Photographers have fought against depth-of-field since the beginning. To get more depth of field, we have to use a smaller aperture and that means a slower shutter speed. It’s just the way photography works.
For years, we’ve been able to take photos of a subject, focus in different places, and then blend those photos later to increase our depth-of-field. Then about 10 years ago camera manufacturers started putting focus stacking in the camera. Today, Canon calls it focus bracketing in the Canon R5.
To activate focus bracketing on the R5, go to Shooting Menu 5. The menu then offers options such as how many photos to take and how far to focus into the scene.
A little icon shows on the shooting screen while Focus Bracketing is active. Push the shutter button and the camera rapidly fires a series of photos. It doesn’t blend the photos in camera but provides the RAW files for blending later. I use Photoshop to do my blending. (Instructions are below.)
Notice the tiny imperfections in the photo on the left. Look closely at the tails. See the little blue highlights? That’s where the birds moved their tails. Focus bracketing doesn’t work well on moving subjects.
My instructions for blending a focus bracket (1) Open all the photos in Photoshop in a Layer. In Bridge, highlight the photos then select Tools>Photoshop>Load Files into Photoshop Layers. In Lightroom, highlight the photos then select Photo>Edit In>Open in Layers in Photoshop; (2) Select all the photos once they are in the Layers Pallette; (3) Select Edit>Auto Align; (4) Select Edit>Auto Blend, (5) Select Layer>Flatten.
I suggest you focus a bit closer than needed for your first photo of the series. That way you get some foreground in focus.
Have you tried focus stacking or focus bracketing? Success?
It’s a great time to be a photographer! Nikon, Canon, Pentax, Olympus, Fuji, and Sony are pushing the engineering envelope. Each company gives us something new to keep ahead of their competition. We benefit, as photographers, with great new gadgets and features.
Problem is, though, there is no camera with every amazing feature. We have to settle on the features that are important to our shooting. My important features are not going to be the same as your important features. We each have to find the machine that works for us.
I’m testing the Olympus OM-D E-M1 ii and OM-D M1X for a month.
Each of these camera bodies has interesting features that I might use in regular shooting.
Here’s my opinion and some test results:
Focus stacking – This is nice! I’ve done focus stacking with software and love the results. Focus stacking in the camera, though, is something I’ve wanted to try for a long time.
Both the OM-D E-M1 ii and OM-D M1X gave amazing results.
Below are the individual pieces of the stacked morning glory.
Below are the individual pieces of the stacked dayflower shown above.
Lessons learned when working with both cameras. (1) Be sure to click OK to each option in the set-up process. There are several steps. (2) Confirm you’re in Focus Stacking by looking for the BRKT icon at the top of the view finder. (3) Turn off RAW/Jpg since this causes the camera to work extra and takes longer to process the finished picture. (4) The finished picture is a large Jpg. (5) In-camera focus stacking is lens dependent. Doesn’t work with every lens.
Below is a photo of a gemstone loaned to me by a friend.
The individual photos that made up the above image are show below.
There’s a bit to learn with Olympus focus stacking but it’s pretty easy. The camera settings include how many photos to take and focus differential. A large subject like the ruby needs a wider differential.
Silent shooting – This is a nice feature and on the Olympus it’s really silent. I’ve used this at two weddings during the vow exchange. There’s no sound from the camera. Beware though — This is a great way to fire off 50 shots without knowing it. Heck of a time deleting those buggers.
HDR – The cameras do this. In-camera HDR has become standard these days.
Handheld High Res – use f/2.8 to f/8 and fire off 16 shots. Gives tons of DOF. I tried in the office and worked well. I’ll post more results once I get out in a grand landscape. Stay tuned!
Keystone Composition – like using a tilt-shift lens. Adjust the foreground or background to move forward or backward. Straighten the sides from left to right. Worked well in the office but I need to test on a grand landscape. Watch this space.
Thank for reading and subscribe so you’ll see my next post. Feel free to ask questions or make comments below.