Since I was catapulted into the world of macro by discovering the BCLmacro
, I have fallen in love with this form of photography. This is not a big surprise, as I really enjoyed working under a microscope while in graduate school. I purchased the Meike extension tubes after researching macro photography while offshore and thought to write about my experience using them so far. These extension tubes were quite inexpensive when I purchased them (about $25), but in the past month have gone up in price
. The tubes are ideal because they allow for communication between the camera and your lens (if the lens has electronic contacts). I assume what I present could be duplicated using ones without electronic contacts, but the Meike variation enables you to auto focus and retain exif data. Micro four thirds photography (http://m43photo.blogspot.com/
) published a great review of these extension tubes
and how they perform with a suite of Panasonic lenses. I found that these worked really really well when used with the Olympus body cap lens and modified BCLmacro. For a comparison, I also show how these tubes perform with the Olympus MZD 45mm f/1.8 portrait lens.
The figure below is a summary of the magnification between each of the lenses when coupled to the 10mm, 16mm, or both (26mm) extension tubes. To assess the magnification, I simply photographed a ruler. The first row is of the BCLmacro and the next two are of the unmodified body cap lens at it's close focus and infinity distances. As you can see, the difference between the infinity and close focus distances is not that noticeable when used with the 16mm and 26mm extension tubes. Overall, the BCLmacro has the greatest magnification and the 45mm MZD portrait lens has the least.
Below is a table outlining the millimeters photographed and calculated magnification [18mm (sensor size)/mm's photographed]:
Closest focus distance
While photographing the ruler I also measured the closest focus distance which is the distance between the lens and the subject. The working distance was also calculated and represents the distance between the sensor and the subject. Both are summarized in the table below. Interestingly, the differences in magnification between the BCL at the infinity and close focus settings is small, BUT the closest focus distance is significantly larger with the close focus setting. This is a good thing because some subjects will "flee the scene" if you get too close. In fact, when using ANY of the BCL options you will need to get extremely close to your subject (1-2.3 cm). To put that into perspective, the diameter of nickle is 2cm... so, you have to get REALLY close. The 45mm MZD portrait lens allows you to keep your distance, but the magnification is not as great.
To assess sharpness, I reverted to photographing a $1 bill which is the subject that I used to describe the BCLmacro.