My Camera Setup

Upto september ’21 my Camera was a solid and fairly affordable Canon EOS 1300D. I have made thousands of pictures with it. It provides 12MegaPixel pictures, and it comes with software to remotely shoot. Nowadays I use Canon EOS M6 Mark II. As it is mirrorless, it gives less vibrations.

I use a self made steel standard that is mounted vertical on a marmer plate, with a Bellows mounted on top of it looking down. The Bellows has a standard Canon ring to mount a camera, and at the other end a Camera holder is mounted that originated from my stereo microscope. This camera holder thus is an extra extention of the Bellows (10 cm) and is customized on one end to hold my lense Zeiss Luminar 40mm or occasionally 25mm (which is more difficult with respect to light due to the small distance). Very recently I also bought a Luminar 63mm for FoV >8mm upto 22mm. Most of my pictures have a field of view of about 4-5mm. In obvious cases the specimen are cabinet size, and sometimes the FoV is just 2,5mm.

Each photo is created out of 20 to 30 or even more pictures that are stacked together to give more depth of view (micro photography suffers from small areas that are in focus). Exposure is usually between 0,8 and 1,3s. For stacking I use Helicon Focus 6 and recently 7 (Pyramid with little smoothening). An old heavy bespoke copper made and fine adjustable table originating from a lab is used to alter the distance of a mineral to the camera in small steps.

The lights I use are flexible led arms (Ikea) and tempering of the light is reached via layers of translucent white plastic originating from ordinary storage boxes (Ikea as well). I lower my Red with 35 and increase Blue with 35 (XnConvert for Bulk, free software) to compensate for the Ikea temperature or use adjustment in Canon Digital Photo Professional 4 software, and sharpening was around 50% when I used 1300D. The M6 does not require this. Usually I add little brightness and little contrast (+5 in Canon software). Occasionally I use standard Ms picture editing for the shadow and highlights. The most difficult factor for me to make good quality pictures is the wooden floor, hence the marmor plates. Next to that, naturally, one needs to be somewhat of a light artist. One day I will master it 😉