08 December 2017
Most of the beetle plate images I upload on this page are focus-stacked images of, in average, from 20 to 50 images. Museums and Institutions now commonly use this photographing technique to illustrate the clear and focused image of insect specimens, with electronically and remotely moving focus rails and lenses. Since those equipment are very expensive, I just tightly hold down my camera on desk with one hand then turning the focus ring with my other hand to move the focus point. I then merge the files into one single file using Adobe Photoshop. It usually works well, as long as legs or any other part of specimen do not cross over each other. If they cross over each other, I will be needing more and more images to accurately process it. This, however, is very inconvenient way of shooting as I do not have the fancy equipment. I decided to make an adapter for the camera to be attached on a focus rack of my microscope. I quickly measured rough sizes of camera, lens, focus rack, etc. to draw up on CAD for 3D printing.
3D print design
Finished product from the 3D printing service
L: Adapter fits on focus rack perfectly!
R: Camera fits on the adapter very well!
This is how the adapter sits on the rack to hold the camera tightly. Now, I’m able to change the focus more slightly in detail, and more conveniently work on shooting images. As I don’t have to change the focus by turning the focus ring of the lens, I can take more and more shots of images. Below is an example image from this method of Mecynorrhina polyphemus female. Fifty two files are merged.
If I held the camera on hand and try to change the focus point by turning the lens, I might have ended up taking only about 20 images or more. Excuse me for such a dusty specimen. In case of specimens with depth, like major species in genus Golofa, I might be able to easily take more than 100 images. Next project for this method would be the LIGHTINGS, the flash diffuser, most likely.