Eric Greenhalgh, last week's SideKick360 winner, shares with us this macro image made possible by the use of an extension tube. Extension tubes are a affordable way to use the lenses you already have to experiment with macro photography.
An extension tube is a hollow, light-tight tube that goes between your lens and camera body. It basically moves the lens further away from the focal plane. This means your minimum focusing distance gets smaller, so you can get closer to your subject and still achieve focus. The closer you can focus, the more magnification you get.
There are 2 types of extension tubes: manual versions that do not maintain the electrical connection between the lens and body and auto versions that do. The manual version is by far the least expensive option. A set of 3 can be had for as little as $20. The trade off is if your lens does not have manual aperture rings, it will stay locked open at the widest aperture. (Giving you a very narrow depth of field.)
The auto version has electrical contacts that allow communication between the lens and camera body. Thus, the camera can still control the aperture settings, and you can still use autofocus and any automatic exposure mode. Auto extension tubes are a bit more pricey. A set of 3 will run you approximately $60 - $200 for third party brands. Still far less than a dedicated macro lens.
"This image is a squash plant flower taken in my mother's garden in Payson, AZ.
Shot on a Canon 5D Mark III with a 24-70 2.8L and an extension tube. Of course
the camera was mounted on a MeFOTO tripod!!" - Eric