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New macro lens


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I'm super excited about the new macro lens I just received.  It's a Nikon AF Micro 200mm f/4D IF-ED.  Previously I had been using a 60mm macro which was OK, but you had to get super close to the subject in order to get really fine details.  This new 200mm produces way better detail even from longer distances.  Here's the new lens on my Nikon D610, with the old 60mm lens next to it.  Nearly half of the lens barrel is the focus ring, and it's amazingly smooth to operate.


Here's just one example after playing with the lens for only a couple of minutes:


Since macro lenses have a very shallow depth of field, it's impossible to get the whole coral into focus.  I'm going to start trying a technique called focus stacking where you take multiple photos at different focus points, and then stitch the photos together in software to produce an image that's 100% in focus.  Stay tuned and I'll post more shots as I get the hang of this new lens!


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11 hours ago, albertareef said:

Nice!  Good luck with the focus stack - we use a variation of this technology a lot in high resolution imaging for research purposes and you can get some amazing results.  Will be curious what you can achieve with some consumer level algorithms and technology.  

Wow, after some quick research on focus stacking I came across a product called Helicon that not only will stack the images, it can also programmatically control the camera to take the individual photos at different focus points.  Check out their tutorial video:

I used a similar product last year to automate my camera for the total solar eclipse so I got hundreds of hands-free photos during the event allowing me to enjoy the view with my naked eye.  I love automation. 😎

This is going to be fun!!!

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Well @albertareef, here's my first try with focus stacking, and I have to say it was amazingly easy using Helicon!  I downloaded the free trial (30 days, only limitation is they don't allow full resolution), attached my camera via USB to my laptop, and had it shoot 10 photos from closest focus to furthest focus.  Then just using the default settings, it stitched them all together in under 1 minute.  Here's one of the individual shots:


And here's the full rendered image comprised of 10 shots:

Syringes copy.jpg

I can't wait for my tank lights to come on so I can try it out with some coral shots!

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OK, and here is the first result of focus stacking 10 shots of a coral:


It's pretty impressive how well this works.  If you view the photo at full resolution it's amazing!  (and since I'm using the free trial of the software, they limit the resolution, so it can be even better).

Here's a snippet of one small section at full resolution:

Screen Shot 2018-08-11 at 9.24.21 AM.png

The biggest challenge is getting all 10 photos taken without any fish photo-bombing the scene! 🤣

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The only problem with focus stacking is dealing with movement.  It works really well on SPS, but anything with longer polyps that sway in the current can be tricky.  For this plate coral, I turned off all flow before taking the photos, but the coral still moved a bit in between the 8 shots I took.  When stitched together, it takes on an illusion of motion, as seen at the tips of a few tentacles:

Plate Coral.jpg

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  • 3 weeks later...

My wife was in Africa for a couple of weeks and took our Nikon D610 camera on her trip.  While I missed my wife, I also missed the camera! 😏  But now that she's back (along with 4,000+ photos of elephants, rhinos, lions, zebras, cheetahs, and so many other great shots), I can get back to shooting macro shots of my corals.  Below are some full-frame shots, each followed by a 100% crop showing details:

California Tort:

California Tort.png

California Tort Detail.png



Favia Detail.png

Oregon Tort:

Oregon Tort.png

Oregon Tort Detail.png

Green Slimer:

Green Slimer.png

Green Slimer Detail.png


@Krux if you still want to arrange a photo shoot, let me know.  My schedule is pretty flexible (I'm retired...), and I'm not one to turn down a beer & pizza. 😎

Edited by SuncrestReef
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