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PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2009 10:03 pm 
Hi All,

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.

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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.

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You can actually see the dust on my (very good) kit lens!

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Attached to my 450D, the lightweight kit lens and extension tubes were nicely balanced

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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.

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The only flower that I could get hold of was a wild one in poor condition! It was small being 35mm in diameter:

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Initial Thoughts

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!

Positive

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).

Negative

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).

The Future

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.

Regards,
Asif


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 27, 2009 1:34 am 
I want those,haha.

They seem very effective...especially for 7.50.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 27, 2009 8:06 am 
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Posts: 8025
Location: UK
I don't see any electrical contacts on them, does that mean the lens will work in full manual mode? I know focus would likely have to be manual anyway, but can you control aperture using them?

_________________
Canon DSLRs: 7D, 5D2, 1D, 600D, 450D full spectrum, 300D IR mod
Lenses: EF 35/2, 50/1.8, 85/1.8, 135/2+SF, 28-80 V, 70-300L, 100-400L, TS-E 24/3.5L, MP-E 65, EF-S 15-85 IS
3rd party: Zeiss 2/50 makro, Samyang 8mm fisheye, Sigma 150 macro, 120-300 f/2.8 OS, Celestron 1325/13
Tinies: Sony HX9V.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 27, 2009 9:08 am 
popo wrote:
I don't see any electrical contacts on them, does that mean the lens will work in full manual mode? I know focus would likely have to be manual anyway, but can you control aperture using them?


Hi popo,

All of my test shots were taken in Program mode and the aperture was showing as F00. As soon as I get a chance, I'll try taking some shots in Aperture priority and Manual mode and let you know the outcome.

Regards,
Asif


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 27, 2009 9:46 am 
If there is no electrical connections, I don't see how the aperture can be closed. The aperture is closed by signals from the body with the EOS mount, so you've got a problem there. Another option might be getting an old Nikkor lens with some extention tubes and an EF to F converter, as the older Nikkor lenses have an aperture ring.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 27, 2009 9:57 am 
nomix wrote:
If there is no electrical connections, I don't see how the aperture can be closed. The aperture is closed by signals from the body with the EOS mount, so you've got a problem there. Another option might be getting an old Nikkor lens with some extention tubes and an EF to F converter, as the older Nikkor lenses have an aperture ring.


Hi Nomix. Here's some advice that I just got from someone (Gautum Majumdar):

"You can preset an EF or EF-S lens to desired aperture. The technique is to mount the lens normally, set the aperture in Av or M mode and then press the DoF preview button. The lens will close down to the set aperture. Now dismount the lens while keeping the preview button pressed. The lens will remain at that set aperture until it is again mounted normally."

Here's an open question for anyone to answer: judging from the images, was my £7.50 wasted?

Regards,
Asif


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 27, 2009 10:59 am 
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Joined: Sun May 25, 2008 12:48 pm
Posts: 8025
Location: UK
The quality looks great to me, within the limits that you're probably shooting wide open. Probably better than close up lenses of a similar cost.

_________________
Canon DSLRs: 7D, 5D2, 1D, 600D, 450D full spectrum, 300D IR mod
Lenses: EF 35/2, 50/1.8, 85/1.8, 135/2+SF, 28-80 V, 70-300L, 100-400L, TS-E 24/3.5L, MP-E 65, EF-S 15-85 IS
3rd party: Zeiss 2/50 makro, Samyang 8mm fisheye, Sigma 150 macro, 120-300 f/2.8 OS, Celestron 1325/13
Tinies: Sony HX9V.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 27, 2009 12:11 pm 
popo wrote:
The quality looks great to me, within the limits that you're probably shooting wide open. Probably better than close up lenses of a similar cost.


It's surprising that you mentioned a close up lens as I took the following shots with a Macro filter, that I bought as part of four-part set (+1, +2, +4 and macro), for the sake of comparison:

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Again, these are unprocessed and uncropped jpegs, straight from the camera. The disadvantage of such close-up lenses is that they are filter size specific (mine are 58mm for the kit lens) whereas extension tubes can be used with a greater variety of lenses.

Regards,
Asif


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2009 3:57 pm 
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Location: The Netherlands, Ridderkerk
For such little money, those rings give extremely good looking results! Thanks for sharing!

- Bjorn -

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Leica M9-P (my article on Camera Labs) | Leica D-Lux 5 | 50mm Summilux


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 31, 2009 7:07 pm 
Asif Tufal wrote:
nomix wrote:
If there is no electrical connections, I don't see how the aperture can be closed. The aperture is closed by signals from the body with the EOS mount, so you've got a problem there. Another option might be getting an old Nikkor lens with some extention tubes and an EF to F converter, as the older Nikkor lenses have an aperture ring.


Hi Nomix. Here's some advice that I just got from someone (Gautum Majumdar):

"You can preset an EF or EF-S lens to desired aperture. The technique is to mount the lens normally, set the aperture in Av or M mode and then press the DoF preview button. The lens will close down to the set aperture. Now dismount the lens while keeping the preview button pressed. The lens will remain at that set aperture until it is again mounted normally."

Here's an open question for anyone to answer: judging from the images, was my £7.50 wasted?

Regards,
Asif



The advice on setting the aperture works! In AV mode, I set it to F11, pressed the Depth of Field Preview button and while keeping it down, removed the lens. I fitted extension tubes 1 and 2, mounted the kit lens and took some test shots. The following photos were processed ((a) tone curve adjustment, (b) sharpening increased to 5, (c) saturation increased to 1, and (d) brightness increased slightly).

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Anyone wanting to download the full-size jpeg files in order to examine them can do so at:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/tufal/sets ... 656783163/

I have to say that for £7.50, these tubes have done a great job! For me, they're a good introduction to the world of Macro photography.

Regards,
Asif


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 15, 2009 9:09 am 
Thanks for an informative post. I have been toying with the idea of testing some of those cheap close up filters, as I can afford a proper macro lens. I have just ordered a cheapy extension tube set from e-bay and am looking forward to finding small things to get up close and personal with.....


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