Here's my first attempt at focus stacking using the rail: A random potted plant. Being able to compare this to not using a focusing rail, I can say that this was a whole lot easier. I shifted the camera about a third of a millimeter between shots and then stacked it all using Hugin[a] and Enfuse[b]. The Enfuse command line was
--exposure-weight=0 --saturation-weight=0 --contrast-weight=1 --hard-mask --contrast-window-size=9. As you can see, it didn't quite get rid of the out-of-focus areas; they can be seen as haloes around the buds. It does give the shot a very dreamlike appearance, though.
This panorama was shot using the Raynox DCR-250 that I've reviewed previously. Six component images, of which one was cropped since it included one of the tripod legs. This was the first time I tried to get a panorama really close to the ground, and it proved slightly more difficult than I expected. In the end I had to lie down on the wet, muddy ground with one arm around a tripod leg and the other under the camera. (For those who know, similar to shooting a Carl Gustav recoilless rifle[c] with bipod from a prone position - including the dirt.)
This mushroom proved to be very difficult to photograph. It grew on a tree trunk that streched out over the water, an element cameras and photographers alike tend to avoid without waterproofing. It was also positioned so that when the camera was correctly positioned, it was impossible for me to look through the eyepiece, nor see what was on the camera display, due to the ground being in the way. I ended up using the auto focus to see if the distance was roughly correct, and by gradually adjusting the tripod (which stood with two legs partially submerged in mud and one in water) to get the composition right. Then I switched to manual focus and stepped through all focus distances, hoping that the f/8 aperture would give me enough depth of field for one of the shots to turn out all right. (All that said, when I look at it unsentimentally, it is just a yellow mushroom.)
The first attempt at a panorama using the Raynox DCR-250, Nikon D40, Nikon 18-55mm VR II and Nodal Ninja 3. The field of view is roughly 76 degrees horizontal and 68 degrees vertical, which makes it approximately equivalent to a theoretical 12mm macro lens that is cropped horizontally. For comparison, at 28mm the Nikon 18-55mm covers a 52x36 degree field of view. The boredom of the subject is, for me at least, offset by the excitement of actually being able to create it.