Steve Cushing Impresionist Fine Art Photography

Steve Cushing Impresionist Fine Art Photography

Embracing imperfection, recording emotions, one impression at a time…

Extension Tubes

Unlike filters and tele-converters, extension tubes don’t contain any glass optics and therefore they don’t affect the quality of your lens. Extension tubes are simply hollow tubes that create distance. The light that is refracted through your lens passes through the tube unaffected on its path to the digital sensor.

An extension tube is a spacer that sits between your lens and the camera body to alter the MFD (minimum focus distance). The MFD of a lens is a measurement of the closest point a subject can be from the camera’s sensor, whilst still being able to focus. If a subject is closer to the sensor than a lens’ MFD, you cannot focus on that subject.

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The longer the extension tube used, the higher the lens magnification becomes as you’re able to move the lens much closer to the subject and still achieve focus. What all this means is that you can turn a normal lens into something with much a much higher magnification factor to achieve macro-like images, without needing a dedicated macro lens.

A simple mathematical equation helps you determine what level of magnification you will achieve when using a specific size extension tube on a specific lens:

Additional magnification = Extension tube’s length in millimetres divided by the focal length of a lens

A 50mm extension tube combined with a 50mm lens (50 divided by 50) gives you a 1:1 ratio. Likewise, a 25mm extension tube combined with a 50mm lens (25 divided by 50) can offer a 1:2 (or half size) representation of your subject.

The important point is that “The diameter of an aperture is equal to the focal length, divided by the f-number”. This means that f-stop is directly related to the focal length and since focal length is related to various dimensions in the lens design, extension tubes also change the effective focal length of a lens. This in turn causes a change in effective f-stop

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