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My vertical macro setup (and reflected X pol discussions)
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Pau
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Location: Valencia, Spain

PostPosted: Thu Sep 09, 2010 8:45 am    Post subject: My vertical macro setup (and reflected X pol discussions) Reply with quote

Coming from a long (but not deep) background in microscopy, I find more easy to setup a vertical rig using a microscope base that an horizontal one with all these nice (and strange for me) precision positioners and micrometers shown in some very nice and sophisticated arrangements from others more skilled members. Also, the gravity help to mantain some parts in place without the need of fixations.
With limited budget and space, it's also convenient for me both to reutilize some materials and to be able to dismount and mount it easily.

Setup 1

The main base and rod is from Zeiss (west) and was sold to hold accesories and cameras in the Zeiss standard line
The camera is coupled with a custom made aluminium block and a Manfrotto monopod head.
The bellows is a Pentax M42, coupled to the lens (in this case Apo Rodagon-D 75mm f4.5) with the adequate adapters and extension tubes.
The microscope base was salvaged from an old school microscope, with a very nice coaxial focusing knobs (30mm total travel) and working X and Y controls. Clamped to the stage is an old articulated positioner.
The microscope base sits on four teflon sliders. It allows to center and rotate the specimen easily
Two Dolan-Jenner fiber optic light guides are held in place with a custom adapter (a bicycle seat clamp and a long screw and both lab clamps.
The right angle finder is an Olympus OM Varimagni coupled to the Canon body (a modified paperclip allow to adjust it nicely)
The camera is a Canon EOS, in the pictures a no working 300D.

Setup 2

The same as setup 1, changing the bellows and macro lens with a Canon zoom EF 70-200 f4L IS coupled to a Nikon microscope objective CFI 10X 0.25


Detail of the specimen positioner and the polarizers at the end of the fiber optic guides. Whith this setup I place a microscope analizer between the microscope objective and the zoom for cross pol illumination.

Any comments and advice very wellcome.
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Last edited by Pau on Wed Sep 15, 2010 10:11 am; edited 1 time in total
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rjlittlefield
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 09, 2010 10:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is an elegant setup -- I like it a lot!

Coarse positioning from the vertical stand (and optionally the bellows rack), fine focus from a salvaged microscope, pivoting alligator clips for specimen holding.

Infinity objective on telephoto lens gives magnification from 10X down to, what, 5X?

Shown with dual fiber illumination but any other illumination would play well also.

The heavy base could be replaced with a good enlarger stand or even a wood frame like I use with my screw table.

Lots of ideas here for other people to work with.

I've added a link to here, from the focusing FAQ.

--Rik
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NikonUser



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PostPosted: Thu Sep 09, 2010 11:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A very nice and functional setup.
If you have the space and the funds, and if your camera has a HDMI output then connecting the camera to a HDMI TV or computer that accepts a HDMI input will make photography much easier. For stacking it makes it very easy to know when to start and when to stop.
If you camera has Live View then focusing using a 10-19" screen is simple
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Nikon camera, lenses and objectives
Olympus microscope and objectives
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g4lab



Joined: 23 May 2008
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 09, 2010 12:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very nice setup. I enjoy looking at these almost as much as looking at the pictures everyone takes with them. Did I mention I LOVE this forum? Very Happy Very Happy
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Craig Gerard



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PostPosted: Thu Sep 09, 2010 7:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice! Surprised

Craig
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Pau
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 10, 2010 4:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks all for your kind comments
rjlittlefield wrote:

Infinity objective on telephoto lens gives magnification from 10X down to, what, 5X?

To test it I photographed a rule:
It delivers (aprox) 10X at 200mm and 6.9X at 150mm and 5.62 at 135mm, focused to infinity.
Resolution and illumination are even up to 150mm, at 140mm there is some vignette but very usable for centered subjects when corners are no critical.
200mm

150mm


When I had the time to perform a better test (resolution, comparations...)I will post it.

NikonUser wrote:
If you have the space and the funds, and if your camera has a HDMI output then connecting the camera to a HDMI TV or computer that accepts a HDMI input will make photography much easier. For stacking it makes it very easy to know when to start and when to stop.
If you camera has Live View then focusing using a 10-19" screen is simple

A little short of funds...and now I need change my car Sad Very Happy , I had spent some money in microscope stuff and still shot with Canon EOS 20D and a 17"crt monitor (much better than cheap LCDs), but I urgently need a new camera (7D?, I'm a canonuser Wink ), lens and computer... and of course a big and wonderful monitor. Sometimes I shot with a 50D with live view through USB and it's a real pleasure, no yet tested HDMI.
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Chris S.
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Joined: 05 Apr 2009
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 10, 2010 10:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Really nice, Pau! Your approach has an elegant simplicy that I admire; and it often takes a more work to solve challenges simply than it does to throw compexity at them.

Way to go, too, for posting your rig. This kind of post helps us all.

Cheers,

--Chris
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pierre



Joined: 04 Jan 2010
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Location: France, Var, Toulon

PostPosted: Sat Sep 11, 2010 8:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice setup Pau !


Cheers
Pierre
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seta666



Joined: 19 Mar 2010
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 13, 2010 4:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very nice set-up Pau, I am thinking of switching to a vertical set-up myself. Main reasons for this are:
-Gravity helps to have everything aligned properly, sometimes when using lon extensions my set-up looks a bit weak (may be it is not)
- I want to start moving the subject more that the whole set-up; this day I have been hunting on ebay an soon I will have a 6- axis set-up for a quite reasonable price

I like the fiber optic and the precision focus block of yor set-up, do you use any kind of light diffusion for your pictures?

I would not recomend a 7D for studio stacks, why? because you will pay for features you do not need, like weather sealing and 18 AF sensor etc.
I am in love with the 5D classic, Morpha has just bought the 5D mkII and normally he knows what he does
For a Canon APS-C I would choose the new 60D, more or less same as 7D but the swivel screen must be very confortable for vertical studio stacks
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Pau
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 13, 2010 5:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Chris, Pierre and seta666 for your words,

seta666 wrote:

- I want to start moving the subject more that the whole set-up; this day I have been hunting on ebay an soon I will have a 6- axis set-up for a quite reasonable price

It's very logical, macro subjets usualy are much smaller and lighter than the camera equipment. It's the same reason why microscope manufactures changed the classic construction with moving microscope tube to the modern one that move the stage to focus (this move was first done by Leitz followed by Zeiss around 1950, I think)
seta666 wrote:
I like the fiber optic and the precision focus block of yor set-up, do you use any kind of light diffusion for your pictures?

Sometimes I use my cross pol approach, some times diffusion with ping pon ball or similar materials
seta666 wrote:
I would not recomend a 7D for studio stacks, why? because you will pay for features you do not need, like weather sealing and 18 AF sensor etc.
I am in love with the 5D classic, Morpha has just bought the 5D mkII and normally he knows what he does
For a Canon APS-C I would choose the new 60D, more or less same as 7D but the swivel screen must be very confortable for vertical studio stacks

Only for studio macro or microscope use, the 50D, 550D or even the 1000D will be equally adequate, but I do other kinds of photography, and the better sealing, viewfinder and autofucus of 7D are more atractive, and in special the feature (missing in the 60D) to do micro adjustements of the AF can be very important. 5DMkII is better for all but objectives with small image circle, but paired whith an standadard full frame zoom is too expensive for me, I can live whith 1.6 crop.
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Chris S.
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 14, 2010 1:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pau, if I may ask, what exactly are you using for your polarizer attachments (perhaps they also have concentrating lenses in them)?

I'm aware of a few such attachments on the market--all seeming rather expensive for what they are--but I don't recognize yours.

Am setting up now to do cross pol, so this is a matter of interest.

Thanks and cheers,

--Chris
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Pau
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 14, 2010 10:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Chris S. wrote:
Pau, if I may ask
Of course you can, it’s the essence of the forum! Very Happy
Chris S. wrote:
what exactly are you using for your polarizer attachments (perhaps they also have concentrating lenses in them)?

I'm aware of a few such attachments on the market--all seeming rather expensive for what they are--but I don't recognize yours.

Am setting up now to do cross pol, so this is a matter of interest.

I do this to cut off direct (specular) reflection, because direct reflection don't change the polarization plane, and diffuse reflection depolarize the light (or change the plane), so the crossed analyzer cuts the reflected pol light but allows to pass most of the diffuse reflected one. It's an alternative to highly diffused light. the colors are more intense, but any birrefringent materials like mineral dust particles and fibers are highlighted as bright spots.

In my setups I use a high quality microscope analyzer (Nikon) and plastic inexpensive polarizers at the fiber optic ends. With better ones the effect would be a little better.
Usually I don't use focusing lenses, but one time I placed them over the polarizers. The internal lens surface focused reflected ligth on the filter, and now I have a burned spot in the center of each one. To prevent it in the future I placed a heat (IR) cut filter (form a salvaged slide projector) between the bulb and the fiber optic inside the illuminator, and I'm going to order 2 new polarizers (likely form Edmund Optics), and the focusing lenses will be rear the filters.
The adapters were made with a plastic plumbing tube, an old microscope filter holder and a screw. To adjust the Xpol light I turn each adapter until the reflections are minimal

Here you have a comparison of the effect. The upper one without polarizers and the lower one with cross pol.



Some of my posted images were done with this approach:
http://www.photomacrography.net/forum/viewtopic.php?p=56730&highlight=#56730

http://www.photomacrography.net/forum/viewtopic.php?p=57943&highlight=#57943

http://www.photomacrography.net/forum/viewtopic.php?p=62970&highlight=#62970

http://www.photomacrography.net/forum/viewtopic.php?p=62971&highlight=#62971

Please ask any other questions.
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Chris S.
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 14, 2010 1:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, Pau. I'm pretty familiar with the uses and benefits of cross pol lighting, and am working on implementing it in my rig. This why your approach is of strong interest to me--seeing how other people do things, and especially, hearing what went wrong (like the holes burning through your polarizers) is very helpful.

Pau wrote:
In my setups I use a high quality microscope analyzer (Nikon) and plastic inexpensive polarizers at the fiber optic ends. With better ones the effect would be a little better.

I have an Olympus analyzer on order. I'm not sure yet how I'll mount it in the optical path of my horizontal rig. The easiest way would be to place it in a small lens tube with appropriate mounts on the front and back, and place this between bellows and objective. But more ideally, I'd like to be able to remove the analyzer for brighter focusing, and then put it in place without affecting the focus or position--which means not having to remove the objective. I'd love to put the analyzer between bellows and camera, but suspect that such a small polarizer would cause vignetting if placed there. Larger polarizing filters are of course widely available, but using an analyzer from a microscope assures me of appropriate quality for this purpose.

In your setup, you apparently remove the objective mount to place your analyzer between objective and zoom lens. Does the analyzer simply fit in between and gravity holds it in place, or do you have some sort of mount for your analyzer?

Quote:
Usually I don't use focusing lenses, but one time I placed them over the polarizers. The internal lens surface focused reflected ligth on the filter, and now I have a burned spot in the center of each one. To prevent it in the future I placed a heat (IR) cut filter (form a salvaged slide projector) between the bulb and the fiber optic inside the illuminator, and I'm going to order 2 new polarizers (likely form Edmund Optics), and the focusing lenses will be rear the filters.

Interesting. I thought most illuminators already had pretty good IR filtration? What kind do you have? I have an old slide projector that I'll likely cannibalize for things like the IR filter for an illuminator that I'm making, but wouldn't have thought it necessary to add one to a factory-made unit.

Any idea how you will mount the Edmund polarizers in front of the focusing lenses? I'm thinking of using Edmunds as well, with a bit of epoxy to affix each to a slightly oversized tube, and adding a thumb screw for tightening--rather like what you have apparently done here. Of course, that would mean loosening the screw for filter rotation, which I'd rather avoid.

Quote:
The adapters were made with a plastic plumbing tube, an old microscope filter holder and a screw.

This is the part that most interests me, and any more details you care to provide may save me time when making my own. Your detail shot of the fiber optic ends with polarizers certainly doesn't look anything like something made from plastic plumbing pipe--nice work indeed. They looked like something purchased off-the shelf, and if so, I'd consider buying a set myself.

Thanks much,

--Chris
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Pau
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 15, 2010 10:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Chris,
sorry if I misunderstood a little your post, my poor english and the late hour...

- I don't see the need of remove the analyzer to focus, with fiber optic guides you may have enough light, and also be aware that removing the filter can change a little the focusing point (with non infinite objectives) and the smaller movement of the setup when doing that would also alter it .

- Yes, the analyzer is just over the objective adapter and the gravity holds it in place, not convenient for an horizontal setup.

- My illuminator is a Dolan-Jenner 180 (an old, simple and robust model). It doesn't have any filter. Glass fiber optics cuts off almost all UV radiation (I tested mine with an spectrophotometer in a physics lab) but transmits a large fraction of IR. I'm not sure if the damage of the filters was caused for IR or visible light concentrated in one small spot, in any case I already had the filter at home...

- Here you can see a close-up of my polarizers mount. The filter mount itself is a true filter holder and came from surplus school microscopes, but with plastic caps and glue (and a little of serependity) it would not be too difficult to make

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Joaquim F.



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PostPosted: Wed Sep 15, 2010 3:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What a macro rig, I love it! you say with this Canon you can down up to 140mm with good quality, zooms seem to have the entrance pupil further back than fixed, with the Nikon 105 i get a bit of vignetting but almost identical to the 105mm own vigneting wide open which sidetracked me a bit ... using lateral diffuse light the image show no problems! the resolution and the absence of lateral AC of this combo at 5.2X is spectacular! about polarizers I want to ask if you notice any reduction in CFI "blue halos" around brilliant areas, albeit as a "side effect" of reducing the intensity of the highlights.Seems that Zerene reduce it by "mixing" the shots especially in Pmax but if can be reduced by polarizers is a better thing! I imagine that ZS can get more textures to reconstruct a better image too... I do not know.

greetings

Joaquim
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