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.
Due to the size of the sensor in DX format cameras, an 8mm fisheye lens will not produce a circular image. FX format cameras, on the other hand, have a bigger sensor and therefore will produce a fully circular image.
If you are shooting with an 8mm fisheye lens on a DX format cameras, you will always have dark corners in your picture that require adjusting in order to de-warp the image to a full frame, just as a ‘full frame fisheye’ such as 10.5mm would do. You may simply crop the image but that way you will lose a considerable amount of picture and the image will still remain distorted. Alternatively, you may use the lens correction options in Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom 3, but these offer limited control over the image.
PTLense Photoshop plug-in is a simple and powerful plug-in which also works as standalone software and you will definitely find it useful when working with your fisheye images. The plugin is available to download as a trial version (both Windows and Mac) that has complete functionality, but will only process 10 images. For $25, you can also purchase the licence via PayPal, which is a pretty good deal in my opinion.