How Much Magnification Will an Extension Tube Provide?

If you’re an amateur in macro photography, you can purchase a macro lens for your camera.

You can also pair your macro lens with an extension tube to get closer to your subject to get exceptional results.

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Telescope Physics Questions | Questions about Telescope

In this blog post, we will look at how much magnification an extension tube will provide.

How Much Magnification Will an Extension Tube Provide?

How to use extension tubes

An extension tube increases the magnification of a lens by the extension distance divided by the lens’s focal length.

Adding a 12 mm extension tube to a 50 mm lens, for example, will result in a magnification gain of 0.45X.

Every camera lens has some natural extension, which focuses on ordinary things.

Closer focusing distance lenses often have a more natural extension, but they benefit very little from extension tubes.

What is an Extension Tube?

An extension tube is an empty tube that fits your lens and the camera’s body. It allows you to focus on subjects nearer to the camera to achieve significant magnification.

It’s also called a macro tube since it allows you to produce macro images without using a macro lens.

The wider your extension tube, the higher your lens magnification becomes since you can move your lens closer to your subject and achieve focus.

How Do Extension Tubes Work?

An extension tube changes the focus point by moving the lens away from the body. This enables you to concentrate on objects closer to the lens than would otherwise be possible.

The trade-off is that it also brings your furthest focus distance closer to the lens.

You will lose the ability to concentrate at infinity while using an extension tube. Some lens and extension tube combinations may only allow you to focus a few feet distant. 

It would be best if you only used extension tubes to concentrate as near the lens as possible to get the most incredible magnification.

Types of Extension Tubes

There are three different categories of extension tubes.

OEM Extension Tubes

They are manufactured by your camera manufacturer, like Fuji, Sony, Canon, and Nikon, and they happen to be the most expensive extension tubes.

When used with compatible lenses, the OEM extension tubes provide complete autofocus.

You communicate with your lens via your camera to engage in image stabilization or change the aperture.

Third-Party Extension Tubes (with Autofocus)

These extension tubes are the ones your camera or lens manufacturer doesn’t make. They are cheaper than the OEM extension tubes.

The most popular third-party manufacturers of extension tubes include Neeewer, Kenko, Vello, and Fotodiox.

Third-Party Extension Tubes (without Autofocus)

These extension tubes are cheaper than third-party extension tubes with autofocus and the OEM extension tubes.

They don’t have any electronic contacts in the mount, making it difficult for you to autofocus with the lens.

You can’t adjust your aperture since the camera can’t communicate with the lens.

One of the drawbacks of purchasing them is that they gather dust after a couple of shots.

In case you are serious about macro photography, you should buy expensive extension tubes to adjust your aperture.

Pros and Cons of Extension Tubes

Macro tubes pros and cons

While extension tubes are a wonderfully versatile solution, they aren’t always the most outstanding choice for your photography.

Pros

  • They are cheaper as compared to the macro lens.
  • Lightweight and are easy to pack compared to carrying a macro lens.
  • Minimizes any potential loss in image quality by not placing any additional glass element between your subject and your camera.

Cons

  • At their closest focus distances, some lenses are not extremely sharp. You may magnify those problems by using an extension tube with one of those lenses.
  • When you’re using longer focal lengths like telephoto lenses, it provides you with minimal magnification.
  • It causes your lens to lose focus on distant objects.
  • Increases the lens’s effective f-stop, allowing a slower shutter speed or a higher ISO to compensate.
  • This causes your lens to concentrate closer than it was intended. Making high magnification photographs with worse quality than when using a macro lens.
  • It raises the risk of dust settling on your camera sensor since you have to remove your lens every time you want to change the amount of extension
  • When you use zoom lenses, the image may go out of focus as you zoom in or out.

Final Thoughts

Extension tubes are valuable and they can be affordable too.

If you’re getting into macro photography, grab an extension tube, they will give you the best magnification you need. This will also provide high-quality pictures.