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Pre digitization stages

Make sure the specimens to picture during a day or week are at reach, this will safe you time. If the specimens are covered with dust, you can remove them with compressed air if the specimens are solid and not fragile. In case of dried insects, it is better not to touch them or remove the dust with a small pencil.

Have fully charged batteries available, as charging them can take quite some time depending on the battery charger you use.

Digitization stages

Quick guide to the Canon-Cognisys workflow

Before switching on the StackShot Controller by connecting it to the Electrical network, make sure the following steps are ok:

  1. The camera is connected to the Stackshot controller (Shutter cable)
  2. The StackShot controller is connected to the StackShot Rail
  3. The camera is connected to the PC

All ok? Plug in the StackShot Controller

Switch on the camera Open 'EOS Utility' Select 'Camera settings/Remote Shooting' Now the window appears to select your camera settings etc. Follow further instructions Switch on the light inside the closet Switch on 'Live View Shoot' (Bottom left in the EOS Utility window) Set the Shutter speed on 'BULB' (click on the shutter speed and press ↓) Set the power of the speed lights: if you use a Grey Background

  • ½ or ¼ for 3x to 5x magnification
  • 1/8 to 1/16 for 1x to 3x magnification
  • 1/32 or 1/64 for regular macro lenses

test if the flash lights work by pressing the remote Place the specimen in the closet in the centre of the lens If you use the MP-E 65 mm Macro Photo, set the approx. desired magnification

  • 1x = 22.5mm
  • 2x = 11.3 mm
  • 3x = 7.5 mm
  • 4x = 5.6 mm
  • 5x = 4.5 mm

Make sure that 'Mode: Auto-Dist' is selected on the StackShot controller, if not press 'up' or 'down' on the controller till it appears. Move the camera up or down by pressing 'Fwd' or 'Back' till the specimen is in-focus (Confirm through Live View in EOS Utility). Set the distance the camera needs to travel between each picture by pressing 'select' once and 'up' or 'down' to increase or decrease the 'Dist/Step'. Guidelines for the Step Size:


Post digitization stages

After the Stacking process is done it is possible to add a scale to the pictures taken. It is important that the have written down the magnification you used to picture the specimen for a certain view.

We use ImBatch or XnView to do so. For every possible magnification we created scale images with a transparent background, that can be merged on top of a stacked image.

Data quality

Rarely it is needed to adjust colors by using the pipet in the Levels function in an image editing software like GIMP or Photoshop.

Needed staff skills

  • beginner
  • trained

The setup can be used by persons with only low knowledge of photography, after a small training course of half a day. However it is important to judge the skills of handling small, fragile and unique specimens. Best is to let them start with groups of solid, difficult to damage specimens, before switching to the other.

Positioning specimens in alcohol can be challenging from time to time, but key is to add just enough alcohol in the holder (petri dish, glass beaker, ...) to submerge the specimen.

Something that is important as well it to tell the photographer what needs to be seen in the picture. In this way all the pictures taken show the characters needed.


  • 1 to 10 min


  • 1 to 5 €