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Shooting with Tubes

  
 
CGrindahl
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Shooting with Tubes


INTRODUCTION: It has been suggested by a member who came across this thread that it might be useful for those unfamiliar with the use of extension tubes if I added a short explanation of what they are and how they work, so here goes.

Unlike extenders that have lenses built in that magnify the image, extension tubes are empty tubes that simply change the distance between the camera lens and the camera sensor. If you wear glasses you've doubtless had the experience of looking through them as you move the glasses farther from your face. It changes the magnification of whatever you're looking at. This is what happens with extension tubes.

Every lens has what is called the MFD, or minimum focusing distance. When you mount a tube between the lens and the camera body, you are reducing that distance. You also effectively eliminate focus at infinity. The longer the tube, the closer to the subject you MUST be in order to gain focus. The trick in working with tubes is to find the best length of tube for each different focal length of lens you use. The goal is to have the subject youíre shooting occupy as much of the field of view as possible.

I've mounted tubes on lenses from 20mm to 300mm. My narrowest tube, the 12mm, mounted on a 20mm lens puts me so close to the subject that I'm practically touching it with the front lens element. Needless to say, from that perspective Iím generally capturing only a very small portion of whatever is in front of the lens. On the other hand, with all three tubes from a set I own mounted on the 300, a total of 68mm, I still have about a foot of working distance and am able to capture the entire subject.

I'm shooting with manual focus lenses, so I'm not concerned with whether the tubes I use allow for communication between the lens and camera body. But if you're shooting with AF lenses and want to have the camera register information about the lens and the shot, you would wish to have tubes that have electrical contacts. There are a number of companies marketing tubes with electrical contacts, the most prominent of which is Kenko.

Generally work with tubes is done by manual focusing for the simple reason that when tubes are mounted the focal plane becomes VERY narrow and can be challenging for even the best cameras to find. Yet it is important to note that the focus ring of the lens may not have adequate range to achieve focus, so you need to be able to physically move closer and farther away from your subject as you attempt to find focus. I do that by gently rocking back and forth as I examine the image in the viewfinder. This actually becomes easier than turning the focus ring of the lens, since the slight movement required to turn the ring can move the lens in relation to the subject, disturbing focus. Some folks use tripods with a focusing rail that allows the camera to slide closer and farther from the subject, often using live view on the rear of the camera to evaluate focus.

When shooting with tubes it is useful to stop down aperture, which widens the focal plane and to a certain extent counters the effect of the tubes that narrows the plane. Needless to say, this all becomes clearer as one experiments with tubes. Relax and enjoy yourself!



After being introduced to extension tubes last autumn I've been taking great pleasure in mounting them with one of Nikon's great manual focus lenses and getting up close and personal to things in my world. I'm not much of a bug person, so classical macro work doesn't attract me. I also don't own a tripod and prefer natural light, so I can't do the really precise closeup work that many on this forum do exceptionally well. I respect folks doing that work but simply don't have the patience to do that. I can, however, slap on an extension tube wherever and whenever and grab a few photos of what is around me. At the moment, at least in northern California, that includes some very nice flowers. So I'll post a few of my recent photos taken with an assortment of lenses coupled with one or another extension tube from an old set marketed by Vivitar. I'll begin with a shot I took today with the 300 f/4.5 AI-s ED-IF with a 36mm tube attached to my D700... hand held of course with the lens wide open.

What would delight me is having other members show us what they're doing with extension tubes, so COME ON DOWN. Tell us about the lens and tube, then show us what you've produced with them. It should be fun!



Shot with the 135 f/2.8 AI with a 12mm extension tube at f/5.6.


Shot with the 105 f/2.5 AI-s with a 12mm extension tube at f/2.5.


Shot with the 180 f/2.8 AI-s ED with a 12mm extension tube at f/2.8

Edited on Mar 18, 2013 at 07:00 PM · View previous versions



Apr 19, 2011 at 04:33 PM
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dalite
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Shooting with Tubes


Asian Pear blossom





A6000+ Vivitar 55mm/f2.8 Macro (Olympus mount). 1:2.5




Mar 16, 2017 at 09:01 PM
Kevin T
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Shooting with Tubes


Wow...tubes! I had no idea about these before finding this thread. Thank You! This is a whole new world for me to explore. I thought I would pop my first shot in here for giggles. I got a used set of Nikon K Series tubes and put them on my 20mm f2.0 Nikkor lens and at first I was thinking, "oh this is not working". With a UV filter on that lens I could not get the focal plane close enough! I removed the K5 from the stack and found a working range!
Only thing close by to test was a vintage Nikon 2X teleconverter so I snapped a portion of the barrel to gaze upon. I am working with new software, to me, also (Capture NX2) so forgive me if the subject is not exciting but I find it gaze-worthy. I am thinking dust removal could be useful when shooting this close. Who knew! :-)










Mar 24, 2017 at 12:10 PM
kwoodard
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Shooting with Tubes




Kevin T wrote:
Wow...tubes! I had no idea about these before finding this thread. Thank You! This is a whole new world for me to explore. I thought I would pop my first shot in here for giggles. I got a used set of Nikon K Series tubes and put them on my 20mm f2.0 Nikkor lens and at first I was thinking, "oh this is not working". With a UV filter on that lens I could not get the focal plane close enough! I removed the K5 from the stack and found a working range!
Only thing close by to test
...Show more
Now if you want some crazy magnification, get a reversing ring and put that 20 in front of those tubes.



Mar 24, 2017 at 02:02 PM
Negens
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Shooting with Tubes


Hi there !
My first participation into this thread as I received extension tubes this morning :



Edited on Apr 17, 2017 at 04:28 PM · View previous versions



Apr 17, 2017 at 01:35 PM
kwoodard
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Shooting with Tubes




Negens wrote:
Hi there !
My first participation into this thread as I received extensions tube this morning :

https://c1.staticflickr.com/3/2821/34100229065_a697bae73a_b.jpg


One hell of a rig you got there.



Apr 17, 2017 at 04:19 PM
Negens
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Shooting with Tubes


Ronny Olsson > Great shots !

kwoodard> Yep, It took me years chasing the great deals and finally this year, I got luck !



Apr 17, 2017 at 06:55 PM
Macrogirl
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Shooting with Tubes


Hello all,

Got the EF 25 II for my birthday, but now I am really struggling to get decent results and would appreciate some advice from seasoned tube users. After my first outing today I am wondering if I am doing something wrong. I used the 85mm 1.8 with the tube, and particularly sharpness is disappointing. There also seems to be a really swirly bokeh effect, that the lens usually doesn't have at all. One of the reasons I wanted to use tubes was to make the most of the 50mm 2.5 and the 85mm and use the smooth bokeh it can produce in terms of subject isolation. Any advice?



Apr 29, 2017 at 05:33 PM
e6filmuser
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Shooting with Tubes


Macrogirl wrote:
Hello all,

Got the EF 25 II for my birthday, but now I am really struggling to get decent results and would appreciate some advice from seasoned tube users. After my first outing today I am wondering if I am doing something wrong. I used the 85mm 1.8 with the tube, and particularly sharpness is disappointing. There also seems to be a really swirly bokeh effect, that the lens usually doesn't have at all. One of the reasons I wanted to use tubes was to make the most of the 50mm 2.5 and the 85mm and use the smooth bokeh it
...Show more

Do you mean a bit like a contour map? When I get really close I can get these with lenses which do not in normal close-ups. NR will deal with them.

Harold



Apr 30, 2017 at 12:18 AM
Macrogirl
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Shooting with Tubes


Thank you Harold - is NR noise reduction? The bokeh effect from the 85mm looks like a large swirly vortex all around the outside edges of the image, with the focal point forming the centre.


Apr 30, 2017 at 06:42 AM
 


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e6filmuser
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Shooting with Tubes


Macrogirl wrote:
Thank you Harold - is NR noise reduction? The bokeh effect from the 85mm looks like a large swirly vortex all around the outside edges of the image, with the focal point forming the centre.


Yes. It sounds like what I describe but it varies, whereas normal noise is lots of little speckles, all much the same.

Harold



Apr 30, 2017 at 07:42 AM
DeltaSigma
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Shooting with Tubes


Have not posted anything here for a while.
D610, 55mm, micro, PK-12, manual, focus

DSC_9015 copy (2): Goldenrod (Solidago) and a bee by Colin McIntosh, on Flickr

DSC_9022 copy (2): Goldenrod (Solidago) and visitor by Colin McIntosh, on Flickr

Colin




May 05, 2017 at 01:00 AM
CGrindahl
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Shooting with Tubes


Awesome shots Colin... and great work with you "humble" setup... 55mm with a PK-12. Sweet!


May 05, 2017 at 01:14 AM
Ronny Olsson
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Shooting with Tubes


Thanks

Great shot Colin




Tube 12mm and Zeiss 100MP


Sony A7R II + Zeiss Makro-Planar T* 100mm f/2 by Ronny Olsson, on Flickr


Sony A7R II + Zeiss Makro-Planar T* 100mm f/2 by Ronny Olsson, on Flickr


Sony A7R II + Zeiss Makro-Planar T* 100mm f/2 by Ronny Olsson, on Flickr


Sony A7R II + Zeiss Makro-Planar T* 100mm f/2 by Ronny Olsson, on Flickr


Sony A7R II + Zeiss Makro-Planar T* 100mm f/2 by Ronny Olsson, on Flickr



May 06, 2017 at 12:38 PM
CGrindahl
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Shooting with Tubes


Amazingly, it has been a bit over six years since I started this thread. I was filled with enthusiasm for my recently discovered affection for extension tubes. I remained active for quite some time but then found my attention drawn elsewhere. I continue to spend all of my time shooting with Nikon manual focus lenses but I've graduated to the Nikon Df from the D700 that first introduced me to the joys of shooting with these lenses. And, my love for these lenses has led me to buy ever old versions. I now have more pre-AI lenses in my kit than AI lenses, though most of the pre-AI lenses have been converted and practically perform like AI lenses. But they have earlier lens designs which I delight in exploring.

But there is an old standby lens, that I call a desert island lens, the 180 f/2.8 AI-s, that I recently took for a spin. Because I've seen a bit of tube work of late I decided to take a set of Vivitar extension tubes with me and put them to work. These are shots similar to what has always attracted me about working close with tubes. I'm less interested in classical macro shooting, but love the prospect of getting closer and utilizing tubes to isolate features while obliterating foreground and background. So here are four flower shots. I hesitate to drop them on the thread immediately following Ronny's work but so be it. Ronny is a master at shooting close with tubes. I've seen the above images before and they are masterful. Mine a bit more pedestrian...

The first two were shot with a 12mm tube, the second two with a 36mm tube.


180.12.SoakingUpSunlight by Curtis Grindahl, on Flickr


180.12.BackYardRose by Curtis Grindahl, on Flickr


180.36.IrisProfile by Curtis Grindahl, on Flickr


180.36.IrisPairWideOpen by Curtis Grindahl, on Flickr

Thanks to everyone contributing to this thread. Thankfully, the moderator at the time, Tom Hicks, decided to sticky this thread, so it is always easy to find, even if it is often as slow as molasses in January...



May 09, 2017 at 12:02 PM
MontanaKid
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Shooting with Tubes


Recent postings with this lens got me off my backside and out to try it out! Curtis is working his spell again!
My first attempt with Nikon Nikkor ED 180mm f/2.8 on my Fuji X-Pro2!
Kipon Adapter, Nikon PK-13 extension tube. ISO - 200, SS - 1/340 - Handheld. Out of camera untouched JPEG.
Because of its' size and weight I was considering selling this lens. Now I don't know
My neighbor's wife brought these tulips back from Sweden last year. I think they like it here!
Jack





Swedish Tulip in Missoula, MT!




May 10, 2017 at 01:53 PM
Stokesey
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Shooting with Tubes


Playing with what I consider to be Nikons worst manual lens - the 43-86mm f3.5 on s PK-13 tube ...

(I'm sure there are other equally rubbish lenses)

Surprised by the results ..... it's been a while since this last got connected with a body !!

So on the D500 with PK-13 and 43-86mm at 86mm

Islay whisky for Curtis .... it is his favourite apparently

Steve




Stokesey 2017


Boxed and very inexpensive - award winning Single Malt ....

  NIKON D500    86mm    f/8.0    1/160s    200 ISO    0.0 EV  





Stokesey 2017


Product of Scotland crest on whisky box !!

  NIKON D500    86mm    f/8.0    1/200s    200 ISO    0.0 EV  





Stokesey 2017


Lavender flower .... micro .... 'Blowin' in the wind'

  NIKON D500    86mm    f/4.0    1/125s    200 ISO    0.0 EV  




May 13, 2017 at 09:15 AM
DeltaSigma
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Shooting with Tubes


A repeat from the Manual Focus Nikon pages

An exploding cluster of day old, tiny, baby European Garden Spiders (Araneus diadematus) greeted me on the wall by my back door the other evening. To get an idea of scale the macro pictures are approximately the equivalent of 1 inch square. The lighter layer seen in the first picture is the mortar course between house bricks.

D610 & 55mm micro & PK-13 tube





Colin



May 14, 2017 at 02:21 AM
e6filmuser
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Shooting with Tubes


DeltaSigma wrote:
An exploding cluster of day old, tiny, baby European Garden Spiders (Araneus diadematus) greeted me on the wall by my back door the other evening. To get an idea of scale the macro pictures are approximately the equivalent of 1 inch square. The lighter layer seen in the first picture is the mortar course between house bricks.


You were fortunate to have the wall to limit them to one plane as they dispersed. The cluster will usually re-form but it may not be as tidy as the original.

Harold



May 14, 2017 at 03:25 AM
DeltaSigma
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Shooting with Tubes


e6filmuser wrote:
You were fortunate to have the wall to limit them to one plane as they dispersed. The cluster will usually re-form but it may not be as tidy as the original.

Harold


Hi Harold,

Yes, I watched some videos of cluster dispersion. The complete cluster moved further afield the following day and now has disappeared from sight.




May 14, 2017 at 11:07 AM
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