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Old May 15, 2006, 11:57 PM   #1
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I just got a new B&H catalogue and noticed a listing for an extension tube set. I had been thinking of getting the Phoenix 100mm f4 macro lens, but now wonder if it would work just as well to get the Kenko extension tube set. I've never used extension tubes and really know nothing about them, other than basically what they do/how they do it. Why do I always find something to really confuse me when I am just about to make up my mind?

What would be the advantages or disadvantages to getting them vs. getting a dedicated macro lens (advantage would be weight, disadvantage would be loss of light so could be a problem handholding - what others are there?). Could I use them on the DA 50-200 lens? If I got an auto set, would I still be able to stop down a manual lens for metering or would I be limited to shooting wide-open (not necessarily a bad thing). Any suggestions/information would be greatly appreciated!
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Old May 16, 2006, 12:37 AM   #2
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I recently bought a set of three tubes so I can shed some light on the issue.

Definite saving in weight with the tubes comapred to a lens as the are just as they say, hollow tubes with no optical elements.

As they have no optical elements there is not any loss of light.

I have amanual set but my Pentax book says that auto sets allow an automatic lens to retian full functionality. So using a lens set ot manual should not be a problem.

They should work with your zoom, but how that would compare to the macro lens I can't say.

Phil

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Old May 16, 2006, 7:59 AM   #3
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philneast wrote:
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I recently bought a set of three tubes so I can shed some light on the issue.

Definite saving in weight with the tubes comapred to a lens as the are just as they say, hollow tubes with no optical elements.

As they have no optical elements there is not any loss of light.

I have amanual set but my Pentax book says that auto sets allow an automatic lens to retian full functionality. So using a lens set ot manual should not be a problem.

They should work with your zoom, but how that would compare to the macro lens I can't say.

Phil
not quite right here.
the ext. tube puts the lens further away from the body. you will lose some light or speed.
if you do not have an auto set then you will only be limited to shooting wide open with a lens without an aperture ring. ie: any DA lens like the 50-200, 18-55.. with macros the DOF is minimal so you want to shoot with the smallest aperture.
a dedicated macro lens is designed to give you a flat field FOV.
i shoot a lot of macros using different methods and lenses. i've found that flash is a must with all of them to attain the DOF you need for good images. well not all the time. depends on the brightness.

here's some different choices you have. i use them all.
a reversed manual 50mm lens. about the cheapest way to go. i built the reversing ring myself. total cost about $3
a dedicated macro lens. probably $40-600
a macro 2x 1:1 conversion lens. this is like your ext. tubes but it has lenses in it. $20-100. mine is metered coupled so it stops the lens down. the 1:1 ratio is attain with a 50mm lens. you loose about 2 stops.
set of manual ext. tubes. i just sold a set for $17 delivered. actual sale price $0.01
set of metered ext. tubes. these will only stop down the lens. great for older manual lenses. $15-40
set of fully auto ext. tubes $40-100
here's a good one for you that i use all the time. i had a POS, metered 2X converter. realy bad images from it when used as a 2X tele converter. i took the glass out of it and now it's a meter coupled 30mm ext. tube..

all the above work and i use them all. well, now that you are really messed up.. what are you going to get??????? these arewith a reversed 50mm with flash.





roy
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Old May 16, 2006, 9:03 AM   #4
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oh mtngal,
i forgot. you also have a choice of using diopter lenses. these are just magnifying lenses that you can combine for different magnification. i've got a cheap set but image quality is bad so i don't use them. canon has a really good coated one that is excellent but it's about $175..
hope all this helps..

roy
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Old May 16, 2006, 10:09 AM   #5
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hi mtngal, i'll second roy on the ext. tubes. tubes lose light but not quality, diopters lose quality but not light (i've read that the more expensive multi-element diopters are better but haven't tried one). i used tubes with my k-1000 so they were my first choice once i got my dl ($15 on e-bay). i used hoya diopters with my s602 and the sometimes poor results was one reason i went to a dslr. my tubes are plain "auto" tubes which means i have to shoot manual exposure and focusing. the exp lock button does give an initial shutter speed by stopping down the aperture momentarily. they can slow you down a lot however; you pretty much need a windless day (or protected location) to shoot small wildflowers.

here's a white violet (oxymoron like a blueberries) i took the other day. sigma 70-300 at 300mm macro setting with something like 72mm of additional extension (on a tripod of course and using the 2 second delay w/mirror lock up.

one accessory you might think about for macro is a focusing rail or macro slider. this goes on the tripod and the camera mounts on it. then you can get an initial focus and refine it by moving the camera back and forth. you have a little finer control than using the focusing ring. it helps refine theplacement of yourdof which of course is quite small when shooting macro. mineis a Velbon,about $80 used on ebay. (if you're looking on e-bay for them search for both "focusing rail" and "macro slider"; you'll get more results)

hope this helps, eric
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Old May 16, 2006, 10:12 AM   #6
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roy, forgot to say what fantastic photos! esp like the fly(well, at least your incredibly sharp image of it ), eric
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Old May 16, 2006, 10:27 AM   #7
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thanks eric. i like yours also. i've also got the sigma and have some great results from it. it's for sale BTW.

also mtngal. macros are very different from regular photography. it's a lot harder working that close and with such shallow DOF. but it is addictive.. also, your keep rate ratio, what you shoot to what you keep, is going to go WAY down especially if you hand hold..
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Old May 16, 2006, 11:29 AM   #8
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mtngal, BTW do you have a name?,

what ever you decide , you are in for a cool trip.. you'll have to train your eye to learn how to SEE things in a different light(pun intended).
here's on of my macro setups. smc-m100mm(1:2mag) f4 with the salvaged 30mm ET, af400ftz TTL flash and a homemade grip. the diffuser in the bottom part of a supplement bottle. not pretty but it works great..

what i really want is a 1:1 macro and a flash capable of P-TTL with high speed sync so i can shoot above 1/180sec.


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Old May 16, 2006, 1:26 PM   #9
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Thanks for all the information!

Roy and Eric- I love your photos! And yes,I do have a name - it's Harriet.

All this discussion reminded me that I also have a rear K T6-2X converter that is a piece of junk. So how do I take out the glass? That won't cost me anything, and I can use my old manual lenses with it, then get an idea if auto extension tubes would be the way to go. While I admire all those incredible spiders, I can't see me hiking with an off-camera flash and a heavy lens. I'm still thinking about the Phoenix macro lens - it's not much more than a set of auto extension tubes.

I also remembered when I was going through my father's old stuff that he had a close up filter. It's49mm and the only lens I can use it on at the moment is the 50mm 1.7, which isn't as long as I would like. We'll see how much softness that introduces.

Thanks again for all the help and if you can, pleasetell me how to take out the glass in this old 2X converter.
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Old May 16, 2006, 4:35 PM   #10
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mtngal wrote:
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Thanks again for all the help and if you can, pleasetell me how to take out the glass in this old 2X converter.
i used the easy way after hassling with it for over an hour trying to get it out. the easy way??== get a small hammer. works wonders!!!!!

just don't hit the meter coupling. your 50mm will probably give you best results as it's a very sharp lense.. CUL, harriet nad enjoy..

roy
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