comparison

A forum to ask questions, post setups, and generally discuss anything having to do with photomacrography and photomicroscopy.

Moderators: Pau, rjlittlefield, ChrisR, Chris S.

johan
Posts: 1005
Joined: Tue Sep 06, 2011 7:39 am
Contact:

Post by johan »

Regarding this instrument, does it have any words on it other than "LOS"? I suspect it is some specialist Dutch circular measurement device, an industry goniometer of some variety, simply because LOS means loose in Dutch. Beyond this... wordage and further lettering would help, or a manufacturer name :)
Last edited by johan on Mon Jan 13, 2014 12:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
My extreme-macro.co.uk site, a learning site. Your comments and input there would be gratefully appreciated.

robirdman
Posts: 68
Joined: Wed Dec 04, 2013 4:53 pm

Post by robirdman »

No, I don't see any other letters on it anywhere. The LOS (loose) appears on each knob, to turn to loosen I assume but it all seems stiff. Some I can turn, others I think I need pliers to start.

rjlittlefield
Site Admin
Posts: 21385
Joined: Tue Aug 01, 2006 8:34 am
Location: Richland, Washington State, USA
Contact:

Post by rjlittlefield »

So the 2nd ruler test at http://theearlybirder.com/aperture%2020 ... dex.htm#19 was not a good measure either, and I should try a butterfly wing?

The nature of the subject is less important than being able to see what the camera actually captured. If you're only going to look at images that have been reduced to 25%, then I have to point out that you're throwing away a full 15 megapixels out of the 16 that were captured by your camera.
robirdman wrote:I just ran the butterfly series with my Nikon 200mm macro which has F32 on the barrel but shows f45 at smallest aperture.
OK, so you have one of the camera+lens combinations that reports effective f-number, already corrected for magnification. Also it's apparently one of the beasts that shortens its FL but does not narrow its aperture by a corresponding amount as it focuses closer, resulting in only 1 f-stop change at 1:1 rather than the 2 f-stops that would be predicted by the simple rule of multiply by (magnification+1).

By the way, exactly what model of lens is this? So far I've gleaned that it's 200 mm, probably f/4, and provides auto-focus. So does that mean that it's a 200mm f/4.0D ED-IF AF Micro-Nikkor? If not, then what is it?
This time I used the mirror lockup for the first time also. Never used it in the field.
That makes sense. The underlying principles are the same, but in practice field photography and studio photography are two very different disciplines. You've mentioned earlier that your customary approach has been single shot at f/45. You're obviously not used to pixel-peeping, or it wouldn't be so challenging to get you to work with 100% actual pixels.

What I'm thinking now is that you have a long history of living with what are essentially fuzzy snapshots, and now you're finding it challenging to switch gears and dig down to what your equipment is capable of doing if it's given the chance. I will confess that I've been puzzled by seeing a camera with list price $6000 used in this way. I'm still puzzled by that aspect, but I have hopes of soon seeing you at the point where your images do justice to your equipment.

By the way, from a cost/benefit standpoint that D4 seems completely mismatched to your application. Instead of 16 megapixels on a full-frame sensor in a professional body for $6000, you could get equally detailed results from 16 megapixels on a DX-format sensor in a consumer class body like the D5100 for 10X less. I imagine you'll find it annoying to hear that, but it's true nonetheless.
Meanwhile I'm running out of free trial times on everything.
I don't know about any of the other products, but support@zerenesystems.com has never turned down a request for extended trial of Zerene Stacker.

--Rik

Edit: to clarify behavior of FL versus aperture when focused closer.
Last edited by rjlittlefield on Mon Jan 13, 2014 10:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

robirdman
Posts: 68
Joined: Wed Dec 04, 2013 4:53 pm

Post by robirdman »

I am using a Nikon 200mm F4 AF ED-IF macro lens.
Although I didn't crop the 2nd ruler test, the automatic galley macro reduces the size, of course. Can I put up a gallery of full size uncropped tiffs?

I did the butterfly at about 45 degree angle and looked at the uncropped tiffs in CS6 Bridge at various zoom levels to the highesst, and I have trouble seeing this diffraction effect, that seems clear in your example.

I bought my equipment for bird photography, which is quite different with 600mm F4 and 300mm 2.8 lenses that are almost never used at the smaller apertures, unless trying to get subjects at different distances in.
I also have a D300s, but why use that if I have a D4 and D3.

Fuzzy snapshots sounds rather harsh. The main purpose was to get pictures of living creatures,in the field, that were always free to leave without a shot, and to get as much in focusas possible, at sufficient magnification for possible identification, without collecting or killing the subject. I thought this was the best way.

As thousands of images of over 1000 species have been published in books, magazines, websites, placards, etc, and were not donations, they were sufficient for those purposes. In particular, The Kaufman FG to insects used more of my shots that anyone else's, and he said he couldn't have done the book without them. So that is what was available at the time.

Now I've become aware of a whole new standard with this studio type setup and even how much better field shots can be. And I am working on it. But here is a link to a website and you can decide whether it has all been a worthless endeavor. http://theearlybirder.com/index.html All images are again, greatly reduced from the tiffs, and usually not sharpened.

I was almost going to go to buy a "new" Branson B200 from a local seller till he turned it on and over the phone I could hear a loud racket. I asked another seller and he said it only makes a quiet hum.
While I am still stuck trying to decide on how to clean these specimens, and not keep shooting dirty ones,

Meanwhile ControlmyNikon kept giving error messages after taking a shot, and sending bug reports. So with not much to do, I just ran the same Galerita head stack through CS6 and was surprised that it turned out fairly well. I can see areas that it didn't get as well as Helcon or Zerene, but it did much better than the last throwaway attempts that were magnitudes worse.
Image

rjlittlefield
Site Admin
Posts: 21385
Joined: Tue Aug 01, 2006 8:34 am
Location: Richland, Washington State, USA
Contact:

Post by rjlittlefield »

Can I put up a gallery of full size uncropped tiffs?
There are two common ways of posting test results. Neither of them involves going through gallery software or posting tiffs. Gallery-generating software is avoided because it's very prone to resize images, which at best unnecessarily confuses things. Tiff is avoided because a) browsers don't understand tiff, and b) resolution detail can be carried equally well by JPEG.

The most common technique is to carefully make crops that are exactly the same size you want them displayed on the web page, then post high quality JPEG's of the crops or assemblies of them. The following example is from one of our standard early references, Aperture and Lens Effects on Stacking. (Note that this test is at much higher magnification than you're using, so the diffraction problem appears at smaller f-numbers set on the lenses.)

Image

The second technique is to post uncropped images, again as high quality JPEG. This technique is very helpful when quality varies a lot across the frame. An example is in the comparison of 4-5X objectives at http://www.photomacrography.net/forum/v ... 001#101001. Notice the many links to .jpg images. Courtesy standard browser behavior, those initially display at reduced size in the browser, but can be expanded to 100% actual pixels with one click of the mouse.
Fuzzy snapshots sounds rather harsh.
I agree, and I will happily confess I chose that provocative phrasing because I wanted to make sure I had your attention.

Now that I'm pretty sure I do, let me explain what I meant.
In particular, The Kaufman FG to insects used more of my shots that anyone else's, and he said he couldn't have done the book without them.
There's a copy of Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America on my shelf at all times. It's an excellent book, and I thank you very much for contributing your very helpful photographs, which appear perfectly targeted to the book.

But now let's talk about technical aspects. Thumbing through the book, hardly any individual images exceed 60 mm in maximum dimension; most are smaller than that. Comparing this to a typical snapshot print produced by the local pharmacy, the snapshot print will be typically 4x6 inches -- well over twice as large as a Kaufman image. Looking at it another way, my trusty dissecting scope and stage micrometer report that the book is printed at 6 dots per mm ("150 lines per inch" in the printing world). Multiplying that out, and throwing in an extra factor of 2 for anti-aliasing, that means even the large 60 mm images correspond to no more content than 60 * 6 * 2 = 720 pixels in maximum dimension.

So, despite the very high usefulness of those pictures and probably the great skill and effort required to capture them, the image statistics simply do not compare favorably with a sharp snapshot, and they're not even close to 1 megapixel of image content.

The fact that you've shot thousands of these things, and now hold them up as examples of your work, simply reinforces what I had come to believe was probably the case: you're used to working with images that don't come close to utilizing the full capabilities of your equipment.

That's not intended to be an insult. It's just a statement of fact that's very relevant given what you said you wanted: "To come closer to the quality of images I've seen here." If you want the quality, you might need to adopt the methods, and that means paying attention to what happens clear down at the level of the camera's pixels.
Now I've become aware of a whole new standard with this studio type setup and even how much better field shots can be. And I am working on it. But here is a link to a website and you can decide whether it has all been a worthless endeavor. http://theearlybirder.com/index.html
Quite the contrary, your body of work is very worthwhile, certainly far better pictures than I'll ever take. :)

--Rik

robirdman
Posts: 68
Joined: Wed Dec 04, 2013 4:53 pm

Post by robirdman »

Well, that was a nice final compliment, though exaggerated, as I hope to work towards the outstanding quality of your studio shots. I did have one cover on that cover page link of a Horse Fly face, and this could be much sharper as a studio stack, but this fly could have just flown away. I do hope for some situations in the field where the Stackshot rail might be usable with and extremely immobile cooperative subject, but even taking it out would be months away.

I found some stuff that might give me a more stable subject, but the main vibration may be all the stuff on the ballhead on the Benbo tripod, but for now that is what I'm working with. It is all pretty much practice, for until I can clean these specimens better, even very sharp pictures will look ugly.
The fact that I invested in Stackshot and the objectives and adaptors was the beginning of following these methods. I never had any guidance at all in my "career" before this point.

Do you know what the magnification is with the 4x objective on the 200mm macro at 1:1? I think I measured 6mm, but didn't record it. If it was, it would be between 5.q and 7.2x on the top chart. the Nikon chart doesn't go that high. Originally I thought it would be 4x.


I used pliers to loosen all the stuck knobs marked los on that strange device and then sprayed it all with WD40, and worked it so that it now moves easily with the thumbscrews. I haven't figured if I could actually adapt it though for holding and positioning a subject though without probably drilling it to hold it somewhere. It is interesting though how many ways it moves.

I have a heavy steel table that it might make sense to drill and put a bolt in and have the Stackshot on that instead of the tripod. There might not be room for the subject on it though unless it is high magnification. I am trying to figure all this stuff out, and will try some different things tomorrow.
Thanks, I'm learning a lot.

Chris S.
Site Admin
Posts: 3618
Joined: Sun Apr 05, 2009 9:55 pm
Location: Ohio, USA

Post by Chris S. »

Rob, regarding that "strange device," I have a hunch that Johan was right when he suggested it is "an industry goniometer of some variety." Perhaps you've done an image search on "goniometer." If so, you've seen many devices that look similar, though most are simpler and far more cheaply made. Goniometer measuring devices are usually used for measuring angles, such as the maximum articulation of a person's arm above and below the elbow.

I end up wading through pictures and descriptions of this sort of goniometer, from time to time, because I use goniometric stages for angular positioning of my macro subjects. A goniometric stage is quite a different animal, in form and use, but is also sometimes called a goniometer--so any comprehensive search tends to include both sorts of devices.

By the way, I didn't think there was a very strong chance that your lens was broken--I was hoping to get you to take another look at comparing sharpness across apertures. You did this, but your software, as used, masked the evidence by downsizing. For two people using the same lens under similar studio conditions, one might find the sharpest aperture to be f/8; another f/11--such a one-stop difference could be chalked up to sample variation between lenses, variations in lighting or subject matter, testing protocol, personal judgment, or other variables. But f/32, no--if this aperture looked best in the studio, something was wrong.

Cheers,

--Chris

johan
Posts: 1005
Joined: Tue Sep 06, 2011 7:39 am
Contact:

Post by johan »

Chris, the way I eventually grokked it into my head was that a goniometer actually describes just the measurement part, which of course both the arm devices and stages can do. But a goniometer stage is both the measurement part (ie the scale) and the stage... but colloquially this gets abbreviated to just goniometer.

I did have a look for this thing but couldn't find anything similar online...
My extreme-macro.co.uk site, a learning site. Your comments and input there would be gratefully appreciated.

robirdman
Posts: 68
Joined: Wed Dec 04, 2013 4:53 pm

Post by robirdman »

I see that it does appear to be some kind of goniometer following the suggestion to search the web. What seems strange is that the 2 long arms are connected. Moving one adjustment makes one slide by the other and they cross, but can't be spread apart.

Years ago, the 200mm lens pitched forward on a ballhead and the tripod fell over. The lens separated from the camera, with the flange coming off. Nikon repaired it and I assumed it was OK but this suggestion made me worry. Especially as last year I had to send some bird photography equipment, lenses and cameras in 2 or 3 times as the reported problems weren't corrected initially.

Rik said that due to the characteristics of this lens F8 at high mag will read f16, so F11 will show F22. So this seemingly high readout may be optimal or the f18 and f20 intermediaries. thanks.

robirdman
Posts: 68
Joined: Wed Dec 04, 2013 4:53 pm

Post by robirdman »

The day started out badly., Yesterday, I had glued a piece of styrofaom to a little plate that slid into a mount with a click to lock in place, and this mount had a knob to do some positioning. Much better than my previous method of just pushing the styrofoam which was attached to nothing. So I got a beetle out, pinned it to the foam and then was pushing the plate to the part to lock and the foam came unglued and a hind leg broke off. Then I was trying to glue it back on , viewing under a dissecting scope but the threads stripped and I couldn't focus. So then I thought I glued it in the right place with just reading glasses. I found a short, heavy piece of angle iron under the back porch, and cleaned it off and painted and thought this might work to put the L-cross section styrofoam against it, as a temporary mount.
So I set it all up but when I looked with the camera magnification, I saw I glued the leg in the wrong place. I wasn't expecting much because I just needed a ventral view of the beetle for further determination, but this definitely looked odd. And then, because I pinned it upside down with the pinhead in the foam, it was pivoting, so I had to use a couple of pins to keep from turning. I wasn't really expecting very good results, but I thought I could get good enough for the determinations that needed some more magnification. I did this Scarites at F18 with the closeup lens on tthe front of the macro and did 29 steps.
then there was an elaphrus that needed a clloseup of the pronotum, so I used the 4x objective on the 200mm.

I was trying to avoid glare with diffusion, but it seemed that I wasn't succeeding as I hope, but I finally just went ahead. As I was not expecting much better, I was surprised that, except for some areas, I overlooked, they turned out better than I expected.

robirdman
Posts: 68
Joined: Wed Dec 04, 2013 4:53 pm

Post by robirdman »

I just checked my last post and don't know what happened to the 2 images, I uploaded and saw in the preview but I'll try again.Image
Image

robirdman
Posts: 68
Joined: Wed Dec 04, 2013 4:53 pm

Post by robirdman »

Today I tried another Galerita species and its head. 200mm macro w/4X objective, F11 1/250. 'field was ~6mm. Used139 steps of about .03mm.
2 Zerene methods. I first thought they looked very good but noticed artifacts such as contour maps and some other unclear areas when I looked at higher mag. Attached are the 2 different methods. I cropped one and used shadow highlight and evened the background on one, but not the other because that one looked worse to start. Are these artifacts due to lighting problem or something else?Image
Image

rjlittlefield
Site Admin
Posts: 21385
Joined: Tue Aug 01, 2006 8:34 am
Location: Richland, Washington State, USA
Contact:

Post by rjlittlefield »

robirdman wrote:The day started out badly. ...
I admire your openness in describing days like this. I like to think that everybody has them -- certainly I do -- but reports are not so common. Anyway, you have my sympathy.
...but noticed artifacts such as contour maps and some other unclear areas when I looked at higher mag. Attached are the 2 different methods. I cropped one and used shadow highlight and evened the background on one, but not the other because that one looked worse to start. Are these artifacts due to lighting problem or something else?
It would help if we could see the same thing that you saw when you "looked at higher mag". Can you post a crop showing the defects big enough to be unambiguous, maybe even annotated something like I did HERE.

In the two last two images you've posted, the main problems that catch my attention are both in the second image: 1) general fuzziness around the base of the lower antenna, and 2) overall lack of contrast on the whole right side of the image. The first question when confronting such issues is always "What did the original source images look like?"

--Rik

robirdman
Posts: 68
Joined: Wed Dec 04, 2013 4:53 pm

Post by robirdman »

The previous 2 images were the same stack, just p& D methods in Zerene. Here are 2 area crops of the better, first image.Image
Image

I was having trouble with the 2nd slaved SB800. Although I put it fresh batteries, after each shot the red light would blink and go out, come on just before the next shot. It was on TTL. In the series, most of the images looked about the same but occasionally there would be an extra bright one. About 24 altogether, compared to the rest that were much darker. I'm not sure why this occurs. Here is a shot of the series. Only the ones starting with 900 are part. The Helicon 1st one and Zerene last ones are compliles. Helicon warned about the bightness differences, but Zerene didn't.Image
There is a 5" delay between shots. The subject seems more stable than the camera which needs the time. I'll add a shot of the primitive setup, but I ordered things that may help.

Here is a shot. Cluttered and not an elegant shot like I've seen of other setups, but just to show what produced the results, setup wise.Image
I was using a Benbo tripod and switched to a heavy Bogen model after I finally got its head off using a pipe wrench - as the rubber handles just kept sliding. It is a little more stable.
I ordered a Proxxon table and specimen holder more to make movements easier than pushing by hand, but this doesn't shake when I hit the table.

ChrisR
Site Admin
Posts: 8600
Joined: Sat Mar 14, 2009 3:58 am
Location: Near London, UK

Post by ChrisR »

I think a certain amount of hassles with flash variations are common, but yours look excessive.
I notice you have white masks around the flash heads. On top of the plastic diffusers I don't think they'll be doing too much. If they were closer to the subject, you would have more diffusion, and you could likely remove the plastic diffusers from the flash units. That would mean you could use lower flash power, which would I expect, lead to less flash variation. I only use manual power flash. Typically 1/8th to 1/32nd power. I would expect TTL to compensate to some extent, I don't know. If there's only just enough power available it would still struggle.

The red light "just" going out is not a great guide to the unit really being fully charged, in my experience. Somewhere I have a flash meter which showed how the intensity varied as the units fire from different states of charge. A quick test in a dark room on "B" should reveal differences between exposures.

Post Reply Previous topicNext topic