A place for experimental photographers

DSLR Equipment

Macro Set-up for Focus Stacking

I have been fascinated by Macro ever since I started digital photography, partly because it takes you to places you wouldn’t normally go and shows you things that you wouldn’t normally see. After my first successful attempts at Macro Photography, I spent a great deal of time reading a lot about it and experimenting with different set-ups, in order to see how close I can get using the equipment available on the market and keeping the post-processing relatively simple. During that quest the word that was constantly coming up is ‘focus stacking’ and, as most Macro photographers would agree, in order to achieve very good results you will need to learn how to stack exposures at some point of your Macro exploration. This post will describe different kinds of Macro set-ups I have personally tested and discuss both their pros and cons. Finally, I will describe a set-up I’m currently using, which produces images you can see below.

dragonfly

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Manfrotto 7322YB with Quick Release Plate

I’ve been walking a lot around London with my tripod lately and noticed that every time I come back from a photo escapade, my shoulder hurts from carrying the tripod. I’m currently using a Manfrotto 055XPROB and I think it’s one of the best professional tripods available on the marker. However, I also think it’s a little heavy and not too comfortable to carry around even in a padded bag. Therefore, I started looking for a smaller alternative tripod I can carry around and even pack inside my backpack when travelling or flying. Obviously, you can argue that the Carbon version of 055XPROB or 190XPROB are lighter, however, they are still too big to pack them inside a backpack and they have a pretty expensive price tag on them. After a little research, I have decided try the smallest tripod from Manfrotto family, the 7322YB.

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Manfrotto 055XPROB + 460MG Magnesium Head

The 055XPROB is Manfrotto’s largest professional ergonomic tripod from the best-selling 055 family, designed for general, outdoor and indoor photography. It features the revolutionary centre column which can be adjusted to achieve several different configurations. The 055XPROB offers exceptional stability even in difficult terrain, therefore, it’s an excellent choice for landscape photographers. It’s available in both aluminum and lighter carbon fibre version, which also reflects on the price. Combined with the 460MG Magnesium Head, it’s by far one of the most versatile professional tripod on the market. For detailed specifications on the 055XPROB and 460MG Magnesium Head please visit Manfrotto’s official website.

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Manfrotto 790B Modo + 494RC2 Ball Head