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Yasuhara NANOHA TUBE review

Published: 16.10.2013

Yasuhara NANOHA TUBE review

We ( have received the Nanoha extension tubes - specifically the Sony NEX version - for testing a few days ago .  The extension tubes have been thoroughly tested, and so if you are interested in detail and macro photography and you have a digital camera with exchangeable lenses, then we have an interesting review for you.

Review of the Nanoha Macro Extension Tubes for Sony NEX

Extension tubes are generally used for capturing details. It is (usually) the cheaper alternative to real macro lenses. The principle of the extension tubes is pretty basic, but sometimes uncertainties emerge. The extension tube is inserted between the camera and the lens, thus shortening the minimum focusing distance. However, they do not affect the focus point and its zooming ability, they only reduce the minimal focusing distance. Consequently a common lens becomes a zooming lens.

The Nanoha Macro Extension Tubes come in two versions:

  • Sony E mount (e.g. Sony NEX)
  • Micro 4/3 mount (e.g. Olympus PEN)

There are two extension tubes in the set (10mm and 16mm). They allow autofocus and aperture settings to be transferred, so everything can run full-auto.  It is unnecessary to change any settings or to recalculate the EV and similar adventures.  Pictures are taken as they normally would be. Everything was tested on the Sony NEX-X5 in combination with the basic lens  Sony 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6.


Nanoha Tube Nanoha Tube


The extension tubes at work

Enlarging the magnification ratio = capturing details

It is almost impossible to capture details with the basic Sony 18-55mm lens. The closest focusing distance is approximately 25cm from the sensor. This means, that you wouldn’t be able to get a daisy into the whole image frame.  However, it is a totally different story, after putting the extension tube on.


Nanoha Tube



Without the extension tube (on maximum zoom 55mm), focusing distance 13cm from the front element of the lens:

Nanoha Tube



With the 10mm extension tube (minimum zoom 18mm), focusing distance 1cm from the front element of the lens:

Nanoha Tube



With the 10mm extension tube (maximum zoom 55mm), focusing distance 7.5cm from the front element of the lens:

Nanoha Tube



With the 16mm extension tube (minimum zoom 18mm): this picture is basically impossible to take, since the focusing distance is 0mm from the front element of the lens, which means that the dew would get the eyeglass wet.



With the 16mm extension tube (maximum zoom 55mm):

Nanoha Tube



And since extension tubes are combinable in general, we tried both of them at the same time:

Nanoha Tube



There isn’t a big difference between the 10mm and 16mm extension tube on full zoom (55mm). The zoom is very similar. However, only the 10mm extension tube is usable at minimum zoom, because when using the 16mm tube, the focusing plane is on the front of the lens. Focusing while using both of the extension tubes at 18mm zoom wouldn’t work at all, since the focusing plane  is inside of the lens. Everything works great on larger zooms, see the examples above.

Lower speed = the necessary price to pay

Extension tubes also have a darker side. Loss of lens speed. It is a small price to pay for the larger magnification ratio achieved by the extension tubes.

We have measured the following luminosity degradation values:

  • With the 10mm extension tube – 0.3 EV
  • With the 16mm extension tube – 0.7 EV
  • With both extension tubes – 1.3 EV

In practice it means that it is necessary to equally expand the exposure time, raise ISO sensitivity or use lower aperture values. It’s nothing too drastic; 0.3EV is a fairly minimum price for such zoom.

Image or rather material quality

Testing the image quality of the extension tubes, which contain no optics, doesn’t make any sense. The image quality depends on the lens. Instead, we have paid our attention to the manufacturing quality of the extension tubes.

The metal/plastic combination looks substantial and we haven’t noticed any material fatigue or wear during the test.

Overall rating

The Nanoha Extension Tubes work as they are supposed to. They reduce the closest focusing distance, so they allow capturing of small details. For example a daisy then takes up most of the imaging frame.

The general advantage of extension tubes is that it is possible to combine them with different lenses, disregarding the filter thread diameter. A disadvantage might be the possibility to smudge the sensor, when putting the tubes on and off.

The tested Nanoha extension tubes ended up very good in our test and we can recommend them to anyone, who wants to capture small details and who doesn’t have the intention of purchasing a macro lens. They work great with the basic  18-55mm lens.

Thanks to Makrofoto s.r.o for providing the lens for testing.

Sample pictures (comming soon)

You may download the pictures bellow in original resolution without editing after clicking on them.

Captured by Sony NEX-5N, basic 18-55mm lens + Yasuhara NANOHA TUBE.


Nanoha TUBE Nanoha TUBE
Nanoha TUBE Nanoha TUBE
 Nanoha TUBE  Nanoha TUBE

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