Have you ever heard of extension tubes for a camera? No? Don’t feel bad, I’ve been learning photography for about 4 or 5 years now and surprisingly I had never heard of them either until a few weeks ago when I was researching macro lenses on Amazon! 

I’ve been wanting to try out macro photography for a while now, however, most lenses for DSLR or Mirrorless cameras do not allow you to get that close with the lens and still focus on the subject even in manual focus mode.

This is where extension tubes come in to play! They allow you to take a normal camera lens and turn it into a macro lens allowing you to get fantastic macro photos while saving you hundreds of dollars versus buying a dedicated macro lens. 

If you’ve ever researched dedicated macro lenses then you’re well aware that they are not cheap and a decent one can easily set you back $500 to $1,000 USD.

The best part about extension tubes is that they give you close to the same quality of images you’d get from an actual macro lens, but for about $30 – $50 USD. A significant savings!!!

If you’re new to photography and have been wanting to try out macro photography but don’t want to invest hundreds of dollars on a macro lens without first making sure you actually enjoy doing macro photography? Then this video, is for you!

In this video, I’ll show you what an extension tube is, how it works, and most importantly how to get the best results out of them! Roll the intro!

Hey guys, welcome back to the channel where today we are discussing extension tubes!

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Alright, enough with the formalities, let’s jump in!


Extension tubes basically turn a normal lens on your camera, like this Canon 50mm f1.8 lens, into a macro lens capable of taking photos almost near the same quality of a dedicated macro lens. They cost less than $50 USD on Amazon compared to hundreds for a decent macro lens.

They do this by pulling the lens further away from your camera’s sensor. Literally, these things are just a plastic cylinder that is hollow and has no glass! It’s just air folks!

While they are just air and no actual lenses are inside the extension tubes, you still need to worry about one thing when buying them.

There are extension tubes with the electrical connectors for auto-focus and aperture control and ones without. Make sure you buy ones that have the electrical connectors to still be able to use your auto-focus and change your aperture. 

Other then that, they are all pretty much the same and personally I’d buy whichever I could get for cheapest that still had a decent rating on Amazon or whatever site you’re buying from. 

The ones I bought are made by Viltrox and includes a 12, 20 and 36mm tube. I’ll put a link in the description below where you can pick them up if you’re interested!

What’s the different sizes for? Well, they allow you to decide how close in you actually want to get by switching between them or even combining different ones for even further distance between the sensor and lens.

For example, this shot here was taken with the 36mm extension tube, while this one was taken with all three tubes attached together for a 68mm tube! 

However, just a note that the tighter you go (the more tubes you stack) the more narrow your focus plane gets. 

This means as you zoom in more, it’s harder to keep everything in focus, even if you step your lenses aperture to something like f22 or even f32 if your lens supports it. 

If you’re taking a direct head-on shot with a flat object, this isn’t really a problem and your biggest concern simply becomes light, and having plenty of it, so make sure you illuminate the subject you’re shooting!


So now that we understand what an extension tube is and how they work, let’s discuss how to actually use them. 

To do this, I’m going to use this US $100 bill and we are going to first start with…uhhh let’s skip the 12mm and jump straight to the 20mm. Then I’ll take the same shot of the bill but with the 36mm extension tube. Lastly, we’ll try combining some of them together and see just how close we can zoom in!

Setup and discuss shot of $100 bill with 50mm lens.

Setup and discuss shot of $100 bill with 20mm extension tube.

Setup and discuss shot of $100 bill with 36mm extension tube.

Setup and discuss shot of $100 bill with 36mm and 12mm combined.

Setup and discuss shot of $100 bill with all tubes combined.

So as you guys can see, you can get some pretty crazy macro shots with just your normal lens and camera using extension tubes. If you want to pick up a set, as I said earlier, I put an Amazon link in the description below to the ones I used in this video and the ones I personally use when doing macro photography so check that out below.

Also, if you enjoyed this video as a way of saying thanks, please hit that like button and if you want to see more photography videos like this one make sure you hit the red subscribe button below and don’t forget to ring the bell next to it to get notified when I post new videos!

Thanks so much for watching and until next time… Peace out everybody!