Extension tubes: how to shoot extreme close-ups without spending a fortune

    | Macro | Photography Tips | 28/04/2013 00:01am
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    Discover how to use extension tubes to shoot great close-up and macro photography without all the hefty costs.

    Extension tubes: how to shoot extreme close-ups without spending a fortune

    If the warmer spring weather has got you itching to shoot macro photography but you don’t fancy forking out for a dedicated macro lens, using extension tubes may be the answer.

    These hollow tubes fit between your existing lens and camera to enable it to focus much closer than before. And even if you get a macro lens later, you can still use the tubes. Combine them with macro lenses and you’ll get greater than life-size reproduction of tiny subjects.

    Most independent manufacturers of extension tubes supply them as a set of three, each of a different size, but original camera manufacturers tend to sell them individually.

    There are two main types of extension tube; those with the electronic connections to work fully automatically, and those without.

    The latter are slower, because you have to set the exposure and focus manually, and only offer limited metering on most SLRs. But for less than £20 they offer a cheap route into macro photography.

    Fully automatic tubes are much more convenient because they enable features such as metering and autofocus. They start at around £90, though.

    How to use extension tubes

    How to use extension tubes: step 1

    Attach the extension tube
    The tube fits between the lens and camera, so you need to remove the lens. Attach the tube to the rear of the lens, then fit this combination onto the camera. The more tubes you attach, the closer you’ll focus.

     

    How to use extension tubes: step 2

    Adjust your settings
    Some tubes work automatically, but set the lens to manual focus – the camera will struggle to focus accurately at such close distances. Also, shoot in aperture priority mode for control over the depth of field.

     

    How to use extension tubes: step 3

    Position the camera
    With the camera set up, you can position it close to the subject. While you can handhold the camera in bright conditions, it’s good practice to use a tripod, to avoid shake and to enable you to frame and focus your shot more accurately.

     

    How to use extension tubes: step 4

    Fine-tune the focus
    Accurate focusing is critical with extension tubes. With the camera in position, fine-tune the focus by using the focus ring on the lens. Because the focusing range is reduced with the tube, you may need to move the camera backwards or forwards.

    READ MORE

    How to set your autofocus for macro photography
    Free macro photography cheat sheet
    Professional Photographer to the Rescue: close-up photography tips you can trust
    Camera Angles: 5 ways to add impact with unusual perspectives


    Posted on Sunday, April 28th, 2013 at 12:01 am under Macro, Photography Tips.

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