A Guide To Focus Stacking, an exceptional technique for pin sharp images
Some times we need a photograph which bears up under closer examination and shows the details in perfect clarity and sharpness, and we want everything from the foreground to the background to be as sharp as possible; Michael Breitung has a solution
When I shoot scenic landscapes, I’m after scenes with an interesting foreground to take viewers into the picture, where they are caught up by the views which the middle and background provide. I want them to remain in the picture and to explore the details. For this to work I need a photograph which bears up under closer examination and shows the details in perfect clarity and sharpness, and I want everything from the foreground to the background to be as sharp as possible.
When I started with landscape photography some years ago, one of the first rules I learned was that, by using a smaller aperture, the depth of field in the picture increases. I’m working on a tripod most of the time, so why should I not use the smallest aperture available for a given lens and get everything sharp in the picture? I tried it and was astonished by the result. The whole picture showed the same sharpness, which was nowhere near what I should have liked; everything looked soft. The reason being, as I learned afterwards, is diffraction (Link: ttp://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tutorials/diffraction-photography.htm). Some tests showed that for my lenses, diffraction starts to take effect on the sharpness of an image noticeably at apertures around f/13 and lower.
Since realising this point, I’m sticking to apertures between f/8 and f/13 if possible, as those give me the best sharpness. There might be variations to the lenses you use, so it’s good to do a test. When shooting wide angle, it’s still possible to get a depth of field which goes from the nearest foreground to infinity in one photograph. To achieve this, I focus at a…