Zerene control of Stackshot with studio white box and flash

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leander
Posts: 62
Joined: Sun Jun 19, 2011 8:39 pm
Location: USA

Zerene control of Stackshot with studio white box and flash

Post by leander »

I would appreciate a critique of my setup for Stackshot and Zerene control.

Key Nikon D850 settings:
• Manual exposure, manual focus
• 1/200 sec @ f11
• Mirror lock up
• Rear curtain sync
Stackshot Controller configuration in ZS dialog box
• Settling time 3 seconds
• Shutter pulse time 0.6 seconds
• Number of shutter pulses per focus step 2
• Time between shutter pulses 2 seconds
• Time after last shutter pulse per focus step 3 seconds
• Device settings in order top to bottom (I think these are default values)
2
8
1.5875
3200
0.22
0.11
0.02

Questions:
1. Are these settings correct?
2. I can’t use Live View with electronic shutter because I’m using flash. Would LEDs and Live View with electronic shutter be a better approach as it relates to macro sharpness. I shoot in the range 10x to 1x.
3. Mirror lock up enables EFCS so is 2 seconds too long (unnecessary) for “shutter pulses per focus step”?
4. I have set EFCS enabled in the camera menu but I don’t think this matters because Mup sets it automatically I believe. If it doesn’t then the menu setting does matter and it should be set correctly?
5. I also have the camera set to REAR-curtain sync. Does this really matter if I'm using Mup?

Thank you! Any comments welcome.

Lou Jost
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Post by Lou Jost »

Many of the answers to your questions depend on your subjects and your environment: the frequency and amplitude of vibrations, the sturdiness of your rig and your floor, whether your subjects are rigid or can flex, etc. It would be best to test for yourself the different alternatives you mention.

rjlittlefield
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Re: Zerene control of Stackshot with studio white box and fl

Post by rjlittlefield »

leander wrote:5. I also have the camera set to REAR-curtain sync. Does this really matter if I'm using Mup?
When stacking with rear-curtain sync, it's customary to use a shutter-open time longer than 1/200 second. The idea is to give whatever vibrations are introduced by shutter opening, enough time to die out. I have no experience with the D850 and I don't know how rigid your setup is, so I can't say for sure how much time is needed. With the D800E in my setup, I'd probably use 1/2 second.

As for sharpness, it is almost always better to use flash. That said, there are special circumstances where the blast of heat & light from the strobe firing can cause the subject to move even during the brief interval while the light is on. An example is an isolated scale of a moth, adhered to a slide only by its basal stalk. In those circumstances it would be better to use continuous illumination and electronic shutter.

In addition, LEDs have the large advantage that "what you see is what you get" -- live view matches captured images. This often makes it simpler to get the illumination exactly right with LEDs, if you're going for some particular look.

--Rik

cactuspic
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Post by cactuspic »

Rik, i had a question as to why flash would be sharper. Is it the difficulty in isolating the system from vibration? Or is there another reason. I assume that the benefit is flash's short duration that prevents any movement. If we didn't try so hard to diffuse it, I could see an additional benefit from the sharpness obtainable by a single point source light.

In short, if we did away with vibration by effectively isolating our system and used live view would there typically be much of a difference in sharpness? Thanks.

Irwin

rjlittlefield
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Post by rjlittlefield »

Correct, it's a matter of vibration. If your environment is very stable, then using continuous illumination works just as well and sometimes better.

--Rik

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