Tips, Suggestions, Advise For Using Macro Extension Tubes

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by smoke665, Jun 15, 2019.

  1. smoke665

    smoke665 TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    I bought a full manual cheap set to play around with, on an old manual lens I had. Initial results were less then spectacular. I was having trouble nailing a really sharp focus, but part of that may have been trying to use to wide of an aperture. I was on a solid tripod with the shutter on the timer.

    Any tips, suggestions?


     
  2. adamhiram

    adamhiram No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Small aperture for greater depth of field, lots of light to compensate. Even smaller apertures tend to get very little in focus, which is why people use focus stacking. Experiment with how long the extension is - get as close as practical, but leave room for light to get in, and keep your subject in mind - a live insect probably won’t let you get 1” away. Lastly, keep in mind your available subject distance will be an extremely small range. Start by putting the camera on a tripod and get close enough to tart adjusting focus. When I can, I typically move the subject rather than the camera to get close enough (think small object on a piece of paper). The lens’s focus is useful only for fine adjustment, not for primary focusing. If you want to get more serious about macro photography, people tend to use focusing rails to make those very fine adjustments.
     
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  3. smoke665

    smoke665 TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    Already have rails, that I used to focus stack using my macro lens. Think the aperture setting is probably my biggest issue.
     
  4. Dean_Gretsch

    Dean_Gretsch Always looking... Supporting Member

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    You said you were using a tripod, so I would agree it's the aperture. I have shot insects handheld and only managed to get the head close to focus.
     
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  5. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    You need a lot of light... f/11 or f/16 with extension added might be an effective f/stop of f/27 to f/64 or even f/90. DEPENDS on the amount of extension. Tip: go with the longest lens you can get, like your 70mm or your 135/2.5, and add the 12mm or the 20mm tube to start. 135mm + 12mm or 20mm extension ought to get you some good close-ups.

    For light, do not be afraid to use a POWERFUL flash pop, like an Alien Bee, or a big handle mount flash.

    You can also add a diopter lens or a teleconverter to the main lens, and use those with extension.

    Try some FLAT subjects, like coins or stamps... this minimizes the need for deep DOF.
     
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  6. smoke665

    smoke665 TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    @Derrel okay, brain wasn't fully engaged when I first tried. Part of the focus problem was getting the minimum focus distance. I was using the 135mm and trying to get to close. Finally dawned on me that the MFD on that lens is 59". Even stacking a 9mm, 16mm, and 30mm, only reduced the MFD to just under 24". :redface-new: That plus a wide aperture/narrow DOF was messing with me.

    I have some diopters but can't find my teleconverter, will have to experiment some more with those.
     
  7. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Oh I would just chalk it up to first day jitters, and a general lack of unfamiliarity with the new equipment. Yes, the minimum focus distance of a particular lens determines how close you can get with X amount of extension. My guess is that the 16 mm extension tube will be of great use you with a lot of lenses. It's kind of weird that it is possible with some lenses to cause the focusing point to actually be inside the lens barrel. This is particularly common with the short end of lenses like a 24 to 70 mm zoom, or with very short focal length lenses. I am actually surprised to hear your extension tube length. A 9 mm short tube is unusual, with most modern sets typically beginning at 12 mm and then going to 20 mm and then ending with a 36 mm tube.

    I used to use the Nikon 300 mm f/4. AFS with the 1.4 X Tele converter and an extension tube of 12 mm in length, and that combo is really good for close-up photos a fairly large bugs like butterflies.

    I would try various extension tubes on all of your lenses. You will probably find one lens and the 16 mm tube is just what you need. My guess is that the 70 mm or 77 mm prime lens that you own will be a particularly useful close-up lens with some extension added.
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2019
  8. Original katomi

    Original katomi No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Hi Smoke I have a few examples with the file info for you and the how I did this its going to be a bit long winded.
    For all the following images I used 5GBP uv torches from amazom mounted using plasticine
    On all cases the camera was tethered via eos software using my 15inch laptop screen to view and control everything except the focus points
    Canon 600d 28/105 @38 mm F18 Iso 100 S/speed 20 seconds
    extension tubes used various have no record now
     

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  9. Original katomi

    Original katomi No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Canon 600d 35/105@48mm
    s speed 6 sec
    f10
    iso 200
     

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  10. Original katomi

    Original katomi No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    canon 70d
    28/105 @43mm
    S/S 1.6 sec
    F25
    iso 200
     

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  11. Original katomi

    Original katomi No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Canon 600d
    105mm
    f22
    s/s 30 seconds
    iso 100
    all three extension tubes used
    this is pusing my camera to its limits
    Note all plants were treated with uv reactive paint called Wildfire lit by as said two cheap pet urine finderuv torches in 405nm range using tethered via lap top using screen to view and control all except focus points
    A uv filter was used on each lens to cut out haze and I wore sunblock on hands and used protective classes to protect eyes
     

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  12. Original katomi

    Original katomi No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    the hardest task was finding a background that did not react to the uv light.
    what are you going to photo as there is ring lights, rabbet ears, off camera flash or even cheap torches lol
    for me the built in flash was no good as the lens ex tube combo blocked the light.
    DOF is very small even at large f numbers
     

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