Menu Setup

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26 thoughts on “Menu Setup

  1. When using flash, I use the Rotoscoped Lite LED which has instant recycle this allows a 0 interval
    Used this this in the field and in Costa Rica on May 2019 workshop

    1. That would work – but – remember to NOT use silent shutter 🙂 Electronic shutter and flash don’t mix 🙂

  2. Did you ever try using small video lights? I use them successfully for studio work and can use the electronic shutter. One of these days I’ll attempt using them in the field

    1. We’ve actually used them during workshops from time to time. They can work really well but you have to be careful with the color of the light.

    2. Hi Jeffrey. I am using GoDox LF 308. Just started. I was using battery operated lights, Aputure AL H198. Looking forward to taking them into the field to retake all my wildflower shots using Focus shift.

  3. Any suggestions about using Nikon’s R1C1 macro speedlights? Any ideas about their recycling times? They are not as powerful as the typical Nikon flash (guide # 33′ / 10.06 m at ISO 100)…

    I have generally been using these a lot for lichen macro photography.

    Generally at high magnification, i.e., 1:1 light is on the lower side even at f/8 and I am not too fond of increasing the ISO. Also, in very bright situations light may be sufficient, but shadows then tend to be very harsh (perhaps a diffusor would work).

    1. Hi Frank –

      I wish I had an answer for you. The thing is, it all depends on F/stop, ISO, and distance – and those can vary between shots. Additionally, I really don’t have any experience with the R1C1 flashes (although, I have seriously considered them – they are really cool). So I don’t have any firsthand knowledge. My advice would be to setup a test scenario or two and try them at home to get an idea.

  4. On Z6/7 “Focus Step Width” are you saying that the camera will programmatically choose the proper default setting, or that at a setting of 4 the camera will generally do the right thing?

    1. It’s an overlap setting – and I find a value of “4” seems to give enough overlap for good stacking with most subjects. The camera then takes this amount of relative overlap between images and adjusts the focus between each to maintain that level of overlap. If I want more overlap, I drop to 2 pr 3. Less, I go to 5.

  5. Succinct, clear and very helpful. Another excellent piece of instruction.

  6. Steve regarding silent photography in focus stack shooting with the D500, would I still set the shooting mode to Qc and does the silent photography menu setting limit the number of shots?

  7. Just an FYI: another mode that will gray out the Focus Shift shooting option in the menus is if you have a bracketing program active. (ASK ME HOW I BLUNDERED INTO THIS KNOWLEDGE!) There are might even be other modes that will disable focus shift, but it’s definitely not just time/date, lack of AF-S, or memory card.

  8. I’ve noticed that when I use silent photography mode indoors under LED overhead lights, I get these horizontal dark bands in my images. The bands don’t appear in regular mode under LED lights, and they don’t appear when in silent mode under natural sunlight.

    I’m using Nikon D850.

  9. Steve,
    In the Photo Shooting>Focus Shift Shooting menu for the Z6ii, Focus Peaking Stack does not show up as an option (note I have updated my new camera to firmware C-1.02). This is all new to me – automated stack shooting as well as the Z6ii, so if you have any suggestions I’d appreciate it. If I go to Custom>Shooting/Display>d11 Focus Peaking an option for Focus Peaking Stack does not appear there either. Apparently something has changed with the Mark 2 menus as far as this goes.
    Thanks and Happy Holidays,

    1. Sadly, it has. I was very surprised when I discovered it was no longer an option on the MKii cameras.

      1. Thanks for the reply Steve.

        That stinks, why on earth would Nikon take a step backwards???? It doesn’t seem like that is the kind of thing Nikon would normally do……

        I have an unrelated question: I do some macro but mostly landscapes. If landscapes are the primary use case for stacking, do you still prefer Zerene over Helicon? With both landscape and macro manually captured stacks I have already run into edge problems and the like so from your videos here (great job by the way!) I can see where I need to move beyond PS for processing stacks.


        1. Sadly, it’s a new Nikon trend. My D6 no longer supports spot metering on a function button, the D7500 and D780 no longer support grips, the D7500 also lost the ability to use two cards and older lenses. The list is longer, but that’s off the top of my head. Not sure what they are thinking.

          For landscapes, either works fine. I still favor Zerene, but I’ll just as readily use Helicon. The truth is, most landscape stacks are super-easy for either program. I’m sure there are scenarios where one is a bit better than another, but so far I’ve not found it.

    2. I am using Z7 I set up for focus peak , but it does not show up until I have shot series in focus shift. I would LOVE to not have to eye ball it on camera 🙂
      This course is great and thank you. When I first got D7 I hunted around with the dreaded 1-10 scale and settle into 1-2 but honestly not resolved it . So today I will try 4 per your suggestion ( in studio with flowers in still life)

      1. oops and one more thing. With Z7 – in studio with strobes, it appears to me the shooting does not stop with infinity focus as I think you say it should. I now am wondering if I misinterpreted what you were saying … or if this is a glitch with Z7.

        1. Honestly, I’ve never tried it with studio strobes. However, keep in mind it doesn’t stop at infinity, but rather when the lens focus range runs out – basically “beyond infinity”.

      2. Hi Linda – regular focus peaking should show up if you have it turned on, however, you do have to be in manual focus mode. Also, sometimes the peaking level is set too low so even if it’s on, you don’t see it.

  10. Hi Steve,
    I just tried a focus stack with my Z6 and the 105mm f-mount macro lens connected with the FTZ adapter, but it didn‘t work. All fotos had the first focus. Do you have any suggestion what was wrong?

    1. Go back and view video. He said only Z Lenses will focus shift on Z cameras, no adaptor + F lenses.

  11. Steve, I have a Z9 with firmware 3.1 installed. My focus shift shooting menu looks like yours until after the “first-frame exposure lock”. I don’t have peaking stack image or silent photography. Instead I have Focus Position auto reset.

    I’m in manual mode, focus peaking is turned on, manual mode is not turned off. I’m pretty sure my other settings are in line as I used your z9 set up guide.

    I can turn on the silent photography option before starting. What should I do, if anything, about the peaking stack image? What is the focus position auto reset?

    I have a Z lens 24-124 on the camera.

    1. I don’t see how to edit comments. I meant to say that manual focus is not turned off. So I can choose to focus either with autofocus or manually using the lens.

    2. Hi Steig –

      The Z9 doesn’t have the Peaking Stack image option – for some reason, only the first Z6/7 did. It’s not a big deal either way, so no worries.

      Focus Position Auto Reset tells the camera that once it’s done shooting the series, it should return the focus distance back to where it was when it started.

      This option is handy if you want to take a few series of the same subject. For example, maybe you’re photographing a flower, but you’re concerned that it might be moving a tiny bit in the wind. With Focus Position Auto Reset enabled, once the camera stops shooting the series, it’ll put the focus distance back to the front of the flower (assuming that’s where you had it initially) so you can take another series or two, just in case. 

      As a bonus, with this enabled, the camera will return focus to the starting distance if you cancel a sequence by pressing the OK button. This is handy if you catch the subject moving during the series and you need to start over. You can press OK, the camera will reset the focus distance, and you can try again immediately. 

      That’s all well and good for inanimate subjects, but for tiny frogs, lizards, and insects, I think there are a couple of ways it works against us.

      The first problem occurs if your subject moves during the sequence and your starting focus point is somewhere on its body (like its nose). If it moves and you have to start over, it’s critical to re-check focus before starting again. Remember, a minor move has a major impact with macro work and the chances are high that your original focus distance will be a touch off.

      Second, and more critically, keep in mind that if you didn’t choose enough shots to get through the stack – and you have this enabled – picking up where you left off is no longer an option. You’ll have to re-start the stack from scratch. Again, with a flower this doesn’t cause any headaches, but with a jittery macro subject that may move at any moment it can spell disaster.

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