There are a lot of macro images which take your breath away on the net, but I never felt really interested in the microcosm. This changed as soon as I bought the Fuji MCEX-16 macro extension tube.
But from time to time I need to take a picture of small details, without having to high demands about the overall quality of the image. I therefore decided to save the money for another lens which I would use far more often and bought the Fuji MCEX-16 macro extension tube instead.
On this website, nearly every close up picture was done with the Fuji MCEX-16 in combination with my Fujinon fixed lenses. The images in this page showing the tube were done with the Fuji X100T.
Using the Fuji MCEX-16
For me the most useful lens in combination with the Fuji MCEX-16 is the XF 35mm F2 and the XF 90mm F2. You can work with a usable magnification of 0,57 with the Fujinon XF 35mm F2 R WR and 0,40 for the Fujinon XF 90mm F2 R LM WR. The practical working distance (that’s the distance from the front glas element to the object) is 80 mm with the XF 35mm respectively 280 mm with the XF 90mm.
Using the MCEX-16 with the XF23mm F2, you may even achieve a magnification of 0,90. But since you have to get quite close to the object at a working distance of 17 mm, you will always run into troubles with lighting, since you will very likely cast shadows on your object.
The Fuji MCEX-16 is sufficient for all the tiny things I want to shoot casually, I don’t have the need for a dedicated macro lens right now.
What’s different to using a true macro lens?
As soon as you attach the MCEX-16 to the camera, the possible focus range is very limited. You will have to experiment a bit with the camera-object-distance in order to get a sharp image. This is very different to the workflow with a true macro. With a dedicated macro lens, you may focus from any distance, as long as you are not closer than the specified minimum focus distance. This is not the case with the MCEX-16 extension tube. In combination with the XF 35mm F2 for example, you have a possible focus range of a few centimeters. Forget about focusing to infinity or even on something half a meter away. This will not be possible anymore!
The autofocus will probably struggle a bit, depending on the subject you want to shoot. I recommend to focus manually and put the camera on a tripod. Otherwise you will get frustrated quite fast.
When using the common aperture range from F2 to F5,6, you will experience a severe amount of corner softness in the images. This effect gives the picture a taste of the classic pinhole camera style, which might be interesting. But not always is this desirable. If you don’t like that look, I recommend to close the aperture to F8, F11 or even more. The corner softness improves massively by doing this.
Despite all the shortcomings in handling compared to an ordinary macro lens, I like the Fuji MCEX-16 very much. It allows me to combine it with different lenses, different magnifications and working distances. The MCEX-16 extension tube is sufficient for all the tiny things I want to shoot casually. It’s very small and lightweight, so it takes up less room. That’s why I always have it with me in my daily commuting bag.
The Fuji MCEX-16 may not step up against a true macro, that’s true. But if you practice a bit, you will get better results than you might have expected. If you wish even more flexibility, you may buy the Fuji MCEX-11 on top. You will still get away with a smaller hole in your pocket than buying a real macro lens.
Please don’t steal my images – just kindly ask, if you want to use one of them. All rights reserved.