Macro Photography Equipment – Choosing Extension Tubes

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Extension tubes are an economical way to start your macro photography journey. These extension tubes have no optics in them and are hollow ring adapters that fit between your DSLR and your lens and they allow you to go beyond the minimum focusing distance of your lens. This basically means that you can get closer to your subject without losing focus and this will ultimately have the effect of magnifying your subject.

Macro Photography Equipment - Choosing extension tubes

Including an extension tubes set into your daily macro photography equipment will help you get closer to your subject.

However, there are some downsides to using extension tubes. One major downside is that the amount of light that hits your camera’s sensor is reduced. Secondly, you will lose the ability to focus on infinity.

These tubes can be used in combination with any lenses, however many macro photographers use them in combination with a macro lens. When coupled with a macro lens, this will achieve a magnification that is greater than the 1:1 magnification. This will allow the photographer to take a closer shot of the subject.

Extension tubes are easy to use and can be purchased as a set/kit from photography stores. They often come in a set of 3 tubes – each one with different lengths. Before you purchase your extension tubes, it is important to know about the different types of extension tubes.

1. Macro Photography Equipment – Manual Extension Tubes

Manual extension tubes are not designed with any circuitry or mechanical coupling components in them. This means that you will lose the capability to auto focus and auto TTL exposure on your camera. As such, these are generally the cheaper type of extension tubes. For most macro photographers, this is not a major issue as they are manually focusing.

2. Macro Photography Equipment – Auto Extension Tubes

Auto extension tubes are designed with the circuitry and mechanical coupling components in them. When using the extension tubes in combination with the lens, the auto focus and auto TTL exposure functions will be maintained.

When purchasing an extension tube set, ensure that you choose one that has a compatible mount to your camera brand eg. Nikon mount, Canon mount, etc. Otherwise, you will be disappointed as you will not be able to connect the tubes to your camera and lens. We would love to hear about your experiences with extension tubes, so please leave us a comment below.

Our Recommendation

The extension tubes that we use and recommend to our friends are Kenko Auto Extension Tubes. When used against a 100mm macro lens, it will have the approximate effect of doubling your magnification ratio so that you can obtain bigger than life size images. You will find that there are cheaper brands out in the market – just be really careful as we have come across some fairly poor quality extension tubes. You will want to get one that feels sturdy/secure and durable.

If you are really interested in knowing more about the Kenko auto extension tubes, check them out at Amazon (below). You can read some of the positive reviews on the Kenko Extension Tubes there. You will find that their previous customers have rated the Kenko extension tubes with a rating of 4 – 5 stars (out of 5) on average!

When choosing an extension tube for your camera, you will need to find one that mounts to your specific brand of camera.

Kenko Extension Tubes for Nikon Cameras

Kenko Extension Tubes for Canon Cameras

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