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StackShot 3X Extended Macro Rail Package

As low as $969.00

In stock


The StackShot macro rail package includes:

1 x StackShot 3X Controller - USB and Wi-Fi equipped
1 x StackShot Extended Macro Rail (200mm)
1 x 6ft (2m) long motor cable
1 x AC adapter (available in 4 different styles US, EU, UK and AUS) - choose below

The StackShot 3X Macro Rail Package is a completely configurable automated system for capturing images for focus stacking. StackShot makes focus stacking repeatable, fast and easy.

This controller offers all of the focus stacking features of our original single axis controller with the addition of an easy to use touch screen interface and two additional motor control channels to allow for additional functionality like virtual object creation, giga-pixel imaging, shoot move shoot time lapse movie making and real-time video motion.

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StackShot 3X Extended Macro Rail Package

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StackShot 3X - Automated Macro Rail for Focus Stacking (the next generation)

Macro-photography is a fascinating sub-set of the photographic world. It brings to life detail that the human eye all too often misses. Unfortunately macro photographs often suffer from a narrow depth of field. How do photographers capture that stunning shot at high magnification and still have great depth of field? Enter focus stacking. Focus stacking is the art of digitally combining a series of images with a narrow depth of field into a single image with an extended depth. The images are usually collected with a macro rail and combined using a software program such as Zerene Stacker or Helicon Focus. Ideally each of these images is taken at a fixed distance interval.

Most macro photographers are familiar with using a macro rail to adjust the camera’s position relative to the subject of interest. These macro rails allow the distance to be adjusted and provide a crude manual method for taking the series of shots required for focus stacking. Unfortunately there are several drawbacks. There is a lack of accuracy, reproducibility, speed, and precision. Additionally, sub-millimeter steps are difficult at best. This is where StackShot comes in, it is an automated focusing rail for repeatably collecting images for focus stacking.

StackShot 3X takes automated focus stacking to the next level by featuring a touch screen interface for easy setup and two additional motor control channels to make even the most complex stacking operations and motion control moves easy to execute. By adding additional rotary tables and linear rails the system can be configured to capture virtual objects, do panoramic focus stacking, create giga-pixel images, make shoot move shoot time lapse movies or do real time video moves. StackShot 3X features all of the stacking modes in the original single axis StackShot and a whole lot more. Here is a quick comparison of the two controllers.

The StackShot 3X Macro Rail package includes everything you will need to automate the image collection process for focus stacking except the camera specific shutter cable. The shutter cable is the communication link between the camera and StackShot. It allows the StackShot controller to control your camera to make the image capturing process completely automated. The shutter cable is required if using StackShot stand alone (with no computer) or with Zerene Stacker. No shutter cable is required if used with Helicon Remote.

Repeatable Collection of Images for Focus Stacking - StackShot

StackShot is an electronically controlled macro rail system that coordinates the movement of the macro rail and the triggering of the camera. StackShot’s simple user-interface makes the automation of the entire image collecting process for focus stacking very easy.

What are the advantages of StackShot?

Accuracy: Step size adjustment from full length of the rail 100 mm down to 2 um.

Repeatability: The “automatic return” feature allows adjustments to the exposure settings between stacks captured with the same position and step size as the previous run with a single button press.

Speed: No more manually adjusting the rail position, pressing the shutter button, and hoping you didn’t bump the camera. Everything is automated and fast. This enables focus-stacking for critters that may not be willing to stay in the same position for very long. See Scott Linstead's guest post on the stacking of live spiders for an example.

Completely Configurable: The StackShot 3X is completely user configurable. Timing (both on, off and settle), number of pictures per step (useful for HDR –, maximum speed, ramp time, camera settle time, etc. All the flexibility you will ever need for focus stacking.

Can be battery powered for use in the field. Check out our Li-Ion Battery Kit.

StackShot and the Extended Macro Rail

While the standard rail will fit the vast majority of focus stacking applications, you may want more length for your larger subjects or just more working distance. The extended length rail will give you 200 mm (8 in) of movement from one end to the other, this is double the 100 mm provided by standard macro length travel. If you plan to only do high magnification (>10X) stacks of small subjects you might want to stick with the standard rail as its shorter length makes for a slightly more rigid system. But, if you want to capture larger subjects or want more working distance then this is the longer rail is likely the better choice. Even with its extended length this rail still maintains the same linear accuracy as its shorter cousin. The image below gives an idea of what is possible.

Orchid Stack

Copyright Bob Coates All rights reserved.
1st Image in the stack

The large Orchid image is a focus stack of 48 combined images. It was captured using the Extended Length Macro rail and StackShot controller.

The small image is the first image in the stack. As you can see the depth of field for a single image is very limited.

Many thanks to Bob Coates for the use of his images.

The Extended Rail

If you are already a StackShot user you can use your existing StackShot controller with the StackShot Extended Macro Rail - no software updates or modifications are required. The extended rail will work with either the single axis StackShot or the StackShot 3X. If you already have a StackShot the StackShot Extended Macro Rail. is available without the StackShot controller.

Keep in mind when creating a focus stack that is the full 200 mm that you will loose the periphery of the image as the rail moves from back to front.

The extended rail, like its shorter cousin is made from black anodized aluminum and stainless steel rails and fasteners.

Standard and Extended Rail Comparison

Focus Stacking Modes:

Click or tap a mode to see StackShot's behavior.

Automatic: (Auto-Dist)
Use the FWD and BACK buttons to adjust the rail's start/stop position. Enter the distance of each step. Then go!

Total Distance:
Select the total distance you want the rail to travel along with the number of steps desired in that distance.

Manual Step:
A button press is required to move the rail the specified distance. Only one step occurs for each button press. Useful for cameras with no electronic shutter release.

Distance Per Step:
Similar to Total Distance, except that you enter the distance desired for each step, and then the number of steps.

Move the camera the specified distance without stopping in steps.
StackShot automatic mode

Macro Rail Highlights

  • Fully automated - Controller handles the coordination of the rail and the camera
  • Standard macro rail has 100 mm of travel, see the Extended Rail for the 200 mm version.
  • Very precise control - to 2um in high precsion mode.
  • Guide rails and ACME threaded rod made from stainless steel
  • Constructed from lightweight 6061 aluminum
  • Durable matte black anodized finish
  • Stainless steel fasteners throughout
  • Engineered plastic bearings require no lubrication - Long life and no messy lubrication.
  • Designed for vertical or horizontal use, the rail will lift a 10lb (4.5kg) load vertically
  • Light weight 2.4lb (1.1kg)
  • Base includes 3 different tripod mounting options. 1/4-20 threads, 3/8-16 threads, or ARCA style dovetail mount machined in.

Controller Highlights

  • USB equipped for computer control or updating firmware
  • Wi-Fi Enabled for use with our Remote Control or remote computer control
  • Durable extruded aluminum housing
  • Touch screen user interface - easy number entry and easy configuration
  • Adjustable motor torque - turn down the torque to save on battery life
  • Adjustable macro rail speed
  • Configurable auto return - the rail will return to the start after the captures are complete
  • Configurable settle time in between captures
  • Capture multiple photos at each step (exposure bracketing or mirror lockup)
  • Includes a time lapse mode for capturing time lapse stacks
  • Optional battery power for field shooting, operates at 12VDC
  • Settings presets - Save up to ten different setups and recall them as needed
  • Shutter disable feature allows a preview of Stack without actually taking pictures
  • Includes 6ft cable from motor to controller - can be extended if required
  • Controller is easily held and operated with one hand
  • Change the lighting or exposure and run your last stack with a single button press
  • Compatible with either RCA or 3.5mm shutter interface cables

StackShot 3X Results

Ant Stack Captured by Patrice Grille
Focus stack created by ©Patrice Grilli, you can see his full setup and more of his work on his Flickr Page.

Stack Captured by Kent Loeffler of Cornell University
Focus stack created by ©Kent Loeffler of Cornell University

Other Applications for The StackShot 3X Controller

Virtual Objects

Shoot Move Shoot Time Lapse

Real Time Motion

Giga-Pixel Imaging

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Top Customer Questions and Answers (FAQ)

Do I need a shutter interface cable for my StackShot 3X Macro Rail?
The shutter interface cable provides an interface between StackShot and your camera. On one end of the cable is the connector that fits the remote shutter port of your camera and the other end of the cable has the connector to interface to StackShot. It is possible to put StackShot into manual mode and press the shutter button between each step; this is a bit more tedious than letting StackShot control your camera shutter automatically but it can be done. It is also possible to let the PC control your camera and StackShot using two USB ports and software like Helicon Remote, in this scenario a shutter cable is not necessary. This mode of operation will prevent you from using StackShot in standalone mode (not attached to a computer). The same shutter cable will work for both StackShot and StopShot. Additional StackShot compatible shutter interface cables can be found here.
Can I control StackShot with my computer?
StackShot is equipped with a USB connection can be controlled with your computer if you have Zerene Stacker or Helicon Remote. You can find more details and connection diagrams here.
If I am going to control my StackShot Macro Rail with my computer do I still need the StackShot Controller?
Yes, computers are not equipped with stepper motor drivers. The StackShot controller includes both a USB interface to communicate with the computer as well as a stepper motor driver that is required to move the motor.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of the Extended Macro Rail?
The biggest advantage of the Extended Length Macro Rail is the increased range of motion. The Extended Macro Rail adds another 100mm of movement over the standard rail. The disadvantages of this rail are its increased size and weight; this becomes important if you plan to do a lot of shooting in the field with your StackShot system. The Extended Macro Rail maintains the same accuracy as its smaller cousin so it can still be used for extremely small subjects. If you do plan on doing mostly higher magnification work >10x we recommend you stick with the shorter rail as it is slightly more rigid than the extended rail.
Can I use StackShot in the vertical orientation?
Absolutely. StackShot has been verified to maintain its specified accuracy in the vertical position with a load of 4.5kgs (10lbs). The 4.5kg limit is very conservative as we have several customers exceeding this limit without issue.
I am trying to use StackShot with a camera exposure time over a 1/2 second and StackShot moves before the exposure is complete. How do I fix this?
There are a couple of ways to configure StackShot for longer exposures. The first is to change the Toff parameter in StackShot to exceed your exposure time. This will add an additional delay to the sequence to give the exposure time to complete before StackShot moves on to the next step. The default option for Toff is 0.5 seconds. The other option is to put your camera in bulb mode and allow StackShot to control the exposure time using Tpulse. In this configuration the time you enter for Tpulse will be the exposure time, StackShot will then wait Toff (500 mS default) and then start the next move.
Have additional questions about ordering and shipping?
Visit our general FAQ page.



StackShot Controller Dimensions: 120mm L x 103mm W x 31mm H

Standard Macro Rail Dimensions: 200mm L x 86mm W x 80mm H
Rail Travel: 100mm

Extended Macro Rail Dimensions: 300mm L x 86mm W x 80mm H
Rail Travel: 200mm

Hole Pattern Dimensions: Download Drawing
The Extended Rail Dovetail Base length is 260.35mm (10.25") with the hole pattern centered on the base.
This hole pattern is identical to the standard rail (see above drawing).

Field Weights

StackShot Controller: 0.34kg (12.0 oz)

StackShot Macro Rail (standard length): 1.12kg (2lb 7.4oz)

Controller Carrier Kit (including Wimberley Arm): 0.28kg (9.9oz)

Battery Kit (not including charger): 0.26kg (9.2oz)

Total Weight: 2.0kg (4.4lbs)
Add 0.24kg (8.6oz) for the Extended Rail

Electrical Specs

Specifications MIN NOM MAX UNITS
Input Voltage 12 12 24 Vdc
Input Current (12Vdc in) - 150 6000 mAdc
Input Current–Power-saving modes active - 50 - mAdc
Shutter Output Current Sink - - 1 Adc
Operating Temperature -20 25 70 C
-4 77 158 F

StackShot 3X Resources

Owner's Manual

Owner's Manual (PDF) 

Firmware Updates

StackShot 3X Firmware Updates (ZIP) StackShot 3X Firmware Release Notes (PDF)

3X Computer App

StackShot 3X App Downlaod (Mac) StackShot 3X App Downlaod (PC)

Computer App Notes

The StackShot 3X application is written in Java, and you will need to make certain you have Oracle's Java installed. The StackShot 3X Application will let you know if you need to update your version of Java. You can find the latest version here:

How To

StackShot 3X Accessories:

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