www.photomacrography.net :: View topic - Another low cost studio setup
www.photomacrography.net Forum Index
An online community dedicated to the practices of photomacrography, close-up and macro photography, and photomicrography.
Photomacrography Front Page Amateurmicrography Front Page
Old Forums/Galleries
 
 FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups   RegisterRegister 
 ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 
Another low cost studio setup
Goto page 1, 2  Next
 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    www.photomacrography.net Forum Index -> Equipment Discussions
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
Miljenko



Joined: 01 Jun 2013
Posts: 87
Location: Zagreb, Croatia

PostPosted: Tue Sep 17, 2013 12:47 am    Post subject: Another low cost studio setup Reply with quote

After lurking for couple of months and gaining extremely valuable knowledge and experience you guys generously give away here, I'm ready to contribute with a modest one of my own.
Before that, let me briefly introduce myself: photographing for more than 40 years, as an audio designer I was always leaning towards technically demanding photography categories. For the last couple of years I'm designing and using gear for shooting insects in flight. Naturally, this kind of photography doesn't reveal finest insect details which can be so astonishing. Obviously, stacking was the way to go.
It became clear soon enough that building a studio setup is a must if I want to do successful stacking. Resolution limit had to be established and I decided to accept 3x to 4x magnification as a goal with hopes for eventual 10x figure. With limited budget (two college students to support and jobless mrs.) I was condemned to Chinese components and lots of diy stuff. But when finished, it came out pretty neat and useful:


Pretty heavy base plate is 50" plasma TV stand holding twin L cross section alu profiles as a backbone holding no less than 4 different rails. On the LHS you can see modified "2 way rail" incorporating cannibalized micrometer:


On top of the first rail there is Manfrotto 357 Pro Quick Release Adapter (the only serious component here Laughing) providing decent movement since the micrometer is good for 1" only. On top of that rail is another one in perpendicular orientation holding lighting and specimen fixture; Manfrotto 482 ball head, cut down plastic caliper in vertical orientation holding 2mm carbon rod with twin needles glued:


Object to sensor plane is adjustable thanks to multiple rail setup from 165 to 385 mm:


The weakest link is "4 way rail" on the RHS that has considerable play in vertical direction. Tightening internal construction screws helped a bit but it still moves a millimeter or so when tightening a blocking screw. That's why I move that one only when changing lenses.
The only part I'm really proud of is lighting. I've used 10W daylight LED chip (measured at 6250K color balance) glued to a PC chipset heatsink. A pair of those provide 1/500 to 1/800 exposure with ease. 2mm dia R/C model control rods shaped to fit provide support for small diffuser light boxes:


So far I have found two drawbacks: light spread is good only when placed very close to the object and one more critical; cooling fan vibrations influence sharpness above 1:1 magnification. This is the reason I'm designing completely new kind of LED lighting now and the one shown gets fanless heatsinks very soon.
A ready to shoot setup I'm currently using (including another Shenzen cheapo; a bellows unit) is shown here:


Couple of stacks done with this setup can be seen here: http://www.photomacrography.net/forum/viewtopic.php?p=134426#134426

Regards to all of you guys,
Miljenko
_________________
If your pictures are not good enough you are not close enough. - Robert Capa
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website AIM Address
Peter De Smidt



Joined: 05 Jan 2012
Posts: 233

PostPosted: Tue Sep 17, 2013 6:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well done!
_________________
www.peterdesmidt.com/blog
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
soldevilla



Joined: 16 Dec 2010
Posts: 523
Location: Barcelona, more or less

PostPosted: Tue Sep 17, 2013 7:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice DIY work!
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Olympusman



Joined: 15 Jan 2012
Posts: 4010

PostPosted: Tue Sep 17, 2013 10:43 am    Post subject: Stacking rigs Reply with quote

Nice setups. Those cheap Chinese X-Y focusing rails are pretty handy to have around. Adorama sells those exact models for about $180.00!
_________________
Michael Reese Much FRMS EMS Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, USA
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
rjlittlefield
Site Admin


Joined: 01 Aug 2006
Posts: 19604
Location: Richland, Washington State, USA

PostPosted: Tue Sep 17, 2013 11:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very nice! I have added your system to the list in our FAQ.

--Rik
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Miljenko



Joined: 01 Jun 2013
Posts: 87
Location: Zagreb, Croatia

PostPosted: Tue Sep 17, 2013 12:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, Rik. It's nice to balance those real setups that you big boys have with something very modest like this $100 toy
My trigger setup for shooting insects in flight has pretty much same flavour; simple, cheap but effective.
But how really good this studio setup is we'll see soon enough when I start shooting 4x and over. Maybe it's just a waste of time and money. Not much but still a waste... Confused
_________________
If your pictures are not good enough you are not close enough. - Robert Capa


Last edited by Miljenko on Tue Sep 17, 2013 11:39 pm; edited 1 time in total
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website AIM Address
dolmadis



Joined: 07 Dec 2011
Posts: 554
Location: UK

PostPosted: Tue Sep 17, 2013 1:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Miljenko wrote:

My trigger setup for shooting insects in flight has pretty much same flavour; simple, cheap but effective.


Sounds interesting. Are you ready to share?

Thanks

John
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Miljenko



Joined: 01 Jun 2013
Posts: 87
Location: Zagreb, Croatia

PostPosted: Tue Sep 17, 2013 2:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

No problem, John,
but I didn't say it works 100% as it should right now. Currently I'm fighting against shutter delay (50-60 ms with my D7100), finding the workaround.
When I solve the problem I'll publish the final release.
_________________
If your pictures are not good enough you are not close enough. - Robert Capa
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website AIM Address
soldevilla



Joined: 16 Dec 2010
Posts: 523
Location: Barcelona, more or less

PostPosted: Wed Sep 18, 2013 12:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Miljenko wrote:

But how really good this studio setup is we'll see soon enough when I start shooting 4x and over. Maybe it's just a waste of time and money. Not much but still a waste... Confused


I'm just worried about how your system will prevent vibrations caused by the mirror and curtain of the camera. Above x4 I believe it is necessary to work with flash.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
rjlittlefield
Site Admin


Joined: 01 Aug 2006
Posts: 19604
Location: Richland, Washington State, USA

PostPosted: Wed Sep 18, 2013 12:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Miljenko wrote:
Currently I'm fighting against shutter delay (50-60 ms with my D7100), finding the workaround.

The standard solution to this problem involves a fast external shutter. See for example http://www.pbase.com/fotoopa/laser_system. I've never read of a workaround using the camera's internal shutter, so I'll be very interested to see what you come up with.

--Rik
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Guido



Joined: 08 Jun 2011
Posts: 175

PostPosted: Wed Sep 18, 2013 1:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
cooling fan vibrations influence sharpness above 1:1 magnification.
This could improve if you connect the lights separated from the specimen fixture
_________________
http://www.astapix.be/
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
TheLostVertex



Joined: 22 Sep 2011
Posts: 298
Location: Florida

PostPosted: Thu Sep 19, 2013 9:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very nice set up. I especially enjoy your DIY lights, they look very well done. Your description of their power makes me wonder about possibly controlling with a micro controller and turning them into some sort of quasi-flash. If the area you are photographing in is dark, it may be possible to open the shutter and let vibration disperse, then electronically turn on and off the lights quickly to expose. I do not know much about the characteristics of LED's operating at such a short interval though. But in theory it could give you rather sharp exposures and avoid mirror and shutter vibration. I do not know how dubious such an idea would be though.
_________________
-Steven
Flickr Macro Rig Control Software
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Guido



Joined: 08 Jun 2011
Posts: 175

PostPosted: Thu Sep 19, 2013 11:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Or reduce the voltage on the fan's.
_________________
http://www.astapix.be/
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Miljenko



Joined: 01 Jun 2013
Posts: 87
Location: Zagreb, Croatia

PostPosted: Fri Sep 20, 2013 12:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry guys for not responding for two days, being busy with lots of stuff. Fortunately, found some time to do couple of tests. Here are the outcomes:
1) Turning off fans does help quite a lot. Sharpness improvement visible even at 1:1
2) Tried flashes instead, gives MUCH better sharpness. Obviously, very short flash duration solves both mirror slap AND curtain vibrations
So it seems I'll take a different route. Doesn't mean I'll quit on LEDs but I just might use them in flash mode. You might not be aware guys that LEDs can provide much higher output when driven for a very short duration and Manfrotto uses this trick with their top of the line LED lights: http://www.manfrotto.com/led-light-maxima-84-hybrid-850lxat1m-dimmer-flash-gels-ml840h Watch the quote: "...The ML840H has a flash setting, triggered by a sync cable, that emits a pulse of light four times brighter than the maximum continuous light it can produce..."
So I might try that approach. Designing a trigger electronics is a piece of cake so I might be doing that for the next couple of days. If I don't get satisfying results, I can always get back to good old flashes!
_________________
If your pictures are not good enough you are not close enough. - Robert Capa
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website AIM Address
Miljenko



Joined: 01 Jun 2013
Posts: 87
Location: Zagreb, Croatia

PostPosted: Fri Sep 20, 2013 12:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

rjlittlefield wrote:
Miljenko wrote:
Currently I'm fighting against shutter delay (50-60 ms with my D7100), finding the workaround.

The standard solution to this problem involves a fast external shutter. See for example http://www.pbase.com/fotoopa/laser_system. I've never read of a workaround using the camera's internal shutter, so I'll be very interested to see what you come up with.


Rik, I'm aware of Fotoopa's work from the beginning and his solution is top notch. I'm trying to achieve similar results with less sofisticated circuitry, not using external shutter. The latest idea is to use some sort of pretrigger when the insect enters wider trigger area. This would open the shutter and when the bug eventually gets exactly to the focus point, flash triggers and freezes the scene. Of course, the insect is supposed to do main triggering within relatively short period in order not to overexpose the scene with daylight.
_________________
If your pictures are not good enough you are not close enough. - Robert Capa
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website AIM Address
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    www.photomacrography.net Forum Index -> Equipment Discussions All times are GMT - 7 Hours
Goto page 1, 2  Next
Page 1 of 2

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum


Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2005 phpBB Group