Question for Whistling Joe or anyone else who cares to chip in.

Evening Joe,

       I have a 24-105 f4 lens, a 200 f2.8 lens and a 300 f2.8 lens but no macro lens. As it stands i'm not really sure that I want a macro lens as when I'm out and about I am usually looking for bigger wildlife than bugs and stuff and will usually have the 300 with a 1.4 tc and perhaps the 24-105 in a pocket if there is a landscape opportunity.

So my question is would there be any benefit in getting a couple of extension tubes and carrying those about for those occasions when I get all bug eyed. I realise that I wont get anything like the magnification of a dedicated macro lens but its not the cost factor that is putting me off a macro lens, its pocket space and amount of usage.

Thanks in advance,

Bob

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Cheers,

Bob

My Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/bobs_retired_now/

  • The tubes will certainly shorten the minimum focus for you, allowing closer images. The 24-105 goes down to around 18" close focus & if you whack a 1" tube on it, you'll get around 0.5-0.6x magnification I think. A "proper" macro tends to be 1x, but you should get some reasonable results. AF might be a bit iffy, you lose some light, but that's something to experiment with. I have a 24-105 in the kit bag, I'll have a bit of a play later on & see what sort of results I can get with it & report back

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  • OK, had a quick play, so here are some results...

    Adding a 12mm tube lops ~ 5" off the minimum focus (measuring the distance in front of the lens, not the official MFD)

    Adding a 20mm tube lops ~ 6" off.

    Adding a 38mm tube lops ~ 8" off.  At this point, the minimum focus point is only a couple of inches in front of the lens, so becomes a bit impractical.  However, you can certainly use the combination when wandering around, just don't expect to get really close.  I found most flies I could get to ~6" of and good results are certainly possible.  This is @f/4 (cos I forgot to close down the aperture!)

    That's cropped from this image (it's on the wheelie bin lid if you're wondering about the blue background)

    There are caveats though - AF with the 38mm tube is a bit iffy - it hunts a fair bit & is annoying.  I found the 20mm tube much better in that regard and I'd probably use that to avoid the frustration.  With that 20mm tube, MAX focus distance is around 2ft - the 38mm you're only around 12".  That 20mm tube loses you around a stop of light too (the 12mm around a half stop, the 38 best part of 2 stops).  This is with the 5D4 body.  I'll do some more walkabout shots with the 20mm combo later if I can, see what other results I can get

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  • A couple of full frame (if lo-res) images here - the no-tube version was at minimum focus (actually, a fraction inside, which is why the subject flower is just a teensy bit OOF - blame the wind!).  The 20mm tube version was not quite at minimum focus (if you have the Mk1 lens I do, it was on the 0 of 0.7m, just before the "macro" marking).  It gives you an idea of the gain you can get by moving closer with the tube.  Shot with the same aperture & shutter speed, the Auto-ISO chose 1000 for the no-tube version & 1600 for the tube version (so around 2/3 of a stop in this example).  

    No tube

    20mm Tube

    I should have mentioned earlier, I've been using 105mm for all this

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  • In reply to Whistling Joe:

    Whistling Joe said:

    A couple of full frame (if lo-res) images here - the no-tube version was at minimum focus (actually, a fraction inside, which is why the subject flower is just a teensy bit OOF - blame the wind!).  The 20mm tube version was not quite at minimum focus (if you have the Mk1 lens I do, it was on the 0 of 0.7m, just before the "macro" marking).  It gives you an idea of the gain you can get by moving closer with the tube.  Shot with the same aperture & shutter speed, the Auto-ISO chose 1000 for the no-tube version & 1600 for the tube version (so around 2/3 of a stop in this example).  

    No tube

    20mm Tube

    I should have mentioned earlier, I've been using 105mm for all this

    Thank you very much, you're a star. Looks like they will make some difference without taking up a whole pocket so will put them on my birthday list . If I ever decide to go for a dedicated macro lens they won't become redundant .

    Thanks again.

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    Cheers,

    Bob

    My Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/bobs_retired_now/

  • In reply to Bobs_Still_Retired:

    Bobs_Still_Retired said:
    so will put them on my birthday list

    Definitely worth having in the kit bag :-)  The good news is that with no glass in them, you don't have to worry about non-Canon ones and can settle for a more reasonably priced set.  I've a couple, a cheapy eBay set and a branded Kenko.  The Kenko I got when I experimented with tubes on the Big White - I just felt too uncomfortable hanging several thousand pounds on the back of something that cost £5 from eBay!  At the time of purchase, I compared the Kenko with Canon ones in the hand, the build quality & construction appeared identical (not that the cheapies are bad).  The only thing to check is that the ones you get have the electrical connections (they're just a straight through connection, no electronics).  Some sets don't have those connections so AF wouldn't work

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    Find me on Flickr / All about your camera - The Getting off Auto Index