What are extension tubes?

Bee on flower at Wisley-1At the time of writing, the Photography Teacher blog site is still only a few weeks old.  It has replaced my previous, much older blog, which wasn’t easy to work with and had limiting features.

Going back through some of my older posts I came across this little video I shot on the subject of using extension tubes for close-up (macro) photography.

Shot in 2016, in my old office, it still contains useful information about working with these inexpensive tubes and I think it manages to demystify them and how they work pretty well.

Macro photography

Macro photography is enjoyed by a great many photographers and it’s a subject I frequently teach on.  As a keen gardener, my wife loves shooting macro images of the flowers she grows and particularly if she manages to get butterflies and bees in the shot.

I remember when I bought my first macro lens, it felt like a whole new world of photography was suddenly opening up to me, a world I hadn’t been aware of before.

Fox Gloves water droplets-1

These flowers were shot by stacking multiple images, each focused at different points and then combined together on the computer.  Without this process (called stacking), the narrow depth of field would render much of the image out of focus.

You start to see in a whole new way when you shoot macro.  All objects become a lot more interesting as you begin picturing them up close in your mind’s eye – even before you point your camera at them.

Even simple things in the kitchen like cheese graters and bowls of fruit start to look interesting when you go in close.

Using extension tubes

Extension tubes don’t even have to be attached to genuine macro lenses.  They will probably fit most of the lens you already own.

The photo below was shot with a tube fitted to my Canon 135mm lens.  The depth of field is tiny on that focal length, a shorter lens may have been better.

bee on lavendar-1

Canon 135mm f/2 lens with extension tubes fitted to enable close focusing

One of the biggest advantages to using tubes has to be the cost.

Compared with so many of the other things we spend our money on as photographers, tubes are cheap.  Be careful not to go too cheap though.  There are some tubes out there which don’t have the electical connections to control the aperture.  Avoid those like the plague.

Check out a range of tubes here from the manufacturer Kenko,

Enjoy the video and if you would like to know more about macro photography, visit my website for details of macro courses

Introduction to macro photography

Advanced macro photography

As always, if you have any questions please post them below and I will do my best to answer them.

Learn Photography

If you’re looking for photography workshops, photography courses or photography lessons, check out our website at Hampshire School of Photography or call Tuesday – Friday 01252 643143

Kevin Ahronson

Kevin is a full-time professional photographer and has been teaching photography since 2009. He founded the Hampshire School of Photography where he runs photography workshops and gives one to one mentoring to photographers at all levels, from complete beginners through to those who want to turn professional

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