Orquid "Phoenix"

Orquid "Phoenix"

by ceinmart

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I'm looking for an extension tube for my DSLR. Any suggestions? I see a lot on the internet, but I cannot figure out which is the best.

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It is worth pointing out that if you go for ones with electrical contacts, and expect AF to work just like it normally would, you will be disappointed. AF performance will be decreased and there will be a lot more hunting for the AF motor. For the price difference its more economical to go for tubes with no contacts and MF as they are usually many times cheaper. –  Gapton Jan 21 '13 at 2:40
    
If speedy AF is critical, extension tube is not really an option. You will be better off using a dedicated macro lens with a good USM motor with good AF performance. –  Gapton Jan 21 '13 at 2:42
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3 Answers

up vote 5 down vote accepted

An extension tube doesn't have any optics in it, it's just a tube that is used to move the lens in relation to the sensor, because there's nothing but air in there all the extension tubes in the world will use the same air will give you the exact same image.

There are 3 ways extension tubes differ:

  1. Electrical contacts

    Tubes with no electrical contacts (the cheap kind) don't have a connection between the lens and camera, you don't have auto focus and don't have aperture control, the camera will only work in M and Av mode.

    To control aperture switch camera to Av mode, set aperture, press DOF preview button and hold, while pressing detach lens

    Tube with electrical contacts: those are easier to use because you have all the normal camera controls (but I don't think auto-focus will be useful here).

  2. Thickness

    Thicker tubes will increase magnification and move the focus plane closer - but remember if the tube is too thick the focus plane will move behind the lens's front element and nothing will be in focus.

    You can buy a set of tubes with different thicknesses that you can combine to have a large number of options.

  3. Build quality

    Just don't put an heavy expensive telephoto on a thin plastic Chinese tube.

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@Caleb: That's not extension tubes, those are tele converters. –  Guffa Jan 20 '13 at 15:20
    
@Caleb - Take a look at this - the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/… IE - "Since extension tubes have no optics inside, Canon air is no better than Kenko air." –  dpollitt Jan 20 '13 at 15:43
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@Caleb - teleconverters are not a kind of extension tube, they are the opposite - extension tubes are used to photograph objects that are too close and teleconverters are for objects that are too far, also, almost everything about their design is very different, the fact that they attach to the same points on the camera/lens does not make them related –  Nir Jan 20 '13 at 21:55
    
@Caleb Dude, Extension Tube and Tele Converter is TWO COMPLETELY DIFFERENT THINGS. There is no comparison. Get it? If you are still unconvinced go buy both and see what they really do. –  Gapton Jan 21 '13 at 2:36
    
@Nir Thanks for the explanation! –  Caleb Jan 21 '13 at 3:45
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I've been using Kenko for 3 years now and they work well. You will notice some flex in them if you mount all three at once on a heavy lens but other than this they are well built and get the job done.

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The air in my Kenko tubes has never let me down. :-)

This is one of my rare third party camera accessories. I can't think of any good reason to pay more for a set of tubes. I bought mine used. The air seems undamaged.

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