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What are the pros and cons? Are they worth using?

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I use a 2x converter and I like it. It brings the subjects so much closer. You do have a small window of focus but it is well worth it.

Thankyou both for your advice.

Andy, I have considered a teleconverter and understand that this increases your focal length but still isn't as useful for macro as extension tubes or dedicated macro lenses. Thanks for the suggestion though.

Maestro, this website looks really good and I will definitely be bookmarking it for future reference. Thanks for the tip.

Lincoln.

Lincoln, here's my opinion. There are advantages and disadvantages to using any lens for close up photography, and firstly you should ask yourself what you want to achieve. Do you want to simply get a little closer to larger subjects, butterflies and large insects, and maybe still life images of smaller objects? or do you want extreme macro such as a spiders eyes, filling the frame with small insects or tiny objects?

A macro lens gives you ultimate freedom to shoot, you can use it as a normal lens, and when it's required, can get in nice and close for 1:1 macro shots. You have auto focus and aperture selection at your fingertips. But if you want to get closer than 1:1, a macro lens alone is not enough. Extention tubes are a great affordable alternative, and if combined with a sharp lens, say a 50mm f1.8 lens, give outstanding results. There are many disadvantages however and for me, I have learned to work around them and they're not so much of an issue to me anymore.

Firstly, using manual extention tubes breaks the connection between camera and lens meaning the camera is unable to control your aperture. When you remove a canon lens, its aperture opens up fully (opposite with a Sony lens) so you have to select the aperture with your camera in manual mode, hold the depth of field preview button and remove the lens with your camera turned on, then fit the tubes and then the lens. Obviously this can have dust implications amongs other things. If you don't have a DoF preview button then the only alternative is to use an old MF lens with an aperture ring.

Another negative is the reduction in light. The longer the extention, the less light hits the sensor. If you have artificial light, flash guns etc then this may not be as much of a problem, but if you prefer natural light, or don't have the facility of strobes or continuous lighting, then you may find getting a sharp shot is difficult in anything but bright sunlight.

Another effect that extention tubes have is to remove a lens' ability to focus to infinity. So with a stack of tubes you can only focus on objects that are close. This is where extention tubes differ to teleconverters, which are actually pointless for macro photography. So while using your tubes, you can only shoot macro. Depth of field at these magnifications is tiny, which makes focusing quite difficult. You don't use your focus ring for this, you set the focus first, then move back and forth until the focal plane is where you want it. This can be trial and error and you'll find you'll take more shots that you throw away than you will ever keep. You can be talking about having 1mm in focus in some cases!!

Image quality is excellent, almost as good as the lens you are using, however you are moving the lens away from the body, and supposedly lenses work at their best when they are where they were designed to be. Personally i've found no negative impacts on image quality but the pixel peepers out there seem to think there is a slight degradation due to the lens no longer being tuned to it's position on the camera body.

Manual extention tubes are cheap, extremely effective and if you can deal with the above issues and find ways to work around them, they are an excellent way to get into macro without spending lots of money. They also give you the ability to shoot at greater maginfication than 1:1. You can pick them up on ebay for about £10. I would recommend anyone wanting to try macro photography to give extention tubes a go first before spending money on a dedicated macro lens.

I've attached a link to a couple of photos on my profile, both taken with a 50mm f1.8 lens and extention tubes to give you an idea of what is possible.



http://www.myshutterspace.com/photo/silhouette-dandelion-and-spider...

http://www.myshutterspace.com/photo/the-fly-17?context=user



Hope this helps.



John
Lincoln, here's my opinion. There are advantages and disadvantages to using any lens for close up photography, and firstly you should ask yourself what you want to achieve. Do you want to simply get a little closer to larger subjects, butterflies and large insects, and maybe still life images of smaller objects? or do you want extreme macro such as a spiders eyes, filling the frame with small insects or tiny objects?

A macro lens gives you ultimate freedom to shoot, you can use it as a normal lens, and when it's required, can get in nice and close for 1:1 macro shots. You have auto focus and aperture selection at your fingertips. But if you want to get closer than 1:1, a macro lens alone is not enough. Extention tubes are a great affordable alternative, and if combined with a sharp lens, say a 50mm f1.8 lens, give outstanding results. There are many disadvantages however and for me, I have learned to work around them and they're not so much of an issue to me anymore.

Firstly, using manual extention tubes breaks the connection between camera and lens meaning the camera is unable to control your aperture. When you remove a canon lens, its aperture opens up fully (opposite with a Sony lens) so you have to select the aperture with your camera in manual mode, hold the depth of field preview button and remove the lens with your camera turned on, then fit the tubes and then the lens. Obviously this can have dust implications amongs other things. If you don't have a DoF preview button then the only alternative is to use an old MF lens with an aperture ring.

Another negative is the reduction in light. The longer the extention, the less light hits the sensor. If you have artificial light, flash guns etc then this may not be as much of a problem, but if you prefer natural light, or don't have the facility of strobes or continuous lighting, then you may find getting a sharp shot is difficult in anything but bright sunlight.

Another effect that extention tubes have is to remove a lens' ability to focus to infinity. So with a stack of tubes you can only focus on objects that are close. This is where extention tubes differ to teleconverters, which are actually pointless for macro photography. So while using your tubes, you can only shoot macro. Depth of field at these magnifications is tiny, which makes focusing quite difficult. You don't use your focus ring for this, you set the focus first, then move back and forth until the focal plane is where you want it. This can be trial and error and you'll find you'll take more shots that you throw away than you will ever keep. You can be talking about having 1mm in focus in some cases!!

Image quality is excellent, almost as good as the lens you are using, however you are moving the lens away from the body, and supposedly lenses work at their best when they are where they were designed to be. Personally i've found no negative impacts on image quality but the pixel peepers out there seem to think there is a slight degradation due to the lens no longer being tuned to it's position on the camera body.

Manual extention tubes are cheap, extremely effective and if you can deal with the above issues and find ways to work around them, they are an excellent way to get into macro without spending lots of money. They also give you the ability to shoot at greater maginfication than 1:1. You can pick them up on ebay for about £10. I would recommend anyone wanting to try macro photography to give extention tubes a go first before spending money on a dedicated macro lens.

I've attached a link to a couple of photos on my profile, both taken with a 50mm f1.8 lens and extention tubes to give you an idea of what is possible.



http://www.myshutterspace.com/photo/silhouette-dandelion-and-spider...

http://www.myshutterspace.com/photo/the-fly-17?context=user



Hope this helps.



John

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