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Question About Kenko Tubes/Lens Combos

Discussion in 'Lens Lust' started by NewBert, Aug 2, 2009.

  1. Well, I received my Kenko tubes a few days ago, and now I need some guidance in figuring out how to make the best use of them. I got the 3-tube set (12, 20 and 36mm) in hopes of using them as a cheap alternative to buying a dedicated macro lens.

    My main interest is in shooting flowers, preferably handheld. 3 tubes plus multiple lenses = lots of choices. So, based upon my lens line-up (see my sig below), which length tube would be best to use with which lens, and why? I know that I need to experiment with different combinations, but I'm hoping that the experienced Kenko tube users here will help me flatten the learning curve, by reducing the number of permutations to try.

  2. I'd suggest you start with your 50mm f/1.8 prime (tubes generally work better with primes than zooms). You'll also fine that all the tubes result in a greatly flattened DOF, and this effect will be greater with the long zooms. Since you can get close to flowers, the 50/1.8-tube combo will give you more DOF.

    Try each tube with the 50mm, then try combos that make sense. If read somewhere that a tube 1/2 the focal length should approximate 1:1, so 20 might be the staring point.

    Since all the tubes added together equal 78, probably the long end of the 18-135 is your best shot for a longer tele and you can try that. The 18-135 is very sharp at 120-135.
  3. arela


    Jan 15, 2008
    With the 50mm f/1.8 you'll need 44mm (ring 12mm and ring 32mm) to get to 1:1.
    As Harry Lavo says, just play with them and learn what they can do for you.
  4. You should give that 70-300 a whirl as well.. it will do outstanding things with those tubes on them. Try the large tube and me of the small ones.. or all of them.

  5. Well, I did a bit of experimenting with different lens/tube combinations yesterday. Here are some of the results. All are handheld:

    1. 50mm f/1.8 lens/ 20mm tube. This necessitated getting pretty darn close to the subject to get anything in focus. It was also a bit difficult to hold steady enough to prevent drifting in and out of focus:
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    2. These next three were all with the 70-300VR lens/36mm tube. I liked this combination better. I didn't need to be very close to the subject and the VR helped quite a bit.
    View attachment 389243

    View attachment 389244

    View attachment 389245

    All-in-all, I'm pretty happy with the tubes. Although I still need to experiment with my other lenses, I can already see how VR helps when handheld. I was thinking about buying a dedicated macro lens this month, but may re-consider that now....
  6. Hey, nice photos! I need to experiment with my tubes more! I recently used the 300mm f4 with 2 tubes stacked. Just gotta practice more - using the tripod is always a rock solid choice for me.
  7. wgilles


    Apr 25, 2008
    The 50 1.8 is a good one. I also had really good luck with the 18-135 when I had that lens, but it really works best when you want a really NARROW DOF.
  8. arela


    Jan 15, 2008
    With 50mm or wider its easy to get to close :) 
  9. Will,

    The next lens that I'm going to experiment with is the 18-135. I rarely use that lens, so if it works well with the tube(s), that would be great. To bad it doesn't have VR though. I really like what the VR did for these handheld shots.
  10. captaincarl777


    Jan 19, 2009
    That last one is just great, such amazingly sharp texture! Thanks for posting, now I'm inspired to try my Kenko tubes with my 55-200VR, a combination that had never occurred to me.
  11. hmmm, maybe I'll try the kenkos with my 80-200! Maybe I can get out early in the morning before it gets too hot.
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