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While reading some reviews of Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM, I was a bit surprised to notice that the lens is supposed to be compatible with 12mm and 25mm extension tubes, and with those one should be able to get maximum magnifications better than 1:1.

An ultra-wide lens for macro work sounds like a fun alternative, but does it really work in practice at all?

Have people had any success with taking macro shots using ultra-wides and extension tubes? Do you have any working distance at all between the lens and your subject? What about lighting the subject, does it become near-impossible with the lens shadowing everything?

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I am surprised too. I am equally suspicious because my 35mm macro requires a focus distance of about 1cm from the lens (13cm from the sensor) for 1:1 magnification. –  Itai Jun 28 '11 at 12:52
    
Thanks for the answers so far! But I am a bit surprised that nobody has provided a single example of a macro shot that was taken with ultra-wides and extension tubes. Perhaps someone might take this as a challenge? I guess many people here have both ultra-wides and extension tubes in their camera bags, but they just haven't ever tried them together... –  Jukka Suomela Jul 3 '11 at 20:32

6 Answers 6

up vote 6 down vote accepted
+100

Here's Estonian reverse of 1 euro-cent shot with my widest lens, Zenitar 16, at f/11 on 19mm extension tubes, giving 1.18x magnification:

Estonian reverse of 1 euro-cent

Not much room for lighting indeed, sidelight or glow-through with a translucent subject seem to be the only options:

making of

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is this on a full-frame or 35mm film camera? (just wondering if there's any crop-factor to consider for focal length comparisons) –  drfrogsplat Jul 5 '11 at 1:34
    
@drfrogsplat Pentax APS-C –  Imre Jul 5 '11 at 8:04

I could imagine using this for say taking a photo of a small flower on the ground where you want the lens as close as possible to the flower but want to use a wide angle lens for the perspective.

Ken Rockwell has written an excellent guide for using wide angle lenses, and is a string proponent of using them close to the main subject. http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech/how-to-use-ultra-wide-lenses.htm Perhaps this will let you get closer.

If you ever get around to trying this out please update this question with some samples.

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Ken is sometimes ...questionable, but he does have good days and the linked article is excellent. –  Robert Anton Reese Jun 28 '11 at 17:51
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I don't much care for Ken, however his wide-angle lens article is one of the very few redeeming things on his site. I have no issue with the rockwell link in this case. –  jrista Jun 28 '11 at 19:16
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Ken's wide-angle article is indeed a good read, but it does not really answer the question, as it does not discuss macro photography... –  Jukka Suomela Jun 28 '11 at 19:56
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When Ken Rockwell is talking about subjective things and says so, his writing is excellent. I wish he'd take the time to purge his site of the trollish "I'm like The Onion; tee-hee!" bits and aim to be helpful and fair overall. But I suppose what he's got now is working well enough for him that there's no incentive to change. –  mattdm Jun 30 '11 at 1:34

The shorter the focal length lens, the higher the magnification you'll get with extension tubes. 25mm extension tube / 10mm focal length = 2.5x

I've not used them with ultra wide angle lenses, but they work well with 35mm, so I don't see why not. You will not have much working distance at all, and yes lighting will be difficult with such short working distance. Depth of field will be extremely limited as well, even stopped down.

You might get vignetting at the wider end - I would expect it would be likely with a 25mm tube and a 10mm focal length.

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The tube will vignette the image circle, yes, but there will be no vignetting at the sensor. I regularly used a 12.5mm Minolta microscope-style lens on a bellows for microphotography, and its image circle at infinity focus couldn't cover a dime. The problem with short lenses (they're not really "wide" at these focus distances) is, as has been pointed out elsewhere, lighting the subject. –  user2719 Jul 5 '11 at 11:09

The issue of lighting in wide angle macro work is not addressed in the answers thus far. I've used a wide angle and extension tubes to photography, for example, a backlit poppy. That solves the lighting problem. Front lighting, not so much. It's a really specialized lens setup and not applicable to most macro applications. But... as the OP points out, it's fun for certain kinds of effects.

Because the lighting is so hard, and the application so constrained, I never think to do this any more. I'm more a fan of the 100mm macro that gives me some working distance.

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12mm extension tube and the Canon 17-55 2.8

http://www.flickr.com/photos/tristanmoss/5347678575/in/photostream

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Nice, but not an ultra-wide lens (55mm according to the Exif info). –  Jukka Suomela Jul 4 '11 at 23:57
    
55mm could be ultra-wide, on a 6x6 or larger... not on Canon 7D though. –  Imre Jul 5 '11 at 9:18
    
I didn't claim it was ultrawide. The intent was to provide another piece of data. –  Tristan Jul 6 '11 at 19:38

stumbled upon this article and found the discussion interesting. I'm posting the links to a couple wide angle macro shots that I have taken. I am only allowed to post two links, but I have also tried a 35mm and a 17mm.

28mm

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jamil-akhtar/10041015653/

17mm

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jamil-akhtar/9875911553/

Based on my limited experience, I would say that 35mm is the widest focal length appropriate for macro work. Anything less and the focusing distance becomes so small that it becomes very difficult to compose a shot and one is almost always blocking the light.

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