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Old 20th June 2011
JohnF JohnF is offline
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Re: Macro, aperture & sharpness question

Hi -

The only "real" way to handle the conundrum between needing better DOF and avoiding diffraction softening is to cheat. :-)

Seriously: there is a way to stack photos such that taking a series of photos where the focus varies slightly between pictures to get a nice, overall sharp photo while retaining optimum sharpness. If you simply google "macro photo stacking" you'll find quite a bit of info out there.

If you want to do this a lot, there are hardware solutions out there as well that take it to an extreme, stepping, say, 0.05mm per exposure for several hundred photos. Not inexpensive kit (expect to pay north of 400 quid at the end of the day for hardware and software), but it's pretty much the cat's meow.

Of course, you can do it the proper way as well: move up to a medium format digital back and attach that to a view camera so that you can manipulate the in-focus area to meet your exact needs.

Personally, I find diffraction to first rear its ugly little nebulous head after f11. Sometimes even f16 for longer focal-length legacy equipment (I use an ancient 100mm f4 Leica lens on a bellows, diffraction there is first detectable around f16...and even then is moderate. F22 and beyond, yech.

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