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First macro with extension Tubes
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thartl



Joined: 28 Oct 2009
Posts: 169
Location: Wyoming

PostPosted: Tue Nov 03, 2009 8:27 pm    Post subject: First macro with extension Tubes Reply with quote

Here is a dead spider I found. I just bought a set of 3 Kenko extension tubes and a canon 50mm f2.5 - my first ever shots with them. I haven't tried the tubes with any other lens, we will see how that goes. The latter picture is just a close up (Canon 5dmkII 50mm at 1/25 f8, kenko tubes, sigma flash). The first is a stack of 9 images (Canon 5dmkII 50mm at 13sec f8 Kenko tubes.) The problem I had/have is that when I use the manual focus ring on the 50mm, it actually zooms the image a bit, so when I used zerene stackers trial version it created some streaking on the legs. What do I do about this?
)
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thartl



Joined: 28 Oct 2009
Posts: 169
Location: Wyoming

PostPosted: Tue Nov 03, 2009 8:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

P.S. - I am not sure what species it is, and if you all have a website you use to look these up I'd be open to suggestions!
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thartl



Joined: 28 Oct 2009
Posts: 169
Location: Wyoming

PostPosted: Tue Nov 03, 2009 10:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ok - so new toys, I am up late. I can't get this stacking stuff figured out. I am thinking first off, that my subject is moving, (It was frozen and thawing out Very Happy ) and that I am getting small vibrations from moving my external flash around too much (in order to get bounce flash.) I also am wondering if not having consistant enough lighting has something to do with it. (Since I was holding relfector and flash in my hand.) I circled major problem areas, but the details are mushy too - it that just too much movement? Is it because my 50mm is "zooming" too much when I focus (wont any lens change that when you focus?) I need to play some more, but any direction would be appreciated. I think I will start with some strobe lighting since I don't have a ring flash.

Maybe I should move this thread to the beginners forum?

Here is my second attempt at stacking.
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rjlittlefield
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Joined: 01 Aug 2006
Posts: 17872
Location: Richland, Washington State, USA

PostPosted: Tue Nov 03, 2009 11:19 pm    Post subject: Re: First macro with extension Tubes Reply with quote

Yes, changes of scale ("zooming") happen almost all the time, even in setups where your intuition says otherwise. All the stacking packages can handle that.

It's definitely a problem if your subject moves, and certainly to shoot one while it's thawing out is asking for trouble. Sometimes a specimen will "droop" during a sequence even when it looks stable to your eye.

One other possibility, though I think it's unlikely, is that your camera may be moving around or zooming more than the default limits for auto alignment. Go to Options > Preferences > Alignment and increase all the limits to 30% instead of the default 5%. If your camera is not currently locked on a tripod, then do that. Handholding the camera is another complication that for sure you don't want at this stage. Handholding the lights is not so bad, although you're still liable to get an occasional strange effect with the shadows.

I'm not sure what you mean by "streaky legs". If you're talking about those broad dark streaks that extend to the left and up, those are probably due to having one or more frames where the legs of the spider (which were out of focus at the time) hit the edge of that frame. There are two parts to the cure. Part 1 is to be sure when you're shooting the stack that you leave enough space around your subject. It's a very common mistake to frame the subject tightly when its widest part is in focus, not realizing that the field of view may get smaller when that part is not in focus. Part 2 is to order your stack so that it processes from narrowest field to widest. Since you're focusing by turning the focus ring, that means starting from the foreground frame.

You can see what ZS has done for alignment by processing the stack, then looking at the original and aligned versions by using the "Show as adjusted" checkbox that will appear at the top of the Input Files panel. By default the box is not checked. If you press and drag to scroll up and down the list of input files, you'll see the original source frames, played sort of as if they were a movie. In that case, you'll see the spider getting bigger and smaller as you focus back and forth. Put a checkmark in "Show as adjusted", do the same press and drag, and you'll play through the aligned versions. In that case, you should see the spider not changing in size, just a focus plane moving through it. If you have any problem with parts of your subject drooping through the stack, this will also become apparent in the press-and-drag movie type review.

One other thing to keep in mind is that images need to be processed in order by focus placement. Either front to back or back to front is OK, but random order is liable to cause problems. I have no reason to think that you've run into this one, but it happens sometimes.

I hope this helps. Don't worry about placement of the thread. We'll probably move it at some point, but that's not urgent.

--Rik
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thartl



Joined: 28 Oct 2009
Posts: 169
Location: Wyoming

PostPosted: Wed Nov 04, 2009 3:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I definitely used a tripod - but I don't have slides or rails (yet) they are being shipped.

Is the way I used ZS a problem? I simply added the images and then clicked stack all. I didn't do anything else? So other than increasing limits to 30% is there something else I should be doing?

Thanks for input, I did have two or three frames that extended to the edges of the frame........
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rjlittlefield
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 04, 2009 7:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The way you're using ZS is typical. Load source images, Stack > Align & Stack All (PMax), and File > Save Output Image.

Probably even the default limits are OK. Your spider looks fine except for the framing problem, and subject movement could easily account for all the problems I see in the cricket.

Focusing by turning the focus ring is fine. That's actually the preferred method at low magnification. See discussion HERE.

I know it sounds too easy, but that's the way ZS is designed to work -- easy entry with room to grow.

--Rik
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thartl



Joined: 28 Oct 2009
Posts: 169
Location: Wyoming

PostPosted: Wed Nov 04, 2009 9:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ok - so I did some more playing today, same spider. However I did change my set up. I have a canon 5dmkII, I used the 50mm f2.5, the three kenko tubes, and also my 1.4 extender. I found with my extender in macro the same thing I find when I use it with my zoom - I lose a large amount of sharpness. I never liked this extender and I don't think I do on my macro either.

That being said, it put me so close to the subject, that I had no choice but to allow some frames to have the subject bleed off the edges. How does stacking work then if the entire image bleeds off the edges - such as the lady beetle (great photo btw) I saw in another post? I mean - I think once I take the 1.4 extender off there will be room to back up, but today there wasn't. So once I get bellows and try those, and the subject fills even more of the fram, how does that (stacking) work? Will it not streak if it fills the entire frame? should I take out some of my frames in this stack and try it again?

I did up the values in ZS as stated before. Here is the result, cool - I like it, except the streaking and the loss of clarity.
canon5dmkII 50mm f2.5, kenko tube set, ISO100, 1/125, f8, two off camera strobes with diffusion.

So then I wonder about this "clouding" in the back here. I am wondering if this is a product of the lens or of the stacking process? Or something entirely different like spillover from my strobes? Wow, I definitely see the potential here, but the stacking is REALLY hard.....because I want to be even closer than the 50mm and tubes is getting me, but I will learn.

This was a stack of 70 in ZS.
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rjlittlefield
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Joined: 01 Aug 2006
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Location: Richland, Washington State, USA

PostPosted: Wed Nov 04, 2009 10:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

About the edge streaking, the solution is to process the stack starting with whichever end has the narrowest field. You're apparently shooting in the opposite order, so just do a File > Reverse Order before doing the Align & Stack All.

The resulting image will look like the central portion of what you're showing here. It's almost equivalent to cropping.

The standard question after that is something like "But isn't there some way to start with the widest frame and get clean edges even though they are not covered by all the source frames?" The answer is that there is not, in the current version of Zerene Stacker. Other products have the same issue, with various ways of handling it. What Helicon Focus does is to figure out for itself which end of the stack has the narrowest field, and it automatically starts at that end. This approach provides images that are free of edge artifacts, which is nice behavior especially for new users because it avoids drawing attention to the edges where strange things happen.

About the "clouding in the back", I can't tell for sure what is happening.

One possibility is that it's an optical effect in which light from out-of-focus foreground regions is getting added to dark parts of in-focus background regions. This happens when you're focused on the background and the entrance cone of the lens happens to be wide enough that it runs across some bright foreground. Essentially, the bright foreground is "hiding" the dark background from part of the aperture, so that chunk of dark background looks brighter than it should. If that is what's going on, there's not much you can do about it except to stop down a little more. The narrower you make the entrance cone, the less vulnerable it is to seeing spurious foreground. Of course you have to trade this off against decreased sharpness due to diffraction.

Another possibility is that you're picking up some flare, perhaps due to the large bright background area. Some lenses benefit a lot from a simple added macro lens shade. See for example the first panel of photos HERE.

In either case, you can resolve whether it's happening in the optics or in the stacking by looking at your original source frames. If the source frames are clouded too, then it's happening in the optics. If the source frames are clear, then the problem must be introduced in the stacking. If that happens, I'll be very interested to explore it further, since in several hundred stacks I've never seen this sort of clouding effect get introduced as a stacking artifact.

I'm sorry to hear that the 1.4 extender is not working well. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don't.

--Rik

Edit: to expand the discussion.
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thartl



Joined: 28 Oct 2009
Posts: 169
Location: Wyoming

PostPosted: Thu Nov 05, 2009 12:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rik, my bad - I totally thought I was doing what you said (narrowest field first.) I will reverse the order of my images and try it again.

I really have never been happy with my 1.4. For awhile I thought it was because I had been handholding it on my 200mm. Then on a tripod same results, so I thought it was my focus skills. The more and more I use it, the less I like it. Its fairly ok for sports - but I still like those to be super sharp. Maybe I will have to try again on the macros and adjust my lighting. Right now I am using a white reflective portrait prop. Just to get zerene stacker figured out and to work on my macro shooting.

Thanks for your help.
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thartl



Joined: 28 Oct 2009
Posts: 169
Location: Wyoming

PostPosted: Fri Nov 06, 2009 6:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am going to go back and restack the spider I think. But here I have a cricket at I believe 1/80 and f5.3?? stacked with 71 images. It was hurt and barely moving, but i think it moved too much. Not a big fan of how this one turned out.

Then this one is a Nexium Pill - I found this alot easier, duh. But it isn't super sharp, and I equate that to my 1.4 extender. I am going to shoot a caterpillar in a bit, and I think I will take the extender off for it.

So I am feeling better about it, but obviously bugs are super hard. Super. I had a spider - but only got one shot of it, and its ok. How does this put them in the freezer idea work?
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elf



Joined: 18 Nov 2007
Posts: 1307

PostPosted: Fri Nov 06, 2009 9:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

thartl wrote:

Then this one is a Nexium Pill - ...snip... How does this put them in the freezer idea work?


Shouldn't affect them too much Smile
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thartl



Joined: 28 Oct 2009
Posts: 169
Location: Wyoming

PostPosted: Fri Nov 06, 2009 10:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ahahahahahaha - Nice.
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thartl



Joined: 28 Oct 2009
Posts: 169
Location: Wyoming

PostPosted: Fri Nov 06, 2009 10:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am getting closer - granted this moves alot less. Smile Anyone know what kind of Caterpillar it is? 1/200, 50mm + Kenko Tubes, ISO 200, f8

I notice a large amount of halo effect. Is that normal?

I noticed my problem here was as I zoomed I didn't leave enough room at the bottom, that is something I will get figured out. Here is one Series that I did leave enough room - stack of I think 23.



Thoughts?
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rjlittlefield
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Joined: 01 Aug 2006
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 07, 2009 1:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

thartl wrote:
I notice a large amount of halo effect. Is that normal?

When you ask about artifacts, please let us know where you're looking. There's a lot going on in this photo, and most of it looks OK to my eyes.

I'm guessing that you mean around the two leaves at upper right. That looks like more than I would expect, and the pattern is a bit odd. I wonder if these parts happened to move while they were out of focus. You can check on that by scrolling through the original stack, but any movement will be easier to see if you have the stack aligned first, and check that "Show as adjusted" checkbox. It's always easiest to do this right after you have processed the stack and still have the project open. Otherwise, if you have discarded the project, you can reload the files and just do a Stack > Align All Frames. That will be faster than completely reprocessing the stack.

If there was no movement, then the halo is probably an artifact of the PMax as it works on strongly contrasting areas. That problem is best addressed by retouching. There are several reasonable approaches: use the original frames as source; run a DMap and use its output as source; or select just those frames where pieces of the leaves are in focus, run a Stack Selected (PMax) on just those frames, and use that output as source. Be sure to watch the retouching video if you haven't done that yet.

Quote:
Thoughts?

These are coming along pretty well. You're a brave man to shoot 20+ frames of live subjects as a get-acquainted exercise!

Quote:
How does this put them in the freezer idea work?

Not sure if you intended this to be a serious question, but I'll give a serious answer. There are no reliable methods of making a naturally active insect become quiet without risking permanent damage. Freezing is used as a killing technique. If the insect survives the freezing, then the freezing is probably not going to help you get a good picture. Bugs differ wildly in their susceptibility to freezing, so you'll just have to experiment. I've seen summer flies die in minutes, and I've seen alpine butterflies recover after spending all night at -20 degrees C.

Quote:
Anyone know what kind of Caterpillar it is?

Some kind of moth, I think, perhaps something in the Noctuidae. But that's a huge family, and I could be wrong even about that. It's notoriously difficult to identify brown striped caterpillars with sparse bristles.

--Rik
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thartl



Joined: 28 Oct 2009
Posts: 169
Location: Wyoming

PostPosted: Sat Nov 07, 2009 3:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I definitely was talking about the top right leaf. not sure i their was any movement, but sometimes after I adjust my focus ring the camera is still moving slightly - and I need to wait longer to hit the shutter. I was also looking at the white smudges on the top of the caterpillars "head" in the first photo.

The freezing deal, was a serious question. I see alot of great insect/spider photos on this site, and wonder sometimes how they were able to move fast enough to get them? And my conclusion is that the bug isn't moving. The caterpillar was easier than the cricket for that reason.

I don't know about brave man - but thanks. Laughing Well - to be honest I have some tight macro experience, but mostly I shoot portraits (people.) I have always been intrigued by macro, and I am glad to have found this site to be able to hone my skills. I ordered some bellows and hopefully they are here this week. They also came with focusing slides and rails, and I am hoping those will help me, (more so than the bellows.)

Thanks for the indentification. Sort of curious around my parts of the country to see caterpillars this time of year. We have had 5 snow stroms this fall, and there are not many small critters out there. Yesterday was almost 65 degrees, so I imagine it was warm enough for some to come out again.

New question - and might be out of my ability at this point. I hear alot of people describe their lenses as objectives on this site. Now I understand objective to be synonomous with Lens. However it is usually used with a 10x or 5x or something similar with it. So in this instance, are there special lenses that are classified as "objectives" and are they called objectives because they move beyond the realm of MacroPhotography into the the world of Microphotography? I see it alot with Nikon - is there a common set up for use with canon?

[/quote]
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