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Nikon D810
Sigma 24-35mm f/2 DG HSM Art

Example: 3-Frame Stack (Warm and Cool Aspen, Nikon D810)

This 3-frame focus stack shows performance at f/9 with a single frame versus the focus stack. It is an excellent example of when focus stacking is beneficial, but perhaps only for a large print.

Comments are focused on why a high performance lens is valuable for focus stacking. I was not entirely happy with the lens peformance here; it made the touchup more tedious.

Zerene Stacker PMAX mode delivered a ready to use image with the Align & Stack All (DMAP) command. Movement of branches and leaves, particularly nearby ones against the far background made this a particularly challenging focus stack in terms of touching up double images and such. About 30 minutes were required for a satisfactory result, and some small defects remain (more touchup work could deal with them).

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Diglloyd Making Sharp Images articulates years of best practices and how-to, painstakingly learned over a decade of camera and lens evaluation.

Save yourself those years of trial and error by jump-starting your photographic technical execution when making the image. The best lens or camera is handicapped if the photographer fails to master perfect shot discipline. High-resolution digital cameras are unforgiving of errors, at least if one wants the best possible results.

  • Eases into photographic challenges with an introductory section.
  • Covers aspects of digital sensor technology that relate to getting the best image quality.
  • Technique section discusses every aspect of making a sharp image handheld or on a tripod.
  • Depth of field and how to bypass depth of field limitations via focus stacking.
  • Optical aberrations: what they are, what they look like, and what to do about them.
  • MTF, field curvature, focus shift: insight into the limitations of lab tests and why imaging performance is far more complex than it appears.
  • Optical aberrations: what they are, what they look like, and what to do about them.
  • How to test a lens for a “bad sample”.

Intrigued? See Focusing Zeiss DSLR Lenses For Peak Performance, PART ONE: The Challenges, or (one topic of many) field curvature.

Variants Stacked,Compromise available in full article
f9 @ 1/5 sec, ISO 64; 2016-10-02 08:51:32 [focus stack 3 frames]
NIKON D810 + Sigma 24-35mm f/2 DG HSM Art @ 24mm

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