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Extension tubes

donzer 18 25
26 May 2004 11:29AM

I want to get into close up photography and after reading articles in this web site and other magazines etc., thought that extension tubes would be the best way to go.

I popped into Photo Optix along the road from me (nearest photography shop) and asked the guy about these tubes for my Nikon F65 film slr.

He told me that "extension tubes are old technology and no-body uses them any more. I might be lucky and get them in a second hand store but they are old and not used - so dont hold out much luck"

I don't believe this is true after reading lots of comments in this forum yesterday and the fact that Jessops have them for about 70.

What is the general consensus on this type of photography and use of extension tubes? Are they ok - am I just reading out of date ideas!? Or do Photo Optix not know anything about erm photography!!!? Smile
Pete 21 18.8k 97 England
26 May 2004 11:40AM
That's a ill-informed comment. They are not as popular because of all the point and shoot digital cameras with amazing macro focusing, but SLR photographers who cannot afford the latest macro lens will still find them really useful.

Guess the message there is if you want good advice shop elsewhere or select a more knowledgeable salesperson.

Don't forget to check out the articles/guides on macro photography on here too.
SteveCharles 19 2.3k 18 England
26 May 2004 11:44AM
Photo Optix are talking out of their a*** & should be ashamed!

Just pop into a Jessops, they'll have 'em in stock.

Extension tubes are probably one of the best ways of doing close-up without splashing out 260+ on a (proper) macro lens.

I keep meaning to buy some myself, but my imminent wedding makes it hard to justify forking out 70 quid on 3 plastic rings!

FrankThomas 19 2.8k United Kingdom
26 May 2004 11:44AM
I use extension tubes on my Bronica - you can get 'em brand new for most cameras I think so the guy was talking b*ll*cks quite frankly - they are a damn sight cheaper than a dedicated macro lens.
novocastria 18 102
26 May 2004 11:50AM
No doubt you've seen some of the great macro shots taken using extension tubes in the gallery - the evidence is there for all to see.

Your salesman clearly didn't know what he was talking about (or more likely) was trying to steer you towards something much more expensive! Extension tubes may not give the same razor sharp image as a top of the line macro lens, but they are a fraction of the price and for most purposes the difference is negligible. If you don't fancy splashing out try having a look on eBay under the photography section. They always have ET's on there and you can pick up a real bargain.

Good luck.
keith selmes 18 7.4k 1 United Kingdom
26 May 2004 12:29PM
'Or do Photo Optix not know anything about erm photography!!!? Smile'

that would appear to be correct.
it was very stupid to tell you what they did, because it is so easy to find out they are entirely wrong.
jessops web site has a good range of brand new tubes for several famous makes of camera, plus their own brand and teleplus sets for a smaller range of camera mounts.

and lots of us use them.
Saxon Marsh 19 295 England
26 May 2004 12:30PM
Kenko AF Ext tube set 79.99 (12mm 20mm 36mm) Cameraworld. Excellent quality excellent value - Keith
nutz 18 45
26 May 2004 1:18PM
Recently bought a set of extension rings from Jessops and they work fine. Certainly cheaper than a piece of glass.
brm 18 76
26 May 2004 1:35PM
I've got a macro lense & have been borrowing some extension tubes. Personally I've found that the extension tubes give a much better image, but I suspect that's due to me using a better lense with them.

Only downside to using them from my (limited) experience is that you have to shoot on manual and for anything higher than 12 mm you really need a tripod due to the long exposures.

Lots of fun though...

Big Bri 21 16.7k United Kingdom
26 May 2004 1:44PM
The only problem with extension tubes is that they don't turn your lens into a macro lens. They allow you to do macro photography, but you can't focus on anything far away, like you could with a dedicated macro lens. If this isn't a problem, go ahead and get some. I use the Jessops ones and they are absolutely fine. As there are no optics in them (they just move the lens further away from the camera) you don't have to fork out for expensive ones.
donzer 18 25
26 May 2004 1:55PM
excellent guys - thanks to everyone for their advice. Think I will be heading to Jessops to grab me some as I can't justify the money on a proper booner lens!

thanks again
Donna :o)
rugbylass 19 403
26 May 2004 3:23PM
Donna, I have a set of Nikon fit extension tubes from Jessops that I don't use anymore- I was going to stick them on eBay but haven't got round to it yet. Give me a shout if you'd like to sort out a deal, it'd be nice to help out a fellow ephotoziner Smile

(Hope this message is ok and doesn't break any forum rules. Pete/Will, please remove it if it does, cheers)
Simon E 19 132
27 May 2004 8:39AM
A similarly inexpensive option is close-up lenses. The cheaper single-glass units made by most manufacturers are OK for uncritical use, but the slightly more expensive two-element achromat lenses give noticeably superior performance.

I'm waiting for some slides back from a 55mm thread fit one I bought to use on my 135mm and 65-200mm lenses. A dandelion seed head almost filled the frame with the 135mm at minimum focus with this thing, and the advantage over extension tubes is that you don't lose any light. Also, it's the size of a filter.

Don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with extension tubes, but this lens could be a great way to do close-ups in the field. I know John Shaw suggested using these two-element lenses in his excellent book "Closeups in Nature". Nikon make them in 52mm and 62mm sizes, and Olympus in 49mm and 55mm. Amazon UK stock the Nikon models.

growlerman 18 15
27 May 2004 12:08PM
If you want to get into macro photography cheaply why not buy a old Praktica or any M42 thread camera around 30 ish on ebay and a set of M42 tubes. I bought my set of tubes for 1 in a photo dealers secondhand bargain box and have used them to great success in photographing flowers using the tubes and the standard 50mm lens. You would need a tripod and cable release.

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