Extension Tube or Macro Lens?

Started Apr 23, 2013 | Discussions thread
Letsgokoulos Senior Member • Posts: 2,210
Re: Extension Tube or Macro Lens?

saintz wrote:

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.

It is true that a good close-up lens is not so cheap, but it has the versatility of being adaptable to several lenses... A Marumi in 49mm can be adapted to most of the E-mount lenses, and it is very light and small to carry with you.

I can't imagine taking a macro shot at f1.4 in any case. The depth of field is very shallow when you are at 1:2 or 1:1 magnification (sometimes under 1mm), and you will find yourself more often trying to deepen the DoF by going to f8, f11 or even smaller apertures. And at these apertures, your problem will be shutter speed...

This problem is getting worse with extension tubes, because you loose 1 stop at least. Your only chance is then to use some pretty good light solutions, such as external flashes, ring flashes, etc... to regain some shutter speed.

Between adding a tube to a Takumar 50mm f1.4 and getting the 50mm f4 Macro, I would use the dedicated macro lens without hesitation. As KM Legacy explained, one advantage of the macro lens is that your are not limited to a specific close range and can vary your shooting distance with the amount of magnification you wish to use. Macro lenses can also be used as regular lenses, are very sharp and often have good bokeh qualities.

I use all the solutions detailed above, except for the extension tubes that I quit using. Each method has a specific purpose. Again, the main question is how serious you want to be with macro photography and whether the investment can be justified.


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