Category Archives: Photography Gear 2011 – 2012

A Nifty Fifty And A Set Of Extension Tubes

So what can you do with a nifty fifty (a 50mm lens) and a set of extension tubes?

You can have a lot of fun! That’s what.

Adding your extension tubes to any lens will allow you to get in close, closer, and really close depending on which tube you use or how many of them you stack together.

There’s a whole other world in there when you really get to looking at things up close. I love macro and don’t have a dedicated macro lens but these tubes will do the trick just fine.

A few things to keep in mind are:

  • the closer your lens gets to your subject the more likely you are to block the light and cause shadows
  • you need to get lots of light in there so go ahead and pop up that flash, use those stand lights, or even grab a good flash light
  • make use of your exposure compensation settings and step it up a stop or two for even more light
  • you’re going to need to close down that shutter a bit so start with an aperture of around 8 or 9 and experiment with different settings, even down to 18 if you need to, until you get the results you like best
  • using only one extension tube is good but stacking two or three of them together can really get you close, use caution; sometimes you can get so close that your subject actually touches your lens

For this series of shots of a dry yellow cottonwood leaf I sat my Canon to aperture priority mode and allowed it to choose the shutter speed for me. I sat the ISO at 100 to avoid as much noise as possible, sat the leaf inside my light tent, sat up two lights, and popped up the on camera flash. For some of the shots I used the exposure compensation settings to brighten up the image; however I forgot to note when I did that and what I sat it too.

Here’s what I came up with; I thought it would make a good visual reference for you to see what these little tubes can do. I’ve noted the lens and tubes used, along with the basic exif data under each photo.

50mm – 1/6 – f/9 – ISO 100

50mm + 12mm tube – 1/4 – f/9 – ISO 100

50mm + 20mm tube – 0.3 – f/9 – ISO 100

50mm + 36mm tube – 0.3 – f/9 – ISO 100

50mm + 36mm and 12mm tubes – 0.6 – f/9 – ISO 100

50mm + 36mm and 20mm tubes – 0.8 – f/9 – ISO 100

50mm + 36mm, 20mm, and 12mm tubes – 0.4 – f/9 – ISO 100

*NOTE: the inconsistency in the colors is due to either too little light due to shadows, or too much light due to moving the lights too close; I need to work a bit on keeping that more consistent. These photos are all of the same leaf.*

Now grab your favorite lens and try out a set of these fun tubes. When you do; come back here and share your results with a link in the comments! Have fun!


Fresh New Memory Cards

 I have had my XTi for just shy of 3 years now and that whole time I have been shooting with the same three memory cards; two 1 GB SanDisk cards and one 2 GB Transcend.

I have mostly used the Transcend because it’s bigger, then popped in the SanDisk when it got full. A while back a blogging friend from up in the Northwest part of the country suggested that I pick up a couple more memory cards for an upcoming event. That sounded like a very good plan to me so off to Amazon I ran; or clicked.

I ordered a pair of 2 GB SanDisk Ultra II cards, and two card wallets to keep them all safe and sound. Yeah, I know that’s still only a total of 8 GB of space which isn’t that much when you consider I shoot everything in RAW. But I haven’t taken any long trips, or covered any major events yet so it will get me by for a while. Maybe I’ll get a couple more later this summer.

I will be shooting an anniversary party soon, and then maybe even getting the camera out at our own anniversary party, and my Aunt’s 90th birthday, my Mother’s 80th birthday, and hopefully a long day at the wildlife refuge before the summer is over. Yep, I should order a couple more cards soon. 🙂

The little card wallets are a nice addition to my camera bag. I stitched little white buttons to the zipper pull of one wallet and little red ones to the other. I’m thinking I can keep the empty memory cards in one and as they fill up move them to the other. That should keep me from putting an already full card into the camera.

Please tell me I’m not the only one who has done that.

 I really never looked closely at the difference, if any, in the images taken on each brand of card. Just never gave it any thought until I got these two new ones the other day. Now it just might be my imagination but I think the fresh new SanDisk memory cards take a much sharper image than the 3-year-old Transcend. Could be the difference in brands or could be the difference in age I have no idea, but I do think it might be worth a side by side test just to see if these new ones really do take a sharper image or if it is just my imagination. Sounds like a good project for a Sunday afternoon, now if the wind would just calm down again so I can get out somewhere and test that.

Have a great weekend everyone!