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Example: Subject Movement (9050 Pine Creek Rd Waterfall)

The Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 APO-Distagon is an outstanding lens for focus stacking. Here it yields a medium format feel as it often does.

Three frames at f/5.6 deliver sharpness from the near foreground to the rear of the building, this being a shallow stack of sorts in that the far background is intentionally left somewhat blurred for the benefit of subject separation. Had it been desirable to sharpen the far background fully, a 4th frame could have been shot and/or f/9 could have been used instead of f/5.6.

A scene like this is a challenge for focus stacking because of subject movement: moving water, plus leaves and branches swaying wildly in a vigorous wind. Worse, the leaves on the left side are at close range and yet set against a distant background, which results in blur haloes which need retouching (the leaves at right are much farther away, and thus much easier to deal with).

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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.

9050 Pine Creek Road, Blue Morning Light
Focus-stacked image, 3 frames
f5.6 @ 1/80 sec, ISO 64; 2016-06-14 06:05:45
NIKON D810 + Zeiss Otus 1.4/55 ZF.2

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