1. Reminder: Please user our affiliate links to get to your favorite stores for holiday shopping!

Macro: Which extension tubes are best?

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by Moris, Apr 19, 2016.

  1. Moris

    Moris Mu-43 Rookie

    23
    Apr 2, 2016
    I would like to take my first steps into the world of macro photography and would like to know if it is possible to do this with my current lenses. My lenses are the Olympus Pro 12-40 and Pro 40-150 F2.8 + Olympus 45mm f1.8.

    The most obvious choice is, of course, the Olympus 60mm f2.8 macro lens, but I do not want to scare the insects by being too close with my lens, I thought maybe a beter en cheaper way is to use to the Olympus 40-150 with some extension tubes?


    Now I see on the Internet various types and brands of extension tubes. The question here is, of course, which are the best suited for me?
     
  2. DaveEP

    DaveEP Mu-43 Top Veteran

    683
    Sep 20, 2014
    York, UK
    TBH - I really don't think it makes much difference! I have some cheap tubes from ebay that work perfectly well. My only consideration was did they pass through the electrical contacts (which they do).

    They came in a pack of 3 with different depths (or you can combine them) and cost about $15 - $20.
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
  3. Moris

    Moris Mu-43 Rookie

    23
    Apr 2, 2016
    I forgot to add these questions to my initial post :blush:

    My Olympus E-M1 with the Olympus Pro 40-150 supported ....Stacking Focus, Focus Bracketing!
    I wonder whether this feature also works when using extension tubes?

    I also see that the extension tubes exist with 2 or 3 parts?
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2016
  4. DaveEP

    DaveEP Mu-43 Top Veteran

    683
    Sep 20, 2014
    York, UK
    Because the electrical connections are pass-through the camera is unaware of the tubes.

    They come is various sizes because each step up in size increases the magnification, but reduces the max focal distance. You can't focus to infinity with any of them and the deeper the tube the closer the object will need to be in order to achieve focus (but the more magnified the image will be).
     
  5. Ross the fiddler

    Ross the fiddler Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    I would add that some tubes are cheap in their construction while others can be better. One of the first to come onto the market were Kenko & apparently their quality is said to justify their much higher cost than the others. I only have a cheap set & the connections can be a little unreliable on the odd occasion.
     
  6. piggsy

    piggsy Mu-43 All-Pro

    Not to be a downer - but - there is very little for free in terms of macro and I would really sort out what you're expecting from it in terms of magnification and working distances before buying anything. The 40-150 isn't a real light lens and the thought of it going on a stack of the typical m43 extension tube lengths is a bit unsettling.

    Maybe someone can clear this up - the store / specs for the 40-150 pro list its specs as:

    but IR says:

    Very different figures for calculating out what to recommend to do here.

    I'm also curious if someone with the lens can tell me what the actual mm length zoom it reaches its highest magnification is - big difference in how much a tube will do if it's more towards the long or short end.

    ed- and also, same for the 12-40 - the figures listed are -

    but if that's actually 0.15x at 12mm then yeah that'd be good to know for sure.
     
    • Informative Informative x 1
  7. SVQuant

    SVQuant Mu-43 Top Veteran

    842
    Sep 20, 2015
    SF Bay Area, California, USA
    Sameer
    To the OP: I would suggest getting those extension tubes and trying them with your O45. The focal length is pretty close to a standard macro and you don't have to worry about whether the extension tubes can handle the weight of the 40-150. In the little experimentation I have done, the 45mm worked well with both extension tubes and diopters.
     
  8. Ross the fiddler

    Ross the fiddler Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    I wouldn't trust the weight of the 40-150 Pro lens on those cheap extension tubes & the only way I would use them in that combo would be to always hold the lens.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • Useful Useful x 1
  9. Moris

    Moris Mu-43 Rookie

    23
    Apr 2, 2016
    Thanks for the help here :2thumbs:

    @DaveEP@DaveEP
    Good to know that communication with the tubes remains.
    If I understand correctly the working distance with tubes to the subject is smaller?

    @piggsy@piggsy
    @Ross the fiddler@Ross the fiddler
    The Pro 40-150 for macro might be on the heavy side.
    On the other hand, this can be accommodated by usage of a tripod?

    @SVQuant@SVQuant
    Do you have any macro examples of this combination?
    It is important for me to have a focusing distance as large as possible.
     
  10. piggsy

    piggsy Mu-43 All-Pro

    Well, the common auto set on m43 is a 10 and 16mm set which are stackable. So .. that's the whole weight of the camera or lens that will be connected by a 1cm or 1.6cm wide tube, or a split 26mm stack of them, which could be about 6 small slices of metal held together by a few not especially large screws. You would want one where it looked like someone paid attention while it was being made if you were going to hang a kilo or so off it.

    What kind of subjects and how large do you mainly have in mind for the macro photos? Like - frogs, dragonflies, bees, ants? Anything else like coins, stamps, slides?
     
  11. jyc860923

    jyc860923 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 28, 2012
    Shenyang, China
    贾一川
    I'm using a 10mm extension tube that I think is a sweet spot unlike the 16mm one, which you can't use with any wide angle lenses, 10mm also seems quite sufficient with my 40-150 pro.

    The problem however, is that my cheap extension tube is poorly made, the contacts sometimes don't connect so well, so I did some research and disassembled the tube to have found that that it was just two metal pieces screwed onto a plastic tube with the contacts in it passing through the signal without any modification, in another word, this thing shouldn't be worth a high price at all, as long as it passes the signal nothing can really be wrong.

    Note that I'm not so confident to use my 40-150 pro lens attached with the extension tube by holding purely the camera body because of the cheap plastic and only four small screws used to hold all the weight of that lens, so the build quality should also be a factor when you're considering an option.
     
    • Useful Useful x 1
  12. DaveEP

    DaveEP Mu-43 Top Veteran

    683
    Sep 20, 2014
    York, UK
    Everyone is correct that the 40-150 is heavy by comparison. Forgive me, but I never considered anyone would be holding a 40-150 + tubes + camera by the body only and not be supporting the lens!
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  13. Moris

    Moris Mu-43 Rookie

    23
    Apr 2, 2016
    @All
    It seems clear that the Olympus pro 40-150 is a combined overweight.
    On the other hand, I wonder, where a small Olympus 1.4x Tele Converter MC-14 or may differ?

    @piggsy@piggsy
    Since I want to put my first steps into the world of macro, this is difficult to assess in which direction it goes out completely.
    Out of interest and as a challenge I think in macro photos of dragonflies, bees, locusts, ants, flowers, etc…
    It is important for me to have a focusing distance as large as possible.
     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2016
  14. piggsy

    piggsy Mu-43 All-Pro

    The 40-150 isn't necessarily overweight for macro - there are heavier and bigger macro lenses people use successfully - just, there may be better options, and if you were set on using extension tubes with it, it would need high quality ones. I think more of the reaction you're seeing to it is that basically, if you went for something of the weight of the E-M1 + MC-14 + 40-150 Pro on a tripod .. that's kind of a big and costly setup and you may not actually see any noticeable benefit from such an expensive and large way to do it. Losing being able to go handheld hurts your ability to get shots. 1.37 kilos of setup before you even look at a flash or the TC will literally hurt.

    TBH I think your best options are 1) cheap manual focus 50 to 105mm adapted macro lens, 2) buying some auto extension tubes for the 45mm, or 3) buying a diopter set like the Raynox 150/250 set (I recommend this one and you'll want a 72-62mm step-down ring) for the 40-150. And - much more helpful for macro than a fancy lens - a good flash. Also worth bearing in mind - there is nothing really stopping you from using the 40-150 or 12-40 as a pseudo-macro just by cropping for web use kinds of sizes, or turning up the ISO a bit, it might be worth trying that and practicing for a bit just to see what you find important for taking the shots you want.
     
  15. GRID

    GRID Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 22, 2011
    10+16mm Kenko tubes on oly 40-150mm F2.8 (small snake, the head is maybe 15-18mm wide and image is croped alittle)
    Huggorm_04_.

    Same 10+16mm Kenko tubes on the oly 45mm F1.8
    Fly97_01__.
     
    • Like Like x 6
  16. Speedliner

    Speedliner Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 2, 2015
    Southern NJ, USA
    Rob
    I don't think the extension tubes will help you get much closer. They don't have much impact on longer FLs and that's where you'd get the extra reach. I have the 60mm and it's great, but focus still hunts and you do have to get close. I also have the Sigma 150mm, 2.8 and it AFs almost as well as the 60mm while adding significant working distance. It's also an excellent, very sharp lens.

    So, to increase distance I'd look at one of the 3rd-party 105, 150, or 180mm macro lenses. The 4/3 options allow AF and work well with an e-m1.

    You also may have better luck with a Raynox on that 40-150 than extension tubes. That's a great, inexpensive option.
     
  17. wjiang

    wjiang Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    If you want variable working distance, get a proper macro lens. Extension tubes and achromatic dioptres both reduce your focusing distance to an almost fixed distance. If you want a longer working distance use a longer focal length lens, with dioptres, teleconverters if necessary.

    45mm on m4/3 is about the sweet spot for either dioptres or tubes. For shorter focal lengths tubes are more effective, for longer dioptres are. TBH all your pro zooms have really close focussing already. The 12-40 for instance will hit the limit with just a 10mm dioptre and will end up focussing right to the front element at 40mm for practically 1:1.
     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2016
  18. SVQuant

    SVQuant Mu-43 Top Veteran

    842
    Sep 20, 2015
    SF Bay Area, California, USA
    Sameer
    I can dig some up, but they are not as good as the one @GRID@GRID posted above. I has missed your requirement of longer working distance. I think that others with a lot more experience of Macro have already pointed out, extension tubes reduce the mfd and increase the magnification. However, a 26mm tube at the 150 end will increase the magnification from 0.21x to about 0.38x which may not be enough gain. The same tube will give you about 0.8x with the 45mm.
    BTW, it should be fairly inexpensive to pick up a set of 72mm diopters (B-72CUS-GB! for example) and test that option as well.
     
  19. Moris

    Moris Mu-43 Rookie

    23
    Apr 2, 2016
    @All
    Hmmm, quite difficult terms are passing here!

    @piggsy@piggsy
    1) With an adapted macro lens, do you mean for example a Sigma 105mm F2.8 DG Macro, or…?
    2) Extension tubes put on a 45mm seems like a nice light combination! Obviously I hope the best distance is sufficiently large.(larger than the Olympus 60mm)
    3) If the above options do not provide a larger working distance, I would finally like to consider the diopter Raynox 150/250 set.

    Regarding the 12- 40 mm and the 40-150mm, this is already being put to semi-macro for flowers, etc… I’m more interested in photographing smaller items like insects etc.

    I am already in posession of some good Yongnuo flash that I can use for macro

    @GRIDD
    Handsome pictures.
    What are the minimum distances you work with to take these pictures, when you setup 45mm and 40-150mm? Am very curious about this combination with the 45mm :)

    @Speedliner@Speedliner
    To really increase the working distance, you mean I need to think more of the 3rd-party 105, 150 or 180mm macro lenses.
    What do you mean with the 4/3 options to allow an AF? Can you give me examples off possible lenses.
     
  20. GRID

    GRID Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 22, 2011
    On the Oly 40-150mm it was about 40cm, the Oly 45mm was about 7-8cm if i remember correct.
     
    • Informative Informative x 1