Aug 5, 2009

New Toy Time... Gorillapod, Extension Tubes, Lensbaby

My wife kindly went to a camera store and bought me a lightweight knockoff of a Gorillapod, knowing that I would go pick out the one I really wanted. Very cool... today I made it over to Competitive Camera and walked out with a few new toys. Happy Birthday to me!

The real Gorillapod is very cool, and I think it will allow me to leave the "real" tripod at home on an international trip next month. I will review that later...

Gift #2 is a set of Kenko extension tubes... I enjoy Macro photography, but I do not do enough of it to justify a true macro lens. Extension tubes go between your lens and the camera body, allowing any lens to focus closer and become more macro-capable. You do lose some light, but not any sharpness as with a "close up" filter that screws on the front of the lens.

There are three extensions in the kit, 12mm, 20mm and 32mm... and you can use them in combination.

Quick test (full review after some use) says this is good!

There is very little downside to these. My quick test pics showed a great deal of potential, and this is very user-friendly.

For a quick comparison, here is an un-cropped shot with the Canon 5D, 24-70mm lens, set at 70mm.
Extension Tube Blog-102
Canon 5D, 24-70mm, f2.8, 1/60, iso 1000

(The lack of sharpness is because I was handholding these... yes, I could have used the Gorillapod!)

With all three extension tubes stacked on, (64mm of extension) I could barely fit the "F" into the frame.
Extension Tube Blog-101
Canon 5D, 24-70mm, extension tubes, f2.8, 1/5, iso 1600

Notice the exposure change... even bumping the iso up to 1600, the shutter still dropped to 1/5.

Also, the depth of field is very shallow at f2.8, but at least with this method, you can control the aperture and get some more depth if the light is available.

Present #3... Lensbaby Composer...
I have been wanting to try one of these for a while... a cheaper alternative to the tilt/shift lenses. It is difficult to explain the effect. Essentially, you get to pick a very specific point of focus in the frame, and everything else is wildly out of focus.

My quick take... it is painful for quick shooting. Manually changing aperture with the "aperture disks" and manual focus means you have to be very deliberate. It will take some time to really experiment and get the most out of this thing. If I keep it that long... tbd. I do want to try this at some football games, so who knows.

Here are some shots from Reunion to show the effect. All of these are shot on the 5D at f8.
ReunionLensbaby August 5-108

ReunionLensbaby August 5-107

I like the effect of making large things look like toys or a diorama...
ReunionLensbaby August 5-104

ReunionLensbaby August 5-102

More testing to come, but these are definitely fun gadgets, and very good for making you think creatively.

Happy Shooting,

don j.


  1. Nice photos. Have fun with the new toys.

    I love Competitive Camera. I just bought a Canon G10 there. It does great Macro.

    To see a macro Grasshopper photo, Click here. Made with the G10.

    Come visit anytime,
    Troy and Martha