One of my criteria in assembling the system was that it be reproducible and fairly easy to assemble and use. Except for the gray brackets, everything you see here is either currently available as off-the-shelf equipment, or it's pre-production prototype that soon will be.
I took enough stuff to cover seamlessly from infinity focus to 10X on sensor. It all fit comfortably in a backpack and a laptop bag.
Listing the parts that you see here:
- Focus stepping: StackShot rail with a USB interface.
- Camera: Canon T1i
- Lens: Canon MP-E 65mm
- Illumination: Canon Speedlite 580EX II with Optek diffuser, mounted on Manfrotto 819-1 hydrostatic arm; Petzl LED headlamp for focus and framing.
- Specimen positioning: Adorama 2-axis rail
- Computer & software: laptop running Zerene Stacker and Canon EOS Utility
- Stereo viewers: Wheatstone Mini-Scopes
There are, of course, a couple of aspects of this system that you haven't seen before. You can see them on the laptop screen and sitting next to it: Zerene Stacker controlling the StackShot rail while simultaneously stacking.
As one of the developers, of course I'm a biased observer. On the other hand, as an active focus stacker, I can truthfully say this is pretty cool.
There's a small control panel that basically mimics the coarse and fine focus knobs on a microscope. Turn the knobs by running the mouse, and the camera moves up and down while you watch the LiveView display in the EOS Utility window. Click a couple of buttons to set the start and end of the stack, one more to start shooting, then stand back and watch while the system automatically shoots the stack and simultaneously generates a PMax result.
Before anybody asks, let me volunteer that, no, I can't quote an exact date when the pre-production stuff will be released.
Hope you find this interesting...
Edit: correct spelling error in lens name