Tuesday, May 17, 2011

New Toys To Play With Today

Three awesome things came from B&H Photo today. I'll share the first one with you by way of images first, then explanation. Later in the week, we'll talk about things 2 and 3.

This set of extension tubes is made by Tenko, and are specifically made so that they integrate with Nikon bodies and lenses, maintaining focusing cability (very limited, most macro photogs manually focus anyway), and metering. Here are my experiments before dinner.
I have wanted a set of extension tubes for my macro photography for years. Compared to a lens, they are dirt cheap, but inevitably, something else has won out when it came time to fork over the credit card number. About a week ago, when I was shooting the lovely flowers that were in bloom, I started seeing some of the major limitations of my 60mm Nikkor Micro lens. While it is an extraordinary lens, no doubt, it falls short in some odd ways. The main criticism I have is not really a fault of the lens, really more "as designed"... you need to be quite close to the object being photographed. Inches really.

Nikon D300s, Nikkon 60mm, f/14 (no extension tubes)

Nikon D300s, Nikkon 60mm, f/4.5 (36mm,12mm, 20mm stacked extension tubes)

At that range, you start interfering with your light source. I've been toying around with other ways of bringing in light while trying to steer clear of macro-strobes. That just seems like overkill.

Nikon D300s, Nikkon 60mm, f/3 (36mm extension tube)

One of the suggestions I read on a blog dedicated to macro-photography was to use extension tubes. Having never worked with them before, I was more than pleasantly surprised. Here are a few images from today's playing around in the studio.

Nikon D300s, Nikkon 60mm, f/25 (36mm,12mm, 20mm stacked extension tubes)

So after all of this playing around, I am left wondering... what would you shoot if you had a Big Bad Macro lens to play with for the day? What sorts of things would you find interesting? Ideas? Suggestions? Any other local Nikon shooters want to go out and play? Have a macro party?


  1. Nice work! How much distance lens-to-subject did the extension get you?
    things I'd shoot- the pets, plants, and maybe some interesting pottery glazes.

  2. Ironically Brian, much to my dismay, the extension tubes did the opposite of what I hoped they would do. They forced me to get even closer to my subject, eliminating the possibility of focusing farther away. So, what did they do that was positive? They allowed me to focus at critical distances of 1-5" away from the subject... the magnification factor is enormous.

    I think in the long run, I will probably end up buying a teleconverter (or just a better macro... maybe the 105mm micro.)