Extension tubes


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Dec 31, 2008
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Albert Lea, MN
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Was reading in a book about these extension tubes that help focus close. Anyone use them and recommend them? How much do these take the place of a macro lens?

What about sizes? 12mm? bigger?

They can be a great option for macro photography. Firstly because they don't introduce any glass into the light path...so you don't loose quality. Also, they are cheaper than a true macro lens.

I haven't compared tubes directly to a good macro lens, but I think that most would prefer an actual macro lens (except for the price).
I have a set I use with my macro lens and they are great. I have tried them on my 50mm and for things that don't move they are ok but if you are trying to shoot bugs you have a very short working distance. Some people swear by them on a 50mm. I have the kenko set of three that you can use a single or in combinations. Tubes are a cheap way of seeing if macro is for you.
I use them occasionally. I prefer to use them with an old 70-210mm zoom because you can quickly center the DoF on the subject (after you set the focus) by zooming back and forth so you can use it hand held.

I don't know of anything that will work with something that's moving fast but I can generally get a shot in good light. The Continuous High setting helps too. ;)
If I was only going to get one, which size would you recommend? 12, 24, 36?
I have a set of Kenko AF extension tubes for my Nikons. I use them with and without a macro lens. There is no glass involved so its purely a mechanical thing, no worries about cheap glass components or things like that.

Each size can be used seperately or they can be stacked in any combination including all 3 at once. So, having a set has some advantages.

Need a good firm tripod though. As the closer you focus the steadier you need to keep the camera to avoid shake.
Anyone have example shots of extension tubes with a canon 50mm 1.8 II?...as I'm thinking about getting extension tubes.
If I was only going to get one, which size would you recommend? 12, 24, 36?

It depends on what lens you will use on the tubes. The effect of an extension tube of a particular length is proportional to the focal length of the lens. A 12mm tube will have a major effect on the magnification achieved with a wide angle of 18mm or so but little effect on a long 200mm telephoto. In the first case the length of the tube is 66% of the focal length. In the latter, it is only 6%.

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