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Author Topic: Sharper Macro than Canon 5d2 and 100mm Macro?  (Read 9790 times)

smahn

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Re: Sharper Macro than Canon 5d2 and 100mm Macro?
« Reply #40 on: March 30, 2015, 08:04:51 pm »

Ok then. I do use LR to downsample and I shoot at low ISO and ETTR, so those are handled.

I will thoroughly investigate Focus Magic and the Helicon products.

That's very simply and concise information. Thank you for that.

And thanks to everyone who replied. I will reread the entire thread now to digest it a second time.
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NancyP

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Re: Sharper Macro than Canon 5d2 and 100mm Macro?
« Reply #41 on: March 31, 2015, 11:44:03 am »

I always learn something here. That Focus Magic program looks to be worth a try.
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Jack Hogan

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Re: Sharper Macro than Canon 5d2 and 100mm Macro?
« Reply #42 on: April 01, 2015, 03:19:20 am »

It works best, like all deconvolution tools, when noise is modest, so make sure the exposure level is high enough that you don't need to push in postprocessing.

On deconvolving noisy images, I gotta remember to try this Topaz DeNoise approach on low ISO images.
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Bart_van_der_Wolf

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Re: Sharper Macro than Canon 5d2 and 100mm Macro?
« Reply #43 on: April 01, 2015, 03:37:28 am »

On deconvolving noisy images, I gotta remember to try this Topaz DeNoise approach on low ISO images.

Yes, although the method shown is dealing with high pass sharpening (a Creative sharpening technique), so one needs to adjust it if Capture sharpening is involved. For Capture sharpening one would use Denoise while trying to preserve high spatial frequency detail , and then apply deconvolution on the resulting image, and use that as an overlay of sorts.

But for macro shots, I assume we would usually have a setup that allows to shoot at low ISO for maximum image quality.

Cheers,
Bart
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John Koerner

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Re: Sharper Macro than Canon 5d2 and 100mm Macro?
« Reply #44 on: April 01, 2015, 07:35:38 am »

On deconvolving noisy images, I gotta remember to try this Topaz DeNoise approach on low ISO images.


Nice. Thanks for sharing.
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Ancient Tiger

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Re: Sharper Macro than Canon 5d2 and 100mm Macro?
« Reply #45 on: April 19, 2015, 07:26:51 am »

Don't forget the Sigma 70mm macro.  It is now discontinued but you can still find it online new.

I have one and it is razor sharp. One of the reasons they do not make it anymore is that they cannot source some of the glass it uses anymore.  It is rather exclusive.

Bang for buck it is the best macro lens on the market for those who do not want 1:1 (it only does 1:2). Also the bokeh is reasonable for a macro lens. If it had HSM it would be perfect!
« Last Edit: April 20, 2015, 05:45:25 am by Ancient Tiger »
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WannabeTilt

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Re: Sharper Macro than Canon 5d2 and 100mm Macro?
« Reply #46 on: April 19, 2015, 08:46:37 am »

Two legendary macro lenses I've see are the Voigtlander APO lanthar 125 mm / f2.5 and the Minolta APO Macro 200 mm / f4.
(snip)
But it would mean buying into a completely new system, unless you can find the Voigtlander lens for the Canon mount (don't know if they ever produced it with that mount)

Yes, Voigtländer did make the APO Lanthar 125 in EF mount - I have one. Foolishly - because I'm not a good enough photographer to make best use of it.

But this thread has been very informative, if a bit daunting. I must learn. Thanks to the OP and all who offered info and advice.

Nick
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Ghibby

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Re: Sharper Macro than Canon 5d2 and 100mm Macro?
« Reply #47 on: April 21, 2015, 08:31:02 pm »

Two options could work. For pure image quality not much is going to surpass the zeiss 135apo. Check out Lloyd Chambers coverage. Spectacular piece of glass. I use the zeiss 100 makro and it's wonderful but the 135 is a class above if you are happy with 1:4 magnification. 

A more unusual option is the canon 90mm ts-e lens. Very sharp plus allows full control of the focus plane with tilt movements. For studio work where you have time to set up properly it will be a lot easier than farting around with focus stacking techniques and get the shot done in one take with less intensive post work required. it could be a great option.

Ben
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Bart_van_der_Wolf

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Re: Sharper Macro than Canon 5d2 and 100mm Macro?
« Reply #48 on: April 22, 2015, 05:40:50 am »

A more unusual option is the canon 90mm ts-e lens. Very sharp plus allows full control of the focus plane with tilt movements. For studio work where you have time to set up properly it will be a lot easier than farting around with focus stacking techniques and get the shot done in one take with less intensive post work required. it could be a great option.

I agree, the TS/E 90mm is quite usable at short focus distances, and the tilt capability may be more useful than the ultimate sharpness that other lenses produce in an infinitesimally narrow DOF zone. Getting the focus plane positioned well, may be more productive than the alternative techniques. I recently did a comparison between my EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM and the TS-E 90mm f/2.8 with (very) close-up focusing, and there was only a minor reduction in quality (see attached animation, at roughly 1:3 magnification factor) that post-processing would allow to make even smaller.

Sharper lenses are usually nice to use, but with the shallow DOF of Macro photography there may also be other considerations that deserve attention.

Cheers,
Bart
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AreBee

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Re: Sharper Macro than Canon 5d2 and 100mm Macro?
« Reply #49 on: April 22, 2015, 07:45:15 am »

Nancy,

Quote
That Focus Magic program looks to be worth a try.

Every time I use it I thank Bart for bringing it to my attention.

I cannot recommend it highly enough - it's astonishing how effective it is at sharpening...while leaving no trace of halos. Worth its cost several times over.
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PeterAit

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Re: Sharper Macro than Canon 5d2 and 100mm Macro?
« Reply #50 on: April 22, 2015, 09:38:24 am »

Olympus has a 50mm f/2 macro that has amazing optical performance. It's for M4/3 cameras, so it is 100mm equivalent focal length. Coupled with an E-M1 it's a great macro tool, although you are limited to 16 MP. As evidence, see the attached shot of a poppy - and this is a crop that contains only about 1/6 of the full frame!
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Ellis Vener

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Re: Sharper Macro than Canon 5d2 and 100mm Macro?
« Reply #51 on: April 22, 2015, 10:57:47 am »

This has been great and very useful conversation.

Smahn if you are looking into focus stacking also look into the CamRanger (http://www.camranger.com) and Stackshot (http://www.cognisys-inc.com) combination.

While I have been very happily using the CamRanger to drive my camera remotely from either my Mac or my iPad since it came out, including for focus stacking and exposure bracketing work, my focus stack work up to now  is not as precise as yours needs to be as it isn't  near-macro or true-macro-oriented. The StackShot rail and controller looks like it will add a great deal of precision to the process.

I use  Helicon Focus software (http://www.heliconsoft.com/heliconsoft-products/helicon-focus/) to process the stack

I also appreciate the mention of the Sigma 180mm Macro lens. Didn't know about before and am now very interested.
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NancyP

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Re: Sharper Macro than Canon 5d2 and 100mm Macro?
« Reply #52 on: April 22, 2015, 11:32:28 am »

For Canon APS-C users, I always recommend the EF-S 60mm f/2.8 as the perfect introduction to macro. Cheap and very very good. Its only flaw and advantage is the relatively short focal length and thus short working distance. Which reminds me - near-macro wide angle with shortish extension tube - time for me to try it. It is lovely to isolate one flower, but sometimes adding a little more background could be interesting. Getting lighting on the subject could be even more interesting... ;)
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Ellis Vener

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bjanes

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Re: Sharper Macro than Canon 5d2 and 100mm Macro?
« Reply #54 on: April 22, 2015, 01:55:58 pm »

This has been great and very useful conversation.

Smahn if you are looking into focus stacking also look into the CamRanger (http://www.camranger.com) and Stackshot (http://www.cognisys-inc.com) combination.

While I have been very happily using the CamRanger to drive my camera remotely from either my Mac or my iPad since it came out, including for focus stacking and exposure bracketing work, my focus stack work up to now  is not as precise as yours needs to be as it isn't  near-macro or true-macro-oriented. The StackShot rail and controller looks like it will add a great deal of precision to the process.

I use  Helicon Focus software (http://www.heliconsoft.com/heliconsoft-products/helicon-focus/) to process the stack

I also appreciate the mention of the Sigma 180mm Macro lens. Didn't know about before and am now very interested.

I am also a user of Camranger, but find its focus stacking facility somewhat limited. One can set the near focus precisely, but attaining focus at the far range is problematic. One can specify the step size (small, medium, or large) and the number of shots, but there is no good way to tell if one is taking too few or too any shots in the stack. One way to estimate this is to see how many steps in the focus adjust tab are necessary to reach the far focus point, but the step size there may not be equal to the step size in the focus stacking tab. Helicon Remote automatically determines the step size and number of shots according to the f/stop and other shooting parameters. Unfortunately, there is no iPad version of Helicon Remote, but they say they are working on it. I bought a small Nexus tablet to use with Helicon Remote, but find the Android interface of the program not to my liking.

What are your thoughts on these matters?

Bill
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Ellis Vener

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Re: Sharper Macro than Canon 5d2 and 100mm Macro?
« Reply #55 on: April 22, 2015, 02:00:43 pm »

I am also a user of Camranger, but find its focus stacking facility somewhat limited. One can set the near focus precisely, but attaining focus at the far range is problematic. One can specify the step size (small, medium, or large) and the number of shots, but there is no good way to tell if one is taking too few or too any shots in the stack. One way to estimate this is to see how many steps in the focus adjust tab are necessary to reach the far focus point, but the step size there may not be equal to the step size in the focus stacking tab. Helicon Remote automatically determines the step size and number of shots according to the f/stop and other shooting parameters. Unfortunately, there is no iPad version of Helicon Remote, but they say they are working on it. I bought a small Nexus tablet to use with Helicon Remote, but find the Android interface of the program not to my liking.

What are your thoughts on these matters?

Bill

What I do is inspect the last (the far frame) to see if I have gone far enough. If I haven't I simply shoot another sequence and the CamRanger focus stacking simply starts at the point it finished with the previous sequence.
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bjanes

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Re: Sharper Macro than Canon 5d2 and 100mm Macro?
« Reply #56 on: April 22, 2015, 02:12:54 pm »

What I do is inspect the last (the far frame) to see if I have gone far enough. If I haven't I simply shoot another sequence and the CamRanger focus stacking simply starts at the point it finished with the previous sequence.

Yes, that is what the manual suggests. I am relatively new to focus stacking and have experienced some difficulty estimating the step size and number of shots, and hopefully more experience with the setup will make it easier to get optimal results.

Bill
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Ellis Vener

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Re: Sharper Macro than Canon 5d2 and 100mm Macro?
« Reply #57 on: April 22, 2015, 10:54:37 pm »

hopefully more experience with the setup will make it easier to get optimal results.

It should, as by all appearances you are a pretty smart guy.
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Bart_van_der_Wolf

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Re: Sharper Macro than Canon 5d2 and 100mm Macro?
« Reply #58 on: April 23, 2015, 06:01:25 am »

I am also a user of Camranger, but find its focus stacking facility somewhat limited. One can set the near focus precisely, but attaining focus at the far range is problematic. One can specify the step size (small, medium, or large) and the number of shots, but there is no good way to tell if one is taking too few or too any shots in the stack. One way to estimate this is to see how many steps in the focus adjust tab are necessary to reach the far focus point, but the step size there may not be equal to the step size in the focus stacking tab.

Hi Bill,

I don't know how the Camranger software calculates the number of steps, but it would need to know the right parameters for the lens because each lens is different. A small/medium/large step can be different depending on the (focal length of) the lens. You can use the procedure below to calculate the required number of shots.  I don't know if/how that interacts with the step size in the Camranger interface though.

Quote
Helicon Remote automatically determines the step size and number of shots according to the f/stop and other shooting parameters. Unfortunately, there is no iPad version of Helicon Remote, but they say they are working on it. I bought a small Nexus tablet to use with Helicon Remote, but find the Android interface of the program not to my liking.

There's always room for improvement, but in my experience the folks at Heliconsoft are open to suggestions. Not that they would implement anything thrown at them, but if it makes sense to them (given all considerations they have to balance) it might happen.

I also use a Nexus 7 with Helicon Remote. The only thing that one should figure out is the Correction factor to be used for the calculation of the number of steps that HR will use. The easiest way, rather than finding out by trial and error, is to calculate the DOF at the nearest focus position, and divide the total DOF depth to be covered by the single slice depth. The correct number of steps can then be created by tweaking the 'Correction factor' until they roughly result in the same number of shots.

To calculate the DOF for a single slice, I use the following formula that's most suited for Macro photography because it avoids focus distance:
Total DOF = (2 x C x N x (1 + M / P)) / (M^2 - (C^2 x N^2 / f^2))
where:
C = the Circle of Confusion, which I set to the sensel pitch in millimeters,
f = the focal length in millimeters,
N = the aperture value set on the lens, so not the effective aperture due to magnification, but the nominal one,
M = the magnification factor, as can be accurately measured from the size of the subject on the sensor divided by the actual size of the subject,
P = the pupil factor, the Exit pupil to Entrance pupil diameter ratio, or use 1.0 if unknown.
If all (C and f) units are expressed in e.g. metres instead of millimetres, then the result will also be in metres.

If the closest focus distance is used for the calculation, the farther distances will not have gaps in DOF range between the slices. Since the CoC is set equal to the sensel pitch, there will be no DOF gaps possible between slices, and the stacking software should be able to achieve optimum focus at each position through the stack. This achieves the highest quality at the pixel level, but for down-sampled image sizes one can relax the parameters with an amount equal to the down-sampling factor.

With extremely narrow apertures, diffraction will also reduce the resolution which will then also allow to relax the pixel quality requirements a bit.

Shooting with a focus rail that moves the camera+lens assembly, or the subject stage, leaves the magnification factor constant. That means that the same effective slice DOF is used for each shot, whereas a refocusing by lens will gradually increase the DOF as one focuses farther away. Therefore, in the latter case it's best to calculate the narrower DOF for the near focus distance.

Cheers,
Bart

P.S. EDIT: I've modified/rearranged the formula a bit to make it shorter and perhaps faster to calculate.
« Last Edit: April 26, 2015, 10:57:03 am by BartvanderWolf »
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bjanes

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Re: Sharper Macro than Canon 5d2 and 100mm Macro?
« Reply #59 on: April 23, 2015, 07:25:56 am »

I don't know how the Camranger software calculates the number of steps, but it would need to know the right parameters for the lens because each lens is different. A small/medium/large step can be different depending on the (focal length of) the lens. You can use the procedure below to calculate the required number of shots.  I don't know if/how that interacts with the step size in the Camranger interface though.

Bart, thanks for the detailed reply. You mention Camranger, but did you mean Helicon Remote? Camranger does not calculate the number of steps, but rather relies on the user to input this datum.

To calculate the DOF for a single slice, I use the following formula that's most suited for Macro photography because it avoids focus distance:
Total DOF = (2 x C x f^2 x N x (M + P)) / ((f^2 x M^2 - C^2 x N^2) x P)
where:
C = the Circle of Confusion, which I set to the sensel pitch in millimeters,
f = the focal length in millimeters,
N = the aperture value set on the lens, so not the effective aperture due to magnification, but the nominal one,
M = the magnification factor, as can be accurately measured from the size of the subject on the sensor divided by the actual size of the subject,
P = the pupil factor, the Exit pupil to Entrance pupil diameter ratio, or use 1.0 if unknown.
If all (C and f) units are expressed in e.g. metres instead of millimeteres, then the result will also be in metres.

This approach is elegant, but I can foresee problems with my "macro" workflow, which is mainly closeup with a magnification of less than one. My MicroNikkor lenses are the G type which lack an aperture ring and the aperture is set electronically and with the effective aperture set by the in lens chip. Furthermore, these lenses exhibit focus breathing with shortening of the focal length as one focuses nearer.

Cheers,

Bill
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