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Old Sep 19, 2010, 6:27 PM   #1
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Default Experimenting with Kenko Extension Tubes

I got a set of Kenko extension tubes to try out. I'm not likely to take a lot of macro shots, so I thought I'd try these as a substitute for close-ups. They are actually quite addictive. I have a small gallery of my first attempts here:

The thing that seems to be the hardest for me is just to focus -- I use the live view, but touching the focus ring of the lens creates enough vibration to make it almost impossible to know when I'm in focus. I'm using my 35mm f/1.8 and my 55-200mm f/4-5.6 VR lens. The zoom is a lot easier to use -- you can focus by adjusting the zoom, which is easier than adjusting the actual focus. I see that Adorama has a focusing rail to use with your tripod for pretty cheap money. I may break down and get that to help with the focusing.

Have other people used extension tubes? Any tips on how to make it easier? I have seen one guy suggest that the 12mm extension can make a nice portrait adaptor for tele zooms -- you get a nice out-of-focus background easier with the extension tube than without it. Other suggestions?
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Old Sep 19, 2010, 6:49 PM   #2
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I've used 12mm and 25mm extension tubes and had a lot of fun with them. One of the things you need to keep in mind is that extension tubes will magnify any flaws in your lens, so you need to be aware of them and how to avoid them.

Also, extension tubes can do funny things to your depth of field. As far as portraits goes, someone's nose could be in focus and their ears can be out of focus. If you're having trouble focusing with live view, you might have trouble with that and you won't notice it until you download the image to your computer. The contrast detection AF system in 'Live View' isn't as good as the Phase Detection AF system you get when you use the viewfinder, so you might be better off using the optical viewfinder once in a while.

Extension tubes also mess with your focus distance. When I put a 12mm extension tube on my 70-210/4.0 lens, at 210mm the focus distance was from 4 to 7feet, but at 70mm the focus distance was from 5 to 5.1 feet.

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Last edited by TCav; Sep 19, 2010 at 6:51 PM.
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Old Sep 20, 2010, 4:02 AM   #3
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i used extension tubes when i had my pentax k20D, like you i found focus and the right depth of field the hardest things to master, in the end i spent quite a bit of money one tubes, close up filters, make shift lighting and small tripods, when i swapped over to nikon i decided i wouldnt go down that route again so i bought a sigma 105 macro lense and boy what a difference, its so much easier to use and i know people say dont autofocus with macros i find it very usefull.
if you are going to get serious about macro my advice would be bite the bullet and buy a macro lense.
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Old Sep 20, 2010, 8:19 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by kazuya View Post
if you are going to get serious about macro my advice would be bite the bullet and buy a macro lense.
That sounds like good advice. But I honestly don't know whether I am interested in macro photography or not. It's kind of cool to play with, but I don't expect it will hold my attention for long. If I'm wrong about that, I will certainly take your advice to heart.

Last edited by tclune; Sep 20, 2010 at 10:00 AM.
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