Nature and Photography Blog

Extension Tubes for Nature Photography



I was photographing at the beautiful Cape Hanlopen State Park in Delaware. I decided to go on what I thought would be a 5 minute walk to the ocean. I ended up coming back 3 hours later. I was really thankful I brought my extension tubes since I didn’t have any macro lenses on me.  I ended up photographing ghost crabs, fence lizards, and a pray mantis.

One thing about camera gear is it is heavy. In my photo backpack I can’t fit everything. I love my 180mm Macro lens. It is my best option for macro photography. But when space is limited or I am traveling to a remote location I am sometimes unable to bring this lens with me.

One thing I always pack in my camera bag is my extension tubes. They are lightweight and take very little camera bag space. They are much cheaper and lighter than a macro lens.  

An extension tube is an important accessory for closeup photography. The hollow tube contains no optical elements; its sole purpose is to move the lens farther from the image sensor. This additional distance allows your lens to focus more closely, which in turn provides more magnification capability.

Extension tube can be added to almost any lens even zoom lenses. This will decrease the minimum focusing distance. They are available in multiple sizes. How much closer depends on the amount of extension and the magnification of your lens. You can also use it with a macro lens to get even closer. They can also be combined with tele converters etc.

Extension tubes do have some disadvantages. You will lose your ability to focus to affinity. Some tubes you will lose your autofocus so focus manually.

They are one the least expensive most versatile accessories you can buy for close up photography.  I recommend you buy some in multiple sizes.

Also remember extension tubes are not the same as a teleconverters.

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