01 August 2017

A look at the Extension Tube option for Close-Up Photography

A quick look at the Extension Tube option for Close-Up Work
Canon Extension Tube EF25 II between body / lens
I receive regular questions on the use / benefits of extension tubes vs macro lenses.

Without going into much technical detail an extension tube will assist your non-macro lens (or even your macro lens) in decreasing the minimum focus distance (of your regular lens). In the image below is a 25mm extension tube (meaning that this particular tube moves the lens 25mm further away from the camera). The result is a decrease of the normal minimum focus distance of your lens and an increase in the magnification (of whatever you're photographing).

There is no glass in the tube, its purely a hollow tube with some electronic circuitry for retaining camera / lens autofocus. If fits between the body and the lens (and in the case of the Canon extension tube is compatible with EF and EF-S lenses) Some tubes, like the Kenko brand is sold in in a set of three. ie. 12mm / 20mm / 36mm (which can be stacked). The more you stack the shorter the focus distance with a larger magnification.

The extension tube is a very cost-effective way for getting into close-up and macro photography offering various creative opportunities (without purchasing a macro lens).

Disadvantages of the extension tube are the possible loss of image quality, much shallower depth of field to work with and tricky at times to focus.

I regularly use the Canon EF25 IIextension tube with the Canon EOS 6D and EF 70-300mm f4-5.6L IS USM lens (as seen in the image) without any significant image quality sacrifice.


The extension tube is even more effective at shorter focal lenght lenses. Herewith an example / demonstration with the Canon EF 50mm f1/8 STM lens and Canon EF25 II extension tube (Canon EOS 70D).

In my  Macro and Close-Up Photography Workshops I demonstrate the Canon Extension Tube EF25 II on various non-macro lenses.


Similar close-Up article with more detailed camera / lens EXIF data: View

A few example images to show the image quality when using the Canon EF25 II with above Canon body and lens:

(Click to enlarge)
Close-Up Flower Photography Cape Town: Canon Extension Tube EF25 II
Close-Up Flower Photography Cape Town: Canon Extension Tube EF25 II

Close-Up Flower Photography Cape Town: Canon Extension Tube EF25 II
Close-Up Flower Photography Cape Town: Canon Extension Tube EF25 II

Close-Up Flower Photography Cape Town: Canon Extension Tube EF25 II
Close-Up Flower Photography Cape Town: Canon Extension Tube EF25 II

Close-Up Flower Photography Cape Town: Canon Extension Tube EF25 II
Close-Up Flower Photography Cape Town: Canon Extension Tube EF25 II

Close-Up Flower Photography Cape Town: Canon Extension Tube EF25 II
Close-Up Flower Photography Cape Town: Canon Extension Tube EF25 II

Vernon Chalmers Photography Training / Workshops Cape Town

  • Canon EOS Autofocus / AI Servo Master Class Cape Town More
  • Birds in Flight Photography Workshop Cape Town More
  • Canon Speedlite / Ring Lite Flash Photography Workshop Cape Town More
  • Macro / Close-Up Photography Workshop Cape Town More
  • Landscape / Long Exposure Photography Workshop Cape Town More
  • Digital Workflow / Lightroom Post-Processing Workshop Cape Town More