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Milkweed Leaf Beetle foot side profile stack
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Craig Gerard



Joined: 01 May 2010
Posts: 2877
Location: Australia

PostPosted: Sat Sep 17, 2011 7:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

abpho wrote:

Is it possible to get a micrometer on a linear stage with a resolution of 1µm? Or would I be better of getting the Stack Shot? With the stack shot a lot of the personal nature of the work is taken away. It gets too automated.


Certain microscope focus blocks (not all) can be moved in increments of 1µm. The one in the post by Chris S. (see link below) is a Nikon; but I am not sure of the model.
http://www.photomacrography.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=12722

Also, see this thread for some ideas. It is a little dated; but contains good information.
http://www.photomacrography.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=6070

The StackShot is a good off-the-shelf automated unit.



Craig
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Craig Gerard



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PostPosted: Sat Sep 17, 2011 11:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

abpho wrote:
That is one elegant setup. Makes mine look very sad.

By no means! The quality of the images you've been posting are a testament to your abilities as a photographer. You have an intuitive understanding of photography.

Many of us enjoy tinkering with various gizmos according to our purposes and inclination. It can be quite fulfilling (and expensive) as you attempt to address specific challenges.

To balance things out here is another setup. Nothing fancy here; but the quality of Nikola's images speak for themselves.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/eurythyrea/5991049776

http://www.photomacrography.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=12521



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rjlittlefield
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 18, 2011 8:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

abpho wrote:
With the stack shot a lot of the personal nature of the work is taken away.

Everybody's different, but for me what gets taken away is only the drudgery of turn, click, turn, click, turn, click, turn... Reducing the drudgery gives me more time for personal stuff like subject prep, composition, lighting, and so on. Definitely a net win, in my case.

--Rik
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lauriek
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 18, 2011 8:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

For me I get a kind of Zen calm from the manual stacking process...

I'm also not at all convinced I would save any time with a stackshot, as things are I usually time the shots to go as soon as the flash is ready for my next shot so I'm not hanging around! I would have to set the SS to a delay which would easily be flash charge time + some wiggle room for the batteries going downhill during the stack.

Having said that one of these days when I have some spare cash (likely to be a long way off!) I will undoubtedly buy some sort of stackshot, maybe just the controller/servo to hook up to my microscope block...
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DQE



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PostPosted: Sun Sep 18, 2011 9:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

rjlittlefield wrote:
abpho wrote:
With the stack shot a lot of the personal nature of the work is taken away.

Everybody's different, but for me what gets taken away is only the drudgery of turn, click, turn, click, turn, click, turn... Reducing the drudgery gives me more time for personal stuff like subject prep, composition, lighting, and so on. Definitely a net win, in my case.

--Rik


I wonder if this reaction to automated stacking isn't related to the opinion and preference sometimes expressed as a strong opposition to stacking in any form. As best I can tell, vigorous opponents of stacking advocate that macro photography should be a more narrowly defined activity. I don't fully understand such opinions, and don't personally think that way, but differences of opinion and preference definitely exist in our delightfully diverse planet!

As a "live and let live" type of person, believing "to each his/her own", I've never personally understood why we just can't enjoy most forms of macro photography, accepting the strengths an limitations of each form and style rather than limiting one's enjoyment to one style or form. Automated vs hand-stacking is just another fork in the road of choosing a style and technique for one's photographic interests, IMO. Both approaches are incredibly demanding and very hard to do well.
----------

I wish I could comfortably master at least one of: (a) single-shot macro, (b) hand-held stacking, (c) automated stacking!!
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rjlittlefield
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 18, 2011 9:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

lauriek wrote:
I'm also not at all convinced I would save any time with a stackshot, as things are I usually time the shots to go as soon as the flash is ready for my next shot so I'm not hanging around! I would have to set the SS to a delay which would easily be flash charge time + some wiggle room for the batteries going downhill during the stack.

I agree about the time from beginning to end. There's little if any saved. Maybe it takes even longer, if I have to set conservative timing to work around variations in flash recharge. The gain is that while the stack is being shot, I can go do something else. Sometimes that means watching the image form up, in which case I could just as well be turning the knob and pressing the button. But often it means working on another image or posting, or simply doing household chores that would otherwise cut into available time. The gain is in throughput, not latency.

--Rik
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NikonUser



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PostPosted: Sun Sep 18, 2011 10:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm a manual stacker aka 'knob twiddler' and can see no benefit from an automatic stacker.
I time my frames based on my flash's recycle time and keeping the flash card cool. Too frequent frames results in my Nikon's D90 card recording some rather weird colours.
But I guess my main reason for manual stacking is that I like to sit and watch each frame to check for exposure (only major underexposure is obvious) and to check on depth of field overlap.
A nice comfy chair, live view connected to a 19" HDMI TV, and a wireless remote shutter release is my kind of relaxation; no interest in leaving my chair and doing other household chores while images are being accumulated.
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Nikon camera, lenses and objectives
Olympus microscope and objectives
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abpho



Joined: 17 Aug 2011
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 18, 2011 1:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can only get 25.4µm to 12.7µm resolution right now. If I have to buy more hardware to get down to 1 or 2µm then I might consider the stackshot (assuming it can handle that). It all depends on the cost.

I know what Laurie means about the zen state of mind. It is calming. But having my face 10 inches away from the flash, and having the flash fire a few hundred times has given me some nasty head aches.

I can see using my time other places, like reviewing the last set of images or editing the stacked shots.

I was thinking of tethering the camera to my computer. Then I can see the image instantly. I blew a stack last night because I went to pull up an image on the camera's LCD screen. That was enough to move the setup. Being tethered also saves me from having the move the files over later.

By the way Craig, that low-fi setup in your last post is still stereo to my mono setup. Very Happy But I can work it. I just wonder if I can do 20x when 10x is getting difficult.

My Ikea lights are coming today and I found a cheap microscope with a camera port locally. Not too many used microscopes in a 200km radius so I grabbed it. I picked it up already. We shall see how good it works.
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abpho



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PostPosted: Sun Sep 18, 2011 2:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That microscope I bought is not that great. The optics are pretty bad. The sweet spot is hard to get to. I'll see what I can (might be able to) do with a camera attached. I might get rid of it and wait for something else to come up. i'll have to see how it works with slides. It came with a few.

It is difficult making a decent decision on something you know very little in 5 minutes. Rolling Eyes
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rjlittlefield
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 18, 2011 3:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

abpho wrote:
If I have to buy more hardware to get down to 1 or 2µm then I might consider the stackshot (assuming it can handle that).

It can. See for example http://www.photomacrography.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=11482 and the links therein, where I show shooting with a Nikon M Plan 40X NA 0.50 ELWD, 170 frames at 1 µm average. The steps are somewhat nonuniform, but worked fine even at this high magnification.

For insanely fine work, you can use the StackShot controller in connection with a separate stepper motor (also available from Cognisys) to drive the fine focus knob of a microscope focus block. Quoting from http://www.photomacrography.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=11519,
Quote:
This is a sequence of 132 moves, the largest of which measures a bit under 0.14 microns (average 0.0625 microns). The largest move is approximately 1/4 the wavelength of green light, and is over 3 times smaller than the rated DOF of Nikon's most demanding objective (100X NA 1.40). I'm guessing this would meet most people's needs for stacking.

Quite likely the microscope you bought can be used for fine stacking. One way is to bypass the scope's optics by cantilevering a subject support off the side of the stage and using whatever other optics you want out there.

--Rik
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microcollector



Joined: 14 Mar 2007
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Location: Port Orchard, Washington

PostPosted: Mon Sep 19, 2011 9:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

abpho,

I have a Newport 443 linear stage with a metric micrometer drive. The vernier allows moving in increments of .001mm. It is difficult to position the thimble to be able to use this effectively and it it time consuming to ensure accurate movements. My opinon is that a Stackshot would be much preferred when using such small steps. I have visually estimated .005mm steps with my setup.

Doug
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Chris S.
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2011 12:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Craig Gerard wrote:
Certain microscope focus blocks (not all) can be moved in increments of 1µm. The one in the post by Chris S. (see link below) is a Nikon; but I am not sure of the model.
http://www.photomacrography.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=12722

Sorry Craig, I missed this going by. That particular block has 2µm tick marks, but can definitely be used at 1µm by going between the marks. I suspect it came off a Nikon Labophot, but it was already cut off when I bought it.

Some newer Nikon blocks have 1µm marks. I also have one of those. The appearance seems to differ in a predictive way, at least from my samples--the older 2µm blocks have a coarse focus wheel with big, bumpy knurling; the newer 1µm blocks have a coarse focus wheel with smaller, uniformly-ridged knurling. There may be exceptions--this is only my experience. To see one of each, compare the second and third pictures in this post.

Also, Dunksargent posted nice images of the older style Nikon block in this thread.

Both the the new and old style Nikon blocks work really well in my experience, and I happily use either. The Olympus BHMJ that I use for subject positioning is also very good, and could easily handle use as the stacking movement, as others have shown. I have a few more of these Olympus blocks in the basement, slated for various projects I have in mind.

My Newport 462 linear stage does not perform remotely at the level pf any of my microscope focus blocks. Backlash, stiction, smoothness, lack of ability to switch between coarse and fine movement--there are many reasons I prefer focus blocks for stacking. If this linear stage is representative--and it may not be--my sense is that they are useful for pre-shooting positioning of subject or camera, but strongly suboptimal for providing stacking movement. But there are a wide range of linear stages, and I have no idea how most of them behave.

Ab, wonderful images! You did yourself proud, here.

As to those who prefer to crank by hand, this must be serious different- strokes-for-different-folks territory. Cool that there are people who find a kind of zen in it--but for me, it would be brutal drudgery. With automation, I love the fact that I can spend my time on thinking about what to show, how to show it, what to do with light, etc.--and then walk away and let the machine do the repetitive chores. I can PP a stack while the machine is shooting another. For me, a high-mag macro rig is a question-answering machine, in that it sees in ways that have never been seen before; I'd rather be thinking about new questions, and pondering over answers that inevitably lead to more questions, than sitting in the dark turning a knob 1500 times.

Cheers,

--Chris
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abpho



Joined: 17 Aug 2011
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 14, 2011 5:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I like looking at the front page to see my picture. Very froody.
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Craig Gerard



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PostPosted: Fri Oct 14, 2011 6:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The 'crops' on the first page of this thread are no longer displaying. Are those images still in your Flickr photostream?


Craig
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abpho



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PostPosted: Fri Oct 14, 2011 6:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Craig. All fixed.
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