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Author Topic: Lens Vibration: Stir but Donít Shake  (Read 3618 times)

Michael Erlewine

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Lens Vibration: Stir but Donít Shake
« on: March 31, 2018, 11:48:58 am »

One of the problems with getting increasing sharp lenses (and extending them) is a smaller version of what long-telephotos have Ė everything shakes!

I have a small studio on the second floor of our home. I am in the process of emptying out and selling my larger studio because it is too far away, about half a block. LOL. But getting me out of the house in winter and down there is very difficult, although it is a 40x40 foot building with two and a half floors and huge space and high ceilings. But thatís just me.

Anyway, the problem is that I live in an old-ish house and the floors are not steady. With finer and finer lenses and especially at higher magnification ratios and especially-especially if I magnify focus, the world shakes like a leaf on a tree, which is terrifying for a photographer doing still photos. Ouch!

What to do? It is so bad that, even if I am just standing quietly and not moving in the room, my breathing (or whatever) causes the subject to slightly shake Ė just being there! At first I could not believe it. Nothing was moving, including me (as best I could), yet still there were these nano-quakes going on! The bottom line is that this is not good for taking photos. Yes, I get somewhat decent phots, but somewhat decent is not what I have to get out of these lenses.

And of course, I tried building little buffered pads for me to stand on, hopefully isolating ME from the floor, but it seemed to me like instead of isolating, it only ďfeaturesĒ me as the shake-dancer. LOL.

So, floor treatments (aside from rebuilding the entire room) with cement donít work. Then I had a bit on an idea. The floor shakes, but the foundation of the building does not, or only minutely. What not hang a heavy shelf off the walls to hold my subjects. I did and it works great to isolate the subject. I used this for a while and it isolated the subject, but still left me, myself, and I as the culprit. Just out there standing in the room, even holding my breath, the vibrations found their way up the tripod (which is on the floor, of course) all the way to the camera and lens. And they shake!

I tried all kinds of ways to isolate the tripod feet, including the astronomical pads, many kinds of isolation pads, gooey-stuff, and on and on. No matter how I piled the isolation pads, there was still movement.

Next, I tried hanging a second shelf off the wall and put both the subject and tripod on a large board. That helped some, but mostly succeeded in transferring the camera shake from me touching it to focus to the subject being photographed. As they say, ďClose, but no cigar,Ē well, closer.

My next attempt was to build a second shelf unit (again, off the wall), but isolated from the unit with the subject. So, in the middle of the night I built second set of two shelves, again them hanging off the wall, but not touching the floor. And on this I put a second board, one just for the tripod, but, as mentioned, separate from the subject.

By Golly, this works! The subject, which is hanging of the wall on a shelf does not move. The tripod shelf, also hanging off the wall on a board supported by dual shelves does move, except when I touch the rig to focus. I can move around on the floor now (and breath, which is healthy) and there almost no transfer of vibration.

The penalty, which is there anyway, is that with each touch of the focusing, there is an after-shake, as we might expect. I have to wait a few seconds for the whole thing to calm down and then take the photo.

I am already using the silent-shutter on the Nikon D850, so there is no mirror-slap, only the vibrations that stem from touching the focus barrel. However, if you are stacking 100 or so photos, that is a lot of wait-time, but thatís the price I pay for removing the shake.

So, now I can move around the floor and do the stuff I have to do without affecting the subject or the tripod/camera with added vibrations. I do find myself sitting down to photograph, since extending the tripod legs adds to the shake-component. Take this particular rig outside into the Michigan winds? Not likely!

Here is a quick photo taken with the Nikon D810 and the newish Nikon 8-15mm Zoom of the system. Thatís a Nikon D850 sitting on a Novoflex focus rail with an rail knob that allows finer movement. On the D850 is the Schneder Macro Varon 85mm lens, with two PK-13 Extensions tubes (55mm total), and three K-3 rings as a hood. That sits on the Arca-Swiss Cube, sits on a Series 3 RRS tripod.

And the whole thing, as mentioned sits on a board held by two 20Ē steel shelves extending out from the walls. And the subject, an African daisy sits on two separate shelves that hold a thin board. Sorry about the mess, but thatís usual with me, stuff all around. There are also a couple of paper-wrapped bricks and two video sandbags on the wide board, just to see if they help.

Any suggestions on dampening the tripod/camera from when I touch to focus would be appreciated. That is where all the vibration comes now. I have a 3-second delay on the camera, after I decide it has calmed down enough to chance that.

This is a partial stack. Look at the area inside the blue ellipse. Thatís about as good as this lens will do. I will do a large portion at some point. There ARE other lenses too that should not be shaken.

Why bother with all of this? Well, why bother anything? LOL.
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Jim Kasson

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Re: Lens Vibration: Stir but Donít Shake
« Reply #1 on: March 31, 2018, 01:23:08 pm »

Well done, Michael. I do most of my macro work on a vinyl tile floor over 6 inches of concrete on grade, 1 mile from the nearest road, so I haven't had to do that kind of thing. There are commercial vibration-isolation devices, but they tend to be expensive and heavy.

Jim

Michael Erlewine

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Re: Lens Vibration: Stir but Donít Shake
« Reply #2 on: March 31, 2018, 01:52:14 pm »

Well done, Michael. I do most of my macro work on a vinyl tile floor over 6 inches of concrete on grade, 1 mile from the nearest road, so I haven't had to do that kind of thing. There are commercial vibration-isolation devices, but they tend to be expensive and heavy.

Jim

Unless I go with a wire-less remote, the only think causing vibration with my setup is when I turn an increment to focus. I can see on magnified LiveView any disturbance. Plus, I wait after turning the focus increment, and then have a 3-second delay after I trip the remote shutter. This setup is OK, just time consuming.

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degrub

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Re: Lens Vibration: Stir but Donít Shake
« Reply #3 on: March 31, 2018, 05:18:50 pm »

Are those soft tips on the tripod ?
Were spike tips worse ?
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Michael Erlewine

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Re: Lens Vibration: Stir but Donít Shake
« Reply #4 on: March 31, 2018, 06:01:00 pm »

Are those soft tips on the tripod ?
Were spike tips worse ?

They are hard-ish round tips. The problem now comes for touching the focus barrel. Not sure that sharp tips would help much.
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degrub

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Re: Lens Vibration: Stir but Donít Shake
« Reply #5 on: March 31, 2018, 09:54:32 pm »

Then it may be the long lever arm of the shelf support moving its connection to the rail since those are loose connections.

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Michael Erlewine

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Re: Lens Vibration: Stir but Donít Shake
« Reply #6 on: April 01, 2018, 04:42:44 am »

Then it may be the long lever arm of the shelf support moving its connection to the rail since those are loose connections.

That's true but I can't connect it to the floor. I tried. And the floor communicates tons of vibrations. Any ideas?
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dchew

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Re: Lens Vibration: Stir but Donít Shake
« Reply #7 on: April 01, 2018, 05:48:21 am »

Michael,
Is the whole camera shelf cantilevered off the wall, or is there a post underneath like what you have for ďsubjectĒ shelf?

I suspect the vibrations from focusing are magnified throughout the whole shelf, so I doubt a lens support rail will help you much:
RRS Long Lens Support
It would reduce the lens movement from touching, but vibrations would still be transmitted to the rest of the cantilevered shelf.

You might try removable cables with turnbuckles that extend from the top of your window frame down to the far corners of the camera shelf attached with eye bolts. It wonít eliminate the shake from touching the lens but might dampen the vibrations faster. You would have to play with the tension to get the right amount of dampening, hence the turnbuckles for adjustment.

The only other thing I can think of is an autofocusing lens so you can use the focus-stepping feature. I am sure that is not an acceptable solution!

Dave

« Last Edit: April 01, 2018, 05:55:23 am by dchew »
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Michael Erlewine

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Re: Lens Vibration: Stir but Donít Shake
« Reply #8 on: April 01, 2018, 06:10:26 am »

Michael,
Is the whole camera shelf cantilevered off the wall, or is there a post underneath like what you have for ďsubjectĒ shelf?

I suspect the vibrations from focusing are magnified throughout the whole shelf, so I doubt a lens support rail will help you much:
RRS Long Lens Support
It would reduce the lens movement from touching, but vibrations would still be transmitted to the rest of the cantilevered shelf.

You might try removable cables with turnbuckles that extend from the top of your window frame down to the far corners of the camera shelf attached with eye bolts. It wonít eliminate the shake from touching the lens but might dampen the vibrations faster. You would have to play with the tension to get the right amount of dampening, hence the turnbuckles for adjustment.

The only other thing I can think of is an autofocusing lens so you can use the focus-stepping feature. I am sure that is not an acceptable solution!

Dave

There is no "post" under the subject shelf. That is a leg of a stool behind the shelf. I have tried tying the shelf to the floor, but it just transfers the floor vibrations all over again. The weakness is in the fact that the 22" shelf brackets have too little brace. Perhaps, a set of reversed shelf  brackets that are a longer 90-degree angle brace would be better than these removable shelves. I may try that. I have got it working, but it takes a longish time to settle down each time I focus and with 100 layers in a focus stack, that is time consuming.  I could relocate to my basement, but here I have a skylight above and two six foot casement windows adjacent. The light is the thing that makes it good. Always something. LOL.
« Last Edit: April 01, 2018, 07:05:05 am by Michael Erlewine »
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degrub

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Re: Lens Vibration: Stir but Donít Shake
« Reply #9 on: April 01, 2018, 07:06:19 am »

if you are handy with an arc welder, you could try tack welding the brackets to the wall rails.  Otherwise, only adding significant mass to the shelf is likely to change the response any. Too much may cause the whole thing to tumble however.
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Jim Metzger

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Re: Lens Vibration: Stir but Donít Shake
« Reply #10 on: April 01, 2018, 11:27:13 am »

Three thoughts:

Try hanging a weight from the bottom of the tripod to increase it's mass.
Locate the camera so the mass is centered over the center of the tripod legs.
Drape a small sandbag over the body of the camera.

Less likely to be a realistic solution would be to reduce the span of the floor joists from below with a temporary beam and column wedged to the underside of the floor you are working on.

Old houses tend to have lots of "bounce" they used smaller framing members on longer spans and the nailed connections were not as tight as current joist hangers. The floors can act like a trampoline and the walls will flex with almost any wind pressure. Putting "stuff" on the floor will just bounce with the floor. There can be both high and low frequency vibration.

Now we also tend to glue the subfloor to the joists so they respond as one stiff diaphragm. Tight and stiff construction tends to reduce low frequency vibration but will transmit higher frequency vibration like a speaker. I helped build a house in Oregon many years ago and you would feel the vibration of a hammer from one side of the house to the other.

100 stacked shots? I'd like to know what that gets you in quality from say, 50 stacked shots.

Good luck

Jim
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elliot_n

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Re: Lens Vibration: Stir but Donít Shake
« Reply #11 on: April 01, 2018, 11:38:51 am »

Flash?
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Michael Erlewine

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Re: Lens Vibration: Stir but Donít Shake
« Reply #12 on: April 01, 2018, 11:52:18 am »

Well, howís this for amazing:

This morning I went to our basement and set up my system to see if there is camera shaking on cement. There was no shaking. I could turn the knob on the focus rail to advance it and it was all smooth. That was expected, but still interesting.

Then I went to the main floor and did the same in the kitchen and living room. Almost no shaking and what was there died out almost immediately. I told myself I may have to do more shooting around the house and not in my little studio.

And so, with a sigh, I marched back up the narrow stairs to my tiny studio, where all the shaking lives. And just for kicks, I placed the tripod on the bare floor, ignoring the floating panel suspended from the walls. And, to my ASTONISHMENT there was very little shaking that died out quickly, mostly my moving around. Whatís going on here?

I then went to my floating panel and set up there and there was all the kinds of shaking I have been talking about. The only explanation I could figure was that perhaps some days the whole house shakes in the wind or... something.

And so, I tore out the floating panel and all the work I did on it. And I had just finished binding the panel to the supports with heavy bolts and wing-nuts. LOL.

So, as they say around here, go figure.

I may just pay more attention to shake and put some shutter delay on when I detect any shakiness.

I spent a day or so building it up and then tore it down in ten minutes. Thanks for all the help. At least, I am MUCH more aware of all this than I used to be.
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Michael Erlewine

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Re: Lens Vibration: Stir but Donít Shake
« Reply #13 on: April 01, 2018, 12:28:05 pm »

Here is an image with the Nikon D850 and the Schneider Macro Varon 85mm ...with no shake.
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BAB

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Re: Lens Vibration: Stir but Donít Shake
« Reply #14 on: April 02, 2018, 01:50:09 pm »

May save you lots of time and aggravation for $250 I think you need to make the investment.

https://www.pce-instruments.com/us/measuring-instruments/test-meters/vibration-meter-kat_40108_1.htm
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Michael Erlewine

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Re: Lens Vibration: Stir but Donít Shake
« Reply #15 on: April 02, 2018, 02:52:43 pm »

May save you lots of time and aggravation for $250 I think you need to make the investment.

https://www.pce-instruments.com/us/measuring-instruments/test-meters/vibration-meter-kat_40108_1.htm

Interesting, but I can clearly see every vibration that affecta my photography (that I care about) from a longish macro lens in magnified focus view while focused on the subject. It is crystal clear.
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Jim Kasson

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Re: Lens Vibration: Stir but Donít Shake
« Reply #16 on: April 02, 2018, 03:46:15 pm »

Interesting, but I can clearly see every vibration that affects my photography (that I care about) from a longish macro lens in magnified focus view while focused on the subject. It is crystal clear.

Or not, as the case may be.  :)

One of the great things about live view and magnification is that it makes discovering and curing camera motion issues so much faster and more direct than ever before.

Jim
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