A magical option for creating macro photos without the expense of a macro lens.
When I started making photography a priority for myself career-wise, I never thought I would be where I am today. I am fortunate enough to have high-quality glass to go along with my pro-level camera bodies, but there was a time where I was learning on a base-model DSLR (Canon EOS-Rebel). At that point, I never thought I would have a high-quality macro lens at my disposal, but I do currently have the Canon 100mm Macro Lens in my collection and it’s made taking close-up photos very exciting. Even though I have that lens available, there are additional options out there for macro photos that photographers can take advantage of like extension tubes. MOVO has some great equipment and I’m very excited to have had the opportunity to test out the AF Extension Tube Set from them. These tubes can create the same macro shots that a full-fledged macro lens can and it’s a great option for beginners and professionals alike.
The MOVO AF Macro Extension Tube Set includes three individual tubes that can be interlocked together to create an extremely close-up look at an object. The three tubes included are 12mm, 20mm, and 36mm. They can be used individually or together and they are made with a durable aluminum mount. The extension tubes do not contain any optics. They simply reduce the normal minimum focusing distance without degrading the original optical quality. These extension tubes are designed to allow for auto-focusing and will conveniently maintain auto-focus at f/5.6 or brighter.
- For close-up photography
- 3 tubes to vary magnification
- For use with Canon EF & EF-S SLR cameras (also available for Sony and Nikon cameras)
- Use individually or in combination with each other
- Metal construction
- Lens mount index included
- Front and rear caps prevent dust from collecting
Even though I currently have a 100mm macro lens, I love having the ability to use any of my lenses for macro photography. When these extension tubes arrived, I was super excited to start using them. I tore open their box, which, by the way, had a nice image of the product on the front and lots of details regarding the product printed on it, and quickly installed them on my Canon EOS-R with a 24-70mm lens attached. The tubes were shipped locked to each other. There is a small switch tab on the outside of the tube that unlocks the tubes from each other (or a lens if it’s attached). The tubes do stick to each other a bit. Despite that, they were easy to install with a lens.
One big benefit that I want to point out about the MOVO AF Extension Tubes is the fact that the electronic contacts are built into the tube so that auto-focus is full functional. There are some very basic extension tubes that do not include those contacts and therefore, the photographer using them cannot use the auto-focus feature on their camera or the electronic aperture control. These MOVO tubes are more advanced and do include the electronics to be able to communication between the camera body and the lens. That is a HUGE benefit of investing in these tubes have over a competitor.
The biggest advantage that the extension tubes have over a standard macro lens is price. The Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM Lens retails for $899 and the MOVO AF Macro Extension Tubes are currently listed for $79. Now, is the image quality exactly the same as what you would get with a macro lens? Not quite — but it’s very close. I have taken a few photos (shown below) that illustrate the quality of the extension tubes. I used the Canon EOS-R with a Tamron SP 24-70mm f/2.8 lens attached. I chose to use a leaf as my photo subject since it has lots of detail close up. The first shot is a straight shot using only the 24-70mm lens with no extension tube attached. I kept the focal length at 24mm and brought the leaf as close to the camera as the auto-focus would allow.
The next two shots were done using the 24-70mm lens with the 12mm extension tube attached. Again, I kept the focal length at 24mm and used the auto-focus feature on the camera. The first is shown at 100% while the second shot was digitally zoomed
Finally, I did attempt to take a shot with all three tubes attached to the 24-70mm lens. Unfortunately, the depth of field was so short at that point, I wasn’t able to get close enough to the subject for it to be in focus.
This past weekend, I was shooting a wedding at a very large wedding venue. It was the size of a plantation but had lots of hills because it was in the Great Smoky Mountains. I had two camera bags set up — one had the macro lens in it and the other had the extension tubes — for the different parts of the event. I had already grabbed primary shots of the rings before the ceremony with the macro lens and dropped that bag off in the production suite. After the ceremony, the bride and groom were taking a carriage ride around the property. They called me over to get a shot of the rings on their hands. Thankfully, I had the extension tubes with me because I was able to get the shot they wanted without having to make them wait for me to go get the macro lens, which was on the other side of the property. The MOVO tubes were quick and easy to use for this shot and they saved the day.
The MOVO AF Extension Lenses are very durable and easy to install — even on the go. These extension tubes are a valuable asset for any photographer and this kit is amazing since it comes with three tubes that can be used together or separately. They are great for beginners to learn macro photography before investing in a macro lens and they are amazing for advanced/pro-level photographers to be able to travel light.
Even though I have the Canon 100mm Macro Lens, I’d rather carry the MOVO Tubes around with my standard lenses because of how lightweight they are. The tubes allow me to be able to turn any of my standard lenses into a macro without the weight of that extra macro lens in my bag. I feel like you get the best of both worlds by pairing the MOVO Extension Tubes with a standard lens to be able to capture those up close and personal shots.