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09-10-2011, 07:51 PM   #1
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Macro extension tube and macro filter, how do they work?

I am looking to add a macro ability for my lens but I don't have a ton to spend on.
And I also see a lot of great macro shots from the photo section which are taken with the tube.

So my question is, how does the extension tube works?
Does it reduce the light entering by a ton and have to use tripod?

How about the macro filters?
Can you still use auto focus and A mode with it?
Does it give a lot worse image quality than using tube?

I would appreciate any link that teleport me to a detail discussion too.

My purpose for the macro ability is for outdoor flowers and such, and don't want to bring a tripod or flash.

I have a 16-45mm f4 which gives me decent macro distance, but I often find that I need more close up distance.

Sorry for the many questions, please give me some input.
Thanks.


Last edited by telly0050; 09-10-2011 at 08:05 PM.
09-10-2011, 08:08 PM   #2
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Most of your questions are answered here: https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-lens-articles/152336-cheap-macro-b...lose-work.html

The easy way to go macro with your 16-45 (not the best!) is with a Raynox DCR-150 adapter-lens. It costs about US$65. The cheap way to go macro is with a 75mm or 105mm enlarger lens (cost: under US$20), some cheap M42 macro tubes (about US$8) and cheap M39-M42 and M42-PK adapters (about US$5 each). Both of these approaches can give very good results. A set of closeup 'filters' will cost even less, maybe US$10-15, but the images won't be quite as good. See the article. Good luck!

Last edited by RioRico; 09-10-2011 at 11:08 PM.
09-10-2011, 08:16 PM   #3
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Both filters and tubes add magnification power to the lens.

There is some light loss, less with a good filter like the Raynox 150 or 250, and a little more with extension tubes. Tubes have more versatility especially for the 16-45 because they can extend the barrel giving more telecentricity. They are almost all manual focus now and you would need to use stop-down metering. I cannot say if they will work on DA lenses.

A close-up filter (they're rarely macro because they cannot get to 1:1) are handy as they just pop on an off your lens and it can autofocus for initial focusing and then manual from there.

The 16-45 isn't the ideal focal length at 45mm to do macro, especially for a filter. Ideally you'd like a telephoto, like a 100mm to 200mm because the more you magnify, the closer you have to get to the subject, until your shadow blocks the light. So using a filter on a telephoto is ideal because you can separate the front of the lens from the subject.

A really good inexpensive option is to get a 50mm manual focus M or A series lens and a cheap reversing ring.

Most macro work should be done on a tripod, but close-ups of leaves, flowers etc. don't if you can really brace yourself and the light is very good (sidelight is necessary). You're using a high # f-stop (f/16-32) usually to get the DOF required. I find the IQ of filters to be just fine for what you want. Go Flickr and type in Raynox or Canon close-up filter and you'll see examples.

The only close-up filters I would use are the Canon (preferable because it is a flatter image) or the Raynox system (more versatile).
09-10-2011, 10:01 PM   #4
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thanks riorico and aristop for the link and the great information!

just did some research on the raynox, seems that it gives great result with a very reasonable price tag!
I have a DAL 55-300mm which i hardly use, with a raynox filter i think it can get much more uses which is really good for me~

just some confusion here, since the filter is like a magnifying glass, does it mean i stay in the same distance with the object and the filter enlarge it, or do i get really close to the object just like regular macro lens after attaching the filter?
and just one more thing, i found the raynox 150 to be only 49mm, and 250 is for 52-67mm, so if i want a filter for my 300mm lens, i have to go with the 250 one (300mm uses 57mm filter)?

thanks again guys!
im really excited about the filter now

09-10-2011, 10:16 PM   #5
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Just a quick note on tubes. You can get "auto" tubes by picking up a used auto teleconverter and removing the glass. Won't name the brands that are suspect as having lousy IQ for their original purpose since they show up on the Marketplace here and that's the buyer/seller's prerogative to establish. I've had great success with this solution. A little web research will tell you which ones have the contacts to maintain auto function but shouldn't be used as TC's unless you're looking for a "toy lens in muddy water" effect.
09-10-2011, 11:22 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by telly0050 Quote
I have a DAL 55-300mm which i hardly use, with a raynox filter i think it can get much more uses which is really good for me~
For that lens, the Raynox DCR-250 is about right.

QuoteQuote:
just some confusion here, since the filter is like a magnifying glass, does it mean i stay in the same distance with the object and the filter enlarge it, or do i get really close to the object just like regular macro lens after attaching the filter?
I go into that in the article. The macro adapter determines the working distance; the focal length determines the magnification. The article has a table of the numbers. But basically, yes, you must get close to the subject.

QuoteQuote:
and just one more thing, i found the raynox 150 to be only 49mm, and 250 is for 52-67mm, so if i want a filter for my 300mm lens, i have to go with the 250 one (300mm uses 57mm filter)?
The Raynoxi themselves have 43mm rear threads, 49mm front threads. Both Raynoxi come with a 'universal' lens-mount device to fit lenses with front threads from 52-68mm. (It is *possible* to force that onto a 49mm-thread lens, but I prefer to use a 43-49mm step ring.) For your lens, you can use either Rayonx and its clever device.
09-11-2011, 12:06 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by jac Quote
Just a quick note on tubes. You can get "auto" tubes by picking up a used auto teleconverter and removing the glass. Won't name the brands that are suspect as having lousy IQ for their original purpose since they show up on the Marketplace here and that's the buyer/seller's prerogative to establish. I've had great success with this solution. A little web research will tell you which ones have the contacts to maintain auto function but shouldn't be used as TC's unless you're looking for a "toy lens in muddy water" effect.
Is there any special trick to removing the glass. I am purchasing a cheap times 2 converter and I am assuming it just requires a few screws removed.
09-11-2011, 05:20 AM   #8
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Normally there will be two simple, tiny slots 180 degrees from each other on a retainer ring on the face side of the lens. A small jewelry screwdriver is handy at this point I suppose but I used my Swiss army knife.

09-11-2011, 05:57 AM   #9
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I recommend the Raynox DCR 150 for the DA(L) 55-300 lens. With the Raynox 150 attached the lens will give magnifications greater than 2x - at least as great as a normal person can handle without a tripod. With the Raynox 150 the working distance - distance from lens to subject - is about 8" (200mm) while with the 250 the working distance is only about 5" (125mm).

The Raynox 250 has greater magnification than the 150 so is better suited for short focal length lenses; its shortcoming is a smaller working distance. The 250 is suitable for your 16-45....(RioRico made a typo error earlier & mixed up the 150 & 250.)

The nominal magnification created by a close-up lens is the ratio of the primary lens focal length to the close-up lens focal length. The Raynox 150's focal length is 208mm while the 250's is 125mm. Working distance is nominally the close-up lens' focal length.

I use a Raynox 150 on a DA 55-300 frequently and highly recommend the combination; built-in auto-flash works - which may not be the case with the 250 because of the shorter working distance (because the lens will shade the subject.)

Last edited by newarts; 09-11-2011 at 06:39 AM.
09-11-2011, 06:04 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by jac Quote
Normally there will be two simple, tiny slots 180 degrees from each other on a retainer ring on the face side of the lens. A small jewelry screwdriver is handy at this point I suppose but I used my Swiss army knife.


Small sharp-point scissors work well.as a spanner wrench to remove bezel rings.
09-11-2011, 07:36 AM   #11
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Thanks newart and jac
09-11-2011, 09:05 AM   #12
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thanks guys for all ur opinions!
just bought a 150 for total of $60 on buy.com
gonna try it out when i got it!
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