Studio camera setup – FOCUS STACK macro photography

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to visit Digital Transitions in New York City to do some photography in their studio. In this video, Doug Peterson shows us his method of focus stacking on the Phase One XF with the IQ3 Trichromatic back.

You can do this with any camera. The challenge of macro photography is working with an extremely shallow depth of field. Phase One will do automatic calculations for the photos you want to stack but this can be done manually with any camera.

The software we used for stitching the final image is called Zerene Stacker. It does have a 30 day trial if you want to try it out.

https://zerenesystems.com/cms/stacker

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Ted Forbes
The Art of Photography
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My name is Ted Forbes and I make videos about photography. I’ve been making photographs most of my life and I have a tremendously deep passion for photography that I want to share with you on YouTube.

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42 Comments

  1. Crazyfacemcgee on September 23, 2019 at 9:24 pm

    Finally something I know!!!! I am a product photographer for some smaller vapor companies and i shoot coils i make in 22-24mm products. Please look at my Instagram for nothing but macros

  2. Jay Macro Photos on September 23, 2019 at 9:25 pm

    Macro is so much fun

  3. Steve on September 23, 2019 at 9:25 pm

    Wow – I may never be in the market for A Phase One Camera kit, but this was so exciting! Thanks so much Ted

  4. Rejean Nantel on September 23, 2019 at 9:27 pm

    Nice video Ted!

    I can’t believe that Canon and Nikon haven’t yet put out their own software for Tethering. Olympus has been doing it for years and it’s just great. I use it all the time when my camera is on a tripod for long exposures in night shots.

    As for “focus stacking”, I sometimes use it to “extreme” in landscape photography – to get everything in focus. I never thought of using it in macro shots as shown, limiting the focus range to your own taste and selection. I will surely do so now.

    It was intuitive to talk about both “Tethering” and “Focus Stacking” because your best choice for making “Focus Stacking” is using a “Tethering” method avoiding any camera movement.

    Here, it seems the Phase-One in-camera “Focus Stacking” app is not available through “Tethering” – I’m I right in thinking so?

  5. TeaDaemon on September 23, 2019 at 9:29 pm

    For all those asking about photo assignments, could I suggest that there’s always a default photo assignment – think of something you’ve never done with a camera before, do it, then examine the results. See what you’re happy with, if there’s anything you don’t like, and reflect on how you could do it better.

    If you normally shoot landscapes, try macro or portraits, if still life is your thing, then walk around your neighbourhood and try street photography. You get the idea?

  6. mark koso on September 23, 2019 at 9:29 pm

    The OpenMemories app has something similar to this for Sony cameras. It’s called Focus Bracket (it’s free) and you can install the app on your camera, use it in the same way and then import the images into Photoshop and merge them there.

  7. calte TM on September 23, 2019 at 9:29 pm

    Very nice and clean integration, love it.

  8. Per Nicolaisen on September 23, 2019 at 9:30 pm

    What a camera. Will never afford it but wonderful to see it in use

  9. leeds- yoga on September 23, 2019 at 9:32 pm

    Nice and cheap. I enjoyed the old days! Out of my league by a factor of millions.

  10. Dj Toman on September 23, 2019 at 9:35 pm

    This is a nice infomercial for Phase One. Too bad no one that can afford one is actually watching it.

  11. Floris Fiedeldij Dop on September 23, 2019 at 9:37 pm

    I might be drooling ..

  12. mary boo on September 23, 2019 at 9:41 pm

    Go easy on that lizard man!

  13. Charlie B. on September 23, 2019 at 9:42 pm

    I’m a film / darkroom enthusiast but I really enjoy learning about other techniques like this. We should never close our minds to the art of the possible. Thanks for another great video.

  14. justun chan on September 23, 2019 at 9:42 pm

    If I had that camera, this video would be extremely useful.

  15. Gavin Wade on September 23, 2019 at 9:44 pm

    I tried focus stacking once, but it didn’t work at all. Even though the camera was on a tripod I couldn’t get the photo software to align it correctly. I guess it’s not for everyone.

  16. William Schultz on September 23, 2019 at 9:47 pm

    Did he mention what lens they were using?

  17. Chris Mayer on September 23, 2019 at 9:49 pm

    Thanks, Ted. Really good stuff!

  18. astheskylarksings on September 23, 2019 at 9:51 pm

    he missed that first bulb. but I get it 🙂 very cool

  19. Joël Germain on September 23, 2019 at 9:51 pm

    I use zerene stacker at work everyday…. love that program. (we work on stacking from 13 to 16 pictures a time for ultra macro of seeds and even smaller. I would so love to play with phase one for that part of my job).

  20. SoundsandImages on September 23, 2019 at 9:55 pm

    Loving the buttery bokeh at the end. Mmmmmm.

  21. Jim Cutler on September 23, 2019 at 9:55 pm

    This was great. Like your montages of my town against the hiphop jazz.

  22. Joshua Boldt on September 23, 2019 at 9:57 pm

    when this showed up on my sidebar I thought it said "stupid camera setup" for a second. great vid

  23. Anthony Hobbs on September 23, 2019 at 10:00 pm

    Ted , get back to the real world where most of us are. Never mind the .00001% who can afford a Phase system.

  24. Tanner S on September 23, 2019 at 10:06 pm

    Over my head! I’m out!

  25. Eric Rossi on September 23, 2019 at 10:07 pm

    Great video! When are the medium format assignments starting?

  26. AlphaMTB on September 23, 2019 at 10:08 pm

    For every one having a whine about the camera my Olympus OMD EM1 MK-1 will do auto focus stacking and processing in camera just need the ideas to be thrown out there my camera is better than Ansels as is the phase one is better than mine.

  27. Annette D on September 23, 2019 at 10:10 pm

    👀

  28. Marijn Pater on September 23, 2019 at 10:11 pm

    haha it’s becoming a PhaseOne channel (not that it is bad)

  29. Bernard Cloete on September 23, 2019 at 10:11 pm

    I miss the deep dives into obscure photographers, thats why I subscribed.

  30. Eniot Neets on September 23, 2019 at 10:12 pm

    Very amazing video Ted. You did a great job my friend.

  31. Douwe E. on September 23, 2019 at 10:12 pm

    Haven’t watched you for quite a while

  32. Angel Rivera on September 23, 2019 at 10:12 pm

    Are photo assignments still a thing?

  33. Luis G. Gomez on September 23, 2019 at 10:14 pm

    Amazing tech! Thanks for sharing it.

  34. Niven A. Nolte on September 23, 2019 at 10:14 pm

    Thank you.

  35. Divineshot 314 on September 23, 2019 at 10:15 pm

    I just purchased a macro lens! I love it. Awesome video.

  36. Zakk Brown on September 23, 2019 at 10:15 pm

    This makes me curious to see if somewhat of a focus stacking equivalent could be done with film

  37. Vanessa Sheena on September 23, 2019 at 10:17 pm

    Hi Ted, my work has tasked me to buy a camera we can use for taking photos of our events. I know there are so many out there to choose from so I’m hoping you can give me some advice. I will be in charge of taking the photos during our events. I have some experience taking photos but my skills in photography is just a beginning level. We are looking for a camera that can take good pictures of people under low lighting ( example, people in a meeting room or conference space with low lighting). Our price range is up to $3000. Any suggestions? Thanks!

  38. Ginger Beard Mate on September 23, 2019 at 10:19 pm

    damn i need some cash for this ! =D I really like focus stacking it just take a lot of time

  39. Andrew farrington on September 23, 2019 at 10:21 pm

    Another great vid, Ted – any idea which ipad holder Doug is using?

  40. Gianfranc Pipitone on September 23, 2019 at 10:23 pm

    I can hear out everyone’s complaints about never being able to afford this, but ultimately even though I will never own this kit, I still learned something so that’s cool.

  41. Michael Bornman on September 23, 2019 at 10:23 pm

    Photo Assignments? I’ve been having a bit of a lack in creativity and need some ideas!

  42. Joel Turrell on September 23, 2019 at 10:24 pm

    This is quite an interesting tour de force, but for those of us on more limited budgets, the Olympus focus stacking and tethering system which is available on the E-M1.2, the E-M5.2, and the E-M1, works well indeed. I have used it for several months now for studio shots of flowers in conjunction with the 60mm macro lens with each of these cameras.. Everything is done in camera, and results are excellent. I did have a learning curve, because I have never shot tethered before this. The advantage of shooting tethered is that I can shoot an entire floral arrangement in studio; outdoors I can only use focus stacking on one blossom, or a very tight bunch (e.g., climbing roses).

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