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Like this article? We recommend Benefits of Close-Up Lenses

Benefits of Close-Up Lenses

Close-up lenses are simple to use and offer several benefits versus other close-up and macro techniques:

  • Lower cost. A close-up lens is usually (but not always) less expensive than a macro lens or extension tubes.
  • Lightweight and portable. When I want to travel light, I take my EOS 5D Mark II, 85 mm lens, close-up lens, and polarizing filter. This is a simple, flexible setup that covers a lot of situations. If I know that a wide-angle zoom may be required, I add my EF 17[nd]40 mm lens to the mix.
  • No light loss. If you use a macro lens or extension tubes, the extra extension means that less light reaches the sensor or film. You have to use a higher ISO, wider aperture, or slower shutter speed to increase exposure, which may not always be practical. Close-up lenses are a good option in low light.
  • Auto-exposure and auto-focus still work. This may not be the case if you use inexpensive extension tubes that break the electronic connections between the lens and camera body.
  • Close-up lenses work well with telephoto and zoom lenses. Magnification is higher at longer focal lengths. Extension tubes give greater magnification at shorter focal lengths. The choice of which to buy may depend on the focal lengths of the lenses you already own.
  • More magnification options. You can use close-up lenses in combination with extension tubes and macro lenses to achieve even greater magnification.
  • Better protection for the camera. You can add or remove a close-up lens without removing the camera lens. In dusty or dirty conditions, this feature prevents foreign objects from entering your camera body, and it helps to keeps the sensor clean.
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