Anybody done any seed photography?

Discuss cameras, settings, composition, or anything related to photography - cactus or other subjects.
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DaveW
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Anybody done any seed photography?

Post by DaveW »

A friend of mine wants me to take some cactus seeds. They are about 1 millimeter diameter. The problem is getting the magnification to get a large enough image even with bellows on the camera and a reversed enlarger lens. Obviously with so small a depth of field the images would need focus stacking. I have a StackShot motorised rail but not used it yet as I have never needed stacking for such high magnification in the past. We are probably in the range 5X - 10X magnification, past the range of normal macro lenses.

I suppose this is what he was after.

http://blog.growingwithscience.com/2014 ... otography/

I am constructing a rig similar to this:-

https://www.flickr.com/photos/severum/5 ... otostream/

Also I would have to perfect the close up lighting to bring out texture, but probably need to diffuse it also.

Any tips would be welcome.
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gemhunter178
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Re: Anybody done any seed photography?

Post by gemhunter178 »

I do know they make "super macro" lenses that can already bring the magnification up to around that range without tubes or other things.
I haven't delved into focal stacking yet, but, you could also try a much longer exposure on a moderate aperture to balance depth of field and sharpness if that's good enough.
You could also keep the camera stationary and change the focus manually, then use some software to stack the images?

As for lighting, when taking pictures of snowflakes, I found it beneficial to aim a warm white light at one end and a cool white light from the other to give some texture without losing detail from darker spots.
A cactus and succulent collector who especially likes Aricarpus. ...Though I have a bit of everything! Want some pictures? See my flickr! I also do art and such.
DaveW
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Re: Anybody done any seed photography?

Post by DaveW »

Thanks GemHunter,

Problem at those magnifications is if you stop down to the smaller aperture's diffraction rears its ugly head since the effective aperture is much smaller than the relative aperture marked on the lens. The aperture marked on a lens is only correct at infinity, as you focus closer it effectively reduces. Not a problem in normal photography because the change is very small, but at 1:2 and above you had to apply an extension factor with a hand held light meter to compensate, but that is now automatically taken care of by TTL metering, therefore most don't realise the effective aperture reduces as you get closer. That would not matter were it not for diffraction degrading the image at very small effective apertures, hence the reason you have to open the lens up again to a wider aperture and Focus Stack to get over the diffraction problems at high magnifications.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N0FXoWdHXTk

http://www.macrophotobug.com/best-f-sto ... otography/

Were it not for diffraction, on a perfectly still object at high magnifications we could dispense with Focus Stacking and use a minute aperture with a very bright light source with a very long exposure.

http://www.janrik.net/insects/ExtendedD ... deoff.html
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gemhunter178
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Re: Anybody done any seed photography?

Post by gemhunter178 »

Thanks for explaining that in further detail! I had some basic knowledge on that, which is why I was suggesting a more moderate aperture, but I didn't understand it fully.
I was wondering if such a shot would be "good enough".
Also, is building a rail/rig for convenience? I usually mess around with my tripod to get the correct position (though for indoor stationary objects, I have adjustable platforms as well)

I would do a focus stack test if I had a longer macro lens than my 40mm, but I don't. Currently waiting on a camera upgrade before I buy any more lenses.
A cactus and succulent collector who especially likes Aricarpus. ...Though I have a bit of everything! Want some pictures? See my flickr! I also do art and such.
DaveW
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Re: Anybody done any seed photography?

Post by DaveW »

Unfortunately Toadstar those pictures in your link do not have the resolution required, or the depth of field. Most are also showing diffraction effects at that resolution and aperture.

Compare this example by that outstanding macro photographer Charles Krebs using focus stacking and a wider aperture to reduce diffraction. I only wish I could get anyway near that resolution. This shows what resolution is obtainable in digital photography with our present cameras, something we all should be aiming for, certainly at the normal magnifications and without focus stacking we use for our plants.

Also he is not using some modern high megapixel camera for that image, but a Nikon D200 like mine which is only a 10 megapixel camera, therefore most of your cameras probably have more megapixels than his had. In any case the average computer screen only has the resolution of an around 5 megapixel camera, therefore you are only seeing that wasp image at about 5 megapixels resolution on screen. Even if he had used an all singing 36 megapixel camera, 5 megapixels on screen would be all the resolution you would get. Therefore we all have far more megapixels these days than are needed for the web.

http://www.photomacrography.net/forum/v ... .php?t=243

As much of macro photography comes down to technique as equipment. It is getting used to working with minute depths of field, getting the lighting right and doing everything possible to prevent camera shake or vibrations.

It depends on what magnifications you want Gemhunter. As long as you can stop differential movement between the camera and subject, what you use does not matter. The advantage of coupling both camera and subject together on a single rail at higher magnifications is that any vibration causes them to move in unison therefore the images remain sharp. It does not need to be a metal setup, I have even seen similar wooden ones people have made that do the job just as well, simply coupling both camera and subject together on a single board.

It is not necessarily a longer macro lens that is needed, but extending the lens from the camera body on either extension tubes or bellows. In fact a longer focal length can be a disadvantage, because if I remember the old rule it is you extend a lens set at infinity 1 focal length away from the camera for every 1X increase in magnification. Meaning with a 60mm lens you would have to extend it an extra 60mm to get to 1:1 if set on infinity. Of course macro lenses that go to 1:1 have in effect 60mm of focusing travel from the infinity setting to do this (although many now using moving elements instead). As you can see you would need 120 mm of tubes on a 60 mm lens set at infinity to go to 2:1, but a 200mm lens would need 400 mm of tubes to obtain the same magnification, though giving greater working distance between lens and subject. Therefore at high magnifications shorter focal lengths are better in order to keep the extension from the camera required down to sensible limits.

Camera bellows are in effect a constantly variable extension tube, their problem being they have a minimum extension factor when compressed, unlike smaller extension tubes or rings. When using longer focal length lenses at high magnifications some couple two sets together to get the required extension.

http://www.nicovandijk.net/macro.htm

It's even worse with large format cameras since they have to extend their standard focal length lenses even further to get similar magnifications therefore even longer bellows extensions are used.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4hU8c_iAcU0
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AusNick89
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Re: Anybody done any seed photography?

Post by AusNick89 »

I'd probably get an old good-quality 28mm (such as an old Pentax SMC) on reversal ring and add or remove extension tubes then move to a 50mm (if the 28mm is too close) as needed although I'm not sure how you'd get on focus stacking and stitching them with the subject being so small. You would have to take ALOT of images but the advantage of a seed is that its stationary!

I've used reversed 28mm for taking hand-held images of Salticidae spiders running up and down my arm and managed to get a few images to stack and that generally captures the fine details too when coupled with sufficient diffused flash guns.

Or if you have the cash you could try these lenses out: www.venuslens.net/product/laowa-25mm-f- ... a-macro-2/

The image quality from that looks brilliant!
DaveW
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Re: Anybody done any seed photography?

Post by DaveW »

This first video is more like what I am using Nick. The problem at the moment is getting enough magnification since I think I will need something between 5X-10X and to stack at a wide aperture to avoid too much diffraction at smaller apertures since at such magnifications the effective aperture in use is many times smaller than the relative aperture marked on the lens. A lot of people don't realise as soon as you start extending a lens the f-stop marked on the lens is no longer accurate, it is actually becomes smaller in effect.

My Nikon camera is one of the few makes that actually shows the f-stop in use rather than still showing that marked on the lens as most others do. For instance the minimum aperture of my macro lens is f32 (at infinity as all f-stops relate to) but when focus is fully extended for 1:1 the camera will indicate it is working at f64, although the hole in the diaphragm remains the same, and it gets worse if you extend it on tubes.

The best way to illustrate this for budding macro photographers to understand is to think of a railway tunnel. If you stand just inside the entrance is very large. But move quarter of a mile down the tunnel and the entrance looks very small from where you are, though we know it's real size has not changed, The same happens with adding extension to camera lenses producing in effect a tunnel since the aperture set on the lens appears smaller to the film or sensor the further you move it away from it and exposure required and diffraction effects increase.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FcrJfYtZ1IU

I do also have an automated StackShot rail that will move in sub millimetre steps.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_WnE-KI3cng

For those that are interested in stacking there is an automated rail now about half the price of the StackShot. A lot more accessories come with it as standard that you have to buy extra with the StackShot. However this rail was not available when I bought my Stackshot, plus the Stackshot was then only about the price of the WeMacro before a few years inflation and the Pound sinking against the Dollar. Don't think I could have afforded it now.

http://extreme-macro.co.uk/wemacro-rail/
DaveW
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Re: Anybody done any seed photography?

Post by DaveW »

Yes Nick that lens in your link gets a good review and is similar to Canon's MP-E65. It might be a possibility if I can't get the magnification any other way.

Here is a review of it.

http://www.northlight-images.co.uk/laow ... ro-review/
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