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Photography Question 
Pieter J. Roelofse

Extension Tubes for Macro?

I want to buy an extension tube that I can use with my Canon 28-135mm IS and Canon EF 70-200 f4L lens. I have read that the Canon EF12 is better suited for single focal-length lenses and that the EF25 extension tube is better for zooms. I am not sure what to do and I need help. I am planning on using it with my Canon EOS 10D.

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4/1/2008 10:17:25 AM

Brenda Tharp
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/9/2003
  Pieter, I have successfully used my Canon EF25 on my 70-200 f4L lens, and used to use the 12mm on my 28-135mm when I owned that. Both gave me very good results. The 25mm will be almost too much with the 28-135, forcing you to get really close in to your subject and that sometimes blocks light and/or scares any living things off. SO the 12mm would be a better choice for the 28-135mm, but it's not very effective for the 70-200mm. For that, the EF25 would be better.
There are some discussions that tubes with zooms are not "the best", but overall I have not had an issue, and my macro pictures are published in greeting cards, calendars and sold as stock photos. It's possible that with digital, we're seeing more problems that with film were just non-visible - chromatic abberations, softness at corners, etc.
Personally, I use the Canon 500D diopter, on my 70-200 and fixed 300mm; the dual element glass is optically excellent. I don't worry about putting extra glass in front of the lens with this thing. AND, you don't lose light - an important issue with macro.
Ultimately, you really want to get a dedicated macro lens if you like doing macro photography. They are optically the best solution, and the 100mm Canon is superb. On your 10D, the 100mm becomes a 160mm macro, giving you good working distance from your subject and 1:1 or lifesize reproduction.
Hope this helps!

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4/1/2008 12:05:35 PM

Jon Close
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/18/2000
  Shorter extension tubes are better with short focal length lenses, and longer lengths are better with teles. Best option is to get both, but the Canon models are pretty expensive for simple metal tubes with minimal electronics. Kenko markets a tube set (12mm, 20mm, 36mm) for not much more than the price of the Canon EF 25 II.

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4/1/2008 12:33:01 PM

Brenda Tharp
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/9/2003
  Yes, the Kenko tubes are fine, as long as the materials they are made with last as long - i.e. the contacts, etc. I have no issue with them, I've just been very happy with my Canon, but you do get three for around the price of one - that's a good deal.
The shorter extension tube may work better with shorter focal lengths, but for macro use I found it gets you so close that you are in the way. I've used the 12mm on my 28-135 and it's OK on the longer end but on the 28mm end I was too close; same thing on my 17-40 - at the 40mm end, I was touching the flower, as I recall. So I just don't find that tubes are very useful for anything shorter than 100mm, personally. But everyone has their own way of getting their pictures! Thanks, Jon and Ken, for contributing to help answer Pieter's question.

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4/1/2008 6:39:51 PM

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