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palaeopix

Better Fossil Photography

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grampa dino

Thanks for the posting,nice read

I'm a Pentax fan

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pleecan

Excellent post Palaeopix! Thank you very much for sharing your photographic equipment configuration. Nicely done. PL

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palaeopix

Thanks for the posting,nice read

I'm a Pentax fan

It's pretty hard now a days to find a lemon of a camera if you stick with the big names (Canon, Fujifilm, Leica, Nikon, Olympus, Panasonic, Pentax, Sigma and Sony). Even companies like Casio and Ricoh have some good cameras.

Back in the stone age I had a Pentax 6x7. It was a great camera.

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Haddy

Thanks for the great info, I'm sure I'll use it soon! I have an XSi but don't yet have a great macro lens. I purchased a "Digital Concepts +1 +2 +4 +10 Close-Up Macro Filter Set with Pouch (58mm)" that's supposed to be decent to play around with -- not sure how much macro I'll really do with this camera. Thus far, I haven't even tried it! I used to do a lot of macro shots with my film Nikon / Nikonos but haven't gotten back into that yet with digital cameras.

Most of my photos are just with my PNS, a Pentax Optio that is waterproof and is my main camera -- poor thing has been dragged everywhere for the past 3 years since my small Canon died while on vacation. I just shoot fossils with the close-up setting (a little flower in "Mode"), but don't have any really tiny ones as yet.

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palaeopix

Thanks for the great info, I'm sure I'll use it soon! I have an XSi but don't yet have a great macro lens. I purchased a "Digital Concepts +1 +2 +4 +10 Close-Up Macro Filter Set with Pouch (58mm)" that's supposed to be decent to play around with -- not sure how much macro I'll really do with this camera. Thus far, I haven't even tried it! I used to do a lot of macro shots with my film Nikon / Nikonos but haven't gotten back into that yet with digital cameras.

Most of my photos are just with my PNS, a Pentax Optio that is waterproof and is my main camera -- poor thing has been dragged everywhere for the past 3 years since my small Canon died while on vacation. I just shoot fossils with the close-up setting (a little flower in "Mode"), but don't have any really tiny ones as yet.

Careful if you stack those close up lenses. Generally speaking many of those supplementary close up lenses perform rather bad when used together (can't comment on Digital Concepts product because I've never used them). If you've got a 50mm lying around you could add an extension tube. How about any Nikon lenses. Have you got any of those left from your film days. I have a 55mm f2.8 micro-nikkor and 105mm f2.8 micro-nikkor (both are exceptional manual focus lenses for regular and macro photography). You can get adapters to fit your Nikkor lenses on a Canon body (good ones are $200-300 Canadian, I think the cheapies on ebay cost around $30-50 US). You won't have auto focus but you don't need it for macro as I'm sure you already know.

You should check out the new Tamron 60mm macro lens (96mm equivalent on your Xsi). It is specifically designed for APS-C cameras like your Xsi and it's getting some good reviews.

The Xsi is a great little camera you should give macro another shot. Who knows maybe you'll catch the bug again.

Edited by palaeopix

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Haddy

Careful if you stack those close up lenses. Generally speaking many of those supplementary close up lenses perform rather bad when used together (can't comment on Digital Concepts product because I've never used them). If you've got a 50mm lying around you could add an extension tube. How about any Nikon lenses. Have you got any of those left from your film days. I have a 55mm f2.8 micro-nikkor and 105mm f2.8 micro-nikkor (both are exceptional manual focus lenses for regular and macro photography). You can get adapters to fit your Nikkor lenses on a Canon body (good ones are $200-300 Canadian, I think the cheapies on ebay cost around $30-50 US). You won't have auto focus but you don't need it for macro as I'm sure you already know.

You should check out the new Tamron 60mm macro lens (96mm equivalent on your Xsi). It is specifically designed for APS-C cameras like your Xsi and it's getting some good reviews.

The Xsi is a great little camera you should give macro another shot. Who knows maybe you'll catch the bug again.

Thanks for the suggestions. The XSi seems to be nice although I'm not crazy about the telephoto yet (couldn't be operator error or anything). Takes some getting used to.

I'll have to go through my old equipment to see what's there. There should be a nice 35 and maybe a 28? I have tons of extension tubes and framers and all sorts of goodies from my underwater photo days.

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bobthemoose

I know as far as the laws of optics go the greater the magnification in your lens the lower the depth of focus - but are there any particular lenses that have higher depth of field than others since no lens is universally optimum and there are optical tradeoffs with any design? I would like to take images that are no more than maybe 4-6 wide. is there a lens that would be best for such a field size?

TIA!

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Auspex

The smaller the aperture, the greater the depth of field (but the longer the exposure). Digital makes the trade off less critical, but a truly portable light source would be a boon.

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palaeopix

It is true as Auspex stated that "the smaller the aperture, the greater the depth of field", but having said this decreasing the aperture beyond a certain point (depending on the lens) increases diffraction which will degrade image sharpness. Many lenses have an optimum aperture that produce a combination of acceptable sharpness and depth of field. Typically this optimum aperture is about two stops lower than the maximum aperture of the lens.

This however does not answer the question of what lens provides the most depth of field. I guess the short answer is that whichever lens you are using when used properly is the best lens. So find out which aperture is optimum for your lens. Set your camera on a sturdy tripod. Make sure the film plane (or I guess we should call it the sensor plane) is parallel with the subject. And finally, properly focus the lens (manually if you can). An improperly focused lens will quickly decrease depth of field.

For the long answer check out the article in Wikipedia on Depth of Field, but be warned you are going to need your note pad, calculator and thinking cap. Good Luck and happy reading.

I would like to point out again (I have mentioned this in another tread elsewhere in the forum) that depth of field can be increased by using image stacking software such as Helicon Focus. The software does amazing things and is really the only solution to maximizing depth of field. Check out their website for details.

Edited by palaeopix

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pleecan

Ultimately .... Optic design of the lens assembly will affect depth of field perceptions.

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bobthemoose

I guess the short answer is that whichever lens you are using when used properly is the best lens.

ok, but are there any other general rules of thumb above and beyond what Auspex mentioned - like will using an extension tube be detrimental for depth of focus to a greater degree than the decrease in field size would indicate?

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palaeopix

ok, but are there any other general rules of thumb above and beyond what Auspex mentioned - like will using an extension tube be detrimental for depth of focus to a greater degree than the decrease in field size would indicate?

I guess the best rule of thumb other than what Auspex and I have mentioned previously is that the closer you get to the subject, whether it be through the use of a closeup (diopter) lens or extension, the shallower the depth of field. So one has to weigh the many minuses versus the very few pluses of getting super close to an object. By design a lens will only focus precisely on a very small plane. At a given aperture the plane of focus may extend in front of and beyond the actual plane of focus (so as mentioned by Auspex use a smaller aperture and the amount of forward and rear focus is increased), This is not a problem when you are some distance from the subject or are using a wide angle lens (which do have there uses in closeup photography but not generally true macrophotography). Having said that, things get wonky as you get closer to the object. Depth of field rapidly decreases and can become minute as the magnification increases. It is not unheard of to have a depth of field of mere millimetres or even fractions of millimetres, just ask any of the members who routinely use microscopes to photograph their subjects.

So if there are so many minuses how does one turn the situation around. Well I guess you have to live with what the laws of optics and physics allow for. It would be nice if there was a lens that was capable of producing images with great depth of field and high resolution at all focal lengths and at magnification. To my knowledge there is no lens capable of these feats other than the Human eye, and presumably other vertebrate eyes (except of course our eyes have limits to magnification).

I did not intend to over simplify the this discussion, but I could spend hours explaining all of the rules and exceptions associated with Macrophotography and depth of field.

I put forward the suggestion again that focus stacking at the moment is really the only solution to the problem of depth of field in macro and microphotography in the digital darkroom. While on the topic there is an analogue version of focus stacking called Scanning photomacrography, but don't get me started on that. If you are interested in scanning photomacrography give it a go in Google for details on technique and required equipment. Or give me a shout and I could do up something on scanning photomicrogaphy.

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pleecan

It is true as Auspex said that "the smaller the aperture, the greater the depth of field", but having said this decreasing the aperture beyond a certain point (depending on the lens) increases diffraction which will degrade image sharpness. Many lenses have an optimum aperture that produce a combination of acceptable sharpness and depth of field. Typically this optimum aperture is about two stops lower than the maximum aperture of the lens.

This however does not answer the question of what lens provides the most depth of field. I guess the short answer is that whichever lens you are using when used properly is the best lens. So find out which aperture is optimum for your lens. Set your camera on a sturdy tripod. Make sure the film plane (or I guess we should call it the sensor plane) is parallel with the subject. And finally, properly focus the lens (manually if you can). An improperly focused lens will quickly decrease depth of field.

For the long answer check out the article in Wikipedia on Depth of Field, but be warned you are going to need your note pad, calculator and thinking cap. Good Luck and happy reading.

I would like to point out again (I have mentioned this in another tread elsewhere in the forum) that depth of field can be increased by using image stacking software such as Helicon Focus. The software does amazing things and is really the only solution to maximizing depth of field. Check out their website for details.

At magnification approaching 100x and beyond.... a real problem to focus properly... touching the focus generates tremors of vibration that potentially destroy resolutions... even cars on the road generate vibrations visible under the microscope.... depth of view is almost nil.... I would have to agree with you Dan that the one viable solution is stacker image software as you mention.... I have not used stacker software in the past but this is indeed a viable solution. At magnifications beyond 100x I use a metallurigical microscope to image and depth of view is an issue that needs to be address. Are there any freebie stacker programs out there?

Peter

Edited by pleecan

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palaeopix

Thanks for posting the link Auspex. I haven't quite figured out how to do that myself.

I have not used Helicon Focus myself but I have seen the resulting images and to say the least WOW!

Edited by palaeopix

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pleecan

Thanks Auspex for the link... results are amazing.... just removed the link to a freebie ware, used it and did not like stacker 2.0 .

Edited by pleecan

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grampa dino

There are a number of stacking programs out there, one just has to smure the web

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pleecan

Helicon Focus stacking software just astounding... downloaded it today and on the first try just amazed.... I took a series of 12 shots of Barite microcrystal from Dundas Quarry near Hamilton.... the problem is depth of field no matter how hard I tried to focus ( I have written a tutorial and submitted to Helicon Focus software people in exchange for a free software licence if they use my material on their website... we will see)

post-2446-12699099697533_thumb.jpg

post-2446-12699099962687_thumb.jpg

Composite:

post-2446-12699100223328_thumb.jpg

Just Magic!

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Auspex

Oh boy! This is a game-changer; small will be beautiful!

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JohnJ

Oh boy! This is a game-changer; small will be beautiful!

OH Yeah!

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pleecan

Crystal from Dundas Quarry 7 pic composite stacked

post-2446-12699446584351_thumb.jpg

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pleecan

Shell 8 frame stacked Helicon

Other links / articles/ reviews on Helicon

http://www.camera-college.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=63&Itemid=53

Free Stacker:

http://rsb.info.nih.gov/ij/download.html

http://hadleyweb.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/CZP/Installation.htm

post-2446-12699469266163_thumb.jpg

Edited by pleecan

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TourmalineGuy

I thought I'd put this in here. There is a great used, online camera supply store that I've used in the past and has a great rating system for its used gear. I bought my macro lens on the site (Tamron 90mm/2.8) for a fraction of what it would have cost elsewhere.

The site is www.keh.com and no, I'm not affiliated with the site if this sounds like a sales pitch :P

Edit: Find the sentence where I employed the word "used" three times!

Edited by TourmalineGuy

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Wakaritai

This technology seems very similar to HDR programs. Could an HDR program be sued in a similar way?

I've seen some "free" (demos, adware, etc.) stackers after a search, but are any actually open-source? I couldn't find any :(

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