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Macro Extension Tubes

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ABDurbs View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote ABDurbs Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Macro Extension Tubes
    Posted: 09 February 2019 at 08:30
I am exploring using extension tubes with my Minolta 50mm f1.7 as a macro option. My Tamron 90mm was written off some time back and I never replaced it, but would like something I could use for the "odd occasion" I would need macro.

Are tubes a viable option instead of forking out for a genuine macro lens and which ones?

Thanks
Regards
Allan
A99 + VG, A77ii + VG, 70-400G, Zeiss 85mm f1.7, CZ16-80, Tamron 70-200 USD Tamron 24-70 USD, HVL-43, Minolta 8000i, Minolta 50mm f1.7
 



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SnowFella View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote SnowFella Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 February 2019 at 10:06
I find that my old Kenko tubes do well, just make sure you get the fully compatible ones with 8 pins and screw drive to get 100% functionality.

Read some horror stories of bricked camera's over at DP Review lately from people buying cheap tubes from Amazon. Turns out the springs for the contacts were free to flex side to side inside the tubes and if you were unlucky adjacent springs flexed into each other and caused a short = instant fried camera.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote QuietOC Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 February 2019 at 12:41
My Meike/Neewer AF extensions work fine. I have the version with the shiny metal mounts. I think I paid less for my current Minolta 50 F3.5 which is a nice lens, especially if you want 1:2 magnification or less.

Macro lenses are designed to have a flat focus plane at their highest magnification, but if you don't mind some focus plane curvature a regular prime with extensions will work fine. The extensions also work with zooms.

A reversing mount for a wide angle prime is an even cheaper option. The 28 F2.8 works fine reversed. You can also reverse a lens on to the front of a longer lens with a coupler. I get 10:1 magnification with the Sony DT 30 F2.8 Macro SAM reversed on the front of a 300 mm zoom.

Edited by QuietOC - 09 February 2019 at 12:48
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amrep View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote amrep Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 February 2019 at 12:42
Macro lens designs have a very flat field of focus and are optimized for maximum resolution on short subject distances. This makes them superior for reproduction work. For other purposes extension tubes and a 50mm may be satisfactory, depending an your demands.

A 25mm tube will give you a 1:1.5 reproduction ratio with the 50mm f1.7 (A 35mm subject will fill the APS-C frame width.) Kenko tubes are very well made, like the 25mm Mx-AF Uniplus 25.

For true macro work, 50mm normal lenses may perform a little bit better optically if the are mounted reversed using a cheap reverse ring. But then even the aperture gets fully manual - like this
http://www.pbase.com/pganzel/image/105670408
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Post Options Post Options   Quote sybersitizen Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 February 2019 at 17:11
Originally posted by ABDurbs ABDurbs wrote:

Are tubes a viable option instead of forking out for a genuine macro lens and which ones?

Tubes are great, but so are true macro lenses. US eBay is showing some Minolta AF 50mm macros for $50-$60. A set of good tubes with all the electrical and mechanical connections (that's the kind you should get) might not be dramatically lower in price. Don't know how that compares to your region, though.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote ABDurbs Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 February 2019 at 07:30
Thanks for the replies guys, much appreciated and food for thought.

Sounds like a reversing ring may be a good option and I should only consider something like Kenko or Meike extension tubes. I have been offered a 2nd hand set of tubes for around GBP58, but I didn't like the look of them. Other than that I cannot find any A mount extension tubes anywhere in this country. I have also been offered a Sigma 105 macro for GBP129, but I am not crazy about the Sigma macro.

There is zero support for Sony A mount here in South Africa, and very few Sony accessories in general, so unless I import direct from overseas I am not going to find a reversing ring here. The last time I had a wireless shutter release posted to me from overseas it took 3 months to get to me, thanks to a Postal Service that is beyond useless.

I may have to wait till a relative visits from the UK.
Regards
Allan
A99 + VG, A77ii + VG, 70-400G, Zeiss 85mm f1.7, CZ16-80, Tamron 70-200 USD Tamron 24-70 USD, HVL-43, Minolta 8000i, Minolta 50mm f1.7
 



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Post Options Post Options   Quote LAbernethy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 February 2019 at 03:16
Are close up filters not an option for the occasional macro?
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amrep View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote amrep Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 February 2019 at 05:39
Yes, close up filters are an option, but only the not so cheap ones (like Raynox DCR-250) doesn't visibly degrade the image.

I think it's important to realize that a true macro lens with autofocus is much more flexible and easy to work with for various macro work than any other option. So if you are looking for some kind of general macro solution it will probably be worth it to pay quite a bit more to save you from hassles.

But there are many different kinds of specialized macro work. If you want a high reproduction ratio like 2:1 a reversed 28mm lens can be a very cheap solution. The old Minolta 28mm lenses made before A-mount was invented can be had for cheap and they do have a manual aperture ring.
(Therefore, tinkering is not needed like it is for reversed a-mount lenses
https://pbase.com/pganzel/reverse_mount_aperture_control_maxxum_lenses
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Post Options Post Options   Quote owenn01 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 February 2019 at 11:45
Originally posted by ABDurbs ABDurbs wrote:

I have also been offered a Sigma 105 macro for GBP129, but I am not crazy about the Sigma macro.


Alan - I have the Sigma 105/2.8 macro and it works beautifully; it's sharp even wide open and seems to have a very fine bokeh to go with that. If you've ever seen any of my flower images (and the Tulip ones especially) then those would most likely have been taken with that lens (I don't have any other true Macro options in my 'bag').

The only slight issue (and this goes for many macro lenses anyway) is the front extension of the lens when getting down really close to a subject - though you quickly factor that in when using it. It also doubles up as a very useful and high performing non-macro lens as well; I've used it over the years for landscapes and it delivers crisp, clean images.

So - I wouldn't discount it as an option and that price does look quite competitive from what I've seen for these.

Good luck and best regards,

Neil.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote ABDurbs Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 February 2019 at 14:02
Originally posted by owenn01 owenn01 wrote:

Originally posted by ABDurbs ABDurbs wrote:

I have also been offered a Sigma 105 macro for GBP129, but I am not crazy about the Sigma macro.


Alan - I have the Sigma 105/2.8 macro and it works beautifully; it's sharp even wide open and seems to have a very fine bokeh to go with that. If you've ever seen any of my flower images (and the Tulip ones especially) then those would most likely have been taken with that lens (I don't have any other true Macro options in my 'bag').

The only slight issue (and this goes for many macro lenses anyway) is the front extension of the lens when getting down really close to a subject - though you quickly factor that in when using it. It also doubles up as a very useful and high performing non-macro lens as well; I've used it over the years for landscapes and it delivers crisp, clean images.

So - I wouldn't discount it as an option and that price does look quite competitive from what I've seen for these.

Good luck and best regards,

Neil.

Good to know Neil, thanks. Perhaps I should ask the seller if I could spend some time with the lens. Fortunately he lives just round the corner so hopefully it shouldn't be an issue.
Regards
Allan
A99 + VG, A77ii + VG, 70-400G, Zeiss 85mm f1.7, CZ16-80, Tamron 70-200 USD Tamron 24-70 USD, HVL-43, Minolta 8000i, Minolta 50mm f1.7
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Phil Wood View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Phil Wood Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 February 2019 at 15:00
58 GBP for a set of tubes is a little high, but not outrageously so (I think my Kenko set was 42 gbp). However, my Min 50mm f.28 macro was 55 GBP, my Min 50mm f3.5 was 60 GBP - it doesn't mean that the tubes are wasted, I use them with macro lenses for more magnification.

The other point it that the macro 50mms are seriously good general purpose lenses, a class above the f1.7 IMO.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote rosspa29 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 February 2019 at 10:29
Hi Allan
I also use a sigma 105 28 macro.
It is great!
There are several versions. The current one with the HSM motor is the one I have. It even auto focus's almost like a normal prime lens. I haven't tried the others.
Regards Ross
Ross
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Aavo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 February 2019 at 11:01
Close up filters are for occasional use good enough, as you do not need to open mount. The best way to use close up filters is to have these with bigger diametre, so mounting via additional 2-screw ring.
As example I use 55mm close up filters on 49mm lens filter diametre. My set is 10x + 4x filters.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote ABDurbs Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 February 2019 at 07:35
Thanks Phil, Ross and Aavo. I have decided to wait till I can find a reasonably priced, V Good condition macro lens - either Sony or Sigma.
Regards
Allan
A99 + VG, A77ii + VG, 70-400G, Zeiss 85mm f1.7, CZ16-80, Tamron 70-200 USD Tamron 24-70 USD, HVL-43, Minolta 8000i, Minolta 50mm f1.7
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