DIY Extension Tubes Turn Your Lens into a Macro Lens

Dedicated macro lenses can cost a lot of money. Budding macro photographers usually resort to alternate methods in order to shoot close-up photos without breaking the bank: the reverse ring technique, extension tubes, close-up filters, the list goes on. In this video, Makify shows us how to use ABS pipe to convert an ordinary prime lens into an effective macro lens, DIY style:

Supplies for Making Extension Tubes

  1. Black ABS pipe—1.5 inches in diameter. This is ideal for Micro Four Thirds. For other lenses and mounts, choose a pipe with the appropriate diameter. You could also use PVC or even white pipes. But you will need to paint them black so as not to reflect light.
  2. Camera body cap
  3. Rear lens cap
  4. Dremel sanding band
  5. Fine sand paper
  6. J-B Weld KwikWeld or comparable adhesive (this is a light tight two part adhesive)
  7. A lens that has an aperture ring on it (older manual focusing lenses are great for this)

How to Make Your Own Extension Tubes

  1. Cut a section of pipe measuring exactly 100mm. For a Micro Four Thirds system that gives you approximately 2x magnification at the expense of 3 stops of light loss.
  2. Use the sand paper to dull the shiny surface of the pipe, both inside and outside. This prevents any light reflection.
  3. Drill a hole about 1.25 to 1.5 inches on both the lens rear cap and the camera body cap. You can use a sanding band to make the hole bigger or refine it. Take care not to cut into the threads.
  4. Use the KwikWeld compound to attach the caps to the pipe. You may want to mark the top of the caps to ensure that you attach the correct sides to the pipe. Let the adhesive dry.
  5. Attach the pipe to the camera and then the lens to the pipe.
  6. Great! You’re ready to go!

If you’re still wondering whether this is a good idea or not check out these images:

macro shot of flower
macro shot of pine needles
macro shot of salt

The process is simple, and you’ll be surprised at the results.

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