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Following a suggestion made in yesterday’s comments by ‘The Daily Click’, I pulled out my extension tube set and slapped them onto my 105mm macro lens. These have been collecting dust for years in the closet so it was high time to see what these babies could do. 😉  

Eye Candy

“Eye Candy” (Evergreen Candytuft, Iberis sempervirens) Nikon D300, 105mm F/2.8G Macro w/3-ring Extension Tube Set, F/5, 1/100s, ISO 400

Extension tubes enable a lens to focus closer than its normal minimum focussing distance, in effect magnifying the subject. Think of it as macro photography on steroids! 

The tubes mount in between the camera body and lens and contain no optics. They simply create more distance between the lens and film plane, forcing the lens to focus closer than normally allowed. 

I’ll admit, my first attempt with the set-up did not go so well as I quickly realized I would need a tripod. Since the tubes greatly decrease the effectiveness of the camera’s auto-focussing capabilities, it was necessary to go in manual focus mode, where hand-holding is generally not advised. Once I retrieved said tripod, I also opted to use a remote cable release just to make things a bit easier. 🙂  

In all honesty, I really didn’t think I was being all that successful until I looked through the images. Not bad for a first try out!

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21 Comments

  1. Now wasn’t that fun?! This is beautiful and the white is nice and bright.

    Btw. my extension tubes don’t work at all with auto focus on my D300, but Melissa said they work on the D70s. Not sure why? But that’s OK, manual focus is much easier than auto focus with macro anyway 🙂
    Oh, and I took some pictures of white (eh.. more of a creamy color) flowers today, too!

    • Truthfully?? It was really frustrating at first! It took me while to get the hang of things and the wind here certainly didn’t help anything. Not much is really in bloom so there was the hunt for a subject, then the set-up, then get things in focus, oh, wait, there’s the wind, click, click, repeat! I am amazed (and pleased) with the results, though, so these will not longer be sitting in the closet.

      I have the Kenko Tube Set which does work (somewhat) with autofocus but I agree, ultimately, manual focus was simply easier in the end.

      Thanks, Michaela! 🙂

      • Oh quit your whining 😉 I hate the wind, too, and had the same problem the other day. It’s bad enough WITHOUT the ext. tubes, but they do make it even worse. Ended up attempting to hold the branch (somewhat) still with one hand while operating the camera with the other. And I always have the camera on Continuous High anyway, which REALLY helped in this case.

      • ha! You always know what to say! 🙂

        (BTW…I will always whine about the wind!!)

  2. It came out very lovely 🙂

  3. Very nice result! That sounds like it would be cool. It also sounds like it is an accessory that won’t break the bank. I bet it’s still more expensive than a lens hood. 😐

    I wonder if I can use it on bees, since I manually focus those anyways and I can’t get close enough as-is. 🙂

    • Thanks, Sean! The extension tubes aren’t too bad…Kenko set runs around $170.00 so, yeah, more than a lens hood for sure. 🙂

      These might be difficult to use with such an erratic subject such as bees and getting too close might freak them out! HOWEVER, what is cool about the tubes is you can use them on larger lenses so you can keep a safe distance but have the appearance of being right there, deep within the action. No bees were being cooperative yesterday so I couldn’t try them on a moving subject. I did howver get a really cool shot of an ant that I will be posting at some point.

      • I looked into it, I was hoping they were just cheap plastic or metal rings similar to a reverse lens macro ring. Something to hold the lens in place and provide an extension. If I don’t care about auto focus, I bet that is all that is needed. $140-170 is steep for no glass in my book.

        As for the lens hood, $30 for a piece of plastic that cost $0.10 is also too steep, but I did buy one of those. 🙂

  4. What a cool effect, nicely done.

  5. That’s a beautiful flower. Great angle and shot.

    • Thank you, Consuelo! This flower is quite small so it is really neat to be able to get in so close that you can see all the beautiful details that Mother Nature puts into the smallest of things! 🙂

  6. I agree, your little story and the beatiful picture here looks promising. So when I can afford a DSLR – I think a macro and an extension must be added…. Until then I’ll look here for more 🙂

    • Thanks for the encouragement, truels. Get the DSLR first… all the ‘toys’ come later when you start to get bored. 😉

  7. looks great! i didn’t even know these extension tubes existed, so thanks for the education. i have been thinking about getting a macro lens, partly due to your awesome macro pics.

    am i the only one that thinks the center of the flower looks like burnt popcorn kernels?

    • Thanks! And I agree – the center does look like burnt popcorn kernels! 🙂

  8. wonderful photo and great information for a newbie like me. thanks!

  9. Very nice macro Tracy.


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