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Depth of Field Akin to f/128: an Incredible Near-Far Focus Stack with the Zeiss Milvus 18mm f/2.8

Get Zeiss Milvus 18mm f/2.8 at B&H Photo.

I’ve been pushing the limits of focus stacking, wondering just how far I could push it.

With 30 mph 28°F bursty winds (twisting even the foreground branch and waving the trees madly about), this 9-frame focus stack took a bit of work, but I’d guesstimate it has the depth of field of f/128 or so—without any of the diffraction problems, which would turn the entire thing into mush. The whole idea of focus stacking is to keep the circle of confusion at or near the pixel size.

I think it is astounding in the detail and depth of field. The camera is about 10 inches off the ground and the nearest detail is about 10 inches away, yet sharpness extends all the way to the peak. See the full 45-megapixel 8K version in both color and black and white in my review of the Zeiss Milvus 18mm f/2.8. It has some defects, some of which could be improved with more effort, and some of which cannot be fixed (wind shifting things around). But I wonder if most viewers will notice, even in the 8K version. Best viewed on the iMac 5K or better.

Zeiss Milvus 18mm f/2.8 Examples: Eastern Sierra, Late Season

The Milvus 18/2.8 has little breathing (change in magnification with focusing), which greatly aids focus stacking by minimizing the stretching required to merge the frames.

Bring warm multi-layered clothing for such outings; see Gear for the Mountains. See also Ad-Hoc Insulating the Sprinter Photography Adventure Van at 17°F + Western Mountaineering Down Cypress GWS Sleeping Bag.

I have many more very nice images, but I am behind on publishing, because it is very special to have iced-over conditions almost free of snow up here at nearly 11,000' elevation.

Harsh Life for Pines Below Glacial Moraine
f11 @ 1/25 sec focus stack 9 frames, ISO 31; 2017-11-12 17:05:07
NIKON D850 + Zeiss Milvus 18mm f/2.8

[low-res image for bot]

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