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  1. #1
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    Macro extension tubes or diopters? Need advice

    I have a D3100 with the 18-55mm lens kit and a 55-200mm zoom. I am torn between whether to use extension tubes or diopters for my macro shots. (Obviously, I do not have the budget for a dedicated macro lens. I still have to buy a prime lens for other purposes too.) My main concern is that I've read that lenses must have an aperture ring when used with a macro tube. Since there will be no contact for my AF-S kit lens to the camera itself, AF will be disabled needless to say. I've read further that the aperture due to this is set back to f22 resulting to dark photos unless lighting is considered. Is there any practical workaround (meaning affordable or simply cheap) on this? Macro lighting of course is an option. Or am I simply better off using a set of diopters? Your opinions will be greatly appreciated.

    PS Since these are not exactly lenses but somewhat related, the moderators may freely move this to accessories or photography equipment if necessary.



  2. #2
    Watch the Birdy! Site Moderator
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    Thanks for the permission to move the thread!

    I assume by "diopters" you refer to the screw-on close-up "filters" that mount to the lens just a regular filter? If so, you'll be MILES ahead with the extension tubes. As there are no optices in them, there's nothing to degrade your image, and while the filters will give you a sharp-ish centre, the periphery is often horrible.

  3. #3
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    Yes, I have read about those. IQ is somewhat degraded using diopters even with the high quality ones. But my main issue would be aperture. Do note that I have a D3100 with the kit lens. And aperture will be set to f22. I've read that the only way to adjust aperture is to adjust the aperture mechanism inside the 18-55mm lens by inserting a small rubber band inside the lens. Any comments on these. Are there D3100 and D5100 users out there who have used extension tubes and gotten good results? Again thanks.

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    Watch the Birdy! Site Moderator
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    If you buy the extension tubes made by Kenko, they have all of the electronic conacts that your lenses do. They support full lens functionality, so your focus and exposure will work just fine.

  5. #5
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    Tirediron does speak the truth on the Kenko tubes. I like my set even though I haven't used them in a long while.

  6. #6
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    I've done some further research and it seems the Kenko tubes have the necessary circuitry to support TTL. Unfortunately, it is way above my budget as I still am prioritizing my purchase of a prime lens. Maybe for the time being, I'll go with the diopters and when I have the budget I will reconsider them. The good thing is now I know more about extension tubes. Thanks for the input.

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    If budget is a pressing issue, don't bother with the diopters and put the money you would have spent on them towards the Kenkos. Yeah, you may get close-ups, but you'll quickly outgrow the filters and want to get the Kenkos. If you get the diopters, you'll just be that much farther away from getting the Kenkos.
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  8. #8
    I spend too much of my life on TPF!
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    Quote Originally Posted by 480sparky View Post
    If budget is a pressing issue, don't bother with the diopters and put the money you would have spent on them towards the Kenkos. Yeah, you may get close-ups, but you'll quickly outgrow the filters and want to get the Kenkos. If you get the diopters, you'll just be that much farther away from getting the Kenkos.
    The Kenkos cost $200 and so is the Nikon 35mm prime. I haveeyeing the prime way before shooting macros. A cheapo diopter set cost around $10. Ok IQ is in question but I have seen sample pics and they seem decent to my amateurish eyes. As for my moment I can afford to "splurge" $10. All I have to do is not to eat at my local fast food joint which will also save me some unwanted calories. Meantime, I'll start saving on those Kenkos. Maybe if I no longer eat at fast food restos, I can soon buy those Kenkos. And it's much healthier too!

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    Before I would pay $200 for the Kenko, I would save up for a macro lens.
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    The Nikon 40mm f/2.8G AF-S DX is $280 and cheaper if used. I Just don't know how it will compare to the 35mm f/1.8 and further don't know if it's wise to have both. Also, the Sigma and Tamron 70-300mm zoom lens with macro capablities is also appealing to me obviously due to the "additional zooming" capabilities even if there is no IS/VR.

    I guess the real advantage of having a limited budget is that you tend to consider very carefully what equipment you are going to purchase and not just base it on a whim.

  11. #11
    Watch the Birdy! Site Moderator
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    Don't forget the best photo store of them all... Craig's List! A set of Kenko tubes were just on my local list for $100!

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by tirediron View Post
    Don't forget the best photo store of them all... Craig's List! A set of Kenko tubes were just on my local list for $100!
    That is always an option but unfortunately there are no extension tubes available within a 50 mile radius from where I am. eBay may be a better option to find a used one.

 

 

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