still for 10 seconds will often be still for 30 seconds or sometimes even more. This is of course highly variable.

Regardless, the faster a stack sequence can be acquired, the better for live bug stacks. In this context, apparently it will not help to use higher ISO speeds or apertures that are numerically smaller (larger physical aperture). Stacking speed seems to be rate-limited by the CamRanger/Stackshot system throughput.

Other than needing a certain amount of mechanical "settling time" for the the Stackshot/camera rig, it's not obvious to me why a CamRanger+Stackshot stack sequence needs to be as slow as Rik reports, especially since he also reports that one does not necessarily need to use a long settling time for the StackShot component.

Is there any way to *manually* force the CamRanger/Stackshot system to trigger a photo sequence faster than it can automatically trigger a photo sequence? Just a thought, wondering if manually triggering stack slices is faster, by effectively treating the CamRanger as a fancy shutter release gadget.

"Diffraction never sleeps"

Site Admin
Posts: 21272
Joined: Tue Aug 01, 2006 8:34 am
Location: Richland, Washington State, USA

Post by rjlittlefield »

It's always hard to know where the time goes in these systems.

My previous report was head-to-head for CamRanger AF motor control versus CamRanger StackShot control, using typical settings in both cases, responding to the question that had been asked about how they compared.

Because the current questions seem to be concerned about absolute speed, I ran a few new tests:

1. I was able to push the CamRanger time down to about 3.4 seconds per frame, shooting at 1/80 second in large fine JPEG with all transfer options turned off and on-camera review turned off. (I have no idea whether on-camera review actually matters. I was just looking for potentially time-consuming things to turn off.)

2. Running Magic Lantern in-camera as described HERE, the time was 4 seconds per frame.

3. Using StackShot driven by Zerene Stacker with in-camera recording and live view turned off, and with settling time 0.05, shutter pulse 0.2, and time after last pulse 0.0, the system ran at 0.5 seconds per frame. (But note, I would not want to use this configuration in the field.)

4. With the camera set to continuous exposure and the shutter button held down, it was 0.29 seconds per frame.

No doubt everybody will take away something different from these numbers. I was a little surprised to see that Magic Lantern was actually slower than CamRanger in this test, since Magic Lantern is doing everything in camera. In any case, if I want to stack a subject that might fly away, I'll probably go with continuous drive and "lean in" because the frame rate is 10 times faster and it's a lot more maneuverable.
Is there any way to *manually* force the CamRanger/Stackshot system to trigger a photo sequence faster than it can automatically trigger a photo sequence?
I tried that, and was not able to make any significant difference. At my best, manually pressing "buttons" on the Android UI was a little faster than letting it run automatically. But I could not sustain that performance because if I tried to go just a little too fast, it seemed like attempted button presses were getting ignored and that would ruin the stack.


Post Reply Previous topicNext topic