Duclos Lenses has released a new Macro Extension Tube for PL mount lenses. If you’ve never used an extension tube before, head on over to Cambridge in Colour and soak up some knowledge.
Here’s a quick excerpt from the Duclos Lenses website:
“Decrease the minimum focus distance to within a few inches of the front element while maintaining optimal image quality. Designed, manufactured, and assembled in the Chatsworth, California by Duclos Lenses, the stainless steel components, precision tolerances, and optically flat internal surface finish are meticulously married to reduce stray light and ensure the highest quality is maintained. Works with S35 and 35FF format lenses and cameras.”
Basically, there’s nothing new or fascinating about this product – but it’s by far the most accurate, well designed and built extension tube you’ll ever use. Now for a bit of BTS goodies: this project began as a result of only finding cheap, poorly assembled extension tubes found on eBay or the likes. The quality of materials and assembly was simply unacceptable for an industry that thrives on precision and accuracy. My disdain was compounded when Phil Holland and I were chatting about other projects and he mentioned he was using exotic cinema lenses with cheap, low-quality extension tubes. I told him that such high-end motion picture lenses deserve commensurate accessories. A few simple measurements and some rendering gave us a good idea of the distances we could achieve and provide effective results. 20mm seemed to be the magic number for a general purpose extension tube, which Phil agreed.
We got to machining, grinding, and polishing, and handed a prototype to Phil Holland to run it through his gauntlet. After some field tests with the unit, Phil had a few words to share.
“Over the years I’ve done a great deal of macro filming. Commonly using dedicated macro lenses or occasionally large diameter diopters. There’s another tool that I’ve been using a lot on the still photography side of things that has allowed for a bit more creative freedom and exploration of tiny subject matter. Extension Tubes. Extension Tubes allow for closer focus than the stock lens by essentially optically enlarging the image. You lose infinity focus just like using a diopter, but you can use any lens/focal length mounted to an extension tube at the cost of small amount of light loss. I even occasionally use dedicated macro lenses on top of Extension Tubes to just get a bit closer when the situation calls for it.
One difficulty I’ve faced when translating using Extension Tubes to PL Mount motion picture filming is finding tubes that are well built and robust enough to use realistically on a production level shoot. Duclos Lenses was up for the challenge and have manufactured a set of very high quality PL Mount Extension Tubes with a generously large locking collar with a dampened action. No wobbly bits about it whatsoever, which is greatly appreciated. In my first outing with the prototype I combined the 20mm PL Mount Extension Tube with the Zeiss 28-80mm T2.9 zoom as combining the zoom motion and extension tube allows for a wider variety of possible setups and very close focus. That’s a lot of front weighted load and the new steel adapters hold up that glass just fine. Very impressed and happy to add these to my macro shooting tool box.” — Phil Holland
As I mentioned, the 20mm was our priority but now we’re looking for some feedback from our friends and colleagues in regards to the next extension tube distance. Take a peek at some of the results provided by Phil Holland and the 20mm unit and cast a vote as to which distance you’d like to see next. Want to buy your own Duclos Extension Tube? Click Here.