A macro extension tube is typically purchased in a set of multiple tubes and makes a fantastic tool for getting much closer macro shots without having to purchase multiple dedicated macro lenses at various focusing distances.
Instead of a standalone lens, these tubes are attached to your camera between the lens and the camera body. The best macro extension tubes give you significant extension capabilities, typically across multiple tubes in a set.
The larger the macro extension tube is, the closer you can focus on the subject. For example, a minimum focal distance of 18 inches might be reduced to a focal distance of 10 inches, letting you get much more detailed close-up macro shots.
It is important to note that macro extension tubes limit how far away you can be from a subject and have the subject remain in focus. Rather than being able to focus at extremely close and far distances like you would be able to do with a macro lens, an extension tube only allows you to focus up-close.
This means that a macro extension tube set isn’t necessarily a permanent lens replacement unless you plan on only shooting macro. If you want to shoot both close and far shots, you’ll need to remove the macro extension tube to get those far away shots.
We’re here to help you pick the right macro extension tube for your current setup. Here’s our list of the five best macro extension tubes!
1. Xit Xtetc Macro Extension Tube Set (Overall Winner)
The Xtetc Macro Extension Tube Set from Xit is a three-tube set that gives you quite a bit of versatility when it comes to your macro shots. You’ll get a 12mm, a 21mm, and a 31mm macro extension tube, for a maximum combined extension of 64mm.
As we mentioned previously, the larger the extension tube is, the closer you can get to your subject – as standalone tubes, the 31mm tube allows you to get the closest. You can get this set in multiple compatibility options, including Canon, Nikon, and Sony.
These tubes don’t impact the quality of your image, letting you shoot macro images with confidence. They’re also compatible with onboard autofocus mechanisms, making them extremely easy to use – simply attach and start shooting!
Designed for Nikon DSLR cameras, this Meike MK-N-AF1-A Extension Tube Set is extremely high-quality and gives you a solid extension range. The three tubes come in 12mm, 20mm, and 36mm extensions. The 36mm tube as a standalone attachment gives you plenty of increased magnification, and the overall extension of 68mm will completely transform your macro photography.
The tubes are made out of metal, giving them a higher-end feel, but they won’t add too much weight to the camera body. These tubes are compatible with autofocus features, but the overall length of the combined tubes may be best for manual focus.
If you shoot Nikon, these tubes are a great option – they’re compatible with a wide range of Nikon DSLRs and are a great upgrade to go with a standard kit lens.
Those of you that use Sony cameras will love the Neewer Metal Extension Tube Set. While the set only comes with two tubes, they’re high-quality metal tubes that will significantly improve your macro photography.
You’ll receive two tubes, a 16mm, and a 10mm tube. With a combined maximum extension of 26mm, you’ll get decent magnification improvement for close-up shots. These tubes are compatible with both NEX and E-mount Sony DSLRs.
The updated aperture hole allows the tubes to also be used on full-frame cameras, giving you even greater possibilities for stunning macro shots. While the extension lengths aren’t as long as the previous tube sets on our list, the shorter extension length makes it work seamlessly with autofocus lenses.
The Movo MT-FT47 Extension Tube Set was created for Olympus and Panasonic cameras. While Olympus and Panasonic may not be as popular as they once were in the world of photography, they’re still very relevant brands – ones we couldn’t leave off our list!
This tube set comes with three extension tubes (10mm, 16mm, and 21mm). The maximum extension possible is a solid 47mm. You’ll love the high-quality metal construction and the ease-of-use with your Olympus or Panasonic camera.
These extension tubes are also compatible with both cropped and full-frame sensors and work very well with autofocus. If you have an Olympus or Panasonic, definitely check out this extension tube set!
5. Fotodiox Macro Extension Tube Set (Budget Winner)
One of the best macro extension tubes is also one of the least expensive on the market – the Fotodiox Macro Extension Tube set is available for both Canon and Nikon mounts and gives you an impressive range of additional extensions. With three tubes included, you’ll receive a 7mm, 14mm, and 28mm tube, for a maximum total of 49mm of additional length.
This set from Fotodiox is compatible with most Canon and Nikon DSLR cameras, so no matter what you shoot with, there’s a good chance you can put this set to good use. The smallest tube is 7mm – sometimes we don’t need an extremely long tube to get the shot we need. A 7mm tube also lets you make small adjustments by combining with the other tubes, letting you get the perfect shot.
As this tube set proves, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to get high-quality macro shots!
The Best Macro Extension Tubes to up Your Photography Game
Lenses, attachments, filters, camera accessories – there’s a lot that a photographer can use to enhance their photography, but when it comes to macro photography, extension tubes are a must-have. If you’re a new photographer or aren’t sure about macro photography, a macro extension tube is one inexpensive solution to get professional macro shots.
Always double-check compatibility before purchasing a macro extension tube. Most macro extension tube sets will connect directly into the camera body, but there may be an additional adapter needed depending on what camera you have.
Let us know how your next macro extension tube works out!