01 June 2024

Testing the Canon 500D 77mm Close-Up Lens Filter

Close-Up Photography: Testing the Canon 500D 77mm Close-Up Lens Filter

In an effort to reduce the minimum focus distance (MFD) of my 400mm lens (3.5 meter) I ordered a Canon 500D 77mm close-up lens filter. This is mainly to eliminate the carrying of a second body with macro lens when out in the field with the long lens (for Birds in Flight). The 400mm works well for close-up work from a distance, but I wanted a closer focusing option (with more magnification).

Canon 10-400mm Lens with Canon 500D 77mm Close-Up Lens Filter >>

Canon 500D 77mm Close-Up Lens Filter Challenges

With the close-up lens filter the MFD is now an effective 40 - 50mm (compared to 3.5 meter) - which brings some challenges (specific to the 400mm non-IS lens):

  • Narrow depth of field (require smaller apertures to counter this)
  • Best useful f/stops are now f/22 - f/32
  • Requires good light or flash
  • With no IS extra stability is required (tripod) / or faster shutter speed

What I like so far:

  • Autofocus works well in good light
  • Manual focus with flash works well on tripod
  • Satisfied with the extreme close-up image quality
  • Quality of the bokeh (blurred out of focus areas)

This specific combination (crop with 400mm lens) should work beter on a full frame body (as it is minus the 1.6 crop factor) with a 70-300mm lens (as recommended by Canon). There is no point in using the Canon 500D close-up lens filter on the EOS 6D / 400mm lens as I want to be able to use it in the field (Canon EOS 7D Mark II) without removing any lenses. But, I will test it later with my Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM lens on APS-C (EOS 70D) and Full Frame (Canon EOS 6D).

First three images: Handheld, outside in good light and AF with manual exposure settings as I would capture Birds in Flight - ISO during the outside light testing was limited to ISO 1600.

Last image: On tripod with Speedlite 430 EX II (bounced) flash: ISO 400 (Av Mode).

All images are uncropped and processed in Lightroom 6 with some exposure, contrast and a few other adjustments.

Body / Lens used: Canon EOS 7D Mark II / EF 400mm f/5.5L USM Lens f/32 / ISO 400 - 1600 1/250 - 1/5000s.


Location: Milnerton, Cape Town

What is an Extension Tube in Photography?

"An extension tube is a device used in photography to enable a camera lens to focus closer than its normal minimum focusing distance. It is a hollow tube that fits between the camera body and the lens, effectively increasing the distance between the lens and the camera's image sensor. This extension allows for closer focusing on the subject, making it appear larger in the frame.

Extension tubes come in various lengths, and they are typically used in macro photography or other situations where getting closer to the subject is essential. They don't contain any optical elements like lenses, so they don't affect the image quality in terms of optical aberrations or distortions. Instead, they alter the focusing range of the lens.

When using extension tubes, there are a few things to keep in mind:

Loss of Light: Since the extension tube increases the distance between the lens and the camera sensor, it reduces the amount of light reaching the sensor. This may require adjusting your exposure settings accordingly.

Autofocus Limitations: Some extension tubes may limit or disable autofocus functionality, depending on the camera and lens combination. Manual focusing is often used in macro photography, but it's something to be aware of.

Depth of Field: As you get closer to the subject, the depth of field becomes very shallow. It's important to carefully control your aperture to achieve the desired focus.

Increased Magnification: The primary purpose of extension tubes is to increase magnification. However, using longer tubes or stacking multiple tubes may result in a very narrow depth of field.

Extension tubes are a cost-effective way to experiment with macro photography without investing in dedicated macro lenses. They can be used with a variety of lenses, but the level of magnification and working distance will depend on the specific lens and tube combination." (Source: ChatGPT 2023)

(Click to Enlarge)
Testing the Canon 500D 77mm Close-Up Lens Filter
Canon 500D 77mm Close-Up Lens - Bee on Flower f/32 / ISO 3200

Close-Up Photography: Testing the Canon 500D 77mm Close-Up Lens Filter
Canon 500D 77mm Close-Up LensDaisy flower  (Handheld) f/32 / ISO 1600

Close-Up Photography: Testing the Canon 500D 77mm Close-Up Lens Filter
Small Daisy Flower (Handheld) f/32 / ISO 1600

Close-Up Photography: Testing the Canon 500D 77mm Close-Up Lens Filter
Canon 500D 77mm Close-Up LensTiny Grass Flower (Handheld) f/32  / ISO 1600

Close-Up Photography: Testing the Canon 500D 77mm Close-Up Lens Filter
Canon 500D 77mm Close-Up Lens Pincushion Flower  f/32 / ISO 400 (Speedlite Flash / Tripod

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