Author Topic: Review: Opteka macro extension tubes for Canon EF and EF-S lenses  (Read 1505 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline PetrifiedWood

  • Friction Fire Fellowship
  • Administrator
  • Belt Grinder
  • ******
  • Posts: 11390
Lots of outdoor photography involves macro shots. Bugs, flowers, mushrooms, beads of dew on a spider web... the possibilities are endless.

But most DSLR cameras come with a "kit lens" that doesn't focus close enough to capture the microscopic detail that a good macro lens can. the dilemma for many casual photographers is that a macro lens can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars!

There are a few different ways to get around this problem. One is a bellows kit. This is an extendable bellows that mounts between the camera body and the lens and allows the photographer to extend the lens away from the camera incrementally, which allows the lens to focus closer and closer to the subject. Another method is lens reversal. Special mounts are made to allow the lens to mount to the camera backwards. Typically lenses that can do this are expensive to begin with, and you lose the ability to easily mount a macro ring light or flash on the lens.

The third solution is a set of macro extension tubes. With three tubes, you can choose several different focal lengths by using them individually or in combinations. They don't allow for the infinite adjustment that a bellows does, but they do afford a great deal of flexibility. With all three installed, and a Canon EF 28-80 1:3.5-5.6 II kit lens that came with a Rebel 2000, it allowed the lens to focus so close it focused on some lint on the UV filter I had on the lens!

Using macro extension tubes does have some drawbacks. These do have pass-through contacts to allow for metering and auto focus. But extension tubes do reduce the light coming through so unless the subject is extremely well lit, you will probably need to use manual focus. In practice, I had no trouble metering at all, but with all three tubes in place manual focus was necessary when using them in ambient indoor lighting. This isn't a failing of the product, just an accepted consequence of extending the lens. The same holds true using a macro bellows, for example.

This particular brand of extension tubes, Opteka, was only about $35 when I purchased them a few years ago. It seems the price has increased significantly. It also appears as though Vivitar has a very similar set available as well. possibly they are both re-branded. In any case, even at $75 they are still a tremendous value vs. purchasing a dedicated macro lens for the casual photographer looking to focus on extremely close subjects.

Thanks for looking!

« Last Edit: December 18, 2012, 12:56:36 AM by PetrifiedWood »