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Example: Handheld (Dana Lake)

Use of a tripod for focus stacking is all but essential for avoiding stacking issues, but here with a violent wind throwing me off balance (and an actual danger descending steep boulder fields), I could not even frame the subject accurately. A tripod might have blown over, and at the least it would have vibrated like crazy. But I was there and it would be another year for conditions in this combination. I was curious:

Could I make a focus stack handheld under unstable shooting conditions?

This particular subject had always defeated me on a depth of field basis: making the foreground and the rock and the background sharp is not possible even at 21mm at this range, and so I wondered: could I focus stack with just two handheld shots for good results?

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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.

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  • 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.

Dana Lake, Icing Out
Focus-stacked image from 2 handheld frames
f5.6 @ 1/200 sec, ISO 100; 2016-06-14 18:22:10
Sony A7R II + Zeiss Loxia 21mm f/2.8 Distagon

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