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Stackshot – automated focus stacking macro rail page 2

Just to say that Cognisys the manufacturer have made it easy for people to make their own cables to work with this macro rail. I did not wish to pay a lot of money for the shutter control cable for my Olympus or Sony cameras, particularly as each costs over £40.

So I ended up using some cables I had at home (RCA to 3.5mm socket) to cobble up a solution which allows me to work with both camera systems; all I needed to buy was a 3.5mm plug to 2.5mm socket adapter for under £3, to connect with my 2.5mm wired remote cable for Olympus micro 4/3rds and Sony E-mount.

What is good about the Stackshot?

1) It can accurately automate the focusing and shooting of subjects.

2) Saves time when shooting the same subject under different light, while ensuring they look identical.

3) Because it is so customisable, it will allow for settings to suit many different situations – it even allows for long exposures (e.g. when shooting UVIVF) and also for time for the flash to recycle.

4) I am now able to use large apertures (e.g. @ F4 with my Coastal Optics 60mm lens) with shallow depth of field, without worrying that part of the image may not be in focus as the Stackshot can accurately allow for slight overlap of depth of field.

5) Cognisys provide diagrams for how their cables are connected, which will allow for DIY cables and save money.

6) Using larger apertures means I am able to use lower ISOs and shorter exposure times for the UV-induced visible fluorescence.

What could be improved?

1) Cost – it isn’t cheap, particularly if you factor in the extras (mounting plate to fit an Arca clamp, original shutter cables for Sony or Olympus cameras).

2) More from a shooting technique point of view rather than with Stackshot, but there needs to be some gap between the subject and the top and bottom edge of the image, to ensure that part of the flower does not go out of the frame at the start or end of the stack (see example below).

Anyway, the images below were shot using the Auto-step mode. I will likely use other modes for different subjects, particularly at high magnifications. Unfortunately I did not leave enough gap on the bottom edge, which was clipped off as the rail moved to the end of the stack.

Orange gerbera (5 images at F4) - visible
Orange gerbera (5 images at F4) – visible
Orange gerbera (5 images at F4) - UV
Orange gerbera (5 images at F4) – UV
Orange gerbera (5 images at F4) - IDS1
Orange gerbera (5 images at F4) – IDS1
Orange gerbera (5 images at F4) - IDS2e
Orange gerbera (5 images at F4) – IDS2e
Orange gerbera (5 images at F4) - UVIVF
Orange gerbera (5 images at F4) – UVIVF

I am very pleased with this purchase, as it has made it fairly straight forward to shoot macro with my indoor studio; in fact it should be straight forward to shoot with even more filters such as RG665 for infrared. Also, as a result I have simplified my Olympus E-M5 UV-imaging system now by removing my follow-focus system as it is no longer required for adjusting fine focus. Hence it is more compact and much lighter.

Now, I just need to get used to my new workflow from a camera settings point of view (i.e. remembering to change white balance etc for each filter used). I have just borrowed my friend’s microscope objectives to do visible light and UV extreme macro with the Stackshot in the near future.

10x microscope objective mounted to Sony A6000
10x microscope objective mounted to Sony A6000
Sony A6000 mounted on Stackshot
Sony A6000 mounted on Stackshot

Hopefully I will be able to have a play with these to do some high magnification macrophotography.


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