Extension Tube or Macro Lens?

Started Apr 23, 2013 | Discussions thread
D Cox
Senior MemberPosts: 6,962
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Re: Extension Tube or Macro Lens?
In reply to saintz, Apr 24, 2013

saintz wrote:

KM Legacy wrote:

Macro lenses are corrected for close-up work, unlike normal 50mm lenses. Also, with a macro you can focus from infinity to 1:2 (1:1 with some lenses), whereas once your extension tube is mounted on a normal lens, you are locked into a specific close range. Macro lenses are excellent general-purpose lenses unless you really need the high speed of "normal" lenses; they are usually among the sharpest lenses in any mfr's line.

Is that sharpness difference typically noticeable when shooting closeups of, say, a baby's fingers or  the peel of an orange sitting on a table? Or more noticeable when trying to get a flat image of a stamp (which would be better done on a scanner anyway)?

No, it is not noticeable.

I did a set of macro shots of the same subject, using Nikon 50mm f/1.4; Micro-Nikkor 55mm; Topcon f/1.4 and Macro; Nikon, Minolta and Wray enlarger lenses. All at f/11, shooting RAW.

The subject was some little brass nuts and bolts.

On A3 prints, the difference is not enough to tell which lens is which - there is no point in posting them as an on-screen view would not show any difference.

Certainly a Macro lens is convenient as the long focus range is like having built in tubes. So if you can get one cheap, it is worth while. In my case, I have had most of these lenses for many years.

One of the Wray lenses is not coated. This gives a slightly less black black - easily corrected in PP.

Beware of stopping down beyond f/16 as diffraction becomes a problem sooner at macro distances than at infinity.

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