Macro Lens Capability without a Macro Lens

Hey all you crazies…

I just pulled a piece of equipment out of my gadget bag and thought I would bring it to your attention.  It is the Kenko Extension Tubes.  I’ve had it for ages but seldom use it but the other day I was going to my nature photo club meeting and decided to take my camera in case there might be something to shoot but did not feel like packing my long lens or my macro, so I threw the Kenko Extension Tubes in my bag.

The sole purpose of this lens extension is to move your main lens away from the camera body; thereby, magnifying your subject.  There is no glass in these extension tubes!  And here’s the good news… it costs about $199 as opposed to $1,000 for a macro lens.  Just imagine what you can do with the remaining $800! Yes… CrAzY women need to be frugal!!

Now I will admit, it takes a bit of getting used to.  I have used it with my 24-105 as well as my 100-400 lenses.  I have difficulty using the autofocus capability and make out much better on manual focus, positioning my body forward or backward until the subject comes in focus.  The only problem is… you must be very close to your subject so I do not think this would work well for shooting butterflies but would be ideal for flowers or for little bugs that are not skittish.

It is comprised of three different sized extension rings and you can use them one at a time or stack all three between your camera body and your lens.  They are lightweight and do not take up much room in your bag.

I have bought from B&H many times in the past and recommend them for camera equipment and  they have exhaustive reviews which are especially helpful when wanting to purchase new equipment.  Check it out…

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/search?Ntt=kenko+tubes&N=0&InitialSearch=yes&sts=ma&Top+Nav-Search=

You must be sure it is compatible with your camera and if in doubt, just shoot them an e-mail and they will be happy to help you.   Please be aware that they close down on Saturdays… even for ordering!

Watch this video to see how they work:


So… I did some test shots on the crepe myrtle tree to try to show you what happens with each different tele extender. All photos were taken at f9 and with a 50mm prime lens for consistency. I was using manual focus and moving my body back and forth to attain maximum magnification and focus. Unfortunately, the wind was blowing and I ended up picking the blossom off the tree and placing it in a more sheltered spot as the magnification increased. Each time you add a longer extender, your shutter speed will slow to make up for the loss of light. Or… you could compensate by changing your ISO or your aperture, but for this presentation, I simply wanted you to see the degree of magnification that you can get with an extender. And with each photo you can see the decrease in your depth of field.

I tried putting all 3 extenders on together but I was so close to the blossom in trying to gain focus that the lens shade was actually blocking the light. I changed my angle of view but it was so close and with such shallow depth of field that I would have had to use a tripod to get a half decent shot, but I think you get the idea.

Ribbet collage test shots

(Click on photo to enlarge)

If you are looking for a cheap alternative to a macro lens, you might be interested in a tele extender.

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