Robert Cappa once said, “If your photos aren’t good enough, then you aren’t’ close enough.” Dude not only talked the talk, but walked the walk considering he stepped on a land mine in 1954 while with French troops during the Indochina War, but that’s a whole other story. Point being that sometimes you just need to get closer to your subject in order to make the photo that you want to make. This can easily be taken to an extreme in the case of Macro Photography, or Micro Photography depending on who you are and what brand you shoot. Usually when I’m using my Nikon 60mm F2.8N macro through I find that some of the littlest things I can’t photograph. That is until now…
OK. So extension tubes have been around for a long time. Like; Forever. So when Nick Henry at Roberts called and asked how I felt about extension tubes I really didn’t know what to say. Then of course he told me this was a new Savage Extension tube that zoomed AND kept all camera functions like metering and autofocus; but also ZOOMED. Wait whaaaaaaaaaaat?
SO as usual; no I’m not paid to write this up for Savage or Roberts Camera but the folks at Roberts have always been great to me and they will be great to you if you call them or walk in the store. Always ready to answer questions, always ready to help out. Great group. Anyway. What’s the deal with an extension tube? Simple. A Micro or Macro lens gets you only so close to your subject and usually only reproduces an object at 1:1 magnification in relation to you cameras sensor. Canon has a 5:1 reproducing lens called the MP-65, but honestly I don’t feel like it’s very good (yes I’ve used it, many times) and Olympus has my current favorite macro ever inside the Olympus TG-2 Tough camera, or just the Tough Series point and shoot with their Microscopic Macro mode. Regardless, Savage has done here what should have been done 10 years ago. They have turned a bunch of little pieces of photo kit into just one.
Extension tubes are simple. They use your lens like a magnifying glass by moving it away from the sensor to make the image larger. The larger image becomes larger than your cameras sensor thus magnifying it. Savage basically said, why are we carrying 3 or more pieces of extra gear when we can carry just one? I totally agree with them, and their new 55-71mm zooming extension tube (40-56mm for Canon) is phenomenal.
I had their extension tube for a week, but I didn’t have as much time to work with it as I wanted as I needed to leave town on a job for a few days right in the middle. Then I got sick at the end of that week which as anybody who has ever gotten sick before knows isn’t conducive for doing fine detail work. Unless of course you are all interested in seeing a super duper close up of a used kleenex? Anyway, I did get a good handle on the savage and it does exactly as claimed in that it keeps ALL of your camera’s functionality in autofocus, metering, exposure and ect while using it. It doesn’t even have trouble doing it either, which is wonderful.
That’s your standard mini pretzel. As seen here. So yea, with just my Nikon 6omm Macro that’s pretty impressive yea? I didn’t do any focus stacking of tiny objects for this review because as I mentioned earlier I came down with a case of the plague while I was doing this. That said, stacking isn’t dependent on the extension tubes so really the image quality with just the tubes is important here and for an extension tube that goes from 55-71mm for Nikon or 40mm-56mm for Canon.
So I’ve said lots of great things about the Savage Macro Art Zooming Extension tube, but are there any negatives? Not really anything super important. The only thing I can think of as a negative is that the Macro Art Zooming Extension tubes do NOT work with plastic mount lenses. You need a metal mount lens in order to even mount the Tube on your camera. Not a big deal for me, but those looking to use some DX lenses would be in for a shock there. Also you notice there is just a little bit of Vignetting in that frame of the writing above, but it’s not bad. That’s at the full 71mm extension as well.
Overall I’m thrilled with the Savage Macro Art Zooming Extension tube set. Instead of having three bits of gear in my bag, I now can carry just one. I haven’t purchased one yet, but I’m seriously considering it for when I have macro assignments, which are becoming more numerous. If you’re interested in Macro and just want to carry one piece of gear instead of multiples, and keep all of yoru caemras metering and autofocus in tact, this is the product for you. With it ranging from $169-$189 depending on what camp you are in, it’s a bargain for what it provides as well.
If you’re looking to buy one, check them out at Roberts Camera here in Indy. Call, go in or go to their website. They are good people.