close-up lens' versus extension tubes

Started Aug 20, 2012 | Discussions thread
Catallaxy
Veteran MemberPosts: 3,593
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Seeking consensus
In reply to dodgyexposure, Aug 30, 2012

I think there is consensus that if you use close up filters, that you should use quality dual element apochromatic lenses in order to get the best image quality. The Canon 500D (+2 diopter) and the Marumi 330 +3 fit the bill. There were mentions of other brands (some no longer manufactured, but might be available on the used market) that are considered top notch. There were also some brands and models mentioned to stay away from. Hopefully we can agree on this.

Similarly with tubes, the sturdier kind are preferred, and stacking tubes together can cause linkage problems. Hopefully we can agree on that.

About whether a tube is better than close up lens (or a teleconverter, or a reversed lens, or a reversed WA on a Tele), there does not seem to be much agreement. This is probably because the answer might change depending on what particular lens you pair with the tube or close up filter. Case in point: my Nikon 55-200 VR, which was bought refurbished for $150 and is a cheap consumer zoom, does very well with a Canon 500D close up lens, but does not do well with any tube that I have put on it. Yet my little Nikon 55 f/3.5 (AI'ed) does extremely well with a tube (it was manufactured to use a tube to get 1:1) and does not seem to do very well with a closeup lens. However my Tamron 90 f/2.5 macro seems to do well with either a tube, a closeup filter, or an ancient Tokina teleconverter (2x). The characteristics and the focal length of the lens has an affect on the final IQ of the pairing (tube or closeup).

I have tubes, and closeup filters (as well teleconverters, and several dedicated macro lneses) and enjoy them all. And I am not afraid to experiement to find out what works for me, with my existing lense inventory, and my shooting style.

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Catallaxy

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