Kooka Extension Tubes for Nikon 1

Started Jan 8, 2017 | User reviews
Stefan BW Senior Member • Posts: 1,462
Kooka Extension Tubes for Nikon 1
11

The Nikon 1 system lacks a dedicated macro lens. DSLR macro lenses can be adapted via the FT-1 adapter, apparently (from what I've read in this forum) it is one of the areas where good FT-1 combos really shine. Coming from a superzoom, I have never used macro lenses. The ability of infinity focus must be a huge plus, and I surely hope that Nikon eventually offers a N1 macro lens. Being mainly a birder, I am satisfied with the alternative solution offered by extension tubes. Let me give an example as an appetizer, the remains of a peanut from Christmas.

Peanut (3 extension tubes)

A major inspiration has been Thomas Stirr's blog. He described his experiences with Vello extension tubes, then had durability issues with his first set and is now using Movo extension tubes. The latter text is particularly informative, as Stirr gives a detailed overview about the minimum focusing distances and magnification which these three tubes (10mm, 16mm resp. 21mm) have in combination with the CX 30-110 and the CX 70-300 lenses. These two excellent, sharp lenses are generally preferred for macros with extension tubes - not only by Stirr, but also by most members in the dpreview forum. I'll just quote two findings from Stirr's overview:

CX 30-110 + three tubes: minimum focusing distance 34,3 cm, magnification 562%.
CX 70-300 + three tubes: minimum focusing distance 89 cm, magnification 269%.

In practice the longer zoom works very well for dragonflies or water insects (avoiding a fall into the pond), smaller critters are covered even better (= larger) with the CX 30-110 lens, it remains the weapon of choice for 95% of macro shots with extension tubes.

There exists already an excellent review by TSWD onFOTGA Macro AF 10 & 16mm Extension Tubes in this N1 forum, it is definitely worth reading and gives also good hints about the frustrations with extension tubes. It may seem pointless to review another set of extension tubes, as these tubes all produce the identical optical effects. Moreover I only own the Kooka and cannot compare it to the sets of rival companies. At this point I can already explain why I score the product with 4.5 points: I can see no big flaws. The Kooka extension tubes are doing what I'd expect from most sets of extension tubes, for an affordable price. Nevertheless I hope this review offers additional insight, as I intend to add a second post on "using six extension tubes, to increase magnification".

Two sets of the Kooka extension tubes, both consisting of a 10mm, 16mm and 21mm tube

Kooka is a Hong Kong company specialized on DSLR camera accessories. They offer extension tubes for ten different camera mounts, at varying prices. The set for N1 that I bought comes with two caps, front and back cap (missing in the photo above). My source was a German dealer, via the German ebay site. Presently priced at Euro 39.99, I bought my first set for Euro 29.99, the second for Euro 31.50 (= 34.99 ./. 10% discount).

I've seen criticism in the web for other versions, in an extreme case someone said that the screws didn't hold and his dear DSLR lens fell to the ground. Personally I'd not worry about the lightweight CX 30-110 lens, in my opinion these tubes are solid constructions, so far I've not faced any problems.

For splendid examples with extension tubes, go to Stirr's website linked above. Here are some of my own photos, mostly shot with the CX 30-110 + 3 extension tubes.

Bee

Water droplets

Fly

Grasshopper

Butterfly

Bug

Ant

The next photo of a Waterstrider was taken with the CX 70-300 + 3 tubes:

Waterstrider (CX 70-300 + 3 tubes)

 Stefan BW's gear list:Stefan BW's gear list
Nikon 1 V2 Nikon 1 Nikkor VR 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6
Stefan BW's score
4.5
D300SandV1shooter Senior Member • Posts: 2,238
Re: Kooka Extension Tubes for Nikon 1
1

Good review - look forward to the follow-up on using all six of your tubes at the same time! Nicely illustrated too (except for the ant!).

There’s a forum contributor who keeps posting about how this forum must include the DLs (even, absurdly, instead of the N1s) because N1 owners have so much to share with and teach to the DL owners - I guess your post on extension tubes is an example which goes to prove his point! 

OP Stefan BW Senior Member • Posts: 1,462
Re: Kooka Extension Tubes for Nikon 1

A short follow-up, motivated by Thomas Stirr's impressive experiment with five Movo extension tubes. During the German winter there are no butterflies available, but after buying a second set of Kooka extension tubes at least I was able to play around a bit.

The CX 30-110 with three extension tubes has a minimum focusing distance of 34,3 cm, when I focus with six extension tubes (10 + 10 + 16 +16 + 21 + 21 = 94mm long), I get a minimum focusing distance of about 16 cm.

The following examples were taken with the CX 30-110 and either three or six extension tubes. They are merely meant to illustrate the magnification. All are uncropped (while some photos in the first post above have been cropped, in varying degree).

1 Euro coin (3 tubes)

1 Euro coin (6 tubes)

Peanut on Christmas paper (3 tubes)

Peanut on Christmas paper (6 tubes)

Christmas paper (3 tubes)

Christmas paper (6 tubes)

 Stefan BW's gear list:Stefan BW's gear list
Nikon 1 V2 Nikon 1 Nikkor VR 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6
OP Stefan BW Senior Member • Posts: 1,462
Re: Kooka Extension Tubes for Nikon 1

D300SandV1shooter wrote:

Good review - look forward to the follow-up on using all six of your tubes at the same time! Nicely illustrated too (except for the ant!).

There’s a forum contributor who keeps posting about how this forum must include the DLs (even, absurdly, instead of the N1s) because N1 owners have so much to share with and teach to the DL owners - I guess your post on extension tubes is an example which goes to prove his point!

Thanks! Strangely I've shot a much better ant photo with the Canon SX50 - but that ant was probably dead, didn't move at all. When I tried to "beat" the result with the N1 + extension tubes, I faced the little problem that these critters move so fast.

I bought the second set of tubes partly intending to use the six tubes for ants in the next summer. But then I'll use some jam to slow them down...

 Stefan BW's gear list:Stefan BW's gear list
Nikon 1 V2 Nikon 1 Nikkor VR 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6
User1303423862 Contributing Member • Posts: 602
Re: Kooka Extension Tubes for Nikon 1

Hi Stefan. Nice review. Does stopping down increase DoF appreciably? Does diffraction become a problem past f/8?

Thanks

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OP Stefan BW Senior Member • Posts: 1,462
Re: Kooka Extension Tubes for Nikon 1

User1303423862 wrote:

Hi Stefan. Nice review. Does stopping down increase DoF appreciably? Does diffraction become a problem past f/8?

Thanks

Thanks. The DOF is only a few mm thin, as the photo with the grasshopper illustrates. In that case I used f/7.1. In general I try to squeeze most of the insect into the focus plane. So to get a sharp photo of an entire butterfly, it would be best to place yourself parallel to the wings.  Usually I don't bother to go beyond f/8 or so, the effect isn't huge.

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Nikon 1 V2 Nikon 1 Nikkor VR 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6
CX Bob
CX Bob Senior Member • Posts: 2,917
Re: Kooka Extension Tubes for Nikon 1

Thanks, Stefan, for the always-welcome combination of an interesting and informative post combined with terrific photos!

Of course the "It may seem pointless to review another set of extension tubes..." thought isn't true.  It's always good to hear about anything available for the 1 system, and there seem to be a lot of balances to be made when selecting a set of tubes, so having another option and more information is great.  Please let us know at some future date how they are standing up to the test of time.  ( :

OP Stefan BW Senior Member • Posts: 1,462
Re: Kooka Extension Tubes for Nikon 1

CX Bob wrote:

Of course the "It may seem pointless to review another set of extension tubes..." thought isn't true. It's always good to hear about anything available for the 1 system, and there seem to be a lot of balances to be made when selecting a set of tubes, so having another option and more information is great. Please let us know at some future date how they are standing up to the test of time. ( :

Many thanks, Bob.

A short additional comment. - Influenced by Stirr's site, I've preferred extension tubes for macro with the N1. Going through older threads I see that other solutions for macro are also very popular and have been used for excellent results. Unfortunately posts in this forum from 2011 or 2012 often contain broken links and missing photos. But one thread from January 2016 titled Nikon v1/J1 etc "vs" Panasonic Bridge Cameras, for close up/macro IQ? deserves a recommendation in this context. It is an inspiring discussion of the various macro options for an N1 owner.

That thread encouraged me to try my old Raynox 250 again, which I had bought ages ago for another camera. The following photo was taken with the CX 30-110 lens @110mm with the Raynox 250 loosely placed before the lens. Maybe I'll get a step-up ring from 40.5mm to 49mm, I feel the Raynox deserves a field test with ants in 2017.

1 Euro coin (CX 30-110 lens @110mm + Raynox 250)

Edit: Okay, I'll admit that I've cheated here, using a newer Euro coin for this photo than for the two photos above with the extension tubes. Sue me!

 Stefan BW's gear list:Stefan BW's gear list
Nikon 1 V2 Nikon 1 Nikkor VR 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6
Akhmaat
Akhmaat New Member • Posts: 5
Re: Kooka Extension Tubes for Nikon 1
1

Thank you very much for this post, I was just wondering if I could find something affordable to shoot macro and I found this post! Just ordered this "tubes" on Amazon, cannot wait to try them

OP Stefan BW Senior Member • Posts: 1,462
Re: Kooka Extension Tubes for Nikon 1

You are welcome. These extension tubes remain favorites of mine with the 30-110mm. Have fun.

 Stefan BW's gear list:Stefan BW's gear list
Nikon 1 V2 Nikon 1 Nikkor VR 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6
Tord S Eriksson
Tord S Eriksson Forum Pro • Posts: 14,690
Re: Kooka Extension Tubes for Nikon 1

Extension tubes plus Raynox seems interesting, have you tried them further?!

The Nikon 40/2.8 DX micro is nice to use with the Nikon 1 cameras, as is the 85/3.5 VR.

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edform
edform Veteran Member • Posts: 7,725
Re: Kooka Extension Tubes for Nikon 1
1

A long overdue review Stefan - I should have done it myself since I've had two sets of these tubes and enjoyed using them. The first set was bought for my original V1 and sold with it, and I purchased a new set recently to go with my V3.

I'd add a qualification to your enthusiastic review: the bayonet system on some of these tubes is not very good. There is no question about the tubes' ability to securely hold onto a heavy lens, but the locking action leaves the lens free to rotate rather too much for integrity of the electric connections so that occasional 'no lens' messages pop up. My earlier set was notably poorer in this respect than the one I have now - I just checked the connections with my 70-300CX mounted on all three of the tubes without issue, nevertheless, the camera body can be rotated some 10 degrees with locked bayonets in the 3 tube setup - less, of course with one or two tubes.

I'd be very interested in the bayonet behaviour of other manufacturer's tubes if anyone with experience is able to comment.

While I had the system together, I took the opportunity to measure the minimum focusing distance with the 70-300CX zoomed to 300mm and found it to be 66cm against your reported 89cm. At 70mm the minimum focus distance drops to around 40mm. The lens can focus on a plane surface - the display on a computer monitor is an ideal target - out to about 100mm at 70mm focal length and out to somewhere around 3 metres at 300mm focal length.

From 660mm with the lens set at 300mm focal length, the image is distinctly magnified as these two images show...

The black rectangle is approximately the boundary of the macro view below...

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Ed Form

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Akhmaat
Akhmaat New Member • Posts: 5
Re: Kooka Extension Tubes for Nikon 1
1

Stefan BW wrote:

You are welcome. These extension tubes remain favorites of mine with the 30-110mm. Have fun.

I've been "playing" with them for the last two weeks, using my 30-110mm lenses. I LOVE them! And love the fact that I can shoot everywhere, no needs to go to find interesting subjects far away because they are just around all around.

CX Bob
CX Bob Senior Member • Posts: 2,917
Re: Kooka Extension Tubes for Nikon 1
1

That's a very good point.  Once you start 'seeing' things up close, you feel like there's a whole new world out there.  ( :

OP Stefan BW Senior Member • Posts: 1,462
Re: Kooka Extension Tubes for Nikon 1

In this context it is worth to mention Stirr's recent experiments with an Olympus TG-5 camera for macro. If you want serious magnification, read his piece on spider images. Very impressive imo. A TG-5 isn't cheap though, costs €200 or more (used).

I am aware this isn't a Nikon1 camera, may seem "wrong" in this forum. Otoh the Canadian Thomas Stirr is the most influential N1 photographer by a country mile. If he believes the TG-5 is a nice supplement to his N1, at least we should consider the idea.

 Stefan BW's gear list:Stefan BW's gear list
Nikon 1 V2 Nikon 1 Nikkor VR 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6
Escaping Senior Member • Posts: 1,251
Re: Kooka Extension Tubes for Nikon 1
1

Tord S Eriksson wrote:

Extension tubes plus Raynox seems interesting, have you tried them further?!

The Nikon 40/2.8 DX micro is nice to use with the Nikon 1 cameras, as is the 85/3.5 VR.

yeap!

https://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/62421836

https://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/62425567

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