Extension tubes

Many people use extension tubes to make a ‘macro’ lens from a normal lens. But tubes really come to their right when they are combined with a macro lens.

For the photo below, I could not get close enough with the Olympus 60mm macro lens – at it’s closest 1:1 setting it gives a field of view that one would need 2x magnification on a full frame DSLR camera. But even that was not enough to fill the frame with the subject. I added a Kenko extension tube, and I must say the Micro Four Thirds version of Kenko’s tubes are excellent. They fit well with a tight fit on the camera and lens mounts, and they seem very well made. Unlike many other tubes, the Kenko version also has the electronic contacts built in so that the lens aperture and focusing remain fully operational (not that autofocus is of much use in this case). Many people complain that the Nikon version of the Kenko tubes are not so well made – but I can really recommend the Micro Four Thirds version. The mounts are of metal, and the body of the tubes also appears to be metal, I’m not 100% sure. There’s nothing of the play on the contacts one gets with the Nikon mount Kenko’s, maybe also because Micro Four thirds lenses are lighter, and do not exert so much force on the connections. They are well worth the money in my opinion.

Using a micro four thirds camera in this case was helpful. The mosquito was sitting on a lamp and I had to stand on a chair with the camera way above my head. A hand-held shot at this magnification is risky, even without such acrobatics in the equation. I had the shakes all over as I stretched to focus on the mosquito. After a couple of tries I got myself a long broomstick to use as monopod to reduce the shakes and to help focus with more accuracy. My DSLR would have been so heavy with the larger lens, flash and extra extension tubes to go beyond 2x magnification that I do not think I would have made a successful image with that.

Panasonic GX1, Olympus 60mm, and the smallest of the two Kenko tubes.
Lighting is a bit flat as I used the built-in flash.

Posted in Macro Photography