Fo­cus shift shoot­ing Also known as ‘fo­cus stack­ing’

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Close-up pho­tog­ra­phy

Fo­cus stack­ing is a tech­nique widely used by pho­tog­ra­phers who need to max­i­mize depth of field in close-up shots such as this one. The prob­lem is that even at min­i­mum aper­ture, it’s not pos­si­ble to keep the sub­ject and the back­ground sharp. As this is a lim­i­ta­tion of physics and the op­tics in a typ­i­cal DSLR, there’s no way of re­solv­ing it – even with the D850.

Fo­cus-shift set­tings

The so­lu­tion, or rather work­around, is to take a se­ries of shots at slightly dif­fer­ent fo­cus set­tings and then blend them later us­ing spe­cial­ist soft­ware. This is nor­mally a te­dious man­ual process prone to er­ror dur­ing the shoot­ing phase when it’s easy to lose track or miss a step, but the D850 can do it all au­to­mat­i­cally – you sim­ply choose the num­ber of shots and fo­cus in­ter­val.

Fo­cus se­quence

When you tap the Start op­tion on the menu, the cam­era then takes all the shots in the stack, one af­ter the other – you can see the fo­cus ad­just­ing slightly be­tween each shot. The only thing it can’t do is blend the shots in-cam­era – you have to do that in soft­ware later, but be­cause the shots should be per­fectly fo­cused and aligned, the process should be mostly pain­less.

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