Screwdriver Handheld Macro

This article features a range of screwdriver handheld macro images. Many folks around the world are in various states of lockdown, so I chose this subject matter as many of us can do this photographic exercise at home.

I decided to use a range of options for these photographs including standard resolution macro, Handheld Hi Res (HHHR) and in-camera focus stacking. To add some challenge to the exercise I used a fairly slow shutter speed of 1/25 of a second. Many of the photographs were captured at ISO-6400. All of these screwdriver handheld macro images were captured on my kitchen table, so I was able to brace my arms to a good degree.

Before doing this exercise I thought that the standard resolution macro approach would likely win out when using a relatively slow shutter speed of 1/25. I set my E-M1X for 15 images when shooting with the handheld in-camera focus stacking (HHFS) mode. All of the Handheld Hi Res (HHHR) images would have combined 16 photographs in camera. I would typically use shutter speeds in the 1/250 to 1/500 of a second range for both HHFS and HHHR photography.

So, let’s have a look at some screwdriver handheld macro photographs captured using various approaches.

Standard Resolution Macro Samples

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 60 mm Macro 2.8, efov 120 mm, f/5, 1/25, ISO-6400, subject distance 190 mm
Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 60mm Macro 2.8, efov 120mm, f/5, 1/25, ISO-6400, subject distance 215mm
Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 60 mm Macro 2.8, efov 120 mm, f/5, 1/25, ISO-5000, subject distance 195 mm
Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 60 mm Macro 2.8, efov 120 mm, f/5, 1/25, ISO-6400, subject distance 195 mm
Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 60 mm Macro 2.8, efov 120 mm, f/5, 1/25, ISO-2000, subject distance 220 mm

In-Camera Focus Stacking Macro Samples

When my Olympus OM-D E-M1X does in-camera focus stacking there is some automatic cropping of the image that occurs. When shooting in this mode, the camera provides a thin black outline box in the viewfinder or on the rear screen to show the crop. The output from the in-camera focus stacking with my E-M1X is a jpeg file.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 60 mm Macro 2.8, efov 120 mm, f/5, 1/25, ISO-6400, in-camera focus stacking, out-of-camera jpeg adjusted in post, subject distance 185 mm
Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 60 mm Macro 2.8, efov 120 mm, f/5, 1/25, ISO-6400, in-camera focus stacking, out-of-camera jpeg adjusted in post, subject distance 210 mm
Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 60 mm Macro 2.8, efov 120 mm, f/5, 1/25, ISO-6400, in-camera focus stacking, out-of-camera jpeg adjusted in post, subject distance 200 mm
Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 60 mm Macro 2.8, efov 120 mm, f/5, 1/25, ISO-6400, in-camera focus stacking, out-of-camera jpeg adjusted in post, subject distance 195 mm
Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 60 mm Macro 2.8, efov 120 mm, f/5, 1/25, ISO-1000, in-camera focus stacking, out-of-camera jpeg adjusted in post, subject distance 235 mm

Handheld Hi Res Macro Samples

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 60 mm Macro 2.8, efov 120 mm, f/5, 1/25, ISO-6400, Handheld Hi Res mode, subject distance 190 mm
Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 60 mm Macro 2.8, efov 120 mm, f/5, 1/25, ISO-6400, Handheld Hi Res mode, subject distance 215 mm
Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 60 mm Macro 2.8, efov 120 mm, f/5, 1/25, ISO-5000, Handheld Hi Res mode, subject distance 195 mm
Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 60 mm Macro 2.8, efov 120 mm, f/5, 1/25, ISO-6400, Handheld Hi Res mode, subject distance 195 mm
Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 60 mm Macro 2.8, efov 120 mm, f/5, 1/25, ISO-2000, Handheld Hi Res mode, subject distance 225 mm

Images Organized For Comparison Purposes

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 60 mm Macro 2.8, efov 120 mm, f/5, 1/25, ISO-6400, subject distance 190 mm
Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 60 mm Macro 2.8, efov 120 mm, f/5, 1/25, ISO-6400, in-camera focus stacking, out-of-camera jpeg adjusted in post, subject distance 185 mm
Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 60 mm Macro 2.8, efov 120 mm, f/5, 1/25, ISO-6400, Handheld Hi Res mode, subject distance 190 mm
Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 60 mm Macro 2.8, efov 120 mm, f/5, 1/25, ISO-6400, subject distance 215 mm
Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 60 mm Macro 2.8, efov 120 mm, f/5, 1/25, ISO-6400, in-camera focus stacking, out-of-camera jpeg adjusted in post, subject distance 210 mm
Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 60 mm Macro 2.8, efov 120 mm, f/5, 1/25, ISO-6400, Handheld Hi Res mode, subject distance 215 mm
Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 60 mm Macro 2.8, efov 120 mm, f/5, 1/25, ISO-5000, subject distance 195 mm
Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 60 mm Macro 2.8, efov 120 mm, f/5, 1/25, ISO-6400, in-camera focus stacking, out-of-camera jpeg adjusted in post, subject distance 200 mm
Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 60 mm Macro 2.8, efov 120 mm, f/5, 1/25, ISO-5000, Handheld Hi Res mode, subject distance 195 mm
Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 60 mm Macro 2.8, efov 120 mm, f/5, 1/25, ISO-6400, subject distance 195 mm
Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 60 mm Macro 2.8, efov 120 mm, f/5, 1/25, ISO-6400, in-camera focus stacking, out-of-camera jpeg adjusted in post, subject distance 195 mm
Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 60 mm Macro 2.8, efov 120 mm, f/5, 1/25, ISO-6400, Handheld Hi Res mode, subject distance 195 mm
Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 60 mm Macro 2.8, efov 120 mm, f/5, 1/25, ISO-2000, subject distance 220 mm
Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 60 mm Macro 2.8, efov 120 mm, f/5, 1/25, ISO-1000, in-camera focus stacking, out-of-camera jpeg adjusted in post, subject distance 235 mm
Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 60 mm Macro 2.8, efov 120 mm, f/5, 1/25, ISO-2000, Handheld Hi Res mode, subject distance 225 mm

Determining Which Option To Use

Depending on the camera gear that you own, you may have some options when it comes to macro photography. For example, you may have a fixed lens camera like the Olympus TG-5 that has a dedicated macro or microscopic setting.

You may have a dedicated macro lens, or you may use extension tubes.

The camera body that you own may have a range of modes that can be used. For example, with my Olympus OM-D E-M1X I was able to create standard resolution macro images, in-camera focus stacking macro images, and Handheld Hi Res macro images.

Learning how to best use the gear you have available, and to understand what limitations or nuances may exist is key. For example, I captured all of these screwdriver handheld macro images earlier in the morning mainly under artificial light, but with some natural side light entering into my compositions. This resulted in some of the images having a bit of a cyan colour cast. This colour shift was accentuated when I used in-camera focus stacking and the Handheld Hi Res mode, so I had to make some adjustments in post.

Creating some screwdriver handheld macro images may not be the most exciting subject matter in the world… but for many of us it is readily available. If nothing else this exercise may be a pleasant break from your daily routine.

Technical Note:
Photographs were captured handheld using camera gear as noted in the EXIF data. All images were produced from RAW files using my standard process. All photographs are shown as 100% captures without any cropping.

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2 thoughts on “Screwdriver Handheld Macro”

  1. It certainly is a fun exercise to try out Focus Bracketing on the OM-D (EM-1 mk.iii, in my case), Tom … and I was able to get some impressive results.

    I tried the in-camera focus stacking feature – but I found I got better results stacking the “set” of resulting images using dedicated software:

    I used DxO PhotoLab to process the RAW images, and then passed them to Serif Affinity Photo to perform the stacking process – – with the benefits of this being;
    – my final image is not automatically cropped (as it is by the Olympus in-camera stacking process)
    – I’m able to tweak the RAW processing to my liking *before* the stacking process is applied
    – comparing the stacked images (from the same bracketed set) produced a) in-camera, versus b) via PhotoLab & Affinity – – I found the latter result to contain a lot more detail and it was sharper.

    So, I now have the focus stacking step switched OFF in my settings.

    Regards, John TKA

    1. Hi John,

      Did you shoot handheld or with a tripod?

      It makes sense to me that your results using RAW files and doing the stacking in post produced better results. As you pointed out, you could adjust the RAW files before combining the images.

      How did your results in post compare to other gear you have used in the past?

      Tom

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