What do you do when you don’t have the right lens for the job? Or maybe the budget just isn’t there to buy a specialty lens. Extensions, extenders and adapters might be the answer.
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What do you do when you don't have the right lens for the job? Or maybe the budget just isn't there to buy a specialty lens. Extensions, extenders and adapters might be the answer.
All three are tools that you attach to lenses to gain a different use for for that given lens.
Extension tubes mount between the lens and the body of the camera taking the sensor farther from the lens to allow for a closer focus point. While they are only compatible with lenses up to a certain focal length, they are an affordable way to get the macro lens look, however they won’t get you to a 1 to 1 ratio that a macro lenses gets.
They require the shooter to get closer to the subject than with a macro and that might not close enough to focus.
Tele extenders are a cost effective way to get a longer focal length, increasing the focal length of a lens. Available in many different multipliers, like 1.4X and 2x. 2X would double the focal length of your lens.
You might be asking yourself, then why not just always use an extender? Well, there are a few ways you pay for that multiplied focal length. The first is that it cost you light when a multiplier is added . With a 1.4X extender it cost 1 stop of light and with a 2x you lose 2 stops. As well you will loose some quality. In the same way it magnifies the throw of your lens, it also magnifies the flaws and aberrations. This might even have a sharpness penalty. And lastly, depending on the multiplier, there might even be a loss of the autofocus.
Telescope adapters are simple, just like an extension tube, but allow for the camera to be mounted to the eyecup of a telescope to enable the ability to shoot through the telescope.
Camcorder lens adapters are additional lenses that mount to the filter thread of a camcorder to change the field of view. They either widen or narrow the field of view by adding more glass in front of the built in lens of a camcorder. Because of this, vignetting is more prominent.
The same way a camcorder lens adapter works, lens adapters for your smartphone, goes in front of the lens, to modify the field of view. The major difference between how the camcorder adapters work and one for smartphones, is how they attach. Camcorders come with threads on the front of the lens for the addition of a filter. A smartphone lens adapter must be clipped on to the body of the phone, resulting in a less than positive mounting point. This weak connection affects how consistent the adapter works when using the lens.
These simple tools: extension tubes, tele extenders, telescope adapters, camcorder lens adapter and smart phone lenses are all simple ways to get more out of your lenses and cameras.