I decided to take a poor man's step into the world of macro photography by purchasing a set of extension tubes from ebay for £7.50. No one else had bid on them so I saved £1 on the buy-it-now price!
Testing of the tubes was done on my Canon EFS18-55mm IS lens, which had been gathering dust since my preference for the Sigma 18-125mm DC OS HSM (review coming soon, if anyone's interested). Here are the details from the opening of the package to their initial use.
The jiffy bag contained a box and some end caps.
Inside the box, all connected, were three tubes: 9mm, 16mm, 30mm, and male and female EOS EF mounts. The tubes can be used in up to eight different combinations, according to the listing. I only had time to try all three and then 9mm & 16mm combined. Further testing will continue.
You can actually see the dust on my (very good) kit lens!
Attached to my 450D, the lightweight kit lens and extension tubes were nicely balanced
The following sample images, of a one penny and pound coins and a £20 note, are all unprocessed and uncropped jpegs, straight from the camera. Most of them were taken hand-held.
The only flower that I could get hold of was a wild one in poor condition! It was small being 35mm in diameter:
The lens had to be set to manual focus and I zoomed all the way to 55mm. I was able to get very close to objects, by about 1cm. I composed most shots using the viewfinder and then remembered that I could also use Live View!
Cheap entry into macro photography, especially for beginners or those who are on a limited budget (£8.50 is not much compared to the cost of a real macro lens).
Satisfactory build quality as it took a few attempts to screw the supplied EF mount onto tube 1 only and the front end cap slips off easily.
Very shallow depth of field may prove tricky to handle for beginners (like myself, but practise makes perfect).
Have to be very close to the object which blocks light reaching it (I took these shots near a large window).
I'll be looking for more things to photograph without doubt and will add more samples when possible. Any questions about the tubes, as well as comments about image quality, are welcome. I'd certainly appreciate tips on handling the extension tubes from more experienced users.