Extension Tube or Macro Lens?

Started Apr 23, 2013 | Discussions thread
saintz Contributing Member • Posts: 551
Re: Extension Tube or Macro Lens?

Letsgokoulos wrote:

GaryR60 wrote:

I'm contemplating doing some macro photography with my NEX-5N and since I have a Fotodiox MD-NEX adapter that lets me use all my legacy Minolta MD-mount lenses, I'm thinking I might get a cheap extension tube for MD mount and use it with the adapter and the Minolta 50mm lens I have, as opposed to buying a dedicated macro lens. What say you? Any reasons I should go with the macro lens, instead?


I agree with D Cox's recommendations.

A macro lens only is justified if you intend to often practice macro photography.

Otherwise, I would advise close-up lenses of good quality, such as the Raynox DCR-150 (+4.5) and 250 (+8), or Marumi Achromat DHG 200 (+5) and DHG 330 (+3). It is important to find good quality ones (achromats are highly recommended), so that the optical qualities of your lens are not degraded. Note that you do not loose any light with close-up lenses.

One important thing to take into account is that extension tubes, which do not contain any glass that could deteriorate your IQ, will actually loose at least 1 stop (depending on the tube length).

I find the bellows solution to be a good one for high magnification macro, but its downside (for me, at least) is that it is cumbersome and attracts dust on the camera sensor which is unprotected.


It looks like good adapter lenses cost as much as a legacy macro lens. At that point I would probably just get a legacy macro. I was trying to avoid cheap adapter lenses to avoid quality degradation.

I figure the tubes will lose light, but so would a f2.8 or f4 macro lens compared to faster regular 50mm lenses.

Personally, I'm wondering if I should get a M42 tube for my Takumar 50 f1.4, or go with the Takumar 50 f4 macro.

 saintz's gear list:saintz's gear list
Sony a6000 Sony E 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 OSS Sony E 50mm F1.8 OSS Sony E 16-50mm F3.5-5.6 PZ OSS
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