Press play on the video above if you want a cheap and easy way to take close-up photos of flowers, bugs, and other little things.
Lens extension tubes are your answer for quick macro photography without buying a new macro lens. They cost very little and they do an amazing job of getting super close to a subject.
How do extension tubes work?
Lens extension tubes change the minimum focus distance by moving the lens further away from the camera’s sensor.
I took the photo above of some flowers with the lens extension tube on the camera. Note that this is a close-up, and the main flower in the middle fills about 1/3 of the frame.
Here is the second photo taken after moving the camera even closer to the flower. Now the same main flower completely fills the frame. The lens of the camera was about half an inche from the flower. You would have a hard time getting this close with a conventional macro lens. This is super close!
One thing I did not mention in the video is the issue of depth of field. When your lens is this close to the main subject the depth of field is minuscule. This means you need to select a high f-stop number, and you may even need to do some focus stacking if you want everything in focus.
In the photo above, not everything is in focus. The focal plane is incredibly short with this type of photography.
You will want a subject that is completely still, and you want your camera on a tripod. The more still, the better.
Give a lens extension tube a try. You will love it!
About the author: Tim Shields is the founder of PhotographyAcademy.com, the author of the Photo Cookbook and holds the designation of Master Photographer in Fine Art.