It may come down to cost: the Vello set is $80, the Kenko set $200. On the Kenko set web page at B&H Photo Video they show the Vello set as "similar item at savings." I called them twice and spoke to two different salespersons on different days; both recommended the Vello set even though they sell both sets. So I guess I'll just have to make a final decision and go with it. I do have a tripod now.
Mary, I also have been thinking about extension tubes. I currently have an AF Micro Nikkor 60mm, however I was wondering if the combined extension tubes would give me increased magnification. I was wondering if you purchase one of the brand sets, that after you try it out, could you give us a follow up as to the results? Thanks Ron
Thanks Mary, I live in the arctic, in the summer time the only place we see flowers growing is on the tundra, and they are usually very small although colorful. I am often crawling around the tundra in the summer taking pictures of flowers. Seen through the Micro Nikkor lens they are marvelous. I have never used extension tubes and have often wondered what results they would give me. The Nikon 5100 is a wonderful camera. I gave mine to my daughter last year, and after missing it very much have just ordered another one. My other camera is the D7000. The D5100 is very capable and light and easy to carry, a joy to use. Cheers Ron
With your AF 60mm macro, one thing to keep in mind is the short distance between the front of the lens and the target. This can cause lighting problems and very narrow depth of field requiring small apertures and long shutter speeds. At these very close distances manual focus is required.
Here's a photo taken with my D300 and the AF 60mm focused at about 1/2 life size. It's the head of a 5 3/4" tall Hummel figure. f11 and the front of the lens 5" to the target.
AF60mm at it's closest 1:1 focusing distance without tubes. f11 and 2 7/8" to target.
With the medium sized 20mm tube only. 2 3/8" from front of lens to target.
With the longest 36mm tube only. 1 3/4" from lens front to target.
The tubes can be stacked to get in even closer but now you'll be very close to the target.
I prefer to use my tubes with longer focal length lenses to get further from the target. It also gives me better, more even, lighting if I use a ring light attached to the front of the lens.
Thanks for the tip Len, and thanks for the sample images. Very interesting. I may not have elaborated clearly how I was thinking of using the extension tubes, I think it would be overboard to put them on my AF micro Nikkor, but i was wondering what the results would be like on any other lens, at some point I must get a set of extension tubes and try them out. The plant life here is well suited for close up photography, there are no trees here, no bushes, and the flowers that do bloom on the tundra for very short periods of time in the summer are small and they grow close to the ground as a means of staying out of the wind. Seen through the viewfinder of my camera with the micro Nikkor on its like I'm transported to another place where there are lots of colorful plants and vegetation. The camera is like a magic device that takes me to another place. Thanks for the info Len. Cheers Ron
Hi Len, well I have rather a generic collection of lens, the 18-105 and the 18-200. I don't even know if the extension tubes will work with zoom lens. My other lens are in the wide angle range, I'm not sure they would be any good for this.
Here's my experiment using the AFS 18-200mm on the D5100.
All the photos, with or without the tubes had the lens fully extended to the 200mm position.
First, the flower taken at the closest focusing distance with no tube attached.
Now the closest focusing distance using the middle 20mm tube.
The 20mm tube can stay on the lens if you want a further view. Here I was 15" from the flower. The lens was still at 200mm.
Here's the flower using the longest 36mm tube. The front of the lens was nearly touching the flower. With this lens I could not stack tubes without touching the flower.
This was a hastily set up shoot. I did not use a tripod and I had to manually focus the lens. I kept VR on. The lens was set to f8 for all photos. This flower requires a large dof to keep everything in focus. I would normally use a tripod and the lens stopped down to f11 and maybe f16. In this case the flower was not in a position that a tripod would fit.
So here I used the 20mm tube and set the lens to f16. I had to bring up the ISO to 3200. I also increased the contrast and added some sharpness. Handheld, manual focus, VR on.
I was reading your post on using extension tubes for Nikon D5100.
I own the same camera and bought it couple of months back. I just got Vello extension tubes from B&H. They recommended to get this one.
I tried using the extension tubes. However, the camera says 'Lens Not Attached' when I am using extension tube. Have you (or other forum members) faced this problem before? Can you provide some insight in to this?
I have used the Vello tubes without problem. Be sure you are attaching them correctly: there is an illustration in the instructions and at the Vello web site. The contacts in the tube have to meet the contact in the lens. And of course you will also be using the lens...did you perhaps put on the tubes and not the lens?
I tried the Extension tubes and though I am able to get the pictures the auto functions dont work. So I am not able to change the aperture or the auto focus doesnt work. I am only able to take pictures in the complete Manual mode in the camera. Is this the way it should work?
The product description on the website says "These tubes are fully automatic tubes in that they are able to communicate all electronic functions from lens to camera including autofocus and auto exposure. They are compatible with all AF and AF-S lenses. Electronic aperture control is not possible with Nikon AI lenses"
I am using Nikon 18-55 lens for this and i was assuming that the auto functions will work.
Let me know if you can provide some insights to this!
Hi there! I do remember there being an issue with focus the first time I used them. It was because I automatically got real close to the flower. It was because I was TOO close (I was using the kit lens).
Remember that the tubes compensate for distance. Go to a flower, then focus, if you cannot keep taking steps back until you can. You will reach a point where they focus beautifully. I think I read this either in the extension tubes pamphlet or on some other site that addressed the use of extension tubes (maybe even on the extension tube manufacturer web site). Please let me know how it goes.
Remember that even with the kit lens the closest you can get to a flower and focus is about 11 inches or so. So just move your body until it focuses.
Yes, the tubs do work. Just as with the kit lens there is a certain minimum distance for focus; too close and it's out of focus and you can't modify it at that outer limit. If you use the tube and get real close to the subject it would be like looking through binoculars with magnifying glasses on - a blur. Give it a try and let us know.