I use a Nikon d850 with 200mm micro Nikon lens mainly for jewelry photography and stacking is my regular approach. The major problem I have with that is in the shades where definition, detail, etc. drop in quality. Has anybody tried a studio camera with a Nikon attached to it and tilt/shift the lens? What lens and what results should I expect?

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    What's your actual working method? What are you stacking with? I do a lot of focus stacking on a significantly less pro camera/lens with more than satisfactory results, so I doubt it's your 5 grand's-worth of gear that's lacking here. – Tetsujin Jun 5 at 10:30
  • I'm stacking with both rail and/or focus and a lot of jewelry is silver and gold crosset rings and bracelets/necklaces. In these if you go 10x print the details and shadows have a problem. – Spiros Jun 5 at 10:42
  • Are you using flash? My macro improved considerably when I started using flash instead of continuous lighting. Keeping the camera still enough for macro is difficult, flash solves this. – Mattman944 Jun 6 at 7:56

Camera movements & focus stacking do different things: which to use depends on which of those things you want.

Camera movements allow you to take the focal plane of the lens and put it where you want to, within reason. So in particular you can slant the focal plane with respect to the sensor plane. This is useful, for instance, for landscapes where the focal plane you want might be essentially the surface of the land (you can't actually adjust the plane that far, but you can make things better).

What camera movements don't do is to alter the depth of field around the focal plane: if the depth of field is very thin, then camera movements will allow you to set the plane where things are in focus where you like but will not increase the thickness of the region either side of that plane where things are acceptably in focus.

Focus stacking will do that. It allows you to take a bunch of images with different focal planes, each with a rather small depth of field, and then synthesise a single image from them which has a much larger depth of field.

So focus stacking increases depth of field, while camera movements allow you to put the focal plane where you like while leaving depth of field (around the focal plane) unaltered.

Which to use depends on what you want to achieve:

  • if the thing you are trying to photograph has a natural plane which you want all to be in focus, that plane is not parallel to the sensor plane and you don't care about whether things out of that plane are in focus (or you actively want them out of focus) then movements can do that;
  • if the thing you are trying to photograph has multiple planes which you want in focus, and is static, then you want focus stacking.

I suspect that, for jewellery, focus stacking is the answer.

  • Thank u all for taking time to answer. – Spiros Jun 7 at 7:17

A Nikon PB-4 bellows is a nice piece of kit for close up + macro photography. It will give you a very limited set of movements (shift + swing) and these are not geared but workable.

I haven't tried using a 35mm camera on a studio 4x5. I imagine that you want to use 35mm lenses as those made for the 4x5 camera will be low resolution for the 35mm format. However, 35mm lenses may not give you a large enough image circle to allow for the movements you want. All that being said, If you already have a studio camera and necessary adapters around you might as well give it a go.

The following general knowledge for macro/closeup may be helpful (which you may already be aware of): 1) If you're magnifying the item above 1:1 reversing the lens will generally give you better results. 2) Once you approach 1:1 diffraction becomes a much bigger issue. f8 at a magnification of 2:1 will give you diffraction effective to f24 or f stop * (magnification + 1).

I hope that something above helps, good luck!

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