Close-up Filters vs Extension Tubes: Which is Better?

When it comes to macro photography, there are two main options for achieving the desired results: close-up filters and extension tubes. Both of these tools can help you capture stunning images of small objects, but which one is better?Extension tubes are a great choice for those who want to focus closely on small animals, such as frogs. These tubes provide a lot of flexibility and allow you to focus very closely with great magnifications, especially with super telephoto lenses. The only thing an extension tube has are the contact points for communication between the camera and the lens. On the other hand, close-up filters are designed to reduce the CFD (close-focusing distance) of the lens and increase the optical magnification to produce a macro effect.

However, using close-up filters with wide-angle lenses, when the CFD is already small, will not provide a significant increase. It is also important to use close-up filters from reliable manufacturers, as quality requirements are essential here. If you plan to use filters on several lenses, it is more profitable to purchase a filter of the maximum diameter and use inexpensive staggered adapter rings. Secondly, they are much easier to put on and remove, compared to extension tubes, as the Raynox simply clips onto the filter thread. The comparison of the resolution between a common close-up filter and an achromatic filter (a notebook cell) shows that they offer the best results with wide-angle lenses, but they are far superior to the close-up filters of telephoto lenses. However, when combining filters, the filters with the lowest dioptric intensity should be in front of the more powerful ones. It is difficult to say which option is better - close-up filters or extension tubes - as it depends on your specific needs and preferences.

If you need to focus closely on small animals or objects, then extension tubes may be your best bet. On the other hand, if you want to achieve a macro effect with wide-angle lenses, then close-up filters may be your best option.

Clément Vermeulen
Clément Vermeulen

Freelance pop cultureaholic. Lifelong internet geek. Avid problem solver. Subtly charming bacon scholar. Proud zombie fanatic. Passionate tv fanatic.