Extension Tube & Close-Up Lens

chris miss

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Oct 18, 2008
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NE coast of Florida
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I have a Sigma 70-300 f/4-5.6 APO DG Macro lens and a Canon 100mm f/2.8 USM Macro. I'd love to be able to get really good close up macro shots and also some great bird shots. The Sigma doesn't get me close enough to the birds.

Can I use an extension tube on the Sigma (and if so, what kind would fit that lens) for better bird shots and a close-up lens on either for really close macro shots?

I saw someone shooting spiders who was using 2 close-up lenses on his camera (it was a Panasonic, I believe). I have a Canon xti.

Of the two, I would prefer to get better bird shots. I'm sure I can't afford to get both an extension tube and a close-up lens right now.
Are you saying that your Canon 100mm macro does not provide enough magnification for you (greater than 1:1) ?
You can attach an extension tube or close-up filter to the macro lens to decrease the minimum focus distance ... thus obtaining a greater magnification.

You do not want to put either on the 70-300mm zoom lens.
You need to get a longer focal length lens ... ie 400mm to 600mm.
I was afraid I was going to need more than 300mm for good bird shots. It's not in the cards just yet. But at least I know not to add an extension to the Sigma.

I really haven't tried the Canon 100mm much yet for Macro shots. I just saw that this person had attached 2 close-up lenses (but it wasn't the Canon 100) and wondered if that would be necessary to get similar shots. You could see the hair on these spiders! Incredible shots. I'll just play around with what I've got for the time being.

Thanks for the quick response.
Firstly I would get some practice at working at 1:1 macro with the 100mm lens before you start thinking of trying for greater magnification - things get really tricky then. Also what flash support do you have? If your after bugs you will need something more than your popup flash for 1:1 macro.
Certainly you can use extension tubes for moremagnification - you can also use teleconverters* as well. I have done a test with tubes and teleconverters on my 150mm macro here:
the end result is that I much perfer using teleconverters over tubes, you retain infinity focus and your working distance - I would note that with a 100mm lens you will get more magnification with the extension tubes than I did with my 150mm. Note however that the 100mm canon will not work with canon teleconverters so you will have to investigate the other brands (sigma or kenko - and I don't know if either will work with the 100mm)

As for the reach on the 70-300mm bird photography is general quoted at starting at 400mm by birders - however if you setup a hide and feeding station and leave it for a good week you can get the birds to come to you! And then you can use a much shorter focal range (don't think the "pros" don't do this either - unless you have a 5/6/800mm lens its avery common method used)
Thanks for your post. Your thread on teleconverters, tubes, and close-up lenses looks very interesting. I don't know how I missed it before, but I will study it carefully. I do have a Canon 430EX (which I also am not too familiar with). So I should be doing a lot more practicing before even thinking of adding to my equipment.
I would say so yes. I find that if you get too much kit all at once you end up not being able to use it. It takes time to get used to kit and to see how to best use it - if you don't spend that time learning to use the kit then you will never be able to get the shots you are capable of making out of it :)

Also I forgot to mention, but there also some good macro filters that you can use for more magnification and (when you want to try them) I would recomend the Raynox series of macro filters. They are not (all) hyper expensive and normally they would be things to avoid, but they are one of the rare exceptions in that they are quality optics. I hope to soon be able to test mine fully and add the results to the test above - I just have to wait for someone toget the stepping rings in stock ;)
I've done a fair amout of watch photography, and the 100mm Canon Macro doesn't need any help to get in close.. that's what it was designed for.

You could probably crop a decent close-up with that lens to see the legs on any bug


I've done a fair amout of watch photography, and the 100mm Canon Macro doesn't need any help to get in close.

That's a fantastic shot of your watch, Larry. I'll try to take a few with my 100mm and see what I come up with. Thanks for sharing your photos. It gives me hope!

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