Focus Stacked Dragonfly

This article shares a small selection of handheld in-camera focus stacked dragonfly images that were captured at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Burlington Ontario. These photographs fall under the ‘push my gear and see what happens’ category. All were captured using an E-M1X, M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS zoom lens, and M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter. This set-up was shot fully extended which creates an equivalent field-of-view of 1600 mm. All of the photographs in this article were created during the same photo session as described in my previous article. 

NOTE: Click on images to enlarge.

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter @ 800 mm, efov 1600 mm, f/13, -0,3 EV, 1/800, ISO-2500, handheld in-camera focus stacked image, cropped to 4226 pixels on the width, out-of-camera jpeg adjusted slightly using the Nik Collection, Topaz DeNoise AI applied

If my memory serves, I set the number of focus stacked frames to 8 and used a focus differential of 3. There was a slight breeze so I needed to time my shutter release during very short periods of relative calm.

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter @ 800 mm, efov 1600 mm, f/13, -0,3 EV, 1/800, ISO-2500, handheld in-camera focus stacked image, cropped to 4243 pixels on the width, out-of-camera jpeg adjusted slightly using the Nik Collection, Topaz DeNoise AI applied

You will find that the various photographs in this article are very similar in composition and lighting. I found that the E-M1X’s in-camera focus stacking worked very well with this subject matter.

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter @ 800 mm, efov 1600 mm, f/13, -0,3 EV, 1/800, ISO-2500, handheld in-camera focus stacked image, cropped to 4049 pixels on the width, out-of-camera jpeg adjusted slightly using the Nik Collection, Topaz DeNoise AI applied

I thought it was important to show a small collection of successful handheld in-camera focus stacked dragonfly images. This demonstrates that the E-M1X’s in-camera focus stacking technology is easy to use and can generate consistently positive results. As you can see with the first four photographs in this article, dragonflies often return repeatedly to the same perch.

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter @ 800 mm, efov 1600 mm, f/13, -0,3 EV, 1/800, ISO-2500, handheld in-camera focus stacked image, cropped to 3961 pixels on the width, out-of-camera jpeg adjusted slightly using the Nik Collection, Topaz DeNoise AI applied

Writing an article of this sort and only showing one or two images would not adequately demonstrate the E-M1X’s in-camera focus stacking capability. It really is easy to use… even handheld at 1600 mm efov.

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter @ 800 mm, efov 1600 mm, f/13, -0,3 EV, 1/800, ISO-1000, handheld in-camera focus stacked image, full frame capture, out-of-camera jpeg adjusted slightly using the Nik Collection, Topaz DeNoise AI applied

Any of the in-camera focus stacking errors that I encountered were due to me not timing my image runs properly given the intermittent breeze, or lapses in my handheld technique.

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter @ 800 mm, efov 1600 mm, f/13, 1/1250, ISO-4000, handheld in-camera focus stacked image, cropped to 4537 pixels on the width, out-of-camera jpeg adjusted slightly using the Nik Collection, Topaz DeNoise AI applied

As is the case with any technology where multiple handheld images are being combined in-camera, having good technique is important. Using a soft, smooth finger movement to activate your shutter release is also needed.

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter @ 800 mm, efov 1600 mm, f/13, 1/1250, ISO-3200, handheld in-camera focus stacked image, full frame capture, out-of-camera jpeg adjusted slightly using the Nik Collection, Topaz DeNoise AI applied

Using the M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS zoom lens with the M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter mounted on an E-M1X is a very effective tool to capture images of insects. The only caveat is that good light is needed. When fully extended this set-up uses a minimum aperture of f/13.

Technical Note

Photographs were captured handheld using camera gear as noted in the EXIF data. Images are out-of-camera jpegs. Crops are noted. Minor corrections were done in the Nik Collection and Topaz Denoise AI was applied. This is the 1,063rd article published on this website since its original inception.

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter @ 800 mm, efov 1600 mm, f/13, 1/1250, ISO-4000, handheld in-camera focus stacked image, cropped to 4648 pixels on the width, out-of-camera jpeg adjusted slightly using the Nik Collection, Topaz DeNoise AI applied

How you can help keep this site advertising free

My intent is to keep this photography blog advertising free. If you enjoyed this article and/or my website and would like to support my work, you can purchase an eBook, or make a modest $10 donation through PayPal. Both are most appreciated. You can use the Donate button below. Larger donations can be made to tom@tomstirr.com through PayPal.

As a reminder to our Canadian readers, you can get a special 5% discount when ordering Tamron or Rokinon lenses and other products directly from the Amplis Store.

Word of mouth is the best form of endorsement. If you like our website please let your friends and associates know about our work. Linking to this site or to specific articles is allowed with proper acknowledgement. Reproducing articles, or any of the images contained in them, on another website or in any social media posting is a Copyright infringement.

Article and images are Copyright 2021 Thomas Stirr. All rights reserved. No use, duplication or adaptation of any kind is allowed without written consent. If you see this article reproduced anywhere else it is an unauthorized and illegal use. Posting comments on offending websites and calling out individuals who steal intellectual property is always appreciated!

2 thoughts on “Focus Stacked Dragonfly”

  1. Thomas,
    I regularly read your blog, and have learned a great deal about photographing insects, birds and flowers. You have also stirred my interest in Olympus equipment. Although I shoot mainly with Sony full frame gear, I have just purchased an Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III along with a 12-100mm F4.0 IS Pro lens. I am particularly looking forward to trying out the focus bracketing, the in-camera focus stacking capability, and the Pro Capture mode. Your blog is a continuing source of inspiration.

    1. Hi Lynn,

      It is great to read that the articles have been of benefit to you. The 12-100 f/4 is a great around zoom lens. Some pros like Chris Eyre-Walker use this lens as a mainstay of their system, as it is great for both photography and video. Many people find the in-lens Sync-IS is very useful in lower light situations.

      Tom

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *