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D850 Automated Focus Series - examples

d850 focus stacking bracketing feature

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#1 ericbowles

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Posted 15 September 2017 - 08:35 AM

I tried this function out for the first time yesterday. I did not spend much time with it but wanted to see how much difference there was. I tried a couple of simple tests. 
 
The first was a macro image of a flower about 1.5 inches in diameter and near minimum focus distance of a 105 f/2.8 VR. I was using an aperture of f/7.1 - relatively shallow. Using a 5 shot bracket with a setting of 10 for the adjustment between images, I got a very nice set of images that should combine well in a stacked image. I started at the front edge of the flower, and ended around the back edge. The series is fully automated. I used a 1 second interval between images.
 
The first series images shown are image 1, 4, and 5.  Image 1 was focused on the front of the flower.  Image 4 was the best individual image.  Image 5 was the final image showing focus on the back of the flower.
 
The second test was using the same 105mm lens for a landscape. I used an aperture of f/11 with a starting focus point about 25 feet away. This was not a typical landscape image, but I had a lot more DOF than would be possible without a stack because I was using a longer lens. 
 
The series shows the first and last frame of the series.  Focus for the firsts frame was on the right edge of the front pool of water about 20 feet away.  It looks like focus for the last frame was more than 150 feet away near the large trees in the distance.
 
I think both of these situations could be very useful. Macro is an obvious situation where you just can't get enough DOF. It was also nice to effectively have a focus bracket so I could choose a single image.
 
The landscape image was more unexpected. Having enough DOF to use a long lens for a landscape image is a challenge. You usually lose the foreground and the distant background. Now I have a choice. If a long lens is the only choice for framing and composition, now I can get enough DOF for the image to make sense.
 
I've put this feature toward the top of My Menu and might use a function key for this setting.  It's that useful.

 

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#2 Dennis

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Posted 15 September 2017 - 08:40 AM

Looks good. I would like to see the combined, as it seems the incidental bud would also be in focus.


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#3 ericbowles

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Posted 15 September 2017 - 09:03 AM

I tried another series today with a yardstick and the 105mm f/2.8 macro.

 

The first was at near minimum focus distance - 15.5 inches form the focus point to the sensor plane.  I fired a 10 image series with the adjustment set at 10 - the maximum.  The focus point for the final image was 0.75 inches beyond the initial point.

 

The second test was at a distance of 36 inches.  The focus point for the final image was 8.5 inches beyond the final point.

 

Using silent mode works very well.  You trigger the first image by simply selecting start and it silently captures the entire series of images.

 

It's clear that the distance for focus adjustments is based on the proportionate distance to the subject for the first image.

 

In case you are wondering, there is no difference depending on horizontal or vertical orientation - the total adjustment is the same.


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#4 ericbowles

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Posted 15 September 2017 - 09:44 AM

One more test was done with the "increment" settings.

 

The 10 setting at a distance of 14.5 inches (macro range) changed focus by 0.75 inches from the initial point.

 

The 1 setting at the same distance of 14.5 inches changed focus by 0.3 inches from the initial point.

 

The 5 setting produced a change of 0.5 inches

 

All these distances are very rough - I was using a yardstick and viewing the changes on the LCD.

 

I tried a final series of 20 images using a setting of 5.  The first series had an aperture of f/11 and extended the AF of the last frame to 1.2 inches.  But when I changed the aperture to f/3.8 (wide open), the total distance was just 0.5 inches - half as far.  It's clear the camera understands the DOF available at f/3.8 and captures a series with less range between images to make sure differences can be smoothed later.

 

To confirm this, I ran another series of 20 images at f/32.  Sure enough, the AF adjustment went all the way across the frame and did not have enough room for the last couple of images.  I was at a total adjustment of 2.1 inches when it ran out of space.

 

Obviously, this needs a lot more exploration for macro use.  But what it implies is you would use larger adjustments and more images if you need a bigger stack.


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#5 Sailjunkie

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Posted 15 September 2017 - 10:47 AM

Thanks for the post and the update, Eric.  

 

I have to say that I'm impressed, with both the image quality and camera versatility.  I still won't sell my D810, but the D850 appears to be a very worthy successor.  :)


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#6 Peter

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Posted 15 September 2017 - 11:19 AM

Very interesting first look at this feature. I have a couple questions... is the focus direction always from near to far? Or do you choose your minimum and maximum focus distances and the D850 does the rest? Along the same vein... if you focus, for example, near infinity, and then choose a high number of images and a high setting then I assume the D850 would stop shooting once focus reached infinity (assuming it does)? This would be a lot like being mindful when shooting (automated) exposure bracketing with an initial f-stop near one of the two ends of the usable range of your lens.

 

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#7 ericbowles

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Posted 15 September 2017 - 03:19 PM

Hi Peter

 

The focus direction is always from near to far.  You start the function after focusing on the nearest point you want in sharp focus.  There is no ability to choose distance, and it probably will take tome time to get used to how to carve up the slices.  The function is very easy to use - and pretty intuitive.  The one thing is you have to "start" the function, and once you do the camera takes over.  There is no press of a shutter release.

 

I've only tried 10 and 20 images.  I ran out of room using 20 images, f/32, and the maximum difference between images.  I'll be using the function and the silent shutter more in the future.  I think there are some creative uses of the technique based on capturing a set of images and having a choice on which ones to use.


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#8 Wheatsack

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Posted 15 September 2017 - 03:29 PM

Sounds like a very useful feature Eric.


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#9 Art

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Posted 16 September 2017 - 03:29 AM

If I remember correctly, Silent mode also saves your shutter!

The mirror goes up and you shoot directly to the sensor. A one hundred image stack costs you ONE CLICK.
Amazing feature!

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#10 ericbowles

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Posted 16 September 2017 - 03:50 PM

Art - that is correct.  You can choose to either use the regular shutter or silent shutter.  There is a sound when the mirror is initially raised and the shutter opened, but each frame is recorded electronically without the shutter.

 

It's pretty fast and easy to use.  


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#11 Art

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Posted 16 September 2017 - 06:21 PM

Eric

And, talk about extending the serviceable life of the shutter!

I think it's rated for 200,000 clicks but you can probably get 3 times that with this feature.

What are 300 images in a stack for bug photography?

Ground breaking feature!

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