Blog: Focus Stacking with microscope objectives

Blog: Focus Stacking with microscope objectives.

With extreme macro you try to show details that are normally not visible to the eye.
With the help of a microscope objective, mounted on a telelens, it is possible to capture these details.
Because you photograph with a microscope objective, you have a very narrow depth of field. That is why you need to make several pictures to get the complete subject sharp.
This process is called focus stacking.

Focus stacking is the proces where you take pictures of the same subject with a different focus point.
After that you run all the photographs through a software program like Photoshop/Zerene Stacker/Helicon Focus and the software determines the sharpest part of each picture and creates a new photo of the sharpest parts.

What kind of equipment do I use?

Macro rail
There are manual and automatic macro rails, it is just how much you wanna invest in extreme macro.
I use an automated macro rail from Stackrail. This macro rail is connected through Bluetooth with my computer(also works on phones) and with the help of software I can control my automated rail and determine the starting and ending point of my capture and determine how many pictures it should take between those points. What is also very handy of an automated macro rail is that it can take the pictures for you by connecting a cable to your camera.

Microscope objectives
Microscope objectives are availble in many sorts with different magnifications and uses. There are ‘Infinite’ and ‘Finite’ microscope objectives.
The biggest difference is that with ‘Infinite’ microscope objectives, you need to have another objective in front of the microscope objectives, while with ‘Finite’ microscope objectives you need a bellow or extension tubes.
Beware that with microscope objectives there is a requirement of a minimal focal length in front of the microscope objectives. So you need an objective(with ‘Infinite)’ or bellow/extension tubes(with ‘Finite’) with a minimal focal length. Mostly this is around 160/180mm. Sometimes this number is mentioned on the microscope objective.

I use 2 ‘Infinte’ microscope objectives, one with a 4X magnification and one with a 10X magnification.

RMS Adapter/Step Up/Down Ringen
To mount your microscope objective on your objective or bellow/extension tube you need a RMS Adapter/Step Up/Down Ring. This is a ring in which you can screw your microscope objective. And just like with a uv filter you can screw the ring onto your objective/bellow/extension tube. Because there are objectives in different diameters you can buy these rings in all sizes, so you can mount your microscope objective on different objectives.

How does it work?
I place my camera with my objectives on the macrorail and focus the rail/camera on the first point where my subject is sharp. Then I make a picture and move the camera on the rail a few micrometer(in my case this works automatic, but it can be done manually) and make the next picture. This repeats itself until the last part of my subject is sharp.

I make an average of 100 photo’s on each subject and than I use software to stack my photo’s to 1 sharp endresult. Off course I do some corrective work in photoshop/Lightroom, because when you are photographing through a microscope, even the smallest dust part is visible on the photo.

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