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  •  » Micro Four Thirds and Macro Extension Tube Test
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#1 8/02/11 10:24 PM

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Daniel Levy United States
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Recently, I've acquired a vintage Yashica Macro ML 55 mm lens. And, thanks to that lens, have discovered a plethora of fun to be had in recording video and capturing photographs of minuscule things. The lens, however, is only a 1:2 macro lens. That means that items captured via the lens only appear as half the size they would be relative to the sensor. 1:1, on the other hand, is life size - the subject you are photographing is the true size relative to the sensor. Luckily, I discovered that the lens can go 1:1 macro via the Contax / Yashica 27 mm extension tube. I didn't, however, want to pay $30 and change for an old extension tube that could only be used with my C/Y lenses. Through a quick search on Amazon, I found a suitable, inexpensive alternative. This extension tube set, includes inter-operable 9 mm, 16 mm, and 30 mm tubes (allowing me to reach nearly 2:1 magnification). Also, they attach to micro four thirds bodies directly, allowing you to use any of your manual focus lens adapters on-top of the extension tubes, instead of being stuck with one particular mounting system. Quickly realizing that $12.99 beat $30 and that, through this calculator, a 27 mm and 30 mm extension tube are roughly equivalent, I jumped on the purchase. I do, however, have to warn you that these extension tubes will not work with your Pana-Leica-Oly native MFT lenses. Firstly, you will not be able to set aperture and will be wide open. And, most importantly, the majority (practically all) of the native lenses are focus-by-wire. This means that you need to send an electrical signal to the lens, from the body, to be able to focus - the adapter will not work for that. This product, however, is perfect for people that already have C/Y, OM, FD, and other vintage mount lenses that have MFT adapters; it is very versatile in that respect.
http://reviewstash.com/files/m43extube/unit2.jpg
What you receive is a set of thin, but sturdy metal tubes that screw into one another. The screw threads could be made out of higher quality metal, because as is they make an ear shattering scratching sound when you screw them in or out. The quality, however, is relatively good. They're definitely sturdy and everything locks in really smoothly. The paint, while a little bubbled, matches the finish of the C/Y to MFT adapter - I'm guessing they are secretly from the same factory.

http://reviewstash.com/files/m43extube/units.jpg http://reviewstash.com/files/m43extube/mounts.jpg


I apologize for the image quality in the second picture; I took the photograph of the unit, my Yashica 50 mm f/1.7, and my camera with my phone. I thought, however, that it might be helpful to see how large the unit is assembled and then what it looks like mounting on a camera with a normal manual focus lens. At the bottom corner, I have placed a coin for scale reference.

http://reviewstash.com/files/m43extube/test.jpg
For a brief test, I mounted my Yashica 50 mm (not the 55 mm macro) on the extension tubes and took various pictures. Each picture is taken at the camera's minimum working distance (closest point of clear focus). In each picture I add an additional extension tube to show the magnification increase. Besides a few lighting issues on my own end (I was hand-holding everything, my apologies), you lose relatively little light, due to the lack of optics in the tube. The whole assembly is rather comfortable to hold and focusing is still fairly easy. Depth of field becomes somewhat thin, but you definitely get a lot of value for just $12.99 (especially considering the free Amazon shipping).

http://reviewstash.com/files/m43extube/macro3.jpg
As a bonus, the above picture was captured with a 2x teleconverter, all of the extension tubes, and my Yashica 55 mm macro lens. While you do lose a lot of light with the teleconverter, and stability is a major issue, if you get the shutter speed fast enough, you can get a lot of cool pictures. Hopefully this was somewhat helpful - let me know if you have any questions about the setup!

 
 
 

8/02/11 10:24 PM

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